You Never Know What Will Inspire You- February 23, 2019

You never know what will inspire you. What will inspire others? Last week, I was looking at our Google + SBTS (School Based Technology Specialists), when @MrsLanghorne, the SBTS at McLean HS, shared her March Madness competition. One look and I was hooked- I had to do this for my staff- I imagined how fun this could be. With this being done in a high school, some tweaks definitely needed to be made to fit my school.

So with that in mind, I created VES March Madness. I replaced programs that couldn't be used in elementary school, like Adobe Spark, and uses that I hadn't highlighted with my teachers yet. I wanted it to match my instructional goals and selected programs that matched them. This fall, I spent a lot of time on Twitter and Flipgrid so they were a MUST.

I looked for programs that seemed to me to be good match ups-

  • Flipgrid vs. Padlet

  • Google Docs vs. Google Slides

  • EdPuzzle vs. Forms

  • Twitter vs. Google Classroom.

Now, the hard part- what would be the reward for participating? At first, I thought about gift cards and then changed my mind. What does every teacher want more of? TIME! I see all my K-6 students weekly for 30 minutes each and am frequently asked why our time is SO short! TIME definitely was a great reward.

Looking at @MrsLanghorne's awesome template, I saw there would be 3 rounds for voting and then 3 weeks to try tools. Her try-it competition was based on pineapple visits, which are very successful at her school, but hadn't caught on in mine. I thought about using Twitter, but not all teachers have Twitter at my school. So I chose a tool that could amplify everyone's voices and promote sharing great technology ideas- Flipgrid!

So began VES March Madness 2019...

As you can see, in weeks 1,3, and 5, staff votes with their class' feedback. In weeks 2, 4, and 6, classes are given the opportunity to use the tools remaining and share how they used it in Flipgrid. In those weeks, there will be a raffle based on the grid participation for a BONUS tech time with me. At the end, the class with the most Flipgrid posts will win a popcorn movie party with me and bragging rights as the winner of the first VES March Madness

If you haven't figured it out already, when I get inspired, I get super excited! So on Friday, February 15, I went for it and created my first promo video using SnagIt. It was a huge success.

So who made it to Round 2?

I can't tell you that before I announce it to my students and staff on Monday 2/25! But I will tell you- it was a HUGE surprise to me!

Update: 2/25/19: After an intense round of voting last week, 5 technology tools remain (@Flipgrid, @GoogleForms, @GoogleSlides & @GoogleDocs.) This week, classes get the chance to use these tools and post how their classes use these tools on @Flipgrid.