AL DíA: Online Interactive Tools

It has been suggested that the use of active learning instructional strategies, both in traditional face-to-face classrooms as well as online courses, enhances learning and results in better learning outcomes. . .[Online Interactive Activities include] multiple choice, “drag and drop” matching exercises, and video and traditional case discussions, as active learning strategies to reinforce course concepts. This study examines whether the inclusion of these activities significantly improved learning outcomes as measured by
performance scores on two required exams. 

The findings that emerged…online interactive tools used as an adjunct to a course can enhance student performance …these types of online supplements hold promise for students who are not performing well in the course.

Source: Can Using Individual Online Interactive Activities Enhance Exam Results?


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: The Maker Movement Danger

Great overview of making in schools…however, there is a danger that edtech enthusiasts should be aware of:

Making and building can foster learning in a variety of ways that mesh with long-established theories of how learning unfolds…Kalil (2013) defines makers as ‘‘people who design and make things on their own time because they find it intrinsically rewarding to make, tinker, problem-solve, discover, and share what they have learned’’ (p. 12).  

 …the history of the adoption of computers in schools suggests a lurking danger: a seductive, but fatally flawed conceptualization of the Maker Movement that assumes its power lies primarily in its revolutionary tool set, and that these tools hold the power to catalyze transformations in education.  

Given the growing enthusiasm for making, there is a distinct danger that its incorporation into school settings will be tool-centric and thus incomplete. In my view, a tool-centric approach to integrating making into education will certainly fail, as it will neglect the critical elements of community and mindset. 

As we consider the promise of the Maker Movement for education, we must actively resist this tendency to oversimplify.

Source: Martin, Lee (2015) “The Promise of the Maker Movement for Education,” Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER): Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 4. 
http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/2157-9288.1099


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: Un-makerspaces

Image source

As wonderful as it is to create a makerspace, it’s not hard to imagine creating an un-makerspace as described in this blog entry. The included jobs are also powerful. Given how much stuff human beings generate, there should be ample stuff.

Simply put, a makerspace is a place for students to take raw materials and create “things” using their imagination. . .To create an un-makerspace, I simply turned my classroom into a space where kids could take things apart.

Source: Dissecting the un-Makerspace: Recycled Learning


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Go #Phish: Front Row Seat on Google Docs Attack Vector

Nothing like having  a front row seat on the Google Phishing scam that hit Texas school districts (not to mention lots of other folks) today!

Read my take on it at http://ly.tcea.org/gophish


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: Design, Make, Share

Fascinating approach for makerspace classrooms and/or libraries! Wouldn’t this approach work with just about anything?

Design Make Share is a method for integrating MAKING in the classroom. This method applies to 3D printers and any other type of MAKING from cardboard and scissors to laser cutters and CNC machines. 

PROBLEM/CHALLENGE: Students want to solve a problem, fill a need or answer a question.
DESIGN: Students design, brainstorm, sketch, hypothesize a solution to the problem. It is critical that each student record the results of this process.
MAKE: Students make, build, experiment, fabricate their design. Review and revision are an integral part of this step.
SHARE: Students share, market, publish, teach what they have designed and made…This step can include a summary of the problem, the design, the solution that they made and how it differs from their original design and a reflection of how the work relates to the class curriculum. Be sure that students SHARE the solutions that didn’t work. 

Source: Design, Make, Share: AN OUTLINE FOR MAKING IN THE CLASSROOM


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

MyNotes: Mobile Maker-Technology in Makerspaces

This is the third of several blog entries in which I share my take-aways from ALA’s The Makerspace Librarian’s Sourcebook. I’ve skipped over Chapter 4, which covers Safety and Guidelines in the Library Makerspace. That chapter includes some suggestions worthy of consideration.

About the Makerspace Technology

Some of the major parts of the book, listed below, focus on a variety technologies that may find their way into makerspaces. Having read the chapters skipped, I must admit that these serve as a cursory introduction to the technologies. Certainly, anyone who undertakes Raspberry Pi and Arduino will need some more support. Your level of technical expertise will be tested and I’ve indicated which of the following activities should not be undertaken without district level technical support.

Find out more

Some technologies will require more extensive training. Given a tiered approach to makerspaces, you may want to stagger these so that learners will have a chance to move forward slowly through the various steps, allowing time for practice and reflection.

  • Chapter 5 (3D Printing)* 
  • Chapter 6 (Raspberry Pi)*
  • Chapter 7 (Arduino)*
  • Chapter 8 (LilyPad, Adafruit, Wearable Electronics)
  • Chapter 9 (Google Cardboard for Librarians)
  • Chapter 10 (Legos in the Library)
  • Chapter 11 (littleBits, Makey Makey, Chibitronics)
  • Chapter 12 (Computer Numerical Control in the Library with Cutting and Milling Machines)
  • Chapter 13 (Robotics in Libraries)
  • Chapter 14 (Drones in the Library)
  • Chapter 15 (Library Hackerspace Programs (includes Minecraft, )

While I cannot claim to be an expert in any of these areas (and who would?), each of these technologies provide learners with opportunities to diverse experiences.  Again, each of these chapters serves as a primer and will require deeper study. These chapters would be helped by some curated list of resources online, however, Chapter 17 provides an extensive list of social media hashtags, Facebook pages, Twitter lists, blogs & websites, listservs and mailing lists.

What we, as design thinkers, have is this creative confidence that, when given a difficult problem, we have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before,” IDEO founder David Kelley as cited in Chapter 18.

My Notes – Chapter 16

  1. This chapter focuses on mobile makerspaces and was authored by Kim Martin, Mary Compton, and Ryan Hunt.
  2. A mobile makerspace is a miniature makerspace that’s built into a vehicle, usually the back of a truck or a revamped bus.
  3. Some reasons to go mobile are mentioned:
    1. People are fascinated with mobility
    2. You have a small library
    3. Your library caters to a large population of a scattered area
  4. Steps to go mobile:
    1. Gather a core team
    2. Engage your community
    3. Be financially prepared
  5. Mobile Lab examples
    1. FryskLab
    2. SparkTruck
    3. MakerMobile
    4. The MakerBus
    5. Arts & Scraps

Reflections on the Book

Library makerspaces continue to thrive, drawing new patrons in and engaging them as never before. This hands-on sourcebook edited by technology expert Kroski includes everything libraries need to know about the major topics, tools, and technologies relevant to makerspaces today. Packed with cutting edge instruction and advice from the field’s most tech-savvy innovators, this collection

  • leads librarians through how to start their own makerspace from the ground up, covering strategic planning, funding sources, starter equipment lists, space design, and safety guidelines;
  • discusses the transformative teaching and learning opportunities that makerspaces offer, with tips on how to empower and encourage a diverse maker culture within the library;
  • delves into 11 of the most essential technologies and tools most commonly found in makerspaces, ranging from 3D printers, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and wearable electronics to CNC, Legos, drones, and circuitry kits; and
  • includes an assortment of project ideas that are ready to implement.

As useful for those just entering the “what if” stage as it is for those with makerspaces already up and running, this book will help libraries engage the community in their makerspaces. (Source)

What I like best about this book is Chapter 2, which addresses the pedagogy and instructional approaches that best fit with makerspaces. The chapters focused on various technologies are worth reading as primers, but what is missing is paper approaches. For example, consider these technologies mentioned that merit further review:
  • Cardboard
  • Textiles
  • Beading
  • Repurposing existing materials
The question is, Would you buy an $85 book on setting up makerspaces in libraries? That depends, really, on whether you know anything about the topics raised above. Throughout the book, I kept hoping for projects or project recipe cards.
Still, you may find this text of help.
Some additional resources I’ve been curating:

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: Interactive eBook approach in Flipped Learning

In this study, an interactive e-book approach is proposed to support flipped learning. It facilitates and bridges out-of-class and in-class learning by providing support for interactive learning contents presented on mobile devices. 

To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach, a quasi-experiment was conducted in an elementary school math course. The experimental group students learned with the interactive e-book approach in the flipped learning activity, while the control group students learned with the conventional video-based flipped learning approach.  

The experimental results indicated that the proposed approach not only promoted the students’ self-efficacy for learning mathematics, but also improved their learning achievement; moreover, it was found that the approach benefited the lower self-efficacy more than the higher self-efficacy students. 

The learning record analysis further confirmed that the lower self-efficacy students spent more time reading the e-books before and in class than the higher self-efficacy students did.

Source: Facilitating and Bridging Out-of-Class and In-Class Learning: An Interactive E-Book-Based Flipped Learning Approach for Math Courses By Hwang, Gwo-Jen; Lai, Chiu-Lin | Educational Technology & Society, January 2017 | Go to article overview | ERIC


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

MyNotes: Transdisciplinary Makerspace

This is the second of several blog entries in which I share my take-aways from ALA’s The Makerspace Librarian’s Sourcebook.

Find out more

My Notes – Chapter 3

  1. Transdisciplinarity is the concept that problem-solving tools exist in every discipline.
  2. Makerspace users, as teams or individually, can learn from other experts in a variety of fields and adopt problem-solving techniques to solve their unique lessons.
  3. Robust problem-solvers who can think on their feet, take risks and troubleshoot issues are sought out.
  4. Makerspaces are defined not by specific equipment but by a guiding purpose to provide people with a place to experiment, create, and learn.
  5. Setup tiered levels of engagement…
    1. users can situate themselves on a ladder of expertise.
    2. By setting up levels in an informal learning environment, users can scale up their own skills as much or as little as they prefer, depending on the nature of their projects.
    3. The higher students progress up the tiered structure, the greater their expertise will become.
    4. An example of a tiered structure:
      1. Level 1 – Introduction to technologies and small projects
      2. Level 2 – Learn to work on their own and work towards ownership of the tools and services.
      3. Level 3 – Learners identify as makers and recognize their skillsets. Engages users in self-evaluation of technical skills.
      4. Level 4 – They troubleshoot technologies with the community regularly and become known as experts in specific technologies, and they add value to the maker community.
      5. Level 5 – Become a leader in the core community, a volunteer, employee, peer trainer or ambassador. They engage in prototyping and troubleshooting, reflect critically on their projects.
      6. Level 6 – Take on responsibilities as an employee or regular volunteer. They offer workshops about what they have learned, and may turn their ideas into businesses. Users at the most advanced level will have significant expertise in one or more areas and offer workshops to others about the details of their projects. They troubleshoot efficiently.
    5. Makerspaces are places that challenge the status quo, safe places to ask questions, places to acknowledge and honor differences, places to talk about solving societal issues, places to embrace design thinking strategies, and places where users feel safe enough to tackle the questions that matter the most.

Disclaimer: This is the first of several blog entries featuring this book. ALA approached me with a copy of the book, asking me to review it. I received no payment for this review. I retain full editorial rights over my content and any quoted content is indicated. 



Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: Direct Instruction and Flipped Classroom

Some key take-aways:

  • The Marzano Learning Sciences Research Lab (Marzano & Toth, 2014) has recently published a research report (namely “Teaching for Rigor: A Call for a Critical Instructional Shift”), revealing that nearly 60% of the classroom time in schools in the United States is still dedicated to direct instruction
  • According to the recent K-12 edition of the New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2015 (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada & Freeman, 2015), the flipped classroom is foreseen as one of the most prominent educational strategies in this triennium to transform students from “spoon-fed,” passive learners into self-directed, active learners.

Source: Empowering Students in the Process of Social Inquiry Learning through Flipping the Classroom. By Jong, Morris Siu-Yung | Educational Technology & Society, January 2017 | Go to article overview


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

10 @TCEA Blog Entries: The Latest Idea Roundup

Here’s the latest roundup of blog entries I’ve written for TCEA TechNotes’ blog…happy reading!

Image Source: Wikimedia

  1. Prevent Summer Slide with Technology: This blog entry allowed me to explore a conversation I had with a colleague several years ago. What fun it was to dig up that conversation and explore it in light of new technologies. One of the challenging aspects of preventing summer slide is the fact that school districts want to use tutorial, or drill-n-practice, solutions to address it. Research shows, though, that such approaches have limited impact on math and reading.
  2. Choosing an Online Payment System: One of the initiatives that I took on as a technology director was implementing an online payment system. This blog entry captures part of the success story.
  3. Slack for Better Communication: My first introduction to Slack was last year. I was amazed that I had completely missed this wonderful service. Of course, for previous years, I’d been focused on building school district communication networks using Telegram and Voxer. 
  4. Get Organized: Productivity Tips for OneNote: It’s amazing how fast OneNote is evolving and becoming the tool of choice for many.
  5. Down Memory Lane: Memoir Maps with iPads: This blog entry allowed me to explore memoirs and iPads, but more importantly, to exorcise an old unpleasant memory.
  6. Showcase Your School’s Success: Like most district administrators, I wanted to share the great things that were ongoing in schools. As a blogger, I’m always amazed at much great material we let just fade into memory. In this blog entry, I share my insights into how you can do this for your school.
  7. Transform Learning with Text to Speech: A few weeks ago, a colleague received a phone call asking about solutions for text to speech, and speech to text. I was pleased I had the opportunity to share this blog entry.
  8. When People Fail – Digital Evidence Search: As a tech director, one of the challenges we encounter is when people fail, when they use technology in inappropriate ways…and how we are forced to deal with it.
  9. Protect Your Virtual Home – Google Chrome Browser: A few of my favorite Chrome add-ons that help you manage work, beautify it with pretty pictures, and protect your privacy.
  10. No More Death by Powerpoint: A few insights from years of experience. Somehow, I thought they would be more. 🙂
Most of these blog entries address the TCEA Productivity Tools for Administrators Academy coming up later this summer, 2017. 


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

The Doer Who Learns: The Makerspace Librarians’ Handbook

“For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing,” said Aristotle. Or, more simply, the doer who learns. As a writer in the education field, and I trace my lineage back to those first book reports in third grade, I have been learning by writing for many years. So I must admit to some concern when I saw arts (did I mention I flunked art in kinder?) and crafts see a resurgence in schools, a contra-decima to the establishment of the Common Core as Chris Aviles suggests in his article which I explored earlier.

Find out more

As I have written more about makerspaces, experienced it firsthand, I realize that we are moving quickly to the digitization of arts and craft experiences. Making things from junk, then digitizing the creation, resulting in a 3D printing that is functional, well, that moves the experience of creating down the road. Makers appear an innovation on what humans have been doing for years–hunting, gathering, and making stuff.

Disclaimer: This is the first of several blog entries featuring this book. ALA approached me with a copy of the book, asking me to review it. I received no payment for this review. I retain full editorial rights over my content and any quoted content is indicated. And, I wrote this blog entry, and will offer the book as a resource at the next makerspace I attend facilitated by my colleague, Peggy Reimers (@preimers)

The Source

In a new book published by the American Library Association (ALA), #the makerspace_librarian’s sourcebook, edited by Ellyssa Kroski, I find myself overawed again by the scope of possibility. When you consider what teachers teach, students learn, and the yawning chasm between that incomplete experience and what life offers, what the marketplace demands, this sourcebook sends a powerful message:

This hands-on sourcebook…includes everything libraries need to know about the major topics, tools, and technologies relevant to makerspaces today. [It]…delves into 11 of the most essential technologies and tools…found in makerspaces, ranging from 3D printers, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and wearable electronics to CNC, Legos, drones and circuitry kits and includes an assortment of project ideas that are ready to implement.

For the sake of variety, I decided to do a quick skim of the book to see what useful nuggets might reveal themselves, half submerged in the rapid flow of text and quotes, 400 pages long. Here are some of my take-aways of this must-have textbook for schools, teachers, librarians and administrators eager to fundamentally understanding the maker movement and implement it in their schools.

[I’ve tried to put my own remarks in square brackets to distinguish from straight quotes or excerpts from the book.]

My Notes

  1. The book is divided into multiple sections, including:
    1. Creating the Library Makerspace
    2. Makerspace Materials, Tools and Technologies
    3. Looking Ahead
  2. Creating the Library Makerspace
    1. Chapter 1 – Makers create things, ideas, and concepts (Cherie Bronkar)
      1. A typical academic makerspace would include 3D printers, programmable electronics, digital microscopes, video equipment, large format printers, and other items that add to the institution’s curriculum.
      2. A space like this gives students endless possibilities to put their education into practice.
      3. How to get started without funding:
        1. Paper crafts like origami, book art (using withdrawn books), creating apps
        2. The makerspace movement need not rely on high-priced tech.
        3. Making can be as simple as featuring a building contest with Legos or hosting something more technical like a hackathon. 
        4. Students can make and display dioramas, science projects, crafts, and jewelry along the line of friendship bracelets.
        5. Use computers and host training to help students create videos on their phones and upload them to free video editing apps, run a contest for the best Vine [or Snapchat or Instagram Story], create a school YouTube site, create funny video spoofs of a book the class has read
      4. The cost of makerspaces is explored, and include equipment lists. You’ll have to read the book to see the components, but here’s an approximate cost:
        1. Tech-focused makerspace starter kit: $3,300
        2. Bigger Budget Tech-Focused Makerspace Starter Kit: $21,000
        3. Media – Video Focused Makerspace Starter Kit – $7200
        4. Media – Sound-Focused Makerspace Starter Kit – $7500
        5. Low Budget Elem School Focused Kit – $500-$1000
        6. Dream budget-Milling/Power Equipment List – $30K-$50K
      5. [You know, as I look these lists over, there is a lot of cost-savings possible if we disregard proprietary software titles (e.g. Final Cut Pro) and use free open source tools (e.g. Shotcut).]
      6. An effective way to learn is to create training materials for users while you’re learning. [Great tip!]
      7. Usage policies and planning your makerspace are also covered
    2. Chapter 2 – Pedagogy and Prototyping in Library Makespaces
      1. This chapter was authored by Laura Costello, Meredith Powers and Dana Haugh
      2. [Some fascinating approaches and quotes included for each!]:
        1. Active Learning: 
          1. “Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.” – Dale Carnegie
          2. Active learning is the process in which students participate in activities to facilitate understanding and retention.
        2. Collaborative Learning: 
          1. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie
          2. Any exploration of an idea with two or more minds involved. Individuals working in groups generally retain more information and understand a concept more fully than those working alone.
        3. Inquiry-based Learning: 
          1. “Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” -Nancy Willard
          2. Inquiry-based learning is the proces of learning by posing questions, problems, or scenarios. It provides a scaffold for student learning but allows students to explore and develop a better understanding of concepts instead of simply presenting the facts or providing a linear path to established ideas.
        4. Project-based Learning:
          1. Projects are complex, multilayered learning experiences that require students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
          2. Suggestions for PBL:
            1. Present a compelling, challenging real world problem for students.
            2. Encourage students to explore topic through extensive inquiry, research,  information application and reflection.
            3. Organize time for critiques, revisions that scaffolds peer collaboration.
            4. Empower students to share their results with each other and others.
        5. Constructionism:
          1. “For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing.” – Aristotle
          2. Inspired by constructivist theory
          3. People learn better when they are actively making things.
          4. Students are encouraged to build or create tangible objects to understand the world around them.
          5. Instead of teaching at a person, constructionism supports the idea of assisting learning through trial and error.
          6. Students test their ideas without fear of failure.
      3. Makerspaces are safe spaces where learners are encouraged to fail to test boundaries and explore creative limits in pursuit of intellectual growth and understanding.
      4. “Good novels, if we are ready for them, transform us. Good curricula should have the same effect.” -N.V. Overly & E. Spalding
      5. The ability to tinker, build, break, and create something you envisioned is an incredibly powerful lesson. To work alongside makers of all levels reinforces the idea that we are all learners and need help to succeed.
      6. Instructional approaches
        1. ADDIE framework
        2. Rapid Prototyping
        3. Backward Design
        4. Eight Learning Events: an instructional design model that describes content and context-independent, observable, specific learner activities
          1. imitate
          2. receive information
          3. exercise
          4. explore
          5. experiment
          6. create
          7. self-reflect
          8. debate
Wow, Chapter 2 does not disappoint in terms of awesome ideas and rounding up instructional approaches! I have to admit that it’s my favorite chapter so far. 


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Doom and Gloom: Maker Learning Fad

A colleague recently shared this article, The Makerspace is Doomed, which points out without hesitation that makerspaces are doomed in their current incarnation in libraries and special rooms:

If you are unfamiliar with the Makerspace in schools, the most common type of Makerspace aims to both better expose students to STEM related fields and revive the lost art of making with one’s hands. Basically, it is Shop class 2.0. And like Shop class, the Makerspace is doomed. The Makerspace has five years left, ten if it’s lucky.

Chris Aviles, the author, points out that the Makerspace is doomed because it is a fad (well, heck, what isn’t in education except the love of a teacher for her students?) and money. Yes, makerspaces can be expensive, if not in actual budget (robots aren’t cheap), in time to gather all the inexpensive alternatives to robots. Really, what else can be dumped on librarians to do?

“An educator coaches individuals to become what is essential — to develop into human beings who are fully alive.”
Source: http://plpnetwork.com/2012/07/25/you/

Working as an educator for last zillion years, having seen many fads come and go, I like this excerpt from the article the most:

“I stopped the lectures and cut way back on the direct instruction. Instead, I got an LMS, recorded myself, and blended my classroom. I gave students choice and voice in what they learned…I tried to make learning as personal, relevant, and authentic as possible. I got cross-curricular….” 

For the author, his embrace of fads like interdisciplinary studies, blended learning, flipped learning, constructivist approach suggests that being “a maker” is already present in schools. This is just another label to describe digitizing arts and crafts, shops 2.0 as he called it.

What’s the connection to our work as educators, if any? I see synchronous instruction (F2F/Online) as lectures he describes. Recording oneself, providing choice and voice in what is learned with the opportunity to make it personal (learning content is a makerspace where learners connect experiences they value to active learning), relevant and authentic is the new trend.

Implications for edtech folks? We can accomplish this with a learning and development schedule that lessens our involvement with synchronous learning, the right technology that enables us to market asynchronous learning opportunities 24/7. This grants our students, adult learners in a global marketplace of learning, the ability to control their own destiny, to find what they want and learn however they want. We have to become extremely mobile and fluid in creating content on the go.

Makerspaces ARE a fad. But then, so is everything in education today. The question is, how do we surf the fads while providing a valuable service to those who choose (e.g. Innovators, Ealry Adopters, Early Majority or 50%) to embrace the next thing? And, how do we continue to nurture the inservice teachers (Late Majority, Laggards or 50%)?


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: Audio Books and Reading

Source: Salon

For me, the most important part of the study is that the researchers focused on just listening, with no follow-along-in-the-book or other reading intervention added. The impact of purely listening to books is striking. Two notable findings are that students using Tales2go attained 58% of the annual expected gain in reading achievement in just 10 weeks, putting them three months ahead of control students. 

Plus, the study group outperformed the control group across all measures, by three times in reading comprehension, nearly seven times in second-grade vocabulary, and nearly four times in reading motivation. These increases came after students listened for twenty minutes three times per week in the afternoon program at school, and an additional two twenty-minute sessions at home.

Read more as well as review the research study

Note: This is a new type of blog entry where I share information daily about a new tidbit of research. I’m sure we all agree that learning something new daily is awesome. While I usually collect my new insights then blog about them, it’s fun to release them as they happen. Since the venerable Dr. Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant) has the “Daily Brief,” I’ve decided to call my effort (in a flattering imitation of Scott’s effort) AL DíA, which is Spanish version of “updated.”


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

In the Midst of Info-Chaos @susannaclavello

Note about Guest Blog: Thanks to Susanna Clavello (Twitter: @susannaclavello;
Coordinator, Digital Learning for the Education Service Center, Region 20) for sharing this awesome take on helping students make sense of information chaos!


Full Title: Helping Students Navigate the Digital World in the Midst of Information Chaos


Susanna Clavello (@susannaclavello)
Today, librarians and library media specialists’ roles are more important than ever before. Let me explain why.


A research report from Adobe Education notes that, “In today’s world, a proficient employee needs to be computer literate, visually literate, information literate, media literate, and digitally literate.” Yet, a recent study from Stanford School of Education proves a shocking reality: the majority of middle school through college students are digitally illiterate. With so much emphasis on educating students to be good readers, how can we explain this disconnect?


We live in an age where instead of a traditional textbook, the world has become the curriculum and it can be easily accessed anytime. This reality has a significant impact on teaching practices, and since this shift challenges a comfortable and safe status quo, the future of many classrooms is for the most part stuck in the past.


Century after century and decade after decade, the American public school curriculum has adapted to meet the needs of a constantly evolving society. The Information Age began in the late 20th Century with the birth of the internet, putting new demands for a new skillset among graduates. Today, shifts in the global economy plus the increasing sophistication of technology and the shift from Web 1.0 to 2.0, then 3.0 and 4.0 have opened doors to the Conceptual Age. This very fast change has put strains in an education system that has been slow to adapt. In their book Teacher as Architect, Smith, Chavez and Seaman conclude that this inevitable change “…will require an upgrade to our curriculum, new instructional methods and materials, a new profile of a global graduate, and an open mind.”


The definition of literacy has changed in the Conceptual Age. Traditionally, literacy has been defined as the combination of reading, writing, speaking and listening -a skillset that is taught throughout the curriculum and across grade levels, and that state requirements and accountability measures put much emphasis on. Yet, these skills do not transfer from print to online format. Teaching reading using digital content requires a shift in thinking about what we call literacy as well as a change in pedagogy.


Digital literacy -which many equate to media literacy, web literacy, information fluency, information literacy, or transliteracy- is constantly evolving as technology continues to change and the demands of society continue to increase.


The digital world is where students spend a great deal of time looking up and sharing information, creating content, and interacting with others. Educators must understand the impact of this media on students’ identity and behavior, and help them become literate in the chaotic and confusing web of information. In his Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom video, Alan November reminds us that one of the myths about technology in education is that the web provides diverse ideas from around the world resulting in a generally better educated society, when in reality, this can only be accomplished when users know how to validate and interpret information in order to make informed decisions.


If you are curious about how digitally literate your students are, try one of these experiments. Take your elementary students to TheDogIsland.com and practice main idea and details, context clues, cause and effect, and other reading comprehension skills. Then ask them, Would you take your dog to Dog Island? Why or why not? Observe their reasoning and the conclusions they draw. How many of them realize that the information is completely false? And if they do, how can they tell?


If you work with secondary students, ask when is it best to search for information using Google, Wolfram Alpha, Wayback Machine, subscription-based digital collections, or Twitter. Chances are, this may be confusing. Students may not realize that the quality, credibility, audience, and purpose of the information may vary drastically in each of these sources.


Digital literacy is not defined as the knowledge of using technology tools and applications; it is a combination of competencies and skills that are constantly evolving. According to Dr. Renee Hobbs, University of Rhode Island professor and founder of the Media Education Lab, “digital and media literacy closes the gap between the classroom and the culture because it capitalizes on the idea of making information relevant. Relevance ignites intellectual curiosity, and intellectual curiosity fuels lifelong learning.”


On the other hand, educational researcher Doug Belshaw discusses eight essential elements of digital literacy in his TEDx talk: cognitive, constructive, communicative, civic, critical, creative, confident, and cultural – which add another layer of complexity and depth to the modern definition of literacy. Belshaw concludes, “Digital literacies allow ideas to be amplified, to spread quickly, to be remixed.”


Just like reading online is different from reading on paper, so is writing. When students get ready to write online, there should be a prior conversation on what to write, where to publish it, for what purpose, for whose benefit, and how to use good judgment to engage in civil dialogue, should it become necessary.


Current state standards fall short of deepening student understanding of the intricacies of the digital world. Research projects using digital resources are often planned at the end of the school year -once standardized testing is over- and new literacy skills are often covered superficially. In addition, teacher preparation and professional development opportunities very rarely include digital literacy.


Current data from surveys nationwide indicate that 72% of teachers never ask their students to use online tools like Twitter or news feeds to acquire information, and 60% of teachers never or rarely ask their students to conduct research projects using digital resources (BrightBytes, January 2017). Why does this matter? Professor Renee Hobbs says that, “To take advantage of online educational opportunities, people need to have a good understanding of how knowledge is constructed, and how it represents reality and articulates one point of view” (Hobbs, 2010). More than one point of view is needed to draw conclusions and make informed decisions.


The ISTE standards for students 2016 cover digital literacy, and can guide educators in weaving new literacies across the curriculum fabric. State technology standards, on the other hand, may not reflect the most current digital literacy competencies and skills. Consequently, we must create opportunities for students -and adults alike- to be prepared to meet the demands of a constantly changing society, distinguish facts from alternative news, and engage in civil discourse.


As Alan November mentions to in his Mission Critical: How Educators Can Help Save Democracy article (December 2016), conditions that keep schools from teaching digital literacy include:
  • Teaching that often focuses on what is tested, and does not foster enough intellectual inquiry or academic exploration;
  • The omission of digital literacy in the core curriculum and standardized assessments;
  • Restrictive web filters that block teachable moments and give a false sense of security instead of promoting digital citizenship and critical thinking;
  • Limited knowledge of search strategies and how to validate online information;
  • Research skills that are taught superficially, late in the school year, in secondary grades only, or as a one-time introduction at the library.


The following are additional contributing factors:
  • Schools requiring teachers to follow a scripted curriculum versus allowing them to be creative and responsive to their students’ interests and cultural backgrounds;
  • The use of digital devices for supplemental programs or remedial courses, thus limiting access to tools for inquiry and creative work;
  • The misunderstanding that research equates to looking up information, with no analysis or synthesis involved in the process;
  • A perception that technology-related activities are separate from core instruction and therefore non-essential;
  • The fear that technology will eventually replace classroom teachers;
  • Teaching practices that are no longer current and do not harness the power of digital tools. In other words, why ask questions that students can google?  
  • A lack of certified library media specialists at each campus; and
  • A lack of awareness of the implications of digital illiteracy.


So what can schools do to ensure that students are good navigators of the digital world? A lot, actually. Here are some considerations:
  • Identify opportunities to use technology beyond the stage of consumption or substitution of traditional schoolwork, and redesign instruction to allow for student collaboration and creation of content;
  • Equip students with the necessary skills to validate information online and make informed decisions;
  • Allow students to be curious and question the validity of information they are exposed to, challenge assumptions and engage in high levels of inquiry and civil discourse;  
  • Provide opportunities for students to apply complex thinking to identify and create solutions to predictable and unpredictable problems in their community and beyond;
  • Empower students to think about their own thinking, and tap into their personal interests and passions;
  • Allow students to take control of their own learning;
  • Expose students to different social media channels, identify look fors, and develop a deeper understanding of how information is constructed and shared;
  • Implement a digital citizenship program with fidelity and establish a culture of safe, ethical and responsible use of technology;
  • Provide access to a quality collection of subscription-based digital resources that are reliable and trustworthy, and promote their use;
  • Involve school librarians and library media specialists throughout the process.


Why are school librarians and library media specialists so critical in this mission? For once, librarians are experienced classroom teachers with a Master’s degree in library and information science, and certification. They are the information experts on campus for both digital and print materials. They are also computer literate.


Librarians support teachers in helping students build literacy skills -including digital literacy- by teaching students to distinguish legitimate sources from untrustworthy ones, make sense of the information they are exposed to and put it into the right context, so they can make informed, responsible decisions. The library is the largest classroom on campus -a place where curiosity leads to discovery. Librarians provide resources and strategies to promote and implement innovative learning opportunities for students. In addition, they partner with teachers “to design and implement curricula and assessments that integrate elements of deeper learning, critical thinking, information literacy, digital citizenship, creativity, innovation and the active use of technology.” (see futureready.org).


Some of the most exemplary lessons I have observed are the ones co-designed by teams of teachers, librarians and instructional technologists. Some of the best student projects I have seen were supported by a great school librarian.


Schools have the responsibility to teach students and educators alike how to navigate today’s messy and chaotic digital world responsibly and with confidence. We invite you to be open minded about the ideas listed above, remove any barriers or limiting thoughts, and envision the benefits of a digitally literate community at your school. And if it ever feels too overwhelming, remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”


Susanna Clavello serves as the Coordinator of Digital Age Learning at Education Service Center, Region 20. She is also an IPEC certified professional coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner.

@SusannaClavello


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

My 2017 Favorite Windows 10 Apps/Programs #MIEExpert

It’s been ages since I’ve put together a list of all my favorite Windows apps. So, here goes with an update! What would you add to this list? 


Here are the questions this blog entry answers:

  1. How do I update to the latest version of Windows 10?
  2. How do I protect/secure my Windows 10 Computer?
  3. How do I encrypt my data so hackers can’t get to it?
  4. How do I secure my WiFi Connection from Hackers and Surveillance?
  5. How do I capture/edit images?
  6. How do I work with sound and video?
  7. How do I quickly add or find free software?
  8. How do I remotely control my Windows computers?
  9. How do I read ebooks on Windows 10?

And, if you are looking for Microsoft apps for your surface book/table or, maybe just great Win10 programs, you can click those links to find TONS of info.



1. How do I update to the latest version of Windows 10?

2. How do I protect/secure my Windows 10 Computer?
  • Keep your Windows computer up to date, using Windows Update and Patch My PC
  • Eliminate 90% of security issues by not running your user account in administrator mode
  • Anti-Malware
    • Malware Bytes* – Great to use when you think your computer has been infected with malware/spyware and you need your computer “cleaned out.”
    • AntiRansomware – Although still in beta, Malware Bytes’ solution to ransomware offers real-time protection against ransomware, catching it before it can encrypt your files.
    • Spyware Blaster*– An easy to use “inoculation” program against spyware/malware.
    • Spybot Search and Destroy* – The best part of Spybot is the TeaTimer which protects your computer’s registry against contamination and immunizes your browsers (IE, Firefox) against malware.
  • AntiVirus
    • BitDefender Free – This free for home use antivirus works great and does not drive you crazy with advertisements.
    • Sophos Home Antivirus – This is another protection free for home use.
  • Run Windows in Virtual Mode
    • VMWare Player – Free for personal, home use
    • VirtualBox – Not as good as VMWare Player (in my opinion) but still does the job
3. How do I encrypt my data so hackers can’t get to it?

File/Folder Encryption?

Text/Email Encryption?


You may also want to get a copy of File Shredder for Windows to securely delete information from your Windows computer.


4. How do I secure my WiFi Connection from Hackers and Surveillance?

Not sure this is necessary? It is and increasingly so. Be sure to take this information to heart.

“Virtual Private Networks provide an important element of privacy protection for users,” Electronic Frontiers Association says. . .VPNs [are] one of the most effective tools for protecting privacy when using the Internet, due to the degree of anonymity they provide when accessing online services.

Free VPNs for Your Browser

    1. Opera browser has a built-in VPN that works well
    2. DotVPN Chrome add-on works with your Chrome browser

VPNs that Protect All Internet Traffic from Your Windows Computer

    1. Private Internet Access (PIA) (approx <$40 annually or $6.95 per month)
    2. Express VPN
    3. NordVPN

Mobile VPN for Android and/or iOS

    1. All VPNs above have mobile versions
    2. OperaVPN (not to be confused with Opera browser) works great

5. How do I capture/edit images?
6. How do I work with sound and video?
Audio
    1. Audacity (Free)
    2. Beautiful Audio Editor on Chrome browser) (Free)
    3. Microsoft Sway for narrated images or podcasts
    4. VLC Media Player (audio & video)
    5. Convert YouTube Music Videos to MP3 Audio Files with ATube Catcher
Video
    1. Shotcut (Free)
    2. Powerpoint+Office Mix
    3. Screencastify and other tools
    4. Get this codec pack – XP Codec Pack
    5. Video Conversion Tools? AnyVideo Converter or

7. How do I quickly add or find free software?


8. How do I remotely control my Windows computer?
Wish you could remotely control a computer from work or home? Perhaps you need to have an online meeting? Try one of these solutions.
9. How do I read ebooks on Windows 10?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Shifting the Conversation: Basic Tech Skills #MIEexpert @microsoftedu


“Do you by chance know of a good basic list of tech skills that every teacher should know? If so, do you have a formal assessment for this?” asked a TCEA member recently of a colleague. “We’re a Microsoft district,” the member added. In this blog post, we’ll explore a list of expectations for teachers. We’ll also discuss some suggestions for formal assessments.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
“Do you by chance know of a good basic list of tech skills that every teacher should know? If so, do you have a formal assessment for this?” asked a TCEA member recently of a colleague. “We’re a Microsoft district,” the member added. In this blog post, we’ll explore a list of expectations for teachers. We’ll also discuss some suggestions for formal assessments.

Shifting the Conversation

When asked what my list of basic technology skills are, I head over to Google, er, I mean, Bing, and do a quick search. There are a million lists of basic tech skills. The real question isn’t “What are the basic tech skills teachers need to have?” but rather: “How do you fundamentally expect them to shift teaching and learning for themselves, each other, and their students?” That question is more fun. One simple way to shift the conversation involves asking yourself “How do students in classrooms today learn best?” For example, take a look at this chart about Generation Z students:

Teachers working with Generation Z have some changes to make in their classrooms. You can break the expectations down in simple ways:

  1. Using digital media (videos/podcasts)
  2. Learning through hands-on experiences
  3. Developing team-building skills
  4. Solving real-world problems

How do these changing expectations impact basic technology skills that all teachers need?

Basic Tech Skills: A List

In the space below, you will find items relevant to the four expectations of teachers today expressed above:

  1. Using digital media (video/podcasts)
    1. Create folders to organize content.
    2. Organize files into folders, copying files from one folder to another.
    3. Work with filenames and extensions.
    4. Record screencasts with Powerpoint and Office Mix.
    5. Record a podcast with MS Sway online.
    6. Capture and share a whiteboard recording (audio+annotation) with Microsoft Snip.
    7. Record and edit audio clips using programs like Audacity (free).
    8. Record and edit video using programs like Shotcut (free).
  2. Learning through hands-on experiences
    1. Model and support the use of digital ink for learning enhancement.
    2. Create models for 3D printing using tools like SketchUp Pro/My.SketchUp (free for Texas schools via TCEA), Tinkercad, and Microsoft Paint 3D.
    3. Make and take in classroom-based maker spaces that incorporate coding (e.g. Creative Coding through Games and Apps (CCGA), TickleApp (view compatible drones) and DroneBlocks (view compatible drones), each of which works with different drones. This type of programming can be introduced to students using MIT’s Scratch and Scratch, Jr.
  3. Developing team-building skills
    1. Rely on GPS-enabled devices for geo-caching activities as a team or create activities for others.
    2. Have students form teams and then make a social justice video using their devices. Then publish the videos online using YouTube.
    3. Engage students in problem-based learning scenarios that require them to collaborate and communicate to solve a problem. Deepen the difficulty by separating them into different rooms (or work with another classroom) and work at a distance using an instant messaging/video technology of choice (e.g. Skype).
    4. Students can also construct virtual representations of learning tasks in virtual spaces (e.g. Minecraft: Education Edition).
  4. Solving real-world problems
    1. Adopt BreakOut EDU methods for use in the classroom.
    2. Encourage students to use Office 365 (e.g. Microsoft Office Suite) to engage in real-world data analysis to solve problems.
    3. Create problem-based scenarios using Powerpoint and Office Mix with built-in assessment.
    4. Enter students in the 3D Design Contest offered each spring by TCEA where they must solve an authentic problem using the design engineering process.

Bringing It All Together

If you’re working on developing teacher skills aligned to student learning needs, then here are three more tips to keep in mind:

  • Engage with Problems: Engage learners in the authentic purpose of solving a problem (problem-based learning/inquiry-based learning).
  • Encourage Collaboration and Implementation: Encourage and support adult learners as they collaborate on projects–sharing their own life experiences–focused on the creation of tangible product(s) with modeling and safe implementation opportunities.
  • Amplify Learners’ Voices with Tech: Amplify human voices with technology as they gather stories and share them (blogging, podcasts, video, media collections).

Conclusion

With these, any professional learning you invite educators to can be enhanced to achieve much of what they need to better meet learners’ needs. Be sure to visit the Microsoft Education Community for access to free professional learning that includes micro credentials (e.g. badges) that teachers can earn and share. And, of course, remember that TCEA Microsoft Innovative Education (TCEAMIE) Master Trainer Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin; mguhlin@tcea.org; 800-282-8232) is available to work with your campus or district to help develop skills with your staff.  

No More Death by Powerpoint

“No worries,” I said to my captive cafeteria audience of teachers back in the 1990s. The extra long telephone cable ran from the cafeteria manager’s office, plugged into the modem on my laptop. “I saved my PowerPoint on the Internet and we can watch it that way.” For some of us, PowerPoint offered a way to ditch lovingly crafted, black-and-white overhead transparencies. PowerPoint had color and embedded videos and images incredibly easily. And, lest we forget, it was simple to share those files on the burgeoning web. 

Now, we hate PowerPoint, a symbol of a bloated, grumpy person who has so much to offer that we no longer want or need it. But is that really the story? Perhaps we put too much of the blame on the software and too little on ourselves. It’s not the program’s fault if those who use it #fail. It’s time to revisit our friend from yesteryear and explore the anatomy of PowerPoint productivity.

Read this blog entry offering Powerpoint tips! 

“No worries,” I said to my captive cafeteria audience of teachers back in the 1990s. The extra long telephone cable ran from the cafeteria manager’s office, plugged into the modem on my laptop. “I saved my PowerPoint on the Internet and we can watch it that way.” For some of us, PowerPoint offered a way to ditch lovingly crafted, black-and-white overhead transparencies. PowerPoint had color and embedded videos and images incredibly easily. And, lest we forget, it was simple to share those files on the burgeoning web. Now, we hate PowerPoint, a symbol of a bloated, grumpy person who has so much to offer that we no longer want or need it. But is that really the story? Perhaps we put too much of the blame on the software and too little on ourselves. It’s not the program’s fault if those who use it #fail. It’s time to revisit our friend from yesteryear and explore the anatomy of PowerPoint productivity.

Note: Welcome to this ongoing series on productivity tools for leaders and do-ers. Check back often to see more!

Create Engaging Experiences in PowerPoint

Tears running down her face, the Dances with the Stars judge looked at the winded dancer and celebrity Rashad Jennings. “I felt your dance, you emoted…emotion=emotion.” As Rashad pointed out, “I honestly felt like I was translating a message…It takes you back to what actually transpired in your life.” That’s what a powerful presentation can do, and to accomplish that, it takes YOU.

“For me, the sign of a great keynote or lecture is if I’m still thinking about it later. If I’m making connections, thinking deeply, and wanting to watch it again, then I usually enjoyed it.” (Source: Michael Wacker, Reflections and Discoveries)

Create a series of emotive experiences that take you and your audience on a journey of discovery. When creating your slide deck, your goal is to create amazement and stir the feeling of awe in your companions. That means that you aren’t putting up bullet points for your audience to read with you. Instead, you are telling a story that is vibrant and filled with images. You are connecting yourself to the participants and to each other. Here are some tips:

  • Use a powerful story to connect with the audience.
  • Find the underdog in the story and tell it from that perspective.
  • Use images that create insight into the feelings and learnings of the story.
  • Use a word or phrase to capture a thought, to let those gathered around your fire listening to the tale.
  • Dramatize your tale; don’t be afraid to get excited, to lower your voice as you reach a sad point in the story, or to smile as there is a happy ending.
  • Invite participants to share what they’re thinking and feeling as it happens, using backchannel tools like TodaysMeet or Padlet.

Know Your Tool

Ever watch a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy hesitate before asking for the right surgical instrument? Of course not! Before a doctor goes into a surgery, he reviews the case file and studies alternative procedures. Doctors know exactly what they are going to need and what they might need if all goes down the sink. They embody “Prior preparation prevents a poor PowerPoint!” Here is a curated list of tools to enhance your presentation, from audio insertion to templates and tips for Windows users.

  1. Keyboard shortcuts:
    • Open PowerPoint Fast: Windows+R – powerpnt [enter]
    • CTRL+enter selects the slide title of a page. Or you can press it again and insert a new slide
    • F2 switches between “edit object” and “edit text.” It allows you to edit the text box words, highlighting the words in a text box. CTRL+shift+’=’ (CTRL-Shift+) changes selected text into superscript
    • Right Click button: Get the same effect as clicking the right click button on your mouse by pressing the key between the CTRL and ALT on the right side of keyboard. This will give you the same menu you get with a right click on your mouse.
    • Here are a few more keyboard shortcuts you may learn to treasure.
  2. Miscellaneous Tutorials
    1. Basic Tasks in Powerpoint
    2. Know Your Powerpoint File Formats
    3. Add, Rearrange and Delete Slides
    4. Use Sections to Manage Slides
    5. Create Slides using Outline view
    6. Insert a Linked Excel Chart into Powerpoint
    7. Cropping a Picture to a Shape with Crop to Shape (video)
  3. Using Templates for PowerPoint (read the TCEA blog entry)

Engage with Video, Pictures, and Sound

  1. “Learners process video 60,000 times faster than text!” Make sure you embed short video clips when you want to get a point across quickly. Link to the video at the time you want (right-click to get “copy video URL at current time,” shown below). Snap a picture of the video and insert that into your slide, then link the picture using the video URL at current time.anatomy
  2. Create engaging pictures and images featuring information. Find copyright-friendly images online.
  3. Add music clips and sounds to enhance the mood. Find some online.

Finally, don’t be afraid to assess the audience using one of the tools in this blog entry: High Five: Free Web-based Assessment Tools.

Find Out More

Want to learn other ways to save time and be more productive at work? Attend the Productivity Tools for Administrators on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 in Austin. The one-day learning experience is guaranteed to provide you a wealth of hands-on activities to ensure you walk away with the tips and techniques you need to do more in less time. Register here.  


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

3 Benefits to Free Tech Curriculum

“What’s the biggest problem we face in achieving success on the 8th grade technology applications TEKS?” asked a district instructional technology specialist. That is a question that many of my education colleagues have been hoping to see answered in their lifetime. And the answer is: free technology curriculum!

“What’s the biggest problem we face in achieving success on the 8th grade technology applications TEKS?” asked a district instructional technology specialist. That is a question that many of my education colleagues have been hoping to see answered in their lifetime. And the answer is: free technology curriculum! While several curriculum providers have an online curriculum (Learning.com provides one excellent example), few are available at no charge to school districts. That is, until recently. Google has announced a free technology curriculum for grades 7-12. Let’s review some of its benefits.

Benefit #1 – Video-based Curriculum

The new G Suite curriculum comes complete with instructional videos and creative projects. This will be a boon to educators who seek to prepare students for the world of work. Of course, there is a focus on Google Suites for EducationScreenshot 2017-03-21 at 12.44.08 PM tools. Some of the creative projects include If/Then Adventures, which are reminiscent of the Choose Your Own Adventure print stories many of us grew up seeing on bookshelves. The If/Then Adventures video provides great examples that highlight coding connections. They also emphasize real-life connections to apps many of us may be familiar with, such as the Waze directions app. While watching the video, students can receive prompts known as “CS Alerts” that offer status updates and advise them what to do next or what is upcoming.

Benefit #2 – Earn Badges for Rich Learning Activities in G Suite

G SuiteRelying on activities that feature communication, collaboration, and research, students are able to work on projects and create together. This collaboration provides rich opportunities for joint and independent communication and research. What’s more, students are able to earn badges for activities they engage in.

Benefit #3 – Real-World Applications

A third benefit of the many available resources includes real-world application. Scaffolds are put in place to enable students to “express ideas, collaborate with others, analyze and solve problems, and create.”

Conclusion

Take a look at the free Google Suites for Education curriculum for secondary students. How would you incorporate this to enhance teaching and learning in your classroom? Even if you aren’t a technology applications teacher, you can take advantage of these resources.  


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation, Part 4

Note: This blog post is part of a continuing series, Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation.  Be sure to read other blog entries relevant to BYOD.

Note: This blog post is part of a continuing series, Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation.  Be sure to read other blog entries relevant to BYOD.

“We have spent three years in professionally developing teachers,” shares Dr. Joy Rosseau from Arp ISD, “on how to manage, deliver, create, implement, and appropriately select digital content, resources, and third party services to build on their TEKS and student needs.” Given BYOT in many school districts, helping teachers learn to deepen their blended learning expertise has become a priority for schools. A casual search reveals several Texas districts are already engaged in BYOT/BYOD implementations, such as Lewisville, Northwest, Abilene, Richardson, Fredericksburg, Judson, Lumberton, Allen, Elkhart, Nederland, and Harlingen ISD.

Vocabulary Term: “Blended learning” is an instructional approach that includes a combination of online and face-to-face learning activities.

Dr. Joy also shares this advice:

  • Teachers should first have access to or have created digital content before students need to bring their own device.
  • Teachers should work together, building expertise that caters to their students’ needs.
  • Teacher lesson plans should reflect that they are at least working at LoTI Level 3 (and preferably Level 4b – comfortable with digital online resources).

Dr. Joy hits upon key ideas essential to the adoption of BYOT-friendly instructional methods. Let’s summarize them below:

Key Idea #1 – Create Digital Content

There are an array of technologies usable for creating content. Here are a few:

  • Screencasting tools (e.g. Screencast-o-Matic , Screencastify , Nimbus Screencapture/Screenrecording, Office Mix) make it easy to capture videos of your screen. Screencasting is also a great way to to provide feedback for digital authors, whether from teacher to student or student to student.
  • Video reflection tools, great for assessment as well as content creation, include: Flipgrid.com , Recap, Vialogues, and VideoNot.es. Find out more about these.
  • Interactive assessments with EdPuzzle and Educannon. These last two allow you to use only what you need from any video, insert audio notes, or record over a video with your voice. You can add questions at any point in the video and track your students’ understanding.

Key Idea #2 – Increase Teacher Collaboration

byot
Source: Adapted from the work of Dr. Dawn Wilson and Dr. Katie Alaniz

As research shows, here are some of the requirements for professional development that works:

  • Supportive of teacher collaboration via coaching and mentoring
  • Job-embedded and specific to academic content
  • Ongoing, sustained, intensive (40+ hours), and includes technology
  • Focused on implementation in the classroom
  • Strong assessment component for both teacher and student
  • Supports reflection about strategies and implementation
  • Creates a culture of continuous professional learning

These make it imperative that teachers be supported in their implementation of BYOT instructional methods. “One and done” workshops or webinars are insufficient.

Key Idea #3 – Blend Technology into Pedagogy in a Routine, Learner-Centric Manner

Dr. Joy Rosseau highlights Dr. Chris Moersch‘s Levels of Teaching Innovation (LoTi) levels 3 and above. Consider, however,  Levels 4 through 6:

  • At a Level 4, students are fully engaged in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources. The teacher is within his/her comfort level with promoting an inquiry-based model of teaching that involves students applying their learning to the real world. Student use of digital tools and resources enables them to answer student-generated questions that dictate the content, process, and products embedded in the learning experience.
  • At Levels 5-6, collaborations extending beyond the classroom are employed for authentic student problem solving and issues resolution. The emphasis is placed on learner-centered strategies that promote personal goal setting and self-monitoring, student action, and collaborations with other diverse groups (e.g., another school, different cultures, business establishments, governmental agencies, etc.).

Conclusion

Some might suggest that while BYOT environments enjoy Level 6 technology access, they are actually at a much lower level of teacher and student use of technology in support of academic learning. It’s not the technology that lags behind, but rather the professional learning that focuses on inquiry-based models and how digital tools and resources can enhance learning. Focus on inquiry-based learning and leverage technology for cooperative learning and problem solving at a distance.  


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation, Part 3

Note: This is the third in a continuing series, Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation.  Be sure to read other blog entries relevant to BYOD.

Note: This is the third in a continuing series, Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation.  Be sure to read other blog entries relevant to BYOD.

“Sixty-seven percent of parents are willing to buy their children a mobile device for educational purposes,” according to Pew Research Data. This shift towards BYOT in schools reflects the reality of the following facts:

  • 90 percent of students (and 70 percent of students under age twelve who have/use them) say mobile devices enable more effective studying.
  • 77 percent of parents agree that tablets help children’s learning and creativity.

While you can find excellent information on Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) in many places, please consider these implementation tips from TCEA and our members:

Tip #1 – Clarify Expectations

Have you set policy and procedure that provide for the responsible use of BYOT?  These two items enable the district to set clear boundaries that empower those involved in the educational process to be successful. Consider these additional points:

  1. Invite a stakeholder committee to develop the Responsible Use Policy (RUP). A  common effort, rather than a unilateral attempt by any one group, remains the best approach, no matter your district’s size.
  2. Implement a restorative justice approach to student and staff infractions. This approach addresses inappropriate actions/behavior taken by students in a different way than punishment and digital banishment. Restorative justice advocates in schools bring people to discuss harm caused to others, fostering an inclusive conversation on how to best bring about resolution.
  3. Determine who pays for theft, loss, or damage of student-owned and/or teacher-owned devices. Anticipate questions such as “Where will BYOT devices be stored during breaks, lunch, and physical education class?”
  4. Decide up front who will pay for student devices as BYOT takes off. Will it be handled like a band instrument owned by the school and checked out to the student? This is a conversation that should be had in advance of a BYOT implementation with as many key stakeholders as possible.
  5. Expect all to register their BYOT devices, along with serial numbers, to facilitate statistics and tracking. This can help school administration get a picture of what devices are in use.

The BYOT adoption process works best when it engages stakeholders. Meet with them up front, or plan to do so under less than ideal circumstances later.

Tip #2 – Ready Your Technology

Making the decision to go BYOT is only one of the steps on the journey. Readying your technology infrastructure remains a critical “pre-first step.”

  1. Allocate sufficient wireless access points, as well as electrical power, in meeting and learning spaces in proportion to three devices for every one learner, where learner includes adults and students that may fill a space.
  2. Ensure your campus/district has multiple service set identifiers (SSIDs) to allow devices to connect to the appropriate network from a single access point. This includes networks that allow for 1) private, secure information sharing and 2) public access to district resources.
  3. Avoid over-spending on security protocols (e.g. Identity Services Engine). Ease into your BYOT implementation with the minimum amount of security needed, with a plan to add more over time. This can save money up front while helping you gain greater insight into the types of users you have.
  4. Implement a content filtering and bandwidth throttling solution for your network. CIPA-compliant filtering and managing bandwidth remain top priorities.
  5. Communicate what technology support will be available for student-owned devices. This can range from malware/antivirus software “licensed for home” use to getting students devices connected so they can print as appropriate.

What other technology readiness steps would you take? Thinking ahead in the technology readiness area can ensure success and eliminate frustration for end-users. And, finally, the most important of all:

Tip #3 – Scaffold Blended Learning

Supporting all learners with blended learning, a mix of online and face-to-face learning activities, enhances learning.

  1. Take advantage of one of the many virtual classroom environments. Whether it’s Microsoft/Google Classroom  or one of the many other choices available, decide what you’re going to use as a campus/district. Involve key stakeholders to ensure everyone gets their two cents in.
  2. Connect teachers to professional learning network/community to facilitate collaborative planning and deployment of initiatives. Whatever social network you choose, make sure it works on mobile. Find authentic ways for adult learners to connect.
  3. Support teachers in creating engaging, inquiry-based learning opportunities. Embrace problem-based learning or project-based learning to create engagement opportunities.
  4. Model for teachers how technology can be used to amplify learners’ voices and make thinking visible.  Podcasts/vidcasts/blogs make it easy to amplify student learning.
  5. Facilitate professional learning that is ongoing, job-embedded, facilitates teacher collaboration, and scaffolds implementation of technology-enhanced instructional strategies in the classroom.

Conclusion

Going mobile with learning remains one of the big challenges schools face today. Make every effort to seize learning, whenever and wherever it may be possible, with whatever device is available to teach and learn.  


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation, Part 2

Note: This is the second in a continuing series, Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation.  Be sure to read other blog entries relevant to BYOD.

Note: This is the second in a continuing series, Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation.  Be sure to read other blog entries relevant to BYOD. “Mobile learning is all about changing instruction. Because if the instruction doesn’t change, allowing the kids to bring their own device will do nothing,” shared Lenny Schad, Katy ISD Chief Technology Officer. Another approach, once you’ve explored BYOT from various stakeholder roles, is to review the checklist below and ask, How am I going to get there from here? Make this as specific as you can for YOUR role on campus.

Seven Question BYOT Checklist

Item Question to Ponder Taking Action
1. Have you defined and aligned the goals for the BYOT program to the Campus Improvement Plan and district mission? Tip: Connect BYOT use to differentiated instruction, the district’s mission, and specific instructional strategies in your CIP.
2. Have you outlined expectations for teachers and students about using Google Suites for Education (e.g. Classroom) or Microsoft Classroom to create online, virtual classrooms? Tip: Encourage teachers to spend some classroom time answering questions from students on specifically how they will use the technologies in class.
3. Have you decided what to do when students and/or staff bring too many devices that slow down the network (one BYOT device per person is recommended)? Tip: Let students know they can only connect one wireless device to the network and why.
4. How will teachers be supported on campus–not just through district professional development–to transform classroom learning activities from being paper focused to electronic to eliminate the need for printing (for example, students can’t print from BYOT devices)? Tip: Use the Classroom Learning Activity Rubric.
5. How will you share BYOT program goals, define expectations, show students what they can do with the device, help students connect to the wireless network, and address concerns from stakeholders? Tip: Encourage teachers to attend online webinars they can participate in from their classroom or home; have frequent parent communications; share with staff what is appropriate to say about BYOT. Instead of, “Why isn’t this working?” encourage them to say “We’re working together to learn how to best take advantage of BYOT in the classroom.”
6. How will campus leaders and teachers respond to questions of equity (e.g. I can’t afford to buy my child a device)? Tip: Share that the campus has devices available for students who can’t or don’t want to bring their own school. The more BYOT is practiced, the more school devices are available for those with the greatest need.
7. How should I answer questions from staff/students/parents about which devices to use? Tip: Refer to the BYOT Mobile Device Chart online at the bottom of this blog entry.

  As you have seen, the focus of these crucial conversations involves flushing out tough questions in advance, clearly laying out answers to anticipated questions so that all stakeholders know what’s up, and constantly asking “What questions am I not asking that will enhance instruction now that we have these devices available?”

BYOT Mobile Device Chart

Wondering which mobile device does what and how it can be useful for teaching and learning? This chart attempts to map out that information. While it would be impossible to map out ALL devices, this chart does select some of the more popular, affordable mobile devices and their potential uses in the classroom. Please note that mention of a device in this chart does not constitute a product endorsement; these are offered for informational and/or reference purposes only. All data is subject to change. The 5-star rating is as follows:

  • 5 star = BYOT Exceptional – mobile creativity, storage, and sharing device (e.g. WiFi iPad/Nexus allows for Google Drive/MS OneDrive, cloud storage options, video/image editing and creation, GoogleDocs/Office 365 accessibility, etc.)
  • 4 star = Great – allows for wide range of creative apps (e.g. pictures, short video clips, texting) and wireless sharing (WiFi) only limited by account options and apps. Devices include iPod Touch, iPhone, laptops, netbooks)
  • 3 star = Fair – allows for some use (e.g. allows for research via Internet, pictures, video). WiFi access
  • 2 star = Acceptable – usable for specific purposes (content consumption) only (e.g. eReader without Internet or apps) and WiFi
  • 1 star = Limited – Not appropriate for BYOT classroom use (e.g. may lack WiFi support, difficult to get media on or off device, gaming options).

Note: Here is the Mobile Device Chart in MS Word or PDF version for modification and/or printing.

Device

Features

Rating

Netbooks/Laptops

Windows/Mac Laptop approx >= $230. Find out more at your local retail or computer store
  • WiFi access
  • Local hard drive storage and Google Drive/ MS OneDrive Access
  • Various creativity programs including Office suites
  • Requires anti-virus/anti-malware
  • Built-in webcam
  • Web browsing
*****
Google Chromebook approx >= $249
  • WiFi access
  • Local hard drive (small) storage and Google Drive/ MS OneDrive Access
  • Various creativity programs including Office suites
  • Built-in webcam
  • Web browsing
*****

Tablets

Microsoft Surface Pro 3-5
  • WiFi access
  • Local hard drive storage and Google Drive/ MS OneDrive Access
  • Various creativity programs including Office suites
  • Requires anti-virus/anti-malware
  • Built-in webcam
  • Web browsing
*****
Apple iPad approx >= $330 minimum
  • iTunes App Store
  • WiFi access
  • Google Drive/ MS OneDrive Access
  • Wide variety of creativity apps, including Office apps
  • Video/Still image camera(s)
  • Email/Social media
  • Web browsing
  • Bluetooth compatibility for external keyboard
*****
Android Tablets (>=$200) Examples:

  • Android tablet with access to Google Play apps
  • Google Drive Access
  • Office apps
  • Video/Still image camera
  • Email/Social media
  • Web browsing
  • Bluetooth compatibility for external keyboard
  • eBooks via Barnes and Noble and Amazon
  • Handheld (7inch)
*****
Apple iPod Touch(>=$200)
  • WiFi
  • iTunes App Store
  • Google Drive Access
  • Office apps
  • Video/Still image camera
  • Email/Social media
  • Web browsing
  • eBooks via Barnes and Noble and Amazon
  • Handheld (4.3 in x 2.4 in)
**

SmartPhones

Apple iPhone
  • WiFi
  • iTunes App Store
  • Google Drive Access
  • Office apps
  • Video/Still image camera
  • Email/Social media
  • Web browsing
  • eBooks via Barnes and Noble and Amazon
  • Handheld (4.3 in x 2.4 in)
****
Android Phone
  • WiFi
  • Google Play Store
  • Google Drive Access
  • Office apps
  • Video/Still image camera, depending on model
  • Email/Social media
  • Web browsing
  • eBooks via Barnes and Noble and Amazon
  • Handheld
****

eBook Readers

Barnes and Noble Nook (Samsung tablet) approx >= $99
  • WiFi
  • No creation or sharing features
  • Touch screen
  • MP3 player
  • eBook formats supported: PDF, EPUB, eReader, PDB, JPG, GIF, PNG
**
Kindle Fire approx >= $69
  • WiFi
  • No creation or sharing features
  • Touch screen
  • MP3 player
  • eBook formats supported: Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively
**

Other Devices

Nintendo DSi approx >= $100
  • WiFi
  • Photo/Video
  • Touch screen with stylus
  • Not appropriate for BYOT
*
Gaming consoles
  • Not appropriate for BYOT
*

 

References

Walker, Michael. (3/12/12). 6 Steps for Increasing Student Access with BYOD  


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation, Part 1

Have you stopped, taken a breath, and thought about what BYOT means for YOU and your teachers, students, and parents? That’s a question that is screaming its way into the rarified atmosphere of public schools, like a cataclysmic meteor smashing tidy learning and technology plans. Still, many schools are now coming to terms, one way or another, with bring your own technology (BYOT). Bring your own technology intrigues many and frightens others. As a result of that fear and concern, campus leadership teams are compelled to craft a strategy to implement BYOT successfully.

Planning Ahead

This two-part article offers two approaches you can use as part of a strategy session for campus leaders:

      1. BYOT Scenario: In this problem-based learning scenario, explore BYOT issues from your particular role. You will develop a solution in a face-to-face session.
      2. Seven Question Checklist: You will use this checklist to self reflect as a group as to whether you have addressed some key ideas. Links are provided to help you access appropriate resources.

Before exploring these two approaches, consider the inevitability of BYOT in schools.

The Inevitability of BYOT

“BYOT- it happens no matter what; it’s only called BYOT,” shares ed tech specialist Josh Davis, “when your curriculum takes advantage of it.”

Some statistics to keep in mind:

  1. Young adults tend to have higher-than-average levels of smartphone ownership regardless of income or educational attainment. (Source)
  2. More Hispanic (49 percent) and African-American (42 percent) middle school students are using their smartphones for homework than Caucasian students (36 percent). (Source)
  3. Smartphone use for homework also crosses income levels, with 29 percent of the students from the lowest-income households reporting smartphone usage to do their homework assignments.(Source)
  4. More than one in three middle school students are using mobile devices to complete homework, and more of those who use these devices for learning in the classroom express a strong interest in science, technology, and math than those who do not, according to a new national survey.  (Source)
  5. Nationwide,  55 percent of middle and high school students, as well as 25 percent of elementary students, own a mobile device (e.g. cell phone).
  6. Teens in the lowest income category are most likely to use their phones, instead of computers, to go online.

Approach #1 – BYOT Scenario

“Effective leadership without consistent, clear communication does not exist,” shares one district technology director. The scenario below is intended to tease out differing perspectives on BYOT. It will help you reflect on the issues that arise when implementing BYOT:

In a few weeks, students like John and Maria at a 5A high school will be bringing their own technology to school. While some teachers like Jennifer are excited about the possibilities—mainly, those that have taken the time to learn how to use the Read/Write Web to collaborate, create, and connect in alignment with academic goals—others like Rick are afraid things will not work as well. Rick is comfortable with students working with pencils and paper, not using their own devices. He is concerned about what they might do on them when he isn’t looking. James, the campus principal, recognizes the need for a campus strategy towards BYOT. He’s worried that teachers will fail to take advantage of BYOT in their lessons and its use will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Failure,” he points out with a smile, “isn’t an option in our small community.”  This is a fact the district technology department and district leadership are well aware of as well. The Classroom Learning Activity Rubric is one instrument that’s been offered to help teachers employ strategies that take advantage of technology in the classroom. Parents like Ms. Jones (involved in the PTA) are wondering, “How will the school communicate with me about this and will there be a consistent message from campus leaders? Will that message match what teachers are saying and doing in the classroom when students misbehave?” So much is at stake, jobs are on the line, high stakes accountability is in play. At a time when technology is everywhere, teaching, learning, and leading with technology has real consequences.

As you reflect on this scenario, ask yourself some questions, such as the ones below:

  • What hunches (intuitive guesses) do you have about this scenario?
  • What do we know for certain about the problem?
  • What questions can we ask that will get us the information we need to help the protagonist solve the problem?
  • Who are the stakeholders in this scenario and what solutions do we need to develop for their particular situation?

Pick a stakeholder role–teacher, campus leader, technology department, student, parent—that you have some affinity with and then try to develop a solution. Consider using a KWHL chart like the one below to get you started. While the example is a great beginning point, it’s not intended to be all-inclusive of the conversations embedded in the role of campus leader.

Stakeholder Role: Campus Leader

What Do I Know? What Do I Want to Know? How Will I Find Information? What Have I Learned?
    1. BYOT is a certainty
    2. Not all teachers have the training to take advantage of BYOT
    3. Parents expect consistent messages about this initiative from all staff
    4. I’m not sure why we’re doing this myself.
    5. This is a high-profile project that can’t fail. Digital citizenship is key to successful behavior for students.
What is expected of me as a campus leader? How can I better support classroom teachers and encourage them to use BYOT? How can BYOT enhance instruction rather than become a self-fulfilling prophecy? How do I hold teachers accountable for what they are doing or not doing? The District should have a BYOT Support site with online resources focusing on facilitating online learning. The site should also include a webinar schedule, along with micro-credentialing or badges teachers can earn.

End of Part 1

In Part 2, we’ll explore some specific tips. Be sure to check back tomorrow!  

Soldier, Ask Not

Soldier, ask not – now, or ever,
Where to war your banners go.
Blood and sorrow, pain unending,
Are the portion of us all.
Source: Gordon R. Dickson’s Hymn of the Friendlies

Isn’t that a great poem? It’s not the complete piece, but I cobbled together my two favorite parts. Rather than see it as depressing, which may be one’s first impression, it is really quite uplifting. I’m reminded of Dr. M. Scott Peck’s line, “Life is difficult.” Once you accept that it is difficult, it loses it’s power over you.

As a person whose brain is always “on,” a lifelong learner, I’m thrilled at the opportunities presented. There’s a bit of freedom in being a soldier, sent from place to place to facilitate learning, overcoming difficulties that are part and parcel of the work. And, fortunately, it’s soldiering but it doesn’t involve blood and dying.

The antidote for any tough job isn’t whining, complaining or anything like that. Rather, it is a simple quote that Jason Holt holds dear:

Creating something in the face of adversity, in spite of the troubles…I often think that’s what we were created for. To bloom in spite of what may come.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Make eLearning Possible

As any teacher knows, truly engaging learning is social. Whether we share what we have learned with others or we undertake the learning journey together, little true learning occurs in isolation. Online learning environments that fail to create a social learning space will therefore fail. As educators, we have to be careful to avoid trying to engage students in online learning environments with face-to-face approaches as.the effects of F2F engagement methods may be different than what we expect. Here are some tips that may be helpful to you in facilitating online social learning.

 Tip #1 – Address the logistics of the course.

Logistics can include how often students should login and participate in the course, assessment rubrics, etc. Take a moment to plan out your course, including elements like the ones found below:
  • Craft a syllabus.
  • Develop an assignment checklist.
  • Streamline organization of the course by chunking or “modularizing” content. This makes it easy for learners to break off and then dive back into the learning that comes in bite-sized pieces (e.g. 5 minutes).
  • Blend text, audio, and video into the content. For example, instead of just typing intro text for a welcome, use Voxer (audio example) , FlipGrid.com/Recap.com (video), or MS Sway with audio to create interactive content.
These best practices enable your virtual students to work their way through the content for a specific topic within the overall course of study. Tools like Google Sites, Microsoft OneNote, and Slack (to mention a few) are great ways to create an online course. Whatever you use, you are creating a virtual space where course materials can be housed and, more importantly, interacted with.
Consider Slack as a course tool. It features app integration, making it a powerful tool for a virtual, social learning space. For example, Appear.in allows for interactive video chats that can be embedded in Slack. Slack channels also make it easy, as you can see in the screenshot below, to organize around key areas:
Image 025
And, of course, Slack comes with a handy mobile app for quick anytime, anywhere access.

 Tip #2 – Blend multimedia into your online learning environment.

“These videos and articles put so much more into place and answered many of the questions that I had,” shared one online course participant. You can accomplish this by including audio+picture or video testimonials from former students and course introductions by district facilitators. Drop audio/video recordings into the conversation. Participants love it when you mix it up! This kind of personalization helps build a real connection with course participants. Take advantage of screencasting and video recording tools.

Tip #3 – Stay in touch.

While you will be staying in touch with participants in discussion/chat forums, you can also send them updates via email. Two tools that can facilitate connections include the following Google Sheets add-ons: Yet Another Mail Merge  and formMule . Both work as bulk email tools that make it easy to send information out.

Tip #4 – Set up a technical support forum.

If someone hasn’t logged in, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call them or send an email a day until they respond. The power of support forums is that when your online learners start to come together as a community of learners, they start to help each other out and respond to each other’s problems.

Tip #5 – Scaffold learning conversations.

Part of your scaffolding and support involves providing regular feedback and interacting with participants online. This is especially important up front since your level of activity serves as a model for the level of interaction students will exhibit when you are present, but not as active. This initial high interactivity sloping down to omni-presence enables participants to learn to rely on each other for answers, rather than you.
Another tip includes summarizing, or landscaping, the ongoing chat. And don’t be afraid to remind everyone what expectations are at regular intervals (such as at the start point, midpoint, and end-point). This helps everyone stay focused.

Tip #6 – Avoid question lists.

Focus discussions around ONE central question that resembles an ill-structured problem, very much like the PBL method. For example, consider how many questions are introduced in this discussion prompt. Each question achieves equal status for the participant; how could one question or scenario help participants focus?

Tip #7 – Encourage self-reliance.

Encourage people to discover each other’s strengths and what they each have to bring to the table. One of the most rewarding aspects of online learning conversations is that people discover each other, and themselves, online.
As online learners discover the benefits of learning online for themselves–especially when they work with other people–that positive reaction will engulf your online professional learning program.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

TweetMeet: @OneNoteEDU #OneNoteQ on April 4th


What’s a tweetmeet? An opportunity to have a panel of folks share their insights into a series of topics. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to participate in a tweetmeet organized by Marjolein Hoekstra (@onenoteC). Wow, what an awesome opportunity to connect with other educators serving as hosts, as well as the international community!

Topic: Embedding Content in !

I love the work Marjolein has done in organizing the TweetMeet, putting everything in a OneNote Notebook so everyone can collaborate on it. And, we also put together a Microsoft Sway featuring audio to capture the excitement! I had a bit of fun recording my audio…no doubt, the link to the Sway will appear in the days to come!

For now, here’s a teaser….

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Narrated Images with Microsoft Sway

Ever created a podcast before? Now you can do so easily with Microsoft Sway.


You may not be aware of it, but Microsoft added some new features to the web version of MS Sway that make it ideal for audio-narrated images, also known as enhanced podcasts. Of course, Sway enables you to add tons of great content (e.g. Twitter streams, video, embedded content) aside from images and audio. This blog entry focuses on audio and images.


Read the Rest Online at TCEA TechNotes blog.

It’s getting great reviews:


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Why We Fail to Help Students @j_bimmerle

Earlier this year, I explored Professional Learning and Development research, suggesting a Professional Development Planner that could help others plan adult learning opportunities. When colleague John Bimmerle sent me this article, Why Good Professional Development Still Fails, I read it with avid interest.

The conclusion? Research showed that professional development, even when it followed the 7 principles of effective PD, did NOT impact student achievement.

Here are those research-supported principles:

  1. Be an ongoing experience for educators that provide extended learning opportunities help them master new skills and instructional methods. These have a better chance at positively impacting student learning. (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  2. Be job embedded as much as possible so that what is learned can be applied in the classroom. (DeMonte; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  3. Provide support for teachers during the implementation stage of using a new instructional method in the classroom.  (Gulamhussein).
  4. Offer content that is specific (e.g. goal, discipline, grade level, developmental stage) instead of generic. (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  5. Be engaging and use varied approaches to support learning for both groups and individuals.(Gulamhussein). 
  6. Include modeling because it helps educators understand new instructional methods (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  7. Promote collaboration among teachers because it leads to better teaching and instruction, helping educators solve problems they are dealing with in the classroom. (DeMonte; Darling-Hammond et al.)

As you can see, the research cited above is mirrored in other PD models, such as the one shown below from Participate PD:

  • Engage in inquiry-based investigations integrated into a competency-based online course.
  • Collaborate with other teachers.
  • Create a learning product, such as lesson plans or student activities.
  • Implement and test their learning product directly in the classroom with students.
  • Reflect on the process.
  • Upload the evidence of classroom practice, student work and learning.

Simply, you’ll learn more if you leverage technology to engage with other learners collaborating on inquiry-based problem with a tangible result. And, whatever teachers learn should be used in the classroom with actual students. Finally, we learn not by experience but by reflecting on our experience as John Dewey pointed out.

Some key take-aways from that article:

  1. A series of recent, rigorous, randomised-controlled studies of professional development programmes–that incorporated all the ingredients suggested by reviews of the evidence and were thoughtfully designed, carefully implemented and significant investment, these programmes led to no discernible improvements in student learning.
  2. Summer training, video coaching and professional learning communities “improved teachers’ knowledge and some aspects of classroom practice but did not improve student achievement”
  3. Summer training, coaching and follow-up seminars over two years changed neither teacher knowledge nor student achievement. 
  4. Three years of problem solving and examination of student work and misconceptions led teachers to evaluate the programme positively, increased their knowledge slightly but left their teaching unchanged
  5. No matter how strong your external training is, culture is stronger

What it boils down to, as the article suggests, is that professional development did not result in a change in teaching practices, and therefore, no impact on student achievement.

What are the implications for edtech advocates? For years, I’ve stated that the following works:

  • Problem-based learning, 
  • Reflective blogging that takes a hard look at what you’re doing day in and out for the sake of getting better. I’m NOT talking about the blogging prevalent today, focused on sharing the latest “Wow, isn’t this cool!” app to build one’s brand so you can become a consultant or get business. Yes, I’m guilty, too, so I know how easy it is to write those blog entries. Achieving transformation via reflection is hard work.
  • Collaborate with other educators, invite them into your teaching & learning space, listen to them when they make suggestions. This often doesn’t even happen at the adult learning facilitator level. “Ok you’re an expert, we’re going to let you go be an expert!”
  • Provide in-classroom coaching support (the stats on coaching cannot be ignored!) during implementation of a new instructional method or strategy. This includes modeling by the coach. Reflection afterwards is a must.
  • Provide specific instructional support during professional learning and a wealth of resources.
  • Build a support network and nurture relationships among all learners.
This isn’t a tough formula to figure out, just a hard one to implement consistently. We often learn in spite of our teachers…our goal in professional development isn’t to make that process harder, but to minimize the obstacles human beings face when learning.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Surviving Crazy "Leaders"

“Miguel,” a dear friend and colleague asked me, “Have you read the new superintendent’s book?” At my blank stare and smile, she pointed to the Simon Sinek book in her hand entitled, Leaders Eat Last. I felt my hackles rise as my instinctive dislike of mis-applied lessons from other fields made my gorge rise.

This post featured by folks at TexasISD.com! Thanks!

All it takes is all you got, Marine!” I said in a deeper voice, referencing the military story Sinek uses to start the book. Nearby colleagues gave us quick smiles. “Isn’t that the book that is about building a circle of trust, like in Meet the Parents?”
As a technology director, your success often depends on how well you interact with the all-powerful person in the superintendent’s office. These seven tips will help you construct the elements of a positive conversation. Yet, ultimately, these tips alone will not be enough. You will need one final tip that takes a lifetime to develop, and you may not be up to it. Still, you must resolve to obtain it if you wish to remain a technology director after the superintendent who hired you leaves.

Aside: Another perspective for your consideration. Some times, no amount of advice is good enough to get you through an unwholesome situation.  “Do you really want to work with a crazy “leader?” The answer is, “Heck, NO!” Leave, go be happy somewhere else and let the sycophants hang around and wonder, “Why did we persist in this folly?” What’s even worse is school boards that endorse a superintendent who looks good while destroying the people. For me, that’s the measure of success…an organization that nurtures its people (faculty, students) succeeds, while an organization that beats people up because they’re not dancing to a new tune played to six-shooters popping off at their feet, will not.  Over time, I’ve learned it’s better to shake the dust off your feet and keep moving! It’s biblical advice!

Change Is in Your Leader’s Future

Having worked in multiple school districts, I’ve seen the reins of power change hands multiple times. Given the fact that superintendents change quite frequently these days–every 3.6 years as of 2010 according to one report, which cites that as an improvement from 2.5 years in 1999. One of the key elements in running a successful district is stability. So if you have a revolving door, it’s counterproductive, and there’s never a chance to establish reforms or create programs that make a difference. Even a three-year period of time is inadequate.” (Source). In my time, I’ve seen several types of leaders and witnessed the transition.

Seven Tips for Surviving Leadership in Transition

Check out these seven tips for surviving leadership in transition:
  1. Establish a baseline for improvement based on researched needs. In other words, it’s not YOUR initiative or idea, it’s what the district needs. Tools like Dr. Chris Moersch’s Levels of Teaching Innovation (LOTI), H.E.A.T. framework, as well as Brightbytes’ Clarity, can provide you with critical data.
  2. Have an outside firm do a technology assessment of your technology infrastructure and network. Nothing changes leadership’s mind as much as when someone else outside your department says things need to change. In fact, if you’re smart, you will initiate an assessment from an assessor you trust and anticipate the areas of growth. (By the way, did you know that TCEA can help you with a technology assessment?)
  3. Build infrastructure that will support instructional efforts. Is your district 100% wireless? If 100% wireless, does each campus enjoy wireless LAN controllers that support increased bandwidth? Have you placed sufficient wireless access points in classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, and other key meeting locations? These are only some of the questions you need to take into account.
  4. Be transparent and visible about what you’re doing to address the district’s needs. As much as possible, share what is happening, especially when you or your team is goofing up or moving slowly. A key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard should be something you have, even if it’s just a web page reflecting Helpdesk stats in a Google Sheet.
  5. Conduct webinars with anyone who will listen and/or attend. Offer free professional learning on a variety of topics, and partner with other stakeholders. That way, they will sing your praises about your technical support and expertise.
  6. Send out those old-fashioned print newsletters with links to more information on your website. As great as technology is, you have to accept the fact that MOST of your customers in K-12 schools haven’t stepped up to learn what students must know.
  7. Try to get teachers and students to present to the school board. Whenever you can, get other people in front of the school board and leadership to share what a great job you are doing supporting their success.

A Final Tip

“Those who hope to open a store must also be prepared to smile,” goes the old saying. This paraphrase of an old saying reminds you that if you’re going to work at Central Office, you must be prepared to smile and build relationships, even with those you do not like. Building relationships with district stakeholders, and, in particular, the superintendent and cabinet, remains paramount. Forget it at your peril.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Calling All San Antonio, Austin Area @Adobe Learners!

Looking for hands-on learning on important Adobe products? Maybe you need some tips and tricks to streamline your workflow? Developing new workflows by learning through trial and error can take time you may not be able to spend. Instead, accelerate your Adobe learning and join TCEA members at the 2017 Adobe Academy! You will learn how to learn more, tweak your workflows for Adobe products, and get fresh ideas for teaching Adobe products to your students. Finally, you will build relationships with other educators who use Adobe.
Accelerate
TCEA’s 2017 Adobe Academy will help you resolve a variety of issues. This two-day academy is designed specifically for those in the K-16 education arena who seek a better grasp of how Adobe tools can enhance their work. The Adobe Academy will take place June 20-21, 2017 at the  TCEA headquarters in Austin. This day will be packed full of helpful information that you can implement the next day at work.

About Adobe Academy Sessions

You’ll be able to choose from a variety of concurrent sessions to tailor your learning to best meet your own needs. You’ll be inspired and motivated throughout the day, enjoy a good lunch, and  leave with handouts from all of the presentations (not just the ones you attended). Our learning experience strands include:
  • Doing More with Adobe – These sessions focus on helping you prepare for deeper use of critical tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Adobe in the Classroom – These sessions will help you share strategies with students on how to get certified via Adobe Certification Associate Exams, as well as emphasize the use of Adobe in the classroom.
  • Adobe Engagement – Learn how tools like Adobe Spark can be used to create engaging web stories, creating enthralling animated videos and more.

How to Register

You can register online at a cost of only $239. TCEA will provide lunch for both days. What’s more, each paid registration will receive a one-year TCEA membership, access to all session materials, and membership in the TCEA Adobe Academy community!
Note: The Call for Proposals is still open, so if you would like to share your Adobe insights, then please submit your proposal(s) before May 12, 2017. We hope you will be among the many who present, and/or learn, at the academy! Don’t wait until the last minute to register as space is limited.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Celebrate Old and New Friends! 2017 Must-Read #EdTech Blogs! @EdTech_K12

Wow, how tremendous to see so many Texans featured in The 2017 Honor Roll: EdTech’s Must-Read K–12 IT Blogs article by Meghan Bogardus Cortez (@megbcortez)!

Now, there are a lot of awesome folks on the list of 50, but I have to stop a moment and celebrate the fact that there are two Texas organization blogs (e.g. TCEA, Keller ISD) as well as 4 Texans! Woohoo!

  • TCEA’s TechNotes Blog (@tcea): This features the creative efforts of my work colleagues, Lori Gracey, Dr. Bruce Ellis, Peggy Reimers, Diana Benner, and other TCEA team members! Way to go!
  • Keller ISD Digital Learning Blog (@kellerisdpd): I regret that I don’t read this blog myself, but will be adding them to my list of must-reads in my RSS aggregator!
And then, there’s my fellow Texans:

Finally, what a delight to see old friends like Dr. Scott Mcleod (@mcleod | Dangerously Irrelevant), Tim Stahmer (@timstahmer | Assorted Stuff) and Eric Curts, (@ericcurts) and his blog, Ctrl-Alt-Achieve, featured! I’ve been reading Assorted Stuff for AGES. Tim must be really old now.
😉

And, of course, I’m looking forward to reading some new folks, picking up on fresh perspectives!

Wait, I forgot to mention, Meghan made a mistake and included this blog, Around the Corner, on the list of must-reads. I guess that means my spam mail will double (ugh). Oh well. Until Meghan realizes she made a mistake and removes me, I’ll just be grateful someone is still reading this blog! Catch me on Twitter @mguhlin
😉


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Stir the Depths: Writing and Thinking

Image Source

In this EdWeek article, the author (Marva Hinton) begins with the following quote from Mighty Writers Mission web page:

To write with clarity, you have to think clearly first.

My opening line to the article would have been different:

To express yourself with clarity, write first.

“Writing.” says author Isabel Allende, “is always giving some sort of order to the chaos of life.”

Write first.

When you write first, you are able to order the chaos from which creativity emerges, often shy and silent, or bold and beautifully obnoxious. . .and every sparkle or shade in between. As a writer, I’ve seen others explore their ideas aloud, not unlike a writer struggling for the right words. Unfortunately, words spoken aloud are often lost. A speaker, shaping ideas aloud in thin air, must keep his ideas simple, to the point or lose the listener.

A writer disgorges a detritus of ideas, form the flow, filtering and clearing away the non-essential. Then, seeking fresh ideas, pick through the pile again, seeing which ideas may give a reader pause, which may be repurposed to feed a wolfling thought.

Express with Clarity.

“If I had more time, I would have written less.” This popular quote, paraphrased from the original, highlights brevity in communication. Say only what is necessary to make the point, nothing more.

While politicians seek to obfuscate, writers seek clarity. Often, that can be best achieved through brevity, the removal of the non-essential. Writing may be likened to minimalism, which is sparseness and simplicity by design.

Stir the Depths

Writing in search of clarity means that we need not be like Zeus with fully-formed ideas springing from our minds to do war upon on the befuddled masses. Rather, we are in the Creator’s image, stirring the murky depths, crafting beautiful horrors that exist in balance with the heart of the whole.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

4 Tips for Discovering Cloud Service Outages

Wait, you didn’t know your favorite cloud service was down? While many of us rely on a negative experience to clue us in that our beloved cloud service is down, there are other approaches we can take to find out.

Image Source

Approach #1 – Negative Experience
I experienced this firsthand today, as I was attending the Internet of Things (IoT) Action with Microsoft (follow the hashtag at #iotinactionms) and trying to save my audio recordings to OneDrive. I found wondering, “Who else is suffering this?”

Approach #2 – Internet Search Engine
Not surprisingly, a two second internet search on your favorite engine may get you some information. For example, I stumbled on my OneDrive outage pretty quickly!

Source: DownDetector

DownDetector tracks more than just Microsoft, though. You can see their complete list here and may be much more effective tool to use than just doing an internet search. Some of my favorites include Amazon, Apple App Store, Blogger (perish the thought that my blog platform would suffer an outage!), Facebook, Apple Facetime and many more!

Approach #3 – Twitter Commiseration
One of the quickest searches you can do is to simply tweet at your solution partner and see if they have shared any bad news. For many vendors, we may not know who to contact. But, if you know, then it’s definitely worth reaching out. For example, here’s the response my tweet received:

As you can see, OneNoteEDU not only let me know there was a problem, they provided a link to a better source of information! Remember, when there is an outage, it isn’t about yelling and screaming, only an effort to find out what’s going on. You can see I avoided legendary twitter complaint type. My intent and goal was to share my sorrow at being unable to access MONTHS of OneNote notebooks I host on OneDrive…and which aren’t backed up anywhere. A loss of those notebooks would be catastrophic.

Approach #4 – Status Dashboards
No matter what service you are using, I suspect that somewhere, somehow, there’s a place where you can go check on the status. For example, check out these dashboards (click vendor names to view dashboards) from Microsoft and Google Suites, respectively.

View dashboard

View dashboard | Office 365 admins can login to see more

Wrap-Up

What approach would you take? I hope these 4 approaches will work for you and save you some time and effort when your favorite service encounters an error. In the meantime, I was unable to access OneNote Notebooks during the outage (which appears to have ended as I was writing this blog entry), which affects the following notebooks that are widely shared:

  • TCEA Connect! – features all my resources for my work with TCEA.org, a veritable treasure trove for educators!
    • Technology Leadership Summit 2016 – This contains all the resources for the TCEA 2016 Leadership Summit held December 9, 2016. I’m looking forward to sharing the 2017 Summit resources (sign up for the May 12th Summit on Internet of Things)
    • Lots more.
    • TCEAMEE – This is my Minecraft OneNote notebook. Fortunately, this one is up!
  • MGFolio – This is my ePortfolio,which I decided to put into OneNote because the new Google Sites wasn’t quite up to snuff, and the migration tool (to migrate my old Google Sites ePortfolio) was not yet available. I have to admit that I really like OneNote as an ePortfolio tool.

Yay, all’s well that ends well! All my sites are back up again!


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Texas Virtual School Network #Grant

Note: This blog entry originally published at TCEA.org/blog

Are you a public rural school or open-enrollment charter? Then you may want to review the eligibility requirements for a new Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) grant. The grant will be available in the summer of 2017 with the online application, negotiation, and award processes taking place during that time. All awards will be done by mid-August 2017.

How to Indicate Your Interest

If you are interested in applying for the grant, be sure to complete the required task and budget templates. When complete, return to kerry.ballast@tea.texas.gov by 5:00 p.m. CST, April 24, 2017. You will be asked to provide primary contact information, a proposed timeline, and a budget. The latter two most follow the supplied templates for each item.

Eligibility Requirements

Rural schools must meet three criteria. The first is that they designate staff for “key student-support roles.” The second is that they set student expectations and readiness. The third criteria is that the rural school or open-enrollment charter completes the Statewide Course Catalog Public School District and Open-Enrollment Charter School Agreement.

Funding Priorities

Has your rural school not participated in TxVSN before? The Texas Education Agency (TEA) seeks to give you first priority! Second priority will be given to schools who previously participated but no longer take part and now wish to renew their participation. Third priority will be given to currently participating TxVSN schools who seek to expand their involvement.

Funding Uses

Funding can be used to achieve the following:
  1. For internet-connected students (at home, school, or both) who are selected to complete TxVSN courses, 60% of grant funds can be used to pay for their enrollment costs.
  2. For students who may need devices (e.g. laptop, mobile hotspot) to connect to participate in TxVSN, 20% of grant funds can be used to pay the costs of needed technology.
  3. For teacher(s) and/or counselor(s) who will provide additional student support beyond their current assignment and serve as student mentors, 20% of grant funds may be used to provide supplemental pay.
  4. For schools who may need funds to cover costs of TxVSN catalog courses for fall and spring of the 2017-2018 school year and summer 2018.

Find Out More

Would you like to know more? Be sure to visit the web site for more information. TEA, TXVSN Central Operations, and Education Service Center (ESC) TXVSN Liaison staff can help and inform you throughout the application process.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Recording Audio/Video on #iOS #edtech

“I love using my iPhone for on-the-go audio and video recording, but the built-in mic just isn’t doing the job. What can I use to better record audio for those critical interviews?”
Every TCEA event, I find myself reaching for my iPhone to record audio and video and snap photos of people I’m having conversations with. And I try to take a fresh look at the tools I’m using. This past TCEA conference, I decided to try several tools for recording audio/video on my iOS device.
Come along with me as I share my journey finding iPhone microphones and apps that work well at a distance. And, please, if you have your own solution that works, share it in the comments below.

Audio Recording Tools

Image 023What is a problem that stumps amateurs like me? The answer is recording at a distance. When you’re standing next to someone, it’s not a big deal to get great audio. When you’re five to six feet away, however, then things start to get a bit tougher. Here are two great mics that can help you capture better audio.
  1. Mikey Digital ($99) – Unbelievable that such awesomeness comes in a small package. This lightning-connected microphone attaches to your iOS device. This microphone captures audio quite well, in my experience, and is perfect for that six-foot space, both inside and out. My son has used this microphone with his iPhone when recording audio outside and loves the sound quality.
  2. iRig Mic Cast for iOS/Android ($35) – Less expensive that the Mikey Digital, this iosoffers solid audio recording. This is what I carry around with me for interviews. It also comes with iRig Recorder software. I like the fact that it plugs into your microphone jack on your device and includes another headphone jack for earbuds. You can also get a handheld microphone that plugs into your iPhone or iPad. As the website says, it features “unidirectional pickup pattern that minimizes background noise, making it ideal for single-source audio recording.” (The featured image for this blog post shows the iRig Recorder 3…I can dream, can’t I?)

Favorite Recording Apps

As you might imagine, while you can use your built-in iOS Camera app for recording audio or video, you may not get the best results. As a result, here are some of my go-to apps:
  1. iRig Recorder: This free app offers many features and is definitely worth mentioning for those of us who sometimes need custom recording options. It works for both audio and video recording. Audio editing is a breeze and includes some handy in app purchases that enhance volume, a must in a conference situation.
  2. ProMovie (Free but with $2.99 in-app purchase): What I love about this app is that it allows me to choose the microphone that I want to use. With other apps, I’m never quite sure if I’m using the Mikey Digital or iRig Mic, but ProMovie allows me to specify in the settings. What’s more, there are tons of settings for video recording. The in-app purchase ($2.99) removes the watermark.
    ios
  3. Voice Recorder ($1.99 to remove ads): This easy-to-use voice recorder goes for a nostalgic look (cassette recorder appearance that makes using it easy and familiar) and it does a nice job in close quarters. It allows for WiFi sync, as well as cloud uploads to Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. It also allows for pausing a recording and can export the audio as M4a format. You can take advantage of the “Open In” option to drop the audio file into Hokusai Audio Editor, also on my must-have list, which gives mobile users features similar to Audacity, a desktop audio editing program.
  4. Voice Recorder Pro (Free): Although boasting a host of features, including converting to MP3, this app suffers from a poor user interface. But it does offer audio editing, which makes it a must-have tool if you need that feature. Audio engine calibration at the start of  a recording can also delay start, which is a problem if you’re recording a keynote or speaker who has begun to speak. Still, it is the best audio recorder available on iOS at no cost.

Conclusion

There are many other tools that could be included in this list, but my goal was to share a few that I’m using now. Armed with an iOS device, there’s no reason why you can’t record audio/video and publish online in the moment, on the go!

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Managing Smart Tech #iot #cybersecurity #security

How are you managing smart technologies? Are you prepared for the Internet of Things (IoT) onslaught of fifty billion devices by 2020? That’s less than three years away! Forty-six percent of K–12 and higher ed Chief Technology Officers believe that smart technologies, including the IoT devices, will have a major impact on education. 
Join us at TCEA for a facilitated conversation with experts, vendors, and your peers regarding the Internet of Things, the management of smart technologies in schools, and planning tips to ensure successful implementation.
Mark Your Calendars! The 2017 TCEA Technology Leadership Summit is scheduled for Friday, May 12, 2017. Register now for this one-time learning opportunity.

Managing Smart Technologies

Some of the smart technologies include interactive whiteboards, copiers, video cameras, tablets, smart HVAC systems, electric lighting/maintenance, temperature sensors, attendance tracking, and wireless door locks. These are just a few of the many IoT devices that will soon be appearing in your district.

Attention Solution Providers: Are you a solution provider of smart devices and have tips to share? Please make contact with @mguhlin (Twitter) or via email at mguhlin at tcea.org

Join the Conversation

Join us for a high-level discussion regarding the main roadblocks and detours to implementing the Internet of Things and smart technologies in K-16 schools:
  • Security
  • Cost
  • Privacy
  • Lack of interoperability
  • Distractions
  • Management challenges
How you being implementing and managing this technology is the key to how successful you will be with this initiative. Taking no action is not an option. So be sure to join us on May 12, 2017 and learn what you can do to prepare for this next challenge.

TCEA’s Commitment

TCEA is committed to creating professional learning and networking opportunities that address the specific needs of Chief Technology Officers and Directors/Coordinators of Technology in K-16 education institutions. Regardless of your district’s size, you will gain all of the information you will need to ensure that IoT devices work for your staff and students and not against you. Be sure to join your colleagues at the Friday, May 12, 2017 event.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

#Free Keynote: Celebrate E2 Educator Exchange @MicrosoftEDU #E2 #edtech #txed

Register at aka.ms/eduexchange

Not able to attend the incredible Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) event in Toronto, Canada? No problem! Tune in on Day 2 of the event (March 22nd) to view/listen to the live-stream of the keynote!

Microsoft’s E2 – Education Exchange is opening its doors and inviting all educators to join us on March 22, 2017, at 9:00a.m. EDT!

This FREE, online event is designed to provide insight into the latest trends in education. We invite you to learn from education thought leaders, innovative educators, and students – to be the change in your school or system and make what’s next!
Presenting during the online event:
  • Be inspired by founder of WE.org, Craig Kielburger, who will share ideas on how to empower students to develop a lifelong passion for service to affect positive change in the world. You’ll learn about the WE Schools program giving students and schools the tools they need to take social action, empower others, and transform lives.
  • Discover how online learning technologies will be able to understand facial expressions and read student emotions from Daniel McDuff, a Researcher at Microsoft who spoke at TEDx Berlin. Hear how this technology can help educators gain an understand the experiences of their students via moment-to-moment tracking of cognitive and emotional states.
  • Hear from trailblazing teachers and grade 8 students from Queen of Heaven school in Canada who are working on a school project to help improve access to education for young people in developing countries.
  • Discover how by using Minecraft as a platform for learning, educators can motivate and inspire every student to achieve more, and ignite a passion for learning.
  • See live, interactive demonstrations that share innovative approaches to learning enabled by technology, and hear of favorite ways to Hack the Classroom.
During the online event, you’ll also be able to
  • Pose questions to event speakers, Microsoft representatives, and fellow educators in our live Q&A
  • Receive an E2 participant badge and receive 500 points on our Educator Community.



  I’m registered.   Are You? http://aka.ms/edxregistration

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Call for Proposals – Adobe Academy 2017 #txed #edtech #adobe

Are you an Adobe expert? Consider sharing some of your expertise with others at the TCEA 2017 Adobe Academy (June 20-21, 2017). The call for proposals is open now for innovators like you!

I invite you to present at the TCEA 2017 Adobe Academy where you can help other educators benefit from your experiences, whether your session ranges from beginner to intermediate and/or advanced.

The TCEA 2017 Adobe Academy Call for Proposals is open now through May 12, 2017. We hope you will be among the many who present, and/or learn, at the Academy! Don’t wait until the last minute….


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Reflecting on Digital Safety and Privacy

Helping children learn to cite photos and resources from the web is but one aspect of digital citizenship. A less easy topic, but perhaps more important because of that, is actively modeling digital safety and privacy. Recent attack vectors have left educators reeling from massive data breaches due to ignorance and a lack of consistent procedures for safeguarding sensitive data.
“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme.’’
– IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (2/7/2017) (Source #1 | Source #2)
Recent attacks employing this approach against Texas school districts include:
School districts are convenient targets because of the following reasons:
  • Data availability (including students who may not yet enter the workforce, so their identities can be stolen).
  • School districts often lack the funding to pay for sophisticated systems to defend against attacks, as well as the people to pay for them. In fact, regional service centers may lack adequate funding and staffing as well.
  • End users are untrained as to how to best protect against social engineering, phishing, and other types of attacks since it’s not their job to learn data encryption.
To address the final bullet, some actions educators can take to minimize risks are given below.

#1 – Avoid Phishing Attacks

Phishing, which has grown by 33 percent over the last year, involves fooling someone into providing their login credentials and/or confidential data.
Recommendation: Do not provide your login credentials to anyone and NEVER send unencrypted confidential data via the Internet. Encrypt data first and then pick up the phone to speak to the other person FIRST. This is true even if you know the other person well (Source: New Gmail Phishing Attack). It cannot hurt to ask the other person first why they need access to this sensitive data. At the very least, you must exchange the encryption password.

#2 – Secure Confidential Data

Just as hackers employ encryption to deny access to data on an ransomware-infected machine, so can educators and students learn to use encryption to prevent unauthorized access to data. Popular data encryption tools are available that enable educators, regardless of device, to secure their data from prying eyes. And in the likely event that data is stolen or accessed, the thieves will be unable to do anything with the encrypted data.
Recommendation: Establish procedures for handling sensitive data in your classroom and/or office. Ensure that data containing personally identifiable information (PII), as well as usernames/passwords to popular services, is encrypted. You can use a text file to put all your usernames and passwords into; just make sure it is encrypted. Use Secure Space Encryptor (SSE) on Mac, WindowsiOS and Android devices. Chromebook users should rely on Minilock, a Chrome add-on.

#3 – Prevent Access to Data

As schools become data-driven, putting security processes in place becomes an imperative. In fact, if you can walk into an office or classroom and get a username and password for any district information system, that’s a problem. Schools must also keep in mind that students may be one of the people who can leak logins and passwords. It’s all too easy for a student to walk into a classroom, look under their teacher’s keyboard, and get access to the Google Suites for Education or Microsoft O365 username and password.
Recommendation: Secure your passwords using a “password database” (e.g. Keepass, LastPass, 1Password). These are encrypted locations or files that are encrypted. They are also convenient; you need only remember one password to access the encrypted database containing your usernames and passwords. Make sure to log out of open systems on your device, whether it’s a computer or smartphone.

#4 – Heed Warning Signs

“She just went ahead and clicked the malware email,” said the network engineer. “‘Why did you click it?’ I asked her and she said “It look relevant, even if it was in my spam folder.” Most email programs and/or services will provide you with a warning. For example, Google features “Safe Browsing” which throws up a red sign when you encounter phishing attacks. Keep in mind that there’s generally a good reason for something to be in your spam.

#5 – Learn and Share Information

While many are waking up to the importance of digital citizenship, data privacy and security remain nebulous, techie subjects. Explode the myth with access to online curriculum that can coach you and improve your skills. You can read this privacy ebook for educators (free), facilitate professional learning opportunities using Me and My Shadow’s curriculum, as well as conduct a thorough review of how data is managed in your environment.
Finally, make every effort to model for staff and students simple ways that data can be protected. Safeguarding our children’s education remains paramount, but you can’t teach in an unsafe environment. Protect, educate, and model digital safety.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Professional Development Series

This past week, I’ve been focused on enhancing my own learning and sharing some ideas that I’ve been picking up for years! It’s always fun to revisit and repackage great ideas. It’s sort of like playing with that slime goo you give kids…stick your hands in and mold away! (then watch it collapse and lose form, which is what’s nice about blogging ideas since they remain in semi-permanent state).

In this blog entry, I introduce a new Flipboard magazine (which astonishingly acquired quite a few readers in one day) that seeks to capture these ideas, as well as share my professional development/learning series.

 
Want to access curated Professional Development and Learning resources
centered on andragogy (adult learning strategies)?
Read this Flipboard-based MagazinePD/PL: Andragogy, on your mobile device!


Professional Development/Learning Series (in no particular order)


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Influencing Learners

When I scanned my Twitter feed this morning, as I pondered whether I really wanted to get up at 3:00AM, I realized that I had missed one of the most important twitterchats ever! Yikes!

In truth, I missed two chats last night–Michelle Moore’s (@Michelle4EDU) #HCPSTEACH and #EvenTalk–that I had been invited to participate in. (And, we won’t even mention OneNote twitterchat and MinecraftEDU chats!).

Still, continuing this week’s focus on professional development, professional learning, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the excellent conversation around the #HCPSTEACH questions. Since I couldn’t participate (catching up on sleep after an arduous week driving to Austin and presenting at TASBO17 conference, the latter was a lot of fun!), I thought I might take a quick >140 character stab at responding to these questions.

The guest of the #HCPSTEACH  chat was John Bimmerle (@j_bimmerle) of East Texas fame. He did a masterful job (as far as I could see) facilitating the chat, introducing these questions:

 
Want to access curated Professional Development and Learning resources
centered on andragogy (adult learning strategies)?
Read this Flipboard-based MagazinePD/PL: Andragogy, on your mobile device!

Q1: What can we personally do with our own learning to be sure learning sticks and impacts students?
Ensure engagement and movement right out of the starting gate. Learning can be a race as the learner begins his/her lap around the track. On one side, learners are running out of energy, time, and the sheer willpower to continue.  My thinking on making learning stick for me is simple–I have to be emotionally engaged, able to write/talk and then reflect, then apply new learning in a situation I devise. But learning has to be more than just about student’ personal motivation.

In the TCEA online book study I’m facilitating, one of the books I chose to read and share about was Influencer. In that book, the authors suggest that you haven’t done your math if you expect people to change as a result of only one variable, which in the case of learning, implies personal motivation. They suggest that there are other aspects to consider, such as:

As you can see, learners need a little more than just their own personal motivation (help them love what they hate) and coaching on ability (help them do what they can’t). With Pr/PBL approaches, you can get learners personally motivated and provide mini-lessons to help them learn to do what they can’t. Teachers can also work with students one on one, although it becomes harder in departmentalized settings, to provide necessary encouragement and assistance (social). But it’s more effective if a peer member acts in this dimension. How can educators make it easier for students take on the role of learning advocates?

Q2: When have you successfully struggled with implementing a new topic/strategy? How did the process help you grow?
It’s amazing, I find that I have struggled quite a bit with a variety of topics or strategies. One challenge I faced recently included adapting a workshop designed in one way to include activities and engagement strategies that better met the needs of participants. That is, I taught it the way I was supposed to teach it, then realized it wasn’t working. So, I asked myself, discussed with colleagues, and realized that my first duty was to my learners, not the curriculum. At that moment, I redesigned the day of activities to better meet the needs of learners…and the results were tremendous!

“Go through your learning activities from the learners’ perspective,” shared a colleague, “then make changes accordingly.” Going through that process helped me become more centered on the learners rather than what I wanted them to do. I realized there needed to be more choice and movement so that learners could make meaningful learning of what was made available to them.

Love this “traditional” way of encouraging learners to pick up something new from each other.
Of course, you could do it with a Padlet, right? Or Google Draw?

Q3: Traditional “1 & DONE training lacks follow up support. What non-traditional things can you do to get/give implementation support?”
Some non-traditional things that I have done to provide implementation support involve technology. In fact, creating blended learning experiences that mix face to face and online ongoing, intensive professional learning make a big difference. That’s because it’s about building community among learners, relationships with individuals and making activities like coaching and peer observation possible.

Love this document from Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida!
It came to me via John Bimmerle (@j_bimmerle)

If you want a list of non-traditional things, be sure to check out this series of Professional Development blog entries:

Q4: Share examples of great trainings that you have provided/attended. What made them a strong experience?

While I’ve had several wonderful experiences facilitating professional learning, the defining quality for each of them remains the same–agency. That is a word defined in this way:

In social science, agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure is those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and his or her decisions. (Source: Wikipedia)

The key is to structure professional learning so that it empowers individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices within the context of a learning opportunity. At the end of a series of professional learning, participants leave empowered and enthusiastic, wanting to do more to expand on what they have done in the professional learning. Invariably, problem-based learning and project-based learning have yielded these results. That says a lot about PBL for use with adult learners.

Q5: If you could structure a professional learning opportunity, what would it include or look like?
I absolutely LOVE this question. Now, structuring a session like this may often be a function of time and energy…as the facilitator, do you have enough of each to spend it as you see fit? But given time and energy, which you can marshal effectively over a long preparation time rather than “I have this session I need you to do in 10 minutes!” (as fun as those are, they don’t often yield the best results unless you can quickly adapt activities).

There are at least 7 components to any successful professional learning session:

  1. Be an ongoing experience for educators that provide extended learning opportunities help them master new skills and instructional methods. These have a better chance at positively impacting student learning. (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  2. Be job embedded as much as possible so that what is learned can be applied in the classroom. (DeMonte; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  3. Provide support for teachers during the implementation stage of using a new instructional method in the classroom.  (Gulamhussein).
  4. Offer content that is specific (e.g. goal, discipline, grade level, developmental stage) instead of generic. (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  5. Be engaging and use varied approaches to support learning for both groups and individuals.(Gulamhussein). 
  6. Include modeling because it helps educators understand new instructional methods (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  7. Promote collaboration among teachers because it leads to better teaching and instruction, helping educators solve problems they are dealing with in the classroom. (DeMonte; Darling-Hammond et al.)

Let’s quickly re-organize those with technology support:

  1. Technology: Creating a Virtual Space to facilitate:
    1. Making learning an ongoing experience
      • PD Models: Coaching, Peer Observation, Research/PD Model
      • A space like Google Classroom, Microsoft Classroom, MS Yammer, Slack, Voxer makes it easy to facilitate ongoing conversations and reflections, easy to capture and share success.
    2. Generating content that is specific accessible and easy
      • PD Models: Workshop, Webinars, Conferences and Unconferences (e.g. edcamps)
      • Whether a wiki, a OneNote Notebook (I don’t recommend Google Drive since that can be quite confusing to organize and locate content, although I know schools that do use it in spite of that with some frustration up front), find a way to make curriculum and lesson sharing possible.
    3. Scaffolding teacher collaboration
      • PD Models: Peer observation
      • Encourage observation, modeling, implementation with support in a culture of trust and safety is key.
      • Tools like Flipgrid.com and getRecap.com can make video recording and sharing easy for teachers. 
      • Encourage reflections that are shared in a OneNote or blog, although writing may be too much given teacher literacy levels and/or time to compose and reflect, which is why I recommend Voxer or Flipgrid.
  2. Technology: Video repository of successful implementation strategies
    We know that teachers are more likely to adopt instructional methods after they see that strategy being successful in a classroom with students they know.
    1. Creating engaging, job-embedded, varied approaches to support learning
      1. Record short lessons and watch students work through successful activities.
      2. Incorporate student performance in available video content
      3. Ask students and teachers to annotate video (read Video Annotation)
Whew, that was a tough question! So glad I was able to share my thoughts in a blog entry rather than a Twitterchat!!


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure