Sunday, May 31, 2015

Flipping at Mercy

Looking back on this past school year, I think we made our smoothest and most profound technology transition. We adopted Schoology as our new Learning Management System based on the study and recommendation of a large, open committee of teachers, administrators and staff. One of the great advantages of this LMS is the performance of its iPad app.

Most of our teachers did a great job of leveraging this platform to allow for 24/7 learning.  In this 1:20 minute video, a student and teacher describe the advantages of "Flipping the Classroom" which allows students to engage with content outside of the classroom and take advantage of classroom time by diving deeper or asking questions (rather than taking notes on lectures).

Schoology allowed Mrs. Scrimscher to continue instruction and interaction with her class, even though she could not attend school for periods of time. iPad apps like ShowMe and Explain Everything have proven to be terrifically useful for the creation of "flipped" materials.

Recorded by Gary Bank; edited by Larry Baker

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Baker's Half-Dozen Short Quotes

Being a connected educator has changed my life and provided a connection to a PLN that challenges, inspires and supports me. 
—Peter DeWitt

Teaching online seems to be a politician’s choice of solution to getting a bigger bang for the tax-generated buck. Many politicians are legislating requirements to teach online with no support for the teacher training needed to support a successful program. There is always the “They’ll-figure-it-out mentality” that seems to drive most change in education. 
— Tom Whitby

Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator
— Eric Sheninger

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.
— Tom Goodwin

Embedded in what I want to teach my students: Review what is out there, create, design, review your design, edit, improve, have others review it, consider their perspectives, make final edits, release.

Gordon Shupe

As soon as you start talking about kids as ‘data points’ you’re in big trouble.
— Sir Ken Robinson

MorgueFile Free Photo by Grafixar

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Today's Sampling: Tech Trinity, MOOC 4.0, iBooks Author Tips, and More!

Technology leaders: Do you have the Tech Trinity of Expertise?
While at first glance, this trinity might seem obvious, I am surprised by the number of districts that do not recognize the need, do not foster it in their leaders or do not have a leader willing to embrace it.

Best of the Best: Apple and Google Educator Programs
Apple Distinguished Educators are selected for their innovative use of technology in education. They work with Apple to develop new uses for technology in the classroom, and they share their insights with educators and policy makers around the world. The selection process is highly competitive.

MOOC 4.0: The Next Revolution in Learning & Leadership
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have evolved over the past three years….
MOOC 1.0 - One-to-Many: Professor lecturing to a global audience
MOOC 2.0 - One-to-One: Lecture plus individual or small-group exercises 
MOOC 3.0 - Many-to-Many: Massive decentralized peer-to-peer teaching. 
MOOC 4.0 - Many-to-One: Deep listening among learners as a vehicle for sensing one's highest future possibility through the eyes of others.

How Do Tech Tools Affect the Way Students Write?
The 2,462 educators surveyed, who were either Advanced Placement teachers or National Writing Project teachers, largely agreed that technology positively impacts students with their writing, personal expression, and creativity, and facilitates collaboration. The ability to share work with a wider audience beyond the classroom is particularly engaging, with 96 percent of teachers responding that digital technologies make it more possible.

Used with permission from Steven McDermott
5 Chrome Apps and Extensions to Make Thinking More Visible lets you take notes that are synchronized with a video. As a video plays on the left side of your screen, you can type notes on the right side, and these notes automatically sync up chronologically with the video. Each note is given a timestamp, and when you click on the time stamp next to a particular note, the video will play from that point.

18 Advanced iBooks Author Tips
Make it personal. Add your own voice recordings, videos and pictures. Students love knowing that their own teacher made this book and that a lot of love went into it. Personalize your book by giving it your personal touch. You can add a video of yourself in the intro media explaining what the students are going to learn or use photo’s that you have taken yourself. A benefit of using your own materials is that you own the rights to them.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Report from the 1:1 iPad Trenches

It is hard to believe that the 2015-16 school year will be our fourth year of going 1:1 iPad at Mercy High School.  Since our adoption of the iPad involved switching 1:1 devices, we began the program with ninth graders, and then successively required all incoming students to purchase iPads. Next year, every student in the building will have one.

When we started the program, we had a fundamental concern that Apple could not really answer for us because the device itself was so new: How well will the iPads stand the test of time?  Thankfully, the iPads have stood up incredibly well. While we sometimes encounter storage issues, we have not experienced hardware or battery issues.

We require all parents to purchase two years of AppleCare + at the outset. Next year half of our iPads will be out of this warranty. In order to be proactive about warranty concerns, we are providing our earliest adopters with a couple nice options in addition to doing nothing and hoping the iPad stays healthy for four years. Here is what Tom James (I.T. Director) communicated recently:

We have researched and selected a set of best options.  Listed below are your warranty/service choices:

Purchase a repair warranty from We Repair (located in West Bloomfield) that will cover your iPad in case of accidental damage. The cost of this coverage will be a $75 initial cost for two years of coverage. A $25 deductible will than apply for any necessary repairs , $40 for LCD/Screen replacement. The form can be downloaded from the Mercy IT Blog, or student's can pick one up in the IT Office. Please make checks payable to We Repair. 
Purchase a new iPad with 2 years of AppleCare +. Currently enrolled students can purchase the new iPad Air 2 (64 GB, wi-fi) from Mercy for $673. If you wish to purchase the new Mercy iPad package please contact the Mercy Business Office. Do not order from the school's website. Please also be reminded that you cannot purchase a new iPad from another source to use at school. 
New this year, student's now have the option to trade in their current iPad in working condition and receive $100 - $200 (depending on model and condition) towards the purchase of the new Mercy iPad package (64 GB iPad Air 2). If you are interested in the buy back program please contact the IT Dept.

We are pleased that the "old" iPads have retained excellent residual value, allowing us to present a "buy back" option.

He have few regrets about adopting the iPad as our 1:1 device.

Mercy IT help counter

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Highlighting New Tech Developments at MHS

As noted here recently, we are updating iMercy, the Multi Touch book that describes Mercy technology.  We published it to iTunes in 2013 where it remains a free download.

I am working with 12 other wonderful people* on an updated edition which we will submit for review to Apple this summer. Last week we were formally invited to apply for a renewal of our Apple Distinguished School status. The updated book will serve as evidence that we continue to be a leading edge school with Apple 1:1 technology.

Our committees have now reviewed each section of the book and are already collecting resources and data highlighting new developments in each area. Here is a sampling:

Visionary Leadership
An entirely new section on the iWizards will be written acknowledging new projects such as their iPad Tips & Tricks course and their iCreate workshop

Gerry Meloche's students use iPhones to identify paramecia
Innovative Learning and Teaching
We have so many new developments which could go here. The new technology in courses like Broadcasting, Photo, Film and Animation, Graphic Design, etc. could fill a chapter.

Ongoing Professional Learning
This section will feature our successes with peer to peer training as well as our Tech Talk Conference.

Compelling Evidence of Success
As I recently posted, we are surveying staff, all juniors, and all freshmen to gather comparative data to the the study we completed two years ago.

Flexible Learning Environment
Since our book was published we have adopted a new learning management system. A section on how we leverage technology through Schoology will be a key addition to this section.

We have much work ahead but I am very proud to have the opportunity to share with the world all the exciting ed tech innovations that are happening at Mercy!

*Committee Members include Larry Baker, Christopher Blitz, Cheryl Corte, Julie Earle, Angela Harris-Schultheis, Tom James, Alison Kline-Kator, Dr. Cheryl Kreger, Ann Lusch, Carol Shea, Cindy Richter, Lisa Schrimscher, Susan Smith

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Twitter, Google Cal, STEM, Kahoot, and Much More

Twitter for Teachers, a Resource
To couple my continued passion for learning and sharing using Twitter as an education professional and this new rather lovely App by Adobe, I thought I’d create a new resource to support teachers looking to learn more about joining Twitter.

5 Tips to Help School Administrators Make the Most of Google Calendar
If your school has enrolled in Google Apps for Education, it is part of your GAFE suite of tools. With a Google Calendar, you can more effectively organize and plan your administrative tasks. Here are some quick tips to help you to effectively wield your Google Calendar tools.

Take Aim at innovation, with Students in the Center
But here is a cautionary note of reality from the road: After a morning debrief with the principals, heads of school or senior team, I frequently asked, "If I walked up and down your halls and asked all your teachers what the school is doing that is innovative, how many would talk about new technology initiatives?" Frequently the leaders would grimace and admit that it would be a common response. As a group, schools are still mired in the mindset that technology is the innovation, not that it is a tool embedded in innovation.
Photo by VirgoSixtyone

To Inspire Learning, Architects Reimagine Learning Spaces
When Gensler first looked at the Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey, an independent prep school, its campus planners realized that the STEM program had separate buildings for math and science. “It wasn’t really STEM,” Thaler says. “The new campus plan called for a building that would support a truly interdisciplinary curriculum.”

Polling Software Just Got Better
After learning about Kahoot last month at the Oregon Educational Technology Consortium conference, I had no hesitation about sharing this tool with colleagues at Edgewood Community Elementary School in Eugene, Oregon, where I teach fifth grade. Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system that is easy for both teachers and students to use. Think of it as an interactive, engaging way to quiz or survey your students.

K Goes Test Optional
After the current 2014-15 admission cycle, Kalamazoo College will no longer require ACT or SAT standardized test scores to be part of a prospective student’s application. The change will affect students applying for enrollment in fall 2016.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Loose Threads

Wikicommons Photo

This will mark the third year that I am teaching EDU 6270 - Leadership in Technology at Madonna University.

Even though the course has moved completely online, I still maintain class discussion assignments  through an online discussion board. This actually features my favorite content of the class as it allows me to bring up a rich variety of topics that I find interesting.

Needless to say, I actively participate in the discussion threads.

*This year, three of the forums are based on important sections from Eric Sheninger's book, Digital Leadership. One of the better ones ties into a Twitter assignment that I give my students. I teach practicing teachers, and it surprises me how few use Twitter for professional development and networking.

*A fourth discussion is based on the students' review of the Horizon Report by the New Media Consortium.

*Since it conveniently occurs during our semester, I also require students to register for the 4T Virtual Conference. They are required to share their take-aways.

*My favorite assignment is a bit more academic. Students are required to read a rare piece of scholarly research on the correlation between technology usage by school principals and the level of technology integration in their schools. Unfortunately School Technology Leadership: An Empirical Investigation was written in 2003 so the "indicators" for determining whether or not a principal models the use of technology are quite dated. For example, if a principal used email in 2003 it was considered evidence that he or she was in the vanguard of technology adoption. But still it's a great study and I ask my students to imagine that they were going to replicate it in 2015.  My question, to the students is what kinds of technology usage would distinguish a current school leader as modeling tech use? Interesting to consider.

I look forward to engaging with my students on these topics!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why is Technology Important in Education and other Matters

Why is Technology Important in Education?

Can We Talk About Change Without Hurting Feelings?
As someone who finds the experience of traditional schooling to be increasingly out of step with the real world, and as someone who has come to believe that schools actually are “broken” in many ways, how do I write and speak about those viewpoints without being heard or read as hurtful or demeaning to educators in schools? Is that possible?

This Is What a Student-Designed School Looks Like
Securing assistance from teachers sometimes proved challenging. “It’s something most students aren’t used to doing,” says Logan Malik, a just-graduated senior who organized the program this year. “Instead of a teacher telling you what to do, you’re telling the teacher what you’re learning, what you want information on, and when you want to meet.

Photo by FlashBuddy
What Role Do You Play in Social Media?
Social media should be about making a connection with others around the world . . . . It just seems that from time to time that social media fosters isolation more than connection because too many people want to spin their monologue and not engage in dialogue at all. 

Stock your PBL toolbox with the right tools for the job
There’s no shortage of tools to drive project-based learning. The trick to choosing the right tool for the job is to first think about what you are trying to accomplish, then select accordingly from the apps, websites and hardware at your disposal.

Why Do You Teach?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Looking for "Compelling Evidence of Success"

As I recently described here last week, several of us at Mercy High have set about the business of updating iMercy, a book available through iTunes that describes the technology program at Mercy

A special committee of six* is handling a section of the book called "Compelling Evidence of Success".  In 2013 we comprehensively surveyed ninth graders and staff about their use of technology. These surveys were based on the ISTE Standards

We intend to revisit these populations two years lated and give them the identical surveys. It will be really interesting to see how attitudes and practices have changed.  We will also will survey our current ninth graders.  It will be interesting to see how their experiences and impressions might differ from the ninth graders of two years ago.

We will express most of the results through charts and multimedia.
page 19 of iMercy
Committee Members include Larry Baker, Christopher Blitz, Alison Kline-Kator. Dr. Cheryl Kreger, Ann Lusch, Cindy Richter.

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