Thursday, August 28, 2014

Teacher Led Learning in Del Norte County

Recently, we had a full day of professional learning for teachers in our county. For a couple of sessions we did not have formal presenters, instead, we let teachers lead discussions with their peers. These turned out to be some of the most popular sessions of the day. Session topics included iPads, Chromebooks and a Share Fair. 

Here are the instructions I created for the Share Fair, based on the idea that was shared from +David Theriault. SHARE FAIR INSTRUCTIONS We had over 25 teachers create Share Boards during this session.

One of the teachers who helped facilitate the iPad discussion, +Kendall Pickenpaugh, wrote down some thoughts after the session. I wanted to post her thoughts here so everyone could benefit from the knowledge that was shared.

Here is Kendall's post:
Thank you to everyone who came to the iPad discussion group. That hour just flew by and Pilar did such a great job of introducing us to her favorite apps. I had a few things I wanted to share and was hoping that we could start a dialogue about best practices. Toward that end, I made this google doc editable by all so please feel free to share any techniques or links or what have you. Also, Rae does have an iPad Educators DN Google Community where she shares great gems throughout the year. She would be glad to add you!

Pilar brought up a great point with her need of a 12 step program to stop downloading Apps.
This post from one of my favorite blogs can help with that:
Jo-Ann Fox - AppEducation Jo-Ann recommends One Page of Apps .
Jo-Ann refers to the SAMR Model. She has a great 120 sec overview in the first link above. This is another incredible Resource for the SAMR Model  Interactive SAMR Model

Good Stuff
iMovie = creativity unleashed!
Poem Movies One of my student’s iMovie from last year, if you click on my name, you can see more (you get a youtube channel with your Google Account, great place to share student work so they can show it off!) We used this Storyboard Template to plan.
“Trailer” Feature - Each of the trailer Templates has a specific structure. If we are trying to get the students to integrate technology and give proof of deeper thinking, purpose and forethought are crucial. Here is the link to specific storyboards for each iMovie trailer template. Book Trailers instead of Book!

Nearpod - Interactive delivery/assessment. Engaged kids!
Khan Academy  - some glitches with the help videos for the kids (youtube)
   - goes down to K-2 now

What I want to try this year

Blogs to follow - Please Add more!!!

Jo-Ann Fox - AppEducation

Jennie Magiera - Teaching Like It’s 2999

Finally, my summer goal was to plunge into Twitter. So glad I did! Yes it is social media, but, you can create your own experience and if you follow folks at the end of any of these links (and Rae!) you get to have your own Professional Learning Network delivered right to your device. Retweet gems and they are there for you to read and explore whenever you have the time and inclination. Even if you don’t tweet, it is a great place to learn.

Have a fabulous year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5 Ways To Be A Technology Leader in Your School

Do as I say, not as I do.  Don't be that administrator.

Many times, this is the way school administrators encourage technology use. We, as administrators, need to stop saying that teachers and students need to use technology for learning and start modeling how to do it.  This is how you will begin to see real gains in effective technology integration in your classrooms and with students.

Like all of us, the idea of starting something new with technology can be overwhelming. We worry about having the time and the skills to do it well.  As administrators, we need to be OK with finding new ways to incorporate technology into our daily work and modeling the learning process along the way. If you improve as you go, doesn't that send a great message to staff and students?
For this school year, pick one new technology tool to use and make a commitment to use it regularly and to continue learning how to best leverage it in your work.

Here are 5 ways you can use technology to be a leader in your school.

1.  Start Blogging

"My fellow bloggers can attest to how easy it is to blog. 
If you can type a word document then you can blog." 

- Patrick Larkin, Principal, Burlington High School (MA)

What do you have to blog about? Tons!  An excellent way to build community and improve school culture is to share your vision and goals for the school and provide updates on progress toward school learning goals and achievements. Blogging will improve your reflection and encourage collaboration.  Visitors to your blog can join the conversation through comments and with moderation tools you can pre-screen these.  You will be surprised how respectful comments are and how much your blog is appreciated by teachers, parents and the community. Blogging models writing for a purpose and for an audience and encourages your teachers and students to do the same.   To learn more ready Patrick Larkin's blog post, "Every Principal Needs a Blog"

Tip! To build your audience post a lot about athletics and school events initially so that parents and the community visit the blog on a routine basis.

Take a look at these principal blogs for ideas to get started.
Principal Greg Miller - Educational Leadership in the 21st Century
George Couros - The Principal of Change
Darcy Moore
Eric Sheninger - A Principal's Reflections
Patrick Larkin - Learning in Burlington

2. Take Up Microblogging  

It can take less time than a regular blog, but provides a huge impact in communication.  Use Twitter to send our brief updates about the learning happening in your school. Tweet about upcoming activities and events, highlight student as well as teacher learning and accomplishments, spotlight safety information and other announcements.  Make a goal to send at least one tweet a day.  You can utilize tools like Hootsuite to schedule tweets ahead of time so in just a few minutes you can have tweets scheduled for the entire week. Promote your twitter account and let parents, students and the community know that this will be a consistent way for them to connect with you and the school. Unsure about how to use Twitter? Try my Online Twitter Workshop for Educators.

Here are some Twitter accounts from connected principals:

Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal)

Ryan McLane (@McLane_Ryan)

3.  Keep everyone informed with Remind

As many of us know from experience, the one device we have on us almost all of the time is our phone. One of the easiest ways to connect with parents about their students is to text them. However, not everyone is ready to share their personal cell phone number. That is why Remind (formerly Remind 101) is a perfect way for educators to maintain an open line of communication to parents, guardians and the community. You can send out reminders out daily or weekly with the safe, one way communication of Remind. It is a broadcast system that allows users opt in using their cell phones to receive school updates.
Awesome features in Remind 101:
You can send a message to one class, several classes or individuals in a class
Attachments can also be added to the message. Go ahead and attach the field trip permission slip or other document you need parents to have. No more lost papers on the way home from school!
Insert links to online resources. You can add websites and other resources to your messages. We use Google Docs and I was able to add a link to a flier for a school event to my message.
Messages can be scheduled for later - you can sit down on Monday and schedule all messages for the day, week or month!

Message History: All messages are stored in your account and can be exported from your account for auditing purposes

To read more about Remind and how to set up your account check out my previous blog post.

4. Get Vocal With Podcasts

Use a tool like Audioboo for Education to embed voice messages on your school website. Take that boring "principal message" page up a notch with an Audioboo recording that conveys your passion and enthusiasm better than any typed message. Commit to making one voice recording a week and give your administration a voice.  Audioboo enriches your message and engages your community like never before.  Inserting a short audio recording (or podcast) is easy and reinvents the principal relationship with the school community.

Here is a short recording I made with Audioboo. I recorded and embedded this is under 2 minutes!

5.  Tech Smash With Multiple Tools  

Really impress by incorporating more than one of the tools listed above = Tech Smashing!

Here are some ideas:  Embed an audio recording on your blog and and make that your new principal page!  Promote your school Twitter account and blog by using Remind to push out when new updates are posted. You can probably come up with dozens of other ideas as well.  Using more than one tech tool can streamline your work and improve engagement.

Make a commitment and make it happen

No longer can educators and schools 'opt out' of technology integration.  Lead your school and model using technology for learning with one or more of the ideas presented in this post.  Set a reminder on your phone or calendar and commit to doing something every week.  You and your school will be amazed by the benefits.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

View only unread email on your iPhone

Sometimes, little tips like this are helpful.  In case you haven't found this feature on your own, here is how you can read only 'unread' mail on your iPhone.  I have three email accounts on my phone and sometimes I just want to see what hasn't been read yet, rather than sorting through all of the mail.  To do this follow a couple of simple steps.

  1. Launch the mail app on your device and navigate to the Mailboxes screen
  2. Select EDIT
  3. Select UNREAD (You can also select other features like ALL INBOXES to create a mailbox for mail from all accounts)
  4. Select DONE
Now you have a new mailbox created called UNREAD where you can view all email that has not been opened from any accounts on your device.

This is a great feature I recently started using.  I wish there was the option to create a mailbox for unread email for a specific account, sometimes I don't want all accounts blended together.

There are certain email accounts I check more often than others and so I like to arrange them in my mail app.  To do this, follow steps 1 and 2 above and then grab the three grey bars next a mailbox and drag it to order them however you want.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Managing Your Apple TV in the Classroom

Many classrooms in my district have Apple TV's installed.  This tool allows teachers and students to wirelessly display content from the iPad on the existing projection system.  The ability to mirror the iPad while modeling an activity helps teachers integrate this tool into their teaching.  The real magic is when students create on the iPads and then share and explain their work with their peers via Airplay.

Using Airplay via Apple TV, 1st grade students display shapes they found
during a shape hunt with the iPads.

During a coding project, this student uses Apple TV's Airplay
to demonstrate the game he created.

Keeping your Apple TV working properly allows you to seamlessly maintain a creative and collaborative culture in the classroom.  Here are some tips for managing your Apple TV so it is always ready when the learning is happening.

This is Apple TV - small and just $99

Updating your Apple TV is essential to keep Airplay working correctly. If Airplay has stopped working recently it could be because your Apple TV is not updated.

To update your Apple TV use the remote and go to:




(note that if your Apple TV is still on some older versions the option to UPDATE AUTOMATICALLY will not show up until after you perform the update manually once).

Have you ever turned on your Apple TV and had the movie previews appear and totally derail your class? 

You can easily remove movie trailers and other channels so they don’t appear on the home screen in class and distract students. You may need to do this periodically and Apple introduces new channels.

To customize your Apple TV homescreen:  
  • Be sure you have updated the Apple TV first.
  • To remove movie previews select SETTINGS → iTUNES STORE → HD PREVIEWS → toggle to OFF
  • To remove channel previews select SETTINGS → MAIN MENU → now toggle off all of the channels you do not want to appear when the home screen is displayed.  
  • To toggle: scroll to a channel and then hit the center button on the remote. Select HIDE on the channels you do not want to appear.

Naming the Apple TV can help distinguish between multiple Apple TV's on campus. If multiple Apple TV's are using the same wifi network, naming can stop those little 'accidents' when the teacher next door takes over your screen.

Giving the Apple TV a name is easy. Simply go to SETTINGS --> GENERAL --> NAME and enter a name for the Apple TV. 

You could name it after the teacher, room number or 80's movies!
You can also add a passcode to your apple TV for added security and control over who can project in your classroom.
Newer Apple TV's updated with iOS6 or newer now have Conference Room Display which is useful in schools. When you turn on Conference Room Display, you can see onscreen instructions for using AirPlay. You can use this display with multiple Wi-Fi networks or Apple TVs, such as in businesses and schools.

To learn more about the power of Apple TV in the classroom take a look at this video from Max Interactive, featuring Apple Distinguished Educator +Mark Hammons. Apple TV in Education

Friday, May 23, 2014

3 Ideas to Promote Deeper Learning of Mathematics with iPads

Do you want your students to do more than practice math skills and play math games on the iPad? Here are three quick ideas to fuel your thinking.

1.  Have students build a game using math concepts they are learning.  In the video below you can see a 5th grade student's math game created using the Hopscotch app. Game building allows students to gain deeper understanding of math concepts, they learn essential skills like perseverance, problem solving and critical thinking.

2.  Using an app like Doodle Buddy, students can build and work with number lines.  Creating a number line helps students to better understand how to use them. Below is an example from a 3rd grader in +Tracy Campbell 's class.

3.  Older students can use the Book Creator app to create tutorials and guides for math concepts.  By creating resources to teach others, students gain deeper understanding of the material. Take a look at these equation books created by Bowdoin Math high school students.

Do you have other ideas and example? Please share in the comments.