Monday, December 3, 2012

Rockin' with our Ninth Grade iPad "Wizards"

Lucy gets the girls organized
Last week, 26 MHS ninth graders spent a full school day with our Mercy 2.0 professional development consultant, Lucy Gray.   Lucy has facilitated staff PD with the staff through the year.  On Friday, she spent a day challenging and organizing this enthusiastic group of freshwomen who had applied or been invited to join this group.  Lucy put them through the paces with a number of activities:

Ice Breaker
Lucy has a great idea for helping our ninth graders become acquainted-- She asked each one to name her iPad "superpower" and favorite app. There was an unanticipated benefit to this conversation.  The girls served as a window into the classroom usage of the iPad and to what degree it had been integrated into their teachers' instructional methods. Their nominated apps were interesting, and I will share them in an upcoming post.

Doing the Research
In anticipation of the day, Lucy, Tom James, and I developed an agenda that we shared with the girls in the form of a Google Doc.  Included in the agenda were links to sites which featured student technology groups which were active elsewhere.  Consequently, after the ice-breaker, the girls did some online research and brainstormed about the mission and activities of our particular group.

Kern Kelley streamed live to us.
Video Conferencing
Before and during lunch our ninth graders visited Utah, Maine, and Chicago by teleconferencing with Steve HargadonKern KelleyJason Markey.  These three esteemed educators shared their ideas about the formation of student tech groups such as ours.  Kern's description of the Tech Sherpas was particularly helpful.

Taylor shares her group's ideas.
Plotting a Game Plan
The girls came up with the following consensus on the types of activities they would explore and develop:

  • Tech Support
    • Live streaming events
    • After school drop in sessions
    • Screencasted tutorials
    • Blog posts with tech tips and advice
  • Advocacy
    • Help with tech orientation for new students
      • Co-teach with orientation leaders
    • Weekly tech tips in a blog, on twitter and other social media
    • Skits, commercials, and movie trailers around tech use  and being a good  digital citizen
    • Promote informal use of tech  outside of school
  • Communication
    • internal
    • external
    • Geek spirit
  • Advisory
    • Communicate with faculty and ststaff  about issues of coincern
      • social media
      • apps
      • procedures

Ms. Smith shares a comment while Wizards work on the Ning
Building the Ning
The group spent considerable time discussing the platform for future online collaboration. Drawing on Lucy's rich experience in social media we decided on a Ning.  

For the last hour of our day together, the group went to Mercy's new iMac lab to work on building the Ning. The Ning is ideal for the group, because it is private, serves as a marvelous place to store media and conduct discussions. The girls also joined task forces on the Ning

Throughout the day I took advantage of my relatively passive role to take pictures and record video about the wizards and other Mercy 2.0 matters.  

Without a doubt, November 30, 2012, was one of my favorite all-time days at Mercy. 

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