Category Archives: edtech

I hit my 20 blog posts

So one of my goals for summer was to blog more.. and while I thought I would blog more than I did.. I did hit 20 posts today that I  am counting (this is 21)

I was blogging for for a few purposes

  1. To get in the habit of more regularly daily writing again.
  2. To create content that could be used to promote our IPT programs like the 21st Century masters http://bit.ly/21stcenturyteaching 
  3. To interact more deeply with my followers on Twitter and in the ADE Community.
  4. To better communicate the issues that I care about online.

So those were my intended purposes and here are the unintended benefits I found.

  1. More meaningful interaction with alumni – I have had several reach out to me after a blog posts and without advertising the blog, people are liking what they read.
  2. Better interaction with people at OU – There are several people at OU who regularly blog  including Adam Croom, Keegan Long Wheeler, Laura Gibbs who I have had longer conversations and interactions with since I have blogged.
  3. Documentation of my time.  For example – i spent a lot of time in the innovation hub – the posts that I made on the innovation hub have been great for me to document my time and show what I have been up to.
  4. Sharing my learning – the blog has provided me with a great place to share my learning that I will use with my students.  It allows me to be more vulnerable to them and share where I struggle.
  5. It has helped me work out some ideas in a rough form.  Next week I am doing a Ignite session at IPadPaloozaOU  (http://ipadpaloozaOU.weebly.com) This 5 minute talk is based on a blog post called A file called Dammit.

Overall, I am finding that blogging is an important part of my practice and something that I will be continuing. Much like research though, there are more things that I want to blog about than I have time to.. I have a list of to do’s and a few drafts hanging out.

Just like any creative practice, we have to learn how to manage our time and do it.. but overall this has been a valuable experience.

I want to give a shout out to OUCreate – because probably if the tool was not provided and I did not feel guilty about developing mine more as I ask students to.. I would probably not have done it.

 

Excited to work on the New Administrator Standards

I am excited to announce that I have been invited to part of the new working group for ISTE’s new Administrator standards. (many hope they will call them Leader standards.. but who knows)

ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education and they write the standards are used in most US states and many other placed in the world for Students, Educators, and Administrators. They are used by districts and organizations like CAEP to assess the quality of education and technology use in an educational setting, and guide the curriculum on technology integration in places like Colleges of Education.   The many uses of evaluation and also in making a case for funding, makes these standards very important for educators who care about utilizing technology in their teaching.

Every 5 years or so they do a refresh – starting with the Student, then the following year Educator, and then Administrator.

The new Educator Standards are quite good – https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-educators  and are well aligned with the student standards  https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students  There is a lot of talk within the members I know that they hope that the Administrator standards are equally well aligned to help leaders create a full vision for technology within their units and be encouraged to be both a participant and servant leader when it comes to technology.

This year, I got the chance to attend the kick off for the Administrator standards at ISTE – which marks a one year process where a working group will meet twice during the year and other times online to draft the new standards.  Throughout the year ISTE staff will be working to get feedback both online and face to face to make sure the standards are relevant.

I have also been asked to be part of the working group that will meet to help craft the standards and gain input. I am excited about this national opportunity and in supporting an innovative vision for technology integration into the future.

This post is just sharing that I will be part of the conversation, as the year progresses, watch this blog to see what opportunities there are for you to also be involved.

 

#edumatch #edcamp how I spent my Saturday morning

So how does a nerdy ed tech professor spend her Saturday morning on August 5th. (before school starts)..

Well she first goes to a garage sale, but then at 9am she participates in the Edumatch EdCamp.  http://www.edcampedumatch.org/

This is an online Edcamp that lasted from 10 to 12 eastern time and consisted of 3 sessions and an opening and closing.  It was run by the group #Edumatch which is group that helps educators connect via social media.

I heard about it when Sarah Thomas posted about it on Twitter and I joined for a few reasons.

  1. They were using the Unhangout from MIT which was a platform that is open source and designed to do things like online conferences. I wanted to explore it as a user for maybe use with our online masters. (btw.. it worked really well)
  2. It was a chance for me to better connect with #EduMatch who I first met at #Badgesummit and now that I know to look for them, I am really impressed with their group work..(I followed many members individually but did not get the big picture). Read more about it here:  http://www.edumatch.org/
  3. It is a good way to reconnect and get my head in the fall semester.

So it started at 10 am EST (9 CST) with an opening session..  In this session the organizers introduced the event and also the side events going on.  There is a badgelist page where people can earn badges  https://www.badgelist.com/Edcamp-EduMatch-2017  and a google classroom where people could share resources as well.  They did a really good job modeling using technology to support learning.  And as someone who has trouble not multi-tasking the multiple modalities kept me engaged for the full two hours.

In the lobby while the welcome was going on and in between sessions – there was an chat room that people could leave messages.

Then at the top of each session, people could propose a session (just like EdCamp) and then people could join.

This is what the main room looked like.. See the one session being proposed under the group video.
This is what the main room looked like.. See the one session being proposed under the group video.

In the first session, I attended helping reluctant ed tech teachers, the second I lead was on what Preservice teachers should know, and the third I attended on Makerspace Events.  I learned from all of them and they are relevant to my job and my students.

So you left the main room and then went to a small room with up to 10 participants.. They asked people to record if they could.  When time was up we were asked to return to the main room or lobby.

This is what a breakout session looked like.
This is what a breakout session looked like.
So you can see in this window I proposed a session but but no one had joined yet..
So you can see in this window I proposed a session but but no one had joined yet..

 

I will focus on my session (The video will be here https://youtu.be/aCyttPAC7Gk   but I did miss the first few introductions)

We had a few themes come out in the session that were super important.. What is it most important for new teachers to know: Relationships and Planning and that hit most things.

If you are using technology or not – it all comes down to planning. Having a plan, archiving materials,  and having a plan cuts down on classroom management issues.

For relationships – it is all about relationships with both teachers and understanding the chain of command in a school and following.. Ie.. even if you really excited to get started, you can’t burn up the chain and have to respect it..  Also, in a relationship sense – students all have issues – and behavior management is easier if you have a personal relationship with kids. Finally, in the last few minutes one participant shared that being culturally responsive is so important.  This too is a manifestation of good relationships and being able to understand students as people.

This was a very enlightening session and I loved all the voices I heard – new and experienced teachers, other people who work with training new teachers, and technology people as well. In the end it was never about the tech, but more about the planning and relationships.. A good take away.

Overall I really enjoyed the format. There are  few things that I would have changed.. ie.. had a place to share social media addresses, being able to boot someone out if they tried to hijack a discussion – but overall it was a great experience and I could see using it in the future with my students both graduate and undergraduate.

I hope to participate in more Edumatch sessions in the future. This group has great positive energy and a wonderful collaborative vibe..  Funny in that getting the full edumatch picture was probably one of the best things I got from #Badgesummit (completely unrelated really).

by the closing session we had 38 people in the main room.
by the closing session we had 38 people in the main room.

 

A file called Dammit

So today is the last day that OUInnovation Hub is open this summer so I was hurriedly finishing up a project  I need for the first week of school using the Laser printer.

So last night I made a series of things I was making for a future event, (No pictures cuz a surprise) and I realized I forgot to make a piece I needed..  Dang it.

So last night I stayed up and I created a file to fix to project and get the missing piece. I also printed a few more “just in case” pieces to solve a problem later.  I called the file missingpieces.ai.   I got up early and headed over the innovation hub to use the laser cutter.

I printed the pieces and then I realized that the pieces were not centered properly and while done, they were not done right!  So I had to print them again!! This time, I called the new file Dammit.

These pieces were were printed on a Acrylic (very expensive but I had bartered for it) so I did not want to waste a inch.. So I asked if I could flip the media over.. and print on the side that still has paper on it.. Normally, the laser burns through paper like masking tape, but it turns out, this paper was thicker. so what did I get?  I got the missing piece, now perfectly centered, on a piece of paper that I would peel off,  so once I pulled the paper off – it was blank..

Dammit..

A student noticed the name of the file as it printed- and I said – “Hey every project has a dammit file – it shows we are learning, right?”

So I had to print it again, use more of my acrylic and finally got the job done right.

So let’s talk about the file called Dammit, the extra trip to print, the extra prints, and the extra media.

There is a need for  file called Dammit – and we need to expect to have moments of redo, moments of failure, and moments of frustration..

When we really work, on things that we care about, don’t we expect to have times to pause, regroup, problem solve, so that we get it right?  Also, sometimes feedback is part of our learning process.

Throughout the process, I talked to the people working in the lab, I asked their advice. They were also shocked that I was left with blank piece.  (We all learned something about this new media that we had not used before).  They gave me solutions, Turn up the laser power, pull back the paper but in the end I had to redo the pieces.

I had extra media – why was I so concerned?  Why I can’t I accept that learning and practice has a price?

I was concerned because I wanted to get it right the first time and I wanted to be an expert right away – but honestly, that is not possible.

Ericssons work on Deliberate practice is often cited when talking about expertise  (read the article here http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf  )   you will often see the statistic that it takes 10 years to be an expert in anything. that is from his work on developing expertise.

However, honestly, to be proficient at something does not take 10 years – but it does take practice, and mistakes and files named Dammit.

So as I have had it mission this summer to learn how to make stuff in the Innovation Hub so I could encourage my students- I have improved, increased my skill, and had a lot of do-overs and projects that I have had to do multiple times. What I learned were nuances of the equipment,  functionality of the software,  human resources available to me, and a much better understanding of scale.  I am also learning to trust my instincts and to let go of the perfect on the first run expectation.   I have looked back at the some of the projects that I made early on.  The 2nd and 3rd iterations are much better, but the earlier ones are not bad and they contain the marks of my learning and the growth.   I am able to communicate my learning, share my projects with others, and give hints to help others be successful. Going through the process has increased my empathy and also made me a co-learner with students.

So Dammit! – in reflection on my summer spent making at the Innovation Hub I learned a lot and I actually put 21st Century Skills to practice- and it only took a few files named Dammit.

 

PS.. Once I finished the project, and chilled out, I used some extra acrylic to make myself a custom message board.  Sometimes when we release the perfectionism then we can play. 

ADE = MY PLN

So I am sitting in the airport about to leave #ade2017 – this is Apple Distinguished Educator Academy.. This was my first time attending as an alumni and got to welcome a new class of amazing individuals as well as interact with others from my class and those before me.

It is hard to encapsulate the experience in one post – and I may have other things to say about the community in the future.. but let me blurt out a few first thoughts..

These are the most creative and impassioned individuals I know..  

What do we share in common – a few things.

  • We are creative and impassioned
  • We all have technology knowledge – each of our expertises are different – but we share that as a baseline.. (ie.. you don’t have to explain what you know with these people or why technology matters).
  • We come from many different backgrounds but are all committed to education and innovation.
  • We are able to develop their additional areas of expertise – so if you passionate about PBL or Challenge based learning – this a space where you can make a name for yourself on things that you care about (i.e.. I feel as though I can be more than an ed tech teacher, they get that those are just tools)

The Apple Distinguished Educator Community is hosted by Apple Inc of course – but have been a fundamentally important community to my professional development, fueling both ideas and renewing my relevancy to my the future teachers that I teach. We talk about all kinds of tools but more important the pedagogy behind them and the fundamental supports they can provide to all learners.

It has provided me with resources when I struggled, but motivationally and technically and a safe space to excel. I know that where I go personally and professionally is influenced by this dynamic network.

Apple Distinguished Educators for me is my Professional Learning Network (ADE=PLN) 

This is what a PLN (Professional Learning Network)  is supposed to be.. a ZPD – a Zone of Proximal Development where we can be more together than we can by ourselves.  Being in a good one, makes me examine all the PLN’s to which I belong and consider the criteria or bar that I can use to judge their effectiveness and value to me.

I found this blog post from 2011 about PLN’s and what they should provide? Is your PLN providing this to you? and if not, what can you do to change that? or is the PLN worth your time?

5 Reasons Teachers Should Create a PLN Now!

Michael Mills uploaded a picture of me from ADE2017 – I think this picture is worth a 1000 words.. my last two favorite pictures have both been taken at ADE events. They leave me feeling energized, full of ideas, new connections, and opportunities – how do you feel when you finish interacting with your PLN?

Thank you to the community for your support, your opportunities, and challenging me to be better than I can by myself.

 

 

 

On my Way to Apple Distinguished Educator Academy

So this is my 3rd ADE Academy and I am so excited to be part of it again.  I am excited to see my friends, get new ideas, and refresh.

ADE – stands for Apple Distinguished Educator – which is a group of educators who are focused on using technology to improve and innovate in education. Yes it is sponsored by Apple Inc.. but it is a collaborative community where we leverage lots of technologies along with our creative ideas to make a difference for students at all levels.

There are few ways that I benefit from a meeting like this..

  1. It keeps me aware of trends in K-12 education so that I can best improve our teacher candidate’s preparation.
  2. It helps to me test out ideas that I am having with peers and work out details.
  3. I get to see what peers are doing and think about how I can match, improve upon or contribute to our collective successes.
  4. I can investigate new technologies or new approaches. For examples, I will be seeking insights on iPad Pros. How are K-12 schools using them and are they worth the added expense for our faculty and/or students.. (It is really a tipping point analysis).
  5. It causes me to stretch my own skills, learn more, and meet people who are different than me. While challenging,  its a great way for me to practice to being open and vulnerable in my own learning.
  6. Finally, it is a place where, even though I am somewhat uncomfortable because I am surrounded by so many exceptional individuals, it is a place for me to mentally relax knowing that I am among like minded mission focused individuals.

I was so happy to put my Out of Office for this week. 

Something that will be new for me is to welcome the new class of 2017. While ADE Class of 2015 is the BEST CLASS EVER! I am energized by the excitement and new ideas of the class of 2017 and can’t wait to make new connections, collaborations, and friendships..

I leave in an hour, let the fun and learning begin…

 

Riding the Rails to ISTE

So where does Old technology meet new technology – when you take the Amtrak to ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in San Antonio.

Here are the logistics:

  1. Get on train in Norman -(9 am)  be there 15 minutes early or so..
  2. get on train
  3. carry all luggage with you.
  4. 2 hour layover in Fort Worth that turns into 4.
  5. Arrive in San Antonio at midnightish.  (so yeah that is 13 hours)

So pros and cons.. to my European friends, we don’t prioritize Rail in the US.. but this day long trip is only $52 dollars – which is cheaper than the gas it will take me to drive.

The bad thing – the rails are owned by the freight companies so rail work and freight backups means our train must wait, which is why so many delays.

This was a fun experience though..

turns out Vanessa Perez took the train too.. so that was fun to talk and not talk.

The Texas Eagle has an observation car and a dining car..

Each seat is super roomy.. They announced when there was cool to things to see like rivers and other natural sites because of a relationship with the National Parks service.

So great things..

So much leg room..

Seats are big and recline into beds.

the ride is overall comfortable

they have a dining car that is crazy expensive but we are doing it so we can say that we did it.

Cost is awesome.

Each chair has two plugs

Beautiful views

Not so great things:

Rails owned by the freight trains so many delays.

(on the way back I am on a bus part of the way)

No wifi and very sporadic cell service.. if this thing had wifi – I would be 100% sold..  (I really hate driving)

It is quite a juxtaposition. The old trains and going to a conference about modern technology.  But with all things,  if you don’t use them, you lose them, Let me challenge you to try to take train if it works into your schedule (lots of parts of the country do not have service). This is the my second Amtrak this month (earlier – Chicago to Milwaukee) but overall enjoyable and supporting alternative affordable transportation for many people who may need it.

so what did we do with our time? We talked about tech in education, I did an article review for JRTE, we talked about your schedule plan, a great way to build excitement and plan for ISTE 17.

 

Observation Car
Observation Car- Windows all above.
Dining Car
Dinner Menu – art deco
Some train stations were cool.
Dinner Suprisingly Good but very expensive.
Sunset on the plains.

 

We are leaving Baby Boomers behind with Technology

I am visiting my parents for their 49th Wedding Anniversary and my mother made a list of things that she wanted me to do while I was here.  This included:

  • Help her upgrade her phone
  • Help her figure out how to renew her license (done online)
  • Update her Kindle Fire tablets (that have error messages about memory and app updates)

While I have been sitting here, my Aunt (her older sister) called me trying to figure out how she lost messages with the children she texts the most.

This is Day 1 – generally when I visit, my Mom has me go and visit with her Silver Sneakers class when they meet for coffee afterwards and I field questions about their cell phones, tablets, and computers.

I find that when we talk, technology always comes up.. More and more they can’t do things on paper anymore, their health insurance,  their taxes, all have to be done online.   Even 10 years ago, I regularly read how to find books in the library sessions during my regular visits.

Have we really thought about the update to technology and how it frustrates our parents and grandparents?  Are we leaving them behind?  We sat here talking about how she hears about her friends getting taken advantage of buying technology like phones and computers..  Maybe our need to efficiency needs to remember to help our elders adjust?

NYT Article on Silicon Valley and Education

So sometimes you see things shared again and again on your twitter and facebook feeds and think – I need more than 140 characters to share my thoughts on this..

The article by the New York Times on How Silicon Valley Billionairesare changing education  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/technology/tech-billionaires-education-zuckerberg-facebook-hastings.html?mcubz=1&_r=0  requires a blog post.

Okay first, my background;

I am an Associate Professor and Apple Distinguished Educator – and I teach those studying to be teachers how to use technology in meaningful ways with kids (and also some practicing teachers).  I have been a professor for 11 years and lead a 1 to 1 iPad program.  So obviously I am an Apple fan but just to put myself in a adopter continuum – I will say I own two chromebooks,  don’t have an Apple watch or iPad Pro and my first iPhone was a 6s Plus which I am still using.  (and intend to for least another year) I try hard to be aware as many new technologies as I can and trends in education because it is my job to help my students learn about many technologies and choose which ones they want to use..

A lot of the innovations that they are talking about in the New York Times article are great, and in many cases these startups, while free now move to a freeium model – so while these things might be really useful now, the subscription costs (for which schools are not well set up) will be coming.

I find these also to be pockets of innovation – and don’t get me wrong we need pockets but I feel as though the large scale, company commitments were left off from this article.  I appreciate the CEOs that spend their own money, but I also appreciate the large scale initiatives that are looking at larger changes to education.

For example, Google got a small shout out in their article for Google Suite (formerly known as Google Apps for Education)  They said : “Already, more than half of the primary- and secondary-school students in the United States use Google services like Gmail in school.”  A true statement and this free service has changed the workflow in so many schools. I can see it in my college students and practicing teachers getting their masters – we expect to collaborate in real time in our documents.   Apple and Microsoft have just joined in on this, they are late the game, and don’t have the seamless nature to the collaboration yet.  (ie.. they still have problems with conflicted copies etc..)  However, educators are worried that this will become a freeium in the way that Dropbox SpaceRace gave free storage to University students and faculty and then forced us to pay once it was an important part of our workflow.

So definitely Google is changing productivity in education and is currently free. but what this article missed all together is more of the philanthropic nature of some of silicon valley’s work.  I have had personal experience with ConnectED which is an initiative funded by Apple (100 million)  in an agreement with the Obama White House.

ConnectED identified and gave grants to 114 of the most underserved schools in the US to transform education for some our of neediest students. https://www.apple.com/education/connectED/

I have had several opportunities to interact with the students and teachers at ConnectED and I can tell you that I believe this philanthropy is changing the lives and learning experiences of students, teachers and communities.

We have a Connect Ed school in Oklahoma City – Arthur Elementary (part of OKCPS) . This school was one of the first schools to get going with Connect ED.  Not only are their teachers new iPads new ways with kids, many of whom are English Language Learners but they also have partnered with our College of Education to host practica students and student teachers.   I have offered training to them and several of their teachers are pursuing masters’ degrees with us. Whenever I visit the school, I see many other educators from within OKCPS and other districts visiting to see how they can use technology to reach their students.   Their impact is much greater than being measured.

Arthur Elementary
Miranda Hannon learned from Connect ED students
Miranda Hannon learned from Connect ED students

In February, I was able to participate in a training for Connect ED leaders from about 75 schools that was put on by Apple.  Meeting these educators who were not only preparing students to use technology but also providing for many of the basic physical and emotional needs of students who are often not in a stable environment and may need food, clothing and shelter was inspiring.  These were some of the most dedicated educators I have ever met and I found myself inspired by their projects and stories. As part of this, Apple has been activating the Apple Distinguished Educator community to serve this group.  In all of the examples in the NYT story, I did not see where educators were helping to lead these efforts.  I can’t help but think of the other news story that keeps popping in my feed about the need for large reform and philanthropy about schools to include teachers.   http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-gates-education-20160601-snap-story.html  

I know many people will say that Apple has an up side, by giving away 100 million in tech, training and apps they must be setting themselves up to sell more.  But lets look back to 1986 – in 1986 they did the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) which is the still the gold standard for planning technology professional development programs for teachers.   In the end, they added to the collective knowledge but the research but that project really did not change their sales that much.  Much of what they learned has benefitted all tech companies and ed tech researchers.

I know that Microsoft and other companies spend a lot of money on education too.. but to my point,  I think the NY times missed the boat here, individual commitments from CEOs to create new educational products is great, but so are company wide commitments especially those that have a strong educator input.  Where is the talk of that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designers for Learning: Mobile Sprint

So this summer, I am trying to engage in the community more and build my skills as part of my personal summer Professional Development plan.

I have recommended several students consider doing Designers for Learning service projects as a way to improve and practice their instructional design skills.   (http://designersforlearning.org/)  I recommend them from knowing of them from Jennifer Maddrell at AECT but I have never participated in one myself.   So that is about to change.

So I am doing  Mobile Learning Design Sprint. 
Why? 

  1. It is a good experience doing instructional design towards a larger project.
  2. If I recommend it, I should do it and know more about it.
  3. I should model personal growth and professional development for my students.
  4. Their premise that mobile technologies are access for many people..  in many parts of the world, is true.   I wrote about it with my student Daniela Nunez Ponte in 2013  https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=9stSHI4AAAAJ&citation_for_view=9stSHI4AAAAJ:5nxA0vEk-isC
  5.  They are using a Google Sprint  design process – which reminds me of SCRUM which is something all of our ID students should be learning.

I am interested to see what I learn here, and what I can take to my own classes and design process.  the cost of the course is $20 and I will comment on it as I go.. It starts today but is individually paced,  feel free to join me if you are interested.

Mobile Learning Design Sprint