Saturday, March 14, 2015

Digital Learning Day Turns into Digital Learning Week at Hoover High

This past week, our school celebrated Digital Learning "Week" in honor of Digital Learning Day that was on Friday, March 13. 

On Sunday, I sent out a challenge to our staff

I created a flyer with smore that included all of the details of the challenge (Click the picture to go to the online flyer)


I challenged our teachers and staff to complete 3 of the activities on the flyer, and they would be entered into a drawing for an iTunes or Starbucks giftcard. 

One of our teachers emailed the link to her Pinterest board Sunday night! I was pumped and hoped that this was the start to many teachers participating in the challenge.

On Monday night, Holly Sutherland and I hosted #ALedchat on Twitter, and only 3 Hoover High teachers participated. It was only the first day of the challenge, and it was the week that teachers had grades due so I knew they were busy wrapping up the grading period. 

Tuesday morning, I got this email from a teacher:

I am signed up for Thursday, and I have a Pinterest board called “Learning Lane” with ideas posted for teaching. Planning to do Voxer, but my phone won’t let me add the app for some reason. It’s old. J

I loved getting it, and I was getting excited about our Google Hangouts PD that was planned for Thursday.  

The same teacher let me know that she had set up a class hashtag for her students to tweet about what they were learning while reading Night.

Here's another tweet from one of our teachers:

I had already planned an observation of the co-teacher in that classroom, so the timing was perfect.

Tuesday morning, I also got the following email from another teacher:
Please join us fourth period if you can (C129)—edge of technology (at least for me).
I replied that I would be there and put an appointment on my calendar to visit his classroom fourth period. 

What was exciting about getting this email is that it was from a teacher who is retiring at the end of this year. He could take on the attitude of "I'm leaving in a few months, there's no reason for me to try anything new with my students." What makes this teacher special is that he always keeps the students first, and he knows that the few months he has with them should be about them, not about him.

When I got to his class, his students were learning about the Renaissance. They had done a graphic organizer the previous day, and the day I visited he was having them to work in groups and collaborate via Google Docs to create formal outlines by using the graphic organizer.

Tuesday night, I got the first Vox from one of our teachers. 

Click on the picture to hear the Vox from Mrs. Rosato. I love how she ends the message!

On Wednesday, I received a blog post from Mr. Martin, one of our teachers, to post on our school blog.


Wednesday afternoon, I worked on a "Leaderboard" in Google Sheets for everyone who was participating in the challenge. I needed some way to keep up with everyone so that I could hold the giftcard drawing for everyone who completed the challenge. I emailed the staff that night once I learned how to automatically add up their points across the row.

Creating and sharing this leaderboard was a game-changer. I had teachers stopping me in the hallway, emailing and tweeting. 

Here's what one teacher created during a recent illness he had and couldn't physically be at school:

(Click the picture to play the video)

The highlight of the week was our Google Hangouts PD sessions that our two tech guys/gurus, Keith Fulmer and Jonathan Sandlin, led for us all day on Thursday. 

We offered the sessions all day, and the teachers signed up in advance for one of their off periods via a Google Form. By knowing in advance of the size of the group, what they hoped to get out of the session, and which periods, it helped us plan for the day. Tuesday afternoon, I simply tweeted members of my PLN and asked them if they were available to do a 10-15 minute hangout with our teachers to show the ease and power of a GHO and to share ideas of how their school/district is using GHOs. Within a short time, I had all of the slots filled, which shows how giving the educators on twitter are. Most, if not all, share the philosophy that "we are better together," and we try to help each other out when asked.

We got a lot of great ideas on how to use Google Hangouts (I'll share them in tomorrow's blog post), and we're so thankful to our guests who gave up a up a little of their time to share with us! 

All in all, it was a fun week that challenged us to stretch and grow as teachers and leaders. How did you celebrate Digital Learning Day?

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  1. Wow Jennifer! Your ideas really blossomed big time. Kudos to you and your team! Thanks for chance to talk about GHO/Skype ideas. You are an amazing leader that keeps me on my toes.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! I really appreciate your taking time to talk with our teachers. We had a fun day of learning, and there were lots of teachers trying new digital tools during the week!

  2. Jennifer-
    So impressed with the work you did with your staff throughout this week (and beyond). I appreciate how you differentiate to their learning styles and needs and model that each day. Getting teachers to explore their digital presence is an ongoing effort and they are fortunate to have you taking the lead.
    I model much of what I do with my staff from your work. Proud to call you my colleague!
    (And, sorry I missed my google hangout time, it looks like it was a blast!)
    Great work as always!

    1. Thanks, Craig, for stopping by and commenting. Your encouraging words mean a lot! Without my PLN, I wouldn't be as effective in what I do, and I'm glad to share ideas and inspiration. (We missed you in the GHO!)