ECIS Library Conference Reflections

Now, one would think that the ECIS Triennial Library Conference was a strange choice of PD for me, but there were a few different factors that got me there:

  1. My husband is a librarian and he wanted to go to this conference (he has good taste and he’s always a fun guy to hang out with)
  2. We have good friends who live in Chennai who would watch our kids while we attended this conference (our first conference together… ever!)
  3. My office is in a library and our Office of Learning includes the EdTech/Design Facilitators and Librarians, so I should be working more with them!
  4. There were some MakerSpace/Tech presentations that I felt there were definitely enough sessions I could attend.
  5. It was during Chinese New Year holiday, so I wouldn’t have to miss any school and we could all go to India as a family.

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As soon as I walked in, I realized that I was not in my comfort zone – my connected, happy, social, familiar “Design and Tech PLN bubble” I had developed over the last ten years.  And after a delicious Indian breakfast and more caffeine, I relaxed a bit, even though I was surrounded by hundreds of unfamiliar names and faces. I realized it was good to be a little uncomfortable and to embrace the situation.  Very few people knew me (and I didn’t know a lot of people there) and the focus wasn’t necessarily on my needs, but I definitely could still get a lot out of the experience.

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While I could write a lot about what I learned and all my highlights, from the hospitality of AISC (which scored an A++ in my book) to Mr. Schu‘s engaging keynote (even to a non-librarian), I will put down my top four:

1. I met the Boyers from Shanghai American School and they are doing a lot with First Lego League.  In short, we need to be doing this at ISB. I’m excited we have a new Computer Science/Robotics/Design/Science super-teacher joining us next year.  I think he’s already offering this at his current school. I’m excited to start some conversations with him about our developing programs. If he isn’t going to offer this for MS, I think I need to step up and do something about it. Robotics and Programming are not my strengths, but I could definitely help facilitate a program like this and I really like the facets of the program from their core values to the research component to the designing and creating.

2. It was great to see the ES and MS/HS MakerSpaces.  Roger was a gracious host and toured me around the secondary Design Space after our session was done in the ES Lab.  It is always interesting to see what other people are doing and how they have organized their spaces. ACTION: Stay in touch with the Design and Maker teachers from AISC and MamaTechnology who is running an Open MakerSpace for Secondary Students at JICS.

3. Library MakerSpace – I went to a session led by Melinda Piehler.  Her focus was mainly ES, but I got a lot of great ideas and starting points from being in her session.  A Library MakerSpace is something I’ve considered for years.  I’ve never gone through with it because I felt like I was coming up with an idea and dumping it on someone else to manage.  Luckily, at ISB, my office is in the library and it’s an amazing space that kids really like to come to.  I know it’s not going to work perfectly, but I want to give it a go and see if it can work, so students can create outside of integrated projects and Design classes and maybe even prefer to create rather than mindlessly consume YouTube videos on their downtime.  I’ve just written a DRAFT proposal that I’m going to share with our secondary librarians this week (here are some pieces):

4. Living Library – Catherine Buchanan presented how she organizes and runs her Living Library at Chadwick International School in Korea. While this is probably a bit out of my job description, it’s something that John and I would like to work together to develop for our middle school for the Fall.  I love the idea of inviting people in as primary resources to engage students and for our students to learn more about all the amazing people in and around our community.  We think we’ll try to schedule this event for Fall 2018.  There are many schools that organize an event like this. Here are some examples: The Human Library and check out this articleMore to come on this. 

The ECIS Library Conference  was almost just the right amount of new ideas to come back with after a conference.  Sometimes I come back with too many ideas and I am overwhelmed with what I want to do versus the amount of time I have to take action on some of my new ideas. I would say I didn’t have a ton of options that applied to me for a lot of the sessions, nor did I know enough people to pick out the “engaging presenters” that you could learn anything from.  I feel like I can easily manage the four actions (above) and maybe I should look around for different types of PD rather than attending the same conferences in Asia that I go to all the time.  They are excellent, don’t get me wrong, but it’s always a good thing to be out of my comfort zone every once in a while.

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This was a slide from Mr. Schu’s presentation, but I like that can apply to our MakerSpaces and has a deeper meaning – I think I’ll make one for the MS/HS Design Lab.

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Design Thinking and EAL (English as an Additional Language)

Throughout my teaching experiences over the course of my career, I have frequently seen that EAL, Student Support or students taking multiple languages (all for good reason), often miss out on hands-on personalized learning experiences.  These types of hands-on electives courses are exactly what these students need.  They need authentic language experiences and safe but dynamic environments to flourish and develop both language and technical skills.

Sparked from a conversation between our HS EAL teacher and our Educational Technology Coordinator, Clint, a new project was born to fill this need.

Students were to find a client (another one of their teachers) and using the design process, they would creatively solve a problem of their client.

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Students first had to approach a client, and record their interactions as a language assessment to find out the problems or needs of their teachers.  This is an important part of the design process as a designer needs to empathize with their client.  For the students, this was definitely out of their comfort zone and they had to understand the requests and respond on the spot in a natural way.

Here’s a sample clip of a language task:

 

The students worked through the design process to create their final products.  We offered sewing and vector drawing (to ultimately laser cut) workshops for small groups depending on the needs of their projects.

Students were very engaged in this project and it has been a great way for students to extend their oral communication as well as problem solve and develop more technical skills.

The variety of student projects range from:

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Design Process Journal Entry – A daily written task sharing progress

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a step stool for a teacher’s classroom

IMG_6743a leather bag designed for a teacher who moves around a lot throughout the day

two different school supplies’ holders for different uses in the classroom

a system to help foster more classroom participation (for a teacher who’s a Patriot’s fan)

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It has been great to get into more high school courses this semester. After my first year of working almost primarily in the middle school, I’ve been wanting to branch out more in the high school.

As a long term goal, I would like to work more with the EAL and Student Support teachers, along with my EdTech Facilitator colleague to help develop authentic design projects to use as a frame work for language instruction, practice and learning.

This is connected to one of my professional goals this year: 

2. I will model and support a culture of openness and sharing through collaborative practices, public reflection and celebration.

c. I will facilitate personalised learning.

 

Year 2 @ISB: Onward and Upward

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This year, as an EdTech Team, we have created the following goals:

  1. Articulate, communicate, and facilitate the implementation – with ongoing reflection? –  of a PK-12 Digital Citizenship program/curriculum to all ISB stakeholders (students, teachers & counselors, admin, parents). 
  2. Model and support a culture of openness and sharing through collaborative practices, public reflection, and celebration. 
    1. #learnISB more than just celebratory e.g. feedback, advice, process, reflective goals, professional learning etc.
    2. Commitment to reflective professional learning through blogging. Showcase professional reflective practice. Develop an active blogging culture.
    3. Facilitate personalised learning through the development of authentic tasks. Engage co-teaching and planning, tech integration etc.
  3. Work with teachers and admin to develop criteria and frameworks that foster continual and sustainable optimization and refinement of our student learning systems, resources, and tools. 

And from these team goals, I have identified my own professional goals for the year.  I have focused on Goal #2.  Here are my three goals that will help support our team.

2. I will model and support a culture of openness and sharing through collaborative practices, public reflection and celebration.

a. I have been using #learnISB on Twitter to share out projects as I work on them with teachers primarily the past year.  This year, I’d like to try to share out more “works in progress” and try to make my twitter communication more interactive rather than just celebratory.  I don’t seek feedback and interaction as much as I used to and often just “like” or retweet rather than extend, so this is an area that I will work on this year.  My plan:

  • I will try to tweet something once a week that is more than just celebrating student work.
  • I will also seek other twitter accounts and educators’ social media as inspiration/models to help me think about how I want to share my passion about design thinking and STEAM in Education.

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b. I will blog more to continue to make connections with other educators, be a model for other educators and to deepen my own reflection, as I feel it is definitely enhanced by the act of writing it down, editing, revising and getting feedback.

I love to blog.  In my blogging hayday, I was managing, writing, sharing through three blogs at the same time and I loved it.  However, that has dropped off the past few years. Being new at ISB last year, I found it hard to find the time to blog. This year, I am going to make more of an effort.  I think having other bloggers on the EdTeach team and giving myself a specific blog goal (to post at least one reflective blog a month) will help me stay on track.  The great part about all this, is the vulnerability of it and I know my own thoughts and practice will grow from sharing my own teaching and learning.

c. I will facilitate personalised learning.

This is HUGE, but something I feel really passionate about and am very excited about in my role as a Design Technology Facilitator.  I want our students at ISB to go beyond scoring well on their IB Exams and walking away with an exceptional GPA as many of them do.  I want to better prepare them for being a creator and creative problem-solver no matter what area they plan to study or be a professional in.

Here are my measurable indicators of success:

  • Integrate & Co-Teach Design Process in authentic ways
    • I started this last year, but I want to work in more areas and break out of the Science/Engineering classes more this year
    • I also want to make more of an impact in high school
  • Build the Passion Project course to be more visible and increase enrollment/excitement around this course
  • Increase student opportunities to personalize their learning with high quality enrichments and ASAs that develop skills and use design thinking as a process.
    • ES – MS – HS After School Opportunities
    • MS Enrichments
    • HS ELO (Experiential Learning Opportunities)
    • More in-school studio-like experiences like OneDay or something like NuVu