The one notable difference was that this year, I would be presenting a session on Google Apps for Transparency.
My first eye opener was Jim Sill's session, Google Views - Lessons in 360º, in which I was introduced to Cardboard. This is a realist iteration of virtual reality that could be easily integrated into schools. Although I haven't had other VR experiences, I wonder if Cardboard offers a majority of the sensory experience.
Overall, I was most inspired by Stephen Taylor's Formatting the Flow session. As an inquiry teacher, I have always wrestled with the impulse to manage students' learning. What Stephen showed was how formatted documents can make processes visual and focus students on their learning rather than their presentation and reporting media.
My group was beta testing BreakoutEDU with augmented reality and was not able to open the box like some other groups.
— Ben James (@OsakaB) February 6, 2016
TransparencyFinally, it was time for my presentation, Google Apps for Transparency.
As a form of modeling, I shared a Transparency notes Google Doc with all participants for public note taking and documentation.
— Carol Walter (@carolwalternz) February 7, 2016
I began with a brief introduction to the concept of transparency as it is viewed in practice in government, business, and education. Then, following a generally 'less to more' transparent framework according to the slides embedded below, I shared the tools that I use to make planning, teaching, and assessment in my classroom as transparent as possible.
Included in the demonstrations were my weekly planners. I use a template in Google Sheets that allows me to plan to five minutes of accuracy include relevant details including differentiation. These documents are published as a webpage and the link is shared on our class Moodle site.
Having the plans published via a link allows easy access from any internet connected device. A classroom computer at the front of our classroom is dedicated to our projector, but it also has all of our links saved as bookmarks in the web browser. Throughout the day, students check these links. This increases the amount of time that I can devote to learning by minimizing questions like 'what are we doing next?' or 'what's after lunch?'.
|Click image to view as webpage.|
A teacher in the workshop asked if there was added stress from publishing all of my planning. I replied with that this level of transparency adds a component of accountability that is its own reward.
Using the publishing capability of Google Apps, I also publish slides of our daily warm ups and home learning assignments. They are embedded on our class Moodle and require no additional maintenance. They update automatically when new slides are added. If a parent or other member of our learning community uses them even once to have a conversation with their child or keep up to date on home learning, it's worth the minimal effort to set up.
Finally, I shared my data workbook. This is a system of spreadsheets that provides me with real time data from assessments and then publishes the same data to individual pages, published as websites, for students and families.
This works extremely well for parents to keep up to date on their child's learning and for sharing web addresses, usernames, and passwords.
All materials for the workshop are shared in a public Google Drive folder, Transparency | GAFE Summit Kobe 2016.
Strangely, as soon as my session ended, I felt the urge to develop a new data management system that could provide more possibilities for data visualization and analysis. I've already begun sketching ideas and look forward to designing and programming this summer.
ReflectionI've completed tons of online professional development, and nothing compares to the invigorating social and interactive experience of a face to face conference. Ironically, this can be especially true in technology where digitally isn't necessarily the best way to learn something new.
The tools which I have put to work immediately are Quizizz and SafeShare. Since introducing Quizizz, my students constantly ask when we will be taking the next quiz.
Reflecting on my own presentation, I feel that I probably learned more than my participants! It is easy to feel that the time and energy spent preparing to conduct a conference or workshop session is wasted, but I found the opposite. By deeply analyzing and presenting my approaches to technology in the classroom, I deepened my understanding. Being inspired to expand my strategies was an unexpected surprise!
If you're curious to explore the conference, follow this link to view the full schedule.
I've already been contacted by Google related colleagues about organizing an event in Tokyo, so I look forward to putting some of that inspiration into action.