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Clear Your Mind and Prepare for the Year

I know it's hard to believe that today is August 1st! It seems just like yesterday that everyone was celebrating the beginning of summer and the sand beneath their toes. While you are wrapping up your vacation and preparing for the year I wanted to share a couple of thoughts and ideas that may help you start on a great note!

First, I would encourage all of you to take a deep breath and realize that while it may be stressful today, the school year will arrive just as it does every year and you will be there to greet it with a smile. The work that you pour into your classroom is always appreciated by your students whether they tell you or not.

Second, remember that we are all in this together! As educators we need to draw on the strengths of our colleagues and share our strengths with each other in order to help all students grow. If you find yourself feeling isolated, jump on Twitter and start talking to the world to ask for ideas. There are many passionate educators who are more …
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Student Technology Showcase Post

Each year, student teams and their teachers from around the state participate in the AT&T/MACUL/MVU Student Technology Showcase, an event held at the State of Michigan Capitol Building. This year’s Student Technology Showcase took place on December 7, representing 34 schools across Michigan.  It was an opportunity for teachers and students to present to lawmakers classroom technology projects designed and created by students at all levels of K-12 education.   Through these demonstrations our lawmakers see the importance of technology integration into the classroom firsthand, hearing straight from students themselves.  The event was also a chance for teams to move about the rotunda of the Capitol to explore the work of teams from other districts.  These new connections helped students grow their digital literacy knowledge while discovering the possibilities of other technology integrations into school projects and curriculum. For most students, this was their first experience meetin…

2016 - The Year of Maker Beginnings

As most of us begin our winter break, I thought I would take a minute and reflect on how amazing 2016 has been for the team here at Berrien RESA.

First of all, thank you to every single person that allowed us to work with you this year to help you continue to grow both professionally and personally with skills that will continue to flourish in the new year.  One of the most gratifying parts of our job is seeing the smiles on the student's faces that are impacted by the work that we do with each and every one of you.

Second, thank you to everyone for the support of the SW Michigan Mini Maker Faire! In our second year, we had over 1,500 attendees and continue to increase student involvement in the faire.  Please mark down June 3rd, 2017 for the upcoming faire! The call for makers should open soon after the new year.

Third, as I sit and reflect on all of the amazing activities that we have done with all of you, I thought i best to write it in a short list below:

Brought drones to mid…

FlyBrix Drones for your Classroom

Berrien RESA is excited to bring drones to your classroom!  Through the generosity of the Bosch Corporation, and their partnership with Cornerstone Alliance, we were able to purchase 35 FlyBrix Lego drone kits.  Ten of the kits are RC controlled while the other 25 are controlled via a bluetooth connection to an app enabled device.  The FlyBrix app is free!

On Monday, November 21 we were invited to Upton Middle School.  We were able to work with 20 6-8 graders in one 40 minute block of time.   Most students worked with a partner, but there were some groups of three.  This seemed to work well; any more than three means someone would not have their hands in on the building.  We learned a lot and are ready for the next classroom.  Below are our biggest takeaways.

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1. Kids were super engaged throughout the building process.  They picked which of the three FlyBrix designs they wanted to build and used flybrix.com/build for directions.  Most …

Waffle Bytes: Google - Reset a Form for Reuse with the new Schoo...

Our colleague Melinda Waffle from Calhoun ISD has put together a timely tutorial on how to reset those Google Forms you will be reusing!



Waffle Bytes: Google - Reset a Form for Reuse with the new Schoo...: There are many times I want to re-use a form that I have used in the past, but I want it tied to a "clean" (new) spreadsheet, whil...

Google My Maps

You may have noticed that 'Google My Maps' have shown up in your google drive.  I was able to attend a session at MACUL's Googlefest this past month and picked up some great tips from Kelly Kermode, a technology coach for Forest Hills Schools.  
Below is an overview on how to import data into a Google My Map.  Once you have mastered this skill there are numerous practical uses to explore! ______________________________________________________________________________
Here is what the finished map looked like based on the data that I imported.  I was alerted that there were several rows unable to be mapped - I went in and checked for grammar and was able to resolve this issue.  I could also have chosen to place the pins manually by selecting one from above and placing it where I wanted. _________________________________________________________________________

Google My Maps provide a great tool for building geographic awareness.  Students could create a walking tour of thei…

My Thoughts on Attending Games+Learning+Society 12 (Part 1)

I just returned from the Games + Learning + Society conference held in Madison, WI at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I have to say that of all the conferences that I have attended, this was the most thought provoking one to date.  Any conference that gets you excited to attend when you read the session descriptions had to be awesome! Sessions covered the entire spectrum from designing educational games to using game-based theory in your classroom.  
The opening keynote was Ernest Adams, the designer of the Madden football series.  From the start, it was clear that I was in a gathering of academics and Ernest proved that with his first mention of American philosophy vs. French philosophy.  His talk revolved around the battle between logic and feeling in the world of video games.  Many games that are available now revolve around real life situations as it is easier for programmers to replicate real life than to generate in-depth, emotion evoking gaming experiences.  He also allud…