Sunday, October 19, 2014

Genius Hour is coming to RCSD! Whoot! Whoot!

Getting Ready for New Beginnings...

So one aspect of my Major project is to create a space for teachers to collaborate about Genius Hour. I think that this project is so worthwhile, I thought that when you have something like this, it can't happen in isolation. So to kick off Genius Hour in my school division I prepared a collection of resources and a powerpoint explaining some information about Genius Hour, shared a presentation that a friend had worked on for the project, created a video to engage kids in Genius Hour, then had a face to face meeting with potential participants in the project. Although having a f2f meeting may seem like it's taking a step back from digital learning and sharing, I realized that sometimes people just need to have a face to face meeting especially when there are so many levels of comfort with technology. And quite honestly, I didn't want to turn off the "non-techy" people from trying Genius Hour in their classrooms by having too much technology thrown in their face right away. So I used the "old-fashioned" method of communication to invite participants to a meeting... email! :-)

The Meeting...

In my meeting I had about 10 people show up, mostly from Regina Catholic. I also had about 6-7 others who stated they were interested, just couldn't make the meeting. So to start teachers off, we examined the concept with my powerpoint, "What is Genius Hour?" - which I also Tweeted so that participants could reference it later, followed up with a quick exploration of hour to launch it with students and a discussion of the purpose of our meeting.  I also shared a Student Genius Hour power point that my friend Matt Bresciani @mattbresciani  had used to launch Genius Hour in his classroom, so I persuaded him to share it via Twitter as well.  I also created a Genius Hour video via Animoto to help teachers gather enthusiasm for the project for students. Finally, I proposed that we would collaborate via a shared folder/ document on Office 365 (similar to Google docs, but a Microsoft product) and Twitter. Our new discussion hashtag for Genius Hour will be #rcsdgenius . Yaaaayyyy, our hashtag for the project was born!

Moving Ahead...

So, right now I have a small collection of people who have Twitter accounts and individuals who are also new to sharing via Office 365... My school division, Regina Catholic, doesn't seem to have a lot of teachers who were accustomed to using Google Drive, so I think I have a bit of work cut out for me... It's all good - they'll come around. It will just take time. I'm just excited to have started my group of "Reasonably Intelligent Teachers Who Teach Geniuses" of whom will be collaborating and sharing - then in turn get their kids collaborating and sharing. It should be a great adventure!

My Genius Hour Video

Feeling Excited for the possibilities...

My Genius Hour Powerpoint That I Shared With Teachers

So why the QR Code? 

This is a recent tool that I've been experimenting with in my role as a Technology Coach. They are kind of gimmicky, but they really seem to captivate people. On a side note, they could allow for fast directions for students or they could be a fun way for a student to share their genius hour learning in a portfolio... Links to their screencasts for the blogs or to blog entries. Just some thoughts! 
By the way, the QR code is linked to the actual Powerpoint.

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