Sunday, June 30, 2013

Change the World Through "Connected Learning"

By: Michelle Andron, Elementary Vice Principal at Emek Hebrew Academy

The new ISTE tagline is “Connected Learning,” and that’s definitely the vibe that I left the conference with. Connection is the key to changing the world. Connecting, as in sharing of ideas. Connecting, as in engagement. Connecting, as in building relationships. Connection leads to innovation and makes it possible for us to change the world. When the incredibly inspiring keynote speaker Adam Bellow talked about how his childhood dream of being Superman transitioned into his drive to change the world in a very real way, I think everyone in the room felt like unlocking the superman within. This was my first time at ISTE, thanks to the incredible generosity of the AVICHAI Foundation, and I made sure to cram in as much as I could. I attended several sessions, spotlight presentations, all the keynotes, spoke to countless vendors at the EXPO and participated in the nightly Avichai reflection discussions. An overly saturated sponge doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling I had post ISTE. So, as I continue to work on synthesizing everything I experienced in the four amazing days at ISTE I leave you with some thoughts, quotes, and reflections that inspired me to change the world.

  • Teaching starts with building relationships. Students only care what you know when they know you care.
  • “We need to do more listening and less talking.” -Alan November
  • With content literally at everyone’s fingertips the most important skill we should teach our students is how to ask questions.
  • “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ but I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why NOT?” - George Bernard Shaw
  • You must take risks in order to innovate. “Innovation is the intersection of fear and bravery.” - Adam Bellow
  • We need to embrace and celebrate failure! When playing video games, people fail 80% of the time but those failures force players to try new things, problem solve, and think critically. We need to encourage kids to take the risks, learn from failures and love the process.
  • Project Based Learning is really Passion Based Learning. Give up the locus of control and let students wonder, explore, and question things they are passionate about.
  • We need to give students more opportunities to collaborate, create and share with global audience. A global audience can be a tremendous motivator for disengaged students.

All of the above are important because we need to do a better job at GETTING OUR  STUDENTS ENGAGED! We need to take risks, innovate, and inspire our students and everyone around us to change the world!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Google Glass Potential in Jewish Education

How will Google Glass affect Jewish education? This is the blog post I recently published on The Jewish Week's "Jewish Techs" blog on that subject:

In 1982 when I was in first grade at Hillel Day School, a Jewish day school in Metropolitan Detroit, my father brought in our family’s Apple II computer for show-and-tell. There were no computers in the school at that time so it was a seminal technological moment for the school. I’m sure my father figured he would blow my classmates minds by showing them how to type a few lines of the LOGO programming language and get the turtle cursor to turn and move across the screen. However, my peers didn’t have any mind-blowing experiences that day -- it was only the beginning of what our generation would come to expect from computers and technology.

Fast forward to 2013 when, earlier this week, I was a guest speaker in my son’s third grade classroom at the same Jewish day school. Speaking on the subject of technology and Jewish education, I became nostalgic and told the students how when I was their age we would save one word processing document on a floppy disc. I then took a USB flash drive out of my pocket to explain Moore’s Law -- the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. They weren’t impressed. These young people have become accustomed to better, smaller, faster technology being rolled out every few months. They see their parents turning in their smartphones for better ones and downloading new versions of operating systems. They know that the graphics on the next generation of video game consoles in their basements will be more realistic than the ones before.

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Rabbi Jason Miller is an entrepreneurial rabbi. He's a "Rabbi Without Borders" who is connected to thousands through Facebook, Twitter, and his popular blog. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiJason.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

First time at ISTE!!!

First time at ISTE can be a unique experience. This year taking place in San Antonio Texas, beautiful city (loved the river walk)
When I first arrived to the convention center I was amazed by the large space. I used a map to navigate through the big campus. There are so many educators here from all over the world, so many presenters, vendors, and it is all about technology and education what can be better than this?!
My fist day here went by so fast. I went from one session to another. Since I learned many things in just one day, I was glad I took notes.  
I have learned that is very important to choose the right speaker. At times, the session was just what I wanted and at times, it was not so relevant.  At time, it was very hands on and at times, it was more about seeing the big picture.   
As my school, Epstein school, is always looking to expend the media and technology resources available to student, the exhibit hall was very good source! I found opportunities to communicate and network with a variety of vendors for my school.
This is a GREAT opportunity to learn and collaborate!  
 Avi Chai group was a great support and the discussion at the end of each day were highly effective . At these discussions I had the opportunity to collaborate with other Jewish educators and discuss applying what we learned to teaching Judaic and Hebrew.
Right now it is the last day of the conference. I just heard am amazing presentation of my favorite presenter Leslie Fisher. I am so glad to have such productive conference and supportive group members.
I have learned many new things like: new apps, new web tools, collaborative tools, project based learning strategies, mobile use in class and much more.
Thank you so much, Avi Chai, for making this a great experience.
Next step is to process all the information I learned here....

Tali  Ben-Senior
Instructional Technology Specialist
The Epstein School
Atlanta, GA