Monday, April 13, 2015

Learning Together at MACUL: Genius hour, online literature circles and more!

March 18-20th was the MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) conference in Detroit. This year Portage Public Schools was well represented! We had seven staff members presenting and over 25 teachers, principals and staff members in attendance! There was so much exciting learning going on during these three days that we knew we had to capture and share the experience and knowledge with all of you! Each of the attendees were given the opportunity to be a guest blogger and shed some light on what they learned at MACUL. Over the next couple weeks, we will be sharing out their experiences! Thanks you to all our guest bloggers who stepped up to the Learning Together at MACUL challenge!

Our first guest blogger is Kevin Luteyn, fourth grade teacher at Moorsbridge elementary. Kevin is one of our chromebook pilot teachers and was looking forward to learning some new tools and techniques to bring back to his fourth graders. Here is his post:

MACUL was again a great experience. You don't realize what is out there in the realm of technology, when it comes to working in the classroom. There are so many opportunities to use technology to the fullest extent, to not only expand your lessons, but to completely change your approach on how you want the students to go about learning. I was excited to go back to the classroom and start using some of the things that I picked up there. 
I started to really dig into the online formative assessment tools (getkahoot.com, socrative.com, Google Forms, etc.) and the students love showing what they have learned that way. I saw some different things that you can use QR codes for. 
One session that I was impressed with was the online literature circles. Taking advantage of having students communicate and discuss with each other books they are reading online sounds awesome. They get a chance to respond to each others' ideas and thoughts as they are reading their books. They also talked about the students making a book trailer together using a website as well. They finished it off by giving their projects a QR code that is public so that other people from all over can see their book trailer. 
I also liked the idea of genius hour. This gives students the opportunity to research and do projects about subjects that they are really interested in. It also leaves it open for them to present their information to their peers in a way that they want to. 
Unfortunately, due to the end of the year testing, most of the ideas are going to have to pushed to trial next year since the students don't quite have as much access to the technology. All in all, it was a great experience. I was very appreciative to have the chance to attend. Thanks again to the tech department for pushing this through.

Thank you Kevin for sharing your experience with us! We can't wait to see where you take your teaching next!

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