A few weeks ago I was speaking with Joyce Valenza's students about Augmented Reality and we got on the topic of Spheros and how they can be used in schools. I talked to them about how I had used them with my students. (If you want to read more about that click here for a previous blog post I did on the topic) While talking with these students it dawned on me that the Sphero 2.0 is waterproof and I wonder how it would work with our swim students at the high school.
I contacted the swim teacher Marv Alexander @marvalexander1 and asked him if he would not mind giving this idea a try. I was so happy that he did not think I was totally insane and was willing to be a risk taker and try out this idea of using a mini robot in a swim class.
Today I brought the Sphero over to the pool and we gave it a try. We decided to try it out first without students in the pool, so that we could get a better idea of just how it worked. After pairing the Sphero up Marv's Ipad and getting him used to driving it, we threw it in the water. It floats on top of the water and you can move it around the pool from your Ipad using the Sphero App. We tried it with and without the Nubby and found it to be a little slow in the water, but it could be that we just have not trained the Sphero via the Sphero app to go faster.
One of the things we were trying to figure out is if we could use it to pace a swimmer. After experimenting with it a little we realized that it might not be able to do that, it is a little to slow. But there are some beginner swimmers and they might benefit for something like this because it might just be a little different way to motivate them.
We did experiment a little with the Color Grab App and we think it could possible work as a game where the students have to swim to the Sphero or jump in and grab it.
I have an email out to some of the people I have worked with at Sphero, hoping they can help us come up with ideas on how to use it it in a swim class. I am hoping that they will help us come up with some ways we have not thought of.
I would also love your ideas and thoughts!
Over the next few weeks we will be experimenting with it and I will be documenting what we figure out here.
Hope this experiment works!
With this new position comes a lot more responsibilities. I will admit to feeling overwhelmed by what is before me. I know that I have a big learning curve ahead of me and because of that I reached out of to some of my amazing Lead Learner friends for words of advice. I am so happy to have them as part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). Here are just a few of the amazing words of advice that they gave me.
Dr. Joe Mazza @joe_mazza - Project Manager for Connected Teaching, Learning and Leadership in the North Penn School District
"My advice would be to listen most. Now matter how bad you want to get in there and show them what you're made of, take good notes & get to know the players, the history,culture and any landmines you will need to do your best work...Keep blogging and reflecting as well - this will help you and role model transparency for your team."
Jay Eiter @iSuperEit - Superintendent of Lower Alloways Creek School District
"What I also learned very quickly that was very hard for me to take; You can’t make everybody happy, and not everybody is going to like you. This job requires some tough skin. You’ll grow it in no time."
Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal - Principal of New Milford High School
"It is important for YOU to establish your vision for teaching and learning and collaborate with staff to make is a shared vision that is embraced."
Brad Currie @bradmcurrie - Vice Principal and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District
" Be incredibly patient and know that most are not as tech savvy as you. Really take about a year to understand culture and listen to what people need. If you build they will come! "
Tom Murray @thomascmurray - Director of Technology and Cyber Education for the Quakertown Community School District
"Form relationships. Show people they matter. Cultivate teacher leadership. Show humility. Keep kids at the heart of all decisions. "
Daisy Dyer Duerr @DaisyDyerDuerr - K-12 Principal Saint Paul Schools
"Leadership must be something you are willing to share and you must be willing to seek out others to be leaders....some of those 'reluctant leaders' I have found have proven to be my BEST leaders! "
Tony Sinanis @TonySinanis - Lead Learner Cantiague Elementary School
"Change must come from within so try to get staff voice behind a change so they feel it’s coming from them, not you.Take your work seriously but do NOT take yourself too seriously! Keep learning and model that each day for your teachers… that is huge!"
John Fritzky @JohnFritzky - Vice Principal Byram Township Middle School"Be a dot connector! The state of NJ and the Dept of education throws out a lot of things that teachers have to do. Teachers view these things and independent mandates, it is up to us as admin to connect these dots and show teachers how they can connect and can benefit students whenever possible. "
I can not tell you how grateful I am for there words of advice! What are your words of advice? What do you think new administrators need to know? What did you wish you knew when you became an administrator? I would love your thoughts!
Last week I accepted the postion of Coordinating Supervisor of Educational Technology, Media and Multi-Media for the Parsippany - Troy Hills School District. I very honored to be choosen to be the Lead learner for the Librarians, Computer Teachers, and T.V. Production Teachers. I will also be helping to lead the PD for the district and also help develop and implement the districts technology plan. I am very excited about this new opportunity but will miss greatly all of the students and staff of the South Orange Maplewood School District. For the past almost 10 years I have laughed, cried and had fun with all of the amazing people who make up this district. I think the hardest part of this new job is that I will no longer be working with the students on a daily basis. I know I have a huge journey ahead of me and will be relaying heavly on my PLN for advice and guidance in this new job.
Here is the smore that I wrote to my new staff. I was looking for a creative way to introduce myself and thoughts this Smore might do the trick.
Last week, I showed the students in Mr. Portas class the chromville augmented reality coloring pages. They had so much fun and loved how the pages came to life! I tweeted out their excitement and was really happy when the creators DM me back saying they would love to hangout with my students!
This morning we got to meet with them and it was so much fun for them! They were amazed that we could be talking with someone from Spain. And thanks to google maps, I was able to show them just where they were located and show them pictures of the town! Technology at its best! My students loved sharing the pictures they made and were blown away by some of the technology they showed them! I can not thank the guys from Chromville enough for taking the time out of their day to connect with my kids! It was truly a experience they will not forget soon.
I am so excited about the 2014 Poetry Summit! We have some really great schools joining us and the kick off event with Professor Mary Brancaccio which you can watch here was so much fun! I can not wait for May 16th! If you want more information about the event check out this smore below! There are tons of ways that you can join in. From the Edmodo Group, to the Padlet!
To learn more about this event check out the website!
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.