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Utilizing Technology to Increase Creativity in a Blended Learning Environment
Yowza...now that's a loaded title. AND....we didn't know it then, but this presentation would be very timely, as just a month later, the COVID pandemic ended up shutting our buildings and we went remote through January 2021.
When I first started this endeavor (January, 2020), I have to admit I was a little nervous about fitting such big ideas into a 3 hour (yes, THREE hour) professional development session for our district staff. To further complicate things, I was working with Sam Clausen, a high school level science teacher (we joke that we're literally opposite teachers because I teach elementary art) for the first time, in our schools, we use different student devices (I have iPads, he has MacBooks) and we have vastly different teaching methods (elementary, high school, pretty self-explanatory).
We dove in at a coffeeshop, and instantly I was amazed at how much we had in common when it comes to tech integration, and also how much we didn't. We both use it on a daily basis, in vastly different ways. Both use blended learning models, though I'm in-flipped (or flip flopped as I like to call it), and he is closer to flipped. We both assess our students using tech, he uses EdPuzzle and Quizizz (which I was amazed by! So many great features!) and I AirDrop and review their portfolios. I'm all Apple and he used to be totally obsessed with Google (until he took our Apple Teacher course, that is, now he uses both!)
Bringing together our strengths and similarities, I am so happy about the session we developed, the website that goes along with it, and the response from our attendees. When we allowed them work time, there was a ton of engagement, and when we asked them to share, we were both surprised at the number of staff who shared resources they'd already created, or ones that they created during our session (and of course...the prizes we offered helped them open up!). I also think that our varied experiences made us much more relatable to the audience. Where I talked about more structured activities, Sam was able to joke about the realities of high school teaching, quizzes and incentivizing watching the videos. I couldn't be more happy with the responses we got and the engagement of the teachers in our session. We even had a teacher comment that finally, there was PD offered that wasn't a waste of time. Goal accomplished.
If you're interested in checking out our resources, here is the link to our presentation website: bit.ly/blendedcreativity
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