Quest Based Inquiry

Had this session marked in the book the minute I saw it!  I have been in contact with the great folks at Boise State concerning their online courses for educators.  They are going to be talking about their 3D GameLab which is a quest-based immersive environment.  This should be awesome!

Lisa Dawley - Boise State University -

3D Game Lab opens August 1st to public.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, they were born in a different time.

Kids that came to the Game Camp brought their own equipment (ages 13-17).  They were given quests each day, no direct instruction was given.

Challenges are Opportunities for Innovation - Here are some challenges:

  • Disengaged and Bored Students

  • What do we do with "informal learning"? - game and online virtual environments - how do we use it for learning?  how do we assess it?  82% of kids can't even bring their phones into the classroom.  How do we capture this type of learning in one space?

  • Lack of personalized, relevant learning - need to offer choice (quests) and customization

  • Assessment requires observation (Dede)

  • Exponential increase of technology

  • Teachers need access to effective PD

Educational Innovation

  • Innovative breakthroughs require years of intensive preparation

  • ENTHUSIASTIC immersion in a domain results in deep, rich knowledge

  • New ides spur on more new ideas, networks generate cycles of innovation

  • Freedom

How do we design our spaces to allow serendipitous events to occur?

Virtual World Popularity is very high among tweens and teens (ie. Poptropica)

Virtual worlds have become a marketing strategies tied to TV, films, books, and toys.

Around age 10 worlds that have to do with quests and content creation worlds become popular.

We can use simulations (construction and creation opportunities) in the classroom as a simple way to begin bringing these things into the classroom.

Gaming Solutions

  • 90% of teens game - it is how they process the world, it is a literacy for them

  • Meta-game concepts - layering that combines informal and formal learning

  • Games track individually, socially

Quest-Based Learning

Quest a unique educational activity which is part of a journey toward a larger goal.  Delivered to a student when they are ready or able to engage in it (a scaffolding of the learning environment).

Quest-Based Learning on YouTube (great video)

3D Game Lab includes lots of choices for the kids.  Many are games, but some are hands-on activities as well.

Great research results from the kids that have been involved with 3D Game Lab.  Lots of great completion rates when students are given choice.

Raids in the classroom - whole class events where they are working on a large scale mission, more 1 on 1 time by teacher, promotions to new roles for kids, staged activities for small numbers.



Get Ready, Get Set, Get Organized!

What a treat!  This session is being presented by a panel of some of my favorite Twitter Educators!  Beth Still, Josh Allen, George Couros, Paula Naugle, and Jason Schrage.  They are going to be talking about how to organize your digital life to make the most of your time, which is necessary for all educators!  Can't wait!

Josh Allen is going over Diigo, the online bookmarking tool, and talking about how you can create groups within to share bookmarks.  Use it as a "search engine" instead of Google when you are looking for things! Set up a group for your class.

Talking about the value of Wikispaces Can request free educator account that will not contain adds.

Google sites has a file cabinet that will turn all uploads into Google Doc (easier to open).

Paula Naugle is presenting Edmodo - She provides communication with her students to look at each morning when they login.  Glogs can be embedded in Edmodo using the new button on Glogster that says "Edmodo this Glogster".  Nice that kids can only send out messages to class or teacher, not individuals. *Remember to use Edmodo to make collaboration groups for projects or reading groups this year.  Can open up groups to collaborate with students at other schools by creating a group and providing your collaborators with the code.

Kidblog - great kid-friendly blog hosting site (my kids would agree!!)  To transition to new year, archive old class and create new class.  Kidblog is working on a solution to this.



Dropbox - A "magic pocket" that you download (2 G storage space) and then can access your documents from any computer.  Syncs across multiple computers.  Sign up for "Dropittome" and kids can hand their work into your Dropbox.  You can also move files into the public folder, generate a link, share the link with students and they have access to the document.

LiveBinders - Great online 3 ring notebook.  Mr. Schrage puts his vocab lists in Google Docs and puts each one on a tab of a LiveBinder.  Also a great place to store the kids' various user names/passwords privately!

Beth Still going over Moodle for organizing classroom.  Like that you can put Widgets on the side to various websites/student blog aggregators.  For educators that don't have systems using Moodle a good tool is Sqool Tools. This site will allow you to host 2 classrooms.

iGoogle - customizable page when you start up your computer (make it your homepage).  You can add lots of different block and widgets of things you'd like to look at each day.  Add html block with important sites.






Assessing Students Using Web 2.0 Tools

Sue Bedard and Rena Hanaway, Full Sail University

Both presenters used Vokis to introduce themselves.  Cute!

Using Qwizdom remotes for questions they've embedded during presentation.

Challenge Based Learning

  • students direct learning

  • provide a solution to a challenge

  • teacher facilitates the process

  • purposeful use of Web 2.0 tools for organizing, collaborating, and publishing

  • 24/7 access to up-to-date technology tool and resources so students can their work

  • Big Idea, Essential Question, The Challenge, Guiding Questions, Guiding Activities, Guiding Resources, Solution/Action, Assessment, Publishing student sample

Rubrics being used by most educators to assess, followed by Tests.

Sharing Web 2.0 Sites

Educational Gaming with NOAA

Peg Steffen, NOAA Educator

Educational games combine entertainment features with learning objectives.  It turns passive learners into active ones.  Develops 21st Century skills and may help keep students engaged in science.

NOAA partnered with Montgomery College Computer Simulation and Gaming Department to develop and create the games.  Modeled games after California estuary and other real life ecosystems.

Water Life Series - Where Rivers Meet the Sea (teaches about estuaries) - Linear Progression Game

  • Can enble sub-titles in several different languages. (Click the yellow speaker icon)

  • Game starts with a video story scenario

  • Game does a good job introducing the tools you will need to help solve the problem.

  • Contains a Field Guide which will help with vocabulary and other factual content.

Mini Games: 7 Sea Turtle Games

  • Includes information about sea turtle life cycle

  • Political implications with preservation

  • Nesting issues

  • All include thorough field guides

  • Information included for educators related to lesson planning and background having to do with standards.

Games were field tested and assessed for ease of use and level of understanding. 

All the games are Flash-based, so can't be used on iPads.

End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck

Goodies from Ron Clark

They use Active Expression.  Teachers put in series of questions into the system, students work at own pace, but teacher can monitor who is having trouble in real time. System gives them one question at a time.  It immediately lets them know if they are correct or not.  Teacher can send individual messages to the kids' devices.  They go throughout the campus answering various questions and the teacher can still monitor.

He develops questions for books they are reading, and kids answer the questions as they are doing their silent sustained reading.  He can monitor on his computer each student's progress. Kids motivated to answer the questions as they read and more engaged in the book.

Challenge highest kid, and then hold all other kids up to that same level, but do it through passion, fun, relevancy, engagement, and technology.

Taught lots of math concepts through songs to current tunes. Always include movement.

Instead of raising their hands if another student can't figure out the answer, they wait and then start cheering for the student. Someone will shout out, "_______ you can do it!"  Developed cheers that they would give each other for support.

He uses the Active Expression to ask questions on the fly, "What's the answer to Step 2?" while class is trying to solve a multi-step problem. Can tell immediately who is struggling.

Doesn't allow kids to go down the hall too slowly, they have too much to do!  Mr. Clark tell them he'll start without them if they are late, so they are motivated to get  there.

Gives 5 quick review questions on the Active Expression when they first come into the classroom. They get started right away to answer them.  Kids showed some of their motivational songs and then went down to Promethean display to demonstrate some of the ways they use the Active Expression remotes.

Teaches them to come into the classroom at a brisk pace, say hello, sit and get busy.  Every time they don't he makes them go back out in the hall EVERY TIME, until they get it right.  Teaches them to look him in the eye and shake his hand. Teachers must model the expectations and then demand them each time!!

Passion, High Expectation, Manners/Respect - 3 Crucial Elements!

The End of Molasses Classes new book coming out July 26th.  All proceeds from all of his books go to the foundation for his students.

Don't be afraid to be innovative and creative!  Told the story about the symbol the tube slide represents in his school.  Do things differently!


The End of the Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck Part 2!

Goodies from Ron Clark's Presentation


The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck

Okay, so that title caught my attention, and then I saw the presenter.  Ron Clark!  Yes, THE Ron Clark of the Ron Clark Academy in Georgia.  The same one whose story was shared in the movie "The Ron Clark Story" with Matthew Perry.  The best part is that he has brought a group of his students.  One young man, dressed in his khaki pants, light blue button-up shirt, and Academy suit coat, just introduced himself to an ISTE participant sitting behind me.  He asked how her day was going and carried on a sweet conversation about being able to go to the Ron Clark Academy.  After answering several of her questions, he held out his hand and said, "It was very nice to meet you ma'am, and your name is?", and while he shook her hand, looking her square in the eyes, he repeated, "It was nice to meet you, Kim."  Very impressive!

I am so excited to see this session because every summer I re-read Mr.Clark's two books (which I was lucky enough to get signed when he presented at the NC Technology Conference two years ago).  This summer I lent the books to two of my colleagues to read.  There are so many valuable tips that empower you and your kids to make the vital personal connection necessary for effective learning.  As I have gone to many brain-research workshops and sessions lately, it has become increasing clear that this relationship and connection is the foundation for what my kids will be motivated to accomplish during their time with me.  Although I have always known the importance of that special relationship, it never hurts to treat myself to a little Ron Clark enthusiasm!

Just now, as I was typing Daryl Ann, a Ron Clark Academy student, came up and introduced herself and we had a short conversation about what Promethean has done for the school.  She was very complimentary of the company, as I'm sure she was asked to be since this session is hosted by the IWB giant. However, even beyond the sales pitch, what always impresses me about the students is their ability to speak clearly with eye contact and enthusiasm.

So here I sit in a room that is beginning to fill to capacity, awaiting my Ron Clark fix!

Dr. Z's Creative Cookbook for Collaborative Communications

Dr. Zeltz University of Northern Iowa

  • Taught audience how to backchannel on Twitter #drzcooks


  • Learning is Social!

  • Learning is Contextualized

  •  Collaborative word processing documents - Can change the name after the forward slash to what you want instead of the random numbers the site gives your document.  My kids LOVE this site!

  •  - Dr. Z's blog

  • Gen Y characteristics: like to learn, work, and play at same time

  • Don Tapscott - author of Growing up Digital - check out his YouTube channel - info on working with Millenials

  • Skype - Around the World with Skype -


  • - record and upload audio - Use it to give an audio assessment to kids ; add .mp3 to end of address of recording and you can send the kids the file

  • Use Google Forms to collect data from kids

  • Jing - free download for screencasting -

  • Jaycut - - Online video/audio editor

  • Flipping the classroom - creating videos for the kids to watch at home allowing for more time to collaborate in the classroom.

Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.