12/1 ILE Update

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This week marks the third week of the HeplDesk Digital development process! So far, Manas (my partner) and I have laid out the storyboard for the IOS application on template called AppPress, which allows us to see the storyboard in action before the coding of the application is complete. Now, you may be asking: why can’t we justApp press use this template to make the application and avoid the coding process? Well, as much as we’d love to, it’s not that simple. Storyboard templates just as AppPress do not allow developers to extrapolate their work from the online template. But rest assured, we are exploring all of our options. In the meantime, we are currently in the process of getting our names onto BHS’s app-developer’s license. With any luck, our names will be listed come BHS’s next license update. That said, we are still working on the coding (Swift) and are still relying on couple of online tutorials for guidance. But as of now, I am happy to report that things are going well and, more or less, as planned. Any ideas/suggestions are much appreciated so feel free to comment on this post or shoot us an email at mandmdevteam@gmail.com. Otherwise, stay tuned for more updates!

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1.1 Visit @ BHS

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Sharing one’s own experiences with others is always a rewarding experience. As Help Desk students, last Thursday’s 1.1 Visit at BHS was just another opportunity to draw on our experiences to showcase the school’s technologically advanced environment. My classmates and I acted as mediators, providing insight on the school’s 1.1 environment and citing first/second hand experience to do. I’m glad to say that my partner (Jhymon)  and I worked together rather effectively, exchanging points and calling upon one another’s unique experience to answer our visitors’ questions.

The visitors in our group were curious as to holarkinw the iPad was used in various subjects, namely mathematics and English. Of course, both Jhymon and I gave our two cents regarding how we utilized the iPad in these subjects. Yet, we felt that the best way display the use of the iPad was to show the visitors, first hand, how the iPad was used in select few classes. Math teachers, including Mr. McNeill and Mr. Blanchette, explained how not only the iPads, but the SmartBoards, were very helpful in the classroom. Notability was also highlighted as one of the most effective applications in the mathematics hall. As for English, many of our visitors were surprised to find that students could use their iPads to not only read the novels assigned to them, but to annotate them in a very organized manner as well. We were also able to catch students using their iPads to access primary/secondary sources amid a research project. In Mrs. Mckee’s classroom, our visitors saw students engaged in a class discussion, during which students used iPads to organize their notes.

The opportunity to address the entire audience of visitors is one that I hold very highly. It’s not every day that one gets put “in the spotlight”. So given this opportunity, I opted to share a bit about a couple of the technology conferences at which I’ve presented with Mrs. Scheffer and a few classmates. I also got to share a bit about my ILE, developing a Help Desk IOS app. Overall, I felt as though I was able to articulate myself effectively. But, given more time, I’m there would have been plenty more for me to share with our guests. Once again, it’s not everyday that we, as students, get the opportunity to help others by sharing our own insight and expertise. That being said, I’m thrilled to say that BHS’s 1.1 Visit was, without question, a great success!

Multimedia at MassCUE

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If I was told at the beginning of this week that I’d be attending two state/region wide technology conferences on behalf of BHS in a matter of 6 days, I wouldn’t have believed it. Still recovering from an amazing experience at Edscape, I was blown away by all of the technology showcased at MassCUE. Here at Burlington, we feel that we are in the know on all of the educational technology out there. But as a matter of fact, there is a whole world of educational technology that BHS is yet to be exposed to. At MassCUE, I learned about several innovative technologies tailored to education, some of which were in use at BHS and some of which were still foreign to our 1.1 environment. Companies such as Canvas, IDEO, and ThinkGate have significant technologies to offer to every advanced educational environment out there, and it’s only a matter of time until BHS expands even further into the realm of the educational technology. But in the meantime, I think it’s safe to say that we have enough technology at BHS to maintain a more than efficient learning environment for the student body.

Escape to Edscape: Student Reflection

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As a student in a building crowded with technology specialists and educational instructors, you could definitely say that I was taken right out of my comfort zone by the Edscape Conference 2014. Never before had I seen such an assembly of experts from all over the country, each spreading their own message and collaborating simultaneously. And so what I had originally thought to be just another technology seminar, ended up being an eye-opening experience to say the least.

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Manas Purohit (left) and Michael Seleman (right) interviewing Josh Stumpenhorst (far right) during Edscape 2014.

The conference kicked off with a presentation from keynote speaker, Josh Stumpenhorst, renowned educational instructor and IL Educator of the Year in 2012. During his presentation, he mentioned a couple of key points regarding the role of educators in student growth. According to Stumpenhorst, “If you’re teaching now the same way you were teaching 10 years ago, you’re probably doing something wrong”. There’s no question that the world is constantly changing; whether for better or for worse is debatable. But what’s not debatable is that the learning methods of this generation should not be limited to those of the previous generation. But what is the role of the educator in this ever-evolving system? The answer is simple, but it’s easier said than done. Stumpenhorst, for one, feels “It’s our responsibility as educators to tap into student passion and allow them to be innovative within and without the classroom”. As children, we were insatiably curious, eager to learn about anything and everything that crossed our path. But as we developed within classroom, that curiosity was suppressed, and took a back seat to mastering the curriculum presented to us. So what we need now is to rekindle this curiosity in students in any way possible. In Lincoln Junior High (Naperville, IL), Stumpenhorst has implemented “innovation days”, during which students are given an entire school day to work on a project in their field of choice. What better way to give students the opportunity to explore passions outside of the established curriculum. That being said, we at BHS are not lacking in outlets for student innovation either. Our branch of TED Ed, for example, encourages students to pursue innovative ideas and share them with the world.

But If I’m being honest, the highlight of the conference was meeting, Sandra Paul, Director of Technology at Sayreville Public Schools. As soon as we were introduced, I could tell that Ms. Paul was genuinely interested in what my classmates and I were doing at BHS Help Desk. Talking to her, I realized that what we do as Help Desk students is bigger than the Burlington community. Since Help Desk has taken off at BHS, word has spread about the benefits of a student-run help desk within any technologically advanced school. But that aside, I think it’s safe to say that Mrs. Paul encouraged me to pursue my passions outside of the classroom. Her appreciation for what my classmate, Manas Purohit, and I hope to accomplish in the realm of technology is truly inspiring. I’m not going to lie; heading into Edscape, “networking” wasn’t exactly something that appealed to me. But now I see the value of being connected to others of the same interest in a world where opportunity is almost omnipresent. And to think, that’s just one of many key take-aways from today’s experience.

All in all, attending the Edscape Conference was an experience to remember. What my classmates and I have learned here simply can’t be taught inside the classroom, but is undoubtedly just as important. So thanks to Mrs Scheffer and BHS as a whole for giving me the opportunity to grow and explore beyond the confines of my comfort zone here at Edscape.

P.S. I was one of three BHS students presenting at the conference! If you missed our session, take a look at the presentation linked here.