I just returned from an incredible weekend of learning. I totally nerded out. My pen couldn’t move fast enough to record the slew of brilliant ideas spread by educators throughout the globe.

Welcome to Hong Kong’s 21st Century Learning Conference.

The conference brought together the leading thought provokers in education to share simple strategies for better equipping students to thrive in a new age. They were SO simple in fact, that I was able to learn a few techniques in less than five minutes.

I want to share with you a few of those takeaways. Here were my top three:

FlipGrid: The Global Connector 

How do you usually garner feedback or assess learning from your students? Blog Posts? Journal Entries? Quizzes? Daily questions?

Last weekend I learned a technique that makes all of these forms of assessment/ check-ins seem outdated and archaic.

Meet Flipgrid. Flipgrid is a platform that allows teachers to create discussion prompts and gather responses from students via a video message. Teachers can start the discussion with video, text, or a combination of both.

For example, you may be a biology teacher wanting students to learn about blood circulation. You can post a video and ask students to narrate over the top how blood circulates through the body.

Teachers can moderate the discussion and reply individually to students. Most importantly, through flipgrid, they create a platform for students to better engage and demonstrate learning of their content.

Learn more about flipgrid here.  Start your own account and create a discussion right away here. 

Maker Cart: The Maker Movement on Wheels

One very innovative school in Jakarta called JIS is mobilizing their “maker movement.” For those of you lucky enough to have a MakerSpace, this might seem redundant, for those just getting started, a mobile cart is the perfect place to begin.

Get a cart from Joanne’s Fabric or Michael’s, and start equipping it with Maker Materials. Wheel it around to classes, or put it between 3-4 for easy access during maker competitions or challenges.

In this way, if you are an English class designing new book covers, or stitching clothing for a nearby charity, you can simply roll in the maker cart, take the supplies you need and get started right away.

The link here provides an example of what this looks like. Disregard the price tag- think creatively, source out the materials or buy them wholesale and I’m sure you can checkout for far less than that.

Cross- Curricular Connections with Coding 

Do you teach coding? Are you an English Teacher? What if you could develop students’ English skills and teach them to code at the same time??

Ok, so this workshop literally rocked my world. It demonstrated that you can take a “codaphobe” like me to feeling like an expert with a few simple key strokes and an engaging game.

Google has put together some pretty nifty tutorials that teach you how to code through stacking a few blocks and getting characters through a series of challenges. Find that here.

The cross- curricular connection is built when students have to translate the blocks they have built into lines of code. In fact, it is so effective in building cross- curricular connections that the instructor used it to engage the most disruptive students in class.

She reports that a student who had barely wrote a sentence, tried the simple programs at home, and came back with nearly two pages of coding instructions for the ORIGINAL game they built. This was after only a few hours of learning. WOW!

She also mentioned that some teachers use the program during PE with students mapping out the game route and having to navigate a partner through successfully. This helps improve their collaborative skills for working together on the actual coded game. (This will all make sense once you try out a few of the games I promise). 

What’s exciting you?!

What’s exciting you right now? What’s your favorite new tool or strategy? I would love to hear about recent developments/ innovations/ discoveries you have made.

Hop over to my recently created flipgrid discussion below to share.

With respect and admiration for all you do!