Browse Tag: Goals

OTMS Technology Goals

Differentiation Resources and Edcamp OTMS

Our Professional Development Library contains several resources on differentiation and I have created an short bibliography to help you quickly find something useful in your classroom.  Although most are not specific to using technology in differentiation, they are still great resources to discovering new ideas and strategies.  Based on the great participation during the EdTech Chef Challenge a couple weeks ago, I have no doubts that we are capable of integrating technology into existing strategies.

I have also created a Thinglink where I will tag various differentiation resources in the coming weeks.  I have already tagged a few items to get it started and I will be talking about some of these tags in future newsletter posts.

Edcamp OTMS

  • To help us prepare to participate in Edcamp OTMS on March 26, I recommend two more resources. This edutopia article explains the purpose of an Edcamp and what happens during an Edcamp session.  (We have modified the described process slightly in that we are setting the schedule ahead of the event.)
  • Dan Callahan, the founder of Edcamp, discusses the growth and popularity of the Edcamp movement in this video.

Now it’s our turn to join the momentum of the Edcamp movement. To submit conversation topics or guiding questions for Edcamp OTMS, please use the form linked here.  If you have more than two topics to suggest, complete the form a second time.  If you are willing to facilitate a conversation on your suggested topic, please check the box indicating your interest.

Technology Celebrations

Student Chromebooks have been registered for the MAP test and another readiness check will be conducted on all devices during computer lit on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the simulated load test on Friday.

Art students are exploring art works shared in blogs by other art teachers.

OTMS Technology Goal: Differentiation

Our second OTMS Technology goal, Teachers will use technology to differentiate instruction, is certainly not a new topic, but one that is worthy of constant re-evaluation.  As existing technology tools become more sophisticated, and new tools become available, the potential for differentiation increases.  Differentiation can be applied to any of the six ISTE Student Standards, and ensures that content remains student-focused and meets the needs of individual learners.  For those of us who are visual learners, ASCD has created an infographic that summarizes what differentiation is and what it is not. This provides us with a quick reminder that differentiation is more than group work or ability grouping. (By the way, infographics are a great way for students to demonstrate learning and can be created in Google Drawings or easelly.  Easelly is a web tool dedicated to designing infographics and provides many templates to begin a new project.  Plus, easelly allows users to create accounts with a Google login.)  I will also share 3 Myths and 3 Truths, and Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction.  Both of these articles reinforce the information displayed in the ASCD infographic and summarize the flexibility and benefits of differentiation.  In the coming weeks, I will share more information that is specific to using technology as a tool for differentiation.

Technology Celebrations
Students in computer lit are beginning a multi-week coding unit by creating their own Flappy Bird game using  By manipulating blocks of code, students are able to set the parameters of their game including speed, sound, scene, character, and scoring.  After they customize the game, they can play it on their Chromebook or phone.

Eighth grade ELA is using Plickers as a formative assessment tool to quickly collect student feedback.  Plickers creates a unique card for each student that has a four-sided shape–each side of the shape is associated with choice A, B, C, or D.  Students answer questions by holding the card with the side of their chosen answer facing up.  The teacher then scans the room with a phone or tablet (using the Plickers app) and the app instantly shows who answered correctly.

Seventh grade Read 180 students are taking turns teaching figurative language to their classmates.  Each “teacher” then creates their own quiz using Quizlet or Google Forms which their “students” take after their instruction.


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.


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.

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), All rights reserved.