Sunday, February 22, 2015

Be Open to Learning New Things

As an educator we learn new things everyday. We also must commit to learning about the changes in our educational field and we MUST be willing to change our ways. If we want to be an effective impactful educator TODAY we must acknowledge that what we did in the classroom just 5-10 years ago may not be the best approach in 2015.

I was able to attend the Pearson: STEM Event: Closing the Gender Gap this Thursday-Saturday. I had many take aways from the event. But, what resonated with me the most was the high school student panel on Saturday morning. There were several girls from Bay Area high schools on the panel. They were there to speak to us about encouraging more students, specifically girls, to get involved in computer science. However, it was their non course specific appeals that really hit home. The girls looked out at the audience and each gently told us to think about the following: "Don't always tell us to not touch things. We need to touch to find out how things work." "Don't tell us it can't be done. We may find a way to make it work that you did not see." "Encourage us to try things. Don't tell us we can't." "When you click into a student's interests the possibilities are endless." "Students only know about their teachers what they see. Show them who you really are. Capture their interest." "Help students to not let stereotypes and roadblocks get in their way. Help them prove what they can do."

My hope from attending STEM Event: Closing the Gender Gap is that the information that is shared below will spark some of you to become excited and passionate to head up a club, start a class, share information with students, and build upon our computer science offerings at Fairfield High. If you aren't following me on Twitter yet, please do. Follow me @KristenWitt13.  See all the Tweets from the conference at #PearsonSTEM. You MUST check out the following links.

Maker Education:

Grants for Computer Science in high school:

Google for Education:

Girls Who Code Clubs:

Girls Who Code:

I continue to encourage each of you to look at your teaching practice from a student's perspective. I can't stress that enough. Make your classroom environment relevant and meaningful. If students are able to find purpose and self discover they will go so much farther. My short tour at Google enforced this as well. The employees at Google are encouraged to be problem solvers and out of the box thinkers. It was a "Noogler" (an employee @Google for less than a week) that created what we know as Google Hangout in a very short 30 hour time period so the Dali Lama could participate in the Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture without actually being present at the event. Amazing things happen when we pose a problem and let people go with it!!! On Twitter this weekend I came across some very insightful quotes.

Good education is not what fills your head with facts but what stimulates curiosity. You then learn for the rest of your life. —

We had a large team of FHS teachers attend the GAFE Summit this weekend!! The following teachers spent Saturday and Sunday learning as much as they could about Google Apps for Education. James "Mac" Macariola, Shari Patterson, Mike Patterson, May Cranford, Von Wolf, Ryan Clemenson, Val Quijas, Paul Walpole, and Eddie Wilson attended the event for Fairfield High. I know they were filling their brains to the brim based on the Tweets I saw them sharing during the summit. I am looking forward to each of them modeling and sharing in depth what they learned with the rest of you. See all their and other attendees Tweets on Twitter with #GafeSummit or #GafeSummitCA.  Follow "Mac" @JamesMacariola, follow Shari @MrsPattersonFHS, follow Paul @imissmybeard, follow Val @quijas_fhs, follow Mike @mr_pattersonfhs.

Our ONE goal: To graduate every Fairfield High Student and to ensure that they leave FHS college and career ready!!! Inspire, Engage, Excite, Lead, Foster, Create, Empower!!

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 


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