#GoogleEduOnAir – Making YouTube Work Better For You and Your Students

On May 8 and 9 the Google Education team put together a fantastic two days of free professional development called Google Edu On-Air. Friday’s line up we heard from speakers such as Ken Shelton and Jennie Magiera and Jamie Casap. Then on Saturday there was over 12 hours of back to back free professional development from presenters all over the world. Everything should now be available online for you to watch whenever you want. I plan on taking in lots of sessions in the coming days because most of my Saturday I was on the soccer field rooting on both of my kids!

I was honored to be able to also make a contribution to the day by sharing about one of my favorite educational tools – YouTube. YouTube gets a really bad rap in my opinion. Is there a lot of junk there? Of course. Is there a lot of great educational content there? Absolutely! I really enjoy helping teachers not only how to better utilize the existing content on YouTube, but also to empower them to be creators of content as well. Video is a powerful medium for learning and it’s even more powerful when teachers have the ability and resources to create their own personalized content for their students.

You will find my session below. Thank you so much to those who joined me live and particularly to my partner Dominique who was kind enough to help me with the Q&A time. I hope you find the information beneficial to you and your students.

Why Forward Movement Matters

If you think about the staggering amount of edtech services out there, coupled with the numerous types of devices, it can feel pretty overwhelming to most people. We go to edcamps, conferences, webinars, etc. and get filled up with so many new ideas and resources but we don’t know where to start. Have you ever had either of these feelings?

Looking at it through the workshop facilitator/presenter lens, I’m just not into trying to cover 60 tools in 60 minutes or whatever other catchy title there is for it. That’s just not my style. I think we (leaders, presenters, etc.) need to keep this in mind when sharing with the intent of moving teachers forward with technology integration. The last thing I ever want to do is see someone get overwhelmed with too many choices. I will tell people this that I’m meeting with or presenting to on whatever the topic may be; especially if our time together is pretty limited.  I’ve seen the look on teachers’ faces that shows their brain has been flooded and they don’t know what to do next. Like I said, there’s so many options out there for us and our students. I’d rather only share 3 ideas with you to dive into and pick from, and you try 1 of them and get really good at it. The old adage of ‘less is more’ most definitely rings true with technology integration.

Even so, when trying to get teachers to focus their learning with incorporating technology, there is often an unnecessary urgency. Here are some of the commonalities I’ve heard teachers say:

“I want to try this, this, and this and have my students using all of them within the next week.” (too much at once)

“Yeah but Mr. ‘teacher down the hall’ is having his students using Hangouts, coding, and robotics.” (feeling the need to compete)

“I’m only doing ____ right now in my class, which I know isn’t much.” (feeling that what they’re doing is inadequate)

Here’s how I always respond to these type of statements: the point is not to see how fast you can move forward, or how many new ideas you can move forward with at once, the point is to just move forward! Forward movement matters! If you’re embracing new ideas by trying them, refining them, and trying them again then don’t discredit yourself. You’re in a learner first mindset and that is huge!

I decided to explore my creative side again by using Canva (my newest learning adventure) to recreate a quote that I love to share with teachers I’m speaking to. I tried to find the original source of the quote but all I could turn up was that the author is ‘unknown’.

It's not about being the best...

 

 

Movement is Movement

I had the honor of guest moderating #arkedchat (Arkansas educators) last Thursday evening. If you haven’t joined in on a Thursday evening at 8pm CST you really should. It’s a great example of one of the many state-sprcific chats we have happening on Twitter.

One of my takeaways from the chat, and something I’ve had said to me on more than one occasion lately (in variation), led me to respond with this:

We need to stop putting the pressure on ourselves to be as good as so-and-so; or that I should using this tech tool or that tech tool. This is an internal struggle that you won’t win. What matters is that you are taking the necessary steps to move forward in your practice. You’re becoming better! That’s what the focus needs to be. Not on the speed it’s happening (or isn’t) or if you’re using the same tools/devices as your neighbor in the classroom next door. It’s better to move forward slowly than not move forward at all!

I had a similar conversation face to face last week as well. A teacher that’s taking the grad class I teach on Tuesday nights was worried because she wasn’t using the same presentation tool as her fellow teacher sitting next to her in class. I wanted to give plenty of choices in which tools my teachers use to demonstrate their learning; I wanted them to pick the one they felt the most comfortable with. I had to remind her not to worry that what she was doing was a more simplistic approach (it wasn’t, it was just a different tool).

We need to stop letting these kind of thoughts infiltrate the culture of professional learning among teachers. The more we allow teachers to have variance in their professional learning (and remove their worry about it not being enough) just think how rich the sustainable culture of sharing will become!