Browse Author: Gregory Gilmore

EdTech Chef Reflections

This week, we will wrap up our four-part focus on Transforming Past Lessons for the 21st Century Digital Classroom with steps 8-10 from Michael Gorman’s blog. Step eight focuses on the final project, product, or outcome, step nine stresses the importance of establishing an instructional and activity timeline for the lesson, and step ten addresses how the final project, product, or outcome will be assessed.  As you have thought through the 10 steps over the past few weeks, I hope you have seen applicable ideas to transform your instructional practice.  Don’t get overwhelmed with trying to transform everything all at once.  Remember that replacement is also a necessary element, but don’t neglect the added potential that technology brings for creation, collaboration, research, innovation, and critical thinking.  As you saw from the STNA data presented on Friday, there are many great things happening at OTMS, and the positive culture that exists here will enable us to continue to grow as a community of learners.

EdTech Chef Challenge
I hope the conversations and collaboration we experienced while preparing our EdTech Chef presentations were beneficial and that these conversations will positively impact teaching and learning here at OTMS.  By celebrating the great things going on here, we can maintain this collaboration and continue to utilize the experience and expertise of each other as we strive to transform teaching and learning.  As Mel and I walked around the building visiting groups, we were encouraged to see high levels of engagement as you prepared your presentations.  If you want to explore some of the tech tools introduced by other teams during the presentations, the EdTech Chef HomeDoc is linked in the Symbaloo on the OTMS Instructional Technology Resources page.

STNA Results
I will be sending out a follow-up survey next week asking a few questions about suggested technology purchases and professional development for next year.  In the meantime, reflect on this year’s building-level PD and what you found effective, and begin thinking about any technology devices you anticipate needing next year. Thanks for your flexibility when Nearpod would not cooperate during our discussion of the STNA results.

Technology Celebrations
During the past few weeks, I have been reminded numerous times of the importance of celebrating successes within our learning community.  As teachers, we tend to shy away from public recognition, but it is also encouraging to receive public acknowledgement of our efforts and successes.   Our colleagues are our best professional development resource, and often great things are happening down the hall outside of our knowledge.  Celebrating successes in technology integration not only provides recognition for the educator involved, but provides encouragement to others through sharing ideas that can potentially spark conversations and collaboration between staff members.  For these reasons, and more, I will be adding instructional technology celebrations to future newsletters.  I will keep my eyes and ears open for reasons to celebrate, and I encourage you to communicate, both to me and each other, what you see and hear at OTMS that is worth celebrating together.

 

Two More Steps in the Transformation Process

We continue with steps six and seven in the process of transforming an existing lesson from Michael Gorman’s blog.  Step six involves choosing or developing an advanced organizer to help students connect previous knowledge with new information.  The article gives several examples of advanced organizers and a list of resources for further reading.  Step seven deals with collecting and applying formative assessment data throughout the lesson.

The final arrangements are underway for the EdTech Chef Challenge this Friday.  As you think ahead to the event, take a moment this week to review the competition rubric.  Mel and I developed this to reflect existing building goals to help ensure that ideas developed during the EdTech Challenge can be quickly utilized in OTMS classrooms.  Participating in the challenge will also give us an opportunity to continue the conversations on transformation, differentiation, and formative assessment.

I will be presenting a summary of the School Technology Needs Assessment (The needs assessment we took on January 16) data on Friday after our EdTech Chef Challenge.  There will also be opportunities within the presentation to provide more feedback to help the leadership team plan PD for next year.

Continuing the Transformation Process

Following up with last week’s information, I will share steps four and five in  “Part Two: Transforming Past Lessons for the 21st Century Digital Classroom.” from Michael Gorman’s Blog.  If you chose a lesson while reading the first three steps, you can continue to process of transforming this lesson by developing an engaging title and questions, and deciding what technology you will implement in the lesson.  If you would like a planning sheet to record your ideas as you work through these steps, download it here.

I’m sure you’ve already picked up on the fact that these suggestions for transforming your lessons are not solely based on the use of technology.  Technology is a powerful tool for transforming learning, but as you know, the mere presence of technology will not change anything without thoughtful, intentional implementation.  These fact that these steps focus on why technology is used before how it is used makes them useful as we continue to address our building technology goals.

Mel and I are making final preparations for the EdTech Chef Challenge to be held on February 13, and we are looking forward to a day of collaborative learning.  As you think ahead to the day, remember that you are not producing a complete lesson plan script, but a general plan including the why and how you will use your technology ingredients.  The main focus of the competition rubric addresses “why” technology is used.  Why is it used to transform? Why is it used to differentiate?  Why is it used in the formative assessment cycle?  Does this technology use truly enhance the lesson or simply replace another tool or process–or worse yet, hinder learning through unnecessary use?  As you participate in the event, don’t get bogged down in the details (the “how”) of making the technology work perfectly or figuring out every step necessary to setting up a successful assignment–there won’t be time for that.  Begin with your content standard and ISTE Student Standard, then get an idea of what the tech tools can do, and then ask the question “How can we meet our content and ISTE standards along with the requirements of the competition rubric using these technology tools?”  Utilize the strengths of your team and create a truly collaborate result that can be shared with the entire faculty.  Be creative and have fun, but remember that your presentation should be usable in an OTMS classroom.  We hope that the preparation and presentation portions of this competition will be valuable learning experiences, helping us reflect on why and how we currently use technology within instruction, and where our next steps in the process of transformation lie.

 

STNA-S Results and Transformation

checklist-154274_1280Thanks for participating in the School Technology Needs Assessment (STNA) during our PD afternoon on January 16.  The results are encouraging and point out many positive ways that technology is embedded within instruction at OTMS.  Your responses also indicate where additional resources and professional development are needed in the future.  The leadership team looked at the results of the faculty and student surveys during our meeting on January 20 and we will use the STNA data, along with other resources, to create a technology plan for the 2015-2016 school year.  This plan will address student needs, teacher PD, funding/equipment needs, and access concerns.  I will talk more about the STNA results and the technology plan on February 13 after our EdTech Chef competition.  The PLC leaders should be contacting you soon to help organize your teams for the challenge.

The Student-Led PD event was a success.  Two students presented Duolino and Lastpass to several faculty members in attendance.  Due to the success of the event and positive feedback from those who participated, we may host another student-led session in the future.

Continuing our conversation of transformation, I will share the first in a four-part series titled “Ten Steps. . .Transforming Past Lessons For the 21st Century Digital Classroom.”  These articles are from Michael Gorman’s blog “21st Century Educational Technology and Learning.”  This first article walks you through the first three steps of picking a lesson you want to transform, declaring the standards you want to cover in the lesson, and choosing at least two 21st Century skills to incorporate into the lesson.  I will share steps 4-10 of this process in future newsletters.

ISTE and the ISTE Technology Standards

What does effective technology integration look like?  Am I integrating technology appropriately?  How can I tell if elements of a lesson employ technology beyond replacement?  What is the next step I should take when implementing technology?  Will I know transformation when I see it?

These are some of the questions that come to my mind when I strive to be specific about instructional technology.  While attempting to answer these questions, it is easy to become quickly inundated with sources, opinions, examples, lesson plans, and philosophies–some of which do not always agree.  One of the best sources I have found as a starting place to answer these questions is the ISTE Student Standards.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) “serves educators around the world through professional development, advocacy, and the creation of standards for teachers, administrators, coaches, and students.”  The ISTE Standards are not meant to be a evaluation tool, but rather a source of guidance when asking the question “Am I effectively integrating technology into instruction?”  Think of the Standards as a compass that can help keep us on the correct instructional course, rather than a stopwatch that enforces deadlines and specific requirements.  As we strive to move beyond using technology for only replacement purposes, the ISTE Standards can serve as a guide to advancing our technology integration to the next level.

The ISTE Student Standards are organized in six main categories.

  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Research and information fluency
  4. Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts

You likely noticed a column for the ISTE Student Standards in the discussion document that we used during Wednesday’s faculty meeting.  I included this column in the document to encourage us to reflect on our technology use in light of the ISTE Standards.  If our technology integration aligns with one or more of the standards, we know we are on the right course.  Although we did not address the ISTE standards on Wednesday, they will be included in future conversations.  Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the ISTE Students Standards in preparation for these discussions.


During the PD afternoon on January 16 PD, the faculty will be taking the School Technology Needs Assessment (STNA).  Students will be taking the student version (STNA-S) this month during Computer Lit classes.

The STNA and STNA-S are intended to determine the collective needs of a school, from the teachers’ and students’ perspectives, related to the use of technology in education settings. The STNA and STNA-S provide information to help planners—administrators, technology and media specialists, and school or technology planning team members—make purchasing, resource allocation, or other decisions relating to technology. They also provide decision makers and policy makers with data to guide building- and district-level decisions about resource allocation, professional development, and school readiness for technology initiatives.

STNA results are not scored or reported for each individual respondent. Instead, each person’s responses are combined with those of other educators in their building, and reported at the school level in terms of how many times each possible response is selected for each item.

Both the faculty and student assessments are taken online, and we will be provided the results shortly after the assessment window closes.  I am anxious to see the results and utilize them as we strive to meet our building technology goals and apply the ISTE Standards to our instructional planning.

If you haven’t submitted your proposal for the speed table discussions on January 16, there is still time.

Mr. Schuler is looking for a few volunteers to provide an instructional video for administration training purposes.  If you are interested in helping out, please contact Mr. Schuler or me.  I will record and process the video, so you don’t have to provide anything except the opportunity to share what is happening in your classroom.

  • The clips will be fairly short, between 5 and 7 minutes generally
  • The clip will need to show evidence of ‘teaching’ (the teacher presenting/talking to the class or a group of students) and ‘learning’ (students responding in some way to what the teacher is saying or demonstrating)
  • We are interested in clips ranging across all grades and subject areas
  • We would like to have at least one clip from each building
  •  We don’t plan to identify the teacher or the students in the clips, and they will only be used for training purposes within the district

Fa</con> Tech, the student technology leadership group here at OTMS, will be hosting student-led professional development during early out Thursday on January 22.  The format will be similar to our speed table discussions on January 16.  Please attend to support our students as they share their knowledge with us.  I will provide more specific information as we get closer to the event.

STNA information from http://www.fi.ncsu.edu/selected-resources/stna/

ISTE Standards · Students
ISTE Standards for Students, Second Edition, ©2007, ISTE® (International Society for
Technology in Education), iste.org. All rights reserved.

Goal: Transformation and TAR

A few weeks ago, I introduced our five building-wide technology goals.  Our first goal focuses on transforming education practice and is probably the most challenging goal to implement and evaluate:

  • Teachers will use technology to transform lessons with activities that could not be accomplished outside of a 1:1 learning environment.

This goal easily aligns with the first four ISTE Student Standards.

1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication and Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

These four standards and their sub-standards contain several ways in which student learning can be transformed through the integration of technology.  Fortunately, transformation is not limited to a to only a few activities or technology tools.

Transformation through technology is also a district goal.  Maria introduced the TAR model in a Believe to Achieve blog post earlier this year.  In this post, Maria defines transformation and lists a few examples of using technology to achieve learning experiences that were previously impossible.

The PLC met in December and discussed specific instructional technology activities and assessed where they fit into the TAR model.  Based on the success of this discussion, the entire faculty participated in a similar activity during our January 7 faculty meeting.  These discussions are helping us clarify where our technology integration fits within the classifications of transform, amplify, and replace.  As John, Robbie, Joe, Mel, and I have said in the past, TAR is not an evaluation model, but a reflective tool to help us honestly assess how we use technology.  Just like every lesson can not contain level four Depth of Knowledge, not every lesson will be transformative.  That being said, we should strive to use technology beyond only replacement of other educational tools and methods.  Through a clear understanding of the TAR model, we can honestly assess our implementation of technology.

As you think about how you can transform your teaching and student learning, I will share a few resources in addition to the ISTE Student Standards to help guide your thinking.

 

 

Standards•S © 2007 International Society for Technology in Education.

Building Technology Goals

goal-20121_640During first semester, the PLC/Leadership team set five technology goals for OTMS.  These goals are:

  • Teachers will use technology to transform lessons with activities that could not be accomplished outside of a 1:1 learning environment.
  • Teachers will use technology to differentiate instruction.
  • Students will become independent learners in response to differentiation through technology.
  • Teachers will use technology to collect formative and summative achievement data and provide students with timely feedback in response to this data.
  • Students will be given the opportunity to lead in the areas of technology support and digital citizenship.

The leadership team is currently discussing our goals and how we can lead the building to meet them; from these discussions, I have decided to make a shift in my contributions to the weekly newsletter.  My focus during the first semester was mainly tool or process oriented information; from this point forward, my weekly communication with you will be based upon our building technology goals, the ISTE Student Standards (I will discuss the ISTE Standards in more depth next week), and the TAR model.  By basing our conversations on the building goals and the ISTE Standards, I will begin with the end in mind to help ensure that the tools and processes I cover are aligned with these goals and standards.   I introduced several good tools and tips during first semester, but unless we understand why we are using technology and how it can be used to meet our building goals and the ISTE Student Standards, we risk becoming distracted in the pursuit of the newest tool, website, resource, or activity without fully reflecting on why or how we are implementing it into the instructional process.  The leadership team is currently holding conversations about how technology is used in the classroom, and the extent that this technology use is transforming student learning.

As second semester begins, continue to stress the importance of positive Chromebook care and Digital Citizenship.  This ties directly to our student leadership goal and is a necessary component of classroom management within a 1:1 environment.  There are multiple resources available on this topic, and I have chosen four to share.

Best wishes for the second semester.  I’m looking forward to working with you as we continue to learn together.

 

ISTE Standards · Students
ISTE Standards for Students, Second Edition, ©2007, ISTE® (International Society for
Technology in Education), iste.org. All rights reserved.


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