Category Archives: edtech

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

 

What it means to be an ADE

It is summer 2017 now and I am getting ready to attend Apple Distinguished Educator Academy as an Alum and I am excited to see my friends, colleagues and participate in one of the most vibrant learning communities I have ever had the joy to a part of..

I can a be a little slow on the uptake in new situations, and joining the Apple Distinguished Educators community can be an overwhelming experience.  But I wanted to share my take on the community, what means to be part of a community, and my fear for our community.

My take on ADE

I was not excited about becoming part of the ADE program at first. I was doing a new 1 to 1 iPad Program and I wanted to collaborate with others and I found it frustrating that I had to apply to do that, even going to my first institute, I still did not get it.   It really only became clear to me once I started to form relationships with people in the community, that it was so special. It was the time between institute where I was able to share my knowledge, skills, towards a shared mission and advocacy that the magic was released.

The ADE community is filled with people who are great at what they do, but they don’t know everything.  The group is comprised of teachers, leaders, and professors all of whom are exceptional in some way in their domains, but not always in specific technologies. Think a puzzle with many colorful pieces which creates an inspiring picture.  So when I went to my first institute (academy) I had a serious case of imposter syndrome, expecting the others to figure out I did not know what i was talking about. But I found, as any creative community,  the members of ADE respect each other for what they know, what they are learning, and what they don’t know..

After the institute is when the power of the network happened.  As a person who coordinates a 1 to 1 iPad program,  I had opportunities to bring in speakers from the group via distance technologies to talk to my faculty and students.  I was able to meet up with ADE’s in Europe and learn what they are exploring and share those experiences with my students.  I was able to brainstorm and bounce ideas off others to advance my own projects and help others with theirs.  I was given opportunities to serve schools who educate some of the highest need students in our country via ConnectEd.  All of these experiences have greatly enhanced my personal life and professional life.  It has brought new ideas into my teaching,  relevancy to my classroom, and friendships with other impassioned people.   But oy..it can be a lot of work..

What it means to be an ADE

Being part of a community of practice (COP) has been studied by many researchers, my favorite is Lave and Wenger. Wenger defines a COP as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”  BOOM.. there it is, INTERACTING REGULARLY.

Being an Apple Distinguished Educator is about discourse and I know that there are people in the new class, who plan on going to the academy, adding it to their resumes, maybe even start consulting,  and then move on.. but that is not the point of this community.  This community is about discourse, sharing, and working together towards having teachers make meaningful use of technology.    Not all of this is public meetings like academy (in fact, most is not)  – much of this are DM’s and messenger conversations,  talks at conferences, and conversations in the online community.

Now I know that you probably know someone who is an ADE and maybe a consultant from your twitter connections or as a speaker at a conference, and those people are great, but know that they are the exception to the rule.  (and many of those people are amazing, but it is not the goal of the program)  The Majority of Apple Distinguished Educators are amazing teachers, leaders, and advisors, who have not left the classroom, but instead are soaking it all in to be able to reach kids and create meaningful learning through a supportive community.  It is my hope that you come to this experience with a similar approach, and not a consulting or work for Apple goal at the forefront.

My Fear

So that brings to my fear,  this is my first year as an alum to welcome a new class, and I now get the nervousness of being an alum.  There are many people that I met at my Academy in 2015, who I have never had contact with again.  They added it to their resume or added it to their collection of titles and moved on.   It makes me sad because they were selected because they had unique expertise to offer the community.

My challenge to #ADE2017

So I bring to you #ADE2017 the challenge… How will you engage in the community? What unique gifts are you bringing with you and how will you share them?    How will you contribute into the shared mission of this professional network and advance our shared goals and passion?  In the end, aren’t we here for the kids, or our students, or teachers, or to raise the profession and lead us into the next century of innovation.  We can only achieve that by working together.

I look forward your comments on this post, your engagement at academy, and maybe we can get a cup of coffee at #ISTE2017.

 

Creating a Culture of Innovation

I have been getting Tech and Learning sent to me for a while now, and I peruse it from time to time. In a recent issue – 37.9 available here:  http://www.techlearning.com/resources/0003/creating-a-culture-of-innovation-an-excerpt-from-tl-leader/70561

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what it takes to create a culture of innovation and so this article attracted my attention.  I think the first thing that I noted was that the article was not saying a culture of technology – but instead innovation.  I feel as though we can often focus on technology as the innovation but instead we need to be focused more on the mindset.

As I read through the article, there were several things I noted about the examples they shared:

  • They allowed the teachers as learners to pick their passion projects and gave them time to pursue them.   This is an example of allow the culture to build with a carrot versus a stick.. Ie..  teachers were rewarded with time, resources, and professional respect to pursue the ideas that they were most passionate about.
  • Teachers were encouraged to form small groups around big ideas that interested them. They supported each other and built community. This kind of community supports a culture of innovation.
  • The leaders were facilitators and did not use top down methods to get change but instead trusted their professional staff and supported them.
  • Leaders engaged professional networks – there is an example of connecting teachers interested in robotics with other teachers using similar tools.  Again, leader as facilitator and connector not top down management.
  • It all came down the fundamental ideas of Diffusion of Innovations.   One of the tactics discussed was to go to the laggards – the latest of adopters and get them on the side of innovation, and seeing them change help move the process along. I might disagree with this a bit,  in that most diffusion research shows early or late adopters can produce this effect more consistently. However, I believe looking at the influential teachers, no matter their acceptance level of change, is worthwhile effort. Every friend you make, is someone who can drive the innovation process forward.

In the end the article stressed that innovation does not happen by itself and it requires leaders who are working towards creating a culture by trusting their team members and being open their ideas.  As servant leaders, they take roles to assist their team in pursuing their interests towards that goal, and the structure they provide creates a safe space for innovation to grow.

 

Remote Work – A Wife’s Perspective or He’s Always Here!

So I had a chance to visit the Super Secret iThemes HQ this week and I remembered that I owed  Cory Miller a Blog Response to his earlier post on working from home.    You can read his original post here http://corymiller.com/work-remote/

So when Cory’s post came across my twitter feed, I read it and laughed.. He spent all this time going over the pros and cons for working at home for an individual but he left off some of the challenges one might think about for family.

So in background I am a honeymooner who married in August 16 and lived with my husband for a year and a half before we married.   Still to this day, we live in the house I bought as a single woman and lived in by myself for 7 years.  

When we started living together,  he worked in OKC and it was  dream.  He was on a modified schedule, he left at 6:20 to get to work by 7..(because if he left at 7 he would get to work at 9)  He would get up, get ready, make coffee, and wake me up on the way out the door. Then I would luxuriate on the couch drinking the coffee he had made for himself and watch Gayle, Nora, and Charlie to get ready and go to work at 8.

Oh those were the days..

I love my husband dearly, but now HE is ALWAYS home!!

I actually think he talks to more people during the day now working remotely, he is constantly on the phone and Hipchat etc..

But when I get home, he does want to talk to me!!!  And sometimes after being a professor, I want to be home alone too..

I miss those days when I could sit on the couch, and do nothing or watch secret shaming tv during the day (you know like Fuller House or Hoarders on Netflix)

Sometimes when he has a local programmer meeting or is out of town, I feel as though I am running like Kate in The Cutting Edge to get to the ice first – and enjoy being in the house by myself.

However, I love my husband, I love that his current employer appreciates him and his love of learning.  I love that he is excited to talk about work and feels part of an organization.

That all said, it took some negotiation..  I asked him to quit planning his programming club meetings for days he knew I was already gone.  I have sent him out of the house once or twice to give me some home time.   He likes getting out and mixing with people, and I like the alone time.  For someone who works remotely, joining user groups and Meetups can be important social interaction and time out of the office/house.

Our routine has changed,  he does not have to get up before 6 to go to work, and I often make the coffee or if we are organized enough we let Mr. Coffee make the pot we set up the night before and he now makes us breakfast..(and making breakfast is his special gift).

Moving forward, we have started looking for a different house that allows him to work from home better.   He can have a work office (and we can claim it on taxes) but still have a “fun” office  at home like I do for my things.  The ideal situation would be a mother in law suite or an upstairs bedroom with separation from the hustle of the main living space.

I have had to adjust to his work schedule too.. I lack work life balance in my job,  and now that he works at home it is more important to have work life balance for him, and that affects me. Working from home, he has to work at it and creating clear boundaries.  We try to have dinner together and set a separation time for work.  Currently, this is my challenge, more than his. I have to learn to take the lead from him if he is successfully navigating work from home.  It is one way that I can support his work success.

In the end, like all good relationships, it takes negotiating.  He is so much happier in this job, and is a pretty good remote worker, as a couple we need to commit to this lifestyle and as he supports me in my professional endeavors, I need to support him too.