#FETC14 Countdown: Innovative Workshops Not to Miss!

20 Dec

2014 is right around the corner… Kick off the new year right by plugging into innovative sessions and workshops at upcoming conferences across the country!  Whether you can make it in person or join in virtually, this is a great time to get connected to the best that ed-tech has to offer.

FETC14 SpeakerI’ll be starting out the year at FETC in Orlando from January 28-31.  If you are planning to be there, I’d love for you to join me in one of my workshops as we explore the transformative potential of using technology in the classroom.  Here are three opportunities… and remember to pre-register for these workshops early while there are still spots available!

Tuesday, January 28 – 8:00-11:00 AM
Ed-Tech Transformation: More than Meets the Eye

Today’s interactive, relational and tech-savvy students are not the same 21st Century learners we had the first decade of the millennium and our technology curriculum and integration shouldn’t be either! Join us as we explore proven and emerging ways to revolutionize your class and school with a technology-infused curriculum that drives student discovery, problem solving, collaboration and creativity, all while meeting the demands for academic achievement.

Thursday, January 30 – 8:00-10:00 AM
Digital Village: Using Technology to Increase Parent Involvement

By using Web 2.0 collaboration tools, parents become an integral part of your classroom and their child’s learning! With interactive demonstrations, free resources, best practices, and testimonials, you’ll move forward inspired to turn your classroom into its own digital village. In this interactive session, attendees will engage live demonstrations of collaborative web environments, explore best practices for implementation, view diverse examples, and delve into free, effective collaboration tools like blogs, wikis, Voicethread, video-conferencing, writing apps, online whiteboards – and more!

Thursday, January 30 – 1:00-3:00PM
It’s a Small World: Elementary Global Collaboration

Discover powerful web resources and best practices perfect for connecting young learners around the globe. Gain ideas for tools like Google Docs, Storybird, Voicethread, ePals, Skype, Flockdraw, Quadblogging and more. In no time, your students will be sharing videos, images, knowledge and skills; blogging; storytelling; and even creating websites with other students across the classroom or around the world.

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4 Reasons 3D is Vital to ISTE 2014, plus SIG3D’s Webinar Video

26 Sep

With ISTE 2013 only just behind us, it’s already time to start thinking about submitting proposals for next year’s conference.  The ISTE 2014 Conference will take place in Atlanta, GA from June 28 to July 1, but the call for participation ends in just a week on October 2nd.

As you consider your submitting for next year’s conference, it has never been more important to consider including 3D technologies.  Why?

1.  The International Society of Technology in Education is an organization that represents the interests and priorities of educational technology leaders.  Each year, the conference program and exhibit hall reveal the both newest and more effective technologies and edtech practices to nearly 20,000 attendees.  In recent years, 3D technologies in design/modeling, 3D printing and stereoscopic 3D have represented the true cutting edge in educational technologies.  Including sessions, demonstrations, and hands-on offerings that allow educators to explore these technologies maintains the ISTE Conference’s reputation as the quintessential home for edtech innovation.

2.  3D technologies and applications are internationally relevant to educational best practices.  Stories, research and case studies of successes in teaching with 3D have emerged from countries across 6 continents, with applications spreading widely across the United States, India, and Europe.  With attendees participating from around the world, the ISTE Conference is the perfect venue for exploring and sharing emerging practices relevant to the global learning community.

3.  Knowledge and skills in emerging technologies lead to success in emerging careers.  With 3D applications exploding in design, technology, engineering and manufacturing industries, exposing our students to learning and creating in three dimensions prepares them for future success in college, careers and life.

4.  Teaching and learning with 3D technologies leads to significant learning benefits.  Research from case studies around the world are demonstrating that teaching with 3D technologies is good for students.  For example, when teaching with stereoscopic 3D video, interactives, and simulations, students demonstrate significant increases in learning gains, retention, abstract concept mastery, and more.  A great overview of these benefits can be found in my Stereoscopic 3D Enhances Learning infographic.

To get a better idea of the ISTE proposal process, ways that 3D relates to edtech’s hottest topics, and how to identify your own area of expertise to share, watch our SIG3D September 2013 Webinar archive video: How to Write a Great Proposal for ISTE 2014… and Why SIG3D Members Should!

And if and when you do submit your 3D technology-related proposal for ISTE 2014, I would love to hear about it.  Please, feel free to share about your ideas and approach in the comments below.  I look forward to connecting with you now and at the ISTE  2014 conference!

SIG3D ISTE14 Webinar

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Infographic: Stereoscopic 3D Enhances Learning

16 Sep


Stereoscopic 3D Enhances Learning | Engaging Education Infographic
Copyright 2014 Nancye Blair Black



Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, speaker, author, and consultant.  She is the Founder and Chair of ISTE’s Special Interest Group for 3D in Education (iste.org/sig3d) and recently published a chapter on 3D document camera use in the IGI Global book, Cases on 3D Technology Application and Integration in Education.

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This week in PD: 2 ISTE & STEMx Webinars on 3D in Education

16 Sep

As it happens, when you let the webinars fall where they may, sometimes you end up with a unique week like this one!  This week, I will be presenting two free opportunities to explore the use of 3D in education.

Here’s the scoop:

ISTE SIG3D Webinar:

How to Write a Great Proposal for ISTE 2014…
     and Why SIG3D Members Should!
Tuesday, September 17 @ 8 PM ET/ 7 PM CT/ 6 PM MT/ 5 PM PT

Register for the free webinar here.

Do you have a great 3D idea, lesson, concept, research study or practice that other educators would benefit from? If so, you should consider submitting a proposal to present at ISTE 2014. With growing interest in 3D Design, 3D Printing, and Stereoscopic 3D from ISTE members and the educational community, it has never been more important to represent these emerging and innovative fields at the annual conference! Join us to learn tips for submitting, hear from experienced ISTE presenters, and even connect with other 3D educators to help form potential sessions, posters, forums and more!


STEMx Virtual Conference Session:

In Depth Education: Using 3D Technologies to Enhance STEMx
Saturday, September 21 @ 1 PM ET/ 12 PM CT/ 11 AM MT/ 10 AM PT

Sign up for the free conference here.

Link to the session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=STEMx13Part240

Teaching and learning with 3D technologies have proven to improve student achievement, attention, behavior, and more! Learn how three types of 3D educational applications can enhance your STEM learning at all grade levels!

– Stereoscopic 3D (s3D): Stereoscopic 3D is the most classic use of the term 3D. Most people are familiar with this type of 3D from experiencing it in 3D cinemas and theme park rides, which date back to the early 1900s. Whether with glasses or new glasses-free displays, s3D videos and simulations are increasing students learning gains in classrooms around the world.

– 3D Design (Rendering): As the use of digital tools allowed for the design and rendering of animated objects, the term 3D was expanded to include the rendering of 3-dimensional objects for two-dimensional display viewing. Progressive uses in education may include augmented reality, virtual environments, simulations, video-game creation, and design work using programs like Google Sketch-Up and Autodesk Maya.

– 3D Printing: 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) allows for the physical production of digitally designed three-dimensional objects in a variety of tangible materials from plastic to metal to human tissue. Recently, even President Barack Obama publicly recognized the powerful impact that 3D printing can and will have on American manufacturing and industry. While this process has been expanding rapidly in the corporate market, it is just beginning to enter the educational arena through the “maker” movement, giving students the opportunity to engage an iterative engineering design process firsthand.

While each of these provides powerful opportunities for learning, together they comprise an essential triumvirate for developing the skills and knowledge needed for success in the emerging fields and careers of the twenty-first century. In this session, we will explore the basics of these 3D technologies, research-based benefits to integration, and how to get started integrating 3D into your STEMx education!


Nancye Black

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, author and educational consultant.  She currently serves as the Chair of ISTE’s Special Interest Group for 3D in Education (iste.org/sig3d) and recently published a chapter on 3D document camera use in the IGI Global book, Cases on 3D Technology Application and Integration in Education.  Her blogs and resources regarding 3D can be found at InDepthEducation.com.


Growing School Gardens: An Eco-lutionary Move

10 Sep

Something “eco-lutionary” is cropping up at schools across the country.  While some students might be experiencing the start of the new academic year from behind a desk, others are embracing an expansive sense of classroom that reaches far beyond the schoolhouse walls and into the green.

At our public charter school, Lakeland Montessori Middle School, teachers and administration plan the year with explorations into green space in mind.  P.E. sometimes takes place running around a lake, field trips include environmental clean-ups and snorkeling, and studying biology means much more than just looking at pictures in textbooks.  In fact, during the last school year, the students at LMMS struck up an interesting partnership with one local restaurant, the Red Door Wine Market.  Synthesizing their learning of biology, weather, collaborative design, math, business and even presentation skills, the students designed, proposed and executed the implementation of a “farm-to-table” concept on the restaurant’s grounds.

The result of this entrepreneurial project is a flourishing garden that provides organic lettuces, peppers, herbs and other produce to be served to patrons at the Red Door.  Students were extremely proud to see the literal fruits of their labor… and ecstatic when they first saw “Montessori grown greens” appear on the menu.  Several of the students happened to be on site the last time I ate on the outdoor patio at Red Door.  When asked about the garden, they were eager to share about their project, detailing the various plants sprouting up around the grounds.  In addition to their pride, the depth of learning and retention from the project was also clearly evident.

According to Angeline Stoll Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, working with plants, nature and environmental elements is an integral part of the Montessori educational model.  Maria Montessori went as far as suggesting that elementary classrooms should include ornamental plants, which the children could tend… and that middle grades education should include running both a farm and a local store at which to sell their produce.   Instead of preparing students for the “real world,” this type of project-based Montessori education provides students the present-day opportunity to be valuable contributors to their local community and economy.

Yet the school gardening movement is not limited simply to Montessori schools or even high school agriculture classes.  In fact, many communities and schools across the country are discovering the benefits of empowering students to plant and grow foods.  In his TED Talk, “A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx,” educator Stephen Ritz passionately talks about how growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers has transformed his community, starting inside the classroom and spreading throughout the city.  School gardening in the Bronx is improving both academic achievement and their standard of living.  The students in Ritz’ first cohort of classroom farmers were previously struggling in school with only a 40% attendance rate; with the impact of this program, attendance increased to 93% and all of those students are now in college and earning a living wage.  Ritz says he’s “growing organic citizens, engaged kids.”

Other TED Talkers also see student gardening as a means to economic prosperity.  Ron Finley, A Guerilla Gardner in South Central LA, says that “growing your own food is like printing your own money.”  With little exposure to green space and whole foods, inner city students in South Central LA suffer physically and economically.  A movement to garden in public spaces is changing this for kids in Finley’s neighborhood.  Finley continues, “You’d be surprised how kids are affected by this.  Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city.  Plus, you get strawberries… If kids grow kale, they eat kale.  When kids grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.  But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever the hell you put in front of them… I see young people and they want to work, but they’re in this thing where they’re caught up – I see kids of color and they’re just on this track that’s designed for them, that leads to nowhere.  So with gardening, I see an opportunity where we can train these kids to take over their communities, to have a sustainable life.  And when we do this, who knows?  We might produce the next George Washington Carver.”

School gardening combines learning from all curricular areas into a real world application with multi-faceted benefits to students.  I have personally seen these academic and affective benefits first-hand in the students at Lakeland Montessori Middle.

So, how do you get started with gardening in your school?  Fortunately, there are several ways to learn more – starting today!

The School Gardens Community on edWeb.net is an active group of educators sharing free resources and discussions on growing school gardens.  You can join this community edweb.net/schoolgardens and gain access to their upcoming webinars on growing schools gardening, such as:

–  Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 in an Outdoor, Living Laboratory     Tuesday, September 10, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Whitney Cohen, Education Director at Life Lab

–   From School Garden to Cafeteria Table: How to Plan, Grow, and Use Garden Produce in a School Cafeteria Lunch Program    Tuesday, October 1, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Matthew Doris, Food Service Director & Chef, Tuckahoe Common School District, Southampton, NY.

The School Gardens Community also shares an e-guide about school garden planning and lesson integration by New Jersey educator, Dorothy Mullen, which definitely deserves a look.

One other way to introduce gardening to your students is with a new book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table is a beautiful picture book telling the biography of a former basketball star turned gardener turned MacArthur Foundation Fellow.  In her review of the book, Elizabeth Bird praises Martin for masterfully portraying the connection between economic stratification and access to healthy foods “without getting anywhere near a soapbox.”  More than that, students learn how, with dedication and hard work, someone can turn a big idea into a meaningful reality.  The best part?  The book officially releases today.  And if one book isn’t enough, look for other books that with potential to introduce your deep classroom conversations about gardening, food, health, and economics on the International Reading Association’s list of leveled reading books on the subject.

By making gardening an integral part of project- and inquiry-based learning, we have a unique opportunity to provide our students with more than just academic knowledge.  Instead, we can empower them by developing practical skills for success, not only in math and science, but also in collaboration, problem solving and iterative design; we can raise them with a profound sense of capacity to create, to grow, and to succeed.  Plus, as Ron Finley would say, “you get strawberries.”


Nancye Black

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, author and educational consultant.  She also proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Lakeland Montessori Middle School, a free public charter school in Lakeland, FL.

More information about the LMMS gardening project can be found on The Ledger and WFLA News.

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