Well PlayED 

This past week I got the great privilege of being on Michael Matera‘s (@MrMatera) gamification podcast Well PlayED (#WellPlayedU). I have never been on a podcast before so it was a totally new experience for me! Because I have two young children at home, two dogs, and a husband who is also off for the summer I can rarely find a quiet space in our house. Even my office (which doesn’t have a lock on it) is not off limits to the wild and craziness that is my home. So when Michael and I finally found a good time to chat, I found myself parked in my car under a tree in the middle of a parking lot. As I watched the cars zoom by, I thought about my year in all it’s ups and downs and my journey that has been gamification. I really enjoyed chatting with Michael and how it felt like we were just two old friends talking across the table with a cup of coffee. I hope that you all enjoy it as well:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/well-played/id1223852505?mt=2&i=1000389767574

Podcast Description: BOOM! Heather Marrs, @hmarrs24, has joined the #wellplayedu crew. This episode pops right off the ear bud. Heather shares how she got started, things she noticed and how her students soared in her gamified class. So much shared, and so much gained in this episode. I really loved having a chat with this dynamic educator who is constantly striving for bringing the best in her classroom.

While the episode is about gamifiy in elementary, it is unbelievable that all that was said can be applied to all classrooms K-College! Looking forward to many more conversations with this talented educator.

Thanks for sharing with use Heather, You rock!

#iPDX17 & the first Seesaw Social in Oregon

I am so excited to go to AcceleratEd and IntegratEd this week in Portland! I love my Twitter PLN but it is so amazing to get to meet face to face and connect with my local PLN as well! In an effort to bring more educators together, Seesaw has started Seesaw Socials! On Thursday evening after the conference from 5-6pm we will be meeting at the Columbia Bar and Grill for some good food and great company! You can sign up on Eventbrite here: Seesaw Social or just show up!

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In an attempt to connect prior to the conference and during, I created a list of #iPDX17 attendees I put together on Twitter: 

I’m also excited to host a #CoffeeEDU on Friday morning in the Columbia Bar & Grill. Time is still to be determined. Look for updates on Twitter by following me @hmarrs24 or following the conference hashtag #iPDX17.

Getting Ready for ISTE 2016

Yikes!! I can’t believe that ISTE 2016 is almost here!!! I have been dying to go to ISTE for a very long time and finally this year I have the chance to go! In fact, my district just hired 9 EdTech Teacher Leaders as an extra duty position and they are sending the whole squad!! Well minus two members of the team who just happened to be having babies this month. 🙂

I am actually quite surprised by the amount of information and prep leading up to this conference. I already knew it was going to be a BIG one and that it would most likely be overwhelming but I did not expect the amount of connecting and collaboration that would happen in the months leading up to the conference. I have been very lucky to have “met” some amazing people in my Twitter PLN who have guided me in the right direction concerning the ins and outs of ISTE planning. I also recently was invited to join my very first Voxer group to discuss ISTE with others who have been to ISTE before. I have learned quite a few things but some of the most important tips and tricks I’ve learned are:

  1. Make sure to have a business card handy. A business card? What? As a teacher I don’t think I’ve ever needed a business cardScreen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.02.58 PM before so….I’ve never made one! But, it turns out that you will be meeting A LOT of people at ISTE and one of the biggest benefits of the conference itself will be the connections you make and continue once the conference is over. So I went on Groupon and found a great deal on business cards. $9.99 for 100 cards on Zazzle printed front and back. I included my name, title, Twitter Handle, Voxer, email, and blog site. Here’s the link to the Groupon deal if you want to check it out: https://www.groupon.com/deals/zazzle-170-eugene
  2. Print labels with your info. on them to use for the drawings in the Expo. I went to NCCE 2016 in February which is about half as small as ISTE and it was insane trying to write my info on a million little tickets to enter myself into raffles in the Expo hall. I can only imagine how many there will be at ISTE!! I read somewhere that it would take 46 hours to walk and stop on every aisle in the Expo at ISTE! That just blows my mind! Now don’t get me wrong…I love free stuff but I definitely don’t want to spend two entire days of the conference walking around the EXPO. So, in an effort to kick my free stuff into high gear, I created some labels with the required info on them so that I can just slap the label on the entry form and call it a day! Some info to make sure and include would be: name, district, address (I put my school address), phone number (classroom/school number), and email address. I also made my labels on Zazzle and was able to pay one S&H for both my cards and my labels. You can check out the labels here: http://www.zazzle.com/modern+address+labels
  3. Plan but be flexible. Planning ahead is vital when it comes to such a large conference. I read that there are over 1,000 different sessions held plus workshops, keynotes, and all of the “activities” that aren’t listed on the schedule! The first thing I did was download the ISTE 2016 app on my iPad and my iPhone. If you haven’t done that yet go do it! NOW! It’s great because you can browse the different options by day and time and then click on the star to favorite the ones you like. Once I went through a few times and made sure that I had everything I liked favorited, I went through my favorites and narrowed down the sessions by day and time. I now have a loose idea of what sessions I want to go to. Some advice that I got from my Voxer friends is to walk the conference center before the conference starts and check out where the sessions are. Sometimes you might pick two sessions that are back to back but are so far apart physically that it would be impossible for you to make it on time. Also, I made sure that I didn’t plan every second of every day. I’m going to need some down time to relax and reflect on the things that I’ve learned. I might also hear about a session while I’m there or meet up with a great group to collaborate with. I’m definitely the planning type but I am trying my best to stay flexible!!

Just a few more weeks and we will be on our way to Denver!! Woohoo!! So excited to learn and experience ISTE for the first time! If you haven’t already, please connect with my on Twitter at @hmarrs24

Our First Twitter Chat was a Success!

We hosted our first Twitter chat ever this morning as a class! As part of EdCamp Global Classrooms we hosted a Twitter Chat on Creation Apps in the Elementary Classroom. You can catch the Storify here.

It was such a new experience for me and totally out of the realm of what we normally do in the classroom! It took me a very LONG time to jump into the Twitter world to begin with. I definitely was not a fan and was usually found saying, “I don’t want to know what everyone had for breakfast!” in response to anyone who asked why I wasn’t on Twitter. After probably the 10th time that one of my techy friends told me I NEEDED to be on Twitter, I decided to try it out. I made an account and followed a few education people but didn’t really have focus and so I lost interest in it very quickly. About 6 months later I was reading a blog post about how wonderful Twitter was for this person’s professional development. Sadly, I can’t remember who it was or where I read it. 😦 Anyhow, I decided to give it a go one more time only this time with a more focused intent: Ed Tech.

I ONLY followed people who were Ed Tech Bloggers, Ed Tech Teachers/Coaches, and the Apps that I really liked to use in my classroom. Suddenly I saw what everyone had been talking about: the amazing personal learning community that I can create for myself! I can now say that Twitter is the SINGLE BEST thing I have done for my own professional development since I started teaching. I have learned so much from all of the amazing educators and Ed Tech gurus, I have connected with teachers and classes from all over the world, and I’ve been able to bring something into the classroom that not only engages students but connects them on a global level!

It have definitely come a long way in the world of Twitter and I feel that I have so much further to go! Today I can now say that I have successfully hosted my first Twitter chat and I can’t wait for more!

Follow my class @ereroom9  or me @hmarrs24

We are hoping to have more #room9chat in the future!