Year 2 @ISB: Onward and Upward

Booster Dragon

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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 6.11.19 AM.png

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
Advertisements

Year 1: Design Technology Facilitator

I have to say, I landed a dream job this year.  I don’t think this position exists in many places around the world.  It is the perfect balance of teaching, curriculum building, leading, presenting, program development and designing collaborative spaces.

That being said, I have learned so much this year.  It is exhausting and amazing to move to a new country and school.  I love seeing how different schools and systems work differently.  Everything from the schedule to homeroom structures to communications to curriculum to human dynamics is different.  It is always sometimes better and sometimes more challenging than other work places.  When you put yourself into this newbie position, you are vulnerable, you have to depend on others and you learn, learn, learn and do your best.

I didn’t have goals this year besides surviving and develop a Design program at ISB.  I had an action plan to work with which definitely helped out.  More importantly, I was very lucky this year to have a large amount of amazing people around me – both professionally and personally – new colleagues, old colleagues; new and old friends.  And that is what made this year amazing.  Not perfect.  But a great first year, for sure.

IMG_4269

Arduino Teacher Training – Thanks to Jonathan @ Creatica

First, I’ll start with things that I am proud of accomplishing this year:

  1. Creating a Design and Engineering Team to develop a K-12 Design Process for our school that connects design thinking with NGSS Engineering and can be used throughout our school – in classrooms, enrichments, After School Activities and even in our own practices of creative problem solving.  We still have some work to do as our program grows, but I feel like we collaboratively created a process that we can all work with.  I have developed standards and rubrics based on this process and will continue to make more support materials for teachers to use.

ISB DesignCycle Graphic2017-8

2. Being very active in classrooms  – this was not so much my doing than the openness of the teachers I work with.  I was frequently invited to co-teach, facilitate and work with many teachers this year.  It was great to get to know our students, community and teachers so well in the first year.IMG_2934 (1)

3. Designing collaborative spaces for design thinking and engineering to take place.  It was amazing to have an idea and over Winter Break a new design lab was born for MS and HS students.  It is a great space (although basic) for students to tinker, learn, prototype, create and learn.  To add on to this experience, there will be another space for ES students and teachers to use next year as we develop the Design & Engineering Program through the whole curriculum.

IMG_2824

4. Collaborating on Personalized Learning Experiences

Before I arrived, ISB had a lot of great opportunities for students to follow their passions, interests and curiosities to choose their learning.  Middle School students sign up for enrichments – anything from band to yoga to robotics to textiles to game design to Genius Hour and everything in between.  I was able to jump in and help coach and co-teach Genius Hour which was a fabulous experience.  I worked with amazing teachers and we worked together to create a similar design in which students followed the design process to identify problem or opportunity and create a solution.  I help facilitate other enrichments, and I learned a lot working with other teachers.  I was able to “take over” One Day, which is a day that all MS students to design their learning.  It was difficult to take it over when I had only experienced it through Twitter the year before.  Due to a teacher leaving, I’m excited to be facilitating for the Passionate Project Class in HS, which will allow many middle school students opportunities to design their own learning experiences as they move through high school.

IMG_3093

One Day Construction

IMG_2996

One Day Student Collaboration

LYAF9354

Genius Hour Feedback Session

And now on to things I feel like I missed the mark on and need to work on more next year:

  1. Working with high school – Middle school is definitely “my space”.  This MS being full of exceptional teachers who welcomed me in all the time, I didn’t always leave a lot of time for HS.  I need to work harder to get into the HS.  Students are enjoying the experiences they have in middle school and I don’t want their design thinking skills and creativity to take a back seat as they enter high school.
  2. Evaluating what I do and how it connects to what my role at this school is.  This year, I rarely said no.  I wanted to learn more about the curriculum and my colleagues because in my role, relationships are everything.  Some work I took on, was beyond my job description, as it is with most teachers.  However, next year, as I work with a new colleague coming in and have a better sense of the school, I need to articulate my role better and stay focused on what I can do well and impact student learning the most.  I know this is something I will always struggle with and I feel like I want to do more and really be a part of a community, so I need to maybe even simplify this goal and think that if I take something on, I need to take something else off the plate.  This is a big school with a lot going on, so there is always something to do.

#beyondblogging Take Aways

IMG_3699

Two weekends ago, I attended #beyondblogging with a group of teachers from CA.  The great thing about this group of CA teachers and staff, is that I don’t always collaborate with them regularly on instructional technology and it was great to chat with them about what’s going on at our school seen through different perspectives.

Jabiz and Rebekah were confident leaders, guiding us through activities and discussions for which they did not have the answers, but allowed us to make our own conclusions and actions for our own next steps.  I feel that that is something very important as a teacher to remember.  I felt more of a learner because I felt like my thoughts not only contributed to other “students” but to everyone in the room.  These leads me to the first of my two big take-aways…

1. The Leaders. The Presentation. The Workshop.

I feel like I am a good teacher… to middle school students.  Where I know I can improve on, is my presentations and sharing with adults.  It’s a much harder gig to stand in front of the faculty or adults you’ve never met than standing in front of my middle school Design Teachers.  I think that being a good presenter to adults, especially teachers, is a really important skill to hone.  Jabiz and Rebekah did this very well.  They were down to earth, well-read, experienced and confident. They prepared a great two days of learning and collaborating.  I find it a fine balance of keeping the workshops active: talking, sharing and thinking but not forcing adults to do kind-of ridiculous hands-on jigsaw activities that waste a lot of paper, that I really wouldn’t use in my whole class anyways.  I also feel that the workshop was differentiated for beginning bloggers to those of us that have been doing it for years for ourselves and our students.  It’s hard to differentiate a workshop or just plan it so everyone can get a lot out of it when you don’t know your participants because they are teachers coming from all over Asia for a weekend workshop.

2. Students Sharing in their Own Way… Even Unedited (gasp!)

Throughout the workshop, we were asked to share our thinking.  With the exception of a few times, we could share how we wanted to. I shared my learning through a Vine, Instagram photos, blogging, Tweeting, and sketching on chart paper.  Other teachers shared in different ways, but we all contributed in our own way and showed our learning.  In my MYP Design classes, students can turn in products using a variety of media, because that is the nature of the course.  However, I don’t differentiate the reflection piece (design folder) too much.  There are some parts that don’t really lend themselves to other formats – like their sketches, but I could encourage them to post however they want, as long as they meet the criteria and I can find their work fairly easily. I could also encourage students to use the social media they use regularly to share their learning and passions.

Taking Action

So, I jumped right into it.  The Monday after the workshop was the second week of my MYP Food Design 9 course, and it was the perfect time to present how I want students to share their “learning journey with food” throughout the course of the semester.  I want students to share what they have created in and out of class and any other food products that inspire them to create.  I offered some suggestions to the class. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking I should have had more of a discussion with the students as to what they want to use…  (maybe we can talk next week, it’s still early in the semester to change).

But, already, I’ve gotten some great results.

I have students sharing photos on Instagram.

They’ve created Picasa albums.

They’ve created new categories on their blogs.

Now, the organization for me to find them all is not the best workflow in the world – it’s a Google Doc with the link to where they are posting work.  For some kids they are just hashtagging their Instagram pictures with #cadesign9. This makes it a bit more than a one-click solution.  BUT, it’s easy for them, and I think I’d rather it be easy on them than on me.  Also some of their pictures have been retweeted and shared, which is great.  I want them proud of their work.  I don’t want them creating for me, for a grade.  I want to see what they are passionate about.  I want to see what they want to create and that they are thinking about food.

Now, this is much easier with my ninth graders, because they all have iPhones and are of the age where they can open up social media accounts.  I need to figure out how to bring this down to my sixth grade.  I can easily have them record their reflections with Photobooth and post their work.  But is there more?  What else can I do?

I also want to use specific language in my class for “un-edited work” and “finished, polish work”.  A finished video takes a lot of time and can sometimes distract from the purpose of the task, but I think video is a great tool for documenting a variety of work and reflections.  Video, with both the audio and visual piece can really show who the student is at that snapshot in their life, better than a bunch of text on a screen can.

So, I’ve gone off on a tangent a bit here, but as you can see, I’ve taken a lot away from the #beyondblogging workshop.  I still need to think about our school blogs and their purpose and what students may be using in 5, 10, 15 years to share their growth, learning, service and passions.  As always, I have 99 more ideas running through my head and got a few other great take-aways from the weekend, but I’ll save them for another day.