Sessions and Hands-On Interactive
Topic Summary List
* Sample agendas provided upon request!
Descriptions for Topics
What are we pretending not to know? Even knowing that the future aches for a new kind of learner, thinker, and problem-solver, all the dollars and time spent on techno gadgets still have changed little more than pockets of classrooms for kids. We need to seek higher ground for our visions and our results. Each generation of young people becomes an investment in the only future we will have - how can we escalate the reshaping of learning NOW!
Educators are being bombarded by messages of changing needs of learners along with expectations to increase student results and accountability. Having only one chance with each child to prepare them for a world none of us can possibly predict – it is time to think of these forces as possibilities NOT compliance. For anything that matters the timing is never quite right, the resources always a little short, and the people less ready than needed to shift gears. Starting with YES affirms commitment and participation in something worthy even when we do not have the mastery or methodology to know HOW to get to where we want to go. It is time for collective invention towards what works using data to guide our way NOT searching for recipe cards. If you have the word ‘yes” written in your heart, you can make almost anything happen! Starting today, our choices make all our students’ chances. Are you ready?
The fast pace of change is disturbing to many people. But it has become a pervasive aspect of our lives and almost a necessity for economic survival. Enjoy a whimsical look at simple but effective strategies to build personal and professional “change hardiness” in dealing with technology’s new expectations in schools. It is possible for EVERYONE to buy into change and thrive.
Technology accelerates something! What is the SOMETHING being targeted in your schools? It takes more than purchase orders like 1:1 initiatives to delivery specific results for ALL students? Enjoy a whimsical look at simple but effective strategies that focus technology’s possibilities towards shifting schools into extra H.O.T. 21st Century practices that will power up your students' future today.
Determining technology uses in classrooms has caught educators in a profound belief gap between being used to support classroom practices as we have always known them or being used as a robust catalyst to accelerate new cultures of learning that will serve the highest interest of our students’ capacity to step successfully into a global economy. The BIG question is not whether students are learning, practicing or using technology but to probe deeper: Are these resources organized to deliver high-yielding visible, added-value, worth-the-money and time RESULTS for all students! Many school goals for technology resources are couched in terms such as “enriching or enhancing curriculum,” “creating lifelong learners,” “supporting state standards,” or “integrating technology throughout the curriculum.” Though these sound like worthy goals, when it comes to implementing and evaluating these outcomes, we are actually left with counting the ITs (Instructional technology) activities not specific practices, skills or understandings—student results if they did use IT! Participants will practice three categories of technology uses that shape goals, staff development, curriculum, and focus student achievement on results school-wide.
Building and communicating understanding isn’t improved by using the infamous bells and whistle features in products like PowerPoint but by structuring our lessons to engage students in rigorous thinking that builds deeper understanding of core curriculum concepts. Participants will experience the journey of moving students from plagiarism and factually driven presentations that regurgitate information to communicating powerfully about new understandings as meaning makers and media makers.
Using blink-like observations, school leaders learn how to observe, code, and record “cognitive” snapshots of technology uses onto hand-held devices. These snapshots create a “mosaic-like” pattern of strengths and weakness of instructional practices and learning values that forms the school’s pedagogical culture. The data validates or redirects the use of technology resources in supporting school-wide goals. Participating in the process along with reflecting on the findings ensures new initiatives are rolled out with more success; existing curriculum and pedagogy is refined and revised; staff development goals are targeted; and a continuous dialogue is sustained on expectations for technology resources to directly support student results.
Perspective and examples will be customized for students OR educators – your choice!
Print and T.V. is so-o-o last century! How often are you blogging, You Tube-ing, chatting online, Flickr-ing, IM-ing, VoiceThreading, webbing or authoring wikis? Can you send images, voice or video from your phone to email, blogs, websites, or other phones? New things are scary - we are unsure whether to embrace it or put up emergency defenses. An explosion of social networking (SN) tasks are now so deeply embedded in the lifestyles of tweens and teens that it rivals television for their attention. Seventy-one percent say they use social networking tools at least weekly. Who are these students and what are they really doing? Do we really need to urgently lock down all uses to protect students? Or can educators engage SN tools as powerful learning tools that accelerate community, collaboration and communication? Participants will be introduced to research, vocabulary, curriculum (OR professional) uses of SN tools in schools, policy initiatives, and navigating safety for everyone!
Consider creating a cost-effective, innovative and fearlessly engaging opportunity for real-time meetings, collaboration tasks and participation in rigorous coursework using 3-D immersive worlds with educators. Unlike most online text-heavy courses, immersive worlds are sensory-rich learning landscapes providing both synchronous learning (interactive and real-time) as well on-your-own asynchronous learning (any time any where). 3D virtual environments are also being found to increase participation and improve content retention. How can virtual worlds be a viable teaching and learning environment for adults? Participants will explore new horizons that let educators and administrators leverage their own benefits of learning in a virtual world as well as preparing them to assist students using today’s educational frontiers.
Are virtual worlds a viable teaching and learning environment? How do you ensure that the new spaces in Second Life are used for innovative practices that establish new learning cultures rather than decorating the status quo? Second Life can increase the speed of creating learning spaces where you and your students can break out-of-the-box called school to foster creativity and experiences that would be prohibitively expensive or difficult in real life. Collect experiences, tools, ideas and strategies that will warp the past traditional online learning into mind-twizzling successes with students.
Participants will use graphic organizers called “Turning UP the H.E.A.T.” (Higher Order Thinking - Engaged Learning - Authentic Tasks and added-value Technology Uses) These strategies are guaranteed to elevate good ideas when using technology into GREAT ones. Become wizards at organizing and coaching content-based, student digital products that grab attention, mesmerize audiences with engagingly, rigorous content and impacts others long after. Building and communicating understanding isn’t improved by using the fancy, infamous bells and whistle features in tools like PowerPoint. It is the artful structuring of our lesson tasks to engage students in rigorous thinking that builds deeper understanding of core curriculum concepts. Participants will experience the journey of moving students from plagiarism and factually driven products that regurgitate information to communicating powerfully about new understandings. Going from data to understanding is not something that can be memorized – it needs to be rehearsed regularly with rigorous inquiry tasks, authentic audiences, collaborative problem-solving tools, inventive thinking, and effective digital arts communication skills. Come play a modern day “Extreme MakeOver" game with kids as the winners!
Boredom for kids (and maybe adults) in our schools has reached pademic proportions. Participants will take away strategies for cheerleading joyful AND twenty-first century fearless learners. By posing rich questions, nurturing curiosity with meaningful complex tasks, student-centered inquiry tasks rehearses the mastery of BOTH basic skills and higher-order thinking strategies thereby altering the neural networks of learners. Challenging tasks are better for brains than easy ones. Interaction is better than isolation. Enriched and challenging environments produce more neural connections, while boring and sterile ones which cause these connections to whither and die. (Diamond & Hobson, 1998) IQ Scores can be increased with lasting effects with mental stimulation tasks. Not only better dendrites but NEW cells – human neurogenesis is possible! (Erickson et al 1998)
The day of the written word as the sole communication style is long gone as students use a variety of media to express their deep understanding of topics across the curriculum. Like assessing student writing, using student digital products is a natural vehicle for measuring a student's ability to communicate what was learned in effective ways that benefit others as well. So many initiatives begin with teaching technology skills with an assumption that the art of designing value-added lessons for higher order thinking and communication will naturally follow. Using the lens of student work focuses teachers on reflecting and developing rigorous content tasks FIRST while developing skills in using research-based assessment tools for scoring digital products. Experience data-driven, rigorous results for large grants or other school initiatives when student digital products are used as tangible artifacts and evidence of successes. These digital products provide a wealth of instructional evidence documenting individual learning skills as well as developing a system analysis of the impact of technology on student achievement, organizing staff development and accelerating school-wide goals.
There is increasing urgency today to develop communication skills that translate raw information into valuable knowledge for ourselves as well as others. Using dynamic multi-media tools that enable new forms of communication beyond words are calling for new literacies. The new communication is less about mastering technical skills than about being able to design information by artfully using sound, images, transitions and special effects in ways that dance ideas together into illuminated understandings.
Become wizards at organizing and coaching content-based, student podcasts that grab attention, mesmerize audiences with engagingly H.O.T. content, and then make them very, very sorry that it ended. Participants will experience designing rigorous content and hands-on practicing high-performance voice recordings with sound and image mixing. Assessment tools for student work provided.
Take a fun-packed walk through the land of comics and graphic novels as learning tools! Discover how they communicate in-depth understandings across content areas for all ages through the artful use of text and images. Participants will experience designing rigorous, standards-based tasks and exploring hands-on use of Comic Life software. Assessment tools for student work provided.
Prepare to know the difference! Creative invention develops short stories, expressing just the facts provides for summary reports while the creative arranging of actual facts, authentic images, interviews, art and music of the times along with other archival media elements develops documentaries and docudramas. While documentaries and docudramas are certainly different types of communication, they are still both considered to come from in-depth, non-fictional research expressing life, events, or issues NOT imagination. Participants will explore the art of designing learning tasks across-the- curriculum, organizing the tools and processes along with coaching student mastery of these two dynamic types of communication. Assessment tools for student work provided.
Gather round the campfires as the ancient art of storytelling is being revived into an emerging communication mode called digital storytelling! Stories are as old as humans and more important than ever for our minds, spirits and human progress. Telling stories together about things that really matter has an extraordinary effect on people even more so when their digital storytelling is distributed quite literally to a world community through the World Wide Web. What an experience to guide a new generation into becoming 21st Century StoryKeepers™ knowing their personal narratives will endure for others long after the fires die down! By telling thoughtful stories, we clarify our own thinking, experiences and understandings in order to share it with others. Digital Storytelling has become a vehicle for mastering multiple 21st century skills considered essential for the modern workplace. Participants will be introduced to the joy, processes, elements of good storytelling, and technical tools, along with viewing memorable examples from kids of all ages creating digital storytelling of bringing together voice, graphics, animation, and sound in artful ways.
The more people are buried in the mind-numbing avalanche of today’s information, the greater the importance of stories in making sense of the endless pieces of data. It is the act of telling our personal story of what we know and understand from an event or topic that provides a "sense-making" process enabling our brains to organize a myriad of factoids while also increasing “sticking power.” Designing and communicating information across the curriculum requires students to deepen their understanding of content while increasing visual, sound, oral language, creativity and thinking skills. It also provides a highly engaging mode of communication for nourishing the spirits and giving voice to our young people as they dance images, sound, music, transitions and special effects into illuminated understandings. Participants will explore student examples and ideas across the curriculum.
Celebrate the obvious - teachers make THE difference! The power of our work as educators is much greater than numbers. Digital stories combining images, sound, music and voiceovers into 3-5 minute movies are able to compliment quantitative data by conveying the emotional, inspiring and qualitative value of experience while also honoring personal experiences that share understandings and lessons learned as inspiration for others. Each digital story showcases personal lessons learned through grants, initiatives and special projects; enables participants to reflect on their experiences and successes; enriches understandings for personal portfolios; or adds compelling human experience to text/numeric evaluations or research projects. These digital stories not only document project impact for communities but also become a vehicle for teachers to master multiple 21st century skills and understandings needed to coach their own students in creating exemplar communication products.
These seminars can be presented as session topics or delivered as multi-day leadership training to empower leaders to deepen their impact power through effective, innovative group engagement.
Now that you've documented technology uses delivering learning results, what strategies and structures will you need to roll out these pockets of change for ALL kids? Enjoy an energetic discussion of pitfalls, strategies and successes in expanding the seeds of success from pilots and research-based programs into pervasive practices for ALL students.
Distance learning is quickly moving into virtual classroom spaces. Scores of colleges and universities (Ohio State, Pepperdine, Harvard, and Vassar) have set up campuses where students participate in real-time MUVES like Second Life immersing learners in rigorous content experiences. Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE) offer 3D visually rich sensory experiences. Avatars (virtual personas) have sophisticated control of their learning as they engage in tasks using live voice (language translation devices possible), chat rooms, web links, visual exhibits, simulations, live video and sound streaming, or “teleporting” to other landmarks within the MUVE. Avatars are able to hold their own “after-class” chats about assignments while their avatars practice dance moves at the island tiki bar, pirate ship or while flying on a magic carpet watching the solar system move around them. The groups can “teleport” anytime to authentic museums, libraries, re-enacted historical eras, or simulation experiences like NOAA’s hurricane simulators. These virtual spaces are becoming viable learning environments for whole-school staff development capable of joining other educators from across the world. MUVEs are now able to create a realism- sense of being there - that blurs the differences from face-to-face learning with many added advantages. Learners are experiencing building collaborative learning communities from anywhere anytime access. Participants will be introduced to the vocabulary of “inworlds,” guided experiences with examples, and easy, get-started resources.
Being human is a great adventure with neuroscience and new studies revealing the many mysteries essential in growing key cognitive and emotional attributes. While IQ may establish the cognitive capacity, nourishing the inner attributes of our students is now being documented as possessing the real power for unlocking the learner’s brain and personal successes. Explore creating a positive and heartful climate in classrooms that sustain dramatic results for our kids and adults.
Engaging large groups of stakeholders increases the implement success of initiatives for ALL students. Expand strategies and techniques for engaging and empowering communities, special interest teams, and school-wide groups in ways that increase urgency, zest, and commitment. Getting everyone into the Land of New Possibilities engages strategic and playful conniving so EVERYONE arrives!
Moving groups into new territory requires a combination of powerful dreams, collaborative leadership and group strategies along with exquisite coaching skills to activate the fuel needed to make IT real. Learning Forward creates a culture of commitment of moving towards best hopes and vision for excellence even when we don’t know how – it develops an attitude of no-is-the-wrong-answer. Effectively engaging and empowering groups increases everyone’s ability to deeply and pervasively implement the possibilities of technology use for student results. Research shows collaborative communities enable increased multi-tasking, less stress, more creative solutions with deeper and more pervasive implementation successes. Participants will learn facilitating dialogue, reflective practices, team building, conflict resolution, creative decision-making, dealing with difficult people, building on diversity and building strong collaborative environments for everyone!
Bernajean Porter provides a spectrum of practical tools and services to scale and sustain technology’s potential culled from 35 years of national and international experience. Her work reflects a belief that technology can accelerate all students in rediscovering their joy and personal success as learners. Bernajean’s philosophy of work uses cutting edge organizational processes for building local capacity to translate the power of technology’s potential into actual classroom practices for ALL students. Her enthusiasm and vivacious presentations create an energetic climate for all learners. When it comes to doing the hard or impossible things now necessary in schools to ensure students having out-of-this-world possibilities, Bernajean’s personal motto of “Da Um Jeitinho”- there is ALWAYS a way – sets the tone for her dedicated long, term work with national and international educators.
She is author of Grappling with Accountability 2002:MAPPing Tools for Organizing and Assessing Technology for Student Results; Evaluating Digital Products: Training and Resource Tools for Using Student Scoring Guides; Nutz and Boltz of Engaging and Empowering Large Groups; and DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories.
She has been on presidential advisory boards, worked as a state department of education technology consultant, consulted with numerous American International Schools and Department of Defense Schools; recognized by ISTE as Consultant of the Year, directed state-wide initiatives, and participated in multiple technology literacy challenge grant (TLCG + EETT) project trainings/assessments. Bernajean’s work uses the application of systems thinking, chaos theory and her love of kids to deal with the challenges of change and re-culturing efforts in education today. Bernajean’s workshops are invigorating, fun and packed with get-started ideas!
Bernajean Porter AKA writer, speech and debate coach, inventor, auntie, teacher of possibilities, media maker, futurist, master of survival techniques when working with adolescents, professional speaker, technology consultant, teacher of teachers, long-term technology user, promoter of anything that increases joy, spirit and outrageous possibilities in all aspects of life for kids and adults and now. . . a digital storytelling guide. Likes: Watching stars, designing group events, mountain living, learning anytime anywhere, moon glows, adventure travel, can-do attitudes, mangoes, magic, building community spirit, lilacs, ATVing mountain trails, a good story and living life juicy! Dislikes: Rules of all kinds. Loose ends. Stale strawberry licorice. People insisting on having their negative and limiting beliefs. Letting worst fears rule the day. Having narrow choices. And milking cows. Pet Philosophy: Da Um Jeitinho – there is always a way