Tag Archives: Department of Education

Brief notes and tweets from the #NYCschoolsTech Summit this week. #edchat

I attended the School Technology Summit hosted by the NYC Department of Education this week. I love opportunities to gather with educators and learn about great ideas and “best practices in educational technology.” @JanePook introduced the event with a clip from Back to the Future Part Two, where the gang is traveling from 1985 into the distant future of October 21, 2015.

Chancellor Carmen Fariña made an appearance much to the delight of the large crowd of almost 2000 teachers and administrators. She implored teachers to be the leaders in their schools and share with their students their joy in learning. She spoke about how she considers herself a digital immigrant but is always trying to learn, be it 3D printing or programming in Scratch. She talked about how she believes the Maker Movement will change schools and that, as always, she is looking towards funding schools appropriately to keep them current and wifi-enabled.

The keynote for the event was Dale Dougherty @dalepd, founder of @Make Magazine and co-creator of @MakerFaire. Dale further drove home the importance of STEM, STEAM, and the Maker Movement. He talked about how Make Magazine is the modern day Popular Mechanics, and his purpose in creating it was to offer How-To guides so technology can be as open & accessible as cooking. Dale also suggested that he thinks there is a real possibility of some sort of Tactile Deficit Syndrome that may one day be diagnosed in children if they only touch glass screens. Dale shared his New Rules of Making: 1. Open over Proprietary 2. Individual over Institution 3. Collaborative over Competitive 4. Practice over Theory. He also shared links to the MakerEd.org website and the Makerspace Playbook. Finally, Dale promised a backstage tour of the Maker Faire for teachers. Fingers crossed that happens!

I attended a panel organized by Lisa Neilsen (@InnovativeEdu) and moderated by Tali Horowitz of @CommonSense Media entitled, “So You Lifted the Cell Phone Ban, Now What?” Teachers and principals talked about their experiences in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and/or One to One (One device per student or “1:1”) environments. Lisa shared a great document with tons of resources: http://tinyurl.com/STS15-Panel-They-Lifted

I also attended a session called, “Wonders of the NYC Tech World” where 6 school tech teachers and leaders shared their routines, projects, students, successes, and challenges. Links to their slide presentations are here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oV1_vn1cY-aZAWlufKS_aa-Z6g8co5SsFtFFpIE7ySM/htmlview

Manhattan Borough President, @GaleABrewer, was present for the final ceremony where she handed out awards for Excellence in School Technology. So many public school teachers were recognized for their achievements, but only @AharonSchultz pulled out a selfie stick and took a photo with Gale on stage!

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Incomplete notes after visiting Quest To Learn today…

Quest To Learn (http://q2l.org) is a joint venture between the Department of Education, The Gates Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation Institute of Play.

150 kids, 1:1 laptops stored in 6 laptop carts (combination Macbook and netbooks). Mostly cloud based usage via servers and Google Apps. Machines are numbered, so more often than not, kids use the same computer.

The NYC Board of Ed requires filtering, so there are two networks in use; There are only two points of access to the unfiltered network though.

There are 5 curricular Domains at Q2L that integrate multiple disciplines:
The Way Things Work
Being, Space, and Place
Sports for the Mind
Wellness
Codeworlds

Quest To Learn Core Values:
1. All ideas are improvable
2. Diversity creates balance
3. Win and lose with grace
4. Respect all things
5. Collaboration matters
6. Get in the game: Play fair, play fully
7. Experiment and imagine possibilities
8. Nobody walks by
9. Be tenacious
10. Lead by example

Down the hallway is a working Game Design Studio staffed with 4.5 designers. They have an open door policy, so students can walk by, pop in, and see the process unfold. Those games are then used in the classrooms to solve quests or missions. All topics of study are treated as a mission or game.

Q2L is in its second year. Last year they were just 6th grade on East 23rd Street. This year is 6th and 7th grades on the 4th floor of an existing public school on West 18th Street. They share a cafeteria, a boys gym, and a girls gym with the older/bigger/tougher kids on te 6th floor of the building. The 7th floor is a vast, gorgeously lit space that will eventually be Q2L’s high school. Today, I saw a couple of kids playing soccer in one alcove, and as per every floor, there was a hall monitor present.

More information in the Village Voice article here: http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-04-06/news/game-theory/

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