A couple of weeks ago I had a break in my day and participated in The Global Education Conference. It was an excellent conference session and worth sharing.

I set up a laptop, iPad, and old-school pencil and paper to prepare for the event. I viewed the session on my laptop, followed the Twitter hashtag on my iPad, and took copious notes on paper (and later uploaded to Evernote).

At Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, we sometimes use the “I like… I wish… I wonder…” protocol when offering feedback, whether it be student-student, teacher-teacher, or teacher-student.  Sticking with tradition, I have organized my session reflection in that format as well.

Session Title: Students as Creators and Makers: Tools to Foster Higher-order Thinking Skills by Jeff Hoffart (@JeffHoffart)



I like…

  • The organization of the presentation was excellent. It was fast paced, and yet it thoroughly included a variety of resources, examples of how to use them, and relevant age ranges.  

  • The Symbaloo is a great way to share resources; I am appreciative it was shared with the community!

I wish…

  • I wish the presentation addressed examples of students being makers and creators outside of technology. It could be an additional session next year, as there are many innovative ways for students to be makers and creators using non-tech materials.

  • I wish I had more experience with coding. I’ve read the research articles and seen the popular videos and Ted Talks, but I have not yet tried it out. 

I wonder…

  • I wonder where Scratch, App building, and coding fit into our lower school curriculum? Is there time in the day for these skills, too? If so, what do they replace? Could they be a special just like music and PE?

  • Are students interested in these new technologies? Which are the current crowd pleasers for K-4 students?
  • Should we perform action research to test student understanding of concepts when technologies such as these are used instead of 20th century practices? Could we compare practices that foster higher-order thinking skills with technology and without technology? The results would surely be interesting to learn!



As far as my own action steps go, here they are (and if they are written down publicly, I will definitely need to stick to them!):

5 days from now… I will share my notes from the conference and the online Symbaloo resource with my administrative team, and I will spend time on the website.

5 weeks from now… I will learn how to use and brainstorm possible curriculum applications for the following new technologies: comic strips (using BitStrips or Pixton), 3-D Storybooks (Zooburst), Timelines (TimeToast or Capzles), blogs for younger children (Kidblog), and App creation tools (iBuild App or The App Builder).

5 months from now… I will help at least two grade levels incorporate one of these resources into their unit planning, and I will force myself to have one coding experience. I will also challenge myself to register to present at next year’s conference.