#digitalLearning… It’s a Family Affair

FullSizeRender[1]The district I work for, and where the kids attend school, puts on Techno Expo, a technology integration showcase, of exemplar student work (a byproduct of their learning) every year at the end of February. The last two years, in my current role as an Instructional Technology Coach, I have co-hosted the production of this event with my entire IT team.

Our district of 20,000+ students is provided this opportunity to showcase their best technology integrated work. From all of the submissions approximately 1,200 student products are selected as the exemplar products to be presented by the students on this night. This year I was part of another spectacular showcase. Even more exciting was being able to take time to be a proud mom as well.


FullSizeRender_1[1]This year Emmarie had two presentations. Her first presentation was with a team of girls who put together a video documenting a Science PBL demonstrating potential and kinetic energy with the use of eggs and soda. The second presentation was over her Google Site that showcased various content addressing standards through her summer reading selection. In both situations she shared not only her knowledge of the content but her skill in creating the products presented.

FullSizeRender_2[1]On the same night Kristopher was also featured with his tutorial video created for the districts Lego Robotics programs. He had gone to a specific campus to support them as they began their Lego Robotics unit and from that created a screencast to support those learners as well as future learners who may need the resource. His presentation was impressive as he shared how he created the video but also how screencasting could be used to capture student learning.

For me it was a proud moment: as a mom, as an educator, and as a member of this community. My children amaze me constantly and this evening’s event was no exception. Their commitment to learning, excellence and service is incredible. Eric and I have been blessed and know that God has and will do great things through our children.

FullSizeRender_3[1]It is amazing to watch God work through my children and see prayers I uttered sometimes years ago and sometimes moments before answered in ways I never dreamed.

What amazing ways do children in your life amaze you? How is God working through you and those around you?

Techno Expo… a window into the future

Recently my district and specifically the Instructional Technology Department, which I am a team member, hosted a Student Technology Showcase event called TechnoExpo.  Over 1,000 products and 500+ presentations took place at this even on February 27, 2014.

Both Embug and Kritterman presented.

TechnoExpo 2014 Kids

Both of their products stemmed from our summer venture with Genius Hour– Summer Camp Style a.k.a. Mom’s plan to keep us challenged and learning.

Kritterman struggles with writing.  He’s wiz at math, loves science experiments and inquiries, powers through thick fantasy chapter books with unparallelled speed, but give him the task of writing more than a sentence and he is like a 4-wheeler in a freshly plowed field after 2 days of rain.  So when Genius Hour began and he chose to explore his passion for Minecraft, I saw the perfect opportunity to marry a passion with a personal challenge.  How would he take his passion and recast it to fill a need for others? Through blogging.

He still struggles with the writing, but he loves to see the “traffic” on his blog.  He has since learned to do YouTube tutorials using Screencast-o-matic on Minecraft and loves it.  We are working on a trade off between YouTube posts and written posts.

Either way, he has something he is proud of, presented at the district TechnoExpo and in the process developed new contacts via his presentation.  When the comments showed up on his blog to moderate… he was so excited he could barely contain himself, and now he is constantly planning his next post.

(please note my phone ran out of space during the recording)

Then there was Embug.  This young lady is a worker-bee.  She grasped hold of the philosophy of Genius Hour and embraced it with abandon.  She is DEEPLY passionate about Greek Mythology.  That is great… until you Google it.  So what our Embug, little genius that she is, decided was to create a “kid-friendly” Greek Mythology website so that other kids that share her passion have a safe place to explore and learn about Greek Mythology.

Now to some of you this may seem like an interesting task for an eleven year old.  But for a dyslexic, this was a huge undertaking.  You see, her eyes play tricks on her.  So not only did she write all of the text in “pages” first before copying and pasting into the Wix website builder to help her self-edit due to the spelling challenges she faces.  She also had to learn some basic HTML code.  Now for those without the challenges of dyslexia the forward slash, back slash and every symbol in between can make a person go blind, so imagine if you were trying to modify HTML code and were dyslexic.  What may have seemed too much trouble for some, was only another reason for her to push forward.  She had her eyes set on a goal.  Nothing, not even some difficult HTML code, was going to stop her achieve what she set out to do.

She practiced multiple times in the mirror.  Asked for critical feedback from her dad and I.  And shared her passion with anyone that would listen, including a high school Mythology teacher that was so impressed that she got Embug’s information and plans to contact our gal to come speak to her High School Mythology Class.

When she presented her website that night the room housed a small crowd, but every member of the audience was in awe.  Young middle school men, planning to present after her, shook their heads in approval.  Parents of other students were amazed at both the content and the savvy-ness of her tech prowess. She was a goddess of knowledge and expertise.

(this video was a smidge better but my phone still cut things short)

We couldn’t be prouder of our two tech savvy kiddos pursuing their passions, and overcoming their own learning obstacles.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

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