Once Upon A Time
It's funny to start a title like this, but this is a great story. Once upon a time just a few years ago, I got to experience NETA for the first time. There were great sessions filled with engaged educators that were producing amazing learning experiences for students - but there was something missing. Although the largest district in the state, Omaha Public Schools didn't have much of a presence. In 3 short years, this has changed. This year there were incredible opportunities shared from this great group of educators; to follow are a few I was fortunate enough to experience.
Look below.... After some research this isn't all of them... #OPSProud
First Virtual School in Nebraska History
2017 #20toWatch winner, Wendy Loewenstein, and Tom Gamble present on starting the Omaha Virtual School. It has been interesting starting this initiative without virtual school verbiage at the state level. Real blended learning is happening everyday for these home-schooled students. Right after this session, they presented on Minecraft in Education which has been infused into daily activities.
30 Pearls of Wisdom
I'm not sure if it was the free pearls being handed out, or their presentation but I wasn't able to even make it into the room with these two. Great turnout for Kelly Means and Jodi Brown.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
This one is near and dear to me. Wakonda is an amazing example of a successful turn around school story. The transition replaced the principal, all but four teachers and transformed student learning using technology. Rebecca Chambers and Missy W discuss how they used a gradual release model and infused behavior strategies to create success for students in this North Omaha school. As a result of their efforts, Wakonda became a Microsoft Showcase School in just 2 years.
Gamify Your Professional Learning Now!
Dr. Rony Ortega is one of my favorite principals. He demonstrates the value of modeling effective use of technology for his staff. These guys at Buffett Middle School have their focus on providing effective professional development with their staff. Good things are coming soon with this school. #staytuned
Augmented Reality w the Microsoft HoloLens
Probably my favorite interactive session of the day as Eileen Heller and Melissa Cleaver got up in front of everyone and setup 2 HoloLens units to demonstrate ways these devices will change how students can experience different virtual activities. Everyone that wanted to put on the units were able to - and wow - they loved it.
Connecting Families: Engaging and Guiding Parents in a Digital Age
This one goes out to Keegan. She is thoughtful and presents topics such as digital literacy and citizenship in a manner that our parents and students understand. Here is the sway of that presentation.
She also posted a blog today on the topic of using social media to create a positive digital footprint.
There were many more valuable sessions; I invite you to visit the NETA site to get a list of the presentations and handouts. Omaha Public Schools is becoming a leader in the area of purposeful technology. Am I bragging? You're damn right I am because I am #OPSProud of them. I feel fortunate to work with each and every person in OPS. Always realize the work is never done – it is important to stay in constant reflection so you know the next course of action.