Monday, May 15, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Jen Giffen




Watch the Interview Streamed Live  HERE

Recently I attended the Canada Connect Conference, in Niagara Falls Ontario.  It was a really engaging conference with lots of good sessions and fantastic presenters.  During the presentation I did with colleague, Melanie Kitchen, I had a great conversation with Jen Giffen.  Jen had a lot of great ideas of her own and I could tell we could have talked edtech for a lot longer.  So I asked her to come on the #CWAG Program and tell me more.  I will ask her about the conference and her thoughts on the state of Edtech in Canada and in the schools she works with.  Can't wait to chat.

Here is a little bit more about Jen:

Jen Giffen currently works as a Digital Literacy Resource Teacher with the York Region District School Board, just north of Toronto, ON..

She earned her B.Ed (I/S English and Mathematics) at Queen's University and her M.Ed (Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning) at OISE at the University of Toronto.

She is a Sketchnoter, Google for Education Certified Trainer, and Apple Teacher. She has a keen interest in EdTech and is always looking for new tools to enhance the learning environment to engage students and increase critical thinking skills.

She spends her free time playing with her three little boys and coaching and participating in competitive cheerleading.

Connecting with Jen:
Twitter:  @virtualgiff  
Instagram: @virtualgiff  
Website: http://virtualgiff.com



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gaming and Gamification Part 3: Tangential Learning- The Trojan Horse Every Teacher/ Parent Needs to Know About

Many of us have learned about the story of the "Trojan Horse".  A good summary of the story can be found HERE (Shmoop)

This story came to mind when I heard about the concept of Tangential Learning.  Many educators I have talked to have not heard of this concept, and yet, I would argue EVERY educator and parent should know about it.  So in a nutshell, what exactly is it?  Well the classic definition is this:  Tangential learning is the process by which people educate themselves on a topic when it is presented in a context that they enjoy (source).  A really great video on the concept can be viewed below:  ****There is a 4 letter word in this video*** For Parents and Teachers its worth watching anyway.



I experienced tangential learning as a child watching the cartoons and movies.  How many of you remember Bugs Bunny Cartoons?  These cartoons featured Al Capone type Mobsters, Beethoven Musical Selections, and Napoleonic adversaries galore.  It wasn't until years later that I realized the cartoons contained snippets of classic music and art that I was able to remember for schoolwork and quizzes.  
Today's gaming climate offers an incredible amount of tangential learning possibilities.  From the classic WWII games like Medal of Honor to the most recent Assassin's Creed, history topics abound.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Katie Garner


WHEN:  April 17th, 2017
TIME:  4:00pm Eastern

Katie Garner uses brain based research and practices to help children read.  Connecting with Katie can be done in a variety of ways but a good place to start is her website: https://www.katiegarner.com/

A little bit more about Katie:
Katie Garner, M.Ed. (author of the best selling book, SECRET STORIES®—Cracking the Reading Code with the Brain in Mind!) is an internationally known educational speaker, author and literacy consultant with twenty five years of combined classroom experience and a passion for infusing neuroscience into early literacy learning. Her "backdoor-to-the-brain" approach to phonics skill mastery via the affective “feeling” domain shifts the paradigms associated with early literacy skill instruction, gaining national recognition with the No Child Left Behind, Reading First, and RTI Initiatives. As a featured and keynote speaker at education, reading and early childhood conferences across the United States and abroad—including an ongoing keynote series at the Vulnerable Learners Summits with North American literacy leaders, Dr. Richard Allington ("What Really Matters for Struggling Readers") and Dr. Anne Cunningham (National Early Literacy Panel “NELP” Report)— Katie shares "brain-changing" strategies for boosting early reading instruction with the latest neural research showing how our brains learn best. Her practical and proven methods for bringing neuroscience into the forefront of literacy learning have been shared in both lecture and panel discussions at Harvard University and MIT as part of the Learning and the Brain Conference and Research Consortium and are the subject of an upcoming professional development book series.

Connect with Katie:  

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Giveaway

The Coffee with a Geek series has always had a mission of bringing, "in the trenches" educators' thoughts and ideas to a wider audience.  I have been so grateful to know that educators' from all over the world have watched the videos.  I have been thinking that it would be nice to somehow show appreciation for my guests and viewers.  I was excited to learn about Amazon's new Giveaway option.  You can now create your own personalized giveaway through various criterion. 
So with Rachelle's interview I am giving this a try by offering 10 Kindle copies of the 
#EduMatch: Snapshot in Education (2016) book by Sarah Thomas, in which Rachelle writes a chapter.  .  Hope you like this idea.  Any feedback you would like to offer would be wonderful!

This is my first attempt at this so I hope I didn't make it too hard.  I will try again with my next interview and hope to make a different type of giveaway so stay tuned.


Good Luck and THANK YOU!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Interview with Rachelle Dene Poth


Video Link:  HERE

I'm really looking forward to chatting with Rachelle Dene Poth.  Here is Rachelle's Bio:

"I am a Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. I am also an attorney and have a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. I have presented at conferences such as ISTE, FETC, PETE&C, PSMLA and additional local edtech and foreign language conferences. I am the Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, a Member at Large for Games & Sims, the Innovations and Resources Co-Chair for the Teacher Education Network and the PAECT Historian.  I was recently selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology, the PA affiliate of ISTE).
I am an author, I wrote chapter 3 of the Edumatch book “Snapshot in Education 2016”, and my chapter on Blended Learning. I am a contributing author to the upcoming publication “Gamify Literacy” from ISTE. I also blog regularly, several publications I am happy to guest blog for.I continue to look for opportunities to highlight student work and student voice."

Want to connect or follow Rachelle?

Twitter @rdene915
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelledenepoth/


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thoughts on VR and Education.

Over the past 10 years plus I have been very keenly following Virtual Environments, Gaming, and Education.   (My work in OpenSim can be found HERE)  One of the individuals that inspired me from the beginning of my education/gaming awakenings, was Philip Rosedale, the Founder of Second Life.  An early video of him explaining Second Life can be found below.  (Rosedale would leave his brain child Linden Labs aka Second Life a few years later)

Video from 2010- Philip Rosedale talks about Second Life

What spurred my curiosity the most was the possibility of letting students create within a virtual world simulation.  Letting them explore certainly can have huge learning potential, but to me, giving students creation tools within a virtual world is where the real rubber hits the road, educationally speaking.
So as an educator when I started seeing the VR technologies bubble to the surface of common use technologies, I was certainly excited and intrigued.  And when I got my first, second, and most recent look at Occulus Rift... I was blown away by the realism and immersion of this technology.  My breakdown of VR can be found HERE.  One of my concerns though was that VR wasn't allowing for creation.  It was going to be a visual experience as it was being rolled out in early stages.  A good example of this is Google Expeditions.  I am a big fan of Google Expeditions, but it doesn't allow for the end user to interact with the environment let alone create.  

However, I have recently discovered two VR platforms that are looking to jump into the immersion experience and allow for creation and collaborative creation. 

Which brings me back to Philip Rosedale.  The current CEO of Linden Labs-  Second Life Ebbe Altburg is about to release its next stage of Virtual Reality: Project Sansar.  What I like about this virtual reality project is the ability to create.  Check out their promotional video below.



Interestingly, one other competing programs is called High Fidelity.  Guess who the driving force behind this platform is?  Philip Rosedale.  Here is a peek of High Fidelity below.  


I'm really excited about the future of VR and especially the possibilities of creating.  Its a way off I think, but I am excited!   Thanks to Philip Rosedale, Ebbe Altberg, Snowcrash, and Ready Player One  for inspiration.








Monday, February 27, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Fanny Passeport



When:  Wednesday March 1st, 2017

Really had a fantastic chat with innovative educator Fanny Passeport.  Fanny has an interdisciplinary background (agriculture, ecology, ethnology, pedagogy and later technology).
She is currently the whole school EdTech Coach at Mercedes-Benz International School. (India)
Her favorite PLNs are: ISTE, the Google Trainer community and Common Sense Education.
I came across Fanny's really fantastic ISTE Standards for Students Thinglink and connected with her to talk about that and MORE!

To learn more and connect with Fanny:
Twitter @fanny_passeport
www.noborderslearning.com

Tools that Fanny recommends in the interview
Sketchnotes- Sylvia Duckworth
Thinglink