Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Assessment that Matters


7th Grade English/History Teacher
Technology Leader
Bakersfield City School District

A few weeks ago, a friend complained that his last teaching credential class was “hard to get through.”

“Which class?” I asked.

“Assessment,” he replied.

I shook my head, reached into my school bag, and pulled out Kim Meldrum’s Assessment that Matters: Using Technology to Personalize Learning. “Try this,” I said. “You’ll especially like the feedback and next step suggestions on pages 50-51.”

Assessments that Matter Pic.jpg

Assessment should not be “hard to get through.” Unfortunately, focus on once-a-year assessments of learning can be tedious, boring, and discouraging. Those assessments do more harm than good. ‘Assessments for learning and as learning actually affect students immediately and alter the course of instruction.’

In Assessment that Matters, Meldrum argues that technology as a tool can provide a wealth of information that guides teaching decisions. She provides multiple examples of apps students can use and explains how teachers can gather assessment data from that work. The best part is students become self-editors and revisers as they reflect on their own work. When that work is shared with a larger audience, students work even harder.

Meldrum urges educators to determine what is being assessed. After a student reads a passage, does the teacher want to assess comprehension or writing? Once this has been decided, the teacher should determine which tool best assesses that skill.

One day this summer, I asked students to demonstrate that they understood the attempted use of yellow fever as a biological weapon during the American Civil War. I was not assessing writing, and a couple of students had a difficult time writing their ideas. As such, I  used Meldrum’s suggestion and encouraged the summer school students to use Google Voice Typing to share their new knowledge. A wealth of information materialized when a student complained, “Teacher, the computer isn’t typing what I am saying.”

I watched him voice type and witnessed the error. Next, I had him retell me what he wanted to communicate. When I voice typed what I thought were his words, I had no issues. I then asked him to repeat the sentence while I listened carefully. The student, who unfortunately still read at K/1 reading level in the 7th grade, was not pronouncing the words correctly. This was an aha moment! As Meldrum writes on page 48, oral language is a precursor to reading and writing.

I now knew what to do with this student. I immediately had him practice reading the sentence I voice typed using his retell. He practiced by reading the same sentence multiple times. If the computer correctly typed what he said, he knew he was successful.

Of course, I will share this assessment and learning strategy with his regular teacher. As Meldrum has suggested, I will also encourage the use of screencast apps that will record his progress throughout the semester. This student is just too incredible and inventive to allow him to be assessed as a failure by traditional methods, not when assessment can be used for learning and as learning.

Assessment that Matters pic 2.jpgAssessment, for students and adults alike, should not be “hard to get through.” Nor should assessment be a one shot moment that determines whether a student is a success or failure. ‘Technology as a tool can bring a wealth of knowledge regarding student ability and progress throughout the year.’

So, if you would like to borrow my copy of Assessment that Matters, just let me know. I have sections highlighted and marked with post-its. Or you might just want to get your own copy to mark up and keep in your school bag!

Jennifer Scott has taught at Compton Jr. High School in Bakersfield, California for 16 years. She tweets at @JenTechnology and blogs at mrsjentechnology.blogspot.com

Monday, August 22, 2016

Promethean and EdTechTeam - A deeper partnership to impact education

Director of Technology

If you’ve been to a GAFESummit in the last year, you’ve no doubt seen representatives from ClassFlow, the latest software innovation from edtech leader Promethean, in the sponsor space. We here at EdTechTeam are thrilled to announce that Promethean has decided to become a Diamond Sponsor of our events! If you’re wondering what that means, read on...
In a nutshell, Promethean shares EdTechTeam’s passion for education. They have the leading brand of interactive flat panel displays in the United States, and have won many awards for both their hardware as well as their software. You’ll see some of their hardware this coming year at our events, including their revolutionary ActivPanel, a tablet-like surface for the front of the classroom running the Android operating system.
Their innovation is not limited to hardware, though, as their award-winning ClassFlow platform just got a major upgrade. The new ClassFlow Marketplace is an open community where teachers may buy and sell original teaching resources such as digital lessons, unit plans, assessments, teaching guides, worksheets and more. All teaching resources purchased in the ClassFlow Marketplace can be delivered to students in the classroom, at home, or on-the-go using ClassFlow’s free delivery features.
Next time you’re at one of our events, stop by and say hello to our friends at Promethean. We’re excited for what the next year will bring!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dive into Inquiry! Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice with Trevor Mackenzie

Trevor Mackenzie
Victoria, BC Canada
Author of Dive into Inquiry
I am so excited to share with you all a project I am tremendously proud of: Dive into Inquiry.  

Over my years as a teacher I’ve learned an incredible amount as I’ve taken on a more personalized approach to educating our youth.  I’ve seen the enormous benefit of flipping control over learning in the classroom and fostering student agency in our curriculum.  I’ve gained an appreciation for my colleagues and their specific teaching areas as I’ve collaborated with teachers to co-plan and co-teach in an inquiry model.  And I’ve made mistakes, ones that have helped me reflect, revise, and refine what inquiry looks like in my practice.
Types of Student Inquiry.jpg

Dive into Inquiry brings this all together in one inspiring resource to help readers make inquiry their own and help amplify learning in their classroom and empower student voice.
Dive into Inquiry provides a structure that prepares learners for the transition from traditional teaching models to the inquiry classroom, a structure that begins with building strong relationships with our students through a gradual release of control over learning from the teacher to the student.  The book is full of detailed lessons that will help educators create the inquiry atmosphere our students require.  I share accounts of student learning that will deepen understanding of inquiry and help clarify my proposed structure.  Included in the book are illustrations to use in the classroom to assist learners in their own understanding of inquiry.  Readers will be inspired to make inquiry their own whether they are new to the inquiry pool or confident in all Types of Student Inquiry.
The book is jam-packed with passionate narrative, clear examples and lessons, inspiring student stories, and supportive processes.  Readers will finish the book feeling  well prepared to make inquiry work for their learners in a manner that is low risk and high reward.

Dive into Inquiry 3D Cover.jpg
Transform learning and get your copy today!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Enter the #squadgoals Challenge

We invite you all to join us for our #squadgoals challenge for the next month! We know for many of you this is a time where you're meeting with your staff and colleagues to make big plans for the year. We also know that learning is always #bettertogether! We gathered stories of #gafesummit attendees who brought their squads recently to a summit to celebrate the power of learning together. To enter, simply tweet @edtechteam a picture of you and your squad, share what your goals are this year for your school or district together, and include the #squadgoals hashtag! We'll share them all and give away bundles of 2 tickets to a #gafesummit or #edtechteamonline course! The challenge ends September 15th. Read our #squadgoals below and cheer on each other as you move towards them.

Principal, Ranchos Middle School
Fresno, CA

I feel blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to take a team of educators with me to the GAFE Summit in Mountain View. Since the day I arrived at Ranchos Middle School, I have been a part of an environment that embraces collaboration and seeks what is best for our students. This past spring our District made the commitment to purchase Chromebooks for my site and we began to explore professional development for our staff. As we dug deeper several of my teachers came across the EdTechTeam via Twitter and we began to discuss taking a team to the GAFE Summit.

The summit was, simply put, an incredible learning experience. Our staff was excited and eager to participate in the workshops and activities available to them.  It was such a unique opportunity to go back to the hotel and work collaboratively on the lessons we learned that day. I was nervous since I was not “the” expert, but I was excited to be a member on the team, learning and working together. The experience was priceless as the team bonded in a way that is difficult to describe. Teachers are back at school visiting each other's rooms to see how others are setting up the workstations.  Grading policies are being revised and adjusted to reflect learning outcomes instead of just using points.  As a group we even decided to participate in the Bootcamp trainings for level 1 and level 2 GCE certification.  

Our #squadgoal is to make sure we are all Google certified as a staff and that we can provide our students with a transformed educational experience.

I would advise fellow administrators to take a team with them to a GAFE Summit. Dream big and take the entire staff if you can. If not, then you need to empower several key members of your staff to take the lead. In my experience, staff feels less threatened when it is one of their own who provides some initial PD in the area of tech. You will have the dual benefit of having an assistant tech coach on site (follow @theteachingjedi on Twitter if you want to see a teacher who took on this role) and your staff will have someone they know and trust to talk with privately about tech. Creating a positive culture where everyone feels that they are #BetterTogether is our #squadgoals for the year. The best part is that the GAFE Summit was just the beginning; now we will all get to experience the journey together.

Over the past two years while I was principal of Fairfield High School we had a vision to get 100% of our staff to attend a GAFE Summit. The reason behind that was to build capacity within our teachers and ensure that they were equipped with the tools necessary to have a purposeful integration of technology.

Administrative Assistant, BlueSky Online School

BlueSky is the oldest completely online program in the state of Minnesota.  We are always trying to get ahead of the game on new technology and more importantly, finding new technology that will benefit our students, parents, and staff.  

You could say that our #squadgoal is to build a stronger and more innovative squad.

We try to send different members of our staff to different Ed conferences throughout the year and this is our second year sending a team to the #gafesummit in Fergus Falls.  Our team included one of our IT systems analysts, two language arts teachers, a special education teacher, an office support person, and a counselor.  I think it is important to send staff from different areas to PD events because it lets the ideas spread more easily when they report back to the entire group.  Our IT analysts have specific take-aways that they are focusing on that our teachers aren’t going to value or be able to relay.  Teachers from different content areas could sit in the same session on Google Forms and Sheets and come away with a completely different list of ideas on uses and features they want to explore.

Another good reason to send a team to any event and especially a #gafesummit (there are many around the country!), is that your staff has a fun time.  Sure, it’s a lot of information to take in in only a few day time span.  It can get a little overwhelming at thinking of how to implement so many new ideas.  But your squad is there right along with you.  You can form bonds with staff members you don’t usually spend time with.  You get to work together on filling out Bingo cards to win a prize or think your way out of a BreakoutEdu box.  

Director, Secondary Education FSUSD
Fairfield, CA

The first year we sent a cohort of teachers to a summer summit and then a second summit hosted by one of our other district high schools in November.  Teachers came back pumped and excited about what they had learned and began to share and collaborate without prompting. By our second year, we were in year one of a district wide 1:1 Chromebook deployment beginning with 9th graders.

At FHS we committed to sending all of our 9th grade teachers to a GAFE summit. We wanted to ensure that the teachers that were working with the students that were now in a 1:1 environment were equipped with the tools and strategies to fundamentally understand how to augment and redefine their lessons by integrating technology. By the end of the second year we were proud to say that we had over half of our staff attend a GAFE summit. The momentum that was built from those that had attended was infectious. We began to hold mini #techslams at our staff meetings, held our own version of an #edcamp, engaged in Twitter challenges, created a #Pineapple room for collaboration,  and saw over 90% of the staff implement Google Classroom. Our site was lucky to have additional support from our Ed Tech that would meet regularly with the teaching staff to support them with the GAFE suite and helped to motivate and push the teaching staff to try new tools and feel safe in those new ventures. Our site was poised to develop a very focused educational technology vision:

At FHS we see that educational technology will be a quintessential and indispensable part of the teaching and learning process; teachers will use edtech as facilitators of learning relevant to the students’ lives, and students will use edtech to become empowered, self-directed learners who realize their potential to impact their community and the wider world.

This school year I am now in a new position as the Director of Secondary Education for FSUSD. I am now working with each of the high schools and middle schools to continue the same efforts that were begun at Fairfield High. I am committed to making it a reality that all of our FSUSD teachers attend a GAFE Summit, all sites implement professional development around the SAMR model and depth of knowledge, and ensure that each site follows their educational technology vision.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Google Apps Guidebook is Now Available!

The Google Apps Guidebook is now available
for purchase in paperback or e-book versions!

The Google Apps Guidebook is a set of student created lessons, activities and projects for educators to use in their classrooms. Each lesson connects with a component from the Google Apps for Education suite of tools. Each chapter introduces an engaging project that applies numerous aspects of each tool. Projects are differentiated for a variety of age ranges and can be adapted for most content areas. Upon completion, students will have a thorough understanding of the tools included with their Google account and a collection of cool projects they created!

All profits are used for students to provide support to more educators. 

Thank you for supporting the work for Kern Kelley and his Tech Sherpa students.  

Click HERE for information on bulk purchases. Also be sure to check our our Student Summit Grant Program!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

30 Events-- thank you July!

Director of Professional Learning

Thank you for coming out to so many of our events during the month of July. We know many of you are on your summer breaks and appreciate that you are still dedicated to learning about how to engage your students and improve teaching and learning in your schools!

We hosted 30 events during the month of July including SummitsCertification Bootcamps and customized professional development. 
EdTechTeam reported a combined 399 hours of professional development on behalf of 61 different Google Certified Trainers for almost 3,000 attendees.

We'd love to work with you soon, so take a moment to fill out our request form for Summits, Bootcamps, PD, Keynotes and more!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

10 Google MORE Mobile Apps to Download TODAY

Want to take your classroom to the next level? Try these 10 Google Mobile Apps to get your students exploring, sharing and creating!

1. Google Cardboard



Go on an Urban Hike - Visit the Eiffel Tower, Venice Canals, the Old City of Jerusalem, and underwater at the Great Barrier Reef.

2. Google Photos

Automatically organized and searchable, you can find photos fast and bring them to life. It’s the photo gallery that thinks like you do.


Google Play

3. YouTube Capture

Movies on the go! Start recording in a snap, then edit and share videos of any length right from your phone. 

To share: upload videos to YouTube


4. Toontastic

Toontastic is a creative storytelling app that enables kids to draw, animate, and share their own cartoons with friends and family around the world.


5. Art & Culture

Explore over 1000 museums from your mobile device. Jump into the museum with StreetView.


Google Play

6. TeleStory

Record a music video, teleport to an alien planet, film a high-speed-chase, or perform on a reality TV show - TeleStory is a TV studio in your pocket.


7. Snapseed

Retouch, adjust perspective, re-edit, or crop your photos.


Google Play

8. YT Kids

Simple (and free!) app, where kids can discover videos, channels and playlists they love.



9. StreetView

Use the Google Street View Camera to create your own 360 degree Photospheres.



10. Google Earth

Search for cities, places, and businesses. Browse layers including roads, borders, places, photos and more.