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MassCUE Fall Conference 2019 - Recap

About the Conference

MassCUE is the tech education organization for the state of Massachusetts.  CUE stands for "computer using educators" and is kind of an outdated term, because obviously technology in 2019 is not just about "using computers" but incorporating mobile tech (iPods, iPads, Chromebooks) web tools, robots, etc. into education.  They offer a number of PD opportunities throughout the year, but the Fall Conference is definitely the go-to. Plus, it's at Gillette, and when the Pats are in town, you can see them practicing.

There are a ton of educators, administrators, and vendors that come and offer presentations and workshops on the latest and greatest.  I was able to attend several sessions and talk to a bunch of people.  Here's a quick snapshot of the two day event.

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is a great new tool from Google that easily allows you to create digital dashboards for any number of things - analyzing MCAS data, linking to a spreadsheet from a recent assessment, view survey results, etc. 

Measuring Technology Integration

As an Instructional Technology Specialist, my primary responsibility is to be a resource to you in integrating technology into your curricula.  Although running around helping, researching new tools and apps, and just "being there for you" are great parts of my job, to do it most effectively, I need to reflect on my work with you and be able to qualify and quantify my work with accurate data and information.  Long story short, this workshop was geared specifically for me.  But, there were some great resources included that can help you frame your thinking when looking to incorporate a tech tool into your lesson.

A Dozen SEL Tools for LRE or IEP (or anyone)

This was a great session totally relevant for current initiatives in the district revolving around Social Emotional Learning.  The presenter provided information about a useful website highlighting a plethora of tools.  Here are the tools we went over:

  1. Google Docs Comments feature
  2. Google Docs Version History
  3. Read&Write voice notes (free for teachers, paid for students)
  4. Read&Write check it tool
  5. Grammarly
  6. ReadWriteThink - Trading card creator, magnetic poetry, comic book
  7. NewsELA
  8. ReadWorks
  9. StoryboardThat
  10. Speech to Text with Google Docs or Read&Write
  11. Class Dojo immediate feedback and goalsetting
  13. Jeopardylabs and Flipity - Jeopardy type games 

Engage, Empower, Amplify: Finding & Promoting Student Voice

This was by far my FAVORITE session of the entire conference.  The presenters were engaging and enthusiastic about the topic and provided a lot of food for thought.  I highly recommend you follow Chris and Beth on Twitter, as they have a lot to offer educators of all subjects and levels.

Link to presentation:

Why student voice?  

  • When students are more invested in things, that will translate into more of their success in school.
  • Observation that students “wait around” for things to happen, without feeling that they may be capable of starting something
  • Have students feel that they have a role in their learning.  It’s not something that happens to them.

Susan Cain - Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking
  • Sometimes we can jump to talking too quickly.  Need to have time to write/think before they are saying.  Think Pair Share would be better.  Kids need processing time.
  • Using Pear deck gives them an opportunity to think, write, and then discuss 

Giving Up Control: Student Agency in the Classroom

PBL (Project Based Learning) is a process.  The goal for last year for the presenters was to make more meaningful reflection and more ownership.

They noted that student agency does not mean that it’s a free for all for students.  Enabling students to explore on their own means we are giving them a structure/protocol/resources/plan to follow.  This is in depth and thought about by the teacher in advance.

Samples (included in the presentation):
  • Graphic Organizers - Cupcake/Birthday Cake/Wedding Cake (progression from simple to more complex)
  • Entrance/Exit tickets- especially related to group work
  • Protocols
    • Example: Types of Group Project Roles (Resource Manager, Directions verifier, reporter, recorder, task manger, team leader) - example sheet in presentation with guiding questions.
    • example - reminder sheet - What does Good Research Look Like?
    • example - reminder sheet - Project Day Protocol
Ask them "What type of feedback do you need?"
  • Give them examples of feedback that would be available to them.
  • Give them a feedback form to fill out once the project is done so you have the data. 

Blended Learning Playlists

Playlists are a way to organize a blended learning lesson for your students.  This is generally a document that contains the information, tools, links, and goals related to the lesson.  The format allows your students to choose which order they complete the objectives, and can also give them choice over the tools they use to complete it.

Other stuff

Although I learned a lot, there were a lot of sessions that I wanted to go to, that time just didn't allow.  Luckily, most presenters publish their slides so you can steal some great info and tools from those.  I went through ones that seemed most interesting, and put them in a Wakelet board (below).

If you'd like to browse through the entire list of sessions and the resources the presenters provided, you can check that out here.