#ISTE 2015 – 1 in 3 – Starting a Maker Movement Across the District

Today I presented on Creating a Maker Movement in Surrey BC.

The 1 in 3 format at #ISTE2015 is quite interesting. Narrowing ideas down to present a single idea in three minutes to even submit was a challenge. Synthesizing the ideas to be presented in 3 minutes is a challenge. It has forced me to do specific reflection on what was most important or points of divergence in our process.

As I continued to practice my presentation, I had to trim and tweak small pieces away. I am hoping that with this blog post I can fill in some of the gaps or leaps that had to be made to share how we started a Maker Movement into 3 minutes.

First – Innovation – Honoured and Encouraged

This year ISTE is acknowledging Surrey School District for Sylvia Charp award for District Innovation. We are a urban/suburban district of 72 000 students and 5000 teachers with over 100 languages spoken in homes.

I briefly described that Genius Hour, Passion Based and Inquiry learning were growing steadily in the district. This really is a critical piece that happened strategically.  In the past 4 years, under the leadership of Dr. Elisa Carlson, we truly were able to nurture, foster, and promote innovative practices in the district. We pushed traditional boundaries and asked hard questions about current practice, policy and barriers. As a result, there are many exciting opportunities for teachers and students to engage in learning.

Innovation was not just something a few people were doing, it was growing, spreading, infusing in many areas. This is not a technology phenomenon, it is always about energizing and honouring learning. A teacher told me she put off retiring because this was the most fun teaching she had in her entire career.

Active community connectedness and innovations in our district includes:

Global Read Aloud
Discovery Education Network
Classroom Champions
Global Classroom
Blogging / Wikispaces
Twitter #sd36learn
Video Conferencing
Author Chats
Genius Hour
Mystery Skype
Digital Storytelling

And in 3 years over 15 000 iPads were deployed to 126 sites; HOWEVER, it is still always about the learning.

Second – Continuous PLN growth and ProD

It was a strategic choice was to offer a Professional Development Dinner Series at no direct cost to teachers. Schools and the district share the cost of the 5 events each year. Initially, we started small planning for 80 educators but quickly outgrew our planned venue and moved to a venue for almost 300 that we also maxed out.

We have had 3 incredibly successful years with the Engaging the Digital Learner Digital Series. The format has evolved but we have started taking risks such as live twitter streaming, using AppleTV to share table learning with risky wireless, Skyping in Colin Harris from Ontario to speak and to highlight trailblazers in our district usually through an ignite followed by questions, next a great dinner, and closing keynote by a well known thought leader. This year we have even had presentations by grade 2 students to the room full of educators.

April 2014, Sylvia Martinez came to spend two days in Surrey. Both days included hands on small group work with Sylvia and the second day also included keynoting at the Dinner Series. We share what we were already doing with our teachers, but having an outside thought leader validate our work to ourselves and our colleagues pushed us to take the leap from slow, quiet exploration of making to a district wide exploration.

Third – A wonder team

At the district we also had a team of 4 to 6 leading edge educators that also use technology well.   As a team we were able to navigate many technology and pedagogy challenges. The power of a team of innovative, thoughtful, risk taking peers truly transformed many impossibles into possibles. Drawing on the expertise of the passionate trailblazers helped overcoming hurdles before any large deployments.

Fourth – Drawing on both Trailblazers and Digital Empresarios

Our trailblazers have been honoured and supported through the dinner series and first access to some emerging technologies.

Digital Empresario’s have been a model we have used to initially bring iPads into the district, and more recently with Maker Space tools. Empowering the leading edge teachers that want to do more and are willing to put in the time to overcome almost any hurdle. These leaders guide the next wave of implementation with direct support at the school level.

This year a new term has emerged broadening the scope as ‘EdgePlayers’

Fifth – Targeted Purpose Grants

The initial Maker May 2014 mini maker kits were targeted at roughly a $100 investment in our Digital Empresario’s. This small investment paid high dividends towards broad district involvement. The goal was to offer three different grade level target activities.

Squishy Circuits were aimed for Primary,
Makey’ Makey could be primary, Intermediate, to Secondary
and Arduino for Intermediate / Secondary.

The only expectation was to use them of pass them on to someone at your school who would use them.

The Maker Inquiry Grants were much more extensive and asked school to dig deeper and ask questions about how Making changes practice. Three levels of kits each worth about $3000 were developed. Each kit focused on providing age appropriate resources to explore and develop a play, build, tinker mindset. Main changes between kits were mostly in the electronic components from Squishy Circuits, LittleBits, Makey Makey, and Arduino / Raspberry Pi

Hopefully you can glean from our success.

Slides from the ISTE 1 in 3 will be linked here

Additional information on Making in Surrey is available here

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me and I will support as much as possible.

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