A couple of weeks ago I saw a call from George Couros for a reporter/blogger/connector of people named Jam Gamble that was looking to interview teachers for a blog series she was putting together. I answered the call and contacted Jam ... the result was a great opportunity to share my thoughts and reflections on what I do ... here's a link to the blog post http://www.msjam.ca/blog/how-do-you-do-it-6-dean-vendramin
Honoured to have my Hour of Code article published on page 6 of the STF Bulletin.
Submitted a vlog as part of my #30daysofblogging and #edu2017 goals. Really need to work at just getting things done rather than waiting for perfection or the right time. Sometime I overthink what I should post. One tends to worry if it will be good enough or will others find it intereseting rather that see it as a chance to share or even some might just be for oneself. I will continue this journey and hope others just get er done too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psqwxlw-EL8&feature=youtu.be
Ok just accepted 30 days blogging challenge found at http://ajjuliani.com/30-days-blogging-challenge/#comment-220253 . Just have to write and keep in mind it doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to get done (a mantra for many things). I have attempted to be more consistent in my blog posting but sometimes have left gaps between entries so I will try again to maintain frequency and just get er done. I remember keeping a teaching journal in my first year of teaching many moons ago and was able to keep that up (I actually found it and may try to use some of those 'posts' in future entries here.
My Blog Goals Are
Write 200 words per day, every day for 30 days
Publish at least on post per week
Thanks for opportunity to reflect and share.
The Hour of Code is an initiative the has been promoted around the world to get more people to experience, understand, and play with code. Hour of Code events will be taking place around the world the week of Dec 5-11, 2016. To participate, all one has to do is go to hourofcode.com and register. You do not need to be an expert at code, but you do have to be willing to let students explore and play with code for at least an hour. There are many benefits associated with examining and constructing code. Many job opportunities, many which don’t even exist yet, will require coders and research shows that there will a demand for workers with these skills in the future. Just like the importance of understanding another spoken language the understanding of code will help students understand the world they live in and provide important 21st Century skills. Most importantly it will help students become producers rather than consumers and show them they have the ability to make their own programs instead of waiting for someone to do it for them.
There are many ways and resources in which one can use to ‘get their hour in’ and more. Code.org is a great place to start. There activities and coding opportunities for students of all ages. Using platforms such as Minecraft, Frozen, and even the new Disney movie Moana, students can access opportunities to program code and make many of the characters in these popular games and shows do what the students code them to do. Many of these opportunities are in the form of block coding, so it is much like putting a sentence together in order to make objects move and do other actions. There are many tutorials and many opportunities to learn and have fun.
Two block coding programs that are also great starting points for code are Scratch and Hopscotch. Both are free and allow students to formulate ideas for programs and actualize them. There are many tutorials and ‘how tos’ for both. Scratch is web based (although there are Scratch apps too) and can be found at scratch.mit.edu. It has a vast database of pre-made programs as well that one can examine and remix. Hopscotch (https://www.gethopscotch.com/) is an app for iOS devices and offers users a friendly environment to create and experiment with code. Both of these block coding programs are fun and easy to use and develop strategies and skills that are transferable to higher level programming codes.
There are other great resources that can be used to promote coding. Spheros (which can run about $150 for a Spheros 2.0) are programmable robot spheres. There are many resources at http://edu.sphero.com/ that have coding ideas. You would need to download an app (both iOS and android) to play. Another creative and innovative programming product is a Makey Makey. Makey Makey information can be found at http://makeymakey.com/ (and can cost about $75). This programmable control can turn items such as fruit, tinfoil, and even ketchup into cool and creative inventions. Again letting students play, ponder, and program with these resources gets them producing and experimenting.
So if you get a chance sign up and participate in the Hour of Code. If you miss out on this specific event, I would still encourage educators to look into and implement coding in your classroom. It can be done at any age, you don’t have to be an expert (not just for computer science class), and there are many resources available. There are many ways to implement coding in a variety of classes and met curriculum outcomes. Thanks for reading and happy coding.
I have been trying to integrate technology into my classroom throughout my career. I have also been looking into the the use of robotics and coding in my classroom. I was also looking for something new for the tech club I supervise. I had done some research and found some of the cool things one can do with a Sphero. A Sphero is basically a durable, programmable robotic ball of engagement and fun. I was recently at a local edCamp and was able to play with one of these and see the possibilities that using a tool like this can do, I also found that there are many ideas to use in a classroom found at https://sprk.sphero.com/remixes . I was able to secure some funding for two units (they are about $150 each for a sphero 2.0). Now it was time to put these devices to work. After talking with my esteemed intern about using this in our work place 20 class, he and another intern came up with a great idea of a lesson. We decided to do a math lab involving students exploring right triangles using rulers, projectors, and Spheros. Students collected data and shared their findings. It was great to see students come up with their own rules, look at programming with the Sphero, and share their findings
Over the past week I have been able to try out another activity that I found engaging for students. The activity was using Breakout Edu in a variety of math classes in a variety of ways. Breakout Edu is a lot like escape rooms where basically students work in teams to solve questions that help give clues to open locks to a sealed box. It seems like a pretty simple set up but I observed a lot of great teamwork, question asking, engagement, and problem solving in using this game. I used it along with other solving math questions but this is only one way to do it and I believe that the possibilities with this game are endless and could be used in any class or team building situation. One can go here for information on the kit http://www.breakoutedu.com/ (option to buy pre-made kit or can get list of materials and buy the items yourself) also many examples at the site of how to use it in a variety of ways or can again make up your own activities Here's another good link for some breakout edu ideas http://blog.mariventurino.com/2016/10/student-created-breakout-edu-games.html?m=1. If you have questions or this blog inspired you to try your own ... please let me know. Thanks
I have been part of #IMMOOC study group since it started (http://immooc.org/). I listened to each of the episodes, followed on twitter, and read a few others blogs. I had also done a book study on Innovator's Mindset with a group in my division #rcsdconnect. I had also read the book on my own before either of these two sharing opportunities came out. I got so much out of each experience. I agree with the themes of the book 'bigly' (is that a word now haha). I feel that through my career that I have professed and practiced the #innovatativemindset, #growthmindset, #risktaking, and #relationshipbuilding that is necessary for growing in our craft. I have attempted to share as many of the experiences with anyone that would listen. Sometimes I have felt alone in my journey but I have been fortunate to have many experiences to meet like minded educators that have really inspired and kept me going. It hasn't been the easiest journey but definitely worth it. I have had so many great experiences due to following the path less taken. I will continue to go down this path and continue to share and listen. I really feel that I have become a better teacher and person because of this. I try to provide my students with the best possible experience they can have when they are in my class. I try to grow and risk take because if I expect my students to do that I must do so as well. If I ever thought I had teaching all figured out ... I would go do something else. The students are worth it and I think so is education. My big take away from this experience is to see the growth and momentum for positive change in education. The other day I tried something new by doing an #edubreakout experience with my students ... kids were engaged, working together, and active. I have some more work to do with this and see it as great learning opportunity ... more to blog on this.
I'm currently involved with three great professional development opportunities. Each have made me think and have made an impact on how I look at the art of teaching and how I can better serve my students in the classroom.
Today I will be going to an inservice at my division's tech training facility. I'm fortunate to have been selected as a #rcsdconnectededucator. This has allowed me to have access to devices, resources, and more for me and my students. Today's inservice will cover topics such as 21st Century Skills, TPACK, and SAMR. I have been familiar with many of these topics for awhile and it is always good to revisit, reevaluate, and rethink how these topics affect the classroom and how I have been incorperating into my teaching. One area we will focus on is the SAMR model. I would like to think I understand and staying afloat in the SAMR swimming pool (https://www.thinglink.com/scene/672615962238779393) I find in math that it is sometimes hard to get to the deep end of the pool as much as I'd like with some of the constraints that are present, but I'm trying my best to innovate and redifine what is happening in my classroom.
Yesterday I was at the University of Regina with my intern as we are participating in a TIFA (Teacher/Intern/Faculty Advisor) research project. This project involves video analysis of intern teaching. The process involves viewing, noticing, and discussion phases and really helps one look at the art of teaching. There was much to learn and talk about whether it was classroom management, math language, student time on task, questioning skills, group work and more. This is a process that I wish all teachers would engage in. Many other professions employee this type of professional development and I think it would improve our craft and open opportunities to do a more effective job for our students.
I'm current also doing the #IMMOOC. It has been a great experience watching videos, read tweets and blogs, and revisting the book.. One of this week's blog prompts is ... What are your connections to the “School vs Learning image? What would you add or modify? I would add reflection and professional development ... as learning requires reflection and the desire to further learning and professional development provides this opportunity. I think this brings my blog together as both the #rcsdconnectededucator and TIFA project have done just that made me reflect and provided rich and robust professional development that help me reflect on learning and take that passion back to those I serve.
Hi. I’d like to share my Saturday morning with you on September 24, 2016. Usually I try to get a little extra sleep on a Saturday morning especially when the weather is blustery. But this morning I was excited to get up as I had a great morning of professional development planned.
First up at 8:00 AM was a live YouTube stream from the Innovator’s Mindset #IMMOOC that I am currently participating in (and you can too by going to http://immooc.org/). This learning opportunity is based on the book “The Innovator’s Mindset” by George Couros (a read I highly recommend). The video started off with an interview of two passionate educators (names) whose underlying theme was that you can take risks and be innovative and still meet curricular objectives. They both agreed that both the students and educators need to do things that are both new and better. The live stream continued with the host George Couros (@gcouros) and Katie Martin(@KatieMTLC) reviewing some of the book’s opening themes of seeing ‘change as an opportunity to do something amazing’ and ‘if students leave school, less curious than when they started, we have failed them.’ Both statements are powerful and poignant. During the presentation on could also reach out to other educators through an interactive chat feature, twitter, and facebook. All of this made for a rich, engaging, and thought provoking experience. I’d encourage anyone reading to join in on the conversation (never too late – follow #immooc).
At 9:00 AM I switched over to a great live webinar with plenty of interactivity called Hack The Classroom hosted by Microsoft. It was an event that was open to and attended by educators all over the world. The first keynote was John Kao (@johnkao check out edgemakers.com) who gave another passionate speech about innovation in education and the opportunity to ‘take wicked problems and turn them into wicked opportunities’. This resonated with me as this what education should be about and we owe it to our students to teach with this mindset. He also talked about finding the ‘sweet spot’ in implementing innovation in education. He stressed the need to find a balance between a fixed mind set and going too far in that only a few might understand what you are trying to do and that this requires practice. The webinar went on to highlight the tools of One Note, Skype, and Minecraft but for me the underlying meaning was to increase a student’s ability to read, communicate, and create (check out #hacktheclassroom to find what was trending). There were great stories of educators like you and me providing transformation and redefined opportunities for their students. They also highlight STEM activities that could be done like creating a wind reader with basic supplies and hooking them up to devices to create a connected and real-life experience (even compared wind strength from locations around the world). Again there were educators from all walks of life sharing and discussing how to make their classrooms new and better. And after all shouldn’t that be the goal of all educators … our students deserve this!
It was a great Saturday morning! Check out my storyify for my tweets / retweets from the morning https://storify.com/vendi55/my-saturday-morning. These are only a couple opportunities out there to learn, share, and grow. Thanks for allowing me to share and taking the time to read this. I truly hope it inspires someone to try something new and better. Good luck. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com, follow my blog at deanvendramin.weebly.com, or connect on twitter @vendi55.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 19 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.