Thursday, August 30, 2012

A message from my iNACOL friends

Please join iNACOL and your colleagues for this webinar entitled “Race to the Top District Program (RTT-D): TheEssential Role of Digital Learning in a Successful Application  on Friday, August 31 from 4-5 pm ET.   If you’d like to attend for free, please register here (

This webinar will bring together some of the experts in the digital learning space including Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, Reg Leichty from Education Counsel - , John Bailey from Digital Learning Now! - ,  Linda Pittenger from the Council of Chief State School Officers -, and Andy Calkins from Next Generation Learning Challenges -

The webinar will offer presentations by Mr. Leichty and Mr. Bailey from their respective perspectives and then the panel will be available to answer related questions. 

If you’re thinking about applying for this grant, please complete the simple “Intent to Apply” form by August 30 at: iNACOL has put together a quick list of resources that may be helpful in writing your grant application here [Hyperlink to: ] 

At the end of this webinar, you will better understand the grant competition, programmatic goals and understand the role of online and blended learning in the next generation digital learning approaches. 

Again if you’re interested in attending this FREE webinar, “Race to the Top District Program (RTT-D): The Essential Role of Digital Learning in a Successful Application” on Friday, August 31 from 4-5 ET, please be sure and register here:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blogs I Follow

Each day I stumble across a variety of blog posts as I browse the web and cruise my social media sites.  When a person's blog relates to my interests I follow it using Google Reader so I can easily find and read new posts.  My school has adopted Google Apps for Education and so I prefer to use Google Reader as my blog reader (organizer) because it works well with the other Google Apps I use daily.  Some features I enjoy are the ability to organize blogs into folders and to sort blog posts from oldest to newest.  This helps to stay caught up and not miss a post.  I can also easily post my blog on Twitter or other social networks.  Additionally, blogs I add to my blog roll are automatically added to Google Reader for me saves me a step!

The list of blogs I follow is growing daily.  Currently, I follow 17 blogs focused on education and technology.  To be included in blogs I follow requires two things:  1) topics must be interesting to me and 2) I have to get something I can use or apply to my work out of the blog

My top five favorite blogs are (in no particular order):

2 Cents Worth - by David Warlick
A self-described vagabond educator, his posts are usually packed with lots of links, he posts several times a month which is perfect for me, I am able to read them all and don't miss anything.  I find other bloggers that interest me by cruising through his blog roll.  His topics are of high interest to me and education focused. I enjoy his writing style and the fact that he is not afraid to tell us how he really feels.

Bud The Teacher - by Bud Hunt
Bud is funny and writes (and worries) about the future of reading and writing and teaching and learning on his blog.  He posts often and I enjoy following his reader feed on the blog which shows what articles and posts he is saving to read.

Ed Tech Team - by the Ed Tech Team
Led by Mark Wagner, this blog is maintained by a variety of people on the ed tech team and beyond.  This is a great blog for whats new in educational technology as well as Google Apps Edu news.  This is a go to blog to find out about Google Summits and other Google services in education.

The Nerdy Teacher - by Nick Provenzano
Nick is so funny and provides a bounty of information about using technology in education.  He has tremendous insight into technology integration in education and is half of Edubros - who are rising celebrities in education.  I heard him speak in the newbie lounge at ISTE 2012 and was hooked.

The Teacher Garden - by Mrs. K
This is the newest addition to blogs I follow and is packed with practical teaching ideas and solutions.  She is an elementary teacher and her blogs are filled with photos which I find very helpful.  I pass on a lot of what I read on her blog to the teachers I serve in my district.  I look forward to learning more about Mrs. K as I continue to read her blog.

Have a blog I should follow?  Please leave a comment!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flipping - not just for students

Setting An Example

Many teachers would agree that far too much time is spent in meetings where information is simply being disseminated.  Discussions may also occur, but many times these are just gripe sessions with no real movement or resolution attained on the topics.  Flipping faculty meetings is a new idea that is emerging along with the flipped teaching movement.  It is important for a couple of reasons.  A flipped faculty meeting is a more efficient use of staff time and we all know teachers who ditch faculty meetings because they feel their time is being wasted.  When administration implements a new model of flipping meetings, it also shows that it is ok to take risks and to try new things because that is how we keep learning and improving.  Elementary Principal, Melinda Miller, tried this new format with her staff this year and received positive feedback.  You can read about her experience in her post "Flipped Faculty Meeting 2012".  

Jumping In

As an ed tech coordinator I believe in modeling the change you want to see in the classroom.  I agree with  teacher Bill Ferriter's statement in his blog "The Tempered Radical", that teachers won't be convinced flipping is possible until they experience it first hand.  Two weeks ago I started by flipping a professional development workshop.  The workshop, "Twitter for Educators"  took participants through four modules where they could learn about Twitter and how to apply this tool in education.   Embedded in the flipped workshop was video, collaborative writing, surveys and assessment.  This was an optional workshop held over summer break.  Eleven teachers signed up, six worked online to complete all or some of the modules, four completed the quiz and five showed up to the face to face meeting.  During the face to face we expanded on the learning from the flipped workshop by practicing tweeting, following hashtags, using a social media management system (like Hootesuite) and participating in our own impromptu twitter chat.  


My Twitter for Educators flipped workshop was a success as teachers learned about Twitter and how to increase their personal learning network.  At the end of the flipped portion of the workshop I asked teachers how they might use Twitter, I have included a couple of responses below.

I learned about an assortment of educators who use twitter to share resources. I also learned that authors use twitter and that it is possible to make direct contact with them.
--High School English Teacher

Did not know this existed for ed. Interested in the Tech connections.
--Middle School Technology Teacher

In the future I plan to offer additional face to face meetings to help teachers take what they have learned further.  In an optional workshop like this one, setting a specific deadline for completion was not possible.  I basically gave teaches the option to attend the face to face if they were able to finish the flipped portion by the date.  I think setting a definite deadline would have created more urgency and encourage additional teachers to participate at higher levels.  

I would be interested in hearing from others who have flipped workshops or meetings for teachers.  How did you set it up, what were your results?  Please share your experiences or thoughts as I would love to hear about it as I plan future flipped sessions for teachers.