Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Being an EdTechBaton Runner for the Day

Do you Instagram? I have had an account for my classroom for the last three years, I have always kept it private for security reasons- it just seemed like the thing to do with this account. I would open it to current students and parents. I have LOVED using this form of social media with my students. It is awesome to take pictures throughout the day, during assemblies, field trips, special events in school, as well as my own personal nuggets (like when I go to conferences, or when I am reading a good book at home). I have also shared educational quotes, and reminders for homework and when I post grades.

It was only recently that I used my personal account to start following some of my local teacher friends (mostly those from edcamp) and some how one day started to search for other teachers out there on Instagram. I think it was because my husband started using social media to support our business. It was working so well for him, especially because he was using hashtags like a boss, that I started looking for teaching hashtags, and low and behold teachers are as ever present on Instagram as they are on Twitter! Who knew? Not me! 

So I started following more and more hashtag streams, I use the following the most:
  • #iteachtoo
  • #teachersofinstagram
  • #teachersfollowteachers
  • #middleschoolteachers
And then I have also been working for the last two years to start "branding" our school by using the hashtags:
  • #NAMSLearns (on anything I post that has to do with my job)
  • #NAMSTechGurus (on anything that I post that has to do with my Tech Guru- student lead tech support)
It was through this awakening, if you will, of teachers on Instagram that I started following EdTechBaton, the set up is pretty simple; similar to a relay runners baton this account is handed off to other teachers to post 6-8 photos of the edtech in your life for that day. Two weeks ago I signed up, they were in need of a "runner" and my day was today! See the Instagram account page here!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 PBS Digital Innovator Application

2015 PBS Digital Innovator Application!

Second year in a row applying, fingers crossed. This year's video is leaps and bounds better than last years video...

How do you currently share your digital curriculum ideas with other teachers (e.g. blog, email, social media, in person)? Please include examples of any conference presentations, speaking engagements, virtual events, training experience, etc. (249 word count)

I have worked tirelessly in my building and beyond share what I know, at the department level I have created a planning course on our LMS, to share resources. I am a tech coach in the building and I am in charge of planning our professional development on technology integration, and am currently working with three teachers as a personal coach and mentor to help with their tech integration. I am in charge of our Tech Thursdays, as well as breakout conference style sessions where the staff can personalize their PD, and utilize our in house knowledge!  I have also created a teacher technology support website to help my teachers, many of our resources are housed there. I participate in twitter chats, and even moderate a few, whenever possible. My youTube channel was accepted into YouTubeEDU, and my videos are being used in online schools in South Africa and Taiwan!  I wrote a chapter in the book Flipping 2.0 on how to flip your class at mid-level, and I am a member of several networks including the Flipped Network and the ISTE EdTech Coaches group, among others. I apply to present at as many conferences as I can. I have presented at the national middle school conference AMLE for the past three years. I have presented at Schoology’s conference last summer and at ISTE. I attend and present at all the EdCamp’s and Google Summits in my region. I love learning from others and sharing what I know.

Why do you want to become a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator and how will you use this experience to impact students and other educators?

I view myself as a longterm student and educator, I want to get better at my craft. It is my hope that as a PBS Learning/Media Digital Innovator I can continue to absorb the cutting edge techniques like a sponge; and take them back to my building, my district, my state, and beyond, to share out with others what I have learned. I take the concept of professional development seriously, and am extremely excited for this learning opportunity. I enjoy presenting, reflecting on my pedagogy, and learning new things to implement in my classroom. Being a PBS Learning/Media Digital Innovator is right up my alley, and I can’t wait to get started!    

Please provide the YouTube link to your original 1-2 minute video that answers the following question: Describe how you are leading innovation in digital teaching in your classroom to promote student engagement and achievement?”  Please be sure your YouTube video is set at "unlisted" or "public" so it is viewable by judges.

Friday, January 9, 2015

iPad Program at NAMS

Check out this video created by Pacific University students about our 1 to 1 iPad program at NAMS... Yours truly is in it, as well as my classroom, and my tech guru's share a tiny bit about our program! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

@isteconnects Coaching Academy Series- Reflection 3

Part A: Coach Attributes The characteristics or qualities a coach brings to the job are critical to a coach’s success and will shape the roles a coach plays.

For more information on the ISTE Coaching Academy Series Click here!  


  1. Jot down your ideas on the qualities that would be desirable for a coach to possess.  You may also want to ask a peer to define a few desirable coach qualities.

Someone that is willing to listen, patient, and understanding of their own pedagogy and content in relation to technology integration. A coach is some that is okay with making mistakes and admitting when they don’t know the answer BUT knows how to find the answers or is connected enough to others to get help from someone more knowledgable in that particular topic. A tech coach is someone that is willing to seek answers and constantly learn. I believe a good tech coach seeks out innovative ideas and shares those with others. 

  1. Review the qualities teachers who collaborated with coaches say strong coaches should possess.  Teachers say a successful peer coach:
    • Is able to build trust with peers.
    • Builds on what a teacher needs.
    • Is a team player.
    • Communicates well and listens to teachers.
    • Knows what teachers are doing in their classrooms.
    • Can show teachers how to replace what they are doing with something better, not just present technology as an add-on.
    • Is highly organized and plans well in advance with teachers.
    • Provides a safe, risk-taking environment and is non-threatening, non-judgmental, and accepting.
    • Is flexible.
    • Has enough depth and breadth of knowledge to help teachers who are at various stages of technology integration, including knowledge of appropriate instructional strategies.
    • Knows how to organize and structure a technology-rich classroom.
    • Is recognized by staff as a strong/outstanding teacher.
  1. After reviewing your list, and the ideas of coaches’ collaborating teachers identify one or two most important qualities of a strong coach.
First of all I am having a hard time figuring out which one to say is the “most important” this is a really good list! I currently however, just had a meeting with my admin this morning and one thing we were both really focusing on was classroom visits and “knowing what teachers are doing in their classrooms.” Right now, I know generalities, I really want to get into more classrooms to get a better feel of what is going on daily at NAMS.
Beyond that though, I also believe that these two are really good:
    • Has enough depth and breadth of knowledge to help teachers who are at various stages of technology integration, including knowledge of appropriate instructional strategies.
    • Knows how to organize and structure a technology-rich classroom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

@isteconnects Coaching Academy Series- Reflection 2

Effective Professional Learning-2

What professional learning is going to best prepare teachers to meet their students’ needs? 
For more information on the ISTE Coaching Academy Series Click here!  


Part C: Compare your notes to the video instruction.

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development
    • On the job or job-embedded training
    • Connected to classroom practice, pedagogy, and content
        • Meeting the students needs
        • Study- by Cole in Australia where to effect change in a teachers practice you have to actually provide the instruction in the classroom, and focus on issues immediately relevant to them.
    • Shaped by data
    • Intensive, ongoing, and long-term
        • Episodic PD unrelated to one another (Darling-Hammond) to change in content or pedagogy Teachers need 50 hours of training on that one topic throughout the year.
        • Long term professional learning goals. Do not jump from one topic to another.
          • In our building our continued focus on “rigor” in our standards based curriculum as well as the look at technology integration school wide has allowed for the growth we see today.
    • Connects peers with purpose, focuses on innovation
        • If you don’t give teachers structured times to connect and collaborate  you wouldn’t see school wide systemic change
        • One systemic change is all teachers using technology to support standards based instruction
        • In the best school systems in the world teachers have the opportunity to meet and plan and observe each other teach, and then after that have time to reflect.
        • Personally, reflection is KEY! We all need to do more of it.
          • I might have that be a part of my “coach connection” plan if it isn’t already… I would like my people that I am coaching to possibly set up a blog and/or old fashioned journal and reflect on their practice. How often is too often for this?
        • “It’s time for our education workforce to engage in learning the way other professionals do- continually, collaboratively, and on the job- to address the common problems and crucial challenges where they work.” Former North Carolina Governor James Hunt ( Darling-Hammond, 2009, pg. 2)
    • Collaborative and structured to offer educators chances to learn from others

This list of characteristics comes from work of:  Fullan, M. (2001, 2008); Darling-Hammond, L. Wei, R. Andree, A. Richardson, N. Orphanos (2009); Barber, M. & Mourshed, M. (2007); Elmore, R. (2004); Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (2003, July).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

@isteconnects Coaching Academy Series- Reflection 1

Effective Professional Learning-1 Reflection

Part A: Typical Professional Development

Take a moment and jot down some notes on what typical professional development in your school looks like. What is emphasized in this typical model?
Typical professional development is a sit and get sort of activity. Lecture based on power points with some hand outs.

It usually is based on the newest acronym or system that the district has paid for that needs to be implemented with fidelity however we are never given enough time to truly see if it works because we are moving onto the “next thing” before we can actually see the long term effects of the “old thing.”

However, I would say that I have done a pretty good job helping the staff move to a more interactive and tech driven PD, which I would assume is much of what I might learn in this module. Side note: I would love to be able to offer more edcamp style PD here though. Our cafe sessions are good but we only do them about 3-4 times a year and they aren’t really edcamp style since they are much more planned out ahead of time and less organic.

Part B:  Discuss Characteristics of Effective Professional Learning                                                 

Think of a time that you learned something from a professional development experience that changed your practice as a teacher.
Using online sources whether that is Twitter, learning modules like this one or on sophia.org (FREE); having access to resources outside of my building or district and seeing what other teachers are doing has been inspirational and so valuable for me. I wouldn’t be where I am now, or have been able to make changes for my students in my classroom without these connections and learning experiences. However, I would also say it goes beyond just the online environment because many of these people I have then done Google Hangouts with, or met in person at edcamps or conferences. Truly developing a Professional Learning Network, of people that I can go to for help and guidance when I need it.
What made the experience so effective?
Open communication and availability, as well as like minded people that are passionate about teaching and what is good for students. Also the idea that as a teacher it is death to an engaging classroom when you become stagnant.
Reflective Questions for others, especially for admin meeting on Thursday:

  1. What roles does a coach have in a building?
  2. What roles do teachers that collaborate with coaches have?    

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Digital Learning Coach

A Day in the Life of a Digital Learning Coach

I was tagged in this post by Crystal Kirch to document my day so here it goes... Now keep in mind I am still a classroom teacher and only get a small stipend for my Tech Coach responsibilities and one prep period a day to facilitate all that I do.

Thursday 12-4-14

  • 7:25-7:40 Duty (Standing outside in the student drop off zone)
  • 7:45-8:10 co-taught in an 8th ELA classroom to get those students set up with the student website template. See that here
  • 8:10-8:15 Fill out my Coach Tracker form (this is something I use to keep track of all the time I spend on this "job" with the idea that if it is ever called into question exactly what I do with my time I can quickly pull up this data)
  • 8:15-8:40 Quickly pulling together a lesson plan- we had a student pass away a day before and it drastically changed the rest of the week for all students.
  • 8:40-9:31 Teach my 2nd period ELA class
  • 9:35-10:10 Advisory- my advisory has been changed into what I call my tech gurus. See a post on that here. This week we were busy planning and prepping for a Genius Bar and Speed apping event we held in the library at 5:30-6:30pm. Hopefully will do a post on that soon that will include a video of some of the presentations mashed together. The tech gurus are working on editing that together.
  • 10:14-11:05 (technically my prep period for my ELA classes) BUT I was working on getting the documents ready for Tech Thursday on homework incentive ideas. I actually worked into my lunch putting all this stuff together. Tweeting to see if anyone had any ideas, had a few come back from Troy Cockrum where he provided me with the link to the Flipped Learning Network Podcast on gamification of a flipped classroom that I think will be a good resource for the teachers.
  • 11:05-11:20 Continued working through my lunch gathering resources
  • 11:15-11:30 lunch
  • 11:30-11:35 potty break ;-) TMI? #sorrynotsorry
  • 11:43-2:35 Teaching another class of ELA and two of honors language arts.
  • 2:30 Announcment that all students need to leave at 2:35 vs. staying after school (due to the student passing) and all staff had a staff meeting in the library. So much for my planning for Tech Thursday! Will have to use it next week! 
  • 2:45-3:45 Staff Meeting on student interaction over the next few weeks.
  • 3:45 left to pick up my daughter! 
Wondering if I need to do this more often just to see it in type is a bit much... Of course there was a lot more messing around here and their while teaching, my hands are always in several different documents all at once. It also doesn't help that today is a grading day so while teaching I was conferencing with a lot of my students that had lower grades and trying to get work turned in and graded on the spot. Day in the life of a teacher is nothing to mess with!