Genuinely integrating technology – An email to #AISQ8 grade 1

Good evening grade 1 team!

Michelle emailed me with a request for some ideas about how to genuinely integrate technology (especially when not all students have iPads). We should probably start with tuning in. I recommend taking inventory of what your students already have. If they have apps that they have already paid for (like iMovie or Explain Everything), let’s get them using those. Other students might then want to use them and ask their parents (you aren’t asking!).

Talk to students about appropriate use of the iPad at home vs at school. Have them create folders for apps – allow them to choose which apps go into the school folder and which ones into the home folder (they could also choose what to call their folders). If they have specific apps that they know are appropriate for school, they will be able to make better choices when given ‘free’ time or choice in how to express themselves.

In the past we have had Explain Everything (a paid app) which allows students to add voice, text and drawings to pictures. Educreations is a good alternative. This might be a great starting point for your students – allow them to take pictures of their work (or other classroom items) and reflect on them. At the beginning of the year it may be difficult to express themselves only in writing and this could be an alternative to start with.

I still have some people to talk to, but I did some finding out for you. Hopefully the resources below aren’t overwhelming and allow you to do some sorting out. With all of this, I’d be more than happy to brainstorm with you further, be in your classroom to support the students while they work, work with small groups of students, co-teach or lead a small lesson. Enjoy and let me know what I can do to best coach you in the quest to meaningfully integrate technology :)

iPads & technology resources Wiki (lots of information from beginners to specific subjects)

Using an iPad in a grade 1 classroom

An update to post above (both may be a little outdated but a place to start!)

All iPad posts from Karen

Apps to add voice to pictures (& other resources)

All iPad posts from Leka (including one linked to Common Core)

Where these resources came from:

Leka & her blog

Karen & her blog

#AISQ8chat – an #IBOLP series

Sometimes I’m really dedicated to blogging. Sometimes I’m not. If I’m absent for an extended period of time it’s because I’m just too dang busy living life to sit and write about it. But there are some pretty great posts floating around in my head (and even written down somewhere!). ;) In order to prompt me to actually sit down and blog, I need to be so excited about something that I just can’t help myself. After 5 months, today is the day!

Thanks to the efforts and excitement of a lot of my colleagues, #AISQ8 has grown from 4 or 5 people to over 30 in the last year! If that isn’t something to get excited about, I don’t know what is. Besides sharing the great things happening in our school (we were inspired by #sisrocks), I have enjoyed engaging in discussion on a weekly basis ever since Christina and I started #AISQ8chat in February. Browse our 2014-15 topics, 2015-16 topics and all the archives.

Since its beginnings, I’ve wanted to do a multi-week series. Part of my motivation was that Christina and I never seemed to have enough topics to chat about and many times we were still coming up with questions on Monday evenings. But most of it was that I wanted to go further with my colleagues about how (and why) we actually live and teach the IB Learner Profile. Thanks to Heidi and Christina, today this became a reality! [Insert giddy squeal here]

Here are the details & vocab you need to know to participate in the #AISQ8chat Learner Profile series:

  • Everyone is welcome!
  • Starts Tuesday, 10/27, and will continue for the next 14 Tuesdays (except December 22 & 29).
  • View the IB Learner Profile
  • We made up some new hashtags:
    • #IBOLP = International Baccalaureate Organization Learner Profile
    • #IBOLPT = IBO Learner Profile Traits
  • IBOLPT Continuum: ⌧ checking the box <——————————————–> way of life
  • We will be releasing the questions each Sunday (although they will be the same each week, just with a different #IBOLPT).
  • In week 1 we will explore why and how we, as stakeholders in the school community, live the #IBOLPT.
  • We will spend 1 week on each of the IBOLPT starting with Risk-Takers next week.
  • After exploring 6 traits, the week before (12/15) and after (1/5) winter break we will take time to reflect and make some conclusions.
  • Our last chat (2/9) will focus on hiring staff who live (professionally & personally) the IBOLP.

Here are a few tips & tricks I shared with #AISQ8:

  • During our Tuesday slow chats we usually release Q1 by 8am, Q2 at 11am and Q3 by 2pm (just in time for our faculty meetings!). However you are welcome to reply to any question at any point throughout the day.
  • When you have time on Sunday and Monday, start formulating your As to the weekly Qs. Then use Hootsuite to schedule them for Tuesday so that you don’t have to take time away from teaching. [Don’t worry, you can still edit pending Tweets if you change your mind.]
  • When you do have a couple free minutes on Tuesday, browse #AISQ8chat and engage in the conversation. Ask the community clarifying or probing questions. Twitter is your Personal Learning Community – you will get out what you put in :)
  • Christina will be Storifying #AISQ8chat every Wednesday morning. Didn’t have a chance to engage in the conversation on Tuesday? We still want to hear from you! Feel free to answer any of the previous week’s Qs from Wednesday to Monday. Please just remember to include #AISQ8chat. You can also add #AISQ8unchat if you’d like.

#AISQ8chat banner 10.27.15

Taking on the #GlobalEd #TwitteratiChallenge

A couple days ago I was mentioned by Ryan and wasn’t really sure what was going on. Upon reading his blog post, I was quite flattered. It’s not every day that your peers, especially those you haven’t met, make you feel valued. Thanks for the shout out Ryan!

Like Ryan, I’m opting out of the video part of this challenge. I enjoyed Ryan’s theme of “stranger friends.” I have a long list of those! Building off that, I’m highlighting “stranger friends” who I’ve now met in real life. These are in no particular order and the list could go on. This is a fun challenge but I also completely understand if those I’ve nominated don’t keep it going…busy time of year! ;)

Scott Mcleod & Jayson Richardson: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – attending NESA in Bangkok in 2013 was a game changer for me. Scott and Jayson introduced me to the School Tech Leadership program at the University of Kentucky…and the rest is history. No but seriously – I graduated earlier this month with my M.Ed. and would have never found out about the program had I not attended their 4-hour workshop in 2013. Throughout the course of the program I also got to work closer (online) with Scott and Jayson which was a privilege.

Everyone else I met at Learning 2.014 Africa…guess it was a pretty powerful experience!

Doug Johnson: I missed Doug’s sessions at NESA 2013 and was pretty bummed. However in September in Ethiopia, I made up for it. Not only was I able to attend his sessions, I was able to enjoy some drinks and a taxi ride to the airport with him. Every conversation with Doug is a quality one and I quite enjoyed finally meeting him after years of reading & commenting on the Blue Skunk blog.

Kim Cofino & Jeff Utecht: By the time I made it to Learning 2 I was a COETAIL grad so I was quite familiar with Kim & Jeff’s work. Jeff was most definitely a “stranger friend” turned friend as we greeted each other with a hug. It was then that I learned how to pronounce Utecht. Watching Kim & Jeff work during the course of Learning 2 was inspiring. The vibe they are able to create is pretty awesome. I would go to every Learning 2 every year if I could ;)

Marcello Mongardi: When I met Marcello at Learning 2 (and learned how to pronounce his name) I had seen his face on many a COETAILCast. But it was the Oman GAFE Summit where I really got to know him. He’s got great ideas, is laid back and a ton of fun. He was also a very accommodating chauffeur :) When Jeff and I returned to Oman at the end of April for my 30th birthday celebration, we bonded further with Marcello and Sam over Indian food and red wine. I love it when “stranger friends” become real friends!


Cheers by giannisl, on Flickr

Cheers by giannisl, on Flickr

Twitterati Challenge

Here are @teachertoolkit’s rules…

In the spirit of social media educator friendships, this summer it is time to recognise your most supportive colleagues in a simple blogpost shout-out. Whatever your reason, these 5 educators should be your 5 go-to people in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support.


There are only 3 rules.

1.You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life.

2.You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already made aware of them being listed on #TwitteratiChallenge

3.You will need to copy and paste the title of this blogpost and the Rules and What To Do information into your own blog post.

What To Do?

There are 5 to-dos if you would like to nominate your own list of colleagues.

1.Within 7 days of being nominated by somebody else, identify colleagues you regularly go to for support and challenge. They have now been challenged and should act as participants in the #TwitteratiChallenge.

2.If you’ve been nominated, you should write your own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost within 7 days. If you do not have your own blog, try @staffrm 

3.The educator nominated should record a video of themselves (using Periscope?) in continuous footage and announce their acceptance of the challenge, followed by a pouring of your (chosen) drink over a glass of ice.

4.Then the drink is to be lifted with a ‘cheers’ before the participant nominates their five other educators to participate in the challenge.

5.The educator that is now (newly) nominated, has 7 days to compose their own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost and identify who their top 5 go-to educators are.


NESA SEC Certificate of Presentation

This spring I had the honor of being selected by our leadership and the NESA Center to present two teacher workshops at the Spring Educators Conference. This conference is near to my heart as it was where I met Scott McLeod & Jayson Richardson in 2013 and decided to pursue my MEd with UKSTL. This year was special because I got to spend professional and personal time with a great group of educators from my school. The time we spent connecting with each other and other attendees was valuable (I got to finally meet Jeremy and Stacy!).

I enjoy the mix of PD experiences at this conference – keynotes, teacher workshops, 4-hour specialist workshops. Plus the location is always a bonus. This year the theme seemed to be all the ‘other’ skills that students need, not content. I was pushed to think about why we do things in the classroom, how research informs instruction and teacher attitudes. It was the first time I had seen Heidi Hayes Jacob, Bena Kallick, Debbie Silver (absolutely hilarious) and Dylan Wiliam…and I learned a lot from them. They’ve made most of their material available on the NESA Center website. One of my favorite sessions was Dylan’s Formative Assessment 4-hour workshop. I appreciated his research-based approach. Because my colleagues couldn’t attend, I took notes for them. Enjoy!

One thing I would like to see going forward at the NESA SEC is facilitated time for connections. I ‘met’ a lot of people virtually while tweeting but didn’t have the opportunity to meet F2F. During morning coffee or lunch, it would be great to have tables set aside for people who would like to meet up with other educators. I found myself sticking to my comfort zone (my colleagues) which was great for this time but would like to have the organized opportunity to meet other people.

Two of my PEAK 2014 sessions were chosen: Harnessing the Power of Google for Collaboration and Creating a Globally Connected Classroom. Teacher workshops have lost of of their importance at the SEC (understandably) so I was excited to have the number of attendees that I did (not zero!). My resources are available on the NESA page.

Abby (who co-presented with me at PEAK) couldn’t make it to Istanbul for our Creating a Globally Connected Classroom presentation. So she joined virtually. It was the second successful virtual presentation of the weekend! It was a wonderful learning experience and just another reason I’m grateful for the power of technology. My mom even got to watch from Michigan ;) I’m excited to present with Abby again at the CISD Camp Inspire in Michigan in July!

LAST semester of #UKSTL – I’m a Master

Ahhh…I feel like I can breath! Between finishing up my action research, 2 other UKSTL classes and presenting at 4 conferences (plus 2 leisure vacations)…it’s been a hectic spring!

I’m proud to say that I now have my M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on School Technology Leadership. It’s a mouthful. But after 5 semesters of work, I’m okay with that! In fact I have my Masters +15 with my COETAIL graduate certificate ;)

Here are some fun participation numbers: 37 middle of the night classes. 13 evening classes. 1 oral exam. Connected from 7 countries. I can’t speak highly enough of the UKSTL program (and professors) and the willingness to be flexible in order to accommodate my situation. The program was 100% online however I have classmates that I would greet with a hug.

Being able to say “I did it” feels so damn good. The last two years have been stressful to say the least. But I have grown in many ways and can’t wait to see what this decade holds for me. I stand by my decision to choose a research university with a real campus. #worthit

EDL 669: Leadership for Creative Problem Solving

This was only the second hybrid UKSTL course I had taken (some students were in class while some of us were online). I have to say that I prefer the 100% online; however thanks to Mike, I felt as in class as I could! He rigged up the room at UK quite nicely so those of us online felt much more a part of the class.

This class was facilitated by Tricia Browne-Ferrigno. It was her first hybrid class and she worked continuously to make it worthwhile for all of us. “The purpose of this course is to expand students’ understanding of creativity as a transformative process, essential component of decision making, and core competence of leadership.” I quite enjoyed reading Creative Leadership: Skills That Drive Change (required) and Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (chosen by me). The themes of this class pushed me and helped me grow as both a person and future leader.

My four major assignments are below:

Contracted group project – review of 3 books

And the culminating assignment of the class (and really the entire program)…

EDL 665: School Tech Leadership for Digital Citizenship

In 665 we focused on ISTE Admin Standard 5 (the last of the standards) and educational law with Justin Bathon. Justin was passionate about this course and it showed. This was a topic I had a lot to learn about (and still do). It was a great introduction to educational law and gave me lots to ponder. Being outside the US makes this class slightly less relevant, however I think international school staff should be cognizant of educational law and how it might apply to us.

During 3 of our live classes, we held debates in which teams rotated representing the school, the student and being judges. I find it interesting to note that the students won in all three cases.

Student Digital Speech
RFID Badges
BYOD Implications

My final project was a policy brief that might be applicable to my school. I found this difficult to wrap my head around as an international educator but I chose to examine our acceptable use policy in regards to digital equity.

#UKSTL Semester 4

I know that my fourth semester of UKSTL finished in December. Except it kind of didn’t. I took an Incomplete in ELS 621 in order to finish my action research.

ELS 621: Leading Action Research II

After the summer with Jayson, I worked with Marti Quintero on the implementation of my action research in the fall. This was my first experience both with action research and working with different professors on the same project. Although frustrating at times, I found it beneficial to have multiple people looking at my project from different perspectives. Our tech integration Critical Friends Group met 7 times during the school year with an 8th meeting tentatively scheduled for May. When I wrote my research proposal in the summer I didn’t realize that I would need to finish my research in the fall semester. Instead of cramming it in or reporting on only part of my research, I chose to take an incomplete to do it right. I’ll write more in depth about my research in an upcoming post :)

EDL 664: Tech Leadership for School Improvement

When I found out that Scott McLeod was teaching this class, I was pretty pumped. Meeting him at NESA SEC in Bangkok in 2013 is what prompted me to join the UKSTL family. And he’s the founding director of CASTLE. What a great opportunity!

It ended up okay. I appreciated the idea behind the class – inquiry based, self driven. The goal was to build the class together around ISTE Admin Standard 4. Except it didn’t turn out quite as mind-blowing as I was hoping for. I started the class with high hopes and lots of questions. The class was set up on a blog where we all contributed what we were learning. And then we split up into investigation groups. I joined the performance assessment group. Our end product was a website about authentic assessment geared towards teachers, admin, professors & policymakers. I chose to focus on assessment in the International Baccalaureate. Another investigation group created a website about technology integration.

authentic assessment

I would have like to be challenged and supported more. I would have liked to feel more a part of something. I would have liked to have multiple investigations. But the class also forced me to find my own motivation. And gave me a chance to connect with a couple new classmates. I did appreciate Scott’s letter to our class at the end and the chance to give him our honest feedback. I also appreciated that he was a risk-taker. It didn’t work this time but maybe it will next time. I hope the experience and reflections will inform future classes.

Mostly this class made me think about the implications for K-12 education. It made me wonder – how effective (and possible) is open inquiry? Would it have been more possible in a face-to-face class? Can an entire course be dedicated to completely open inquiry, based simply on a standard? This is the discussion I’d like to have now and my biggest takeaway from the course.