July, 2015

Students Help Design School Supplies for Staples: Let’s Get Students Involved

The CoolCatTeacher

Staples Back to School Council Students should be involved in their education. They can also change their world. I’m excited about filling my son’s locker with items from Staples because they are PRACTICAL. (The

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8 Characteristics of a Successful K-12 Technology Department

Ask a Tech Teacher

Mike Daugherty is the director of technology for a high-achieving public school district in Ohio, an occasional contributor to AATT (see his last post, 5 Things You Need to Know About 3D Printing), and the author of Modern EdTech Leadership , a discussion on how today’s administrators handle the blending of tech and ed. I asked him if he could distill this profile into bite-size chunks, consumable over coffee or between classes. Here’s what he came up with: Handling the technology needs of a public school system can be a daunting task at times. Online testing, BYOD, 1:1 computing, and assistive technology are only a handful of the variety of technical challenges that flow through the department every day. In my experience, truly successful technology teams possess the eight key characteristics outlined below. I discuss these and many more topics related to educational technology leadership at my website and in my new book, Modern EdTech Leadership. Responsive – Strong technology departments understand the importance of responding to teacher’s requests. Whether these are work orders or emails, a quick response is best. This doesn’t mean the department says yes to every wish or fixes every work order within minutes of a ticket being placed. It simply means they respond to the initial request as fast as possible by letting the teacher know when they can expect to receive help. Proactive – Instead of always reacting to issues, successful IT departments proactively attempt to identify potential problems and prevent them. This can be something as simple as monitoring the district infrastructure for trouble spots to meticulously going through an image before pushing it out to 300 machines. Well-built teams thoughtfully think through their plans to avoid future troubles. Diverse – A team made up of network engineers may not do very well helping a teacher design a lesson plan. On the flip side, a technology integrationist may not have the mindset needed to resolve a string of wireless issues plaguing the network. A successful tech team recognizes its member’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Issues are then assigned to the person(s) that is strong in that area. Larger conversations involve everyone on the team to ensure that all aspects of a project or problem are being addressed. Geeky – In my experience, the best teams are made up of people who truly love technology. These are the guys/girls who are downloading new apps on their own just to check them out. They’ve bought a raspberry pi to see what uses it might have with their district’s network. The “geeky” teams always seem to have the most creative solutions because they have their collective hands busy with so many different technologies. Student Centered – Great teams always consider students when making decisions about technology within the district. Even though it may not these decisions may not reflect the popular choice or they may require additional work, teams that put the needs of the students first will find success. There’s no question of that. Communicative – Similar to being responsive, highly effective teams communicate well both with the district stakeholders and with other members of the team. This is especially important for technicians. It avoids confusion and double work when they keep each other apprised on the status of each project they are working on. From the customer service side, teachers are regularly kept up to speed on that status of their machine repairs, the software they ordered, or any other issue that involves IT. Empathetic – Technology doesn’t always cooperate. We all know that. On those days when something does not go as planned for a teacher, team members practice good “bedside manner”. While a tech team member may not know how uncomfortable it is to stand in front of a room with thirty high school students when a Smartboard decides not to work, they can appreciate why that teacher might be frustrated with technology. Empathic technicians approach these situations with a calm demeanor because they understand the teacher is not irritated with them personally. They help the teacher work through the problem and discuss potential options if a future issue occurs. Constantly Improving – A key factor to the success of any team is their ability to improve. An excellent tech team establishes benchmarks for success, regularly measures their progress, and adjusts accordingly. In my experience, this is the one area that most teams fall short on. They don’t strive to improve their service as long as everyone is the district seems to be satisfied. They become complacent. When a team become complacent, service can quickly begin to drop. The really great teams never stop improving. They are always looking to be better, faster, and more responsive to the needs of their district. If you’d like to check out Mike’s book, here’s a link to Amazon: Mike Daugherty has over seventeen years experience in educational technology serving a variety of roles. He was recently awarded the OETC (Ohio Educational Technology Conference) Technology Innovator of the Year award and received honorable mention in the national DILA awards. His site, morethanatech.com , looks at EdTech from the district administration point of view. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum , K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers , CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. administration guest post IT management

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Stages of Being a Maker Learner

User Generated Education

Discussions have occurred around some maker circles about what actually is making as related to maker education. I have proposed that the heart of making is creating new and unique things.

Three Ways to Help Teachers Use Research

Digital Promise

Kelsey is an Associate at Digital Promise. Teachers are in the business of learning. It makes sense, then, that many consider themselves lifelong learners, and are motivated to find new research-based solutions to improve their practice.

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5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Early Elementary: Differentiate Reading Practice

Catlin Tucker

In my last post titled “ Create Small Learning Communities with the Station Rotation Model ,” I provided a blended learning strategy that creates more time in the classroom for teachers to work individually with students.

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3 Ways I’ve Seen Bullying Stopped

The CoolCatTeacher

Four and a half years I lived bullying. I cried every day after school when I made it to the respite of my room at home. I often ask myself what I would have done if my bedroom weren’t my solitude? What if I couldn’t get away? Even if bullying “goes away” the scars don’t.

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7 Skills Students Need for Today’s Classwork

Ask a Tech Teacher

Classrooms are infused with technology. You rarely see a lesson that doesn’t ask for online this or digital that. Students are expected to collaborate and share online as young as kindergarten when they read digital books or draw pictures using iPad apps.

Show Learners the Possibilities. And Then Get Out of the Way

User Generated Education

We are living in an age of advanced user-driven technologies, information abundance, and networked, participatory learning. It should logically follow, then, that education should take advantage of these amazing developments. As many of us in education know, it has not.

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How School Administrators’ Roles Change in the Digital Age

Digital Promise

Jane is the associate superintendent for instruction at Lincoln Public Schools , Neb., a member of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools.

Custom eLearning: What to Consider as an L&D Manager

A custom eLearning project is an exciting opportunity, but any L&D Manager will also tell you it can be challenging. Inno-versity shares 5 points to consider before kicking off your project. These concepts are critical to addressing the most common pain points which, IF addressed, will ensure success.

Create Small Learning Communities with the Station Rotation Model

Catlin Tucker

Whenever I’m asked the question, “How do we fix education?” ” I find myself emphasizing the importance of creating smaller learning communities within the context of the larger classroom.

College Readiness for Underserved Middle School Students Shouldn't Be Forgotten

Ed Tech from the Ground Up

Many initiatives geared toward college and career readiness focus on a student's early years and high school, but middle school may be the best time to intervene. Click the headline to read the full post. Questions? Email websupport@epe.org.

How Iron Chef Lesson Plans Make Cooperative Learning Awesome

The CoolCatTeacher

A new Every Classroom Matters episode. In this episode, the inventor of “Iron Chef” lesson design, Jon Corippo shares with Vicki his remix of the jigsaw cooperative learning method.

3 Apps to Help Brainstorm Next Year’s Lessons

Ask a Tech Teacher

Lesson planning used to mean filling in boxes on a standard form with materials, goals, expectations, assessments–details like that.

Teachers’ Guide to Plagiarism

This article provides teachers with a step-by-step guide on how to handle plagiarism in the classroom: it examines the definition of the term "plagiarism" and its types with examples, describes common reasons students plagiarize, and provides tips for teachers to detect and prevent plagiarism among students.

Be Wary of Putting the Cart Before the Horse

A Principal's Reflections

" Unless you get instructional design right, technology can only increase the speed and certainty of failure " - William Horton As budgets expand or money becomes available at the end of a school year, the knee jerk reaction of many schools is to go all in and spend it as quickly as possible.

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Goal: Build Your Teacher Survival Kit

Teacher Reboot Camp

Welcome to Cycle 6 of The 30 Goals Challenge: Inspire Forward ! . The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. – John F. Kennedy. When I first began teaching, I remember meeting a veteran teacher who carried a big bag with her everywhere.

Simple K12: PD in Your PJs – Free Membership Giveaway!

Catlin Tucker

I work in a district with next to no funding for professional development. As a result, I’ve had to aggressively pursue my own learning to stay current with the changes happening in education.

Digital Promise Holding Annual Education Innovation Clusters Convening

Digital Promise

Steven Hodas leads Digital Promise’s Innovation Cluster Network. He was most recently executive director at the New York City Department of Education ’s Office of Innovation, where he launched InnovateNYCSchools.

Key Elements for Successful eLearning Projects

Discover how this rapid development process creates engaging, custom learning solutions on a timeline that works for you, why a strong learning culture is important, and how to showcase your Return on Learning (ROL) using data to tell the story.

DON’T MISS IT: Teachers Leading Teachers Online Conference Starts Thursday

The CoolCatTeacher

July 16-20, 2015 (Live and Video Recordings Available). Join the best PD experience of the summer! Teachers Leading Teachers Conference begins on Thursday. I will present Differentiating Instruction with Technology , at 9:30 am EDT Friday.

16 Websites on Natural Disasters

Ask a Tech Teacher

Natural disasters is a related discussion to any number of topics–geography, ecology, Earth Day, even problem solving. Here are 16 websites that bring the power of these natural forces to students: Avalanches. Earthquake simulations. Earthquakes. Earthquakes for Kids. Earthquakes–USGS.

Musings on Leadership, Change, and #EdTech

A Principal's Reflections

As I am driving my SUV and family guinea pig from Staten Island, NY to Texas (more to come on this later) I took the opportunity, when my father was at the wheel, to peruse my professional Facebook page.

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The Risks of Ed-Tech Entrepreneurship

Ed Tech from the Ground Up

Entrepreneurship is often considered a "risky" endeavor. But I think ed-tech startups are often less risky that startups in other industries. Click the headline to read the full post. Questions? Email websupport@epe.org. Lessons Learned ProfessorWord Startup Life aboutus professorword

The Ultimate 12 Step Guide For Choosing The Perfect Learning Management System

Picking the wrong LMS can cost you. Don’t settle for a disconnected, hard-to-use, expensive system that doesn’t meet your needs. Follow these 12 steps crafted by Lambda Solutions' LMS experts, and find your perfect eLearning solution!

The EdTech Trends You Might Be Missing

Doug Levin

Most mornings, over a cup of coffee, I do my daily reading of news about trends and issues related to education and technology – a practice I have more or less followed for at least the past 20 years.

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Unlocking Research to Improve Learning

Digital Promise

Aubrey is the Research Director at Digital Promise and Sandra is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Stanford University. Teachers and ed tech developers across the country tell us they are unable to access the research they need to help students learn.

3 Ways Monsters and Minecraft Can Drive Great Teaching and Learning

The CoolCatTeacher

A New Every Classroom Matters Episode. In this episode, Minecraft EDU creator Joel Levin talks with Vicki about Minecraft in schools. Want your school to use Minecraft? This is THE episode to share ! Get those kids excited about learning ! You can use Minecraft! Important Takeaways for Listeners.

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Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Ask a Tech Teacher

I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do.

Leveraging Learner Variability to Elevate Equity in EdTech

Speaker: Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer & Executive Director, Learner Variability Project

In this webinar, Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise, will share his insights into the modern boom in neuroscience and learning sciences research. You'll discover how much more we know now about how students learn - and how we can use that knowledge to create EdTech-enabled classrooms that can meet the diverse needs of all students.