Thursday, August 28, 2014

Teacher Led Learning in Del Norte County

Recently, we had a full day of professional learning for teachers in our county. For a couple of sessions we did not have formal presenters, instead, we let teachers lead discussions with their peers. These turned out to be some of the most popular sessions of the day. Session topics included iPads, Chromebooks and a Share Fair. 

Here are the instructions I created for the Share Fair, based on the idea that was shared from +David Theriault. SHARE FAIR INSTRUCTIONS We had over 25 teachers create Share Boards during this session.

One of the teachers who helped facilitate the iPad discussion, +Kendall Pickenpaugh, wrote down some thoughts after the session. I wanted to post her thoughts here so everyone could benefit from the knowledge that was shared.

Here is Kendall's post:
Thank you to everyone who came to the iPad discussion group. That hour just flew by and Pilar did such a great job of introducing us to her favorite apps. I had a few things I wanted to share and was hoping that we could start a dialogue about best practices. Toward that end, I made this google doc editable by all so please feel free to share any techniques or links or what have you. Also, Rae does have an iPad Educators DN Google Community where she shares great gems throughout the year. She would be glad to add you!

Pilar brought up a great point with her need of a 12 step program to stop downloading Apps.
This post from one of my favorite blogs can help with that:
Jo-Ann Fox - AppEducation Jo-Ann recommends One Page of Apps .
Jo-Ann refers to the SAMR Model. She has a great 120 sec overview in the first link above. This is another incredible Resource for the SAMR Model  Interactive SAMR Model

Good Stuff
iMovie = creativity unleashed!
Poem Movies One of my student’s iMovie from last year, if you click on my name, you can see more (you get a youtube channel with your Google Account, great place to share student work so they can show it off!) We used this Storyboard Template to plan.
“Trailer” Feature - Each of the trailer Templates has a specific structure. If we are trying to get the students to integrate technology and give proof of deeper thinking, purpose and forethought are crucial. Here is the link to specific storyboards for each iMovie trailer template. Book Trailers instead of Book!

Nearpod - Interactive delivery/assessment. Engaged kids!
Khan Academy  - some glitches with the help videos for the kids (youtube)
   - goes down to K-2 now

What I want to try this year

Blogs to follow - Please Add more!!!

Jo-Ann Fox - AppEducation

Jennie Magiera - Teaching Like It’s 2999

Finally, my summer goal was to plunge into Twitter. So glad I did! Yes it is social media, but, you can create your own experience and if you follow folks at the end of any of these links (and Rae!) you get to have your own Professional Learning Network delivered right to your device. Retweet gems and they are there for you to read and explore whenever you have the time and inclination. Even if you don’t tweet, it is a great place to learn.

Have a fabulous year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5 Ways To Be A Technology Leader in Your School

Do as I say, not as I do.  Don't be that administrator.

Many times, this is the way school administrators encourage technology use. We, as administrators, need to stop saying that teachers and students need to use technology for learning and start modeling how to do it.  This is how you will begin to see real gains in effective technology integration in your classrooms and with students.

Like all of us, the idea of starting something new with technology can be overwhelming. We worry about having the time and the skills to do it well.  As administrators, we need to be OK with finding new ways to incorporate technology into our daily work and modeling the learning process along the way. If you improve as you go, doesn't that send a great message to staff and students?
For this school year, pick one new technology tool to use and make a commitment to use it regularly and to continue learning how to best leverage it in your work.

Here are 5 ways you can use technology to be a leader in your school.

1.  Start Blogging

"My fellow bloggers can attest to how easy it is to blog. 
If you can type a word document then you can blog." 

- Patrick Larkin, Principal, Burlington High School (MA)

What do you have to blog about? Tons!  An excellent way to build community and improve school culture is to share your vision and goals for the school and provide updates on progress toward school learning goals and achievements. Blogging will improve your reflection and encourage collaboration.  Visitors to your blog can join the conversation through comments and with moderation tools you can pre-screen these.  You will be surprised how respectful comments are and how much your blog is appreciated by teachers, parents and the community. Blogging models writing for a purpose and for an audience and encourages your teachers and students to do the same.   To learn more ready Patrick Larkin's blog post, "Every Principal Needs a Blog"

Tip! To build your audience post a lot about athletics and school events initially so that parents and the community visit the blog on a routine basis.

Take a look at these principal blogs for ideas to get started.
Principal Greg Miller - Educational Leadership in the 21st Century
George Couros - The Principal of Change
Darcy Moore
Eric Sheninger - A Principal's Reflections
Patrick Larkin - Learning in Burlington

2. Take Up Microblogging  

It can take less time than a regular blog, but provides a huge impact in communication.  Use Twitter to send our brief updates about the learning happening in your school. Tweet about upcoming activities and events, highlight student as well as teacher learning and accomplishments, spotlight safety information and other announcements.  Make a goal to send at least one tweet a day.  You can utilize tools like Hootsuite to schedule tweets ahead of time so in just a few minutes you can have tweets scheduled for the entire week. Promote your twitter account and let parents, students and the community know that this will be a consistent way for them to connect with you and the school. Unsure about how to use Twitter? Try my Online Twitter Workshop for Educators.

Here are some Twitter accounts from connected principals:

Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal)

Ryan McLane (@McLane_Ryan)

3.  Keep everyone informed with Remind

As many of us know from experience, the one device we have on us almost all of the time is our phone. One of the easiest ways to connect with parents about their students is to text them. However, not everyone is ready to share their personal cell phone number. That is why Remind (formerly Remind 101) is a perfect way for educators to maintain an open line of communication to parents, guardians and the community. You can send out reminders out daily or weekly with the safe, one way communication of Remind. It is a broadcast system that allows users opt in using their cell phones to receive school updates.
Awesome features in Remind 101:
You can send a message to one class, several classes or individuals in a class
Attachments can also be added to the message. Go ahead and attach the field trip permission slip or other document you need parents to have. No more lost papers on the way home from school!
Insert links to online resources. You can add websites and other resources to your messages. We use Google Docs and I was able to add a link to a flier for a school event to my message.
Messages can be scheduled for later - you can sit down on Monday and schedule all messages for the day, week or month!

Message History: All messages are stored in your account and can be exported from your account for auditing purposes

To read more about Remind and how to set up your account check out my previous blog post.

4. Get Vocal With Podcasts

Use a tool like Audioboo for Education to embed voice messages on your school website. Take that boring "principal message" page up a notch with an Audioboo recording that conveys your passion and enthusiasm better than any typed message. Commit to making one voice recording a week and give your administration a voice.  Audioboo enriches your message and engages your community like never before.  Inserting a short audio recording (or podcast) is easy and reinvents the principal relationship with the school community.

Here is a short recording I made with Audioboo. I recorded and embedded this is under 2 minutes!

5.  Tech Smash With Multiple Tools  

Really impress by incorporating more than one of the tools listed above = Tech Smashing!

Here are some ideas:  Embed an audio recording on your blog and and make that your new principal page!  Promote your school Twitter account and blog by using Remind to push out when new updates are posted. You can probably come up with dozens of other ideas as well.  Using more than one tech tool can streamline your work and improve engagement.

Make a commitment and make it happen

No longer can educators and schools 'opt out' of technology integration.  Lead your school and model using technology for learning with one or more of the ideas presented in this post.  Set a reminder on your phone or calendar and commit to doing something every week.  You and your school will be amazed by the benefits.