Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Machines Can't Flow" and other Good Stuff

What is the future of technology in education?
Schools, will only need one major thing to be prepared for the future. They will not need software installed, servers or local file storage. Schools will need a fast robust internet connection. Infrastructure is paramount to the the future of technology in education. . . . We don't know what the new 'in' device will be in the future. What we do know, is that it will need the cloud.

8 Overlooked Useful YouTube Tools
When most people think about YouTube they think sharing videos and or about all of the videos they can discover. Most people don't think about the useful editing tools that are built into YouTube. The YouTube video editor has some useful features for teachers and students.
Machines Can't Flow: The Difference Between Mechanical and Human Productivity

The vascular surgeon who "slows down to speed up," operates on patients with engaged attention. . . .What if schools evaluated students and teachers on engagement versus today's standardized tests? Research indicates that engaged teachers are effective teachers. Engaged students aren't likely to drop out. They're likely to be cultivating every quality we could hope for: curiosity, initiative, resourcefulness, and mastery of material.

How Things Changed With @Evernote
I have to be one of the most unorganized people on the planet. I have notebooks in just about every bag I carry. Multiple calendars . . . slips of papers as reminders with some string of illegible thoughts on them . . . .I have more than 10 different types of projects going on at anyone time . . . .Organization isn't really in my vocabulary. . . . .But it is now, thanks to Evernote.

Google's 80/20 Principle Gives Students Freedom
Twenty percent time made learning more personal and gave students a chance to think differently, said Marissa Zaritsky, a newly graduated senior who plans to major in communication disorders at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall.

The Future of Learning, Networked Society - Ericsson

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Instant Karma's Gonna Get Me . . . . And other ADE Institute Reflections

Last Week's Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Austin, Texas, was the best week of professional development that I have ever experienced. Period.

I returned back home energized, focused and confident (if not competent). There were a number of significant take-aways.

First, let me explain the "Instant Karma" business referred to in my title. For the past two years I have been really
"Vision of Transformation" CC photo by h. koppdelaney
harping on the importance of helping our students develop skills in design and multimedia communication, often to the annoyance of my former colleagues of the English Department. Ironically, since becoming a school administrator my own skills in multimedia technology have stagnated. The tremendous workshops and training I received on iBooks Author and Keynote have jump started me toward a series of projects. I realize how important it is that I model and leverage these tools, and it was fantastic to have a week to really concentrate on this, guided by some of the most talented folks out there.

I am highly motivated to work with iBooks Author and have three projects in process or in mind. I also have begun my first iTunes U "course" or collection. I intend to use it to curate materials for a presentation I hope to give at a future conference.

The Institute helped me "get" how powerful and versatile these tools can be. But I find it challenging to cut back on my words while building a Multi Touch book. And I must discipline myself to insure that the multimedia I include is enriching rather than distracting. But I love the publishing options available to this format. I can write a long book or a brief one and publish to select persons or the world. And publishing to iTunes U is equally flexible.

As I expressed in Lead by Example, I think it is essential for me to model not only a facility with technology tools, but a spirit of innovation. The Institute helped give me a boost in both areas by providing hands on training and inspiration in equal measure.

And of course, the conference was also a great place to personally network. So I feel truly connected with some people who are really good at doing this stuff. It was particularly enriching to work with educators from Canadian and Mexican schools at this, the first North American Institute. I feel as though they have my back and are just an iChat or Google Hangout away to help guide me on this new journey.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Disruptions, Cursive, iPadography, and other Good Stuff!

The Other 21st Century Skills
Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner . . . .Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:
Hope and Optimism
Empathy and Global Stewardship

13254 via Compfight cc
Should Schools Still Teach Cursive?
The decline in teaching cursive handwriting, the rise of the keyboard, and the introduction of the Common Core State Standards that do not require children to know cursive has the New York Times asking, “Is Cursive Dead?” Passionate advocates claim that cursive is a cultural tradition with cognitive and academic benefits that must be preserved, while some teachers and handwriting experts say the decline of cursive is natural, and it should be allowed to morph into a print/cursive hybrid, or bow out altogether.

Pinterest 101 for Teachers
Pinterest doesn’t require a big time investment and is the simplest method I’ve found to keep track of great ideas. I spend maybe 15 minutes every other day on Pinterest. It’s a fun way to relax and unwind before shutting off my computer for the night, and also great for those moments during the day when I’m already online and have just a moment or two of downtime. I scroll through my Pinterest feed, which shows everything that’s recently been pinned to the boards I follow.

Disruptions: Social Media Images Form a New Language Online
Photos, once slices of a moment in the past — sunsets, meetings with friends, the family vacation — are fast becoming an entirely new type of dialogue. The cutting-edge crowd is learning that communicating with a simple image, be it a picture of what’s for dinner or a street sign that slyly indicates to a friend, “Hey, I’m waiting for you,” is easier than bothering with words, even in a world of hyper-abbreviated Twitter posts and texts.

What I learned about iPadography . . . during the ISTE 13 Photo Walk
Even though Carlos came all the way from Austin for the photo walk, all he brought with him was an iPad and tripod. I had not considered the iPad as a serious camera since the iPhone has a better lens and is always with me. In fact, there is a new branch of photography people refer to as iPhoneography but is now considered to be photography from any smart phone. Carlos prefers the iPad as he used some Apps I had never heard of that provide adjustment tools that require the larger screen.

What is 21st Century Education

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lead by Example

Reflections on ISTE '13, three of three

During her ISTE '13 presentation on professional development, Lori Gracey suddenly exclaimed, "Modeling! Modeling! Modeling!"  She was making this point in reference to PD.  After all, shouldn't the professional development training itself model the type of behavior it seeks to inculcate?

She certainly modeled to those assembled in the packed room.  Much of her session was digitally
interactive.  And to the degree that it was possible with a big crowd, we small clumped into small groups to investigate and communicate about new apps.  Lori did not lecture-- we instead followed a process of exploration

Coincidentally, I had intended to mention modeling in my own PD presentation the next day.  And I did so, actually adding the word to my slides. I quoted Lori, too. In my presentation, however, I mentioned modeling in terms of educational leadership, stressing how very important I felt it was for administrators to demonstrate competency with technology and not merely cheer lead teachers to do it.  I commended the majority of my own admin team for really making this effort with our Mercy 2.0 technology initiative.

In my own case this has meant . . . .

* Almost always taking my iPad with me when I stroll the halls.

* Scheduling meetings through Google Calendar and Doodle.

* Never taking legal pads to meeting.

* Rarely carting file folders to meetings.

* Only providing paper copies to audiences where I may need to defer to their habits (parent groups, Board meetings).

* Blogging like a demon.

* Firing off photos with my iPhone and iPad at various and sundry school events, and posting them to FaceBook or Twitter when appropriate (e.g., softball team accepting championship trophy).

* Establishing shared Dropbox folders and Google Docs for task groups.

To be sure, some of these behaviors are rather superficial.  But taken together, they build some street cred. In retrospect, I wish I had made this a bigger point of emphasis in my Technology Leadership class at Madonna U.  The more I think about it, the more important it seems.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

iWizards and Their Far-Flung Cousins

Reflections on ISTE '13, two of three

Perhaps my most significant experience at ISTE '13 was completely unsought.  While mooching the free coffee in the presenters room two days before my actual presentation I casually watched Brad Fischer sift through some of his own slides (Hey, he was projecting them onto a large screen....I wasn't spying).  Anyway, I noticed that some interesting students-in-action photos which prompted me to ask if his school had some kind of tech club, and he described a tech support group which was creating videos and perhaps other media for the benefit of the Danville Community Schools in Indiana.  

I mentioned that to Brad that Mercy's iWizards were also creating multimedia
Lupuca via Compfight cc
for our upcoming ninth grade tech orientation.  He suggested that the two groups get in touch.  Two days later, I mentioned the iWizards during my ISTE presentation.  This prompted 
Tanya Komandt of St. Mary's Academy in Englewood, Colorado, to approach me afterwards. She told me about St. Mary's Mouse Mischief tech club whose members  tutor teachers in tech tools, such as iMovie, Prezi, and Glogster. The two of us vowed to find ways to collaborate since our schools seemed to be "identical twins, separated at birth!" as Tanya noted.

I had time to reflect upon these fortunate encounters while I was traveling home. A thought occurred to me:  What if I reached out to a much wider group of techie educators to find out what their clubs were doing.  Perhaps I could curate best practices or we could find a platform for sharing information.  Knowing that I would be attending the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in mid-July, I posted the following to my attendees:

I thought it would be exciting to curate and publish some "best practice" student groups.  If you have "content" you might be able to share about your extracurricular tech teams or are interested in the project please let me know.

I quickly learned about three other groups who were doing interesting things like running the training sessions for new faculty, running a mock Apple Store, and providing tech services for other students.

I am not sure where this is headed, which has been the hallmark of my most interesting educational technology projects.  You can be sure I will keep you updated at the Drive-thru.

Lupuca via Compfight cc

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Quotes about Google TV, Online Dating, and More

"If you don't write regularly in front of students, then you aren't teaching writing."  -- Chris Lehman

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Clint Koehler
"Whether it’s set-top boxes or smart TVs that offer more a la carte programming, consumers have made it clear that they want greater control over what they’re watching. Large companies such as Google and Microsoft have jumped into the space with their own offerings through Google TV and the Xbox Live service. Consumers should expect to see more on-demand video integration than ever." -- Hayley Tsukayama

“I don’t do education for a living, I live education as my doing . . .  and technology has amplified my passion for doing so.”  Jackie Gerstein, 

"Of course young people are using technology: their parents are paying for it! That's like saying I took my children to a buffet and they ate themselves silly. As soon as they start paying by the course, they eat differently. When people move into having to pay for their technology, their patterns of use change. What's interesting is, if you look at the data, you also see a lot of people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s using this technology, and they're not the people we talk about either. They're the fastest-growing groups on Facebook. They're the biggest users of online dating. Unsurprisingly, they're the biggest users of online financial services, online medical-information sites, and e-readers. All of which are kind of hot things at the moment." -- Genevieve Bell

"A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door."
 -- Tim Cook

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” -- Robert M. Hutchins

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