School of Education News Archives
Looking Through the Camera Lens: A Videographer's Nostalgic View of the Sonoma State's Global Cardboard Challenge
Byon October 27, 2014 2:38 PM
Guest Blog Post by Russell Brackett, Sonoma State University Communications Major and Multimedia Communications Intern in the School of Education
When I saw the Caine's Arcade video for the first time, I couldn't help but smile uncontrollably. Flashbacks to my childhood washed over me as I watched this amazing kid use his imagination to build something incredible out of nothing. This video tells the story of a creative kid from East LA who built an incredible pretend arcade out of cardboard boxes. It was heartwarming to see especially in this world of video games and nonstop technology.
When I heard we were putting on our own Global Cardboard Challenge at Sonoma State, in response to the Caine's Arcade video, I instantly began thinking of ways to contribute to this movement to get kids to be creative and have fun in the process. I not only thought about ways to film this event, but also the things that I could build with cardboard! This was a great opportunity to help not only the kids, but myself as well by taking me back to my childhood days of imaginative play.
Growing up, I was the type of kid who had to be told multiple times by my parents to get in the house for dinner. I'd always yell back "Just a minute!", but one minute often turned into fifteen before they physically would come and get me. I was often wrapped up in some imaginative scenario using random objects to build forts, cars, or weapons to fight battles to save a damsel in distress. This is why I was so excited because I remember getting lost in play on a daily basis as a kid and always having a blast! I waited in anticipation for the day of the Cardboard Challenge as I was hoping to relive some of something from my childhood.
October 10th finally arrived and I woke up excited and ready. Our plan was to build a village out of cardboard. Once the first wave of children began pouring in with their amazing creations built out of old boxes, I again found myself smiling and feeling happy in the same way I did when I watched the Caine's Arcade video the first time.
Our event included preschoolers, elementary kids and college students who built houses, hospitals, and even trees for the village, made colorful with the splash of poster paint. Sounds of laughter and happiness could be heard throughout the makeshift village all day as more and more people poured in with their projects.
Rocket ships, hotels, buses, ice cream shops, and all kinds of imaginative ideas built by people of all ages filled the quad. I was focused on filming, but there were a couple moments where I had to step back, put the camera down, and just enjoy what was taking place.
As a videographer, I film all day in hopes of capturing those moments that not only look good on camera, but most importantly evoke emotion in my viewers. Those moments were not hard to find that day as everyone who participated seemed genuinely excited to be there, and it showed in their body language and finished projects.
At the end of the day, I was exhausted but couldn't help smiling as I knew we had accomplished something great. That day will always serve as a reminder that no matter your age, it is important to step away and be creative just like when you were a kid.
Byon June 20, 2014 3:15 PM
As education is rapidly running to catch up with today's digital advances, institutions have begun to acknowledge and reward educators who are helping pave the way through useful and creative classroom strategies.
PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program is a year-long professional development program designed to foster and grow a community of ed-tech leaders. Each year PBS hand-selects 100 digitally-savvy K-12 educators who are effectively using digital media and technology in their schools to further student engagement and achievement.
School of Education Alumna Kaki McLachlan, graduate of the Single Subject Credential Program and Master's in Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, has been selected for this honor for the 2014-2015 school year.
"When students use technology in the classroom it allows them to take ownership of what they are learning," said McLachlan. "It is also an engaging way for students to gather up-to-date information in a variety of ways and share what they have learned in more exciting ways then ever before!"
She acknowledges that all the new technology can be confusing for teachers. "New amazing resources are available each and every day for teachers. At times, it can be overwhelming, but it's not necessary to know it all!" Trying a new technology with students can be a risk, and doesn't always work perfectly. She notes, "It's important to remember, as a teacher, that not every lesson is going to be a success. This is especially important to remember when you begin to implement new projects with technology in the classroom. It is okay to fail! We are students too."
McLachlan teaches science and technology to 6th-8th graders at White Hill Middle School in Fairfax. In addition to teaching life science, this year she took on two brand new technology elective courses focusing on digital citizenship and media.
Throughout the year McLachlan will participate in various virtual trainings in educational technology. As a Digital Innovator, she is expected to lead several professional development activities in the 2014-2015 school year to share her innovations with other educators within her school and district
The PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators Summit was held in June, hosted at the PBS headquarters in Washington D.C. You can learn more about Digital Innovators by following the event on Twitter at #pbsdigitalinnovator and #pbsdisummit.
Byon June 20, 2014 10:47 AM
The mantra of the 3-day session was "Ask, Play, Learn, Share!" This idea was developed in hopes of creating a stress-free environment for experimentation.
The Summer Institute combined lectures, hands-on workshops and discussions all based around educational technology. Attendees were introduced to a variety of tools and platforms to try. Presentations included using Twitter to build a "professional learning network," ways to increase engagement using Moodle, and group participation using the Padlet web application. Faculty were also introduced to Google Drive and the opportunities for collaborative work, hybrid course development, and introductions to iMovie.
Presentations and workshops were led both by School of Education faculty as well as outside sources. Speakers included Sarah Fountain, principal of Monte Vista Elementary School, Shira Katz from Common Sense Media, and Robin Mencher from KQED Education.
Professor Michael Lesch said he was appreciative of the light-hearted approach to the workshop. Appreciative of both the structure and atmosphere at the institute, he noted "Jessica [Parker] was sensitive to our fears about technology." Other participants expressed similar sentiments. "For children today technology is just an extension of their identities," said Parker. "But for those of us who haven't grown up with it we need to adopt and share this mindset to help lessen anxiety," she said about the mantra. "We can't do it as separate individuals, it must be collaborative," she added.
During the debrief on the final day attendees broke into discussion groups to consider the practical applications of the tech tools they'd learned. Anthropology professor Karin Jaffee put many of the ideas to use right away in her summer class. "I used a Google Doc to have students 'build' our first lecture by filling in a table with terms and answering questions I would normally answer in a PowerPoint presentation. I also used Padlet to get students to answer questions that I would also normally address with a PowerPoint. Both assignments resulted in much conversation among the students, who were divided into groups, and also allowed me to have a class discussion to highlight good answers and address problematic ones. And I've already received feedback from the students indicating that they like the increased in-class participation! I'm thrilled with what I learned at SOESTI and so glad I've been able to implement ideas so quickly and successfully!"
Faculty member Erma Jean-Sims said she saw the potential for Padlet in her classes. "I like that it's instantaneous. Students are seeing and responding in real time," she said. "It could be especially helpful for getting more introverted students to participate, those who wouldn't normally raise their hands."
The general consensus was that educational technology needs to be used in practical, purposeful and usable ways. It's important to strike a delicate balance between engagement and distraction for students. Robin Mencher of KQED summed up this idea by saying "technology is the vehicle, but not the driver," said Robin Mencher of KQED. Educators must be the facilitators to help guide their classes.
Click here to view list of Summer Tech resources
Byon May 27, 2014 2:13 PM
The Institutes offer both a content methods course and content review to prepare and assist teachers to pass the CSET's. Participants will earn 5 units of credit and will only need cover the cost of their own books.
For more information about the Foundational Level Mathematics Institute, please visit sonoma.edu/education/smtri/foundationalmath. Information on the Foundational Level Science Institute can be found at sonoma.edu/education/smtri/foundationalscience
Both program application deadlines have been extended to May 30th.
Napa Science Institute deadline: June 15th EXTENDED TO JUNE 30! We still have room!
Byon May 5, 2014 12:03 PM
Byon April 10, 2014 1:12 PM
There are not many women in their eighties who have the gusto and vivaciousness to rouse a crowd of a thousand faces, not only inspiring their audience but eliciting a mixture of laughter and serious reflection; Dolores Huerta is a rare exception.
On March 27 Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, spoke at Sonoma State as part of the H. Andréa Neves and Barton Evans Social Justice Lecture Series.
The evening kicked off in The HUB, SSU's multicultural center, where Huerta spoke directly with students in an intimate and open discussion about her life and work as an organizer. Students asked thought provoking questions and sought advice for young people who desire to organize and work towards social justice in their own communities.
She later spoke in the Student Center ballroom, an event that sold-out at just over 1,000 tickets, distributed to high school and college students, community members, and faculty. Huerta covered a variety of topics, such as women rights, workers right, and marriage equality. She emphasized the importance of organizing and empowering people to make a change. "Poor people don't often think they have any power." She explained how, alongside Cesar Chavez, she helped spread a grassroots movement towards workers rights by visiting the homes of farmworkers and speaking to them face to face.
She also strongly encouraged the audience to go see "Cesar Chavez," the feature film directed by Diego Luna, which was set to hit theaters the following day. "If enough people go and see the film, maybe we can show Hollywood that these kinds of films are important, and maybe we will see more like them in the future," said Huerta, who is portrayed in the film by Rosario Dawson.
By the end of the evening Huerta had 1,000 attendees on their feet chanting "SÍ, se puede!" a phrase that she famously coined during the farmworkers movement. She arroused and inspired the crowd, chanting "who has the power?" with a sea of booming voices shouting in response: "WE have the power!"
Student Angelica Shubbie said she loved how engaging Huerta was during her lecture. "She showed her passion, wisdom, and hope, which was inspiring to witness in person." said Shubbie. "Although her main focus is on Farm Labor Unions, it's amazing to see her work towards human rights for everyone!"
Slideshow by Gabrielle Cordero
Byon April 2, 2014 9:11 AM
The MAKER Movement has taken hold in many schools around Northern California. Over the last several years interest in the grass roots MAKER Movement has grown. MAKER Fairs around the world have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. Now MAKER is beginning to spill into schools and be used by innovative teachers seeking to provide engaging, hands-on, authentic learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics.You can find out what MAKER is all about the 1st annual MAKER Day on April 12 at the Marin County Office of Education.See how the future is being imagined,invented, designed, programmed, and manufactured by Marin County students.Meet the MAKERS and have fun with the hands-on exhibits. Everyone is welcome--teachers, kids, families and more-- and it's free! HERE to register.
GO Green and ride your bike to MAKER Day on April 12. Valet bike parking courtesy of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition!
The Marin County Office of Education
and partners Autodesk,
Microsoft, Edutopia, Intel Clubhouse, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Lego
Play-Well, Buck Institute for Education, and Bay Area Science Festival are hosting MAKER Day on April 12, from 10:00-4:00 at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue, San Rafael. Experience the excitement,
creativity, genius and the "do it yourself" ingenuity of our students.
More info at http://make.marinschools.org.
The School of Education encourages both pre-service and in-service teachers to take advantage of this opportunity to see how schools are incorporating the MAKER mindset in their classrooms.
Byon February 6, 2014 2:24 PM
If you've recently visited the School of Education office, you may have stopped to admire the large, eye-catching mandalas decorating the walls and student credenza. These intricate pencil-drawn creations are part of a new program that incorporates student schoolwork into the lobby decor.
The goal of the new program is to showcase the lessons that our recent graduates prepare while working in local public schools. The current installment is from Novato High School, where Single Subject Alumna Roxanna Lieva teaches art to freshman and sophomore students.
"The idea is to include the lesson plans alongside the work itself, for a more in depth understanding of the assignment" said Pamela Van Halsema. "We also want to recognize how our new teachers are excelling in local schools."
"Additionally we visit the classrooms and observe our teachers in action, so that our display reflects not only the lesson but also the students," added Van Halsema. "We want to shift the focus back on the children we serve."
The School of Ed plans to incorporate four exhibits per year. Keep an eye out in late February for the next installation, featuring work from Rohnert Park's Monte Vista Elementary School, home to several Multiple Subject alumni teachers.
Byon January 8, 2014 2:08 PM
Where can you play PacMan with a carrot controller, walk on the moon, and play a digital piano using Play-Doh, all in one evening? One month ago, educators and students gathered together for the Teacher Technology Showcase, and were able to do all three in this year's interactive Maker's Space.
The annual event, now in its third year, is an open house for creative thinking about how to effectively use technology in teaching. Thirty six presenters shared and demonstrated their ideas for lesson plans, tutorials, and tools, all designed to improve learning and student engagement. The event gathered over 200 attendees, including SSU credential and master's degree students, SSU faculty, staff, and alumni, and Bay Area educators.
Posters around the room encouraged participation and dialogue with phrases like "Choose to be Creative," "Create classroom activities that don't yet exist in the world!" and "Ask me how this meets the needs of all learners." One of the graduate students who attended said, "I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with the presenters about the benefits for students."
Watch the video slideshow:
This year the School of Education welcomed the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) as a partner for the event. Presenters from SCOE provided many of the hands-on Maker Space activities, and helped spread the word out about the Showcase to local schools. Technology Showcase supporters Edutopia and KQED also sent representatives to present and share information about the resources and tools they offer for the classroom.
Presentations covered a broad range of topics, and were aimed at various teaching levels, including elementary, secondary, and special education. Presenters shared their utilization of various websites including Prezi, Wix, Twig World, and Moodle, as well as a handful of useful iPad apps used for behavioral change, teaching science, and verbalizing emotions. In an attendance survey many participants said they appreciated the relevance and practicality of the presentations, as well as the broad range of topics and grade levels included.
One of the goals of this event is to help educators see creative and practical uses for a variety of applications for the classroom, and encourage them to try out some of these new ideas with their own students. To help them put the ideas into practice, each of the presenters created an online version of their presentation which is available online on the School of Education website. One elementary school principal left saying, "I have homework!" commenting on how there were so many things to learn at the showcase.
Byon November 15, 2013 10:40 AM
Technology has infused education, and teachers have at their fingertips an overwhelming array of choices in software, mobile apps and web-based resources for teaching and instruction. This year's SSU Teacher Technology Showcase provides the opportunity for both new and experienced teachers to share what technologies they are using and demonstrate how they are using applications to more fully engage students and impact student learning. This year the School of Education has partnered with the Sonoma County Office of Education to make this event, now in its third year, bigger and better than ever, with 40 presentations and interactive displays. The event will take place on Thursday, December 5 from 5:00-7:00 p.m in the SSU Cooperage and is free and open to the public (parking on campus is $5.00 per car)
Dr. Carlos Ayala, Dean of Education, says that the Showcase represents two very important movements that will have a broad impact in the North Bay education sphere: "First, it represents the collaborative nature of education agencies, non-profits, community agencies, and businesses working together to accomplish change," said Ayala. "Second, it represents the latest in educational technology innovation." The School of Education is reaching out to strengthen partnerships in our region, share ideas and leverage resources to innovate and meet the needs of our public schools. This year KQED, Edutopia and Google will participate in the fair.
The showcase has continued to grow each year both in attendance and presentation numbers. "Last year, there were 150 people in attendance and 26 presentations from both pre and in-service educators," said Assistant Professor Jessica Parker, who is the annual event coordinator. "This year, we expect 250 local educators, administrators, and campus community members to attend to experience 40 presentations from our teacher candidates and alumni of our program that are working in local schools."
Thanks to this year's partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education, this year's fair will also incorporate a unique and interactive "Digital Sandbox" and experiential Maker Space. The Maker Space will offer attendees hands-on opportunities to hack a laptop with MaKey MaKey, use play dough to conduct electricity via Squishy Circuits, and create Blinky bugs. "This is all part of the School of Education's effort to promote the Maker philosophy and learning," said Parker. "Additionally, local educators will demonstrate how they have integrated Maker culture into their classrooms."
"The goal of the Showcase is to highlight how educators are creating better learning environments for students through the integration of technology," said Ann Steckel, SSU's new Director of Educational Design & Curricular Innovation. "The School of Education is always excited to bring educators and community members together to support local teachers, administrators, and faculty to discuss their work." Since coming to SSU this semester, Steckel has been working to bring faculty on SSU's campus together to strengthen pedagogy and support one another for more collaboration and innovation in the realm of teaching. Helping faculty develop and share ideas for effective use of Moodle and other online tools is one part of that work. Although the Showcase centers on Preschool through 12th grade instruction, the event can help university faculty think about the way they incorporate technology into their college level courses as well.