035: Living on the Edge of Chaos with Todd Flory

In this episode I have the pleasure to chat with Todd Flory. Todd is a 4th grade teacher from Kansas. He is doing some amazing work in regards to global education.

This was a fun episode as we explore the ins and outs of expanding your classroom beyond the four walls. This topic has been covered many times, but Todd brings a new level to the conversation as we discuss

  • How do you find another classroom to connect with?
  • How do you go about finding experts to speak to your students?
  • The benefits of mystery skype
  • What happens when a global learning moment ignites a spark for a student?
  • His latest project of doing a Skype BreakoutEDU
  • How to connect global projects to the standards

There are plenty of examples to get you started.

You can find more about Todd at the following

Shownotes

Check out the show and episodes on iTunes

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How to Split screen on Mac, PC, and Chromebook

I have been asked several times how to split screen on multiple devices. There are several extensions, apps, and more that can help with this. However, I wanted to share how to easily do this task on all platforms with no extra tools.

I cover how to do so on a Mac, Chromebook, and PC.

What other shortcuts, tools, tips, etc. do you use to split screen or to make your productivity flow smoother and easier when you work?

Leave a comment and if you like please subscribe.

 

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033: Living on the Edge of Chaos with Tammy Dunbar

Season 3 of Living on the Edge of Chaos podcast is ready to knock your socks off with none other than Tammy Dunbar talking Genius Hour.

It has been a long time since season 2 ended. In that void of episodes I had a series of small side podcasts(all on the same channel) testing things out.

After some learning, revision, and moving into action Living on the Edge of Chaos is here.

I cannot be more excited to start off season 3 with anyone other than Tammy Dunbar. Tammy is a 5th grade teacher from California who also teaches technology and does a ton of trainings for teachers around the world. She is one who not just talks the talk, but walks the walk.

In this episode we discuss Genius Hour. Genius Hour has been covered many times, but this episode looks at the bigger picture of Genius Hour.

  • How does one connect this concept to the standards?
  • How do we move away from it being a “pocket of innovation” into the culture of innovation for a school?
  • Can implementing a program like this actually raise test scores?
  • What happens when we treat students as more than simply a number and data plot?

Below are the links to all references in the podcast to learn more.

We hope you enjoy. As always please reach out with questions, ideas, thoughts, and reviews by leaving a comment on iTunes or leaving a comment on the blog(coffeeforthebrain.com)

Last, you can reach out to Tammy on her website or on Twitter.

Enjoy this episode and be ready for an amazing season of pushing our thoughts on the status quo of education.

You have three ways to access this podcast episode as well as all previous episodes

  1. Check out the show and episodes on iTunes

2.

3. If  you care to watch the video version, then here you go!

 

Show Notes

CV: https://docs.com/tammy-dunbar/about

Liberating Genius OneNote Journals/Lessons by Tammy

https://docs.com/tammy-dunbar/8170/liberating-genius-onenotes

Liberating Genius Into Sways by Tammy

https://docs.com/tammy-dunbar/3662/liberating-genius-sways

Free eBook “Liberating Genius” By Angela Maiers & Mark Moran

https://choose2matter.org/liberatinggenius

Liberating Genius by Angela Maiers

http://amzn.to/2ezyRBj

If looking for a list of pretty much everything Genius Hour, then check out this LiveBinder put together by Joy Kirr

A list of all previous episodes can be found here

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Skype in the Classroom: Enhancing Learning For All

I have been super fortunate to be named a Skype Master Teacher. Most of what I do with Skype these days is dependent upon the amazing educators that I work with in my school who constantly challenge the status quo of education and how kids can and should learn. It is also used to connect with educators from around the world to help me learn and improve on a daily basis.

Regardless of how much experience you have with Skype, I think it is important that we continue to share ways in which classrooms around the world are connecting to bring real life connections to our learning.

There is something special about hearing the tones of a Skype call and that moment when the screen showcases a group of students or expert or author on the screen. It is at this moment when everyone involved knows they are part of something special.

I created a Sway to showcase all the ways in which I have used Skype in the past few years. This is just a small sample of ideas, but I hope that it will inspire or ignite new ideas in how we can help foster global classrooms.

What I challenge you, the reader, is two things

  1. Find another class to connect with and enhance the learning. Just looking forward to this week I know that my robotics teams will be Skyping with another team in Michigan to share their gracious professionalism to help a team with the robot. Later that night we will be Skyping again in India to help create some solutions to the village that needs help.
  2. Find an expert. Head over to the Microsoft Education site and find an expert. There are so many people volunteering their time to help students. We have 6th grade students participating in the Mission 8848 project to strengthen their PBL unit this year after being blessed to speak with Mark Woods and others last year.

We can no longer act like connecting globally is not possible. The world has come together to make it happen. It is easy. Start with a mystery skype and go from there. Check out the October picks and join the Skype-A-Thon, check out a tutorial, or explore the lessons.

Are you a GoNoodle fan? If you are nodding your head yes!, then join the GoNoodle Mystery Skype song and dance event.

Go out there, bust down those four walls in your classroom and get connected with the world. I promise you that once you give it a try you will be hooked.

 

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Windows 10 Tech Tips

I have been building a Tech Newsletter this year, but I know that not many people know about it. I have been preparing the next batch of tips to start launching next week. Here is my Sway that contains all my Windows 10 Tech Tips so far. I will continue to add to this Sway over time usually once every two weeks.

I hope you enjoy and if you have questions please let me know.

“Coffeechug Tech Newsletter”   https://shar.es/14Dqh6

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One example of using Skype to enhance student voice and learning

By this point in time almost every single person has heard of Skype and video calls. Some have used it to connect with friends and family. Some educators have dabbled with connecting online with other classrooms whether it be a Mystery Skype or sharing of learning. Some have connected with experts(like professional editors for a language arts project). Some have not dabbled at all, but are intrigued.

Regardless of your ability and experience this is story to showcase the power of connections. Many would agree that face to face is always the best method to build connections. However, in this day and age that is not always possible and yet some of our most influential people in our lives are ones we only meet online.

I would like to share a story to promote the use of Skype and work to build those connections with all the amazing people around the world.

Recently, Microsoft hosted a Skypeathon where classrooms connected with others from all over the world to try and reach 1,000,000 virtual miles of interaction. It was a 24 hour event that reached over 3,000,000 miles.

There was one Skype session that we were lucky to schedule with Margo Day, VP of Microsoft Education. This was a session where instead of figuring out locations we talked about embracing student voice and empowering our voices to lead by example. We were not real sure what to expect, but we gathered members from our Iowa High Five student voice group and allowed them to ask questions and learn from someone who has made an impact on so many people.

As an adult and educator I learned a great deal from the message Margo provided. It was one of the best Skype calls we have ever had(and we have had many this year). Here are couple notes I jotted down.

  • every person should be able to contribute to the learning environment
  • students should be working together in groups where students are not in the same place/location to understand what it takes to work with a variety of people
  • nobody works on anything alone anymore
  • you need to find a sense of who you are
  • everyone should have some experience with writing code
  • I don’t know what I can’t do…..I don’t know how high is too high!

Besides my learning, there was something even more powerful than a tall, bald, ugly guy sharing his insights. An amazing 6th grade student, Isabelle, shared the following reflection that showcases the power of learning from others, flattening our classrooms walls, and doing all we can in schools to help connect students with amazing people like Margo. Check it out below and if you want to watch the session you can click the recording here.

Isabelle, 6th grader at Bettendorf Middle School

I feel that the Skype call really helped me think about my voice. There were answers from Margo that really helped me. When she was talking about exploring, and trying to find out what she can’t do it made me think, “What is so bad about failing?” For some reason I’ve been afraid to fail my whole life, but why? I just didn’t know the answer to this question, and still don’t know the answer to it. Also, when she was talking about our teachers picking us for Student Voice because they think we have a voice made me feel good on the inside. It actually made me feel more confident with my voice, like I have something special out of 7 billion people in the world that I didn’t know about. When Margo was talking about kids all over the world not having a voice made me upset. There are so many missed opportunities that our education is missing out on because the children who do have a voice are looked down upon. Some people think that kids are just little humans that are always in their own little world. The truth is we’re not.

I really like Sammy’s answer to Margo’s question which was, “ What does student voice mean to you and how do you apply that to school?” Sammy answered that question by talking about listening to other people’s opinions before immediately just auguring back. It really just shows how much of a voice students can really have. Also, Margo was talking about college, and how we need to find ourselves before going to college. This made me think about what new things I should start exploring to help me figure that out. My mother told me that I need to start thinking about what I want to do for college. Of course my answer was, “Mom! I’m only twelve I have six more years until I go to college.” This video helped me realize that I should start exploring now because there are so many things out there that are out of my comfort zone. I have always been into drawing, so I might try and do that for college. There are also a lot of possibilities in this world and I might like something better than drawing. If Margo never explored science and technology then everything would be different. The students who Skyped with Margo listening to her message might be doing something different now or in the future.

The message that I got from this Skype call was very uplifting and made me think a lot. The answers that I got from this call will stick with me for awhile. It helped me think about my voice in a very different way and even think about myself in a different way. This is something I help will pass on to other students in the future. 

How have you used Skype? What are ways you have flattened your classroom walls? In what ways have you leveraged technology to enhance student learning? I would to learn from you and hear stories like Isabelle to showcase and share with other educators who need examples of the power to connect with others. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement to push our comfort zones.

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YEOT: Fall 2015 Lab 1 – Building Structures Design Challenge

The fall semester of Young Engineers of Today has officially kicked off. Students have started with webinars learning about bridge and structure designs and what goes into actually building various designs. Every two weeks we host a lab where students come to the classroom after school and they learn how to apply the knowledge and actually make and construct through a hands on environment.

The first lab is designed to do challenge their thinking based on the webinar in addition to helping them learn to work together, share ideas, understand that things not working is not failure, but learning, and have some fun along the way.

Instead of typing up every step of the lab this semester I am trying something different. I have created an Office Mix where I share the lab, the materials, and explain the reasons behind everything. I hope this helps other educators learn how to copy the ideas. I hope it helps parents see the learning taking place. I hope that it inspires others to share the great things they are doing.


 

Enjoy and I would love any and all feedback

Here is a link to the Office Mix

If you would like to watch it on YouTube


 

Here are the materials for the actual project build I used

K’NEX Intro to Structures

Duct Tape

Pipe Cleaners

Masking Tape

Paperclips

Flexible Straws

Computer Paper


 

And I wish I had this kit so if you want to buy me one

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Microsoft Innovative Expert: Why YOU Should Apply To Be ONE!

I made a short video explaining why more educators should apply to be a Microsoft Innovative Expert. I wish I could have spoken for 30 minutes, but realize attention spans don’t last that long anymore.

Enjoy and let me know if you have questions.

Here is a link to the video!

Here is the link to apply

 

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Upgrading to Windows 10: Watch How Easy!

This video is designed to show anyone who is on the fence how easy it is to install. It is not designed to show all the new things(posts coming later). Once you hit the upgrade icon in your bottom right corner this video shows you how simple everything is from that point on.

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Quotes To Ponder: An Experiment in Mix

I have been working on collecting quotes and phrases that I find myself using over and over again this summer. Not all of these are exactly my own, but have been phrases that either I have shared in blog posts and later in conversations or heard or read from somewhere and have adapted into my dialogues in education.

I also wanted to continue to explore Office Mix and test out some ideas for a PD I am creating for the upcoming school year.

With that being said I used Canva to create some graphics of quotes. I would love it if you would test out my mix and give me feedback on the slides.

Go ahead and open the mix here.

The first slide has a very short one minute audio clip providing instructions. From there it is pretty easy to figure out with you typing right into the slides.

I am interested in your thoughts. I will post a follow up blog on how this turns out.

I appreciate you taking time to check the slides and sharing your ideas.

Have a great day!

 

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