Has anyone reading this heard of an EdCamp before? Don’t worry if you haven’t – I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. Even after I heard about it, looked it up, researched a bit, I still didn’t fully understand. Sometimes I just need to do to understand. Recently I got to do and I participated in an EdCamp un-conference. I’ll try to explain what an EdCamp is enough for you to try one yourself. You can organize one with your co-workers, your department, your school, or you can join a more formal one in your area.

Teacher Meeting

EdCamp is more like a discussion than anything else. It’s a free meeting of educators to discuss current issues/content/resources in a collaborative way. The “speaker” is usually a fellow EdCamp unconference goer that facilitates more than lectures.

Last week I was able to participate in one through my CEP 811 graduate course using Google Hangout. We were each asked to bring a topic to talk about that we were interested in and researched about. I even made a PowerPoint presentation to help me. Unfortunately I can’t share that with you because on Monday this week my computer completely died; something with a black screen of death and “hard drive issues”. I backup my work frequently, but just not quite weekly so it’s forever gone (or at least until I recreate it).

Google Hangout

To summarize what I experienced participating in EdCamp I’ll first talk about the prep work that I did. I wanted to facilitate a conversation about 1-to-1 technology in schools. I first thought about my own experiences (what’s a better place to start?) with working in a brick-and-mortar school of over 1,000 with one computer lab, to working at a virtual school where we provide every student with a computer and headset. I then hit Google to look for reliable research, useful tools/resources, and news articles. I’m sad to say that I lost my specific references with my dead computer. L

I then took all the resources and compiled them into a PowerPoint. When you prepare for one, you could just reference the ideas, print articles, bring up things on your phone or laptop, or any other method that you are comfortable with. EdCamp is about coming together to discuss ideas – there aren’t rules about how you convey what you know. Built into my PowerPoint were questions to ask; open-ended questions to allow for conversation to flow between members of EdCamp. Remember that you aren’t a lecturer when you lead a part of an EdCamp experience, you are a facilitator. You share what you know, but then open it up to others. I got a lot of new references, resources, and ideas from my co-workers that I had never even heard of, and more clarification and personal stories about some that I had heard of. It was amazing!

 1 to 1 Laptops in School

Below are just a few of the resources that we discussed:

Khan Academy – Free site with many instructional videos; mainly math and science related at the moment

GoSoapBox – Mobile app that acts as a clicker to conduct live polls or question

Edu Creations – Make your own instructional videos

Web Assign – Instant grading tool and assessment tool with a built in email in the system

Lon-CAPA – Site where you assign problems for students to complete with instant feedback

Study Island Site with problems you can assign to students that adapt to their learning, enrich or supplement your lessons, aligned to state standard / Common Core

Download Destination – Expensive, but amazing, program with over 33,000 electronic and audio books; the real narration reads the book so there’s not a robotic voice

Of course, I was not the only one sharing during EdCamp. We had people speak about many different topics in education. The one that I really inspired me was about augmented reality. I had heard the phrase before, but honestly couldn’t tell you one thing about what it meant. Augmented reality is when physical things are scanned by a phone/iPad/computer and then additional resources/videos/sounds are attached. If you’ve heard of QR codes – AR (augmented reality) is a similar idea taken even further and made more visually appealing.  The person leading the discussion works at the Detroit Institute of Arts and help set up where you can go to their app on a phone, scan a piece of art work in the museum while you are there, and learn more about the artist and how the art piece was made. I thought about how I could set up an AR app like this to help my online students explore spaces near them. I can have pictures in books that link to extra material, posters or symbols around a room that lead to additional material, or symbols around a field trip location with supplemental resources. You can add layers and layers to a physical item, which is exciting!

 Augmented Reality

I enjoyed the EdCamp experience greatly. While I was speaking people listening were talking and sharing in a chat pod to build on my material. This collaboration was great to see while I was sharing specific resources. This allowed for a multiple layer presentation. If you are presenting in a physical space you can use Todays Meet to allow people to type response and chat while you are speaking without interrupting you. Next time I would have verbally encouraged this more to ensure everyone realized that this was an option and one I would not be offended by.

I think that I could introduce this idea to my school and host short EdCamps periodically during staff/team/content meeting times. Each person could be asked to bring a topic to talk about and facilitate a conversation. This would help relieve the sometimes blank stares that happen when open-ended sharing time occurs. It would also be a great way for staff to work collaboratively to share strategies and ideas that work well in their environment.

If I were to bring EdCamp to my school I would first have a short meeting, recording, or detailed email to explain the idea of an EdCamp (maybe I could reference this blog post!). Once people felt comfortable with the general idea and had time to ask questions I would then determine a time and place to hold the EdCamp. Since it’s an interactive meeting about topics that educators are passionate about, I wouldn’t assign topics and would rather let teachers brainstorm topic ideas together and then choose one that they are excited about. I think it would also be acceptable to not “present” at EdCamp and just be a participant. Together with the participants I would come up with expectations of the experience and discuss having a time limit on each topic. I believe that everyone could value from an unconference like this! I encourage anyone reading this to go out and participate in one – even if you have to start a new one yourself!



Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones. (2013). G+Hangouts – 07. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/info_grrl/10105000806/in/photolist-goWLFQ-goWSJZ-goWT4r-goWTa8-goWxiX-goWw2Z-goWwLp-goWTip-goWTFi-goWTwk-goWmzS-dQKbS8-ekAs4i-ePjGRi-bc9sMZ-e2FzLL-e2FAwY-e2zWZk-e2zWtV-e2zWc2-e2zVA6-e2FzjA-e2FA5C-e2Fzb7-e2FyQ9-e2zW2R-e2FAgA-e2FyCj-e2Fynw-e2zUKX-hJw5BS-hJwJZv-hJvBEe-hJvB7k-hJvANV-ekF63m-ePjM8X-ePw58L-ePw3fy-ePjC2R-ePw1XJ-ad5pbK-bYoWCN-dXS8Cy-bc9sLa-bc9sSk-bc9sPH-bc9sJr-bcg42g-krgJKw

Jeff Peterson. (2007). DSC00004. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrpetersononline/2002009569/in/photolist-dA1Rm3-dzVmXV-53JcjS-n4rF6c-bTbZov-9XYnJz-4wgmwQ-55gzPT-omKB13-egSe2d-5of25t-7ikTav-daypZ1-43UPGn-4Ngiv6-dcjSKW-dx3z4A-fxxjhs-eKyMdT-o5sWhz-o5t8yG-aFqM1i-p96WP-bGos8e-nxHfRs-e4HMjF-e8Xj41-9Y5821-9ViM5d-7HjVJY-aCx9pi-9LRuLR-jGReWP-nmiUXB-dXGyRK-9tZUqc-y8Uvc-7fX6uq-4HsNHR-azCvoD-bmsWmR-7BuQR5-7fTcma-EzCdz-y8Udb-omF1bP-EyKi8-iThgMF-aAmZRr-8qY1Bk

Kevin Jarett. (2012). Edcamp stickers. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/7175715196/in/photolist-bW6q8w-hMN4pm-bMAZm6-cEhk5s-dYjCS4-dYqkcS-dYjCQk-dYjCND-dYjCV2-dYjCTT-aPUkrt-aPUjPr-aPUk4v-aPUkg4-aPUmnK-aPUmDZ-aPUjkR-aPUjV8-aPUmc4-fkQYpC-fkQYJo-fkQTg1-fkQVD7-aPUkDF-aPUm5k-aPUjJ2-aPUjAp-bAKvaW-bAKvY7-bPEa3V-bPEa9H-bPEaix-bPE9GR-bPEarR-fkAPmi-fkR3p1-c1VEYs-dqory8-hMMKLe-iXjh33-nDZpVB-hMNcjQ-hMNcgJ-cEhbHf-c1VD5W-c1VDVY-c1VJzw-c1VA1d-cEhb7q-fkASug

Laura Gilchrist. (2014). 5/365 Creativity. My Edcamp Tshirts to date! (January 5, 2014) Edcamps stoke my creativity and the people I meet there enrich my life and inspire me. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gilchristlaura/11784038294/in/photolist-iXjh33-nDZpVB-hMNcjQ-hMNcgJ-cEhbHf-c1VD5W-c1VDVY-c1VJzw-c1VA1d-cEhb7q-fkASug-cEha2b-cEhc7o-bLN2E4-c1VxD7-c1Vv4W-cEhfEA-c1VVbj-bLNu7T-fkQVcN-fkAS3B-fkR1SY-fkARKt-fkASTz-fkAL9P-fkASgx-fkASXc-fkARjv-fkARax-fkR1N7-fkAKXH-fkR35h-fkARG8-fkASPV-fkR2wb-fkR39h-fkARzZ-fkQZJS-fkR2Aj-fkAMRX-fkAR5k-fkASka-fkR1gU-fkAMbr-fkARPV-fkARwr-fkARfr-fkQVjh-fkAKBe-fkASqe

Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography. (2014). 14284-educational technology 1494-Edit. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamuc/14121034327/in/photolist-nvPZx6-nvPWMr-nvP9RF-nvPjU7-nvPV4B-nNiXEV-cXpeBU-dbyBVS-dbyAq4-dbyAAG-onGHT-kiG8d-eUDi1v-eUQBHN-nvPTri-nQ6sev-nN1KKc-dUDzW3-bEsjL9-cRoJL3-cCJFe9-ae4caw-7UjPAn-9vRD2-zQSEM-hajLoM-h9uZrh-emSVLT-ae4cmN-ae1ozH-ae1owB-ae4c33-ae1nj6-ae1nUV-ae1nZ8-ae4bPh-ae1nAV-ae4cZN-ae4d5u-ae1nMH-ae4c6y-ae4bRQ-ae1nRx-ae4cEb-ae4cVG-ae1nEK-ae1oeH-ae4bYY-ae1o7r-62wugu/ 

 Tom. (2010). Augmented Reality. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/turkletom/4325703868/in/photolist-7Afn4b-jBVLuC-7TkvB3-7ZST69-aR2M2H-8ERBCd-4HaDoL-8MAjhE-muoPKH-8BF4uu-89u7SQ-99pRRQ-n59Ssa-8UuuXn-8MAjRu-8HKfHd-8EoxNH-8Mxekg-6Rrgkh-8HKbJB-mf26kC-meZfw8-7c4Wx6-5R3keK-bxFoVw-7NjCrv-7NoB3q-7NoB6u-9KLPnV-9KPx8W-9KLJ5R-dNXz2t-scqN1-8JoLzm-8HKg3S-bL5GnZ-aCJTPr-brsLpY-6SwAdg-8HGKoV-7qkkn3-8HGKyv-6ctakn-651B97-4PwU8j-7NoB5h-7NoAUN-7NjCct-7NoB7y-7NoB1W


Musical Room Open to All Students

This week I learned a lot more about the principals of UDL (Universal Design for Learning). UDL is all about adapting your classroom for all learners to ensure every student gets a fair opportunity to learn. Fortunately, all the changes that you make to your classroom to help some students ends up helping all students. Schools that have easy access to text-to-speech applications helps dyslexic students, ADD students, auditory student, hard-of-hearing students, and more!

To really immerse myself in these ideas I was asked by my CEP 811 course to look back over a lesson plan I created a few weeks ago and make changes that help all students. If you’ve been following my blog you may remember the lesson that I created where students worked together using a MakeyMakey to create an interactive room for guests to walk through and interact with. If you want to remind yourself of that post please click here.


I’m a list person, I make lists upon lists upon lists to stay organized. I make them on my computer, phone, sticky notes, … anything I can find. Therefore I was so thankful that my professors gave me an editable list to go through and take notes on to see how my current lesson addressed all the key UDL principals. If you want to look at my notes just click here. The writing in black is the notes I took on my original lesson plan, while the purple font reflects some of the changes I made this week. I think this could be a helpful tool to use during every unit I teach and to keep in the front of my mind for daily lessons.

Throughout the last six weeks this is actually the third official draft of my lesson plan for a musical room. In the same vein as the list, the black is from the previous draft and the purple font is what I altered with the UDL ideas in mind. I’m really pleased with how much more inclusive and in-depth the lesson became after these changes. Originally I thought that an open-ended exploratory framework for each day would be great. While I didn’t add many specific tasks to any day I did help chunk my lessons into more manageable pieces that students could follow along with on their summary sheets. I created a worksheet of sorts for each day where students were asked to answer a few questions that would review the previous day, have them think about their plan for the current day, and self-reflect on how they spent their day. Those are all skills that are addressed in the UDL ideals and helpful for all students. Below is a word cloud that I created using Wordle by copy and pasting my five days of planning to see what words I used the most. I was overjoyed to see that my most used word was “student” – UDL helps make the students the focus of the lesson more than anything else. I also used the words MakeyMakey, summary, explain, sheet, room frequently. Wordle is such a fun way to visually see the focus of a set of words! I had heard of Wordle before, but I never tried created one myself. I wish I understood how easy and helpful these can be! I can see myself working these into my lessons more frequently after finally trying one myself.

Wordle: Interactive Musical Room Lesson Plan

In my updated lesson plan I also took more advantage of the 1:1 technology of my school. Since I teach online at a public charter school all students are provided with a computer and headset. In my original lesson plan I had the students look up MakeyMakey examples online if they wanted to, but that was about it. During this revision of my lesson plan I provided the summary sheets in their email so that students could use their computer. This can help with students who need text-to-speech, speech-to-text, are better with typing than writing, prefer computers, need spell check, etc. I also adapted an earlier instructional blog post to create a how-to sheet for making a piano using water in drinking glasses. I even used bubbl.us to create a brainstoring map to show the flow of my 4 day lesson. This tool is going to be great to use with my students in a virtual classroom to create an online mind map that they can share. I’ve tried using Microsoft Word in a similar way before, but it’s more difficult and time-consuming than this site.

Created using bubble.us

Created using bubble.us


I also added a portion of a summary sheet with a graphic organizer to fill in at the beginning of the lesson unit. I had originally planned to discuss conductivity related to using a MakeyMakey, but now there is a physical representation that students can fill out. This list will help reinforce the information that we verbally discuss as well as provide a spot for students to look back at later in the unit.

Overall I am much happier with my revised lesson plan. I honestly thought that it was a good lesson before this week, but after taking each UDL principal into account while revamping it it’s gotten so much better!


Rogers, Carissa. (2008). kid to do list, list, Be happy and go home. Retrieved August 10, 2014 from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/rog2bark/3437630552/in/photolist-6eLKNh-5UDreC-4cpJwh-4d2PMz-bEPm7E-6tQG1N-7YFeSB-82Z8Cz-CdE9B-8QzzeL-87uSWj-2v76ZB-hfeWM-7S3bUw-7Mfehz-8yZxtY-5sn96z-9fv65v-7pHc1U-4tGweV-7MD3dV-57JGWQ-xkmcD-5raao6-f4tB4-7iiwfN-wQYgi-gcq9mk-6B1dj5-6n25Xw-4tLxTC-fMyYHh-5jhfU6-5okhYJ-8ZkX4z-6oGuSN-9Tc4PR-fJL71z-8aWuJs-6wqgMN-6kr1hu-7aftUu-8yTnut-6hG6pZ-7ENKAT-9wKsHh-6BteLf-6n9R42-6VJMFx-7MLCQJ

Research Based Musical Room

Last week I was asked to create a lesson plan using my Maker Kit (MakeyMakey) that would engage students in creative learning. I chose to have my students work together to create an interactive musical room as a version of an ice-breaker / team-building task. I did not place many guidelines on the assignment, because I wanted students to be free to create whatever they wanted. You can click on my lesson plan to view it (with changes from last week in purple) here –> Weinlander MakeyMakey Sample Lesson Plan.

This week I watched a TED talk about the digital divide between educators who use new technology to replace old techniques and educators who use new technology to do things that couldn’t be done before. Richard Culatta spoke about three main challenges schools are faced with currently – treating all learners the same, holding the schedule constant, and performance data being shared too late to be helpful. These challenges resonated with me greatly. It’s actually one of the main reasons why I love working at my current job as an online Title 1 teacher at Michigan Connections Academy. Students are assigned a certain number of lessons each day to evenly distribute their course throughout the semester. However there are no hard deadlines other than the end of the semester. Students therefore can spend 15 minutes or 4 hours on a single lesson, however long it takes them to understand. They can work on school 5 days a week for 6.5 hours, or split their time another way. At the end of each lesson 3-7 multiple choice questions are asked to see if students understand the material. These do not affect their grade, and instead are to be used to direct future learning and gaps in knowledge. never teachI was pretty convinced already at this point, but I did more research to see if personalized learning, collaborative problem-solving, and immediate feedback were the direction education should be taking (Cullatta, 2014). As I searched, I had my original lesson plan in mind. Yes, I had allowed students to work at their own pace, collaborate, and problem-solve, but I knew I could do better. I wanted to add an option of solving a problem I had given them, not just problems that they encountered along the way. Problem-based learning is a popular method of teaching in which students are given challenging and relevant problems to solve in a small group. “This approach is often used to increase learner interactions by working together collaboratively. Teams determine the needs, and work through the steps to solve the problem.” (Holland and Holland; 2014) Frequently that is how problems outside of the classroom will arrive – without direction. I hope to teach my students how to handle that in any way that I can.

I’ve updated my lesson plan to include some problems for students to think about, knowing that I could be interacting with students from Kindergarten to High School. A lot of these are open-ended questions to get the group thinking and discussing together. I’m planning on writing these on cards and having them placed in a common location for students to grab when they need. This way if the group feels that they are “stuck” or need a challenge before I recognize it then they can help themselves. Holland and Holland also talk about the benefits of active hands-on learning since students “need to hear it, touch it, see it, talk it over, grapple with it, confront it, question it, laugh about it, experience it, and reflect on it in a structured format if learning is to have any meaning and permanence” (Holland and Holland; 2014) I believe that with my added task after our four days together and the “problem cards” I have extended the learning experience for my students. Practice doesnt make perfectWhile thinking through this lesson I was concerned about classroom management. I work online, students and teachers are not used to interacting in person as a whole group. Using a MakeyMakey after state testing will be a different experience than many are used to. Plus, this is a lesson where students are supposed to get noisy, move around, work together, talk, rip things, build things, move things, laugh, etc. However the focus still needs to be on the task of building a musical room. While I was reading an article about motivation with games I checked myself against the three requirements of motivation from the self-determination theory: “autonomy, competence, and relatedness” (Eseryel, Law, Ifenthaler, Xun, & Miller; 2014). Students were given a lot of autonomy in this lesson; they decided what they made with whatever materials they could. Students would be gaining competence each hour and each day because of the ease of use of the MakeyMakey. This technology is weird to use at first, but it gets easier. Students will gain ability relatively quickly while working in their group and the MakeyMakey. Lastly students will have relatedness because they are all working together for a common goal using something that most of them (if not all) have never seen before. There is a straight forward goal of making a room come alive by just touching it, but they get to decide all the details to get there. With these three main things ‘checked off’ I think that classroom management will be stress-free since students will be motivated and engaged. The main concern I have is students waiting for the MakeyMakey. I think I can get at least one more kit before I put this plan into action however. 🙂

  1. Culatta, R. (2014, July 14). Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeaconStreet. [Video File]TEDxTalks. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z0uAuonMXrg July 17 2014


  1. Eseryel, D., Law, V., Ifenthaler, D., Xun, G. & Miller, R. (2014). An Investigation of the Interrelationships between Movidation, Engagement, and Complex Problem Solving in Game-based Learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17(1), 42 – 53. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=db215c29-f1cd-4d15-b463-aa1128c74f6a%40sessionmgr114&vid=2&hid=112 July 17 2014 (14364522)


  1. Holland, J. & Holland, J. (2014). Implications of Shifting Technology in Education. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning 58(3), 16-25. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/ehost/detail?vid=3&sid=c7893362-5816-4730-94af-ff2ed0cf3ecf%40sessionmgr114&hid=124&bdata=JnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#db=eft&AN=95712398 July 17 2014 (87563894)


  1. Kathyschrock (2009). Teaching. Retrieved July 17, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kathyschrock/3548570278/


  1. Shannon (2012). Practice Makes Progress. Retrieved July 17, 2014 from http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com/2012/09/sayings-posters-quotes-oh-my-part-7.html