Thursday, December 18, 2014

What 10x Thinking Can Do For Your Classroom





By Kevin Brookhauser
Director of technology at York School
 in Monterey, Calif. 







US troops invaded Grenada in 1983, Tennessee Williams left our world that same year, and in 1983 the phrase “I ought to” appeared less frequently than the phrase “I need to” in the published word for the first time. Most students armed with a little curiosity and some library skills could discover the first two important facts by sifting through books. The third bit? That requires the use of some serious computers that have scanned, stored, and indexed almost every printed word in the English language.

This week in my computer concepts and programming class at York School, D Feher, a member of the Google Education team, spoke to students about how computers do more than just help people send emails, filter photos, and share cat videos. She discussed how computers and programmers are shaping our future and how they also help us understand our history.


With the help of Google’s Ngram Viewer, linguists and historians can analyze the frequency of words and phrases like “I need to” and “I want to” and just about every published word or phrase. Ever.


Why did “need to” come into fashion in the 80s? Perhaps it’s related to the rise of the “Me” decade. Could the commitment toward one’s duty and dependents connoted in the word “ought” take a back seat to 70s and 80s individualism implied in the word “need”? Maybe. But now we have some hard data on the frequency of these words’ usage to help feed our curiosity.

Access to these kinds of comparative data allows researchers in all academic disciplines to expand their understanding of their fields and our knowledge of everything.

Behind all of this rapid expansion of knowledge? Computer programmers.

Feher encouraged students in CCP to consider what bugs them about the world adults have built around them and asked them to create solutions in a very big way. People at Google are not out there trying to solve problems with incremental improvements. They engage in what’s called 10x thinking.

“If you want cars to run at 50 miles per gallon, fine you can retool your car a little bit,” says Astro Teller, Director of Google X Laboratories. “But if I tell you it has to run on a gallon of gas for 500 miles, you have to start over.”



The creators behind this Ngram tool didn’t just want to add to existing etymology dictionaries. They dreamed up the idea of cataloging every instance of every word printed in every book since books started getting published. That’s true 10x thinking.

I try to encourage the kind of innovation Google cultivates in their offices by having my students take on 20time, which are independent projects modeled after the 20% projects Google employees tackle to solve big problems not necessarily mandated by management. Students are simply charged with solving a real-world need by designing novel solutions and executing them.

As students talked about their CCP 20time projects, Feher kept coming back at them, asking them to think bigger. She asked them to dismiss the fact that they didn’t yet know how accomplish that big idea and to ignore the probabilities of the project’s success. She asked students to look hard at a challenge that is very likely to fail and to try anyway.

Over the past couple of months, CCP students have been building websites, designing 3D models, and they’re cooking up something big with Ms. Kiest’s environmental science class for a unique interactive experience in York’s Outdoor Lab, 100+ acres of a former army base our school recently acquired. We’re quite excited about it, but we just need to find a way to take this big project ... and make it 10x bigger.





Kevin Brookhouser is an active presenter with EdTechTeam and is their student agency specialist in the emerging Future Ready initiative. He is the director of technology at York School in Monterey, Calif. and author of the upcoming book The 20time Project: How educators can launch Google’s formula for future-ready innovation. Learn more about the 20time and the book at 20time.org.










To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Five TED Talks Every Educator Should Watch This Holiday Season


Every holiday season we have a little more time to find those great ideas that will help galvanize our teaching and classrooms. Here is a list of five Ted Talks you can watch to inspire this next year of teaching. The first one is my personal favorite.


The Myth of Average by Ted Rose



ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder by Stephen Tonti




Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin




“I Declare the Enemy the #2 Pencil” Ted Talk by Heidi Hayes Jacobs 




Occupy Kindergarten by Kurt Schwengel





If you have a favorite please add it to the comments below.



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jumping into GAFE - Advice from a Newbie



By @SylviaDuckworth

Sylvia Duckworth is a French teacher in Toronto, Canada.  She is a Google Certified Teacher

Two years ago I was honoured to be invited to the Google Teacher’s Academy (GTAMTV12) at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. I was a relatively new user of Google Apps and shortly after the event began, I had the overwhelming feeling of being in way over-my-head. I was surrounded with Google Ninjas educators from all over the world: What was I doing there?!! It was an exhilarating yet humbling experience as I shuffled my way from session to session. At the end of the two day Academy, my head was spinning and I could barely digest all the information that was thrown my way. I didn’t know where or how to begin my GAFE journey.

On my return home, I started to slowly integrate the things I learned, trying one thing at a time. Fortunately, my school had already launched GAFE (Google Apps for Education) for all teachers and students, so the infrastructure was already in place for me to get Googley.

The five ways I jumped in:
  1. I joined many GAFE Google+ communities online.
  2. I devoured GAFE-related posts and tweets (#GAFEsummit) 
  3. I participated as much as I could in social media with other GAFE educators. 
  4. I attended more EdTechTeam GAFEsummits because I discovered that with Google, the learning never ends. 
  5. Eventually I mustered the courage to present at a local GAFEsummit and I even participated in a Demo Slam (gulp)!

This year my school purchased 60 Chromebooks for our students and everyone is well on their way to becoming very comfortable using GAFE. 

                               Indeed, the prevalent feeling around our school now is
                                   “How did we live without Google Apps?” 


For me and for many of my colleagues, the GAFE experience has been transformative. Incidentally, our students are becoming experts too, constantly showing us how to do cool things on their devices!

My advice to all GAFE newbies is: “Baby steps”. Try something new as often as you can and celebrate your successes and newly gained expertise as you move along your journey. If you experience a setback remember that FAIL means “First Attempt in Learning”. Do not compare yourself to other educators more experienced with GAFE. Instead, reach out to them and to other members of the vast GAFE community when you need help. Always keep in mind that "The only person you need to compare yourself with is who you were yesterday." (Rushton Hurley, Montreal GAFEsummit, 2014)




Special thanks to Sylvia Duckworth

She lives and works in Canada and was a member of the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View 2012

Please click here for some ideas on how you can use GAFE in the Foreign Language Class.





To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.









Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hoo-ray: Goobric comes to Google Classroom!



By: Jennie Magiera

Digital Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a network of 32 neighborhood Chicago Public Schools.

Jennie is also a valued member of the EdTechTeam Extended Team.

Reposted from Jennie's blog Teaching Like It's 2999

Thanks Andrew Stillman and team for combining Doctopus, Goobric and Classroom into an easy-to-use solution for classroom teachers around the world!

Here is a tutorial for how to get set up with this new integration.


For more information from Andrew Stillman: Kindly click here.



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again: Writing & Mapping with 3rd Graders


IMAG0138.jpg
This past week I was asked by a friend (and colleague and an amazing teacher!) to come into her classroom and teach a lesson with her 3rd grade students. I gladly agreed to come in as it’s always fun to get back into the classroom and I haven’t had many opportunities to do this in the last year due to workload, scheduling conflicts, and the like. So we put our heads together to identify where it would be best to lead a lesson and we decided to piggyback on the work the students had been doing in social studies regarding mapping and Portola’s expedition.

As I was planning the lesson, I thought about what I really wanted the students to take away. I wanted this lesson to be an entry point to Google Maps for collaboration. I knew the students had 1:1 Chromebooks so I could take advantage of that. I also knew they were familiar with using Google Docs for writing through Google Classroom. So I set about on a mapping activity about “My Favorite Place”. It wasn’t to be an overly complex lesson as I knew coming in that I would feel like a substitute teacher.

The general workflow would be to push out a template doc via Classroom. Students would start off with a writing activity in Docs followed by a brief search activity. Students would then submit their writing and search results in a Google Form. I’d take the data they submitted and build a custom Google Map. We’d analyze the map together and they would have the opportunity to edit their individual placemark. In general, the lesson went well, the discussions were on target, and we were able to accomplish everything I set out to do. However, were I to do something like this in the future, I would scale back my expectations of what I would want to get through in order to slow down and enjoy the ride.



IMAG0135.jpg

Some reflections:

  • I was overly ambitious and wanted them to give me two paragraphs about their favorite place. Despite having daily access to a device in the classroom, their typing skills were still underdeveloped despite having an adopted keyboarding program. This clearly hampers productivity. I recommend daily typing practice as a transition task or warm up activity along with using a timed daily creative writing prompt writing exercise to help students gain experience with thinking/writing on a digital device while under time constraints. If the students were older, I would use John Spencer’s awesome prompts

  • The students understood how to copy/paste, but weren’t using it consistently in their daily work. This also slows down productivity and increases the amount of time a teacher has to float and assist with the task. I recommend embedded practice exercises via short close reading tasks in Google Docs where students cite textual evidence via copy/paste before explaining their own thinking.

  • This activity could be both asynchronous and/or group-based with the right amount of scaffolding. I envision an activity like this being part of a learning center rotation/blended classroom as long as proper student support is available when students need it, but I would want to first construct what this would look like, test it, and revise the process/program.
In the end, getting back into the classroom is always a good reminder of the realities of what teachers experience in the classroom. Far too often education consultants, academics, and reformers tell teachers what is “best” for the classroom without having battle-tested lessons, programs or ideas. Thanks again for the opportunity, Jen, and I look forward to our next collaborative lesson. Next time, let’s kick off a PBL unit together :)



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Google Takes Snow Days Away From Students?

By Holly Clark

Don't let the title fool you, this an incredible example of an innovative way to keep our kids engaged in learning even when its snowing.


Recently while visiting a school in Newport News, Virginia my mouth dropped as they told me about how they are using Google to do away with snow days. As their principal Janine Franklin described their experiences transforming snow days, imagine the picture that appeared in my mind: Students picketing outside the school, holding signs begging the administration to “Bring Back Snow Days."

After a particularly difficult winter and many snow days Peninsula Catholic High School did something different! Instead of the students and staff having to come in on scheduled days of no school, they used Google in a way that I had never heard of before. Assignments were given via Google Apps for Education. As the Channel Ten News Team reported...


“Instead of coming in over spring break for additional makeup days, students will have a week to do assignments on their own pace and schedule. As long as it’s turned in by the scheduled time and it’s time stamped, it’s done.”

This year should there be blizzards and school has to be closed the plan will be brilliantly simple:

If students have a first period, they will just attend that same first period via a Google Hangout. Assignments will be given at that time with directions and a question and answer session. Students will then be responsible for completing the assignment that day or in the time period provided by the teacher. When they are ready to turn in the assignment they will use the timestamp features of Google from the various apps including Docs, Forms and Classroom. This way the teachers can confirm the assignments have been completed on time.

Students who might miss the Hangout can watch the “on air” session because the hangout will have been recorded. Those who have additional questions can email their teachers or use Google Hangouts to ask their friends.

This all happened a bit organically, but the school is now in the process of writing up a formal plan as the approaching threat of more snow days and a winter of storms begins.

To learn more about what they did in Virginia, watch this news report from 10 On Your Side Wavy.com



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The How (and Why) It's Time to Create Digital Portfolios


Written by Holly Clark and reposted from hollyclark.org


Warning: True Confession of an Educator Ahead…I always find it quite confusing when educators tell me that students in their classroom are reading at a 7th grade reading level. What does that really mean? Does that mean that they are truly reading? When I say truly reading I mean with full comprehension. They are able to share their learning, demonstrate it in many different ways and extend that knowledge. Too often when I hear that students are at a particular reading level the person is referring to decoding not reading. Reading is only when true comprehension happens. I want to think I know what a 7th grade reading level is, but in actuality, I am only guessing. I am not sure this categorization does enough to prepare me to help that student grow as a learner. I have to spend a lot of time getting to know that child individually – only then, am I prepared to help him or her grow as a learner and reader. Usually it takes until October before I have enough information to be equipped to make a difference in the life of that student. I wish instead, I had more valuable information that I could draw on at the beginning of the year: past work, oral reading examples, all the things that would help me to make a difference much earlier than October. The problem is, I think, that we are assigning numbers and values to things that we could have much richer and detailed information about. Enter digital student portfolios.


Digital Student Portfolios are becoming more important now than ever! Students are creating and remixing information like never before – and where is all that amazing work going? At my old school it was wiped off the devices at the end of the year – a heart-wrenching idea that I was personally against. This is why we need to publish student work in one place and let it serve as a home of student reflection, and a become a destination to unleash student pride and curiosity.

There are many reasons to begin the journey to digital portfolios – here are just a few.

We MUST Archive Student Work


Students are creating amazing work in both analog and digital versions. It is becoming more crucial that students learn how to curate their best work to share it with a larger audience other than the teacher. I would love to have access to the work I produced in 4th grade – for nostalgic purposes of course – but today’s students may want to use their work from 4th grade and expand and build upon it in 9th grade or whenever they have developed a better skill base for making that work richer. In those classrooms with devices most work has been already digitized and the task of keeping it in one place, for students to access later is imperative. For those without the devices, your classroom probably has more cameras than students – because most of them have a camera on their phone which are right in their pockets not even being used. Have them take photos of their work and upload it to Google Drive or Evernote – to be reflected and expanded upon at a later time.


Empower Students to Create Their Own Digital Footprint

Students are building their own personal web presence with each post and status update they share. Many students give little thought as to how this might impact them in the future. Set the stage for allowing kids to see the power of creating and populating their own digital footprint by having students share their work in an online portfolio. Students can learn to curate their work, thoughtfully and reflectively choose the best pieces and then showcase these for a global audience. Students will have begun to populate their digital footprint with great work and important contributions. What appears online about them won’t be placed there by others, but curated and carefully constructed by them – this is so powerful!


Students Can Expand on Work as Their Skill Base Improves

Can you imagine the impact on student learning if a student could take a story they started writing in the fourth grade and expand on it later – in 9th grade – when they had a better grasp of writing mechanics, word choice and voice. What about a science project that could be passionately developed over several years? The possibilities are limitless and will happen organically if student work is digitized and housed somewhere that is easily accessible to them.

Reflection, Reflection, Reflection

Students need to reflect on work, not just take tests where they are required to recall facts and regurgitate information. When students are given unit tests – more often than not, they are never given the chance to reflect on their learning – taking time to thoughtfully ask more questions, envision real life connections and find ways to relearn something they might have missed. Digital Student Portfolios allow students to do just this. This process can spark curiosity and ignite passion and should be part of every great unit of learning.

Pushing the Envelope of Redefinition

One of the great intangibles of students’ digitizing work happens at the instructional level. During the digitization journey, teachers begin looking at lessons through a new “portfolio worthiness” lens. They often ask themselves whether or not a lesson has had the proper curriculum upgrades that make it something kids would want to highlight as part of their learning journey. Most teachers want to have students digitize work that is a bit more cutting edge and engaging, and now they have just the platform to push a re-design of a unit that might need some updates.

A Place to Show Growth – Not Just Talk About It

With digital portfolios parents can “see and hear” student growth from the beginning of the year to the end. Think of it as a longitudinal learning study. Imagine having kids record their reading fluency during the first week of school and then ending the year with the same task. What about uploading a writing piece at the beginning and then again at the end for a comparison to help ascertain growth. Imagine the power of showing parents’ growth rather mailing home numbers from a one-time, one-chance, high stakes test.

To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Auto Backup all Photos from iPad or iPhone with Google+



I often get questions from teachers about how to manage the all the photos from iPhones or iPads and move them efficiently from place to place. Ideally, you need to get pictures of students in action and student work from your mobile and have them accessible up on your computer without taking more than a few seconds. Since I don't live entirely in the "Apple Universe" and my iCloud storage is always full I have found a better approach that is a slam dunk for anyone with a Google Account.

In the Google Plus App you have the ability to turn on Auto Backup in the settings. Every picture taken from your iPhone or iPad will automagically be uploaded to Google Plus and set to private. Once they are there you can share them with your circles or access them from Drive, Sites, Blogger and the rest of the Google Apps suite.

To get started, follow these simple steps. For help or more specific questions, click here.

(Steps 1-6 on iPhone, iPad or Android)

1. In the Google+ App, tap on hamburger menu.




2. Make sure you are on your preferred account. Click on the gear.




3. Tap on Camera and Photos.



4. Turn Auto Backup on. I suggest also turning on Auto Enhance and Auto Awesome.




5. I turn on Full Size Backups and also choose to do them over Wi-Fi only.




6. If you have never backed up your photos you should back everything up (I suggest Wi-Fi for this).

(Steps 7-8 on computer)

7. From your computer, go to Google+ and hover over Home and select Photos.



8. Click on All Photos to see you recent editions.



Troubleshoot

If you notice that your photos aren't backing up to Google+, try opening the Google+ app and going to the Photos section. If you have Auto Backup turned on, your photos and videos should start backing up.




From: Ben Friesen
Twitter: @benjaminfriesen
Ben is the Director of Professional Development - iOS for EdTechTeam


To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why Schools Need to Teach Technology, Not Ban It!



From: Tanya Avrith
Twitter: @TanyaAvrith
Tanya lives and works in South Florida




During my last seven years as a teacher and consultant, I have borne witness to the technological digital shift in education. When I began my education career in 2005 at the tender age of 23, I had little idea what I was about to face. I was given an unheard of mixture of classes and was thrown to the sharks wearing my new heels and best “teacher” clothes. NaÏve and idealistic, nothing had prepared me for the challenges and incredible joys I would face in the classroom. Nor did I realize that a revolution in education and social media was under way.

Looking back to when I began teaching, I can now appreciate what was developing. It was at the very the beginning of what we’ve come to call the “Web 2.0″ student generation. My students that year were not yet posting constant status updates on Facebook, nor were they tweeting, sharing videos on YouTube or bringing smartphones to class. Boy, were things about to change…

By my second year of teaching I had become the media teacher (along with a long list of other subjects) and was introduced (by a student of course) to Facebook, founded only a few years before. I still remember the first time I logged on. I was ignorant to the etiquette of status writing and posting pictures as well as privacy issues and how they could affect me later in my life. Like most of today’s first time users, I made many mistakes when using social media because I didn’t know any better.

As an educator or parent it is easy to forget how quickly things changed in those few years. From one day to the next, the way our students/children socialized and communicated was turned upside down. Teachers and administrators are still trying to figure out what their roles are when it comes to dealing with the use of social media, both in and out of the classroom. We are at a crossroads in education where we need to figure out how we should be dealing with the issues that arise from this new “digital” generation of students.

Where do we go from here? Do we ban?

Block, filter, take away, confiscate. All adjectives used to describe the current policies in many schools. Early on, like many of my colleagues, I feared technology, and my knee-jerk reaction was to agree with this type of policy. Isn’t it human nature to try to repress the things we don’t understand?

The problem with this approach is that it does not work. It turns teachers and administrators into the “cell phone and Internet police.” We scour our classes and manage confiscated devices. We block everything on the Internet that we don’t want to deal with. We investigate, punish, give detentions, and spend many hours dealing with the issues that arise when things go wrong.

What are we really accomplishing with this approach? We are missing many opportunities that these complex devices could bring to the classroom. For example, many of our students have access to 3G networks on their smart phones where they are always connected. These students have the potential to have a computer, video/digital camera, access to the Internet, and online books at their fingertips… And what are we telling them to do? Put them away! The irony is that we find school boards discussing the need to find resources to put technology into those very same hands.

Do we educate?

What we do need is a coherent plan to teach digital citizenship in schools. Digital citizenship addresses the appropriate use of technology. It is not about the technology itself but rather about the effects that arise from its usage. It’s an interesting approach that focuses on teaching about the ethical usage of technology.

Many teachers admit that they feel intimidated with the use of technology in the classroom because they worry their students know more than they do. What is important to understand is that students may use the technology more, however, they are primarily using it to socialize and/or play games and do not always have the metacognitive skills to use it as a learning tool. Furthermore, they are not equipped with the understanding how to use the technology safely and appropriately. The teacher offers the wisdom of how to learn and the ethical direction needed to manage technology creatively and productively. We need to make the most of this symbiotic relationship between the teacher and student. Imagine the possibilities of partnering with our students to learn from each other.

We are not asking that teachers change what they are doing but rather adapt their teaching to include elements that are relevant to how our students are learning today. With digital citizenship education there are many educational opportunities that would not be possible if we continue to ban the technology in our schools.

What does digital citizenship education look like?

Teaching about digital citizenship should not be viewed as an “add-on” but rather complement what is already being taught in the classroom. For example, a teacher who is introducing a research topic in class would discuss how to evaluate websites, and teach the students appropriate searching strategies. The teacher would also discuss copyright and how to properly share information. The Lester B. Pearson School Board DCP offers a curriculum for Digital Citizenship with many examples of what digital citizenship looks like in the classroom. A few great resources that address digital citizenship include:

The Lester B. Pearson School Board DCP (Digital Citizenship Program)provides teachers with teachable topics that are age appropriate. It provides easily organized subject and grade level resources as well as resources for parents.

Commonsense Media: An incredible resource for both educators and parents that has many resources that focus on digital citizenship.

Digizen: Another great resource that provides interactive activities for students to learn more about digital citizenship.

The door that is not locked: A bilingual Canadian resource great for parents, educators and students.

To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Things Educators Will Have To Accept and Embrace




From: Mike Niehoff
Systems/Leadership Coach
Fresno County Office of Education



Re-blogged from Changing is Learning




The profession of education is going through unprecedented change. Many aspects of teaching and school will eventually never be the same again. And nor should they. Although wholesale and fundamental change is slow, there are some things that educators will have to accept and embrace (if they plan on being successful and staying in the profession).


These five are:

1. Education is more PUBLIC than ever

 I’m tired of the word transparency. And that is really just the beginning of being “public” as an educator in our changing paradigm. We need to showcase our professional work as educators, as well as the work of our students, with larger communities. Venues such as YouTube, Twitter and all Social Media outlets will be a foundational way for us to continue the idea of being public. Whether it’s for parents, administration, district officials, government agencies or others, educators need to fully accept that close doors and private work are gone (as well they should be). Every classroom, school, district and beyond will be daily showcases to the world of what one is doing. Educators will have to be comfortable and excited about showcasing and sharing, or they will have to find a new career.




2. Educators have to COLLABORATE

The word collaboration is almost becoming a cliché. However, as overused as it is, it is an imperative. Educators need to collaborate with other educators (across their campuses and across the globe) on everything from best practices to project ideas. And if educators are doing this only because it’s an expectation, rather than an opportunity, they will undoubtedly miss the true benefits of collaboration. All industries and professions today embrace the concept of real world collaboration – with their immediate colleagues, as well as with those around the world that have new ideas, concepts and challenges to share. Like so many other things, educators need to lead collaboration opportunities or find one of those rare professions today where isolation is still the norm (good luck on that one too).




3.  Educators have to CREATE curriculum 

The days of depending on a textbook or one packaged curriculum are on their final march. Because of new standards, technology and our ever-changing world, educators will be required to and expected to be curriculum creators. They will need to be curators of varied resources and work together with their students, colleagues and schools to create and customize unique learning experiences. There have always been educators from the beginning of time who did this for a variety of reasons. But we have also embraced a programmed system for years that where curriculum was lead by chapters and tests from textbooks and/or fancy binders. The times are a changin’ – many will be excited and say it’s about time, while some may shed tears as their teachers’ editions and packaged resources eventually disappear. For those that enjoy the idea of finding the best resources, ideas, projects - and continually mixing them like an educational DJ or Chef – they will get the big idea (s) and reap the benefits.






4. Educators will have to be serious users of TECHNOLOGY

Whether educators embrace the use of technology wholeheartedly or not, they will have to continually figure out a way to maximize their work, as well as the work of their students, using on-line resources and applications. One does not need to be an expert at all technology, but rather maintain an open mind on how to maximize their students’ success using technology. All other professions seem to realize that they need to figure out ways to embrace and incorporate the latest tools for maximum efficiency, productivity and innovation. Educators cannot be the exception to the rule. As professionals, we have to see how our lessons, activities and projects will connect our students to present and future opportunities. Technology is obviously part of the fabric of that overall design and we have to see it that way. It’s not our job to pick and choose what we like in the world and make that our educational foundation. Rather our job to take the best of the best in available resources and tools in order to optimize the opportunities and success for all students whom we work with in any capacity.




5. Educators need to facilitate COMMUNITY

 In an era where students have multiple options on how their education is delivered, including 100% on-line while at home, educators will need to continually develop and enhance their learning communities. Students have and will ask why should they come to school or why should they come to a particular school. Educators will need to answer that question. And because students could just stay home, what are some answers? The relationships, culture and opportunities educators create and foster will make the difference. Will one’s classroom be friendly, supportive, individualized, customized, equipped, exciting, engaging and more? It better be. Educators will have to move away from the past where students just showed up to an environment where students will be choosing to show up – and they will be choosing or not choosing based on the successful presence of the aforementioned qualities of the educator’s classroom and learning environment.




To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One Screen of ChromeApps Perfect for the Classroom

By Holly Clark
As educators, we hear a lot about apps!
Sometimes we spend countless hours going through them to find the best ones. I propose we try something different.
Instead, it’s time that we look at apps to find those that help us gain a better look into student thinking and understanding. I have created a list of my favorite apps that purposefully achieve this goal. There are of course more apps than these that create informative artifacts of learning, but I like to keep the list simple and concise so that teachers and students only have to learn a few apps  -and can focus on content not on learning new platforms.
The following list will help make student thinking visible not only to the teacher – but hopefully to the world.
Each app is linked – have fun exploring them.


To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching. 

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 Places to Discover Great Videos

I love me some good educational video.  With more than 72 hours of new content being uploaded to YouTube every minute, finding great videos to use in class is a daunting task.  Here are the resources I use for finding great videos. 
As always, remember to watch every minute of the video you plan on showing in class!  

1. Devour is a website where they curate a handful of videos every day. Not all the videos shared here are educational.  I like to drop by the site a few times a week to see if something catches my attention. 

2. The Kids Should See This is the creation of a mom and her two kids. The blog site features great videos that you (and your kids!) should see.  The curation skills here are top notch

3. ShowYou is the Swiss Army Knife of video aggregator tools, pulling in videos from all over the web. The best feature is that you can add your Twitter and Facebook accounts and quickly see all the videos people in your PLN are sharing.

4. Vimeo Staff Picks is a great place to discover high quality, usually artistic videos. The staff frequently feature animated shorts created by students in digital arts schools. These videos are perfect or language arts classes. 

5. YouTube Trends is the official YouTube blog where Googlers discuss the latest video trends around the world.  It's a fantastic place to get the story behind a viral video or the latest internet meme. 

I hope to see you at the next EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google Apps for Education in your area. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Science Resources - Free for EdTechTeam Friends

BirdBrain Science is an online personalized science curriculum.  The company is making their product free to all friends of EdTechTeam! 

One size does not fit all when it comes to teaching science.  More and more, we hear talk about "personalized education" and the need to meet every learner where they are. I think we can agree that’s a great idea, however, as a teacher trying to accommodate the learning needs of 20-100 students on any given day, preparing one high quality lesson is challenging enough.  Thankfully, an awesome new site is here to help science teachers differentiate the content for the different readers in their classroom.

With BirdBrain Science, every student is able to access science content at their instructional reading level, ensuring that every student is able to fully participate in the lesson (and increase their reading ability at the same time.) Think adaptive, personalized science texts for each of your students!

The company was started by Brendan Finch, a former Los Angeles science teacher. Brendan left the classroom in June in order to reinvent science education. Brendan has graciously agreed to provide free access to any friend of EdTechTeam for the rest of the academic year though this special page.  Be sure to forward this along to the science teachers in your life, it'll make their day!

I even hear a rumor that they plan on moving into history next….

Hopefully I’ll see you at the next EdTechTeam event! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

How (and Why) to Create Interactive YouTube Videos

Last week I had the opportunity to work with some awesome teachers in Hudson Valley, New York as well as Suffolk, Virginia. It's awesome to see teachers excited about professional development and leave with an eagerness to get back in the classroom to try something new!

As we begin to understand the strengths and limitations of online and video instruction, it is important that teachers are equipped with the skills necessary to create their own high quality educational videos. A transition to digital classroom models should not mean a reduced role for the teacher. By leveraging digital tools, teachers can augment their role and extend their instructional voices beyond the classroom walls.

Here are ways you can use interactive YouTube videos:

1. Create interactive books: In this video I've taken the traditional read aloud and broken it into four separate videos. When the student arrives at the end of the first segment they are required to make a make a decision. Once they select their answer, the second video in the playlist will load.

2. Curate great resources: With iPads and smartphones, the days of a list of blue links are limited. In this video I've linked off to four other videos that help students learn about types of chemical reactions.

3. Review critical questions:  In this video I've taken a single exam question and turned it into an interactive experience for the students. Anytime they get the answer incorrect, there will be a video of me explaining why it's incorrect before they try again. The entire experience is four videos.

Here is a video tutorial on creating interactive YouTube videos:


I hope to see you at the next EdTechTeam summit featuring Google Apps for EDU, iOS, or Future Ready! 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

#GafeSummit - Not Your Dad's PD

There is a lot of buzz around #gafesummits. People are talking about them from coast to coast even in countries where you might not expect to hear about schools using Google Apps for Education. There is something special about these two-day events and a lot of teachers find them the perfect combination of pedagogy and fun!

What is all the talk about?
In the simplest terms - it’s about mind-blowing learning that happens over two days at various school-based summits around the world.

These two day events are packed with activities strategically set-up to get participants moving, networking and taking ownership of their learning.

Participants begin by fueling up with brain-powered snacks at the breakfast spread, and then mozie over to the photobooth where they can get their creative juices flowing by mixing and matching props to take the perfect google-inspired photo.



Summits begin with keynotes that center around cutting edge ideas like “Living in Beta” or “Future Ready Schools” strategically chosen to set a motivational tone for a days worth of inspired learning.

After the keynote we are all off to four different sessions throughout the day, where participants can learn how to use a tool, delve into the pedagogy behind technology integration or wander into a session that looks into innovative ideas like design thinking or empathy in the classroom or moonshot thinking - an idea inspired by Google.





Roni Habib packs two rooms at the Marin Summit as he discussed the idea Mindfulness and Happiness in the Classroom.

In addition to the peppering of innovative sessions, there are sessions based on iOS, Android and ideas like Digital Portfolios and Digital Citizenship offered by known experts in those areas.

What Sets EdTechTeam Summits Apart From Others?

Chris Bell, COO of EdTechTeam, boasts: “We have compiled a group of world class presenters” that make up over 50% of the sessions to ensure the highest quality sessions around. Mix in a great combination of local talent and participants walk away with their minds blown and inspired to make real change in their classrooms. EdTechTeam makes sure that there is a list of experts and innovation specialist to help lead teachers down the pathways of impactful integration.

Between sessions there is a break that allows for networking, sharing of ideas, the chance to pick the brain of a favorite presenter, and the creation of relationships that often lead to life-long friendships.




With over 50 Summits in the works for next year, including iOS Summits - there is sure to be an event near you! Come for the learning but stay for the fun. Follow the hashtag #gafesummits until you can attend a summit or become a summit groupie like many people I know.

See what the Marin News has to say about GAFE Summits!

To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.