VR School leaders explore efficient and effective learning

22 augusti, 2018

…and the tools needed to make it possible at ISTE2018 in Chicago, USA

During the last week of June, four school leaders from VR Schools traveled to Chicago, USA to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference. Much of the funding for this trip was provided by the Atlas Konferens.

Along with nearly 17,000 other eager participants, we spent three days in workshops, lectures, visiting the expo, networking with teachers from around the world and reflecting on how all of this new knowledge could empower the students in our schools.

ISTE is so much more than a technology conference. It is a pedagogy conference. It was like a giant discussion of what works best when and where, how to implement best practices, and who to connect with when thinking about new developments. Information, skills and experiences were shared in every direction. Check out #ISTE18 to see examples of what I mean. Or, even better, check out #NOTatISTE18 to see what you missed.

During our visit, some trends became very obvious:

1: Programming

The idea of students of all ages learning how to code was being discussed at every level. The idea of computational thinking extends well beyond the math classroom. A whole body of activities aimed at teaching students how to think in a logical way to solve problems was introduced, discussed and tested.
Further read: Students build coding skills block by block
Examples from VR Schools: Lego League projects

2: Professional development

Everyone was talking about how can we train our teaching force to be “ready”? I noticed that in many settings, teachers were referred to as “learners” and that professional development was no longer about workshops and lectures. It was more about professional learning where teachers had embedded training often administered in a need-to-know, personalized way. I could hear from many of the participants that “technology coaches” had now been replaced with “learning coaches”.
Further read:
Great example of “shifting” to professional learning

3. AR and VR

Very trendy in the gadget world, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are now becoming accessible and “buildable” by teachers and students. Finally, the price is right and the possibilities are endless.
Further read: Check out Google Tourbuilder

4: Neuroscience

This body of research is now leading the choices we make in Instructional Design. How students take in information, remember and connect important ideas, spacing, chunking, looping – all technical terms for how we can more effectively organize learning in our classrooms.
Further read: The Learning Scientists blog

5: Artificial Intelligence

The thought of robots in the classroom scared many people a few years ago. Today, teachers and administrators are starting to embrace the idea of an assistant. Many schools were talking about how they were piloting Alexa and Echo in the classrooms to answer routine questions. In addition, there were multiple examples of how AI, when integrated with our digital teaching material, could help tailor the learning path for just that student.
Further read: 7 Roles for AI in Education

6: Design Thinking

Another trend evident throughout the conference was the idea of creating, designing and making ideas grow. Entrepreneurial thinking, idea-to-action and design lessons and activities were evident in many workshops. On a district-wide and state level, the discussions were focused on how to shift this exciting trend and problem-based way of working from electives and one time projects to a more systematic and integrated part of every classroom at every level.
Further investigation: Favorite speaker at ISTE @thetechrabbi Follow him on twitter for great inspiration

7. Personalized, student-driven, blended, instructional design

Many different words all baked into one idea … empowering the student to take charge of their own learning. How teachers design the learning activities, build the (face-to-face and online) environment, and manage the learning time determine the when, where and how our students will learn. No longer is it a pie-in-the-sky dream to personalize and tailor for each kid. With the right methods and tools, this is finally becoming a reality.
Further read: All that we have learned, 5 years working on personalized learning

There were tips and tricks workshops where we could learn specific skills which could help our daily work:
We learned more about the GSUITE tools: Keep, Photos, Slides, Earth, hyperdocs; Google tools for Struggling Students; Tips for busy coaches; How to better organize professional learning; and much, much more!

Collectively, we were greatly impacted by many of the inspiring speakers. One of the favorites was Alan November (@globallearner). Alan talked about the shifting landscape of learning – unlimited access to information, future-ready skills and just-in-time learning. He shared tips and tricks from his many years of experience. We believe that his message is exactly what our teachers are thinking about … so, we invited him to Stockholm. We are happy to say that Alan November accepted and will visit VR Schools in September 2018.

Perhaps the most important learning we did at this conference was in the shared reflections we did each evening. Combining our organization’s goals and our new ideas, knowledge, and inspiration from ISTE was an important step for each of us and for our entire organization. Now, we are back at our schools and eager to share . . . #sharingiscaring.

Want to know more about our experience? Contact us:

Ingela Spets – ingela.spets@vrskolor.se
Pernilla Hemmingsson – pernilla.hemmingsson@vrskolor.se
Lotta Nordgren – lotta.nordgren@vrskolor.se
Kristy Lundström – kristy.lundstrom@vrskolor.se

From: iste.org

Dreaming big. Transforming teaching. Empowering learners.

Welcome to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), home to a passionate community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education.
ISTE inspires the creation of solutions and connections that improve opportunities for all learners by delivering: practical guidance, evidence-based professional learning, virtual networks, thought-provoking events and the ISTE Standards.

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