Can you imagine walking out of a professional development session that has no relevance to your learning only to join another session that may help you grow as an educator? That’s what we were expected to do at EdCamp Boston 2016, and this is called “The Rule of Two Feet.” My two feet led me to five different sessions, and I learned a great deal about Voxer, STEM, Google Cardboard, Genius Hour, and student-led learning events.
Voxer – Voxer is a smartphone app that acts like a walkie-talkie, allowing you to record voice messages to one or more contacts. You can also text and share videos and pictures with Voxer. Julie Vincentsen (@jvincentsen) recommends using the app to have group discussions about books. Principal Christopher Dodge (@PrincipalDodge1) uses Voxer for professional development. Dodge said, “I am a better principal because of Voxer.” If you have any questions on how to use Voxer, both Vincentsen and Dodge welcome you to direct message them on Twitter.
STEM – “For the Welfare of our country, our kids need to know STEM.” This powerful statement was delivered by Isa Zimmerman, the principal of IKZ Advisors, LLC, to start a conversation about STEM. A few resources were shared during the discussion:
- Easy Blog Jr.: This iOS app was recommended for young children to reflect on their STEM experiences.
- LearnLaunch: Check this site out if you are interested in Edtech startups for educators.
- Cambridge Science Festival: This highly recommended event takes place in April.
Google Cardboard – Cynthia Engvall (@cengvall) and Julie Spang (@jaspang) passed Google Cardboards around so we could give them a try. I learned that the New York Times gave subscribers free Google Cardboards to try the New York Times Virtual Reality app (NYT VR). Now that’s cool!
Genius Hour – Genius Hour is based on an idea from Google where employees spend 20% of their work day exploring ideas they want to tinker with. A free online course about Genius Hour was recommended to the group, as well as a book titled “The Genius Hour Guidebook” by Denise Krebs.
Student-Led EdCamps – Barbara Johnson, the library media specialist at Jack Jackter Elementary School, discussed how to organize a K-12 EdCamp style event on Digital Learning Day. She has had great success running the program for two consecutive years. Johnson linked all of her resources to the library website, including a Flipgrid that participants joined to reflect on what they learned.
Click here for a list of EdCamps that may be in your area. If you find one, register as soon as you can because tickets run out fast!
Author: Maureen Schlosser
Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades published by ALA Editions