Update on #oneword2024 #author

As my Spring Break comes to a close, I am so grateful for all of the amazing interactions that I have engaged in our the past week. I started my Spring Break by attending my first ASCD conference. On Friday, I got the opportunity to have breakfast with other Emerging Leaders, go see the cherry blossoms in bloom, and get recognized for our class's accomplishments as the ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2023.  Then, on Saturday, I had my first ASCD session to a packed house. I also got to attend some phenomenal sessions from other amazing educators. Sunday was the UDL Playground and I am so proud of all of the fabulous presenters that I was able to highlight. Then, on Monday, I capped it off with my second presentation to a group of enthusiastic and thoughtful educators.  There is something about ASCD that I can't quite describe- but it inspired me in ways that I never expected. Maybe it's the people and the connections I made, but something special was in the air. That spark energized me and this week, I began writing my second book- the book that has been calling at my heart for the past month or so. It is still being worked on and I can't wait to share more details on it as my writing progresses.

So as you can see, my #oneword2024, #author, is continuing to evolve. Working on my next book, I have refocused  on my "why" and I am so excited about all of the big things that I have planned in the coming months related to my "why."  Be on the lookout for those things in the coming months- I plan to use April and May to work on those ideas and am excited to start sharing updates starting in June.

TransformED: Amplifying Learning Using Tech Tools

Two weeks ago,  I focused on the importance of using collaborative tools with your students. Many times, when we consider using collaborative tools with our students, we think of this on a larger scale and ignore the necessary steps and scaffolds that our students need to build these skills.  Like any skill, collaboration needs to be taught and we need to help our students learn how to work together especially on a digital canvas

This week, we will focus on how you can engage your students in authentic learning experiences that will better prepare them for their future. Working in the elementary school setting, I have noticed that sometimes in our zest to protect our students, we miss out on opportunities to engage them in these authentic learning experiences. One area where this is more important than ever concerns the implementation of artificial intelligence in our schools. There are such strong feelings associated with this work and we need to make sure that not only are educators informed, but so are our students.

Identifying a Student Facing Resource

This year, I am honored to be part of an AI Innovators Cohort in my district. This cohort includes educators from many different disciplines and grade levels. After our initial orientation, where we went over expectations and learned about the work our district has already engaged in concerning artificial intelligence, we were asked to select an area of focus for our Innovation Project, that we would later present on during a Share Fair in May.

My School Based Technology Specialist (SBTS) mentee and I noticed that although there were a lot of resources for secondary students, we did not see a lot of resources for our upper elementary students.  We then decided this would be a great opportunity to collaborate since we both do seven week one-hour electives with grade 5 and 6 students.

Currently in my district, there is only one student-facing tech tool, Adobe Express,  that has generative AI features available to students. So we decided to start with that. We wanted to make the experience as hands-on as possible, while providing our students with the science behind it. We also wanted our students to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of using AI in a safe, digital environment.

Making it Relevant for Younger Students

As we continued our search and began to dig deeper into the science, we determined that since most of the resources that we found were specifically designed for the secondary grades that we would probably need to mix and match these resources to best meet our students' needs.

To do this, we used several resources and would love to share our recommendations based on our work so far.

2. Common Sense Media- AI Literacy Lessons:  One of our favorite lessons was Lesson 1. This lesson was a great introduction to AI. When we first started talking about AI, most of my students' only frame of reference was ChatGPT. This lesson got them thinking about AI in broader terms.

3. Adobe Express Creative Challenges: There were so many great lessons here. We started our students off with Using Text Effects in a Name Tag. They especially loved the AI Alter Ego activity using Text to Image too.

4. ISTE Guides for Engaging Students in AI Creation:  We thought these resources were great, but they are a little long for our timeframe, but definitely check out their Elementary Guide.

Next Steps

Consider how you engage your students in transformed learning experiences including learning about artificial intelligence and its impact on our lives and learning. Are there any additional resources that you would recommend? Do any of the tips that I shared resonate with you. I would love to hear all about it in the comments below.

A reminder and a huge thanks to Kyle Hill for hosting the Recharge Learning Virtual Bash that features 50 workshops and  is offering free access to everyone who reads my blog to the Bash until June 2024.  Click this link to join. Two of my sessions are included in this bash too.