Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flipping Faculty Meetings, Firing Coaches with Twitter, and More!

Flipping For Your Faculty...It's Easier Than Videos

We've all been there. Those meetings that drag on, and on, and on. Seemingly pointless meetings that, while they may have had a purpose, it got lost in the message. Many meetings are just information transfer. . . . . . . . .We complain we don't have the time for that really good PD. Why? Because we are meeting all the time. So instead, lets flip it. Let's front load with all the basic information we all need, freeing up that faculty meeting time for more learning, PLCs, sharing, etc.

Teaching with...Historic Newspapers from the Library of Congress

From the Library of Congress

Newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries are rich sources of informational text in a dizzying array of formats. In a typical paper from 1900 , you might find factual reporting, fire-breathing editorials, biographical profiles, literary nonfiction, weather reports, box scores, charts, graphs, maps, cartoons, and a poem about current events—maybe even all on the same page! The subjects covered allow for connections across the curriculum, and the stories can prompt explorations of point of view, interpretation of language, analysis of an argument, and textual structure.

Those clips didn't get Mike Rice fired as much as the reaction did

The same thing . . . happened to Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Penn State's Joe Paterno and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl, just to name a few other fallen coaches. The court of public opinion has always been strong. But it's stronger than ever now because of the 24-hour news cycle and impact social media can make. So when Twitter caught hold of the Rice video, that was the beginning of the end, and the end was never going to be too far away from Tuesday afternoon.

Supporting Deep Conceptual Learning With Technology

Deep conceptual learning is a distinct learning approach from surface learning, which is characterized by memorization, rote learning, and unquestioning acceptance of textual information. In deep conceptual learning, learners take what they know--aka prior knowledge--and deepen their understanding of the concepts. Some authors call people who seek deep conceptual learning "learners" and those who skim the surface "students."

SEC gives OK for companies to publish announcements on Facebook, Twitter
“One set of shareholders should not be able to get a jump on other shareholders just because the company is selectively disclosing important information,” George Canellos, acting director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, said in a statement. “Most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors, but not if the access is restricted or if investors don’t know that’s where they need to turn to get the latest news.”

Learners Should Be Developing Their Own Essential Questions

Although essential questions are powerful advance organizers and curriculum drivers, the problem is that the essential questions are typically developed by the educator not the learners.  The educator may find these questions interesting and engaging, but that does not insure that students will find them as such.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Risk-taking, Web Warriors, Teachers Guide to Videos and More

Adminstrators Role in Encouraging Teacher Risk-Taking
To encourage teachers to step out of their comfort zones, school leaders must be trusted.  The relationship between trust and risk is paradoxical. There is no trust without risk. There is no risk without trust. Risk-taking requires everyone to go outside their comfort zones. Taking risks will increase trust and allowing teachers to take more risks, they’ll become better at taking future risks.
Teachers’ Ultimate Guide to Using Videos
The best ways of using videos are not always obvious. Teachers want to know: Among all the millions of videos out there, how do you find the great ones? How do you evaluate the quality of a video? Who are the great content creators, and what are the best curation sites? Which kinds of videos work as fun supplements, and which are best for actual instruction? How do you get students engaged in discussion after watching videos? How do you blend videos into your curriculum?

Lions fans to get wish, Wi-Fi at Ford Field
Other Michigan sports teams and venues, including the Tigers and Pistons, say they have plans to offer Wi-Fi in the future to stem complaints of poor phone and Internet service during games. . . . Comerica Park is part of a Major League Baseball initiative to add Wi-Fi to all stadiums and improve wireless connectivity overall. 

Luring Young Web Warriors Is Priority. It’s Also a Game.
This month, Mr. Jaska and his classmate Collin Berman took top spots at the Virginia Governor’s Cup Cyber Challenge, a veritable smackdown of hacking for high school  . . . . With military exercises like NetWars, the competition, the first in a series, had more the feel of a video game. Mr. Paller helped create Cyber Aces, the nonprofit group that was host of the competition, to help Homeland Security, and likens the agency’s need for hackers to the shortage of fighter pilots during World War II.

Should Schools Still Go with Google?
On some level, going with Google is a bit like dating someone who is wild, inconsistent and apt to cheat with the hopes that maybe it will get better after marriage. Guess what? Google's not getting better. And why should they? They're Google. And they don't have to. They're Google. . . . With Google, we pretty much pay for nothing. Should we be shocked when that's what we get in return for our lack of investment?

From What do we Know Infographic

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Professional Development Assignment

Like some teachers, I enjoy planning a new class almost as much as I do teaching it.  A project assignment I am launching today for my graduate students draws from my recent experiences going to a 1:1 iPad environment at Mercy.  The project assignment calls upon students to plan an in-service day for teachers.  They can choose any sort of technology training.  The following slides indicate the required and optional components:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Exciting Tech Times at Mercy High School

These are exciting tech times at Mercy High School.  Our Board of Trustees has just approved some big summer expenditures related to instructional technology at Mercy.  I have included these with some other major projects:
May, 2013  
* All teachers and ninth grade students are completing a survy based on the ISTE NETS standards so that we can gather some data on the impact of our iPad 1:1 program.
*Incoming ninth graders order their new iPads at the Mercy Site through June.
June, 2013
* The IT Department will be preparing new MacBook Airs for Mercy teachers.  These laptops will all contain iBooks Author software.
July, 2013
* New ninth graders and transfers will begin receiving their new Mercy iPad packages.  Mr. James and Mr. Bank will give them a 30 minute session with their new devices.
* Mercy will be install a major wifi network upgrade that will significantly boost capacity and speed. It will support our Apple TVs now and our Technology Vision into the next years.
*Mercy will get a major upgrade of our "old" computer lab.  Brand new HP computers will replace the "old" ones and the lab will seat 25 students and 1 instructor just like our Mac Lab.  CAD software will be loaded on these machines for our new design courses. All machines will have dual monitors.
August, 2013
*Mercy will publish an iBook describing our innovative technology program.  We are using technology in innovative and creative ways.  We want our community to read about it, hear about it, and watch it in a new iBook.
*The iWizards will lead our new students through a half-day iPad orientation.  The program has been created by the iWizards.  They have been working for months on the project!
Sometime, 2013-14
*Mercy will host a regional educational technology conference, showcasing and sharing best instructional technology practices.  Mrs. Ann Lusch is taking the reigns of this project.

Mercy High School is not resting on its laurels.  We intend to continue as leaders in the field of instructional technology.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pinch Hitter at ISTE

I am excited to be added to the ISTE line-up.  Thankful to MHS for supporting my attendance. I will learn alot!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Challenge Projects and Their Unintended Consequences

I have planned and coached several Challenge Based Learning experiences over the last few years.  Since students have so much control over these projects, the direction the teams take vary considerably.  Always for me, the unexpected outcomes provide considerable excitement and anxiety.  Fortunately, I have found that the unexpected successes trump the failures, which is why I continue to forge ahead using the CBL principles.
This semester, I assigned a modified CBL with the following challenge:

Create a video on a policy about which you care, which has measurable impact.

As I told the students, since they were taking a political science course, the most essential (and most difficult) piece of the assignment involved assessment.  And fortunately, all the challenge teams did indeed develop legitimate means of testing for the impact of their messaging.  As I had hoped,  to what they learned through planning, researching and consulting about their survey plans, they gleaned almost as much from the post mortems we conducted after the studies were implemented.

When I issued the challenge, I emphasized that I did not expect the students-- without training-- to produce slick videos.  Nevertheless, each of the teams did significant research on visual messaging.  In fact all three groups consulted with at least one accomplished videographer who reviewed their work during the production.

Consequently, though I was attempting to teach political science, in their reflections, my students learned important information about  video production-- an unanticipated, but valuable outcome.  With their permission I've shared one, below:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Toys

In a recent post concerning a new course I will be teaching, I remarked that  I will learn more than I teach.  The course starts today, and I have already had my horizons expanded by it.  Already I have gained considerable experience at the following cloud sites.

The greatest revelation has been LiveBinders.  As I began collecting materials
Getting started with LiveBinders
for my course, I first relied on my old mainstay, Evernote.  Then a colleague shared a Binder chock full of materials which were organized by tabs in a highly intuitive manner.  I soon began forming my own binder, including all kinds of media.  The binders are very presentable.  They are great for organizing and sharing course materials-- something I hope to do more of as I become more practiced with the software.

I had never used BlackBoard until recently.  At Mercy, we use Moodle as a Learning Management System.  It is versatile and it is free!  However, while it took me several weeks to become proficient in Moodle, I was competent with BlackBoard, literally within minutes.  Its design and help features are truly impressive. 

You may have noticed that I have started using embedded slides at this blog.  This is thanks to SlideShare which I am leaning onfor an iBook Author project Recently, I purchased the "Pro" version so that I could store large slide decks "privately" and then share them out with my project team members as needed.  I also now can upload some videos there.  The only disadvantage for me is that I cannot upload directly from Keynote, so I usually have to convert those files to PowerPoint before I upload them.

Usually when I whip up a survey, I use Google Forms.  In April, I joined a project team that was determined to create sophisticated tech integration surveys for two large cohorts at our school.  We have found that the "Select" version of SurveyMonkey could meet our layout, collaboration, and data analysis needs.

Well, this ends my commercial.  However, I am always appreciative of tech tools which are both versatile and easy to use.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Old Professor

This summer I will turn sixty.  How odd that my professional career would have taken such twists and turns at a time of life when most of the folks at my last high school reunion had either talking about retirement or had already done so.

Two years ago I became an administrator at Mercy, and now I've decided to do a little moonlighting.  On Friday, I signed a contract as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department at Madonna University.  I'll be instructor for a small section of Masters Degree students in Leadership in Technology.
"Classical Scholar" CC photo by lisby1

I'm very excited to teach the course, and I feel like I do have some experiences to share in this area.  Nevertheless, it has been about thirty years since I attended a university class.  And though I logged lots of college classroom time as a student, those traditional academic qualifications have little to do with my new role.

I think that it is very telling that I find myself in this position due to factors like this blog, being an Apple Distinguished Educator, and my professional learning network.  

Ironically, many moons ago I entered (but eventually abandoned) a doctoral program in Instructional Technology-- a field so new at the time that my advisor pretty much had to create my program as we went along. I do not regret some of that coursework but of course it has little bearing on the course I will be taking.  What I view as my strong areas for Leadership in Technology have largely come through collaborations with folks like Lucy Gray, Katie Morrow, Tom James, Susan Smith, and so many others.

Well, this will be another fun challenge and I expect that I will learn more than I teach.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tweeting As Women Mean Business!

The Women Mean Business Symposium is a terrific event that allows our students to hear from accomplished women leaders during a panel discussion. Immediately following the panel presentation, the girls can network and converse at table discussions, conducted by career "women who make a difference".
This year M-Hub partnered with Women Means Business on a new social media feature.  M-Hub managed a scheme for allowing students in the audience to tweet questions to panelists as they made their presentations during the first portion of the program.
The WMB Planning Committee and M-Hub came up with a marvelous way to facilitate the "tweets".  Questions were sent via @MercyWMB.  Senior M-Hub member, Stephanie Luther monitored the tweets and projected questions to the screens flanking the panelists.  The panelists were able to follow the tweets on Mercy iPads loaned by our IT Department.
As it turned out, Stephanie received about 21 tweets-- most of them very good questions (They are still posted @MercyWMB).  As it turned out, only a couple were actually used by the panelists.  Still, several people told me that it was "cool."  I was particularly pleased to be complimented on the iPad/Twitter presence by communications expert and Mercy alumna Vanessa Denha Garmo of Denha Media.  Most importantly, the twittering was unobtrusive and in the future could probably be used more robustly for sharing comments as well as asking questions.
Another important take-away:  Over half of the M-Hub members attended.  They felt a stake in the program and were drawn into the into through the very welcoming manner they were included in the planning.  Perhaps there are other student groups that could be hooked in the same way.
The event is certainly a wonderful experience for our Mercy girls and the planners as well as the Mercy Advancement staff deserve great credit for hosting a truly special event.
Photo by L. Baker

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