I’m super honored to be delivering a keynote with Karen Kirsch Page (@k2pglobal) and Kevin Baloyi (@Kevin_Baloyi) about our experience being part of the EdTech Summit Africa 2016 team. This was the fourth annual EdTech Summit Africa adventure organized by Karen Kirsch Page (who goes by K2) and her co-producer Mona Ewees (@EweesMona). It was a life-changing and amazing experience to travel around South Africa, Swaziland, and Ghana for 30 days with a group of volunteer teachers. In between days on the road or sightseeing, we led ten summits for educators where we offered participants a choice of workshops about integrating and learning with technology for themselves and their students. My particular workshop was about using GoogleSites to create an online teaching portfolio or class website.
Here is the link to listen to our recorded session about EdTech Summit Africa:
Here is a link to listen to all the recorded session from 2016 Global Education Conference (plus, archived sessions from previous years are available from this page too):
Here is the link to see the full line-up of the conference schedule in your own timezone:
Here is a link to the press release for the Global Education Conference (@GlobalEdCon) now in it’s 7th year!
Here’s more info from the Global Ed Conference 2016 site:
The Global Education Conference (GEC) is a collaborative and world-wide community convening designed to significantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting educators and programs. Our primary event seeks to present ideas, examples, and projects related to connecting educators and classrooms with a strong emphasis on promoting global awareness, fostering global competency, and inspiring action towards solving real-world problems. Through this conference and associated events, attendees will challenge themselves and others to become more active citizens of the world. Participants are encouraged to learn, question, create, and engage in meaningful, authentic opportunities within a global context!
The Global Education Conference welcomes participants from all over the world and encourages presentations in any language. Training is provided in the conference platform, Blackboard Collaborate, and presenters are encouraged to take ownership of the presentation process when scheduling and promoting their sessions. The purpose of this event is to elevate and empower presenters to share their knowledge with a global audience.
We have partnered this year with iEARN to host their annual conference and youth summit in tandem with the Global Education Conference. iEARN typically hosts their conference in various conferences, but for logistical reasons, they’ve held it online twice with the GEC.
Additionally, the Global Education Conference Network organizes three other events. See http://globaledevents.com for more details.
Here are the slides we’ll be using during our keynote presentation:
As part of EdTechSummit Africa 2016, I traveled around South Africa, Swaziland, and Ghana helping run 10 summits in 30 days for hundreds of teachers. My particular 90-minute workshop was on using Google Sites to build a professional portfolio. There were 11 other volunteer educators on the tour, and I had a chance to attend their classes, assist as needed, and learn from each of them. I particularly enjoyed observing participants respond to Anusheh Hashim‘s session, Brains, Bridges and Blunders: A Hands-on Workshop Connecting STEM and Inquiry (description pasted below):
While working with hands and materials in efforts to solve a problem or respond to a challenge, questions arise as a child’s curiosity beckons. As a desire to discover transforms into a need to understand, the teacher – a guide rather than a lecturer – helps children access resources to channel their wonder. Mistakes are made and persistence is developed. The class is immersed in an authentic learning experience and an academic culture in which learning is truly student driven. Participants in the workshop will spend time engineering an open-ended project with a group using few materials and receiving limited instruction. Afterwards, we will debrief and discuss how students’ work towards a goal drives their learning, how this work can connect to specific learning standards and applications of technology, and how working with a group benefits students’ social development.
So many of the teachers in Anusheh’s workshop were initially shocked and confused at her short directions to build a bridge with straws, paper clips, and three partners. They expected a long list of instructions which she simply didn’t provide. Traditionally, we are trained to follow recipes, and, without detailed steps, there is a chance we can do something wrong. I loved watching teachers learn to let go, create, prototype, and embrace the inquiry-based approach Anusheh introduced. Further, teachers later talked about how they could integrate inquiry into their own classrooms and lessons.
Anusheh opened my eyes to a deceptively simple classroom observation/documentation strategy. As groups began to engage in their activity to “build a bridge” with no other guiding principles, she’d walk amongst the tables, pausing to answer questions and amplify great ideas. She’d also make significant trips to the front of the room where she had two columns ready: I see and I hear. How easy and sensible! By transcribing key words and notable phrases at the front, Anusheh simultaneously demonstrated she was attuned to their work and aware of their progress without directly guiding them. I was telling a former colleague, Mary Jo Allegra (@sunporchstudio), about Anusheh’s I see/I hear technique, and Mary Jo was immediately inspired to do something similar and daily in her own art classroom this year. It occurred to me that Mary Jo could also assign a different student to be in charge of I see/I hear for each class. I think kids would love to have the opportunity to record I see/I hear statements as a rotating class “duty”…
I spent July traveling around South Africa, Swaziland, and Ghana with 11 other volunteer educators as part of EdTech Summit Africa 2016 (@edTechSummitsA). We led 10 summits in 30 days, and the ensuing road-trip was full of memories and experiences I hope to cherish for a while. Besides leading my own 90-minute workshop about using GoogleSites to curate a professional portfolio and gather curricular projects/materials, I assisted in the other volunteers’ workshops covering a variety of topics: Incorporating project based learning, using Multimedia resources, designing games in Scratch, creating inquiry-based lessons, and more.
I witnessed many great moments while observing the other presenters deliver their workshops, including two memorable icebreakers via Thandekile Ngema
(@tandingema) and Claudia Stanfield (@ClaudiaStany) described below:
- Tandi’s workshop about creating remedial lessons for language activities began with participants writing down on a small slip of paper a challenge that they struggle with when trying to meet the needs of their learners. These slips of paper are then rolled into a balloon, the balloon were inflated, and then everyone stood and formed a circle and tossed their balloons at each other for a fun and unexpected activity. When time was up, each participant had someone else’s balloon. The balloons were popped revealing the slip of paper with someone else’s struggle. At that point, participants put aside the slip of paper and had time to explore a variety of literacy apps installed on tablets provided by the Breteau Foundation. After about 20 minutes, each person in the room took a turn reading the challenge on the slip of paper in front of them launching a full discussion about how to solve that challenge (employing strategies newly available to them via the apps they’d just explored). An alternative might have been to immediately begin conversing about the slips of paper after popping the balloons, but Tandi timed it intentionally so teachers had time to explore the apps and consider how they may create remedial lessons with the apps. It was a very photogenic activity!
- Claudia began each of her workshops with two different beach balls. One ball had “serious pedagogical questions” written on each different section in permanent marker to launch discussions amongst participants, and the other ball had short cryptic messages like kids would send in text messages to save time. Claudia tossed one or both balls into the crowd, and when a teacher caught a ball, they had to read aloud whatever was written on the section where their finger was pointing. This elicited equally amount of discussion and laughter.
Besides the workshops above, I’m reposting below two things that caught my eye last week (for my own benefit as well as for any possible readers of this post):
- I was lucky enough to attend two Unprofessional Development workshops earlier this year led by the inimitable Christina Jenkins (@jenksbyjenks) and Emily Pilloton of Project H Design. Christina and Emily gathered and shared a”cookbook” of conversation starters, project ideas, topics to explore, and a slew of amazing icebreaker activities. Here’s a recent tweet @theUnPD shared about their speed-dating activity:
- I saw a timely post on LinkedIn from the super connected, collaborative, generous, brilliant, and ever helpful Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell) about back-to-school icebreakers for teachers. Shelly included a link to a post of her own great icebreakers, both analog and digital. Here’s one of the slideshows from the post:
Shelly also links to 16 Websites for Back to School Icebreakers via the American TESOL Institute. Heads up that the site is chock full of additional links to explore for icebreaker activities. A quick glance yielded the following gem from this blog:
During the new teachers’ workshop, one of my colleagues did something that I found really intersting: we drew our hands on a piece of paper and wrote five informations about ourselves inside the drawing. Then, the papers were mixed on the floor, and we had to get a hand that wasn’t ours and find the owner, by asking him about the informations written. It was really dynamic and it doesn’t put the student in the spotlight, which makes them more comfortable to speak.