Check out this grand adventure! This is way beyond Google Cardboard that I wrote about previously! This picture shows 24 of our 30 new Google Expedition viewers waiting to be fully formatted and set up so that we (the new PRRD8 Instructional Coaches) can get them into the hands of eager teachers and students around our division!
There has been lots to do to get this set-up ready to ‘hit the road’.
- The tech guys have been formatting and securing the phones that go into each of the viewers.
- Cathy and I have been doing lots of experimenting and app testing to get used to how they work and to decide on some of the basic apps, in addition to Google Expedition, that would be useful for classrooms.
- We’ve had to buy a smaller wheeled-storage / carrying device to transport them in; the set-up in the picture takes two grown ups to load into a vehicle, and it won’t fit into the trunk of our cars!
- We’ve also been stretching the limits of our YouTube channel and playlist knowledge as we come up with an expedient way to get additional content to all student in a timely manner when we are not use the actual Google Expedition app.
So, steep learning curve, yes, but a very exciting one! Can’t wait to update with ‘stories from the classroom’ once we are able to hit the road with this set-up!
I was very much inspired by participating in the first two “seasons” of IMMOOC. Now, I will be honest that I did not complete every task that was assigned and each time, although I had high hopes, I only averaged three or four of the six blog posts. Despite this, I thought the concept of a massive on-line learning community was exciting, and the learning was indeed visible. In fact, I was jealous of those who were participating in IMMOOC as a group of colleagues from a school, or division, and dreamed that someday I might be able to also convince some colleagues to join in.
Then the stars aligned. George Couros announced an October 2017 IMMOOC Season 3, and several colleagues were wondering if I would be trying to gather staff into another book study. I took this as a sign that it was time to try the IMMOOC group participation that I had always coveted.
The back story to this is that I teach high school and over the last few years I’ve gathered some interested colleagues together to try a book study together -something that hadn’t really happen at our school previously. This was a new thing and I blogged about it several times years ago, as you can read about here and here. Some of the books had a greater impact than others, but the process always occurred over many months, usually at school, somehow connected to the school day. Some of my colleagues have been in all of the book studies and were willing to give this new 6-week power book study a try. We even recruited a fresh face or two.
In the end, it would be easy to sum up this dream IMMOOC group study as a failure. The every-week-for-6-weeks pace was just too much. In fact, I think my dear colleagues were mostly relieved when I sent out a message after Week 4 that we weren’t going to try to assemble for the rest of the weeks. I think that only one other person in the group even attempted to blog (thanks, Heather). I’m not sure that anyone commented on a single ‘strangers’ blog. I’m not sure that anyone else followed the IMMOOC learning after we gave up the group in Week 4.
Yet despite these perceived failures, I think that there is always some growth and learning that occurs when we try to push a bit of innovation forward. For example:
- Some of my colleagues read Innovator’s Mindset for the first time.
- Some of my colleagues started the book and will get around to finishing it eventually.
- Several of these colleagues participated in their first Twitter Chat.
- Other colleagues were reminded of the good learning space that Twitter can be.
- We got to sit in each other’s homes and re-connect and talk about educational issues that we don’t get around to discussing at school.
- Even though I don’t think we watched a single full video session from beginning to end, it was because we ran out of time because we were spurred to discussion by something one of the guests said that we agreed or didn’t agree with (ie. the definition of and debate about homework!)
- I learned that a book study at our school is indeed best attempted over a semester or a year, not a month!
If nothing else, this experience is a good reminder that just because a plan doesn’t pan out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a waste of time. In fact, doesn’t some of the best learning take place when things don’t go as planned.