Game On! GEC Connect 2017

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Looking for a (free) opportunity to engage with educators across the globe? Then join us online at the GEC Conference today through Wednesday! The conference is a "collaborative, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness, recognition of diversity, and educational access for all."

Choose from over 100 diverse presentations, being hosted around-the-clock on the Blackboard Collaborate platform. (Check out the schedule for your timezone here.) Presentations include topics like:

  • Developing Globally Competent Students
  • World Peace Music Project
  • A World of #CollaborativePD
  • Flipped Learning
  • Green Digital Footprints
  • And much, much more!

Take the conference to the next level with our Game On! GEC Connect game, which includes three missions: GEC Sessions, GEC Connections, and GEC Explorations. Reach 300 points to qualify for a special digital badge and a personalized participation certificate.

Join Alludo's Julia Francis to learn how to get started and fulfill the activity and mission requirements. She will also share more about using Alludo as a tool for global learning across multiple locations, organizations and sites to further communication, collaboration and fun!

The conference is available from Monday, November 13 through Wednesday, November 16. Register at any time on Eventbrite or find more information at www.globaleducationconference.com. Check out the archives to find conference materials from 2010-2016. 

Elementary Tech Tools

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Last month, we explored the role of technology in primary schools. Today we're sharing a list of ideas and tools to help you thoughtfully incorporate tech in the K-3 classroom.

Videos are one of the simplest ways to incorporate technology into your classroom. From engaging clips about science or math to sing-a-long vocabulary lessons, there are millions of resources available with the click of a button. It's important to see videos as a way to enrich or supplement existing activities -- not as a filler. Check out National Geographic Kids and TIME for Kids for inspiration.

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Computer literacy has become a necessary skill for children. They'll need to use computers in school, and will likely work with computers at some point in their career. Encourage children to use computers as more than a word processor or gaming device by introducing creative tools like drawing or design apps, or exploring coding activities like ScratchJr. (Take coding even further with robots like Ozobot.)

E-books/audiobooks are becoming increasingly more interactive, and provide an opportunity to appeal to multiple learning styles. Students who have a hard time engaging with the written word may benefit from the addition of an audiobook. Similarly, children might be more engaged in reading when they can flip through or interact with the "pages" on a tablet, getting the same immersion in reading, just through a different channel. Create your own audio library with QR codes.

Virtual field trips allow students to leave the four walls of the classroom and experience life in another part of the world. Organizations like Discovery Education offer "tours" of remote locales (even as far away as space!), historical sites, factories and immersive safaris. Create a different kind of adventure with Google Slides choose-your-own-adventure activities.

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Catching Up After CUE

We're back this week from what was another exciting, engaging Fall CUE conference! Whether you participated in-person or joined from afar, we were honored to be a part of this event that encourages all to LEARN, INSPIRE, and INNOVATE! 

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This year, over 235 educators from 86 school districts played the Fall CUE Champion Game. Seventy-seven players completed the level to earn the Champion title, and our Top 5 players had perfect scores and completed every activity and mission! WOW!

The top scoring districts districts were:

  • Mt. Diablo Unified
  • Union Elementary
  • Campbell Union
  • Alisal Union
  • Alum Rock Union Elementary
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Congratulations to all of our Champions! Get ready for the #cuechat drawing on November 7, where winners will be selected for:

  • A CUE Rockstar Camp registration of the winner's choice
  • 3-month Alludo trial - PD gamification for your district
  • A selection of books from educational innovators, like Alice Keeler and more!

 

Reviewing the game evidence has given us some insight into the impact of FALL CUE. Here's what some of our players had to say:

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"Wow! So many take-aways from the opening session & keynote with Brad [Montague]! One take-away is that I am important, my students are important, and YOU are important. I will row out of the sea of doubt and sing loudly! Why? Because it’s a joyful rebellion!"

"Many memorable moments. Can live off this positive energy for a long time."

"Pernille [Ripp] had so many inspirational sayings, she was really an impressive speaker. Thank you."

Inspired to be better!

Bring Personalized Professional Development to a New Level: Springfield Public Schools

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We'd like to welcome Springfield Public Schools to the Alludo platform! The district began their program last spring to provide a blended-learning PD game for their teachers, but have seriously expanded since then.

  • GameOn! is SPS's main teacher PD game and includes training on multiple devices, digital and Google tools, tech integration, district system use, and digital citizenship. Over 300 of the district's 1,000 teachers started playing in the first month.

  • Land of Lincoln Tech Fest is SPS's annual summer tech conference -- the district has already developed a game to support in-person learning for 2018 event.

  • New Teacher Toolbox is designed to support teachers new to the district. This is an important tool for SPS, which welcomes over 100 teachers each year! The game trains teachers on SPS systems, devices, and setting up teacher sites. Eighty teachers are already playing this fall.

  • Rockstars is specifically designed to support teachers in a 1:1 classroom. Over 200 teachers are currently earning badges for their 1:1 PD!

If that wasn't enough, SPS is working on LeadOn!, a game designed for administrators. Like GameOn!, the game will focus on technology and its role in effective leadership in the district.

In addition to getting valuable PD experience, teachers are awarded Illinois continuing Professional Development Units when they complete sorties. These units are part of the continuing education required for teachers to maintain their licensure in Illinois.

SPS's games are designed and managed by Technology Instructional Leaders Jill Wollet, Carrie Kincaid, Janel Comerford and Bob Hayes. This ambitious team of four has the vision, knowledge, and commitment to design games which bring personalized professional development to a new level. "Our Alludo Learning games, created specifically for targeted groups (new teachers, 1:1 teachers, veteran teachers, and administrators) allow for customized learning experiences in which our educators control their own professional development, addressing what they need, in their own time," said Kincaid.

See what District 186 special education teacher Lisa Boyd and Graham Elementary principal Steve Miller have to say about GameOn!

 

We're looking forward to supporting all of the great work that's happening at Springfield! Game on!

I now have a greater understanding of the teacher’s skills and knowledge by reviewing their evidence and work within the game. It has provided us with insight we’ve never had before and has given us great ideas for the future. This method of learning is so powerful.
— Janel Comerford, Alludo Admin and Technology Instructional Leader.

Technology & Education: It's Elementary

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"21st century skills" is arguably one of the biggest buzzwords in education today. Digital literacy, tech competency, collaboration and problem-solving skills are getting the attention they deserve, however they're generally addressed at the middle- and high-school level. Many elementary-school students have to transition from a traditional cut-and-paste, alphabet curriculum into the new digital world of education with little practical knowledge. While they may be whizkids when it comes to playing on an iPad, they aren't necessarily prepared to apply that knowledge to their education.

It seems natural to incorporate more technology into elementary-school classrooms: it's interactive, relevant and exciting, and it doesn't have to be done at the expense of hands-on education. It's important that schools strike a balance: experts recommend putting strict time limits on screen-time both in and out of the classroom. Computers and apps should only be used with careful consideration to achieving learning objectives. With purposeful integration, teachers can harness the power of technology to transform, rather than replace, their current instructional practices.

Blended learning also offers a number of benefits when it comes to differentiated instruction. "Part of the appeal of the software programs is their reliance on visuals, making learning easier for English learners and students with dyslexia," said former assessment and intervention administrator Laura Ryan. It also has positive implications for student intervention. The International Center for Leadership in Education believes "that reimagined and redesigned instructional days [...] could allow all students to access the unique and mutually reinforcing support represented by differentiation, individualization, and personalization—an Instruction and Intervention System powered by blended learning pedagogies and practices."

Watch how one elementary school is integrating tech tools in their classrooms:

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Fall CUE Conference Championship

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We hope you'll joins us at Fall CUE this year, and join us in playing our Fall CUE Conference Championship game. If you've attended other CUE events in the past year, you might be familiar with the CUE games. This year's game will feature four missions: Inspire, Innovate, Learn, and #cuechat. We've designed the game in partnership with CUE to engage Fall CUE attendees even more in the conference experience. To take advantage of everything the event has to offer and become a champion, you are encouraged to:

  • Write session reflections
  • Meet keynote and session speakers
  • Collaborate with other conference attendees
  • Visit exhibitor partners
  • Plan how you'll share what you've learned with your school community back home

We'll be handing out badge stickers, and our champions can enter a drawing to win three months of the Alludo platform, Alludo swag, and a CUE Rock Star Camp registration! 

Sign up now to complete pre-conference activities, and find out more about what's happening this year at Fall CUE.

Don't forget to stop by and say hi to the Alludo team!

Motivate Players and Sites with Trend Reporting

When I was at Gold Coast CUE this weekend, I had a chance to catch up with Liz from Hueneme, who mentioned she was looking forward to the forthcoming player and site trend reporting. We shared some quick and dirty trend reporting a couple of weeks ago, and the consensus was that these reports helped keep your communities engaged.

The feedback was so positive and consistent that we decided to move up their release. However, rather than just provide monthly trend reporting, we decided to include weekly and yearly trends, too. The reports are now live in your games, so please check them out and send me your feedback.

Trend reports are available to everyone in a game

Trend reports are available to everyone in a game

We added a comprehensive filter to allow you to really drill down!

We added a comprehensive filter to allow you to really drill down!

Filter by school, week, month, and year

Filter by school, week, month, and year

We're looking at adding one really cool feature to our reporting, but I'll save that one for later.

Counting Down to Fall CUE

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It's that time of the year, Fall CUE is almost here! With less than two weeks away, the event promises to be two packed days of learning, tech, fun and networking opportunities. Join us on October 27 & 28 at American Canyon HS. This year's conference will feature:

  • over 300 concurrent sessions
  • workshops with CUE Lead Learners
  • STEAMPunk playground for hands-on learning
  • Student Powered Showcase

Keynote speakers include Brad Montague: writer, director and co-creator of YouTube favorite Kid President, and literacy and technology integration expert Pernille Ripp. 

We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Register, check out the conference schedule, or get more information. Watch for our Fall Champs announcement next week....yes, there will be a game AND STICKERS!


Spotlight on Carlsbad

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Keep up the great work...Carlsbad Unified School District is coming up on the one year anniversary of their Alludo PD game!

The high-achieving district serves 11,000 students across fourteen schools, a number of which have been designated Distinguished Schools at the federal and state level.  The district is always working towards building a solid technology foundation for its students, starting a 1:1 Chromebook rollout for sixth graders last year, and committing to expanding the program to every middle schooler by 2018-19. 

CUSD's commitment to professional development plays a big part in their mission to "provide every student an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment." 

"The primary goal for this platform is to enhance access to the content, strategies, and conversations that best serve teachers in their professional development," said ed tech coach Robert Allen. Allen and his team designed their district's games to "maximize professional development by providing flexibility and choice, which ultimately translates into immediately applicable content and skills in the classroom that meet the teacher where he/she is."

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Games include G Suite, Project-Based Learning, Chromebooks, and more. The district is also using the platform for standalone, event-based, and blended learning PD.

To support the program, the district has stationed a tech coach at each school to act as a level designer and achievement reviewer, and to guide and collaborate with teachers. Administrators supported the game's implementation by restructuring staff meetings to offer teachers more time to use Alludo.

Keep up with the district on their Twitter account, @CarlsbadUnified and learn more about their tech department with @rallen_techCUSD.

Alludo lets me model for teachers what I mean by individualizing students’ learning to increase engagement and meaningfulness.
— CUSD Administrator
What I like about these modules is you can watch a brief instructional video (approx 2 min.) on a subject of interest to you and walk away with a skill you can immediately put to work for yourself or in your classroom.
— CUSD Tech Coach

New G Suite Game Available in the Catalog

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We're excited to announce the release of our first Alludo-authored game - G Suite for Education! The game is all about G Suite apps, including Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Keep, Classroom, and more. Our game was developed for players that are just getting started with Google and for those advanced players that want to excel.

Work your way through four levels to master how to use the apps, and how to implement them in your classroom. We've covered activities that combine multiple apps to increase collaboration and student engagement, and encouraged players to come up with their own creative lessons and activities. 

For Alludo districts, the G Suite game is available in the catalog today. If you are interested in learning more, check out our Alludo demo game or contact us for a call. Stay tuned for our next game: Digital Citizenship for Teachers!