Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Google Expeditions & HyperDocs. A Perfect Pairing.

A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a guest on the new Google Teacher Tribe Podcast hosted by Kasey Bell and Matt Miller. In the episode I shared a few of the exciting things we have going on at my school (Sun Terrace Elementary) with respect to integrating technology. I decided to share two big game changing tech tools that happen to pair perfectly with one another to create an exciting and truly engaging learning experience, HyperDocs and Google Expeditions.

HyperDocs, are "a transformative, interactive Google Doc replacing the worksheet method of delivering instruction, is the ultimate change agent in the blended learning With the HUGE community of educators sharing resources all the time there are tons to choose from to edit and share with your class. Just go to "file" then "make a copy" and an editable copy is saved to your Google Drive. Check out lots more information and resources I shared in a previous blog post HyperDocs! Need I Say More?  and at

Google Expeditions are virtual field trips that take students to places like outer space, national parks, museums, underwater and even back in time! They link virtual reality with engaging background information to guide students on a memorable visit to places they may never be able to see physically. There are tons of expeditions available and they are adding more all the time. New to Google Expeditions? Check out this smore flyer all about using Expeditions with any class even if you DON'T have a VR viewer!

Now put them together for an eduawesome adventure in learning! Here are some HyperDocs & Expeditions pairings. Have others? Please share them in the to this crowdsourced spreadsheet.

Maybe you have found a really great Expedition but can't find a HyperDoc to go with it. Well never fear, a Google Expeditions HyperDoc template is here! Use this HyperDoc template (complete with an Explorer playlist) to guide your students as you explore amazing places all over the world and beyond!

Google Expeditions HyperDoc Template
Have other ideas or resources for making the most of Google Expeditions with your students? Please share them in the comments below!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Is It Meaningful? Is It Manageable? Reflections & Takeaways from the 2nd Annual MDUSD & East Bay CUE STEM & EdTech Symposium

The annual Mount Diablo Unified School District & East Bay CUE STEM and EdTech Symposium, sponsored by Tesoro is the brainchild of awesome Shauna Hawes who has put on an incredible event two years in a row. Shauna was deservingly our 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year, finalist for the 2017 California teacher of the year and most importantly a very valued colleague and wonderful friend. She works tirelessly to put on this event that makes us ALL #MDUSDProud. Shauna says that her job is to find her students' bests and help shape their visions of what their own bests can be. What she doesn't realize is that she does this for her colleagues as well.

The second annual event was a Saturday in February filled with wonderful sessions led and attended by fabulous educators around the East Bay and even from afar. The day began with a Keynote by a wonderful friend of mine, Nick Zefeldt, who spoke about his journey as an educator and how he guides others as they integrate technology into their classroom. Nick and I have known each other for awhile now and was my first call when I became a Teacher On Special Assignment. His guidance and support has been invaluable as I have muddled my way through supporting teachers with educational technology. His advice to keep two questions in mind when choosing what tools or strategies to use with your class resonated with the audience. He encouraged all of us to ask ourselves. Is it meaningful? Is it manageable?

My first presentation was with an awesome, and super funny, colleague of mine, Mark Tobin. I learned SO much from working with him and planning our session. He encouraged us all to get our students asking the questions and for us teachers to get out of the way. Mark modeled how he does this by using Dan Meyer’s 3 Act Math with his students through Google Slides and Robert Kaplinski’s problem solving framework. He also created a digital breakout that we used as a fun way to begin and for teachers to understand how important it is for our students to experience productive struggle. Mark’s advice is simple, teachers need to talk less and students need to do more. His goal is that when teachers come in to observe his class they don't see him teach, they watch his students learn.

For the second session of the day I had the pleasure of presenting with THE Joe Young to a group of amazing educators on Google Expeditions and we had so much fun. The question of how to really use this technology in your class and whether or not this was just a "gimmick" came up in the beginning of our session. This was a great question and led us to a valuable conversation about beginning with what you want your students to learn and discover then find an engaging way to bring it to them. We took them on some exciting virtual field trips, shared resources and brainstormed ideas on how to use this technology in a meaningful and manageable way. Joe is such an inspiration to me and to so many others. I feel honored to have been able to present with him and hope to do so again. He wrote an amazing reflection blog post that captures the day and our session perfectly!

The final session of the day was a presentation with my pal Chrissie Cattalini on using Green Screen in the classroom. This was the second time Chrissie and I have presented this session together and as usual I was in awe of her ability to bring creativity and fun into her classroom while still keeping the rigor high and addressing the standards. Chrissie is a fabulous educator and wonderful friend and I am very lucky to work with her on so many of our passion projects. On Saturday we had a small but mighty group of brilliant educators who created some fantastic images and videos using Green Screen. This session was very hands-on and just like we should often do with our students Chrissie encouraged the attendees to just play. They learned through exploring the app and came up with great ideas for using this technology in their classrooms.

A HUGE highlight of the day was rolling out our STEM Lending Library! The tools available for checkout were on display all throughout the day and educators and students got a chance to try them out. The idea for the MDUSD STEM Lending Library came from the CUE Rockstar STEAMPunk Mobile Lab. Craig Yen had the idea to bring it Mount Diablo Unified School District. After the first STEM and EdTech Symposium in 2016, Tesoro allowed MDUSD to use the remaining funds to establish the STEM Lending Library of products that teachers would have seen at the Symposium, but needed to use and practice using in the classroom before finding the funding to purchase for themselves. In the spring of 2016 Shauna Hawes, Craig Yen and I came together along with Jonathan Eagan to put together a list of tools to purchase for the library. Since then the Valley View MOUSE Squad (led by Shauna Hawes) has been working hard to create the website and check out system for teachers and administrators to get materials and return them. The Library has tech tools like Dash, MakeyMakey, Raspberry Pi, Drones, VR Headsets, 3D Printers and more for ANY educator in the Mount Diablo Unified School District to check out for two weeks at a time and use in their classroom or with their staff.  It was so exciting to see the STEM Lending Library be fully rolled out successfully a year later!

It was a wonderful day and once again made me incredibly proud of my district and the amazing learning community we have created. There were tons of highlights are resources shared throughout the day. Check out the storify of tweets and the padlet of shared resources from #STEM17 below.

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