Learning 2 : Re-Imagine : Shift the Narrative

In October, Jeff and I attended Learning 2 Asia at Saigon South in Vietnam. It was (another) great Learning 2 experience…I was reunited with some awesome people, met lots of new ones (several that I felt like I already knew thanks to the internets), explored a new country with my husband and was pushed outside my comfort zone by Jabiz during the Re-Imagine Strand. Who could ask for anything more?

I didn’t want my Re-Imagine project to end at Learning 2, so I’ve been meaning to record it for awhile. Today I finally made the time to sit down and just do it. It got me excited all over again. I hope you’ll join me in shifting the role of tech coaches and technology instruction.

Join me to shift the narrative and explore technology through guided inquiry.

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#21CLHK 2016

I attended my first 21st Century Learning Hong Kong Conference two weeks ago (I can’t believe I’ve already been back for over a week!). I attended the Being an EdTech Leader pre-conference with Matt Harris, iPhoneography Walk & Dinner with Cathy Hunt (with the special guest Avinash), Data Driven Dialogues for Coaching with Sarah Fleming, a variety of keynotes and workshops and the Women Leading Change post-conference with Stacy Stephens (the entire reason I attended the conference to begin with).

Since being back, several of my colleagues have asked how the conference was. Reintegration after amazing professional development is difficult for me. People want to know what I learned. I don’t know how to put my experience into a short soundbite. So I just defer to “It was wonderful!” But really it was more than that and more than simply the little tidbits that I picked up. It was way more about the way it made me feel.

Connected

I had the opportunity to ‘meet’ and get to know people that I already felt like I knew. Being connected gives me energy. I was honored to be able to get to know each of these international colleagues on a deeper level.  I know people say Twitter is dying but I hope that whatever comes next allows us to stay connected and create even stronger bonds when we’re thousands of miles apart. Working in international schools can feel isolating. But being connected makes you realize you’re not alone.

Affirmed

Interacting with the people I did and learning about their situations affirmed what we’re doing. We have a lot of great things happening at our school. And I have a lot of great ideas and qualities. I’m not bragging – we all have great ideas and qualities. But part of life (especially professional life) is recognizing how awesome you are. 21CLHK helped me do that.

Of course I had a lot of takeaways and learning experiences. But they all can be boiled down to those two feelings. A HUGE thank you to everyone who had even the slightest impact on my first experience in Hong Kong.

For my own memory and reflection, I Storified both #21CLHK (as much as I could) and #wlead. I also took notes and pictures throughout the conference. These are all resources I’ll come back to later when I need to feel a little more connected, affirmed and inspired 🙂

#21CLHK pt. 1

#21CLHK pt. 2

#wlead

All my notes & pictures (GDrive folder)

Resources from presenters

Last week’s project – a gradebook screencast for staff

We switched grade reporting programs this year. We’ve moved to an online gradebook that parents & students can access 24/7. Because we decided to stay with our current provider (Rediker) in order to keep all our student data, we have had to adapt TeacherGradebook to function properly for our IB programs. Although we’ve created lots of step-by-step written instructions, teachers still struggle to understand exactly what it is that they’re doing. We decided that giving them a more conceptual understanding of the gradebook might help them going forward.

I’m sharing this because I spent a significant amount of time working on it last week. And because TechSmith is pretty great to use – simple, intuitive, quick with lots of video editing options. My one complaint is that many sites (including WordPress) don’t allow you to embed the SmartPlayer (where all the really cool features are). Our Tech Director uploaded the necessary files to our school website so that I could share the blinged out version with staff (without having to upload to ScreenCast.com). I also uploaded the boring version to our Office 365 InfoSite.

Here is the (edited) version with all the bells & whistles. It has:

  • Clickable table of contents takes you to various sections of the video.
  • Click on the video whenever you see a link to open the website in a new tab. Your mouse pointer will change to a hand whenever the video is clickable.
  • Click the ‘table of contents’ button to search the video.

The boring version is embedded below. Enjoy 🙂

[Full disclosure: I recieved Camtasia & Snagit free because I’m a Google for Education Certified Trainer. But this post has nothing to do with that – I just love working with the products. AND they’re from my home state, Pure Michigan 🙂 ]

An Inquiry into Teaching & Learning w/ Social Media

Yesterday the #AISQ8 elementary school engaged in an afternoon of professional personal learning. Based on previous feedback from staff, the leadership team asked me to facilitate a workshop on teaching and learning with social media. I used Kath Murdoch‘s Inquiry Cycle to plan the workshop and brainstormed with Christina to help refine it. I used Elena Aguilar’s Mind the Gap Framework to assist teachers in identifying their areas of success and growth (re: teaching & learning w/ social media).

Pre-assessment (we didn't have time for post)

Teachers identified their areas of success and growth.

I reached out to my PLN to help get buy-in from teachers during the Finding Out stage. There were lots of awesome responses! A HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute 🙂

We got started late and were pretty rushed in the 40 minutes we had and had to skip most of the Making Conclusions & Taking Action steps. I’m excited to have this new workshop framework for introducing teachers to social media and can’t wait to try it again! I was particularly intrigued by the discussion that the Think-Pair-Share lead to. It’s interesting to hear differing perspectives on what social media is, why we use it and how different media are used.

Update: I did not share the picture above with teachers after our workshop. So today (9 days later), I sent a follow-up email with the picture and some probing questions to get them thinking:

  • What assumptions are (still) informing your perspective about social media (in education)?
  • What have you done in the last 9 days to mind your gap?
  • What will be/has been your first small step forward?
  • If time was not an issue, how would you use social media in teaching and learning?
  • What will you do this week to mind your gap? This month? This year?
  • How would you answer these questions?

I’m not expecting responses but this gave me a chance to work on my questioning skills. I hope it gets them thinking as we head into the weekend!

Inquiring into Technology

In the fall two grade 3 teachers asked my colleague and I to introduce iPad apps to their classes. After some coaching, we decided to start with introducing the big ideas behind presenting information before the apps. We’ve done that (post coming soon) and now the classes are ready to go further with some practical application of Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity. But because I like to think big (and make more work for myself), I wondered what a learning experience would look like for introducing any app to students.

Could we create a learning experience that could be adapted by teachers/instructional coaches for any creation app/program (and would not be boring or repetitive for students)?

After doing some brainstorming with Andria based on Kath Murdoch‘s Inquiry Cycle, I drafted the learning experience below. Anyone with the link is able to comment…looking forward to your warm and cool feedback!

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.