Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Birds-ISTE Update

Tech Commandments
Catchy name for a session led by Adam Bellow, check out the eduTecher blog. He started the session on a good note by saying there would be no

which at that point I figured this was going to be a no lose session. Adam had some great quotes and information he shared, few of them below.

"Training needs to be a priority, but not all about hardware and software"
"Educational technology is not all about stuff"
"I don't like students using cell phones because they know more than me and look things up"
"Any teacher who can be replaced by a robot should be"
"Lies my teacher told me"
"Be like the kids, be stubborn and resilient, don't give up"
"Collaboration is the 21st century skill"

Leading in 3D
This session was lead by Chris Oneal and very relevant for principals and how to be a technology leader by modeling. Check out his wiki, here is a quick question for principals from Chris.

Do you lead by example? Teachers and other instructional staff look to you to demonstrate a commitment to technology through efforts that make sense for your job, yet define the expectations you have for technology use across the board.

I ended the day with a birds session on 1:1 computing and was excited for this one as it was more of a round table discussion. It was interesting hearing about what a district or two in Australia was doing with their 1:1 initiative and others experiences in their adventures to change the learning in their own little part of the world.

Thanks for reading and I will try and post one more time tomorrow as I am running a day behind now!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Set....Go!-ISTE Update

Good Start
There have been a number of additions to the ISTE NETS that are being released soon. The area I was excited about was the profile for Technology Directors and they are also releasing NETS for Technology Coaches.

Open Source
I was very excited for this session as we have been big supporters of open source software over the years in AJUSD. The session did not disappoint as Christopher Craft is an excellent presenter and held the attention of the audience throughout. Chris ran down a top 10 open source list and I wanted to share.
  1. Ubuntu
  2. Moodle
  3. Clonezilla
  4. Gimpshop
  5. Android
  6. Libre Office
  7. Audacity
  8. Stellarium
  9. Tux Paint
  10. Wordpress
We use a number of the open source software listed above and run the apps on +1,000 netbooks running a Lubuntu operating system. They work very well and may work for your environment also, check them out.

Tech-Savvy Principals
Great panel discussion lead by Scott Mcleod made up of a group of principals who have put aside excuses and have embraced technology. Lost of good take aways from this session, and I came across David Truss's blog who participated in the session via Twitter. I wanted to include the quotes from the session that he recorded, big thanks David. Enjoy and check back soon!

“It is not just a tech savvy admin, but the building of teacher leaders that’s needed to become innovative.”

“Let professionals be professionals- good leaders let teachers take the lead and grow.”

“Teachers must be the partners in learning. Let the students use the ‘stuff’.”

“Go with the willing but model for the reluctant or rather the “apprehensive” staff.

“…support teachers learning one item at a time.”

“Not only is it about innovative leaders, it is about leadership in a student centered school.”

“Bad tech leadership? Tools with no training, direction or support.”

“Leadership needs to communicate, collaborate, and create using the technology they expect the teachers to use.”

“Be a learner first. That’s where we want every adult and child in the school to be, so model it from the top!”

“It’s about learning. We need to help teachers understand this is the same for them as it is for the students.”

“I don’t want to see teacher using tech every time I walk in room. I want to see tech in hands of students.”

“Do your schools have a technology integration group made up of teachers, admin, and students that make decisions about learning?”

“Observing for appropriate tech use in a classroom: 1. Tied into learning, 2. High engagement, 3. Assessment considered.”

“It’s not so much about teaching teachers to use the technology, it’s about changing the classroom pedagogy.”

“Manage the present, create the future, and carry the vision. Most leaders get caught up managing the present.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting Started

City Life
It was a crazy ride to Philadelphia, the plane was up and down more times than a roller coaster at Six Flags! It took the rest of the evening to stop walking into walls, but this morning I was ready to roll. We spent a little time roaming around the city and taking in some of the historic landmarks and went on a tour of Independence Hall courtesy of Ronnie Burt from Edublogs. Tracy Watanabe and Elizabeth Francois hooked me up with the group and I met some great teachers. Also managed to visit the market near the conference center and there was to many choices of amazing food to take in! I will be returning there everyday to try something a little different.

Checking In
Finally checked in and ready to go, was excited to find a Higher Ground iPad case in our bag of free stuff. Plug for Higher Ground, they make a great case, we use them for our 1:1 netbook program. Took a stroll through the ISTE SIG booths and picked up my Admin tag and waited for the kickoff keynote address by John J. Medina.

This is only my second Iste conference, but there is something special about it. Maybe it's the 1,000's of individuals gathered together that share a common interest, but you can feel the excitement all around you. The electric feeling of sharing ideas and learning from others is something that all educators and administrators should experience. I look forward to jumping into the BYOL I have signed up for and all the other sessions, check back for an update tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blogging at ISTE!

Part I
My first visit to an ISTE conference was in 2009, in Washington DC. Not only was the conference amazing for a number of reasons, but it was also my first trip to the nation's capital. I was able to take part in a number of great sessions, listen to amazing keynote speakers, and also get in a little sight seeing as well. Seeing the capital for the first time and meeting the Obama's at the conference, you can see from the picture below I was a little nervous, was a great experience.

Part II
I was not able to attend the conference in 2010, but will be attending this year in Philadelphia in just a few short days. I am again excited for the trip and what makes this trip more special than the first is we are able to take a small group of teachers along! I can't wait for them to experience the week and have them bring back their experience to other teachers in our district, sharing resources, ideas, and general conversation will benefit each of our schools. I have also decided to use the conference planner this year, novel idea right, and should be able to cram in almost everything that I want to attend.

Blog Away
I am going to give it my best shot to blog my experiences throughout the week while attending the conference. Here is my disclaimer, I am not quite sure what kind of random thoughts, resources, or experiences I will end up sharing, but going to try and capture the experience and not just session by session type of info. So check back during the week and enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Change Can Happen

Recently I wrote about professional development and my district's "Summer Academy" activities. There were a number of district participants and presenters, one being Tracy Watanabe, AJUSD's Technology Integration Specialist. She spent one of her days working with the teachers at CCJH, the district's Jr. High, where we have just finished the first year of a 1:1 program with the 7th grade. Next year the incoming 7th graders will step right into the 1:1 environment and the school will be 1:1 all the way through.

The Growth
There have been a number of amazing transformations take place at CCJH during the year and worth noting, but one of Tracy's activities just grabbed my attention. She had small groups of teachers take the district's "College Readiness for All" plan and make the connection to the

ISTE NETS-S. There was great collaboration between the groups and the way they chose to share their information was also very impressive. They had little time to complete the task and the three groups below all chose different forms of multimedia for sharing.

Culture Change
One short year ago this activity would have not yielded the same results. Not sure how many teachers would have known what the NETS were and sharing would have probably been on a piece of butcher paper or maybe a powerpoint. The culture at CCJH has changed and there are a number of reasons, great teachers, principal, support staff, district support, board support, that can be attributed to this. The overall point that I guess I'm trying to make is, things can change in the K-12 education setting, you just need to be willing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Great PD or Waste of Time?

Don't Waste My Time
What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the words professional development? I have heard different things from teachers like:
  • training for the latest trends
  • required
  • waste of time
  • I didn't learn anything
  • another top down activity
  • how will this help me become a better teacher
All these points are valid and make great questions when planning professional development activities. If we are going to ask teachers to give up their time, professional development should be aligned to district/site goals, based on teacher needs, and ultimately have an impact on student learning.

Great Week of PD
For quite some time now we have provided a summer academy in our district the following week school is out for break. The week has been well received and the feedback provided has always been positive for the most part. This year's summer academy is coming to an end and there has been many amazing sessions that has allowed teachers to work with their colleagues from around the district. There were 77 individual sessions offered over the course of 4 days and 65 of those were technology based. Ongoing professional development for the 1:1 program at CCJH continued with Tracy Watanabe and Nick Sauers and the first 1:1 training for AJHS was also conducted by these two amazing individuals.

Thank You
I want to thank all that have been involved in making this week a great success and look forward to the continuation of meaningful professional development in AJUSD.