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Archive for the ‘sharing’ Category

I’m reading a few different books simultaneously and two of them just converged. Both of the books are important on their own and have a lot to teach us. Both books are timely and relevant.

social LEADiaFirst, I’ve been reading Jennifer Casa-Todd’s Social LEADia with a small group of educators in my district. I’ve been inspired by this book for a while. I’m passionate about shifting the conversation around digital citizenship to digital leadership and Casa-Todd’s book outlines the steps for doing just that. So much of what we’ve focused upon in the past has been via scare tactics when teaching or introducing digital citizenship to adults and students. It’s time to focus on the positive ways we can use digital tools and social media to bring about change.

Common Sense Education is doing just that as they release updated digital citizenship lessons, so far for grades 3-8 with more coming.

Social LEADia provides clear examples of students who have raised their voices and brought about change in a variety of ways, whether for their schools, communities, or globally. The book also outlines how schools can start making the shift to share our stories, our passions, and our voices. And most importantly, those of our students.

say somethingThe other book I’ve read recently is Say Something, the newest amazing book by Peter H. Reynolds. This book is the follow-up to The Word Collector, which helped our students see the power of words and vocabulary in a positive light. In Say Something, Reynolds empowers students to use their voices, in a wide variety of ways, to speak up. Say something to help others know how you feel. Say something with your actions. It illustrates how their voices matter. One of my favorite pages says, “Keep saying it… and you may be surprised to find the whole world listening.” The wonderful illustration on that page features many, many birds. Thanks, Peter!

Digital tools provide the mechanism through which we can say something and become digital leaders. Both books strike a chord with me. Both books encourage all of us to use our voices to bring about change. How can we shift the thinking and empower our students? How do we encourage them to speak up and understand that their words and actions matter, and that THEY matter?

It starts with us, the educators. YOU can start by reading these books.

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I recently attended the ASCD Empower18 conference in Boston. It was an amazing conference on so many levels and I learned so much from so many people. If I had only been present for the 3 keynotes, that would have been worth the trip. Jill Biden, Manny Scott, and Colin Powell! Wow! They were all inspiring, motivating, and shared important and valuable messages for those present and connected from afar.

My Post (1)As educators, we all wear many hats, but I was focused on three of mine as a learner at ASCD. First, I am a Digital Learning Leader for 2 school buildings. I attended phenomenal sessions about leadership, coaching, and digital tools. I had the pleasure of learning from educators like Eric Sheninger, Tom Murray, Shira Liebowitz, Kathy Perret, and Jim Knight. One question that sticks with me is: Am I a leader by title on a business card (which I don’t really have) or a leader by action? I believe it’s the latter. 

The second hat I wore was as a board member of Vermont’s chapter of ASCD. We’re exploring micro-credentials and badging and our role in supporting Vermont’s educators as they develop professionally. I attended sessions on these topics at the conference as well. Brandi Miller is doing amazing things in her district. I hope her work is appreciated.

And finally, the third hat I wore was as an adjunct professor at the University of Vermont. I teach an online summer course in the EdTech sequence that focuses on the relationship between assessment and technology. I was honored to meet Starr Sackstein in person after having used her book, Hacking Asssessment, with this class for the past few summers. Her session about feedback was indicative of the work she’s done; she truly walks the talk.

I valued my time in Boston attending the Empower18 conference. I connected with other educators, grew my PLN, and as always, gained perspective about my schools and our district’s work. We’re doing truly great things in our schools and district. My learning will be shared with colleagues and will help shape my thinking and my work. Thank you ASCD for making this possible.

 

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As I’ve written about before; I tend to go in cycles with my blog. I want to blog regularly, but that just doesn’t seem to happen consistently. I am great at joining challenges to get on the right track, but once they end, my dedication to my blog ends too. I have great intentions, and there are no acceptable excuses. I value the idea of blogging professionally and know how important it is for me to share and reflect to a larger audience.

The ISTE EdTech Coaches Network set up Blogging Buddies. I’ve joined in and have 4 other buddies in my group at this time. We are ‘Group 9’ and will be working on a new name for the group soon. I intend to comment on their blogs and hope they will on mine as well.

So hats off to my new ‘team’. Follow them and their blogs as well. hats off.png

@smussle  http://musslebytes.blogspot.com

@christinahum44  http://techthroughtime.blogspot.com/

@mikephillipsms  http://mikephillipsms.blogspot.com/

@JSMercado  http://iheartteachingkids.blogspot.com/

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I know that the title of my blog is Reflections on Ed Tech, but today I’m taking a moment to reflect as an educator. Renovations to one of our schools begins this summer and it’s the building in which I have an office. This is the end of my 8th year in the role of Technology Integration Specialist, but I also taught first and second grade in this district for 15 years before that.

I’m cleaning and going through things in drawers, bookshelves, and in file cabinets and it’s a wonderful walk down memory lane. I’m viewing the timeline of my life as an educator.

FullSizeRenderI’ve come across an election unit I created while student teaching. I won’t reveal who was running for president that year, but let’s just say there are mimeographed papers in the folder. Notice the issues under discussion; not much has changed.

After that, I taught in Boston at a very special school. Those memories are kept alive through the friendships that remain strong and a well-connected community.

While in graduate school for my Ed.M., I did an internship at Tom Snyder Productions. IMG_3931That’s where I met Peter Reynolds and others with whom I’m still connected. My name is
on one of the teacher’s guides to a product developed there, (proud moment), and I also have other products from TSP that I used while in the classroom. Those are strong and positive memories!

Most of what I’m finding are materials from my teaching days here in Vermont. I have file cabinets full of my resources that I think I’ll be recycling today. It’s a bit emotional, but if I ever needed materials like that, I’d likely use a different path. (OER) So many of these materials are things I created and that are only in hard-copy. Sharing resources with one another has always been important, especially in our digital world.

IFullSizeRender (1)‘ve found scrapbooks given to me by students or whole classes along with many photos. Those students are in college now. In my mind, they remain in first/second grade. There are tidbits of my life scattered around this small space, that give me pause and generate smiles.
Through it all, I’m also thinking of colleagues who are among my closest friends. That’s what happens when you work together over time, building trust, sharing memories, and depending on one another.

This reflection is generating some thoughts about education. Some things never change.

  • It’s still and always should be, about the kids. They come first.
  • Positive relationships with students create community and foster success.
  • The connections we make with colleagues matter, for us and for our students.
  • “Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.” ~ anonymous quote, but a good one. We need to share what we create, share via blogs, and share our reflections.

I’m learning a lot by spending some time looking through my own things. Give it a try.

 

 

 

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Ever since last summer at ISTE when I wasn’t able to get on the BreakOut Edu bus, I’ve wanted to share the idea and experience with others in our schools. Thanks to an amazingly supportive administrative team, we are now the proud owners of 5 BreakOut EDU kits. And on top of that, I was given the opportunity to play during a faculty meeting time, during which everyone was engaged in a game. (We used the Faculty Meeting game from the website.)

We had 5 teams of educators, who it turns out, got quite competitive. I’m not really surprised knowing some of my colleagues. It was fun, engaging, and energetic. They were all able to break out, with the final team coming in with 1 minute to spare! Afterward, many people thanked me for enabling us to experience those feelings with one another. We all need a chance to ‘break out’ of the routine, let go of the stresses, and just have some plain old fun together.

IMG_2481 IMG_2474IMG_3877

I truly appreciate this graphic via @MariaGalanis and @sylviaduckworth that’s actually a part of one of the challenges in the Faculty Meeting game. It sums it up nicely.

breakout

In addition to introducing BreakOut Edu to our faculty, I also had the opportunity to use the kits with a few groups of students during our recent Theme Week. For those sessions, I used the Teamwork game and The BFG game, also from the website. They were very different activities and the students gave great feedback about which type of game they preferred. It was helpful for me to use these ready-made games that others have developed and shared on the website as a way into the experience. I’ve also become quite adept at changing lock combinations.

Our teachers are ready and eager to take the next step and design their own games and use the kits with students. If you haven’t tried this yet, take a look, explore, and play. I highly recommend it!

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At the dinner table tonight, I brought up the topic of choosing our #OneWord for 2017. After being home over the holiday break, my husband and I did some cleaning out. It makes sense that he chose Simplify as his word. When we asked our son, his reply was “No.” I think that’s his word … we’ll keep working on that after we finish laughing. #TeenageHumor

oneword17Last year my word was Try. I have always loved that word and all that if connotes. My word this year is Positive. Given the political climate, I want to be sure that I focus not on that, but on my own actions. I intend to stay positive, react positively, speak positively, and collaborate positively. I also connect this word to having a growth mindset, which also means I’ll take a positive approach to whatever comes along.

I hope that having a positive attitude will cause more positive things to happen. We’ll see.

I shared the #OneWord challenge with our whole faculty and staff and created a Padlet on which we can all share our words. I won’t connect it here so that everyone has time to  contribute to it, but will follow up with another post soon.

Stay Positive!

 

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Over the past few weeks I’ve had a few opportunities to facilitate conversations around Digital Citizenship. In addition to the great discussion and new insight from educators and parents, we also did our best to focus on the positive. Talking about Digital Citizenship, whether with adults or students, tends to go to the negative – all of the bad things that could happen or do happen. It’s time to make a shift.

digcitkids-question

DigCitKids

I have been influenced by the positive nature of DigCitKids – a site created by a student, for students. Curran Dee is speaking nationally and engaging kids and adults in the conversation. He’s definitely got me thinking and in my work with students, I’m engaging them in this positive conversation as well.

VermontFest

I led an immersive session at Vita-Learn’s VermontFest conference earlier this month.Vita-Learn is Vermont’s ISTE affiliate and this is one of two conferences offered here in Vermont annually.

Near the end, participants shared their ideas for a positive approach to Digital Citizenship. Here are a few of the ideas:

  • Do a project around DigCit where students have a voice.
  • Examine current practice and consider how to end each lesson more positively
  • Build community.
  • Encourage a growth mindset toward technology with teachers and students.
  • Showcase and share positive examples with a wider audience.
  • Use the design thinking process with students and pose a question about positive technology use
  • Produce PSAs
  • Pay it forward

Parent Presentation

Last week, I had the opportunity to continue this discussion, but this time with parents in our community. I utilized many of Common Sense’s resources for parents, and we had a great conversation. There’s agreement all around that our focus should be on positive, responsible use of digital tools rather than the potentially scary or negative connotations often associated with the topic. Parents had an open mind and were eager to give and receive tips and advice about parenting in this digital age.

Putting It Into Action

Here in our schools, we’re being pro-active. Many of our classrooms Kindergarten-8th grade are integrating digital citizenship lessons, activities, or conversations into their work with students. I shared one example in this post recently. We are now in the process of applying for Digital Citizenship Certified School status and after that, we’ll strive to be Digital Citizenship Certified District. Want to do that yourself? Learn more here!

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