FutureSchools Review – Day 1 Session 3 Part 2 – Masterclass with Jennie Magiera

“We forgot the third date!”
– Jennie Magiera

Welcome back for the last article in my review of the master class run by Jennie Magiera as part of FutureSchools 2016. If you have missed the previous articles, you can find session one here, session two here and session three part one here. This final article will be shorter than the others, I suspect, as it will focus on one particular activity that Jennie took us through, called app speed dating. This activity is an excellent tool for sharing with a large number of people what an app was called, its purpose and how it could be utilised in the classroom. This exercise is also an excellent opportunity for students to show off the apps they love and want to see utilised in the classroom and teach the teachers.

In the first instance, it requires willing presenters who know an app inside out and can explain in four minutes what the app is, what it does, why they love it and how they think it could be used in the classroom as a learning tool. Teachers are allocated a random number (according to how many student-presenters there are set up) and start with that number student. In the four minutes allocated, the student delivers their presentation, and if a teacher likes the app and wants to see more, they add it to their dance card. The teachers may only ask questions if there is time at the end, and when the end of the time is up, they must move to the next student-presenter. Jennie related that they had to teach their student presenters in one school to power down like a robot (with the sound effect!) and ignore any teacher who continued to try to ask questions in order to have the exercise proceed smoothly and without large time delays

“Teachers are the worst students for not moving on when they’re asked.”
-Jennie Magiera

The second date is a little more structured and involves teachers having a playdate with one app in which they see the most potential for them to use in the classroom. They are given a specified time-frame (Jennie nominated one hour as the time they use) in which the teacher in that play-date group can play with that app; press buttons, try things out, fail and learn on their own, without intervention or assistance from the student presenter. Jennie made clear that the value in this phase is that the teacher should be learning  and experiencing success and failure on their own playing, rather than with the instruction of another. Anyone within that play-date group with prior experience of the app should be focusing on developing it further and trying more advanced things rather than instructing others.

The above video is from the EduSlam (@eduslam) YouTube Channel in a Google Hangout session with Jennie where she talks about what App Speed Dating is and you can see some video of it in action.

The third date is a concept that arose from a conversation Jennie had with Miriam of LearningBytes.net who reached out to Jennie and said that she had forgotten to include the third date in the overall concept. A little bit of digging found the below excerpt from an entry on the Learning Bytes website about this very topic:

“So what happens on the third date?

The third date is where the teachers’ trial an App they like in their classroom. Ultimately, this is where they will decide whether they want to go all the way with their chosen App and integrate it into their pedagogy.

The PD session next week will incorporate staff who went on the ‘third date’ as a result of participating in the PLAYDATE. They will each have a couple of minutes to present about their favourite App and what happened when they used it in the classroom.”
Miriam Scott. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/j3tnzhx on 7 March 2016

So we have the first date, where, as Jennie put it, we meet some of the fish in the sea, the play-date where we get to know the app a bit more and try it out, followed by the third date, which is where we give the app a test run in the class to see how it works out. Jennie said that failure at this point can be an important part in subsequent success as it can create cognitive dissonance, which, when pushed through, can assist in embedding new information into our schema. Jennie placed a caveat on this, however, saying that we need to fail with purpose, to reflect and understand why we failed in order to improve on the next occasion.

Reading through the Learning Bytes blog article, it was interesting to note that Miriam took this one step further, where teachers were required to come back to the following Professional Development session and present, briefly, about the app that they chose to take on the third date. Jennie did note that the whole process can be distilled into a one-hour professional development session, similar to how she put us through the exercise.

The first date is dropped off entirely, and the session begins with a playdate. Each teacher is assigned to a table with pre-loaded apps, and teacher’s have thirty minutes, under the same restrictions as in the regular roll-out of the concept, in which to experiment, explore, fail and learn with an app. The members of that table then need to decide who will remain on that table to present to the next group in the rotation, after which, they choose someone from that group to stay and present to the next group.

For example, Jill from Group Two might be elected to stay and present on an app to Group One as they rotate into Group Two while Group Two rotates onto Group Three. Jill presents to Group One and then elects someone from that group to stay and present to Group Four while Jill remains with Group One who rotate around again.

We did not have time for the full set of rotations, however, I was nominated to present in the first set of rotations about the Google Cultural Institute, and then I heard presenters speak about MoveNote, Canva, YouTube360 and Storybird.

After this, we went through some closure activities, sharing with others in a series of rotations how we were feeling at the end of the day, what we had learned over the course of the day and would put into practice, and then general chat. I am very glad that I took the opportunity to attend the master class, and will be speaking with my Principal to see if I can get the ball rolling for the school to fund someone else attending along with myself (I will self-fund again to ensure my ability to go), especially someone who is not particularly keen on technology in the classroom, as if that person attends, gains some insight into the potential and what can be achieved and have the opinion changed, then it could have significant ramifications for the school. It could of course completely backfire, but as the popular saying goes, you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery.

As always, thank you for reading and I hope that you have found some benefit from these review articles. Tomorrow I will begin publishing reviews of the ClassTech conference stream I attended this year. I have seen some useful review articles other conference streams (such as this review of the Leadership stream by Michael Eggenhuizen (@M_Eggenhuizen) or this review by Anna DelConte (@annadelconte) on the Young Learners Stream).

Jump straight to Day Two, Session One, Part One.

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