Hands-on Learning Institutes

Work with education leaders across several strands of tech integration and emerging technologies. Some of the strands: Digital Storytelling, Project-Based Learning, Play and Games-Based Learning, Emerging Technologies, Measurement and Research, Open Education, Creativity and Visual Literacy.

Brain Based Learning - Larry Rosen
Teaching the Distracted Mind: Uncovering the "Psychology of Technology" in the Classroom
Any program that incorporates technology into the classroom must be aware that the same characteristics that make any technology engaging also make it extremely distracting. Dr. Larry Rosen is currently working on a new book entitled, "The Distracted Mind" which will take a candid look at why we all get so easily distracted from the dual perspectives of neuroscience and psychology. Dr. Rosen will share his own research and that of others showing that our students’ attention is constantly challenged and why it is so easy for them to switch their focus from the task at hand to something irrelevant to learning. He will demonstrate how attention is misdirected by external alerts and notifications as well as by internal drives and neurotransmitters. In addition, he will provide learners with a set of guidelines to help assist students in learning to focus while understanding their limitations amidst the current overflow of technology.
Cinematic Narrative in the Classroom - Jim Sill
Since their inception in 1895, films have played a huge role in the way we understand the stories and visual mediums. As an award-winning video production teacher, Jim Sill will unfold the language of film to show how easy it is to change the way classroom film projects are understood and produced. Learn how you can teach media literacy in your classroom to get students to stop blindly consuming what is being presented on the screen and start using it to tell their own story. When students and teachers understand the basics of media language they can understand what is being shown to them and communicate back with the technologies that today’s generation embraces. With real world examples and projects, Jim will facilitate a detailed examination on how using film techniques in the classroom can help initiate wonder, generate higher degrees of engagement, and develop critical thinking skills. He will showcase how film can be use in education to tell stories of culture, place and service in the community.

No longer are classrooms tied to expensive and complex cameras and editing programs. Using free online tools and mobile devices, learn just how easy it is to create meaningful assignments that can make an impact. Bring along your mobile device and start making movies. In teams, attendees will develop their film production vocabulary and practice shooting and editing a four shot scene with guided instruction.
Digital Storytelling - Bernajean Porter
The Art of MultiMedia Communication and Digital Storytelling
Urgent! Human beings needed with effective media communication skills in order to translate inert, raw information into valuable knowledge useful and beneficial to others. No paper allowed!

New communication literacies are less about mastering technical skills of digital tools than about being able to artfully design information in ways that increase engagement and "sticking" power of content along with ensuring high impact on audiences living with a saturated world of information. Research shows "You've got seconds to grab someone's attention and only 10 minutes to keep it" ~Dr. Medina. For learners (authors) to be effective communicators in the 21st century, sophisticated grammar skills in expressing ideas with multiple communication technologies will be essential. While words are considered an important foundation literacy, learners will find themselves handicapped in the digital age if text-based communication is the sole mode mastered. Effective media products start with an author’s capacity to develop rigorous content that is worthy of sharing first[meaning-makers] and then designing an attention holding sensory experience that artful influences and impacts the world [media-makers]! Learn and play hands-on with new media literacies and concepts that make information come alive!
Global Collaborative Projects - Julie Lindsay
Designing Engaging Curriculum for Global Collaboration in the Classroom

Let’s Go Global! Let’s connect with the world! This session will immerse participants in the exciting world of global collaborative projects at all levels of learning. After reviewing essential steps to 'flatten' and connect yourself and your classroom the focus will be on design and management for effective and successful global projects using emerging technologies and Web 2.0 tools. Existing projects will be explored for essential design parameters and new projects and opportunities discovered. This session is for teachers at all levels, curriculum coordinators, administrators and anyone interested in improving learning outcomes and engaging learners with connected and collaborative learning.

Material for this workshop is found in the book, “Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time“, by Julie Lindsay

Anticipated learning outcomes

As a result of this workshop participants will:
  • Understand what a 'flat' global project is and become familiar with the seven steps needed to flatten the classroom
  • Explore and understand existing global project design structures
  • Understand design principles for creating new global collaborative projects
  • Come to understand essential curriculum design for embedding global projects
  • Design a global project and pitch this to others in the session for feedback
  • Take away a renewed determination to introduce global collaboration into the curriculum and resources to start or continue to do so
Electrifying Children’s Mathematics - Gary Stager
This workshop moves beyond the goal of making math instruction engaging for children by providing educators with authentic mathematical thinking experiences.

There may be no greater gap between a discipline and the teaching done in its name than when the beauty, power and mystery of mathematics become maths instruction. One can only begin to address the systemic challenges of maths education by understanding the nature of mathematics and the power of computing. Nearly 100 years of efforts to increase achievement with unchanged curricular content continues to fail spectacularly; yet, we do not change course. Surely, the widespread availability of computational technology demands new pedagogical approaches and a new diet of mathematics.

This workshop moves beyond the goal of making math instruction engaging for children by providing educators with authentic mathematical thinking experiences. Such experiences acknowledge the role computers play in mathematics and society’s increasing demand for computational thinking. Project-based approaches with mathematics at the center of the activity will be explored. Traditional concepts such as numeracy, geometry, probability and graphing will be investigated in addition to exciting new branches of mathematics rarely found in the primary and middle grades.

Participants will engage in exciting programming, data analysis, geometry, problem solving and number theory projects in a playful fashion that supports and exceeds curricular objectives.
Making, Love, and Learning - Gary Stager
Learning outside of school is being transformed by the trends of tinkering, maker culture and personal fabrication. Educators need to be mindful of this major shift in digital learning, married to craft traditions, and student agency to create productive contexts for learning.

The Maker ethos of constructionism, or learning-by-making through first-hand experience will be explored in the context of projects using a range of analog and digital "construction" materials. Children can now use technology to create and solve their own problems. Affordable tools and materials, such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, Arduino microntrollers, Makey Makey construction kits, conductive paint and wearable computing components allow students to go farther than was imagined just a few years ago. Junk, high-tech gear, art supplies and engineering principles collide to expand human potential.

Art and science converge and are amplified by computing. When the artificial boundaries between subject areas are blurred and every student requires the same process skills and tools, the distinction between vocational and academic education are obliterated. In order for schools to seize the opportunities afforded by this "Maker" spirit, educators need more than awareness that the world is changing. They need to develop new skills and redesign classroom environments to support learner-centered practices in order to prepare kids to solve problems their teachers never anticipated.
Measurement and Research - Damian Bebell
Leveraging research and evaluation to inform your school's technology programs
As educators and school leaders, how do we know that our teaching, learning, and ICT investments and practices are having the impact we intend them to? How can we better inform decisions and improve our understanding of teacher, student, and parent sentiment in a quickly changing educational landscape?

In this session, educational researcher Damian Bebell will share real-world examples from schools that have leveraged simple research and evaluation techniques to inform and guide their ICT investments and programs. Sharing techniques and best practices culled from over a decade of ICT studies and collaborative research, this session will help educators design, use, and interpret results from teacher and student surveys, classroom observations, focus groups, and student drawings.
Play and Games-Based Learning - Peggy Sheehy
WoWinSchool: The Hero's Journey
Are you trying to close the rift between traditional classroom practice and the hyper “click, tap and swipe” learning innate in your students? Even once we grasp the inherent value in these tools, it can be difficult to find connections to the curriculum, classroom management advice, and examples of what the learning looks like. In this Institute, Peggy Sheehy shares about using World of Warcraft as an arena for quest-based learning. Peggy tells us about her journey hosting a hybrid, collaborative literacy program using the game to engage youth in learning. These massively multiplayer online role-play games, or MMO’s, have dominated the computer gaming industry for the last several years. MMO’s go beyond traditional computer gaming, though. They are vibrant, persistent, and surprisingly social worlds, and now many of them are mobile! As educators begin to take their first steps into these spaces, we’re finding that there’s a wealth of often-overlooked educational value for our learners. Join Peggy Sheehy and explore the highly popular MMO, World of Warcraft, as well as the free ELA curriculum, "WoWinSchool: The Hero’s Journey". Peggy has been running this program with 6th -12th grade students since 2008, and has a wealth of tips and tricks to share! Not only will you be introduced to World of Warcraft, and the quest based course management system, 3D Game Lab, but you’ll also learn strategies used to adapt worlds like these to our classrooms. Plus, the concepts you’ll learn can be adapted to any MMO, including Lord of the Rings Online (free), Guild Wars 2, RuneScape, and others. Grab your sword, strap on your armor, and don your educator’s cap of wisdom as we embark on a hands-on quest for playful learning!

Please note that attendees need to install World of Warcraft prior to arrival and that the free trial” version of the game is fine for our purposes. Minimum system requirements as well as game download instructions are available here:

WoWinSchool: The Hero's Journey Continues
In this Institute, Peggy Sheehy shares about using video games as arenas for quest-based learning. Peggy tells us about her journey hosting a hybrid, collaborative literacy program using World of Warcraft to engage youth in learning. This session will continue the work we started yesterday exploring the highly popular MMO, World of Warcraft, as well as the free ELA curriculum, "WoWinSchool: The Hero’s Journey” but newcomers are welcomed and will be able to fully participate. In addition to further exploration of the WoWinSchool Hero's Journey curriculum and the hands on experience in World of Warcraft, we will take next steps and use 3D Game Lab to design quests that support your own curriculum, map those quests to standards of your choice, and reserve some time to play the teacher created quest challenges! Be forewarned...FUN will be happening here!!

Please note that attendees need to install World of Warcraft prior to arrival and that the free trial” version of the game is fine for our purposes.
Project-Based Learning - Suzie Boss
Take Thinking Deeper in PBL
Inquiry is the engine for learning in project-based learning. This session explores strategies to turn up the inquiry in PBL, whether you are a newcomer or veteran of the project approach. Among the topics we’ll explore: how to design projects that engage student interests while meeting academic goals; how to get projects off to a good start; how to manage the “messy middle” of PBL; how to connect students with experts outside the classroom; how to plan assessment strategies across the arc of the project. We’ll use PBL practices during a hands-on, collaborative learning experience.

Real-World Learning with PBL
Projects that connect students with the real world make the learning experience more relevant and memorable. This session introduces strategies and tools to expand projects beyond the classroom. We will explore strategies for designing community-based projects, in which students take the lead on local problem solving; opportunities for global collaboration and action; and re-thinking service learning through the PBL lens. Expect to make some real-world connections during this hands-on session.

NOTE: These sessions on project-based learning can be taken independently or as a two-part series.
Social Technologies - Scott Klososky
Top Ten Classroom Tools of the Maker Movement - Sylvia Martinez
The Maker Movement has exploded world-wide with amazing new technology to invent and create. Learn about the top tools and resources that can be used to transform STEM and STEAM K-12. This session will provide an introduction to the concepts and technology you can bring to your school today, including 3D printing, robots, programming options, wearable computing, conductive paint, and more.

Participants will learn about the Maker Movement and the potential to bring new tools and technology to K-12 classrooms to support hands-on learning across all grades and curriculum – but particularly STEM and STEAM. This session will provide information and resources across a wide range of tools and technology that can revolutionize learning. It will also cover the pedagogy of how to create engaging projects and prompts that create more authentic, hands-on learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The top tools and technology will be presented, each with a quick overview and classroom project ideas, plus links and resources for additional exploration after the session.

The tools and technology covered will include:
  • 3D printing
  • Fablabs and makerspaces
  • Programming
  • MaKey MaKey
  • E-textiles
  • Wearable computers
  • Arduino
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Conductive paint
  • Electronics
  • Sensors
  • Robotics
  • Things not even invented yet!
Visual Literacy - David Warlick
Visual Literacy: A Broader Perspective on Data
Our world experience is increasingly archived, indexed, and measured, and this massive quantity of information and data tells a story. But it is a foreign language to the human brain, columns and rows of data. Math courses taught us to manage numbers that come in the dozens. But when they are counted in exabytes, we need new ways to interpret the data, new ways to help them tell their story.

This institute will explore the topics of data visualization and infographics, perhaps the coolest things happening on the Internet today. Participants will witness many examples of this unique intersection between content, mathematics and art; and learn how teachers and learners can utilize some of these techniques to make their world of numbers sing.
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