This past weekend, the PBS Regional Teachers Summit was held in New Bern. What a great experience it was! I had never been to New Bern. It was a gorgeous town and a phenomenal experience. The PBS Regional Teachers Summit was hosted by UNC TV, one of our state's greatest resources for helping students learn early literacy skills. My son grew up watching various PBS shows such as Thomas the Train, Dinosaur Train, and Nature Cat. These shows provided him a jump start with early literacy skills and a love of reading. I was "superhyped" to be asked to serve as a Digital Learning Competency (DLC) ambassador where I delivered two different sessions. The first session More Rare Than Gold: Platinum Assessment and Date Tools is a session that I developed last summer and have continued to offered periodically this year. I have enjoyed delivering this session and it was well received. However, what I looked forward to the most was delivering a new session, The Goosechase Is On: Motivating Students Through Scavenger Hunts. In this session, we used Goosechase Edu, a education version of Goosechase. Goosechase just released an educator's version last fall and it is my favorite tech tool. In it, participants complete various tasks or answer questions. The missions, as they are called, can be created individually. They can also be created from a mission bank as well. Earlier this fall, I worked with an ELA teacher who really took this tool to new heights. At the beginning of the year, she used it as a team building experience. Later on though, she expanded to use it as tool to get students to work collaboratively in exploring various topics in a novel. She created the Goosechase so that teams had to work together to be successful. One of the most interesting things that I observed involved seeing students that are typically not motivated to read, all of a sudden become very interested in the novel due to the Goosechase tool being used. These are students that I have observed doing only the minimum were all of a sudden fully engaged and doing more than I would have ever guessed. It was amazing. Based on this experience, I knew that I had to create a session to share Goosechase with more educators due to its amazing potential. I decided that we would explore the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) by using Goosechase. Inspired by the ELA teacher at my school, I decided to use Peter Reynolds' book Happy Dreamer. I presented the session twice. The first session was packed with standing room only. I was excited but also felt overwhelmed. Once we got the session started with individuals creating their log in credentials and downloading the app to their mobile device. we were off and running. I was truly amazed at how much the participants did and how much they shared. They were all engaged and learned together. Each group experienced the 4Cs and so much more. In doing so, I saw true innovation occur after ending the Goosechase. I asked the participants to think about how to use the tool in their classrooms and we got many amazing ideas. One educator mentioned having students show how to solve a math problem as a mission. I was astounding to get a math example. It is always challenging to find math examples. Several elementary teachers mentioned using it to help students demonstrated the various parts of a book such as locating the author and copyright date. Everyone remarked that they felt very creative due to the tasks presented. They also indicated that they had true collaboration and communication. Many remarked that critical thinking was actively integrated into the Goosechase. I was pleased to see so many extraordinary ideas flourish during the one hour session. I am still in awe at all that occurred. I hope to continue spreading the word about Goosechase. But more importantly, I want teachers to see it as tool to motivate all students to learn at high levels while meeting or exceeding curriculum goals. Check out some images from the session below. I want to send a special thank you to Jill Darrough with NC DPI for inviting me to share. I will be forever indebted to her for her continued encouragement and empowerment.
URL Link: https://animoto.com/play/1BAGYH029M8zjZy7pEjX4g
The ideas shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent my employers, associations, or organizations. These thoughts are entirely my own.