Category Archives: teacher education

Spending Time in the Schools

So Monday and Tuesday I cancelled class and took my students instead to local schools.  I am so thankful to the relationships that I have with local educators to be able to do it.  I have to say arranging these kinds of group visits -gosh logistically it is hard! but totally worth it.

Students spent their class time during the week attending a school and observing how they were using technology.  On Monday we went to Norman North High School and Tuesday we attended the Showcase at Arthur Elementary in Oklahoma School.  Arthur is a Connect Ed School who received a grant from Apple so all students were given an iPad and teachers received a ton of Professional development.

Here are some pictures and some of of what the students did..

Chris Kalinsky – Apple Distinguished Educator and iTeam leader for Norman North High School  lead our tour of the new beautiful school.       

About 20 students attended.

Peter Leisenfeld spent a lot of time talking to students about preparing for their jobs.

The Norman North faculty and staff were amazing in supporting our students. Several teachers took time out of their day to talk to us including the librarians and Principal Dr. Pete Leisenfeld.

On Tuesday,  we took a group to Arthur Elementary – This a ConnectED School.

Students were proud to show us their work.

Principal Dr. Rhonda Schroeder took time throughout the day to talk to students to both get feedback and share her leadership philosophy.

The special education team took time to talk to your our special education students during her prep time.

 

We got to see our 2017 grad  Tessa Turnbull teaching which was great for my students. 

Carrie Price, a current graduate student in our ILAC program, taught how to create presentations in Keynote using shapes.  Something I had just seen THIS week in the Apple Teacher newsletter.  They are doing things quickly there.

 

So why is this sooooo important? 

I am finding more and more that we need to get our students into schools more.  By attending as a large group, yes, we don’t get an authentic experience but we get a shared experience that we can talk about for the rest of the semester.

My students got to see schools in two different stages of technology integration.  Norman is starting a new initiative, Arthur is 3 years in – those are very different an provide great opportunities for discussion and comparison.

The most meaningful interactions were between teachers and administrators with students. They got to see different philosophies and what they shared gave “street cred” to my curricular choices.  This is especially true when students saw the different technologies we use in use in the classroom.

So what does it do for me as a professor? 

Spending more time in classrooms helps me to keep my technology skills limber and relevant.  Let me give a great example. Many of the teachers were using Classroom app to control the iPads at Arthur.  When Classroom first came out, it was not compatible with how we do not manage our iPads.  So Barry took a few minutes to show me the update and get me up to speed. I am changing what I am teaching next week to demo this in class.  It is also really important for students to see that I have relationships with teachers and administrators.  I work really hard to make sure what we do is relevant and updated and I think this visit helps to establish that..

I really wish I could spend more time in schools.   I have often been jealous of friends who work at PDS schools and get to embed in the K-12 environment.  Interacting with teachers every day, is a lot of fun and we need to do more of it in Higher education.

 

I got to sneak peek at a new book and I liked it!!!

So I know Monica Burns as a speaker from our iPadpaloozaOU conference in 2016 and 2017 and through the ADE program.  I generally know her in only a professional capacity.

She recently asked me if I would be willing to do a review of her book coming out next week, no pressure but if I would be willing to write a review of it.  And honestly, I felt no pressure and approached it as if I were looking at for use with my preservice teachers.

First, let me say that I was complimented.  I have reviewed books before in the pre-publication phase but never been given an opportunity to endorse a book or not..   I have copies of some of Monica’s other books and I find them to be very practical and applied, which can be a great compliment when paired with more empirical readings as part of teacher education or professional development course for current teachers.  Students seem to be really motivated by these hands-on books because they are wondering how it is done in the real world and inservice teachers are looking for ideas that are well justified and tied to curricular goals.

Much like when one is asked to review someone’s tenure dossier and you realize they are “good” .. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the pre-publication copy of Monica’s Book Tasks before Apps and realized it was REALLY GOOD!  So I was comfortable endorsing and could see using it with my preservice teachers or in my spring graduate course where I always have students read one professional book in addition to research articles.

So the book is called Tasks before Apps

https://www.amazon.com/Tasks-Before-Apps-Designing-Tech-Rich/dp/141662466X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507250532&sr=1-1&keywords=tasks++monica+burns

This book deals with a problem that I have long felt in Ed Tech. The idea that we have to keep chasing the new popular app and forget all about what we were wanting kids to do in class.  Tech without content or without a sound rationale for using it.. (ie.. is it assessment? will it help students to explain? Will it engage additional communication channels or ways of explaining?)   A perfect example of this problem is whiteboard apps.. I see teachers all the time that really have mastered something like Educreations but then hear that Explain Everything is “better” and abandon their workflow and process to use the “better” app.  Both of these apps have their pros and cons but the most important factor is a teacher who knows them well and uses them comfortably with their students –  and even more importantly has their students create things with them to achieve a meaningful classroom task (explanation, assessment, presentation, communication, etc..)

Additionally, Tasks before Apps  focuses on having students using tools in content creation – which matches my philosophy and is where I see educational technology needing to go.. We need to get past teacher productivity and move to concrete examples of students creating things with technology to show their understanding.  We also need to make more examples available to teachers of how this can be done to both generate ideas and opportunities to discuss and critique actual use cases.

Finally this book has real example of how you could use different tools in the classroom in a meaningful way. I especially liked that it dealt with different grade levels. I love teaching an educational technology class, but sometimes wish my early childhood, elementary, and secondary students were in different sections – because rarely are there examples for all grade levels.

I am going to consider using this book as the practice book for my Teaching with Technology graduate class this spring (I always pick one book that is under $30 that might be read as a book group for PD)  and perhaps in the future for my undergraduate course.

When we think of our service role to our field, I think looking at new books and helping to curate content is an important role for us as professors to play. We have the opportunity to review resources both open resources and affordably priced resources that could help our future teachers generate ideas, critique and feel supported in the classroom.  I enjoyed this opportunity and look forward to other opportunities to share my expertise in the future.

So I think I have an endorsement on the book, (haven’t seen it yet, but Monica Tweeted my comment out) but happy to endorse. I think this would be a good book for preservice teachers or for a book study in a district. You might want to check Tasks before Apps out.

Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom