Tuesday, April 12, 2016

GAFE Summit

This past weekend I spent my days learning with other educators at the GAFE Summit in Kitchener. This is my fourth summit and I would have to say the best so far.  IMO, there was a variety of sessions ranging from beginner to geeky and some great tools being showcased.  This Google-stamped event was full of Google-type things (as to be expected) but there were a few other gems tucked away in the program as well.  Most of the sessions were geared more to learning about tools,  techniques, and tricks as opposed to tackling big issues in education.  At each of the previous GAFE events, I have spent most of my time sitting on the floor as the rooms fill up quickly. For me, it's literally been a big pain in the butt each year.  This time around, the pre-summit survey of interests seemed to help organizers judge which sessions required larger rooms, which helped spread people out a little more.  I am happy to say that I did not sit on the floor once this year! Here's a summary of the sessions I attended (and the ones I was creeping the tweets/resources for).

Session 1 

I attended the first half of Erica Armstrong's session on Creating Innovative Learning Spaces. She shared her journey to creating a learning space pictured below.  Her classroom evolved over a period of a few years as many of the resources are very expensive and took time to acquire.  She thought critically about the use of space and design with the philosophy that everyone does not need the same (seating, workspace, resources).
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Erica Armstrong's classroom evolved in a way that allows for different needs and interests.

I left Erica's session in order to catch the last half of Donnie Piercey's session titled Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Forms    I learned about some updates to forms and a few new ideas of how to use forms such as the one shared in this tweet:




 Session 2

I attended a session about Google Expeditions with Sylvia Duckworth and Sandra Chow I had a quick peek at Google Cardboard at BIT15 and although experiencing virtual reality was pretty cool, I didn't quite see how it would be useful in primary and junior classrooms where access to smartphones is extremely limited.  I am much more intrigued now that I know iPod touch version 5 will run it and that there are great tools available to create your own virtual reality projects.  I'm tucking this one into my "explore more later" pocket.




Session 3

I wanted to be split three ways during this session, however, I decided to go to Jeffrey Humpfries session Awesomeness with Apps, Add Ons and Extensions I am excited to try extensions SnagIt and Google Tone. Also, learning of Forms add on, Choice Eliminator, was a bonus.  While sitting in on this session, I was creeping in on Sandra Chow's session on Pop Themes - Engaging Students through Dynamic Learning It sounded like a fun session based on the tweets I was reading. I have often utilized pop culture references in events and activities so Sandra's ideas certainly were intriguing to me.  Another session I wanted to attend was Jonathon So's about Using GAFE in a Primary and Junior Classroom I feel that we are just beginning to see what people are doing to integrate GAFE with primary students so this is one presentation I wanted to bookmark to peek at later.

Session 4

By this point of the day I was beginning to get tired and didn't want to think about forms, spreadsheets, and amazing extensions.  I needed a bit of a creative outlet so I decided to attend Sylvia Duckworth's session on Sketchnoting.  I attempted to do this at BIT15 but it took me the entire session to update my ipad in order to download the app so I didn't get to play along.  So this time, I went app loaded, ipad updated, ready to play and catch the tips I missed the first time around.  Gotta love technology because this super cool app Procreate kept crashing every 10 seconds.  I deleted the app and reloaded with the same issues. I seemed to be the only one experiencing this.  Maybe it's time to admit my iPad 2 isn't the device it once was? Once again, I didn't get to create along Sylvia, however it's always good to watch her in action.

Demo Slam:

I'm glad I stayed for the demo slam if only to see Sylvia rapping with the assistance of Incredibox. A few fun resources were shared, however, you'll have to search for the sites as many of the links are not accurate in this spreadsheet.

DAY 2 - Session 5

This was another moment I wanted to be in three places at once, which is not a bad problem to have at a conference. This was a moment I was grateful for session slides being posted ahead of time. I quickly previewed the slides for all three sessions and found that Heidi Mannhardt's session Script-ilicious was pretty easy to follow so I could refer to it later and learn independently.  Great! Process of elimination... Michelle Cordy's session on GAFE and iPads looked like it included some great tips but also lots of stuff I am already doing.  So I decided to go to Leslie McBeth's session on Design Thinking. This was one of my favourite sessions at the summit. Leslie shared experiences with design thinking and challenged the participants to work though a problem using the design thinking framework.  The problem was introduced as "How might we improve the attendance system in schools?" Here's a screencast that shows a very quick demo of our process:


Session 6

I attended Mapping Forms with Molly Schroeder Molly shared some neat ways to display form data geographically.  I had a chance to try it out with a quick test.  A tweet was sent out with my form link and with from the results, I was able to map the location of the participants as well as colour code their responses.


Session 7

I've connected with Rolland Chidiac on social media for a while now so it was great to finally meet him face to face for his session with Jessica Weber entitled GAFE-volution. I think this tweet shows my favourite share during this session and makes me really wanna get my hands on a 3D printer!


Session 8

I attempted all weekend to get into one of the BreakOutEDU sessions with no luck so I was excited to finally get into the very last one!  I have to admit, I was lost for more than half of the challenge, which made me rely on others for clues and support. There was lots of critical thinking occuring to discover and decode clues and collaboration with group members was essential for success.  Our group solved the problem, opening all of our locks with 4 minutes to spare!  I already have an idea of how I would like to use this idea to introduce my next novel study! Thanks Chris Webb & Jeffrey Humpfries!

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