Posts Tagged ‘Educational technology’

I signed up to participate in the @TeachThought Attitude with Gratitude 30-Day Blogging challenge for November. But something seems to have happened and we’re halfway through the month without many posts! I’m going to try, when possible in the next few weeks, to blog more often.

Today’s prompt is this:

5 things you are grateful to have learned in your teaching career

1. Stay true to the principle that all children can learn. (This one took precedence in a conversation about beliefs and principles yesterday. Make sure that your principles guide what you do.)

2. Relationships are key. (Enough said.)

3.  That there’s always more to the story than you know. (I’ve learned that before I get myself all riled up about something,  do some research and find out more from different perspectives. Take a deep breath.)

4. Technology is not even a tool, it’s a digital assistant. (I recently started reading the book 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work, by Pamela Livingston. I’m only on the introduction and already there are so many ideas that resonate for me! The idea of changing the language about technology and tools to digital assistants works. This is also attributed to Prakash Nair – “Student Laptop Computers in Classrooms – Not Just a Tool“)

5. All of us are smarter than one of us. I attribute this one to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, who stated this frequently in our work with PLPNetwork during a formative year of professional development. I strongly believe in the power of my PLN and collaboration.

Obviously there are MANY more lessons that I’ve learned, but these come to mind this morning.



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Post 9 on the 30-Day Blogging Challenge: “Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).”


Well, that stumped me. I’m a fairly public person when it comes to my work, but the “that no one knows about (or may not care)” proved challenging. I even went to visit some long-time colleagues to see if they could trigger something for me.

Here’s what they suggested I write about; it feels like I’m tooting my own horn, but  oh well.

Last year in our supervisory union, we had consultants come in and assess the status of technology integration in the various schools. The outcomes were presented to the supervisory union school board and elements have been shared with our local school boards, communities, and faculty. I’m going to share some of it here now, quite publicly.

In the last 5 years, since I’ve been in the role of Technology Integration Specialist, I played a part in building upon and further developing a positive culture around technology integration. I also give most of the credit to the amazing administrator with whom I work, Walter Nardelli, and an even more remarkable faculty in two schools.

visionHere are some tidbits that were presented in the findings about the schools in which I work:

“When the vision is clear and leaders communicate plans and expectations and provide adequate resources and infrastructure, conditions for success are in place.”  (this in a paragraph describing the success in Williston)

“Students at WSD are more likely to have similar experiences in acquiring technology literacy skills.”

“Teachers at WSD understand expectations about the use and application of technology and are held accountable to meet these expectations.”

Part of the study was a survey for faculty. Here are some tidbits from the survey:

At your school, how frequently are educators exposed to innovations and technology integration strategies? 87% of those who responded said “on an on-going basis”.

Over the last two years, have you participated in school or district-offered PD that was in any way related to technology use? 85% of those who responded said YES.

Innovative, technology-supported teaching practices are recognized   98% said yes.

Educators are excited about learning new ways of using learning technology to improve student learning in their content areas or grade levels.  90% said yes.

We are thinking ahead- how do we continue to improve and provide deep, rich learning experiences for our students? Where and how can technology support that work? We’re fine-tuning our next steps. Stay tuned.


Image: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Celestine Chua: http://flickr.com/photos/celestinechua/12011208754

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As I mentioned recently in this post, I am going to try to join the 30-Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers. I may not stick to the suggestions for topics outlined in the challenge since I’m not a classroom teacher. I’ll adapt when necessary.

Here goes – Day 1…

My Goals for This Year   

Build on my relationships with faculty and staff. Relationships are key to all of our success.

Create and spread the word about a global project that will engage classrooms in our schools and beyond. We participate in global projects, but how about starting one?! I’m ready and hope to make an impact ongoalpost the students in our schools. Are you?

Support, guide, and explore the benefits of having our first 1:1 pilot, which we’re calling 1:World. Two teams of four teachers, one grades 3-4 and the other grades 5-8 will have enough Chromebooks for each student to call their own. That’s a first in our schools; we’ve been hoping for this for a while.

Developing a growth mindset for technology integration. Some of us are positive, some are not. Let’s all look forward. I love the bulletin board in this post. How can I adapt that for our work with integrating technology?

Win the school NFL football pool at least once this season. Hey, you never know. It’s happened before; it can happen again.

What are YOUR goals for this year?


Image: creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by DBduo Photography: http://flickr.com/photos/drb62/2603563990

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reflectionYesterday, I came across this post about a 30-Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers. It includes a reflective teaching question for each day in September to get educators blogging. Given that I haven’t blogged in too long and have too much to share from a full summer of learning, connecting, and teaching – I think I’m going to accept the challenge.

Plus, it’s about ‘reflective teaching’ and my blog is ‘Reflections on Ed Tech’; it felt like a good match.

Starting on Monday, I’ll try blogging daily. That will be quite a change for me, but I see it as a great way to get back into blogging, to share about recent experiences, and to model for others.

Anyone else want to join me?



creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Len Radin: http://flickr.com/photos/drurydrama/7647054162

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There are so many posts out there that include a number in the title. 7 Characteristics of an Innovative Educator, 6 Types of Digital Content Sharers, 10 Digital Citizenship Resources, and so on. One of my favorites is Tom Barrett’s (@tombarrett) “Interesting Ways” series where the number keeps changing as more people add resources and ideas.

I realize that when I see a tweet or a post shared that includes a number in the title, I’m drawn to it. Perhaps I’m thinking that just it feels manageable. I often share resources with the educators in our schools and everyone is busy and overwhelmed by the job of teaching. But if they see a post with a number, maybe they can consider those few things.

Image credit: Creative Commons/flickr by Benefit of Hindsight http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdell/548548453

Image: Creative Commons/flickr by Benefit of Hindsight http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdell/548548453

When I think about my role in our schools I think of just one thing. Relationships. Just as it’s critical to build relationships with our students, it’s also important to build relationships with one another. We can do that in many ways. I have relationships with many in my PLN whom I’ve never met face to face. But the best way to build relationships among those we work most closely with is face-to-face. Have lunch together. Send along an article or post about something you were just talking about in the hall. Show that you listen and care. Have a sense of humor. Build trust through those relationships.

Just one thing.

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Yesterday we had another technology-based faculty meeting at our preK-2 school. In September the faculty in that building set a tech goal for the year:

Using technology as a learning tool, students will share and communicate learning with others within and beyond their classroom walls.

Before the meeting, I created a Google presentation and invited the teachers to contribute either ideas they were hoping to do to meet this goal or something they already had done with students. I anticipated that we would use this collaborative presentation as a resource for the year as well as a vehicle through which teachers could get an idea of what’s happening elsewhere in the building. What I didn’t expect was that before we even met face to face that 14 teachers would contribute! I’m not going to share the presentation here… yet. I’d like to honor the teachers and their desire to get things up and running before WE share to a larger audience.

During the meeting, we began with a few teachers showing and sharing some examples of how they are working toward our goal with students. These included connecting with others via Twitter class accounts and sharing their learning and participating in global projects that connect kindergarten classes.

We divided up into four groups after that to talk for a short while with these questions and topics:

1. Defining our goal: What does it mean to publish and share our learning with a larger audience?

2. Larger Audience:

  • How do we reach a larger audience?
  • Who is that?
  • Where are they?
  • How to find them and/or connect?

3. Feedback:

  • Why is feedback important?
  • Does your activity allow for it in some way?
  • How?
  • How do students receive or give feedback or comments?
  • How do we teach students about ‘good’ commenting?

4. Blogging: If you’re blogging with students…

  • How’s it going?
  • Share:
    ideas for posts
    how are you sharing and getting feedback/comments?
    What settings do you have in place currently on your blogs? (moderating, open for viewing/commenting

And finally, teachers reported out from these small group discussions. Throughout the meeting, I invited participants to utilize a room on TodaysMeet and the conversation there was rich as well.

Our next steps and things to ponder for the next meeting:

  • What support do you need?
  • What tools could we use to achieve this goal?
  • How can WE collaborate and continue to share ideas and support one another toward meeting the goal?

Overall, there are fabulous things happening in this school and we have an amazing faculty. I was so impressed by what teachers were sharing and the level of discussion and commitment. I have the opportunity to facilitate a similar meeting next week with our grades 3-8 faculty. I can’t wait!

Image credit: Creative Commons/flickr  by orkomedix   http://flic.kr/p/6APyZo

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This week I had the first of three faculty meetings focused on technology. This one was with the middle school teachers. The meeting with the third/fourth grade teachers is next, followed by the meeting with our K-2 faculty.

The focus of this week’s meeting was to generate discussion about a path the whole 5-8 might pursue together, that involves and integrates technology. How we could use technology to achieve greater things, inspire our students, and help meet the ISTE standards? Should it be a specific tool like Kidblog and Edmodo? Some teachers were hesitant to commit to something they didn’t know much about and others didn’t feel our focus should be on a specific tool. Bravo!

One teacher shared this over-arching goal:

Students will publish/collaborate/share their work with a larger community outside of their classroom.

The group was willing to commit to that and quickly! Upcoming tech-faculty meetings will focus on sharing what this might look like, what tools might support our work (including those shared above), and how we proceed and support one another. Given that it’s the beginning of the school year and parents are about to come in for Open Houses and Curriculum Nights, teachers made a request. They would like to share a statement from the school that tells parents about the focus on and importance of publishing work online and opening the work up to comments and feedback by a larger audience.

Do you have such a statement for your school? Would you be willing to share it?

Thank you for your comments and thoughts. And possibly your resources!

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