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July 30, 2014

#ETTSummit Live Blog: Jennie Magiera – Googling the Future Classroom Keynote from Beth Holland
When we think about professional learning, we want to practice the best possible pedagogy begins Jennie. Since we can't break into small groups and differentiate, Jennie is going to use Twitter. Throughout the session, she will do breakout questions via the #ettsummit hashtag.

What does the Future Look Like?

Jennie showed us the results of image searches for future and future classroom. From there, she showed how Star Trek has been predicting the future since 1966. After showing us a series of images, she brings us to the point that all of these gadgets and technologies are tools. "We don't want to put the cart before the pedagogical horse."

Lessons Learned from the 3 Little Pigs

What lesson can we learn from the 3 Little Pigs? Jennie describes how the 3rd piggy doesn't get eaten because he built his house out of brick. With that in mind, imagine that the piggies can write a grant to purchase some bricks. Come fall, the bricks show up and the piggies don't want to learn something new. They are comfortable in their straw houses. So, given that, they duct tape the bricks to the straw house and .....  it all falls down. Jennie takes the story and describes how originally she approached iPads. Initially, she forced iPads into her curriculum. She realized that she had to take a proverbial sledgehammer to her existing structure now that she had new "building blocks." However, she says to not just smash all of it but to leverage the existing pedagogies and expert practices inside the new structure.

Building a Blueprint for the Future

To create a continuum for how we can use technology in the classroom, Jennie turned to the SAMR model. At the Substitution level, we can duct tape technology onto our existing structure. However, at the Redefinition level, new tasks that were previously inconceivable become possible. For example, two classes - one in Chicago and one in Denver - can use Skype to measure the boiling point of identical cups of water and then have a discussion about the differences in real time, connecting students from two completely different parts of the country at the same time.

Redefining Differentiation

The goal here is to hit students where they need to be met and provide them the content that they need, when they need it. Jennie used the flipped model to differentiate her instruction. She create individualized play lists of videos that were under 5 minutes. Students could then have a personal tutor to support their learning. By creating her own content, Jennie could meet her students' needs. Meanwhile, as students worked with technology, she could do hands-on kinesthetic learning with individual students. Her kids knew that they would get personal attention every day. This made her students even more motivated to come to class. Rather than calling it the "flipped classroom," Jennie refers to this as the "cloned teacher."

Redefining Assessment

The first example that Jennie shares is Google Forms. However, beyond just using conditional formatting to see what her students wrote, Jennie could use this as a quick litmus test to them automatically send out individualized video playlists to her students. By automating the "paperwork," she could focus more on her students. Beyond determining whether or not her students could respond, she could treat her students as individuals rather than test scores. She also leverages Google Forms as mood check-ins to start each day. Sometimes, students feel more comfortable behind a keyboard. While we talk about the power of students doing this for negative purposes (e.g. Cyber Bullying), why not use it in a positive manner to allow students to express their feelings and have a platform for describing concerns and celebrating success.

Redefining Collaboration

Too often in classrooms, we tell students to be quiet. Instead, Jennie says that we should let them express their voices in appropriate ways. The bigger question is how can we connect them in a positive manner to let them express their ideas and communicate/collaborate with others. However, what happens when you give kids with a platform and an authentic voice, there is a bigger challenge. During the strike in 2012, Jennie and her teachers tried to help the students understand that it wasn't about them but about getting a better environment for them. One of Jennie's students wrote a blog post during this time and Jennie tweeted it out. However, she didn't mention that the post was written by a 10 year old. In a few hours, it received over 29 comments from adults - which were responded to by a 5th grader.
Creating a Counter Narrative
Jennie tells the story of a 5th grade teacher - Linsey Rose (@teachMsRose) - who teaches on the South Side of Chicago. They collaborated to create a poem as a counter narrative to the news reports about shootings, drugs, and violence in that area. This was in response to their reading of The Absolutely Free Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The kids felt as though they essentially were living on a "rez." They published their poem in the Chicago Tribune - and what's really amazing is that Linsey is a math teacher. She took a break from the Common Core and her traditional curriculum to give her students a voice.

Redefining Learning through Exploration

For example, during the strike, Jennie realized that her students had no concept of money. She did a "price is right" game where the students explored the classroom and figured out the costs compared to their estimations. They were shocked at the costs of things. To further explore, Jennie had them do a Google Hangout with a school on the North Side. Rather than compare the costs of items, they were more shocked about the differences of the demographics of the classrooms. From there, rather than focus on the costs, Jennie had them start exploring neighborhoods and culture. They then decided to do something about it and apply for a grant to increase graduation rates which would increase earning potential which would help to improve the community. Though they didn't win, they gained a great amount of understanding and believed in the learning experience in and of itself. As a major output of this effort, the students realized that they could become creators. They wanted to MAKE things. Rather than thinking about what they are learning, they wanted to know what they could make. On top of making apps and products, they also started to create music videos so that they could share their creations with the world. As they started sharing their voices through Jennie's YouTube channel, they started to feel empowerment. A great side effect was that the teachers wanted to learn from the students. Rather than Jennie pushing tech use to teachers, the students started to. For example, Jennie showed a video of three 2nd graders provisioning 25 Nexus tablets in 3 minutes. Based on that, the teachers realize that they can learn the tools as well. Another great example is App Speed Dating where the student innovators teach the teachers how to use a particular app in a speed dating type scenario. Jennie also started talking about Speed Sharing sessions where the teachers all had an opportunity to share what they learned.

What is your Keynote?

"What is your message and what would you share?" asks Jennie. As a final thought, Jennie challenges all of us to go forward and take a message with us.