Educamp AKL - Professional Development in Real Time

Have you been along to an Educamp before?  I've now been to quite a few and I always come away inspired, pretty tired and full of lots of options for where to next.   The latest Educamp in Auckland didn't disappoint.    If you haven't been before here's the New Zealand Educamp Wiki - see if there's one near you soon.  Otherwise search for Educamps in your area - they're are plenty worldwide!

What I shared... 

Breakout EDU 
If you haven't managed to give this a go yet, give it a go asap!  The best way I can think of describing it in a few seconds is an escape room in a box... no it's not hiding students in a box :) but hiding clues around the classroom that eventually lead the students to the codes needed to unlock a series of locks and get into the Breakout box.
- immersion to start an inquiry
- reflection activity to stimulate thinking and discussion around a topic
- real time practice of collaboration, working under pressure, problem solving, all the key competencies, testing knowledge and skills in particular areas, team work the list goes on
They broke out!  Educamp Auckland

I mentioned when sharing that I was keen to collaborate and get some more New Zealand content appearing in the Breakout EDU space.  If you'd like to collaborate in a Race around New Zealand feel free to get in touch via twitter @nzleeangela.  The idea is to get a breakout centred around where your students / you work/live in New Zealand so getting some local content to showcase your area and to give others insight into what makes your space special.

I'm looking forward to sharing BreakoutEDU at Ulearn in October too.  Unfortunately I won't be able to share at Educamp BOP this weekend but hopefully someone else will jump in and share it.  It's a great resource to have at your disposal in the classroom.  So many amazing teachers sharing in the community too so if you haven't joined the Facebook group and signed up on the website get onto it -  If you're wanting to purchase a kit you can do from here (they ship from Australia) or you can use this open source list to find and create your own kit

Virtual Reality 
One of my other areas of experimentation at the moment is virtual reality.  I've been playing around in this space for a while now and I'm keen to chat to people about possibilities for use in the classroom beyond just the cool factor.
I bought along my Theta S so a few teachers were keen to see how that worked.  The app makes removal of the giant hand effect really simple as your phone will work as a remote control so you can get out of the picture altogether or just look a little more like you're meant to be where you standing.

I also talked to quite a few teachers about the new expeditions app by Google and gave teachers the chance to have a look at it in action.  A fairly stationary app as it is all controlled by the guide - usually the teacher and directs students to areas within a 360 degree image.  Again while not earth shattering it's a great way to immerse students in a space prior to starting an inquiry

Throughout the day I shared CoSpaces one of my favourite places at the moment - more on this in another post.  Give it a go if you haven't already tried it

What I learnt... 

Scratch and mathematics 
@michaeltheteacher shared his expertise in using scratch in maths, I'm excited about the journey he's going on with this.  There are great features of scratch that you may not have thought of for use in the mathematics classroom - or any curriculum area for that matter.  Michael shared a few potential games students can create fairly simply using the scratch platform.

@HelenofTroy also shared her experience using scratch with younger students and focusing on open ended projects rather than just the step by step projects offered in scratch itself and through help files online.

Maker Spaces and MakerEDNZ 
I've talked with @michael the teacher about this a lot lately and it was great to see him launch his ideas around sharing of ideas and resources in a New Zealand context through MakerEdNZ  Connect with this community through the new Twitter hashtag @makerednz and hashtag #makerednz.  As Michael mentioned there are plenty of teachers out there experimenting with makerspaces but not a lot of collaboration and buying power when it comes to getting resources.  The idea of the community is to build this.  Watch out for some more releases around sharing and collaborating in this space soon.

Where to next... 

  • Collaborate on BreakoutEDU games - maybe a hangout/appearin or something similar to create a few games in one sitting - watch this space
  • Virtual Reality - continue with CoSpaces and connect with a few teachers to help with ideas around touring learning areas with 360 images 
  • Collaborate with MakerEdNZ community to help build a resource for teachers just starting and those that have been using MakerSpaces for a while