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The Power of Connection

This week we welcomed former Greenwood Elementary students back home. Several graduating Seniors walked the hallways they once traversed as K-5 students.

Music played over the P.A. system to celebrate returning Alumni.  After the “walk” the Seniors took time to reconnect with former teachers and even shared some inspiring advice with our 5th graders.  Seeing the power of “connection” is hard to put into words.

This short (2 minute) video captured a few of the hugs, high-fives, and connections that were made.  Click HERE to view the video.

 

Yearbook

We’ll also be embedding this video into our K-5 students’ yearbooks using augmented reality (AR) technology.  To view the video using AR follow these three quick steps:

  1. Download the Aurasma app
  2. Follow the “Greenwood Elementary” channel
  3. Point the Aurasma viewfinder at the cover of the yearbook and watch the magic begin.

In addition to the “Welcome Home” video, we will also include several other fun surprise videos throughout the yearbook that are accessible using augmented reality and the directions above.  Enjoy the memories and stay connected!

“Once a Grizzly…Always a Grizzly.”

Image Credits for Video:

Thanks to Adam Hinnenkamp for the drone footage of Seniors as they arrived!

Special thanks to Greenwood Elementary and Wayzata District staff for sharing photos to the #GWgreats Twitter hashtag and shared folder in Google Drive.

Talking Business Cards

2015-16 Art Trading CardEach year I share a principal baseball card with families prior to school starting.  It’s a great way to make an initial connection and help students see who their principal is prior to school starting; call it an initial investment in the relationship.

The cards typically portray me participating in a hobby I enjoy.  Past cards have featured reading, football, soccer, writing, technology, basketball, and more.  (When one of our students was ‘Principal for a Day’ we created principal baseball cards for her sitting at my desk.)  The back of my card always shares some ‘stats’ too (i.e. favorite book and school lunch).  However, if you read the back of the cards carefully you’ll notice a fun surprise.

The back of the card includes directions for accessing bonus video content powered by augmented reality technology.  Augmented reality is simply supplemental digital content that is overlaid directly on top of the business card.  This is comparable to watching an NFL football game on television and being able to see the digital first down lines and video replays on the television set.  Those who are in attendance at the football game do not see the digital first down lines or video highlights on the actual football field, but technology allows users at home to enjoy an enhanced viewing experience.

Sometimes the bonus video I embed in the business cards via augmented reality includes a special message to students and other times it incorporates humor or special effects.  One year I ended my video greeting on the baseball cards by telling students, “All we need for this to be a great school year is YOU!”  I had parents of kindergarten students approaching me sharing that their children were super excited to come to school, in part, because “The principal said he needs me.”  It was so cool!

Well…we still need our fantastic kids to make our school the special place that it is.  However, this year I’m highlighting some of the amazing work of staff as well as pedagogy in the augmented reality videos.  To access the bonus video content you need a tablet or smartphone and an augmented reality app.  Simply download the Daqri app and scan the photo on the baseball card in the Daqri app’s viewfinder.

2015-16 Computer Trading Card

Trading Card Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Occasionally educators will inquire about how the cards are created.  This year I designed the cards in MS Publisher and sent the file to a local printing press for production.  The cards are printed on cheap cardboard (just like real baseball cards) and I’ll pass them out to families at Open House.

NAESP National Panel on Innovation

Click Flyer to View Video

Click Flyer to View Video

We’ve got an NAESP National Panel planned with some spectacular surprises.  Join us for a conversation about innovation and connectivity in education.  To get to know the presenters before the conference, simply click on the image above or download the DAQRI augmented reality app on a mobile device. (Just hover over the flyer while in the DAQRI app to launch into a 4D experience!)

Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Time: 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Location: Long Beach Convention Center, Room 201B

Presenters Include:

Amy Fadeji

Ben Gilpin

Brad Gustafson

Joe Mazza

Todd Nesloney

Theresa Stager

Can’t travel to NAESP in Long Beach? Watch for a Periscope link via Twitter to join us virtually!

Literacy-O-Lanterns

Pumpkin Pic 2014 group

Each year our school displays several “Literacy-O-Lanterns” in the Media Center for students to enjoy. Armed with only a Sharpie and some acrylic paint, I decorate the pumpkins with characters or cover art from popular children’s books. This year’s crop features some new titles and old favorites. Our ultimate goal is to foster a genuine love of reading, and to get kids talking about their favorite books.

How many of the characters & books represented on the pumpkins can YOU guess?

Hints:

  1. One of the pumpkins above is connected to the 2014 Global Read Aloud created by Pernille Ripp. Check out the hashtag on Twitter #GRA14 and be sure to follow @PernilleRipp for more global literacy opportunities for students.
  2. One of the pumpkins features a boy named Wendell (who also happens to be the world’s worst wizard). The title is also part of the #WorldBookTalk project. The book’s cover is a trigger image powered by Augmented Reality. Huge shout-out to John Spencer for co-authoring this enchanting read! Be sure to follow @EdRethink on Twitter to catch all of John’s blog posts too.
  3. One of the pumpkins pictured above is part of a series that my daughters LOVED. With more than 100 titles, the series kept them reading, and reading, and reading…it was awesome!
  4. One of the books below was written by my friend, Todd Nesloney. The message of the book is that we all have something important to offer the world. You can read more about the book, Spruce and Lucy, in this blog post.

Pumpkin pic 2013Pumpkins 2012PumpkinsPumpkins Mosiac 2014

Skills for Today

When I reflect upon the important work our staff is doing I’m inspired. The commitment we’ve made to creativity is palpable, and we’re seeking new and innovative ways to put students in the center of their learning. I’m seeing our team amplify student voice while providing kids an authentic audience for their work. Some of the “learning work” our team is involved with includes:

  • Genius Hour
  • Passion-Based Learning
  • 3D Printing
  • MakerSpaces
  • Redesigning Learning Spaces
  • Flipped Instruction
  • Social Media as Learning Media
  • Project-Based Learning (Cane’s Arcade, etc.)
  • Augmented Reality
  • Back-Channeling via “TodaysMeet”

Teachers are exploring new ways to help build students capacity to connect responsibly in a digital world.  Best of all…we’ve kept a keen focus on the importance of relationships; our students are responding in amazing ways! Our staff has embraced meaningful technology integration as one of our three school priorities. We know that the work we are doing will help students develop skills for today will ultimately help them excel tomorrow.

Traditional Yearbooks Meet the Digital Age

Click the yearbook page to see an example of the AR content you will find!

Click the yearbook page above to see an example of the AR content you will find!

Walking the hallways at Greenwood Elementary I often say, “It’s an amazing time to be a student.” Meaningful opportunities to connect and create using new mediums abound. Students can use digital tools to take their learning to new levels. This year they can do the same with their yearbooks!

Our yearbooks are loaded with Augmented Reality (AR) pictures, videos, and snippets of school concert footage. (If you’re unfamiliar with AR, it’s very similar to the yellow first-down lines that are displayed on television during NFL games; the supplemental digital content adds to the viewing experience!)

Students that ordered yearbooks will receive them this week. In addition to the traditional fun of exchanging autographs, kids can experience some supplemental digital content by following the directions below.

Directions:

1. Download the Aurasma App on an iPad or SmartPhone.

2. Follow the “Greenwood Elementary” channel in the Aurasma App. (This step is important.)

3. Aim your iPad or SmartPhone’s Aurasma viewfinder at the yearbook to begin hunting for the bonus photos and videos.

Hints:

There are 30+ Augmented Reality photos/videos embedded in your child’s yearbook. Some of the AR photo links  may be sensitive to ink smudging, so avoid excessive scribbling to preserve the functionality of embedded videos.

Yearbook ScavengAR Hunt:

  • Can you find the Principal’s video greeting on page 1?
  • Find the 5th grade musical, Annie, and you’ll get footage from the show via the Aurasma app.
  • Locate our Head Custodian, Jesse Husby, and watch the picture of him in -45 degree windchill transform. Brrrr!!
  • Search for Police Chief Mike Goldstein to hear a special message to our students about DARE.
  • Find our Character Trait posters to see student-created character education videos. (Special thanks to Mr. Uselding!)
  • Look for the surprise engagement photo with one of our teachers.
  • Check-out the Home Base & Bright Start preschool video highlights.
  • If you search long enough you’ll even find hidden Field Trip footage from a winter trip some students took.
  • Each 5th grade classroom has a virtual tour linked to their class so our “graduates” will always remember their elementary years!
  • Every grade-level has at least one AR surprise to find on their grade-level yearbook page…good luck!

 

Special thanks to our PTA yearbook chairperson, Kari, for the countless hours she invested into the yearbook this year.  Kari and her team compiled some really great pictures that will help us all remember what a fantastic year this was. She was extremely collaborative and worked to make it possible to add AR surprise content to the yearbook. (If you lose this blog post she included directions for downloading the Aurasma App to the fist page of our yearbook.) A big thanks to Kari and the entire PTA team…we are so thankful for your support!

Connected Summer Learning via Social Media

What do you get when you combine summer learning with Augmented Reality and the positive power of Social Media?! The answer is pure awesomeness…and students EVERYWHERE are welcome to join the fun.

We’re providing kids a unique way to stay connected this summer.  The poster below contains a very special Augmented Reality (AR) message.  Follow the steps on the bottom of the poster to see the drawing come alive, and to view a summer learning video from Greenwood Elementary School’s principal, Mr. Gustafson.  If you are in a pinch for time and don’t want to print the poster to experience the AR message, just click the image and a YouTube video will play. (It’s not quite the same experience…but you’ll get the important info.)Summer Learning PDF

Connected Learning PDF

After students view the surprise augmented reality (AR) video they can begin creating their projects.  Projects can use any art supplies that parents approve of, but should highlight positive character traits like caring and citizenship.  Posters might include pictures of service-learning projects, cool graphics, or important quotes. So…bust out your markers, glue, and glitter and start creating!  After your child’s Character Poster is completed you can share it using our school’s hashtag.  Students love the chance to share their work with an authentic audience!

Take a photo of your child’s poster and Tweet it to me @GustafsonBrad then add #GWgreats to the message. This project is a fun way for kids to connect to a common project and make a difference over the summer.  We’re so proud of all our students do…and we can’t wait to see the creative work that is shared.

A Surprising Twist on an Educational Staple

Mill City 1Students love field trips. They love the change of pace as well as the chance to visit places they might not otherwise get to see in person.

Educators love providing students enriching experiences, and we’re also cautious to purposefully plan the excursions so there are no surprises.  However, there is one surprise that will have everyone on a field trip engaged and talking about the curriculum…

I recently went on a “date night” to the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (The museum is also a place our school has taken our 5th graders in the past.)  The date started out great…and things really got exciting when I began listening to another principal as we brainstormed all the ways Augmented Reality could be used on future field trips with students.  By-the-way, Augmented Reality is a technology used to add supplemental digital layers of content to virtually anything.

Gold Medal Flour Sign

The view from the observation deck at the top of an old grain elevator was breath-taking…I felt as if I could reach out and grab the Gold Medal Flour sign that towered above the boulevard.  As we took in the rich history of the museum, I began recording video greetings with information and questions for students. I even integrated some of my own childhood memories into the recorded messages as they pertained to the exhibits.  After I got home I linked the video messages to photographs I took at the museum using the Aurasma app.

Dough Boy

The next time our students go to the Mill City Museum for a field trip they can experience a surprise from their principal!  I’m even more excited to see the types of Augmented Reality content or scavenger hunts that our students could create on a field trip!  With the technology and support we’re providing them they could document their learning in new and innovative ways.

Green Final Final sign

How have you used educational technology to meaningfully enhance the student learning experience? I’d love to hear your comments!

The photographs I took above now serve as AR triggers. 

Use the Aurasma app and follow the Greenwood Elementary channel to view.

Double-click each photo to enlarge it; then let Aurasma do the rest!

Reflective Practitioners: Phases of AR in Education

Click the picture to download the complete PDF for the Phases of AR in Education.

Click the picture to download the complete PDF for the Phases of AR in Education.

Last evening I was engaged in a collaborative discussion on Twitter with two connected educators; Brad Waid and Kristen Eveland.  We were discussing the possible phases of Augmented Reality (AR) in Education.  The diagram above represents many of the ideas we brainstormed, and if you click on the image you’ll see a more complete PDF with one possible application of AR.

It’s important to point out that the phases are not intended to represent a hierarchy, and as such the “Awareness” level seemingly encompasses all of the phases.  There is certainly a comingling between different phases; certain Augmented Reality apps are inherently more equipped to allow for “Creation” than others.  However, I strongly feel that innovation is possible with most of the AR apps available to educators today.

What I valued most about our dialogue wasn’t the topic (although I LOVE the possibilities that AR presents).  I appreciated the deeper reflection and questions that our exchange generated.  Late in the evening on a Saturday night we were brainstorming the hows & whys of a game-changing tool.  It was also clear that the comments that Brad and Kristen shared were in support of creating an engaging student learning experience.

Connecting with fellow educational leaders to reflect on our practice and discuss the purpose of what we are doing for our students is one of the many things I value in my Professional Learning Network (PLN).  A special thanks to @TechBradWaid & @KEveland2 for their sharing.

What are your thoughts on the phases of AR in Education?  What did we miss?

Getting Connected

Click the pic to view episode #11 of the "2 Guys Show."

Click the pic to view episode #11 of the show.

Greenwood Elementary is filled with talented professionals committed to the success of each and every child.  Connecting with students and staff on a daily basis is one of the priceless privileges I have as principal.  

Lately, I’ve also had the opportunity to share some of the things our school is doing to engage students via Twitter.  It’s difficult to explain the magic our teachers bring to their classrooms in under 140 characters, so some of the collaboration has spilled over into video-conferencing and direct messaging.  (Twitter has been invaluable to my own professional development and getting connected was one of the best moves of my career as a leader/learner.)  

I recently had the opportunity to visit with two game-changing educators, Drew Minock and Brad Waid, from Bloomfield Hills Schools in Michigan.  We met on a popular podcast they host called the “2 Guys Show.”  They also have a website www.twoguysandsomeipads.com 

Click on the photo above to view a recording of the live show.  We had a blast discussing meaningful technology integration, Augmented Reality (AR) and making a difference for kids!  A memorable moment from the show for me was the “AR Ambush” that occurred.  You won’t believe how cool Brad Waid was under pressure and how he reacted to the Augmented Reality surprise!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the entire team at Greenwood Elementary for the passion they bring to our shared journey together, as well as the countless others that enrich my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

You can follow Brad and Drew on Twitter at:

@TechMinock

@TechBradWaid

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