Tuesday, June 13, 2017

London Ontario Summit Soundboard

Coming back to my classroom Monday morning, I was ecstatic about sharing what I learned at the EdTechTeam Summit in London, ON. This was my first EdTechTeam conference that I’ve attended, and I must say, what a feeling it is to be surrounded by like-minded individuals for an entire weekend!

Heading into the summit weekend, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve attended traditional conferences that usually included a keynote speaker, sessions that were lecture-style and participants frantically wrote notes. That’s now changed for me. Days before the summit I had downloaded the App (thank goodness, otherwise I would have been lost and late to every session), briefly read over session summaries and chose those that peaked my interest. I packed my devices, and headed to London.

From the welcome I received from Trevor McKenzie at the front door to registering and personalizing my name tag, I knew this wasn’t going to be any ordinary conference. Then came the keynote delivered by Lisa Highfill. And mic drop. Lisa spoke on the concept of focusing on the steps that lead up to the aha moment for students, the frustration that students experience while learning. She inspired the audience to really think about how we “parent” our students (with the help of videos!). It was here in this first hour that my eyes were opened to HyperDocs.

So, “What’s the Hype with HyperDocs?” (Jen Giffen and Joanna Bull’s session title). It is a game changer. HyperDocs is an “Interactive Google Doc that replaces the worksheet/lecture method of delivering instruction”.

My Top 3 Reasons for why I will use HyperDocs in the classroom:

1) Student-Drive: It puts the student in the driver seat for their learning as opposed to being the passenger.

HyperDocs transforms learning and students are engaged from the very beginning. They are invited to explore a variety of text forms through the use of the multimedia text template. (Which I’ve learned, are super easy to set up) Here is an example where we were able to explore and create during our HyperDocs session:

2) No longer are teachers spending majority of their lesson time explaining a topic.

Because of the set up of the HyperDocs model students are engaged and are able to explore the topic, they have gained a greater sense of background knowledge and connection to the topic. Teachers can have those critical conversations with students to delve deeper into the learning rather than just push out content.

3) Students not only apply what they’ve learned, they respond and share too.

How many times have you sat through a presentation so students can share? Or raced around the room to hear multiple students share with their peers? Students can simply share their work and respond easily to each other at the click of a button! What an amazing way to promote peer feedback and shared learning!

Other great sessions I was fortunate to attend discussed coding, the use of Google Sites, and Google tips, tricks, and hacks that were all useful to any novice or regular user. I was super excited to be able to purchase the HyperDocs Handbook, the Google Cardboard Book, and a Google Cardboard to take home and play with. Tekkie Brekkie introduced me to a few toys such as Dot and Dash as well.

Sunday’s KeyNote by Donnie Piercey was filled with fun and laughter. But he did strike home the message: what are you doing that is different? Are students running to or from your classroom each day? It is this thought that drives and inspires me each day.

Katherine Dela Cruz
Elementary Teacher
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

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