EdTech Chef #OTFalcons

The faculty of Osage Trail Middle School recently completed our second annual EdTech Chef competition.  During the challenge, faculty were encouraged to stretch and transform their technology integration through a collaborative activity and competition based on sessions from ISTE 2013.  Each collaborative team used the following ingredients to create a lesson or unit (in one hour) that could be taught within the next few weeks at OTMS:

  • A content standard (provided by the staff)
  • An ISTE Student Standard (given to teams the day of the competition)
  • Three Technology Tools (given to teams the day of the competition)
  • A Library Resource (given to teams the day of the competition)
  • Any Google for Education Apps, textbook resources, or technology tools that teachers already use in class

In full disclosure, I could not have designed this activity without help from our Instructional Facilitator, Melanie Bosch (@MBosch34) who provided ideas, support, encouragement, and redirection at every point in the planning process.  Designing the second challenge was easier for both of us due to the lessons we learned while planning and executing the first EdTech Chef Challenge in 2015,  While much of the process remained the same, we took time to reflect on our first experience while designing the sequel and made changes along the way to improve the experience.

Before the day began, all faculty were given instructions along with a schedule of the event in a blog post. Most faculty members participated in the first EdTech Chef Challenge, but there were also several new staff who were not familiar with the procedures and goals of the activity.  The following instructions summarize the purpose of the activity.

. . . 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 all 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 standards 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 lesson or activity should be usable in an OTMS classroom.  (The rubric for the presentations will be the same as last year.) 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.

In an attempt to describe the process of designing this activity in a linear fashion, I will outline the steps we took to prepare for the event.

  • Set the date and schedule and invited “Celebrity Judges” from our central office to participate in the presentation phase of the event
  • We designed a rubric based on building instructional goals–we were careful to ensure that technology was used to support instruction, rather than designing instruction to support a particular technology
  • After announcing the event in a November faculty meeting, all faculty completed the Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Profile (this was a new step this year).  They reported the results of this survey through a Google Form.
  • Each content area submitted a content standard they would cover in class during January or early February 2016.  We wanted the lesson developed during this activity to be useable soon after it was created.
  • Melanie and I created collaborative teams based on the content standards we were given.  We matched standards from different contents based on a logical connection between the two standards.
  • We created a reference document with links to all of the technology tools, along with a short description and links to help files and tutorials. (I wanted faculty to spend time exploring the tools rather than finding help documents or tutorials).
  • On the day of the event
    1. We started with instructions for the event and announced the teams
    2. Each team received a paper copy their technology ingredients and last minute instructions, along with copies of their library resources
    3. Teams had 55 minutes to prepare their lesson and any presentation slides/documents
    4. Teams submitted links to presentation slides/documents through a Google Form that closed at a specific cutoff time (using formLimiter)
    5. Teams had 5 minutes to present their lesson to the rest of the faculty and celebrity judges (we assigned a time-keeper to keep strict time)
    6. As each team presented, I displayed the information they submitted through the Google Form in step 4.
    7. Using the rubric, faculty and “celebrity judges” (Central Office) evaluated each presentation. (We learned from the first year to instruct the faculty to vote only once and not for their own team.)
    8. We asked a math teacher to help tally scores (using a Google Spreadsheet to do the calculations), and our principal awarded prizes to the three teams with the top scores
    9. Faculty completed an evaluation through a Google Form

Curating Your Professional Learning: TweetDeck

EdTech Chef

Thanks for making our second EdTech Chef Competition a success.  Even with a few added challenges created by working in interdisciplinary teams, the lesson plans and presentations proved once again that the staff of OTMS can work together to transform student learning.  Thanks for your positive attitudes and creative mindsets as you worked together and shared your ideas.  Hopefully you found or developed something you can use in your classes during third semester.  Feel free to refer back to the EdTech Chef Homedoc for links to any tools you want to investigate further.

Professional Development and Curation Tools

Over the next few weeks, I will shift the focus of the tools I share from instructional to professional development.  Rather than suggesting a resource you can use in class, I will discuss a tool or website you can use to find instructional tools and resources or connect with other educators to grow your personal learning network.  Although many of you find my weekly suggestions helpful, sharing one a tool a week isn’t always the most efficient way of finding the perfect tool you need to meet your learning goals.  As teachers, our instruction should enable and encourage students to become independent learners.  As an instructional coach, I should be giving you the resources to become independent learners as well.  Some of the tools I share may be familiar and some will likely be new to you.  If the tool is familiar, take some time to reacquaint yourself, update your account profile, discover a updated feature, or learn to use a new function of the service.  If the tool is new to you, I encourage you to set up an account and explore the tool to see what it has to offer.  After experimenting with a few different curation and communication tools, you can make educated decisions about which tools work best for you and contain information that you find useful as you transform your teaching through the integration of technology.

Tool #1: Tweetdeck

I have introduced Tweetdeck in the past and included a few challenges pertaining to TweetDeck in the October #FOProud Twitter Challenge.  One of the biggest challenges of using Twitter is keeping up with the constant flow of information; TweetDeck uses your existing Twitter account and organizes Tweets in columns sorted by hashtags, keywords, users, Twitter Lists, and more (you get to configure your own columns).  TweetDeck can be configured for Twitter Chats, allowing you to keep up with the fast-paced nature of Twitter Chats.  TweetDeck also allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts and schedule Tweets for the future.  Scheduling Tweets is especially useful when you want a Tweet to post at a specific time that you will be unable to access Twitter.

Here are a few resources to help you setup and explore TweetDeck:

 

Preparing for EdTech Chef 2016

OTMS will host the second annual EdTech Chef Challenge when we return on January 4.  The purpose of this collaborative activity is providing you with time to explore ways to transform interdisciplinary teaching and learning (completing tasks or projects you could not do without 1:1 technology).  The goal of the activity is to generate ideas for a lesson that can be used in the near future in your classroom with your students.

Your “ingredients” for this lesson will be:

  • A content standard (provided by staff)
  • An ISTE Student Standard
  • Three technology tools (two must be used by students, one can be used for presentation or information)
  • A Library Resource (this is for reference, but you may choose to use a library resource in lieu of one of the technology tools)
  • Any Google Apps, textbook resources, or technology tools you regularly use in class

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 all 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 standards 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 lesson or activity should be usable in an OTMS classroom.  (The rubric for the presentations will be the same as last year.) 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.  

The schedule for the event is:

    • 8:30 Instructions and Team Assignments
      • Each team will be given instructions containing your team assignment, content standard, ISTE Student Standard, and your tech tools.
      • I have created an EdTech Chef Home Document that contains links to all the tech tools and links to tutorials/help documents for each tech tool. (This will be linked in the Faculty Meeting Notes)
    • 9:00 Collaboration Time
    • 9:55 Presentation Links due through a Google Form (this is linked in the Home Doc and Faculty Meeting Notes))
    • 10:00 Presentations/Competition
      • Each team will have 5 minutes to present
      • Faculty will evaluate each presentation (based on the presentation rubric) using a Google Form. (vote once, and don’t vote for  your own team)
      • Celebrity Judges from central office will evaluate each presentation (based on the same  presentation rubric) using a separate Google Form.
    • Mel and Ryan will compile scores (Celebrity Judges scores will be doubled weighted)
    • Mel will award prizes to the top three scoring teams
      • 1st Lunch and Jeans Passes
      • 2nd Jeans Passes
      • 3rd Drink and Candy from the Concession Stand

I will conclude by sharing the Gamer Type results for the elective and SPED teams (the scales on the left are different again).

elective sped

If you have questions, contact Mel or me this week–or ask a teammate who participated in the EdTech Chef Challenge last year.  We hope this will be a great start to the second semester.  Enjoy your break with family and friends.

Back to Basics: ISTE Student Standards 5&6

The fifth ISTE Student Standard focuses on digital citizenship and appropriate online behavior. Although the computer lit classes devote several class periods to this topic each year, positive digital citizenship should be embedded into all online assignments and projects.  If you are looking for ideas to encorporate digital citizenship into your classroom or to complete the “Cyber Cop” task in PD Craft (Develop a written statement of digital citizenship expectations for classroom activities and assignments), here are a few resources.

The sixth and final ISTE Student Standard is devoted to conceptual understandings of technology processes, troubleshooting and informed decision making.  This is fostered when students are given choices in how they will collect, organize, and present information.  Choice encourages students to learn a variety of tools, giving them the ability to evaluate tools and choose the best tools for future technology-based tasks.  They also learn valuable technology concepts when they are familiar with multiple tools.

This week I will share Gamer Type results for Science and Social Studies.  Note that the scales on the left are different when comparing the two charts.

science social studies

Back to Basics: ISTE Student Standards 4

The fourth ISTE Student Standard focuses on critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making.  This encompasses project management, the planning process, and decision-making abilities.

 

Thanks for submitting your content standards for the EdTech Chef Challenge.  For those who did not participate last year, I want to point out that your teams 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 all 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.

Speaking of team strengths, I will share the average percentile scores from the Gamer Type Survey for the ELA and Math departments (7th and 8th grade combined).  When comparing the two charts, notice that the scale on the left of each chart is different.

ELA

Math

 

Back to Basics: ISTE Student Standards 3

The third ISTE Student Standard focuses on Research and Information Fluency. There are multiple methods and tools available to facilitate assignments and projects that require students to “apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.”  ASCD recently published the article Research Untethered  that addresses multiple phases of the research process and how mobile devices can be used to support inquiry.  Rather than start my own list of resources, Mrs. McDaniel has already curated many digital resources and tools in the OTMS Library HomeDoc including access information for EBSCO Host and a link to the OTMS Research Home Doc.  Mid-Continent Public Library also provides many research databases that provide reviewed research material.  These are valuable guides for locating digital resources that are available to OTMS staff and students.  Edudemic recently published an article with suggestions to help students become better online researchers.  If you are looking for a few alternatives to the traditional research paper, there are few ideas shared in this blog post.

Standard 3 also addresses the necessary evaluation skills that should be applied to each source a student finds through their research.  For some ideas on teaching critical evaluation skills, here are a few resources.

EasyBib — All seventh and eighth grade students have the EasyBib Chrome Extension installed in Chrome.  There is also an EasyBib Add-on for Google Docs that works with your research document.  EasyBib allows students to quickly cite a variety of sources to create a bibliography that can be copied and pasted into Google Docs.  EasyBib also supports login with Google, so that students do not have to create an account or remember an additional password.

Mel and I are looking forward to hosting the second annual EdTech Chef Challenge on January 4 when we return from the semester break. To help you prepare for the event, I’ve compiled the  resources above. I also spent some time this week compiling the scores from the Player Motivation Survey we took on November 13. Mel and I will use the results from the Player Motivation Survey to form groups after we receive your content standards (due December 1). In the meantime, I will share a summary of the results listing the average scores for each of the six Motivation Types. Although averages don’t convey a complete picture, this gives you a broad snapshot of how the faculty scored as a whole.

Player Type Averages

OpenEd and ISTE Student Standards 2

OpenEd is a directory of open educational resources (free) that can be browsed or searched by standards, grade level, or keyword.  This could save some time searching the web for quality resources since they have already curated many videos, assessments, and activities into one place.  OpenEd recently added the ability to share the resources indexed through the site with Google Classroom.  When you find a resource you want to share with a class, click the Classroom link at the top of the resource listing and a window will open giving you the option to create an announcement or assignment and select which class you want to receive a link to this resource.  You will then have the ability to title the announcement and assignment and include any instructions before posting to Classroom.

I am sharing the article Know the ISTE Standards for Students, Standard 2: Communication and Collaboration in preparation for the EdTech Chef Challenge on January 4, 2016.  Don’t forget to submit your content standards to Mel by December 1.

Back To Basics: ISTE Standards for Students

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 an 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 describe the skills and knowledge [students] need to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly global and digital society.”¹ The Standards are organized into six broad categories, with sub-standards in each group.  You can view the Standards on the ISTE website along with other supporting material including the ISTE Standards Student Profiles (the link is on the left column).  These profiles contain a few sample activities that illustrate the Standards across grades PK-12.

The Standards are focused on student knowledge and skills rather than specific technology tools.  Due to this careful planning, the Standards do not become dated as hardware and software are replaced.  The Standards are also broadly written to facilitate teacher independence and freedom.  If you are reading through the Standards for the first time, you will quickly realize that the Standards can be met through a wide variety of activities, projects, and technology tools.  You are likely already meeting many of the Standards through the activities and projects you currently facilitate in your classroom.

¹http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-students

Back to Basics: OTMS Technology Goals

At the beginning of last year, the OTMS leadership team started the process of defining our goals for the use of instructional technology.  From an initial list of approximately 15 goals, we picked five that we considered to be crucial in living out the mission of OTMS.

OTMS Mission Statement

Osage Trail Middle School is a community of staff and student learners.  Our mission is to meet the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of the adolescent learner to ensure our students are critical thinkers who will effectively collaborate with, contribute to and compete in a global society.

When dealing with technology implementation, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture including mission, vision, and quality instruction.  As the leadership team prepares for SIP, our discussions often focus around defining goal and strategies to meet those goals.  Technology should never be a goal within itself, but a strategy that supports the mission, vision, and instructional practices of a learning community.  When we wrote these goals, we were careful to place instruction and student achievement at the center of each goal.

OTMS Technology Goals

  1. Teachers will use technology to transform lessons with activities that could not be accomplished outside of a 1:1 learning environment. (ISTE-T 1, 2, 3)
  1. Teachers will use technology to differentiate instruction. (ISTE-T 2c)
  1. Students will become independent learners in response to differentiation through technology. (ISTE-S 4, 5c)
  1. Teachers will use technology to collect formative and summative achievement data and provide students with timely feedback in response to this data.  (ISTE-T 2d)
  1. Students will be given the opportunity to lead in the areas of technology support and digital citizenship. (ISTE-S 5, 6)

After completing this list, I compared our goals with the ISTE Standards to ensure that our goals aligned with international technology standards.  Over the next few weeks, my blogs will focus on the ISTE Student Standards and ways to incorporate them into instruction.  And if daily instruction was not enough, we will be using the ISTE Student Standards during the second annual OTMS EdTech Chef Challenge on January 4, 2016.

Wrapping Up the Twitter Challenge

Who are five people that do your job better than you?  Are you learning from them? (@ideaguy42)

A couple weeks ago I encouraged you to think verbs rather than nouns (another idea from @ideaguy42) when applying educational technology.  The ultimate objective of the Twitter Challenge was not to make you better Twitter users, but to connect you with other educators through using Twitter more effectively.  By the time Twitter is replaced as the “spot where the cool kids hang out,” connection will be even more critical than it is now.  The tool will change, but the networks will simply be facilitated on another communication tool.  One of the most powerful transformations that technology brings is the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Through technology, there are no limits on interacting with the people who do your job better than you.  Why wouldn’t you learn from them?


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