We (Leigh & Candace) are honored to present at SITE 2018. This blog post will serve as our guide and “handout” for our roundtable session.
Inspired by reality TV cooking shows, the “Quickfire Challenge” is an educational tool created as an activity in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University (Wolf, 2009). Over the past 8 years the Quickfire Challenge has been a core of the student learning experience. Having theoretical underpinnings in Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory (1991), the Quickfire Challenge is structured to create a (gently) disorienting experience which challenges traditional forms of professional development models. Quickfire Challenges are carefully crafted to impose time constraints, give specific, yet vague directions, embed tangible outcomes, all the while keeping learning at the core. By experiencing failure (and success) in this format, participants begin to rediscover the joy and creativity necessary to spark engagement in curriculum development and delivery.
Four our SITE roundtable, we would like to provide attendees resources for replicating existing Quickfire Challenges (learning from practitioners who have successfully implemented the idea in K12 and teacher PD contexts) along with tools for creating their own challenges. We hope that attendees will leave with a series of experiences which can be implemented in professional development (both online and offline) contexts.
The following links will take you to instructions and examples for several Quickfire Challenges that we have developed and run in the MAET program at Michigan State University:
Michigan State University, in partnership with global tech giant Wipro Ltd., launched an innovative fellowship program (which ran from 2014-2018) designed to empower math and science teachers in Chicago Public Schools to create transformative, innovative, and multimodal instructional experiences for students. One thing you’ll note as a key feature present in the majority of the MSUrbanSTEM Quickfire Challenges is the “extra spicy challenge”. In order to provide the (gently) disorienting experience for all of our fellows, the inclusion of this additional element provided an opportunity for differentiation.
I had the privilege of presenting with two former colleagues, @MrsCaracci and @MrsServe at the Illinois Reading Council Conference last week. We shared all of the resources that we created and curated when bringing our own version of StoryCorps to their 6th grade ELA classrooms. One of the highlights of the presentation was an interactive portion where we asked participants to use Google Voice to share a story from their middle school experience. You can find some of their “phone-casts” here. Check out our presentation and resources below!
Remix, Repurpose, and Redesign: Promoting Student Ownership and Engagement: My colleagues and I presented on strategies for remixing content and repurposing technologies, which allows educators to redesign their pedagogical strategies. Through low-tech and high-tech repurposing, students can engage in deep play, allowing them to get lost in the content…in a good way! These strategies include redesigns of every day classroom routines, like Bell Ringers, classroom rules, Exit Slips, etc. Click the image below to be taken to session resources.
iPadeology: Staff and Student Resources for iPad Deployment: My colleague and I presented on the key characteristics of the mindset that we developed to guide decision making during our first year in our district’s 1:1 pilot. We share the steps we believe made us successful, how we managed to keep the focus on instruction and not the device, student development resources, staff development resources, and parental resources for deployment. Click the image below to be taken to session resources.
All geared up with our new League of EdTechies badges, combining our creative super powers, we were able to develop a dynamic and fun professional development that engaged our peers and allowed for teacher leadership. A colleague of mine mentioned the idea of “Speed Geeking” last year and we finally had a chance to employ it when February came upon us and love was in the air! Let’s first share the results of how this opportunity lead to igniting some sparks…
The best thing happened directly after this PD. I was in a breakout session room cleaning up and a teacher who is more cautious with exploring new technologies came up to me and said, “I’m going to go home and play now!”Best. Thing. Ever. Continuing that, I received about ten emails from non 1:1 staff that evening sharing ideas and excitement. When I walked into school the next morning, there was a huddle of five teachers discussing the PD and their ideas from it near the office. Exploration and collaboration were occurring! There was energy! I then collaborated with a teacher on how she could do this with her students and we brought Speed Geeking into the classroom to explore note taking strategies when researching.
Below is the main presentation we utilized for our professional development and an overview of how it all came to be. We had some goals which of course drove the decisions we made:
1. Continue our discussion of TPACK and apply it to a lesson design that was coming up in the next trimester
2. Model meaningful technology integration
3. Allow for play and creation
4. Make it applicable!
We are fortunate enough to have support from our awesome administration, so we were able to use 1.5 hours of our 2 hour monthly staff meeting. Here’s the breakdown of how The League of EdTechies provided this professional development for our 75+ member staff:
The League of EdTechies voted on some of the core apps that they felt would be important to all staff moving forward with our 1:1. We selected apps that had a range of complexity so that everyone would have an option to learn something at their level. We selected 6 apps and paired 2 League members per app. They created samples of how each app could be used in the classroom. Naturally, they created artifacts geared towards instruction and assessment- they did a phenomenal job! We emailed all staff members about a week before the staff meeting and reminded them to download Notability if they had not done so previously. This was a HUGE key to the flow of our PD because we could jump right into application and did not have to go through the hoops of downloading during the PD. We also had them bring a learning target that they would be focusing on next semester so that we could keep a strong focus on context and application during our PD.
We started by getting everyone into our Schoology staff course where we house all of our staff meeting notes and taught them how to download a PDF and import it into Notability. This ties in with our idea of embedded PD- we didn’t give them much direction on how to use it other than about a 2 minute tutorial of the basics they needed to know to work with the document for this experience.
We then went right into Speed Geeking by giving a short, one minute intro into what they needed to do as participants.
The League Members were split up in somewhat of buffet style tables, we had 2 tables per app and split The League presenters up so that we could keep our groups small. We gave them 2 minutes to present their app to each small group.
To keep the energy high, we played music when the two minutes were up. Of course we had to include classic mood-setters in our playlist like some of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits!
We had the presenters rotate and kept the rest of the teachers seated for ease of transition.
When the rotations were complete, we regrouped and began our discussion of TPACK and repurposing technologies for educational purposes.
Teachers had to then apply their knowledge to the learning target that they brought with them.
After applying their knowledge of TPACK, we had them select a breakout session to further explore the technology that peaked their curiosity during Speed Geeking. (We used Socrative to embed formative assessment technologies into the PD also)
The goal of the breakout session was to create an artifact that the teachers could use in the next semester (keep in mind, the majority of teachers only had 1 iPad in their classroom this year). We limited the amount of tutorial we gave teachers in the breakout sessions, pointed them to resources to help support their technical understanding, and encouraged them to explore and play with the technology. Very similar to the feel of a PLAYDATE.
At the end of the PD, teachers completed an exit slip in Schoology and were awarded a digital badge signifying their reflection and participation in exploration of one of the certain apps.
Here are the presentations that I was able to collaborate on with awesome colleagues, for the Illinois Computing Educator’s Conference recently. These are the presentations that will be revamped for ISTE this summer!
Remix, Repurpose, Redesign: Promoting Student Ownership and Engagement