Monday, October 20, 2014

A1Digital Expedition

For the past several years our district has offered a course called 21 Things that was designed by me and a few other tech leaders in our district. It has been very popular and so important to our district tech goals that it became a requirement for technology certification renewal. This summer we decided to update the course.
Now instead of 21 Things the course is called Digital Expedition. The title ties in with our A1 Digital Innovation initiative. We made several improvements including creating a version for teachers and another for administrators. We cut down to 15 tasks, but they are more in depth. Finally, we made the course more iPad focused and moved the course from Wikispaces to iTunes U. We wanted the course to serve as a model for how teachers could deliver content to their students on the iPad.
The teacher version is still facilitated by the librarian at each school. The three instructional technologists debated this choice because we don't want to burden others with technology tasks, but in the end we decided that it was important to have someone at each school that was easily accessible. I also wanted the librarians to remain in this role to illustrate that they are still tech leaders in our district.

Our 15 tasks for teachers are:
  1. Office 365
  2. Schoolwires
  3. PD Express
  4. Using the Smartboard with the iPad
  5. iWork Suite
  6. Edmodo
  7. Core Apps
  8. Beyond the Core
  9. Flipping the Classroom
  10. Formative Assessment Tools
  11. Blogs and RSS Feeds
  12. Using Twitter
  13. Curation Tools
  14. Evaluating Apps
  15. Goals and Reflection

Our 15 tasks for administrators are:
  1. Office 365
  2. Schoolwires
  3. PD Express
  4. Building the Home/School Connection
  5. iWork Suite
  6. Edmodo
  7. Using the iPads for Evaluations
  8. Beyond the Core
  9. Flipping the Faculty Meeting
  10. Formative Assessment Tools
  11. Blogs and RSS Feeds
  12. Using Twitter
  13. Curation Tools
  14. Evaluating Apps
  15. Goals and Reflection

The course is a public course on iTunes U if you'd like to take a look.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Individual Tech Goals

In my home state all teachers are required to create a goal for Goals Based Evaluation each year. This includes the instructional technologists, as we are still classified as teachers. This year we tried to not only write our goal, but help our teachers write theirs.
I loved this article about individual technology goals:
The three of us put together a presentation that stated our district goals and provided a few sample tech goals. We knew that not everyone would write a technology related goal, but we wanted to help those that were interested in pursing a tech goal. We shared the presentation with the principals and were even invited to share these goals at some of our schools. I've even been pulled aside while walking down the halls to help teachers come up with something. This was an excellent way we could serve our teachers as well as opening the door to future collaborations.

In addition to offering sample goals we asked teachers to answer this survey. The survey was intended to help us tailor the professional development we design to the needs and requests of our teachers.

For my own goal I utilized the questions shared in this blog post to reflect and focus my thoughts.

I'm still thinking about these four and trying to make sure I address them throughout the year.

1. How can I build my working relationship with the teachers I serve to become collaborative and trusting?
4. What instructional problem is the technology integration solving, or what problem does it need to solve based on these students' needs?
7. How can I plan time to observe teachers and listen to their needs?
9. How can I plan to constantly reevaluate my coaching strategies throughout the year and not just set a plan in place at the first of the year?
How do you design your goals for year?

Admin iPad Walk

Just like our teachers, our administrators can be at different levels of comfort with technology. In order to address this and give our principals a chance to see technology in action we decided to plan an Admin iPad Walk. We combined them with the regularly scheduled district principal's meetings.
The host school created a list of teachers that would be using the iPads that day and which apps they would be using. This would allow them to see specific subjects or apps if they wanted.
Our first iPad walk was this week at the middle school. They did a wonderful job.
We all started in the library where they shared an iMovie trailer of pictures from the classroom. Then they shared an Aurasma welcome video from the principal and the student "tech ninjas" went around helping all of the principals follow the school channel. At the door of each classroom was an Aurasma sharing the apps the teachers used and how they used them in their class. The Tech Ninjas served as tour guides. Not only was it great to see the iPads in action, but everyone enjoyed hearing the Tech Ninjas share their perspective.
One of our goals was to allow principals to see some model classrooms so they know what to expect from staff and push their faculty to be risk takers. When the administrator lets it be known that it is ok for teachers to try and fail, the teachers are more likely to try new things and grow.
We would also love to see our schools try something similar with their teachers. During planning periods teachers could tour classrooms in other grades so that they can get this same experience.
After visiting classrooms we reconvened in the library for discussion and sharing. It was a wonderful day.
We are hosting our assistant principals in an elementary school next week and two more in my feeder system next month at another elementary school and the high school. After Christmas we will visit the other two feeder areas.

Have you ever hosted a similar event? I would love to hear how other schools have addressed the needs of their principals and administrators.

Our Latest PD in Action

Now that our iPad deployment is complete and things are working pretty smoothly, the instructional technology team has been able to focus on professional development. One of our most recent big projects was a district wide staff development day. We have lots of creative, innovative teachers that volunteered to lead sessions. We had something for everyone and were very proud of how the day went.
We shared some of our Techie Challenge videos on the TVs in the lobby. These were fun.
I want to share a few of my favorite sessions.

Share Sessions:
We divided the staff into two lunches. While one group enjoyed several food trucks brought in for the event the other group had share sessions with the teachers that teach the same subject and level. Our teachers often say they do not have time to sit down and share with each other so we gave each group a room and asked someone to facilitate to make sure the time was well spent. We heard a lot of positive comments from these sessions.

Round Table App Sessions:
We also asked our high school advocates to lead app mini sessions during lunch. Teachers that wanted to earn an extra hour had the choice of bringing their lunch into the cafeteria and listening as our advocates traveled around teaching about their favorite apps. Those that didn't want to participate were able to eat in the lobby area and courtyard. The students did a wonderful job.

Another complaint we tried to address was that teachers hear about a lot of apps, but not necessarily how to use them in class. We hand selected teachers to lead 2 hour sessions for each subject area that would address this need. Each teacher began by sharing one of their favorite tech lessons then participants had time to design and perfect one tech lesson for themselves. These were a big hit.

The instructional technologists met with our principals to give them updates, check on issues at their school and ask about PD needs they have seen in classrooms.

One of our elementary PD sessions targeted our K-2nd grade teachers who use carts. We scheduled a K-2 Pick Six session at each elementary school. We advertised with this Smore flyer. We set up 12 stations of activities. Teachers had to complete six of them to earn the hour of tech credit. All materials are in the Dropbox folder linked in the flyer. This has led to several lessons including making adjective selfies with Phonto in 1st grade, Number Pieces math in 2nd grade and Chatterpix projects.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Packing the Perfect Roll Out Kit

In preparation for our roll out days we packed kits to travel with us. This is what we included:
three green milk crates
masking tape
posters with social media info and hashtag for the day
box cutters
work gloves
extension cords
power strips
lots of scanners borrowed from our libraries
microfiber cloths
signs and sign display holders for scanning stations
scrap paper
permanent markers
sticky notes
large rolls of asset tags/barcodes
A poster size of our master schedule
individual packets with maps, roll out assignments, locations and times
laminated print outs showing where the warranty sticker will go on cases
bottles of soapy water and old store discount cards for getting on stubborn cases

Our amazing district staff brought drinks and lunch every day and our super efficient maintenance staff delivered tables, iPads and cases every day. My sympathies to the janitorial staff that tackles the mountains of trash we produced every where we went.

No matter how prepared you think you are, things always pop up. Looking back we should have brought a first aid kit. You'd be surprised how dangerous cardboard can be when you're frantically opening, stickering and cataloging.

Roll Out Day Activities

We worked really hard on organizing and scheduling our roll out days. One of our major priorities for instructional technology was creating the student activities. This is what we put together.

 case study  
Case Studies
Lead a discussion about digital citizenship scenarios using the case studies posted below.
   Elementary & Middle School Case Studies ~
      Chat Rooms      CyberBullying
   High School Case Studies ~
      Cell Phones       CyberBully
      Cut and Paste    Social Media
 Arvin Assembly/Keynote
Awakening Your Creative Genius with Arvin from iSchool. (1 hour)
Tour Bus
Digital Learning Revolution bus tour from iSchool Initiative. 
band  iBand: Garageband activity with the amazing musicians from Store Van Music.
 advocates Appapalooza
Our iSchool Student Advocates will present 6 apps for students. 
Edmodo Click here!
myHomework ~ Click here!
Students will create an Edmodo account, edit/create profiles, and join teacher groups.
(If students already have an account and remember the password they may continue
to use that account. If they don't remember the password, they should create a new account.)
 pic collage
Lockscreen Instructions ~ Click here!
Students will create a lock screen picture using the instructions above. If the class is assigned a location for this session, they will visit a Photobooth station. 
HeartBeat Lab ~ Click here!
Students will use the Virtual Heart app to record resting and active heartbeat.

Digital Scavenger Hunt
Students explore all of the features of their new device during these teacher led activities.
Student Teams Take Photos & Videos -Team Hunt & iMovie 

Interactive Game Format -Kahoot! (Tap "Start Now," then directions for students will come on screen.) 
Core Apps Thinglink ~ Click here
Students will explore links that describe each of the core apps during this teacher led activity. Students can use iPads to scan the QR Code to access the Thinglink, or the teacher can use the embedded version below.
App Showcase Menu ~ Click here!
Students will use a creation app to describe how iPads will change their school during this teacher led activity. See above for instructions.
If time permits, students may share projects with the class.
Document the Day ~ Students create a product using pictures they took throughout the day and share on a school Padlet wall.
iPad Policies and Procedures for Students
Teachers lead the students through district policies for ipads.
Three Tech Videos and Discussion:
1, You're More Powerful Than You Think
Watch the video and ask students to answer these questions. Then discuss as a class.
  • How will technology make you a more powerful learner?
  • How do you believe iPads will change school and how your teachers lead a classroom?
 2. Augmented Reality Video 
Watch the video and ask students to answer these questions. Then discuss as a class.
  • Have you ever used or seen augmented reality? If so, describe your experience.
  • How could augmented reality be used in the classroom?
  • How could businesses, government agencies and others use augmented reality?
 3. Evolution of Technology
Watch the video and ask your students to answer these questions. Then discuss as a class.
  • Describe what technology looked like in the classroom when you started kindergarten. 
  • Knowing how quickly technology advances, describe the classroom of the future.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Techie Challenge: What's Your Favorite App?

I try to draw inspiration from pop culture and put a twist on lessons and professional development ideas. My most recent idea was inspired by the ice bucket challenge. Everywhere I look on TV or social media I see the ice bucket challenge, gratitude challenge and others like it so I thought it might be fun to do a tech spin on this type of challenge.  I wanted to do something that would encourage our teachers to share apps and ideas, but I couldn't think of how we could do this in a funny way. My instructional tech partner in crime, Kristen Gunter, suggested combining Photo Booth pictures and Chaterpix to share the apps. Perfect! It is easy to do, funny to see the crazy Photo Booth picture and simple to share.

I made a video to get us started that you can see here.

Here are a few of the response videos so far and it's only been a few days.

The apps shared so far are Chatterpix, Adobe Voice, Pic Play Post, Thinglink, Evernote, and Write About This. If you make your own, please use the hashtag #techiechallenge.

We plan to compile these videos and share on the giant, lobby TVs at our next professional development day and before an app sharing session planned in October. 
I hope the challenge takes off in our schools and gets teachers accustomed to sharing.