My awesome fellow Integrator and #ETCoach, Anita Moose, recently organized a book study for the book Classroom Management in the Digital Age. If you haven't yet checked out this amazing resource I recommend you go grab yourself a copy right away and get reading as this school year begins to hit full stride.
One aspect of the book I really liked was its lack of focus on a specific technology or device. With so many options out there for schools and classrooms it's great to see a focus on the strategies and skills needed to be successful in any classroom that is technology-rich regardless of type of device or tool.
Here are some of my take-aways from the book:
Those are a just a few of the great topics in this guide, but having your own copy on hand gives you access to a library of strategies with far more depth. My partner, Anita, arranged a hour long twitter chat with the authors and members of her book study, below you will find some highlights of the conversation, but the entirety of the chat can be found using the hashtag #CMDigitalAge. Not only is it important to reflect on these ideas and strategies, but collaborating with fellow educators can help move the design process along for shaping your policy and expectations.
There's nothing quite like the real thing, so consider picking up yourself a copy of Classroom Management in the Digital Age and join the conversation on twitter at #CMDigitalAge. Please comment below on any of your highlights from this resource.
I've been a big fan of the EdTechTeam and their awesome summits providing meaningful and exciting edtech PD for teachers. They have also branched into online learning and offer a multitude of great courses through EdTechTeam Online. These course focus on GSuite tools for education, Apple Teachers, Paperless classrooms, assistive technology, teacher leaders, and other critical teaching tools and strategies. Courses are anywhere, anytime learning that can be taken for graduate credit. This summer I took their Creating Global Learners with Geo Tools course and was pleasantly surprised at the power of GSuite tools like Google Maps to enhance a teacher's lesson in far more areas than just Geography.
Being an extensive GSuite for EDU user I was amazed at all the new tools and ideas I gained from taking this course. The possibilities of utilizing Google Maps to teach a multitude of subjects and help students gain a global perspective is seemingly endless! One of the things that really stuck out to me was the http://www.geteach.com/ map comparison engine. I see a lot of use of this tool for students to get amazing visuals on data that can be used for a lot of teaching purposes. Another tool that I really saw the benefit of was using My Maps as an alternative presentation tool for teachers and students that helps look outside of their world. The Google Lit Trips is a great place to get started and I plan on sharing that right away. I really hope to promote the use of this with the teachers in my school and get the students engaged in different and broader way than they are used to.
Here are some of the resources I explored in the course that really stuck out:
Google Art Project - Great resource to expose students to digital media resources for history and art. Specifically, the historical figures section provides access to great pictures and primary sources that can be used for students to create their own narratives about a figure and then do some research to compare stories and facts.
Google Crisis Map - Interactive Map allows students to layer various types of data about various crisis situations nationally and worldwide. The weather, hazards, emergency preparedness map would be a great basis to teach students how to collect data and analyze patterns from different regions with other corresponding data to make their own hypothesis on why the weather and hazards may be occurring.
GeoGuessr - Game that uses Google Street view to give clues about a mystery location in the world. Great way to teach students to use context clues to be able to narrow down a location based on what they can see and what makes sense in a particular region.
Into the Wild map - My Map creation of the locations visited by Christopher McCandless from the story Into the Wild. This could be used as an example of how students could use My Maps to create their own maps based on a book they’ve read. Including links and other resources at various locations mapped from their story.
Google Street Art - Access to audio tours, online exhibitions, world collection, and artist stories to provide students access to a genre of art that isn’t always easily accessible and can be just as moving as traditional art. Good way to get students interested in art who may not be interested in traditional art.
My final project was to create a lesson using My Maps to help students become better global citizens and understand a larger impact they and others have on our world. I chose to focus on population growth and what it could mean for various places and cultures around the world. Use the button below to access the lesson plan and feel free to use it or modify it for yourself.
My post may have given you some insight to how tools like My Maps can greatly enhance your teaching and students' path to becoming global learners, but there's nothing like the real thing. Go check out the EdTechTeam Online learning place and take advantage of some great courses they have to offer. Feel free to comment below on any ways you've helped your students become global learners or utilized tools like My Maps in your teaching.
After attending 4 days of the InnEdCO conference I have been slightly overwhelmed at the amount of great ideas and information I was given by so many passionate and innovative educators. Though it may have been overwhelming it was also extremely inspiring and recharging to be shown how to implement so many great ideas from the simple tweaks of existing practices to the reinvention of how we do business at my school district.
One theme that was woven throughout the conference was the application of Design Thinking to many of the issues we face in education in order to come up with innovative, applicable solutions that help address all the stakeholders needs. Watching this process being applied to facilitate discussions for so many various topics has really proved its value in how we plan and problem-solve in education. I plan on bringing this process to my own district and technology team as we plan for the upcoming year with various tech initiatives and professional development opportunities.
Several Sessions that I attended and plan on utilizing resources from are:
Developing PD that Matters- This session was a great crash course in working through the design thinking process to identify an issue or need in a group and work through the steps to try and create helpful and meaningful solutions to creating meaningful PD.
One topic that rose to the top of our priority list was the effective differentiation of PD to keep all staff engaged and is an issue my department is constantly struggling with. I will continue this design process with our staff to work through a meaningful solution and develop some valuable PD that benefits all.
Using Google Sheets to Facilitate Discussion- I really enjoyed this snapshot session by Scott McCleod on a quick and easy way to utilize Sheets to facilitate and record thinking on a variety of discussions that are often held with staff, students, and the community. With some simple formatting Sheets can be transformed into a recording tool that follows protocols like Mission impossible (example, template), Start-Stop-Continue (example,template), and 6-3-5 brainwriting (example, template). All of these and more are protocols we have used many times in my district and transforming them from paper hard copies to a digital medium will be greatly appreciated and more efficient.
Quality Student Feedback - Maximizing Their Work Time and Yours- Providing quality student feedback is always a priority for teachers, but the ability to do so can be difficult and time-consuming. Elementary teachers Penny Potts and Betsy Sise gave some great examples of how to utilize add-ons in Google Docs, Google Form practices, Chrome extension Screencastify, and the feedback tool Kaizena to rethink how we can give students (and get from students) meaningful feedback on various assignments. Sharing these resources with my teachers and connecting them with educators like Penny and Betsy will hopefully encourage them to try new avenues and not feel overwhelmed about implementing new processes that will benefit their students.
Strategic Planning to Improve PD and Eliminate Silos- This panel session included administration from Weld County schools and showcased their strategic approach to how they planned initiatives at a district-wide level and involved as many key stakeholders as needed in order to eliminate silos of people who wouldn’t typically work in conjunction with each other to accomplish goals, PD or otherwise. They praised the StratOp process in helping them create a plan that was actionable and adaptable as they revisited through the planning process throughout the year. My biggest take-away was having the buy-in from all the district administration to commit to this process and work together to enact a plan that will result in real action and solutions. I hope that by sharing this model and its success with my own district will encourage them to take a look at our own process for planning PD and other initiatives and how we can improve it for the betterment of our staff, students, and community.
Design Thinking About Grades- One of the final sessions I attended at InnEdCO was lead by Brian Rozinki from Peak to Peak Charter school and had our group really think about grades and how we might re-invent that idea to best benefit teachers and students. Brian walked us through the design thinking process and recording our thinking on a Padlet to better be able to review and come back to the ideas we cultivated as a group. Though we didn’t walk away with a concrete answer I feel we had good discussion as educators and many of us were on the same page in wanting to make grades something meaningful for all involved. This is definitely a topic that needs continued discussion and I know I have many teachers on staff who would like a chance to look at how we are grading our students and what the best method, if any, really would be.
There you have some really great ideas, tools, and conversation from my time at InnEdCO. Though there are definitely more things to explore from my time in other sessions I think my focus on the take-aways from the sessions described above are really great focus points that can produce some meaningful change in my district. I plan to push on our use of the Design Thinking process to help plan out future thinking with any of these initiatives, as I feel like it can really help organize a deep dive into ideas and produce realistic, actionable next steps.
If you are a Google school you have probably run into this issue before. A student or staff member is leaving and since you have had everything stored in Google Drive they would like to take many of these files and documents they have created throughout the years with them. The only problem with this is the inability to easily transfer ownership of a mass amount of files from one organization's Drive to another (or personal). Well I have found several methods of getting this done and to be up front, none of them are perfect, but they will get the job done.
The first method is somewhat of a manual fix. You have the ability to download entire folders of content from your Drive and then simply upload those files to another Google Drive making that new account the owner. Downloading folders from Google Drive gives you zipped files that can be easily stored until you're ready to upload them to your new Drive. Watch the short video below to see how the process is done.
One flaw I've found is that trying to download large folders full of content can lead to download errors. Breaking the content up into several folders seems to be one way to fix this issue. Other problems are random files will get corrupted in the process causing you to lose the ability to access them and have to go back and find those particular files to re-download and upload until you can get a usable version.
Another way to get your files is through the 'my account --> control your content' features within GSuite. This is Google's solution to how you can archive or take data with you from a variety of apps including Photos, Contacts, Calendars, Gmail and Drive (plus many more). You can select particular folders (or labels) when doing Gmail and Drive or just grab the whole thing. Google then creates zipped folders in a size (ranging from 1 GB to 50 GB) and type (.zip, .tgz, .tbz) of your preference. Google will then send you the archives via email or to a cloud storage of your preference.
Some issues I've experienced with this process is successfully getting all the data you've archived to successfully transfer without errors. Just like with the manual download option selected above, you are best to choose smaller folder sizes and really narrow down which data you need as opposed to a wholesale archive. The Gmail archive comes in a .mbox file format which is a real pain to access. I found a free download called Aid4Mail that worked well to convert the mail files to text documents I could read, but the whole process is pretty awkward.
If you are transferring ownership within an organization then all you need is administrative privilege and the process is quite easy. Log into the admin console and from the dashboard, go to Apps -->GSuite -->Drive and Docs. From there you can select the 'transfer ownership' option and navigate the screen you see below to quickly transfer the entirety of one Google Drive to another.
Only downside of this option is it's all or nothing and you can only use it to transfer files from one person in an organization to another. Great for sharing important files from staff who are leaving, but no good in helping those leaving to take copies of their files with them.
Final option is relatively new and especially for transferring content from a school's organization account. Go to takeout.google.com and start the process of transferring Gmail or Drive files to a personal account. Clearly Google recognized this issue of people wanting to take their files with them as they leave an organization and is working on a simple solution you can read more about here.
I've only witnessed this process used a few times and there still seems to be some glitches in all the files completely transferring, but did its job for the most part with little effort from the user. As with all things Google I know they will continue to improve the process and smooth out all the wrinkles.
At this point those are the three methods I've experienced for transferring Google Drive and other apps files from your organization's account to a personal or other account. The more we work in Google the more content we create that is worth taking with us and these processes are crucial to being able to take your hard work with you. None are perfect, but it's way better than leaving everything on the table and starting from scratch. Please comment below if you've had any experience with this process or found better ways to get it done.
I was very excited to have an opportunity to attend and present at the EdTechTeam Summit April 29th-30th in Breckenridge, CO. I always jump at the chance to take advantage of an event so close to Aspen that never disappoints and always provides me with great resources and ideas to take back to my staff. Below you will find some of the strategies and tools that stuck out to me during my two days at this awesome event:
Make Learning Visible! Creating Student Digital Portfolios with the new Google Sites - Everyone seems interested in utilizing digital portfolios as the most effective way to display student work, and most importantly, understanding. The biggest question has become how do we do it? There are plenty of avenues out there and if you are a Google school then I think the new Google Sites has to top your list. The site revamp has really made sites a useful tool and with many of the same sharing and privacy functionality as a Google Doc it becomes very easy for students to use and limit visibility until the time is right. Some updates to the functionality of the teacher-student workflow would be nice (Hey Site Maestro!) but I think the pros far out weigh the cons. Check out the amazing resources and presentation by Pamela Lewis for more great info on getting started.
Map What? Map That! - Google Maps and My Maps are two amazingly powerful tools that can be taken advantage of in many ways in the classroom. Mapping data from a Google Forms survey can give incredible visual context to what is being collected. By coming several of the GSuite tools a fun and interactive scavenger hunt can be created that has students traveling to various locations around the globe watching informational videos on YouTube, answering questions in Google Forms, and retrieving information from Google Slides and Google searches. Check out Leslie Davison's presentation for more details on what activities like this can look like.
Zero to Ninja: Sheets and Forms- EdTechTeam's Michael Wacker walked us through the process of becoming Google Sheets and Forms Ninjas by completing a self-paced activity that earned you digital badges along the way based on your completion. So while learning a bit more about Google Sheets and Forms was nice, the real take-away I had was the process of becoming a "Ninja" and earning the digital badges that came with each level of accomplishment. The process was set up through Google Slides which provided the instructions for each activity and then a final submission of which levels you completed via Google Forms gave you the necessary codes to get your badges and keep them in a Google Sheets trophy case. The badging process was facilitated through a great add-on created by Daniel Sharpe that can easily be used for multiple applications. I see so many applications of this process both with students and teachers. Check out Wacker's site with the ability to become a Ninja in all the GSuite apps.
There you have three of my big take-aways from yet another amazing two days of PD, learning, connection and excitement at the EdTechTeam Breckenridge summit. Below you will find another summary of my reflection on two things learned and how I hope to apply them in my own practice. Feel free to comment below on any experience you have had with any of these tools/ideas and what works for you and your students/staff.
Many people have been talking about flipping the classroom, but I feel like it has hit a wall when it comes to implementation. Some of the road blocks are obvious: lack of access, lack of training/PD, and unclear learning targets, but what are other reasons are there for people to take advantage of this strategy? I think the unknown is one of the biggest hang-ups people have in looking to implement this in their own teaching and I've put together a presentation with some resources to help get you started.
Some of the highlights from the presentation that I find particularly useful are:
I made sure to mention the ISTE standards and SAMR and TPACK models at the beginning of the presentation to get people thinking about the "why" when it comes to using any of the tools to try and flip content. I think when we have purposeful use of these tools to deliver content to our students in effective and innovative ways we can really see the benefits of flipping the classroom and how it can impact the work we accomplish with our students. My biggest piece of advice is to start small and focus on one area you really see potential in and branch out from there. If you have any great examples or experiences flipping your own classroom feel free to comment below. Feel free to refer and use the presentation for your own teaching and have fun flipping out!
There have been some significant and simple changes since my last post about Google Forms and I thought it was time to get the word out for all you avid Forms users out there.
So there you have some new and some not so new features as well as a few tips on how to maximize your Google Forms experience. If you have had any experience or other ways to utilize these please share in the comments below.
There's a lot of learning happening in today's classroom and in turn lots of discussion of how we can best showcase that learning for the students' and teachers' reflection on their practices. The buzz word has become digital portfolios! There are many reasons a digital portfolio is a useful way to showcase what is happening in the classroom and no one reason is the best.
You have many teachers wanting to focus less on grades and more on conceptional learning and what better way to still have evidence of how your students' are accomplishing this then by having each individual create a collection of their best work to showcase to parents, teachers, students, and the public alike!
Project-based learning is another great concept in education that has been gaining momentum and by using a digital portfolio you can easily collect and display all the great work that was happening throughout the project as well as the end result. A great example of what project-based and more specifically, student-led, classrooms and digital portfolios can look like lives in Paul Solarz' classroom and website. Check out his book Learn like a Pirate to learn more about his awesome strategies and all the great work he is doing with his students.
Post-secondary education prep has become so crucial in our education system whether that is college or another trade. Using digital portfolios to help students create effective resumes for college or other institutions.
These and many other reasons are great justification for the use and practice of digital portfolios. The question then becomes which tool or medium is the best way to create digital portfolios for students. These suggestions below are not a fully comprehensive list, but should give you some ideas on how you could get started or modify your own version:
Thinglink- This website allows for easy creation of interactive pages that students can link various resources or digital media to in order to create of collection of work that can be easily shared with others.
Google Drawing- If you are using Gsuite then you can mimic a tool like 'Thinglink' with Google Drawing. Students can place text or images on a Google drawing page that can then be linked to other student work. An awesome AMS 6th grade teacher, Mark M., has instituted this method with his own class with great results.
Google Drive- Another simple way to collect student work. Create a folder in a student's Google drive that can have sub folders for various subjects. Students can then simply drop in work they would like to be part of the portfolio and keep a collection going throughout their time in school. Though the collection is easy some downfalls are effective ways to display the information once collected, ability for students to reflect, and the easy of saving items that aren't savable file types, like a link to a web resource.
Google Sites- Gsuite users should definitely take advantage of the easy and beautiful new Google Sites as an option to create great looking digital portfolios. Websites are great ways to collect a body of work, provide reflection, and showcase it to the public and in the case of Google sites, the sharing permissions can be locked down for younger students who aren't quite ready to be fully out into the internet.
Weebly/Wix- Much like Google sites, Weebly and Wix offer easy to use platforms to create beautiful looking websites that can be used as digital portfolios. They both have very simple interfaces that allow for quick editing that doesn't require a lot of website building experience. Students can collect all types of work and post on the website One of the AHS Business teachers, Sheri S., has her students create websites to help build their 'brand' and use as a piece of an application or resume.
Adobe Spark- This is a great suite to make a lot of different web-based projects and the ability to make a digital portfolio is definitely one of those options. Accounts are free to create and gives you the ability to make videos, pages, and posts. Be sure to check it out for portfolio options or just a great tool to create digital media.
Blogs- There are so many tools out there that can help you blog. Google sites, Wix, Weebly (which you are currently reading), and many others all have options to add a blog section and there are specific tools that pare down a full website to a simple blog interface like Blogger or Wordpress (also a robust website creator). A blog works well for a digital portfolio because it allows a place to collect work, provide reflection, receive feedback, and share with the world.
As I mentioned earlier this is a short list and in no way the full quiver of tools and programs you could utilize to create a digital portfolio, but they are a great place to start! Please comment below any tools not mentioned that you have had experience with creating digital portfolios or just your thoughts on digital portfolios and their benefit in education.
When making a push to integrate technology into our classrooms the ASD tech team wanted to find a way to reach our educators in a deeper way then simply showing them "cool" tools that can make their teaching easier and their students more engaged (though those are good things too!). We found ourselves looking at our own philosophy on how we view technology in education and had hoped that the teachers would find our department's foundational pieces as enlightening and helpful as we did.
It came down to two models for viewing technology and its integration in to the classroom. SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) and TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge) are fairly well known and are used by many teachers and schools to evaluate or reflection on how they are using technology, but I feel they are often set aside when a teacher keeps coming back to using various technology to support their teaching and a student's learning. Our tech team felt that if we could provide a interactive refresher for staff to look at these two models and define them in their own terms, then maybe we could spark the idea of how to effectively integrate technology in their classrooms and use us as a resource to do it.
SAMR - There are lots of resources out there to look at what exactly SAMR means and how it applies to educational technology. I really like the video explanation by Common Sense Media found here. Created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, this model frames how technology can be used in education and what the evolution looks like as more tools and increased skill levels are applied. I like the analogy that this model is like a pool: depending on what you are trying to accomplish a simple substitution or augmentation might be as far as you need to take it, but getting into the deep end of modification and redefinition is where the most authentic learning will take place and really transform what you are doing.
TPACK - I have a special place in my heart for the TPACK model as I am a graduate of the MAET program at Michigan State (Go Green!). Again, I really like the video introduction and explanation done by Common Sense Media found here. Created by Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler at Michigan State University the TPACK model looks at three major areas in education and teaching: It looks at Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and Technological Knowledge and frames it in a Venn diagram to help visualize the intersection of these important areas and how they work together and can build on one another to create excellent teaching practice and in turn, student learning
So in order to expose our staff to these two models and how they applied to technology integration we created the slideshow below and had teachers spend time in small groups learning and jigsawing ideas of what these concepts mean to them and how they can apply it to their own teaching. We did the presentation three separate times in each of our buildings and were amazed at how engaged and thoughtful the staff was at working through this process. Shortly after each presentation my fellow integrator (Anita Moose) and I were constantly approached to help teachers with ideas or next steps for using these concepts to better integrate technology into their lessons. Feel free to make copies, modify, and use with your own staff to teach these crucial concepts of technology integration. Comment below on any experiences you have had with these two models and any success or struggles with implementing them.
Computer Science is one of the hottest topics in education, but why? Why is everyone pushing so hard to make CS an integral part of every student's education? As a "tech guy" I am clearly on board with the need to have more Computer Science in our schools both as specific classes and integrated into other subjects, but technology is such a small piece of all the skill set that go into CS. As many other advocates will tell you the benefits of CS for students goes far beyond the obvious of preparing students for a new and emerging work place, complex problem solving, math skills, design thinking, project-based learning, creativity, and team work just to name a few.
Looking to find ways CS can be instituted and integrated into our own school, my fellow integrator and I attended a Colorado-based Computer Science Task force that brought together many great minds from across the state in various fields in and out of education. Though we learned a lot and made many great connections with people who are doing great things, one thing that became abundtly clear was that there is no one road map to getting computer science accessible by our students.
Many districts are doing some great things, like St. Vrain, which has established an amazing Innovation Center that allows for students across the district to really have a meaningful experience with STEM education by partnering with industry to help get students working on real-world projects to solve real problems. Cherry Creek also has a great STEM program that helps produce students who, as explained by one Google employee, have several of the necessary skill sets, including algorithims and structures, that Google looks for in their own engineering interns. These are just among a few schools in Colorado that are making great strides in CS, but how can we create consistency and follow-through in all our districts to give each and every CO student a chance to experience computer science?
This will take work locally, statewide, and nationally to get CS the recognition it needs and deserves to push decision-makers and constituents to help prioritize computer science in our education system. One way to help get the word out is to support the CS Education Coalition which partners with Code.org to try and secure federal funds to support CS Education in our schools. At the state level creating or joining a CS taskforce is a great way to get a room full of people together who are all motivated to make CS a priority for schools and your department of education. Locally can be the most effective and not very complicated. Getting students exposed to CS with a Code.org, Scratch, Code Academy, Tynker, or Apple's Swift Playgrounds account can get the ball rolling and help make students' particpation in CS week and the Hour of Code fun and easy.
This year my fellow integrator and I made a big push to get district-wide participation in CS week. We put together a plan (2016 CS week schedule/agenda) that included lunch activities, intro classroom lessons, and classroom resources for teachers to use whenever convenient.
Our goal was to have unplugged and computer-based activities to give students a chance to experience the basics behind CS and enjoy the bells and whistles of fun online learning activities on sites like Code.org to spark their interest in CS. We started by meeting with all the building principals and giving them an overview of our planned activities as well as resources and videos classroom teachers could use independently throughout the week. Then we gave brief overviews to the staff at their weekly building meetings. Having the administration and staff on board was so important to starting a trickle down effect to get students excited and engaged.
Our French and Coding teacher (quite the combo!) at the middle school, Diane Godfrey, set-up two web calls with engineers from Google and Intel which we ran through Youtube live to enable other students and teachers a chance to watch the discussion anytime. AMS coding students facilitated and asked questions of the engineers for about an hour. This was such a cool experience that allowed the students to see some real world application of what computer science is today and what it might look like in the future!
The week was hectic, but the we were able to expose so many students in all three schools to basic elements and concepts of CS in fun and engaging ways. In addition to getting people involved during lunch, several teachers tapped Anita or me to help them run CS/coding mini-lessons. Our AES and AMS Librarians (Lisa May Howard and Teresa Cavaleri) helped kids get on Code.org and Scratch. HS math teacher, Kiffor Berg, taught his students about binary numbers and their relation to CS and how to program their graphing calculators. The goal is to continue to carry this momentum throughout the school year and into the planning process for courses to be offered in the coming years. If the demand is high enough then specific CS or coding courses can be offered in all our buildings and hopefully classroom teachers will continue to use CS to help teach other subjects.
The journey to getting computer science in our schools is only just beginning. The excitement is building and I think most educators realize we are doing our students a disservice if we don't help them learn the skills that will set them up for the newly emerging jobs and careers that haven't even been created yet. So what's the big deal with computer science? The big deal is that we are not doing enough to help our students and if we don't adapt our schools and curriculum to match the times we are living in then we are hurting them just as much as if we decided not to teach math, science, english, or social studies. If you have had any experience with promoting CS in your own district or on a state or national level, please leave any comments below.
Tech Integration Specialist at the Aspen School District. Level 2 Google Certified Educator. Former 4th grade teacher and Spartan for life! Go Green!