February is a time for continuing to work on all of the projects that we began earlier in the year, but it is also when we start thinking about end-of-year, summer, and next year. Many of us are involved in recruiting, and it has been helpful to the community to share posts of available positions on iSkoodle and other shared forums.
This month, Committee member Paula Marra from United Nations International School shares her experience with Google Glass and how it has impacted the learning environment in her classroom. This post is also packed with a number of professional learning opportunities throughout Europe and beyond.
We are also excited to share that we are updating the name of our ECIS Interest Group. We are now the Technology, Innovation, and Design Interest Group, and we hope that our new name more accurately reflects all of the areas that we work in at our schools.
Please remember that your input is valuable to the entire ECIS ICT community. If you are interested in contributing an article, or have ideas, resources, links, or information about upcoming professional development opportunities that you would like to share, please send them to me at email@example.com a week before the first day of the month and I will be sure to highlight them in the next edition of the blog.
On behalf of the ECIS Technology/Innovation/Design Interest Group.
Using Google Glass in the Classroom
United Nations International School
JA teacher & ECIS Technology, Innovation, and Design Committee Member
*With thanks to Finbar Sheehy, my editor!
I teach kindergarten at the United Nations International School (UNIS). I love teaching kindergarten: not only do I enjoy the rewards of being with children when they first learn to read and write, but I feel that kindergarten teachers are uniquely positioned to help them develop a positive, constructive relationship with schoolwork, learning, and their peers. The best time to teach self-confidence and resilience, I believe, is early!
I have often experimented with technology in the classroom. I’m not a technology expert, and that’s okay: I do test runs at home, and when things do go wrong the children see that I am learning too, and I make mistakes too, and it’s okay!
In the last few years, I have used a variety of technologies: some have lasted, some have not; and some have been more sophisticated than others! I used a small remote-controlled helicopter to show them that there are things their teacher is just starting to learn too, like they are starting to learn to write (in fact, some of them became better helicopter pilots than their teacher!); I have used Google Translate to introduce them to other languages (particularly relevant at UNIS!); I have used iPad apps to let the children practice writing skills on their own; with Apple eBooks the children have converted their stories and drawings into bilingual books they can share with each other; we have used simple circuits to illuminate a cardboard city we build in the classroom; and I have used digital video recording, both with the children and to record the children’s activities.
I have found that videoing the children while they work can be useful to document their progress. Young children, especially, make progress quite rapidly, but even so, from day to day it’s easy to forget how much they have learned over the course of their first year in school. By making video clips of them reading, for example, and photographs of their handwriting, I can create a digital portfolio of each child’s progress for the school’s records, for the children’s parents (they really appreciate this), and for the children themselves – it’s a real confidence booster for them, to see how much they have accomplished since the start of the year.
One problem is that, often, what I’d really want to capture would be spontaneous conversations between the children as they made discoveries and breakthroughs, often in small groups – discovering, for example, that you can make a bigger cube out of 8 small cubes, and to make the next-bigger size you need 27 small cubes (so many!..) Of course, the children can’t help noticing when I take point a phone at them and start fiddling with the camera controls – and they become self-conscious, posing for the camera, making faces, and generally doing almost anything but whatever it was I wanted to capture.
And that’s where Google Glass came in. I got my hands on a Google Glass (naturally, in playful tangerine!) and started wearing it in the classroom all the time. At first I tried telling the children that their teacher had a new pair of glasses, but pretty quickly I broke down and showed them what it did. They were fascinated and very much aware that I was wearing the new glasses, but only for a few days – and then of course they forgot about the whole thing, which meant I could take photographs and videos using the Google Glass camera, without disrupting whatever it was the kids were doing.
To take a photo, for example, I can just say “OK Glass, take photo”, and it does. Video works much the same way. I don’t do this, of course, because it would make the kids self-conscious. Instead, I touch the right temple of the glasses, which brings up a menu I can see through the eyepiece. By running my finger back and forth on the temple, I can select the appropriate menu item (photo/video) and then when I tap the temple the camera either takes a photo or starts shooting video. By default, the video will record for only 10 seconds, although I can make it go for longer. Although I do have to fiddle with the temple of my glasses, the kids don’t seem to notice.
The photo/video automatically uploads to my Google account, and I can share it from my computer later, or edit it into the children’t digital portfolio. If I wish, I can also review the video and share it directly on the Google Glass, but I don’t usually do this because the tap-the-temple interface isn’t the easiest to use for more complex tasks like that.
Google Glass does do other things: for example, I can send text messages with it, by dictating the message aloud. I can also make a phone call with it! It can understand voice commands, so it can search the internet, get directions, make entries on my calendar, and show me my Google Now cards (if you have an Android phone, you know what these are – information that Google thinks I’ll need, based on my commuting history, past searches, and what’s in my calendar). Google Glass displays search results and the Google Now information on a tiny screen, at the top left corner of my right eye. The screen is set up so that, from my point of view, it looks like the information is floating out in front of me, up and to the right – it isn’t blocking my normal view, but I can see it if I look at it – it’s a bit like there’s a large-screen TV up on the wall, on the other side of whatever room I’m in. It can access the internet through the wireless network at school or at home, and it can also connect through my Android phone when I am not in a place with a wireless network.
When I first got Glass, I thought I would use all its functions, but I really haven’t found myself using its other functions, or, really, the viewing screen all that much. When I’m at school or at home, I have a computer on my desk, which has a much easier-to-use interface: voice recognition is nice, but a keyboard is more accurate and more discreet! And, when I don’t have a computer handy, my phone is easier to use and has more functions than Google Glass, for most things – except making video recordings and photographs discretely!
I can imagine that other people may find all sorts of specialized applications for the viewing capability: technicians may be able to read manuals while they are looking at what they are doing; doctors may be able to read medical records or look up reference books while talking to patients; that sort of thing. In each case, I’m guessing, it will turn out that Glass has some special function that makes it valuable, and the other functions will rarely be used, and I can understand why it has not caught on for everyday use.
I don’t wear the Google Glass outside the classroom: for one thing, it’s expensive, and I worry someone would snatch it in the street!
For me, the bottom line has been that I find Glass very convenient in the classroom, for building the children’s digital portfolios, documenting their learning in a way that does not disrupt their activities or distract them from what they are doing. I don’t use its other functions much but, for doing what I wanted, it’s been great!
ECIS ICT Subject Conference – March 2015
Registration is now online for the ECIS ICT Subject Conference at the Bavarian International School (BIS)! The main conference will take place on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2015. An optional pre-conference will be held on Friday, March 20. Full information is available online at the following link: ECIS Technology Conference 2015: Bavarian International School.
COETAIL Online Cohort starting February 2, 2015
The fourth fully online COETAIL Cohort starting February 2nd, 2015. The COETAIL program was created and is taught by Educators for Educators. The only program of its kind that focuses on being practical, challenging and engaging while helping teachers integrate the technology they have to its fullest. Please visit the coetail.com home page to have a look at what over 600 educators are currently talking and learning about.
Swiss Schools Cloud Camp featuring Google for Education and Appsevents
The Cloud Camp will take place here at the Inter Community School Zurich campus on Saturday February 7, 2015 from 8:00 to 4:30 p.m. This one day events with three strands; Google Apps for Education for Beginners, Intermediate/Advanced, and Google Apps for Education Certified Admin course. For full program details, speakers, schedule and registration please refer to this link.
The New Learning Experience with Jeff Utecht at Frankfurt International School
19-20 February, 2015 • FIS • Oberursel, Germany
This two-day workshop will look at our changing global society, changing universities, and how teachers can take advantage of the wealth of knowledge in their classrooms.
For complete details on the workshop including a schedule, click here.
First Central European Cloud Camp
The First Central European Cloud Camp will take place in Vienna, Austria on February 27th, 2015 at the Vienna International School. This is a great professional development opportunity for all educators working with Google Apps For Education technologies and a chance to meet and network with fellow teachers in various regions of Europe. Additional information and registration details can be found here.
Mediterranean Center for Innovation in Education
The Mediterranean Center for Innovation in Education has open registrations for a variety of upcoming events:
- Join us for one of our upcoming Google Summits! Registration is still open for both the Tunis Summit (February 13-14, 2015) and the Genoa Summit (April 25-26, 2015) — at both events we will have a team of Google certified trainers leading beginning, intermediate and advanced strands dealing with many different aspects of using Google Apps for Education.
- Interested in becoming a certified Google Educator? Enroll in one of our face-to-face or online Google Educator Certification Workshops to master the skills, concepts and process of becoming a certified Google Educator and, if desired, a fully-fledged Google Education Trainer. Our next face-to-face certification workshop is scheduled for Barcelona, Spain (February 23-25) and additional sessions in April, May and June will be announced soon. Our next online cohort will commence Monday, April 6th, for a duration of ten weeks. Registration for online and face-to-face cohorts includes all five required exams for achieving the Google Educator qualification. For additional information about these workshops and registration information, visit http://www.medcie.org/
- If attending a workshop in person is not convenient, consider joining one of our online courses. Registration is open for three online courses, all beginning April 6, 2015:Facilitating Learning with Google Classroom (3 weeks)
Google Apps for School Administrators and Leaders (6 weeks)
Google Educator Certification Cohort (10 weeks)Learn more and register at http:/www.medcie.org/online
- Designing Learning for the Blended Classroom — One of our featured Institutes in our spring session, to be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia from March 10-11, 2015, focuses on designing learning for the blended classroom. Over the two-day institute participants will deeply explore strategies and tools for designing and implementing blended learning curriculum, integrating concepts of visible thinking, gamification and design thinking, and empowering students to take ownership of their own learning pathways in a blended learning environment. To learn more about this opportunity as well as others on offer in our Spring Institutes, visit http://www.medcie.org/
- Start planning for summer! Our Summer Institutes are open for Early-Bird registration. Join us for one of our sixteen different two-day, intensive institutes on a variety of engaging topics — led by dynamic, expert facilitators and set in the fantastic beach-side setting of Marbella, Spain. Additional information and registration available at http://www.medcie.org/summer.
2015 FNO Paris Mini Conference: Making Laptop Writing and Thinking Powerful and Persuasive
How can schools make sure laptops actually contribute to student performance? Join Jamie McKenzie for two days of nitty-gritty, practical strategies to optimize your school’s return on investment in terms of student learning. More details are available online here: http://fno.org/paris2015.html
Flat Connections Updates
- Global collaborative projects using innovative pedagogy for K-12 – starting soon
- Teacher professional development for connected and collaborative learning – short and long online courses
- Flat Connections Live! Canada – a conference with a difference – April 30-May 2
Graded School (São Paulo, Brazil) is hosting the Innovate 2015 Conference on March 4-7, 2015. The Innovate 2015 conference marks Graded School’s commitment to re-imagine the school that best serves and inspires students for tomorrow. Join innovators from across the globe to engage in dialogue designed to ignite new ideas and build the foundation for change our students deserve. For more information, visit the Innovate 2015 website at https://www.graded.br/page.cfm?p=7085.
EdtechIST- International Educational Technology Conference – 18-19 April, 2015
Edtechist is a two day event in Istanbul, Turkey, where some important educational technology leaders will deliver masterclasses one day prior to the conference and hold half day sessions during the conference.
The topics are: iPad in Education, 21st Century Teaching & Learning, BYOD /1:1 Programs, Leadership, Creativity & Innovation, Professional Development, Maker Movement & Design Thinking, Online Learning, Technology Infrastructure, Digital Citizenship, Digital Storytelling, Gamification.
Attend half-day workshops by the renowned experts in educational technology. Alan November, Gary Stager, Connie White, Suzie Boss, Bernajean Porter, Greg Hodgson, Mario Fishery, Rory Newcombe, Sharon Brown Peters, Suzie Boss and more to be added. http://www.edtechist.com/speakers/
Call for presentations is now open! If you are interested in presenting a session, please fill out the form until February 14th. Early bird registration deadline is March 6th. We invite you to our amazing city and one of the best Educational Technology Conference experiences ever organised. If you have any questions, please let us know. Hope to see you in April!
International School of Amsterdam Professional Development Opportunities
Friday May 1 – the first-ever European Veracross Users Group meeting. If your school is using Veracross, come gather with your counterparts from other schools around the world to share ideas and learn together. It’s not just for tech folks – bring people from your admissions, athletics, or registrar’s offices. The fee will be low to encourage large teams to attend together. More details coming soon.
Saturday / Sunday May 2-3 – AppsEvents Netherlands Google Apps Summit at ISA. Hands-on workshops to learn more about the ever-changing world of Google Apps for Education. Early-bird registration fee of 249 Euro is available until April 2. Submit a session – if you are chosen to present, your registration fee is waived! Special sessions are planned on ways to integrate Veracross and Google Apps, as well as sessions tailored to office staff and other non-teachers, making this an excellent learning opportunity for more than just your school’s teaching faculty. Learn more at http://www.nlsummit.org/
Also coming in late May (dates and schedule to be announced later this week) the ISA iPad Sharing Summit. Come visit ISA on a Friday during school and observe our 1:1 iPad program in action. Then on Saturday, attend hands-on workshops and sharing sessions to learn more about apps, workflows, and more. There will be sessions for everyone from the tech support staff to classroom teachers and assistants. If your school is thinking about expanding your use of iPads, you’ll get your questions answered, connect with other teachers, and ensure success of your school’s iPad program. Registration fees will be low to encourage schools to send large teams.
Project Zero Atlanta
CASIE and Atlanta International School are hosting Project Zero Atlanta, May 10 – 15, 2015. With an over-arching theme of Think-Create-Innovate, the Atlanta conference will invite educators to reflect deeply on ways to build and sustain engaging, enriching and rigorous learning opportunities; to encourage problem-finding and problem-solving; and to develop the disposition to act to make the world a better place. See the following link for more details: http://www.casieonline.org/events/pz/atl.