School Evaluation Summary

Ward 4 Site – Evaluation & Survey

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For this assignment, we were able to research and explore school technology use planning. We were coached through the process to actually analyze our school, district and state for technology plans and overall direction. I enjoyed this process as I was able to learn so much about all the levels of complexity that go into a site’s technology evaluation. I appreciated the structure of the Maturity Model Benchmark as a way to organize my evaluation process. I feel that this will give me a good basis for starting to work out an actual technology use plan with my site leaders this upcoming school year.

The evaluation was broken down into five filters (administrative, curricular, support, connectivity, and innovation) which then received a rubric placement from “emergent stage” (low) to “intelligent stage” (high). Check out my school’s Maturity Model Survey as well as School Evaluation Summary for more specifics.

I used the pseudonym “Ward 4 Site” for my school’s name throughout the evaluation. Ward 4 Site reached an overall ranking of “island stage”, which wasn’t overly surprising to me. Both the district and school lack a technology usage plan, which needs to be rectified. On a positive note, discussions have taken place on this subject and a planning team will be working on this in the upcoming year.

 

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Technology Trends

Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches

Leaving the west coast last year for Washington DC, was an adjustment for me. One of the major adjustments that I had not foreseen was joining a school district that had not adopted Google Apps for Education for their students. Having been a classroom teacher for eight years, in multiple school districts with GAFE, I apparently had taken this for granted. For years, my students and I were engaging in the collaborative learning projects using this platform as a jumping off point. When I interviewed for a Technology Instructional Coach position in DC Public Schools, I was shocked to learn GAFE or even some form of student collaborative capability was not in place everywhere.

Over the past few days, I have been reading the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. This annual publication discusses solutions, challenges and trends regarding educational technology over the short, mid and long term. For our assignment, we were to identify one of these technology trends or tools, explore it further and develop some authentic product we wanted to use from our research. I definitely gravitated toward the particular section, of which I am sure you can guess.

The trend that stood out to me was a mid-term (3-5 year) trend calling for increased use of collaborative learning or cooperative learning. This trend called out to me as it described districts successfully using collaborative environments through the use of district-wide tools. Collaborative learning is the opportunity for teachers and students to engage with each other to form a community of learners locally and globally.

Collaborative Learning

From this, I chose to look more deeply at Microsoft 365 as a collaborative and creation based tool. This fall our district will be adopting Microsoft 365 for both teachers and students. Not only this, but students will be given five additional Office licenses to use on home computers and devices. This adoption will be revolutionary for our students. I know this because my teaching in GAFE school districts was forever changed for the better. Students were engaged with each other, teachers, and peers outside of their school. They would work together on assignments, critique, review, analyze and create together. I am very excited to introduce this tool to the teachers and students that I work with.

My teachers are familiar with Google Drive and its features, but Microsoft 365 will be new. Of course everyone will have some familiarity with Office products so that is a great jumping off point. But, it is the collaborative nature of both services that I am most excited about.

I developed a beginning-of-the-year introduction to Microsoft 365 for my staff. I chose to highlight only a few tools for this introduction, as well as suggested ways teachers could learn more. These accounts will be a surprise to teachers and students as the release for my district will happen August 1st, and as you know, teachers and students have been off for the summer. I am excited about the collaborative possibilities. And now that Microsoft acquired Skype, the global possibilities are even more achievable!

Please check out my Microsoft 365 Sway presentation, a work in progress.

 

An Annotated Bibliography

Technology Coaches in Schools

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For this module, we were asked to get at the heart of APA style and scholarly communication by conducting research and creating an annotated bibliography. We began by first getting used to researching topics through Google Scholar and the Albertson’s Library. We then had the opportunity to hone our skills by choosing an interesting area of technology-supported instruction.

I am relatively new to the world of technology instructional coaching and thus determined this would be my topic. I was looking to learn more about technology coaching studies and best practices. I found there were a few peer-reviewed papers many of which indicate the need for coaching to create an environment of peer collaboration and learning. It was exciting to read that many more studies are in the works. My research indicated that technology instructional coaching is growing as its benefits become more quantifiable.

As far as researching while using Google Scholar or Albertson’s this is a bit more time intensive than everyday searches, which is to be expected. However, it was the APA styling that continues to slow my process. While I am becoming more and more comfortable with in-text citations and bibliographic references with each attempt, I look forward to this being second nature. One struggle I had throughout this process was locating the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). It was always a pleasant surprise when Crossref came back with a DOI for the article I referenced. More often than not I was forced to use a permalink, which only brings my reader to the article overview page.

However involved, I appreciated this assignment as it has been awhile since I needed to research and communicate in such an educational format. I understand that it is important to cite in a way that allows your position to hold weight and be validated.

Artifact: Annotated Bibliography

Image Attribution: “LOC Researchers’ Table” by Kevin Harber is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Engage Students with your Interactive Whiteboard

interactive whiteboardSelf-Reflection

We recently were asked to curate a topic of our choosing. In August, I will be presenting to teachers in my district about student engagement and the interactive whiteboard, so I focused my curation around this topic. Check below for my Scoop.it curation and self-reflection. Check out my curation if you would like some engaging strategies for your interactive whiteboard.

Curation: Engage Students with your IWB

Self-Reflection: Curation Criteria

 

Image Attribution: “Why so high?” by teachernz is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

RSS in Education

Actually, Really Simply Syndication

rss-44531_1280I had some previous experience years ago with RSS. Someone mentioned Feedly to me, but I didn’t get into it and found myself bookmarking blogs that I follow instead. I appreciated the opportunity to look critically at using RSS to be more proficient in my reading and researching. I have learned that it saves a lot of time even from going to each of my individual bookmarks and trying to locate new content. And, of course, it saves incredible amounts of time from just going out to search the internet as a whole, you could get lost out there for days!

For this assignment, we were asked to set up RSS in a program such as Feedly and create topics or categories within the program to organize our news feeds. It was great to set up an RSS news feed for our classmates learning logs as well. From there we had to think outside of ourselves and apply this research and syndication tool to our own business or classroom.

As an instructional technology coach, I chose to set up a lesson plan for a 5th-grade class. My lesson plan was a single day snapshot on introducing RSS as a way to help with research. I could see in the future writing this into a unit plan. From the written daily lesson plan, teachers could continue to use RSS as they begin to work on research and citing skills. While I chose 5th grade as the focused standards, this could easily be applied to much of my school’s elementary population with standards tweaking.

I have not had the opportunity to teach this lesson, but I hope to share this plan and idea with my teachers in the fall. I hope to model this lesson with a few classes as it would be a great way for students and teachers to learn to utilize RSS to help organize and prioritize research skills.

 

Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.”                                            ~Steve Ballmer

Artifact Introduction

Module 3 of EdTech 501 asked that we explore the digital divide and digital inequality. We were tasked with finding examples of inequalities and possible solutions within our school or community. Our findings were then to be displayed in a presentation format, in this case, Haiku Deck. The digital tool for the presentation was chosen specifically to focus on effective multimedia principles.

Digital Divide & Inequality Presentation

Reflection

First, I would like to touch on the use of Haiku Deck. This tool lends itself so well toward helping the creator exhibit effective multimedia usage. The tool allows limited words and images while also encouraging the author to write up detailed speaker notes. As writer Dustin Wise points out in his presentation tips, to use images to “make an abstract point more concrete”. I have found that it is always important to have a plan for a presentation. The creator can get lost in what they are trying to say if they have not taken the time to map out their plan or storyboard their message.

Prior to this assignment, I thought that I had a good handle on the digital divide and inequality. However, I learned that I was viewing them more interchangeably and static. I now understand that the digital divide is the separation, but the inequality is the inequitable access and experience. It is also a changing landscape and unfortunately as the divide lessens inequality grows. This is not to say that the divide isn’t an issue, but rather that inequality also needs to be addressed. Digital inequality is separate from the divide and potentially devastating to the future of individuals without an equal playing field.

Setting up a Google Scholar Alert will allow me to stay informed on this changing landscape. Throughout this course, I have been pleased to learn about the initiatives and strides my district is making by way of working toward digital equality. I plan to keep learning about my district’s plans for the future in the school and the city itself. With more time, I would have highlighted more about the programs that DC Public School is utilizing to further their Capital Commitment by 2017. I feel that a lot of possible solutions have been put into place for DCPS, and I plan to continue being involved and getting informed.

Resource:

More Multimedia Tips via Dustin Wise

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology

I am somewhat ashamed to say I had a flawed view of what ethics, with regards to Educational Technology, might be prior to this assignment. Then again having more to learn is why I have opted to begin the process of getting my MET in the first place. As an educator and one that focuses on technology integration, it is imperative that I can identify the ethical standards and therefore violations of ethics to rectify the situation. The AECT Code of Ethics as a set of standards was not created to catch a person in the act of doing something unethical, but rather encourages the desire in its members to be ethical in their decisions and actions.

The AECT has gone through great lengths to publish scenarios and possible analysis for each standard principle. These scenarios help technologists, including myself, to understand how these rules apply and are dealt with in the real-world. Moving forward, as a professional, it is my responsibility to be well versed in the Code and its implications for the individual, society, and the profession.

In researching a real-life scenario on educational technology ethics within my district, I settled on our newer more restrictive district-wide filter. The subtitle “#cantdojob” comes out of a frustrated Tweet from one teacher in my district; I felt this spoke well of the topic. I tried to stay away from the digital divide topic as much as I could for this, however, the ethical issue I chose could just as easily bleed right into this as well. In doing my research, I also learned it isn’t all as clear as you’d want.  Read more to find out that there is a very public reform advocate within my district itself even with the filtering issue I laid forth.

Check out more about EdTech Professional Ethics and my particular scenario at #cantdojob

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Image Resource:

Bennet, N. (2015, Jan. 20). Retreived from https://twitter.com/nicholasfbennet/status/557577735414218752?lang=en