The two days started with a great keynote by Juan De Luca. The theme of Juan’s keynote was ‘From Consumers to Creators’ and explored moving from classrooms where students simply take in information but rather get out there and create their own. He challenged teachers to provide their students with safe environments where they are willing to take risks without the fear of failure. He used the old adage that FAIL = First Attempt in Learning along with the popular Albert Einstein quote:
For the first ‘regular session’ of the Summit, I attended Chris Betcher’s session titled ‘Show Don’t Tell: Screencasting 101’. This was a great hands-on session that allowed us to explore using web tools such as ‘Screencastify’ or ‘SnagitforChrome’ to create screencasts that can be distributed to students either prior to a lesson or afterwards. Both of these tools are free web apps available from the Chrome Store and are quite easy to use. Chris gave attendees some hints and tips for creating effective screencasts such as ensuring that you plan ahead to make sure you don’t have any background noise that is going to interrupt your video. I really look forward to using these tools to create videos for my Stage 6 Biology class as I hope to move towards ‘flipping’ the classroom.
Up next I attended Kimberley Sutton’s session ‘If you build it they will come’. This session discussed the effectiveness of allowing students to create and offered the exciting tool of ‘Build with Chrome’ to do that. When you open ‘Build with Chrome’ you are presented with an amazing virtual world of Lego. People, everywhere, have grabbed ‘plots’ of land that they have built their Lego creations on. You can explore lots of amazing things that others have built and even add your own creation. A great way to get your students to interact with the program that Kimberley suggested is to send your students on a scavenger hunt to find different ‘Builds’ around the world. This could be a fun way to get them to investigate where different places are located and could lead to further investigation about other cities, states and even countries.
After lunch I headed to a session by Juan on Smart Evaluations with Google Apps. Throughout the hour we explored a range of applications that can be used to gather data from your students. Juan gave attendees a number of uses of Google Forms in particular that are extremely easy to implement in their classrooms. Forms can be used for things from self-assessment and peer evaluation so feedback can be gathered after a process, whether it be the end of a unit or on completion of an assessment task. Google Forms are also really handy for distributing quick and easy pre- or post-assessment tasks. Team Forms with the ‘Add-on’ Flubaroo and you can even mark and return feedback to students quickly all at the push of a few buttons. You can see a walkthrough on how to create your own forms and mark them using Flubaroo in a previous presentation I did here - Google Forms & Flubaroo.
During Session 4 on the first day I ran my first workshop ‘Get In Kahoots!’ - introducing teachers to the amazing game-based, interactive tool, Kahoot. You can find my presentation by clicking on this link. I have used Kahoot in all my classes, ranging from Year 7 through to Year 12 and ALL of them love it. It’s a great tool to use as a fun pre- or post- assessment that introduces a little bit of a competitive vibe to your classroom. My students love competing against themselves and each other, so it does a great job of providing intrinsic and motivation for success! I even learnt a few things from Maggie, who came along to offer moral support during my session! You can preview your Kahoot quiz all in the same window - without having to ‘play against yourself’, which I had been doing up until now to make sure everything works the way it should!! The second thing I learnt is that Kahoot has now introduced a ‘Ghost Mode’ - this is where your students can complete the same quiz a second time and not only compete against everyone else, but also compete against ‘Ghost Self’ to see if they can better their score! I can see the great use in Ghost Mode if you were to do the quiz before teaching a concept, teach it and then re-quiz using Ghost Mode - you would hope that all your students beat their ‘ghosts’ when playing again!
The last session of the day included what is the highlight of the Summit - the Demo Slam! During the ‘slam’ a number of presenters volunteer to share their favourite Googley/techy tip in 3 minutes. The idea is to WOW the audience with something amazing that they may never seen before or something that may simply change their lives!! The Sydney Slam definitely didn’t disappoint. We were shown things from ‘OmniBox’ to using LucidChart to create your own fonts as well as ‘Boomerang for GMail’ and ‘SafeShare.tv’. Of all the slams, however, the one that introduced something to me that I’d never seen before and that I really loved was ‘Everyone is an author of my blog’ - using a ‘secret’ email in Blogger to allow students to directly post to a blog simply by emailing!! I have already used this in two of my classes since the Summit and it has worked a treat!! So my vote went to Dave Collins for this awesome tip!