Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Movies to Develop Leadership in Educational Technology

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #1

During the first meetings of my Leadership in Technology College of Education course (ED 6270) at Madonna University I have used some short YouTube movies for both the face-to-face and online versions of the course.


Developing Professional Learning Networks
This is a one minute movie about an Australian teacher training program that shows teachers the benefits in using Twitter. After watching it, my students-- all full time teachers-- wanted me to prepare a lesson on it as well.



An Illustration of Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture
During our first class we looked at Reuben Puentedura’s SAMR Model, agreeing that at its very basic
level, the “flipped classroom” is more of a case of technology allowing for substitution of lecture supplied by technology for a live lecture.  In other words, it is not a “game changer” so much as a new strategy for using conventional methods. instruction rather than redefinition.  Jackie Gerstein’s video suggests ways to attain redefinition of instruction through flipping.


Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture
This is a fascinating video with all kinds of implications.  I am asking my students to reflect on the educational ramifications in our online discussion forum.


Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education's Death Valley
Ken Robinson is a titan of the TEd Talks series.  We are going to use his latest video as a way to break ground on pour big professional development project.





Monday, December 30, 2013

Screencasting Workshop

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #2.

This school year, the majority Mercy's faculty tote MacBook Airs. Yesterday, I ran a workshop for a about twenty colleagues, showing the screencasting capabilities of QuickTime and Keynote.  In order to fully take advantage of the time and make the experience as  "hands on" as possible, I "flipped" the workshop curriculum.  I sent them a presentation on the advantages of screencasting in advance.  Attempting to practice what I planned to preach, I did so via a Keynote screencast. The outline for this presentation was based on an article by Michael Ruffini:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why I Blog

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #3.

As part of our preparation for the ADE Institute in Austin, TX, this week we’ve been asked to do “some deep thinking” about our passions and practice as relate to educational technology.  One of the projects relates to some matter we consider that we are best at teaching, inspiring, leading, etc.

This has given me more anxiety than you might imagine, because when it comes to technology, I think I am pretty good or decent at a lot of things.  And some of the best ways I teach or for that matter, administrate don’t necessarily spotlight technology.

Then strangely, I had the urge to write a blog post about this dilemma . . . . At which point I realized that
2009 ADE "Baker Zone" movie
the blog itself was probably one of my “best things”.  

Now, this is not to say that I write the best blog by any means.  My posts are too long.  They don’t invite much conversation.  Too often they involve my own pre-occupations or simply “brag” about some activity at school that pleases me.

But I have been posting like clock work at least two times a week for going on five years.  This in itself is not much to crow about, but the discipline of doing this has really focused my mind on ed tech and caused me to be self conscious about what I am reading, planning, and doing.

The Drive-thru serves as a great bulletin board for my students’ accomplishments.  But writing regularly actually helps to instigate and refine the design of the activities that led to the student success.

Blogging here and at the school IT page is an exercise in transparency, but it also  sets the bar higher for me, when I write about ideas that have hatched or events in progress.  

I think this is even more important for Larry Baker the administrator than Larry Baker the classroom teacher.  As Lucy Grey has pointed out, the Drive-thru and the IT Blog have serve as a means for documenting my school's ambitious undertaking of Mercy 2.0.  

My readership has grown significantly, and it allows me to extend whatever educational leadership I have to offer beyond Mercy and the university course I teach.

Blogging is not exactly new or fancy or exciting.  But for me, it is a “best thing”.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Six Great Quotes about Education: Whitby, Wagner, Mark Twain and More . . .

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #4.

Public Domain Photo
“It is a great time to be an educator in the United States, and, simultaneously, it is the worst time to be an educator in the United States. On one hand, the advances in technology afford educators benefits never before available to advance their knowledge of their profession. On the other hand, the economy, culture, and misconceptions of education have enabled politicians and business leaders to vilify and attack educators and their profession.”
-- Tom Whitby

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young.”
--Mark Twain

"Great teachers have high expectations for their students, but higher expectations for themselves."
-- Todd Whitaker

“Today, because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.”
-- Tony Wagner

“Success is a product of time + intention, making mistakes and autopsying failure, learning and adjusting. It's simple once you learn the recipe.”
-- Kevin Honeycutt

“Those who don't innovate, depreciate.” 

-- Twitter via Vicki Davis.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tech Addiction. the Return of Analog, and other Blasphemies

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #5.

A Trip to Camp to Break a Tech Addiction
At Camp Grounded, however, we would no longer be bloggers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, consultants or any other title . . . .By removing the things that supposedly “connect” us in this wireless, oversharing, humble-bragging age, the founders of Digital Detox hoped to build real connections that run deeper than following one another on Twitter or “liking” someone’s photo on Instagram.

My Top Tech Trend for 2013: The Return of Analog
My students and I make fairly heavy use of digital tools: we use Google Apps, Google Sites, Twitter (follow us at #tokafe11 and #tokafe12) and Storify especially. But increasingly, we find ourselves sharing analog content.

The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning
The challenge: Right now, a standards-based environment forces teachers to straddle the inquiry process. Most projects employ performance assessment tools, but a majority of projects end up designed more for academic coverage than exploration and invention, which means they lack power and depth. And a more difficult issue looms: It is likely to prove impossible to objectively measure the more subterranean aspects of inquiry, such as creativity and critical thinking.

Booker on Twitter: Model for Pols or Cautionary Case?
if Cory Booker maintains his big lead in the New Jersey Senate race and wins October’s special election. With nearly 30,000 tweets and 1.4 million followers under his belt, the Newark mayor already stands alone among high-level politicians in the scope and highly personalized style with which he uses the social medium.

Three Things to Consider When Planning Video Projects
People are more likely to watch multiple short videos all the way through than one longer video of equivalent length. Consider having your students use the YouTube annotations tool to create a series of linked, short videos about a topic rather than one long video. 
 http://tinyurl.com/mxjy3v4


Bookery: 10 Books and Author Widgets in 90 Seconds




Jeremy Johnstone via Compfight cc

Thursday, December 26, 2013

iWizards Rock the House at Tech Orientation

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #6.

When our ninth graders came to school, iPads in hand, August, 2012, forming a tech “club” was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind.  They were our first 1:1 iPad class, and all of the professional development focus was on the teachers.  In fact, we were unprepared to give the kids anything but the most minimal orientation to the iPads.

However, creating the opportunity for fourteen year olds who loved the iPad to
form, self-direct, and prosper was an initiative that impacted the entire Mercy High School community for the good.

On the first day of their formation, the iWizards began to compose this mission statement:

The Mercy iWizards assist, serve, and encourage the MHS community to integrate iPad technology into their lives. Our purpose is to learn about mobile technology and to help promote, technology use to the fullest advantage. As a student-run technology group, we vow to provide a helping hand to every student and teacher. We have a special interest in introducing new students to the iPad. The iWizards are here to help. 

On August 16, they lived up to this Mission in a profoundly impactful way.  They delivered a Mercy iPad tech orientation to all of our students.  The iWizards designed and taught this orientation.  The process took several weeks of before school meetings and a major dress rehearsal on the last day of school in June.  To their tremendous credit all  iWizards attended the lengthy rehearsal.  And each one maintained her dedication and came ready to engage our new students, last Friday.

The girls hand-selected nine wonderful staff members as mentors for their sessions who gave up the several hours for rehearsal in June and "show time" in August.  Of course our superb IT personnel, Tom James and Gary Bank supported this endeavor every step of the way.  Here are scenes from the event:




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A shout out to our several staff members who assisted with registration and the wonderful photographs in the movie slideshow.  Huge thanks to Lucy Gray's workshop contributions as well.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Becoming a Digital School Administrator: Using Dropbox

As the year ends, I am republishing the Opinion Drive-thru's seven most viewed posts of 2013.  This is #7.

I prepared a video for my iTunes U course, entitled, Becoming a Digital School Administrator .The course contains best practices from building administrators who are "down in the trenches".  It was a great learning experience collecting those pieces.  

I have contributed some materials myself, and decided to create a piece on how I use Dropbox, which is probably the single most important cloud service that I use at work.




Sunday, December 22, 2013

"iMercy" Book Credits

iTunes page for iMercy

After several months of effort (and waiting!) we published iMercy, our high school’s Multi-Touch Book which describes our school’s innovative educational technology program.

The book was inspired by our Apple Distinguished School application.  Last spring we informally learned that in order to apply we would need to present a book about our program and complete a study showing the impact of our iPad 1:1 on our school

Consequently we formed two task forces

The Book Team
Susan Smith, Carol Shea, Angela Harris, Lisa Schrimscher, and Ann Lusch began gathering multimedia content for a book.  Susan started teaching herself iBooks Author and laying out the design of the book. She authored the critical Design Foundations section as well. Angela Harris began authoring sections of text.  Soon the rest of us began contributing book sections throughout the summer of ’13.

Our iPad 1:1 Study
In the spring of 2013 Dr. Cheryl Kreger, Ann Lusch, Cindy Richter, Chris Blitz, Tom James, and Chris Janusch devised a survey for all ninth graders and staff which attempted to measure the iPad’s impact using ISTE’s standards. Chris Blitz deployed the survey on SurveyMonkey and it was administered to all ninth graders and teachers.

In September ’14 when we received our invitation to apply for ADS we formally learned that our book needed to follow tight parameters. (Our first iMercy could only at best serve as a rough draft for some of the application) We also learned that our study would need to be integrated into the book. Most startling, we learned that any person with a recognizable image in a book chock full of them would need to sign a model release (students would need a parent to sign).

Several key persons stepped into the breach.  Dr. Kreger scrutinized the data from our study and began writing up our results for the book.  Chris Blitz,took these findings and created charts for our book.  Cindy Richter and Alison Kline-Kator turned some of these findings into video productions.  Furthermore, Tom James created content for the Flexible Learning Environment section of the application.  Our principal, Carolyn Witte vowed to get the entire school to sign off on the Apple-required model releases.  Office staff personnel, Pat Scheid and Mary Harkness collated all of the releases.

Gary Bank had shot hours of video for us over the summer.  In September he and Julie Earle devoted a full day to interviewing subjects for our application. Maureen Weiss and Marlene Wojcik assisted Julie in “dressing the set, and of course Julie helped review the hours of footage we captured.

Julie was enlisted to help me pull together the application, and her layout and editorial talents were invaluable.  But we also greatly depended upon the proof reading talents of Ann Lusch, Lisa Schrimscher, Carolyn Witte, Angela Harris, Barbara Baker, and Carol Shea.

I am very pleased with the product created.  But the process of collaborating successfully with so many great persons was the real reward.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quitting Social Media, Subverting the System and other Ed Tech Topics of the Day

Why Quitting Social Media Is a Losing Proposition
Ironically, it may be the truly remarkable innovations that provoke the most criticism and angst in society at large. Properly understood, this is a tribute to their success. Tickle-me-Elmos and Chia Pets are unlikely to inspire much soul-searching, because they can just be discarded once the novelty wears off. Cars, by contrast, kill more than twenty-five thousand people each year without deterring us from buying more. . . . Social media is an innovation of this kind. We have allowed it to change us, such that there’s no going back. 

Online Education as an Agent of Transformation
Like steam, online education is a disruptive innovation — one that introduces
more convenient and affordable products or services that over time transform sectors. Yet many bricks-and-mortar colleges are making the same mistake as the once-dominant tall ships: they offer online courses but are not changing the existing model. They are not saving students time and money, the essential steps to disruption. And though their approach makes sense in the short term, it leaves them vulnerable as students gravitate toward less expensive colleges.

Do You have the Personality To Be an Inquiry-Based Teacher?
When a teacher comes out from behind the lectern, leaves the front of the room, kneels beside a student to coach them through a problem, offers feedback designed to promote confidence and perseverance, and becomes a true partner in the learning process, the relationship between teacher and student automatically shifts. It’s no longer about telling; it’s about listening, observing, and creating the channel of trust that opens up a personal connection between two individuals.

Subverting the System: Student and Teacher as Equals
[Scott Henstrand] presented problems for the students to solve: He challenged them to learn about physics by analyzing how children interact with toys and playground equipment, and to learn about the world of design firms by designing a playground for a real group of third-graders. He modeled the evaluations on the belt system in karate, and he enlisted students who had previously mastered certain skills to help evaluate the proficiency of fellow students. He also tried to encourage students to learn new things about themselves and their fellow students, in addition to the content areas.

Teacher Agency: Educators Moving from a Fixed to a Growth Mindset
Many educators feel forced into a paradigm of teaching where they feel subjected to teaching practices outside of their control. Then when they are asked to engage in a process of continued growth and development, many profess: “I don’t have enough time.”, “I don’t have enough resources.”, “I need more training.”, “I need to teach using the textbook.” ,”I need to teach to the test.”, “I might lose control of the class.”, “I have always successful taught this way.”

More Moolah for MOOCs: Coursera Raises Another $20M
Coursera, with 5.5 million students taking classes from 100 universities and institutions, is one of the largest companies in a crop of ed-tech startups. . . . Coursera now has a staff of about 70 people, and it is making some money by selling verified certificates that students can use to show they’ve completed a MOOC.


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@notnixon via Compfight cc

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mercy High School on iTunes


Interactive book for the iPad 
iiMercy is a media rich book that describes Mercy High School's integration of technology across its curriculum and school life. Mercy's compelling learning environment features a required Design Foundations course which teaches students a rich variety of multimedia skills.  An iWizard technology team provides training and resources to the school community.  iMercy also reports tangible evidence of academic accomplishment using the iPad. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/imercy/id758126965?mt=11

iOS App 
Mercy High School App allows students, staff, parents, alumnae and supporters quick access to the latest Mercy news, events, activities and announcements. Receive push notifications, sign up for e-newsletters, upload a photo, submit a prayer request, view calendars and connect to Mercy social media. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mercy-high-school/id638441275?mt=8

iTunes U Courses
Becoming a Digital School Administrator   This course targets prospective and current school building administrators, but has useful resources for all educational leaders. Becoming a Digital School Administrator will expose enrollees to a rich variety of digital practices by principals and their assistants. Technology leadership through modeling is a dominant theme of this course. A unique feature is that the primary course materials originate from veteran building administrators who "walk the walk".  https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/becoming-digital-school-administrator/id692748991

Create a Student Tech Team at Your School  This course is designed to introduce you to an array of possibilities for establishing a student tech team at your school.  Tech team faculty moderators from California, Colorado, Indiana, Colorado, Maine, Michigan have contributed to this collection.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/create-student-tech-team-at/id713690027

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How Twitter Hijacked My Mind . . . . and other Interesting Topics

That Goddamned Blue Bird and Me: How Twitter Hijacked My Mind
I’ve never before gone mad for any type of technology. Even the Internet did not particularly seduce me before the Twitter portal. I used it only for e-mail, and for targeted research; as recently as 2009, I probably spent, on average, under 30 minutes a day online. I didn’t have a cell phone until 2004, didn’t have a smartphone until 2010. I only got addicted tocoffee three years ago. But then along came that goddamned bluebird, which seems to have been built with uncanny precision to hijack my kind of mind.


Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Ilse

They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets.
As certain high school seniors work meticulously this month to finish their early applications to colleges, some may not realize that comments they casually make online could negatively affect their prospects. In fact, new research from Kaplan Test Prep, the service owned by the Washington Post Company, suggests that online scrutiny of college hopefuls is growing.

To Get Students Invested, Involve Them in Decisions Big and Small
When asked why he became a scientist, Nobel Laureate Isidor Rabi attributed his success to his mother. Every day, she would ask him the same question about his school day: “Did you ask a good question today?”
. . . . The hardest part about using design thinking in class is getting the question right and staying in the question. . . . It takes discipline for students to learn how to dig deep with focus on a design question.

Teacher Centered Professional Development 
My vision of professional development is grounded in faith in teachers, the institutions they work for, and the power of the broader community of educators around the country and the globe. Effective professional development should be understood as a job-embedded commitment that teachers make in order to further the purposes of the profession while addressing their own particular needs. It should follow the principles that guide the learning practices of experienced adults, in teaching communities that foster cooperation and shared expertise. 

13 Great Twitter Chats Every Educator Should Check Out
The word from educators in the trenches is that these chats are making a profound difference in how educators are improving their professional practice, providing ideas, resources and inspiration in ways never thought possible.


Technology is a Tool

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

iMercy Now Available at iTunes for Free Download

iMercy - Mercy High School's Innovative Educational Technology Program is now available at the iTunes Store by searching "iMercy" or by this link:


This Multi-Touch book has been several months in the making.  It is packed with interactive multimedia. iMercy describes our school's integration of technology across the curriculum and school life.  The 27 page book features the iWizards tech team and our required Design Foundations course for ninth graders.  One section is devoted to our unique professional development scheme for our 1:1 iPad program. Another reports on compelling evidence of success of our educational technology program.  I think you'll enjoy taking a look and listen.

Search "iMercy" at iTunes



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