Have you gone to an escape room? I have and it was wonderfully exciting and engaging. How can we harness that and bring it to the classroom? BreakOut Edu offers a way to bring some of that inquiry based learning into your classroom. https://www.breakoutedu.com/
The hashtag above has had the largest impact on my profession this year. As a tech TOSA, coach, instructional technology whatchamacallit, we do not get a playbook. Now, I am not complaining I am setting up the need to find a manual somewhere and some direction, #TOSAchat has been that. The group of people that run this chat are spectacular. Every Monday at 8pm I get a renewed sense inpiration and I definitely need that.
I also get humbled every Monday. I read what other Tech TOSAs are working towards and I feel the need to improve. It helps me reflect on my own practice and I love that it challenges me.
Smartest Person in the Room
The collective efforts and insights of the group are valuable. Below are some examples of my latest interactions.
I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with the wonderful educators of TOSAchat. Come be a #LocoLearner with us on Mondays from 8pm - 9pm.
It is done! We finally released our Cyber Champion Game for our students at Palm Springs Unified. First, I want to be clear, I have a great team. My fellow Tech TOSAs and Director are great to work with and this has been a team effort through and through. Thank you.
We built ChromeWarrior through a partnership with Alpen Spruce (Alludo Learning), they are also an amazing part of our team. The idea was simple, gamify our professional development. What came about was a unique learning experience for us all. We built the game and now there are about 40 districts who have began implementing their own version of gamified PD from Alludo Learning. I will not go into the impact gaming can have on education because there have been a ton of articles written on this topic. Essentially, I want to #GamifyEverything.
Why Not Gamify Digital Citizenship?
Naturally, after the success of gamifying our professional development, we wanted to get this game in front of our students. We set out to do just that and Cyber Champions was born. We created a game that focuses on creating conscientious cyber citizens but why is this necessary?
Our students and now my own children live in a time where their digital presence is tied to their identity and is increasingly becoming their only identity. We want to use the internet for all its good and avoid as many pitfalls as possible. Our children deserve to live in their new world with the right tool set to navigate safely and freely. Mainly they deserve the freedom. It is easy to just lock everything down and block students from everything but why not try something that benefits them in the long run. The real world does not block websites, it rewards those that can take advantage of such technology. Cyber Champions hopes to start preparing students for their digital lives.
The Levels and Badges
Call To Action
This part of the game is simple. Take a screenshot of something positive, fill out a survey, or make someone's day. All games should start off easy before we get to the good stuff.
Think About It
We wanted students to reflect on what they were learning. This section of the game is about shedding some light on some of the topics and have students contemplate why things are happening the way that they are and what they can do to help. These kiddos have had some amazing insight.
Any good game forces the user to create something. Culminating tasks exist to showcase what students are learning and publish good work. Take a look below as to what our students have started to make.
Fall CUE was another great conference and I would like to share some of what I learned and presented. The biggest difference between Fall CUE and others was the intimacy. This conference felt like the conversations were more pointed. The classrooms were perfect and we did not have any people sitting on the floor, unless you were a boss like Alice Keeler and Lisa Highfill (standing room only), their sessions were great! The classrooms were nice because it felt like running a PD in my own district.
I was fortunate enough to get accepted as a presenter and my two sessions were:
The thought process behind these presentations were to let the attendees leave with something they can take back and work on immediately. I realized quickly that many people are working on e-portfolios in some form or fashion. Our district is working to integrate e-portfolios in a way that does not add another item to the plate of our teachers. We essentially took the curriculum that we had a created one lesson that teachers could implement with a little tech infusion. Funssessments was all about looking at assessments tools and playing. We highlighted
One of the best aspects of presenting this year was getting to present, its about to get real corny up in here, with my best friend, my wife, Ruby (@MrsRubyRivera). She is an amazing teacher and I get to bounce all my ideas off of her. Ruby is special and everything she works at is perfection. Getting some alone time in a beautiful place like Napa was a wonderful treat. She makes me better everyday.
Present Like A Boss
I have tons to learn about presenting and how to get to Boss Level Presenting (or RockStar Presenting, another great Corippo session) but this was a wonderful experience. What I wrestle with is, am I sharing valuable information at this level? I know presenting at my district is productive because I know the needs of my school sites. I love listening to what the audience took away from my session but people are always so nice, look below:
I am thankful for all the peeps that joined in our sessions and shared in our learning experience. I have lots to learn and I am glad to have company. Have a nice day.
Aside from realizing my body is getting older, I remembered how important it is to have arts at school. My kiddos were having fun, interacting with each other, and building relationships. My students were exercising a part of the brain that I often ignore.
Of course I had to incorporate some of the cool tech things that I have learned along the way. First of all I used this website to share the routines with parents. Talk about flipped learning, students could go home and watch their little hearts out. I know it was easier in Casa Rivera. My two boys took my class and as much as I wanted to keep teaching them at home (Just kidding, I was too tired to teach) it was nice to put on a video that they can watch over and over. I was also reminded of the different levels, even within the same age group. Teaching requires differentiation and tons of patience. I was able to take a page out of Catlin Tucker's playbook and had me some station rotation. We learned choreography together and as I identified sticking points in the routine those became the stations.
I'll leave you with a little bit of the showcase from my kiddos, enoy! I know I did.
ISTE 2017 was a blast. There were a lot of first for me and some things have moved me emotionally and professionally. Let us begin with the not so sappy stuff.
I have never been to San Antonio. I have never eaten brisket... I ate a lot of brisket. I have never heard teachers sing their hearts out. #ETK Seriously though, what librarian has lungs like that...
What was so emotional? Jennie and George. I now realize that any stories relating to parents and their children will always make me cry or, if you are in San Antonio, you can say "the humidity is making my eyes sweat." George Couros' session was great. When I heard him speak at CUE I was also inspired this time around he spoke about creating Digital Leaders. I love that idea, I submitted to Google Innovator around Conscientious Cyber Citizens, but Digital Leaders sounds awesome. George is a great reminder that technology needs to be harnessed by our students. Teachers need to be the movement that shapes that future, or I mean shapes the now. Technology integration needs to be done today. Students are not waiting for teachers to get on board, they are already zooming past us in a speedboat. Let's teach them to swim, just in case.
Jennie Magiera . I have wanted to begin this blog so many times, pretty sure I have written my first post about 10 times since CUE 17' but here we are, I am ready to contribute to the community. Jennie reminded me to tell my story, or someone else will. Her passion for education is astonishing. As I watched and listened to her on that stage I am reminded of how my teachers impacted my life, that will be another post, but it goes without saying that we need to keep building those relationships students, they matter so much.
So aside from those amazing speakers and all the other sessions, I thoroughly enjoyed the expo this year. I barely fit all the swag back in my bags but I realized how many relationships I have formed being in this position as Tech TOSA. It was great putting a face to the name and connecting with companies that are now our partners. Shout out to ClassCraft for getting us some Karaoke tickets, Librarian rock, literally.
Final thoughts. Keep creating things that help change lives, keep inspiring, keep.google.com, keep telling your story, and keep learning.