Today’s ISTE13 Keynote was given by Jane McGonigal in San Antonio, Texas. I am not fortunate enough to attend ISTE this year, however, tonight’s #CAedchat topic is “Learning is an Epic Win” which happens to be McGonigal’s topic for her keynote speech.
McGonigal specializes in gaming and on her Ted Talk she defines an Epic Win as,
“An outcome that is so extraordinarily positive you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it.”
She describes the face of a gamer who is on the verge of an “epic win” as the same face we should see on a student in a classroom.
This is where #caedchat’s conversation for June 23 comes in.
What are your Epic Wins in education?
I will share a few of mine from this past school year with you…
Genius Hour and 20% Time
This year I began to implement Genius Hour and 20% Time where my students were given the opportunity to take time out of their learning day to research, learn, create, collaborate, think critically, about a topic of their choice. What? Yes. They had a say in what they learned about. From this process I now have a group of boys and girls who collaborate together in a knitting circle. One student has found a sense of calm in his day by knitting a pink and white blanket for his baby sister. Several students created an award winning movie to inspire others to spread kindness and love. Their movie was nominated for an iVIE, won the Escondido Youth Media Festival for 3-5 Video, and won an award at the California Student Media Festival! I had students dive into the art of creating stop animations and students researching famous artists, wrestlers, and football players. Each student was asked to do two things: 1. Create a BIG question to attempt to answer and 2. Present what you have learned to your classmates in some way.
Links to resources:
QR Code Egg Hunt
I blogged about the QR Code Egg Hunt here, but it was by far an epic win! How do I know this was an Epic Win? When my class and I all gathered back into the classroom to discuss the Egg Hunt, I asked them, what do you think? They all exclaimed that was NOT an easy activity (meaning it was a challenging math activity) and that next time I have to hide the eggs better. I asked if they think next year’s class should do this? Everyone shouted at once, “Yes!”
Mystery Location Calls (Mystery Skype) and Mystery Career Calls
We started this year participating in Mystery Skype calls. This is where I connect with another teacher from around the world and set up a day and time for our students to connect via Skype or Google Hangout. Each class is tasked with the job of trying to figure out where the other class is located by asking a series of yes or no questions. This allowed my class the opportunity to learn geography, communication skills, researching skills, critical thinking skills, and most importantly it opened up their eyes to other classrooms around the world.
From the amazing experience of Mystery Location Calls, my students and I invented a new game called, Mystery Career Calls. Each of our Mystery Career Calls were set up by my students. The first connection we made was with a student’s uncle who happens to be a cinematographer in Hollywood. These types of connections are made either with Skype or Google Hangout and are set up much like Mystery Skype Calls. My students ask a series of yes or no questions to try and figure out what job the person has. The questions start our very broad like, “Do you wear a uniform,” and begin to narrow as they learn more information through their questions. When they finally determine the correct job, they then have the opportunity to ask more detailed questions about the career. This was perhaps an even bigger Epic Win as most of my students were truly inspired to learn inside information about Hollywood and Dentistry. I will never forget when one of my students asked the dentist, “Do you ever make mistakes?”
Links to Mystery Skype:
EdTech2U was a conference I co-founded in my district. Several teachers and I decided that it was time for there to be more professional development for teachers in the area of education technology. We wanted to create a FREE conference that was entirely designed by teachers. Our mission was to help spread a love for education technology to as many teachers as possible. At first, as we planned we hoped maybe 50 teachers would come. Well when you picture an Epic Win you can picture our faces when we had over 130 teachers attend our one day conference! The day was a total success! Epic Win!
Some of you may wonder how we ever got approved for such an event? Well, it started just by asking our superintendent if we could. You never know what can happen just by asking!
If you are reading this post, it is probably because you are a #CAedchat follower. You can read all about how #caedchat came about here, but this is by far my favorite Epic Win of all! All of the Epic Wins above were inspired somehow, shape or form by Twitter. Some of them by following a link to someone’s blog, some of them from seeing what other teachers are tweeting about, and some of them from connections that were made via Twitter. Collaborating with the #caedchat team and with other teachers across California is one of my highlights of the week. I truly believe in the Edcamp saying, “The smartest person in the room, is the room.” Together we are smarter, more powerful, and together we can inspire a positive change in education. So thank you to all in my #caedchat PLN for being the biggest EPIC WIN of all!