Note: This blog entry originally published at TCEA.org/blog
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….
Just received this press release from Encore Enboard folks…definitely check them out as a great SSO solution!
Don’t play password roulette
Are your staff and students playing password roulette?
Many districts are trying to adequately manage many digital resources
and are discussing SSO.
Join Encore for a quick overview covering the following:
What is SSO and how does it work?
Can you create accounts in your SSO?
Is it secure?
Join Encore at the upcoming conferences FETC, TCEA and CALSA to learn more
Join us January 18, 2017, at 11:00 am for a quick overview to learn more.
click here to register
Note: This blog entry originally at TCEA TechNotes blog – www.tcea.org/blog
|Left to Right: Gary Gillespie, Miguel Guhlin (that’s me!), Paul Reynolds|
Aside: Many thanks, Gary and Paul!
|Helen Baca; Image Source: Elena, a friend|
Just yesterday, it seems like I began working at the Education Service Center, Region 20 with Helen Baca. Helen’s wry humor, her direct approach appealed to me. Given the chance to charge a hill occupied by the enemy, Helen is exactly the kind of person I’d rely on.
In fact, she remains the archetype for me, the kind of person who is honest, direct, and able to find humor in situations. I vaguely remember being astonished to find out she had been a Marine in her past. That always impressed me, as I feel an affinity with the Armed Forces, having grown up near an Army base and my father having retired from Army service.
We became work colleagues and then, as professionals working to solve real problems, we came to rely on each other and grew into work friends. Friends like Helen, though, only come along once in a blue moon.
It seemed only natural to recommend her for work in Northside ISD as a database developer and manager, given that we had worked so well together when at the ESC. I was always pleased to be able to work with Helen, to learn from her wisdom and her expertise in Filemaker Pro databases. In fact, the last time I saw her was maybe two years ago when we went out for lunch at Thai Taste in Northside ISD. It was one of my favorite haunts when I worked there, and I took along a colleague (now retired) who had some Filemaker Pro questions I couldn’t answer. It seemed only natural to turn to Helen.
Helen and I often teased each other…I remember her smiles always, the side by side work. She always hated my picture-taking…in fact, this is the only photo I was able to capture (shown right). Helen was strong, brave, honest, possessed of integrity. Being near her helped me be a better person, to be more forthright and direct. I am profoundly grateful that our lives intersected for a time, that her wisdom could help me better to understand changing circumstances.
It seems so few words to say about a friend who has suffered and moved on. They are insufficient to capture the depth of loss and sadness I felt at her passing yesterday on Monday, July 11, 2016. Yet, the person I remember (and always will) would not want anyone to spend a lot of time grieving. I suspect that she’d say something witty and funny, and life would move on. I can only extend my sincere condolences to Alicia, and other family members.
Hasta la proxima, Helen. Hugs and kisses. You will never be forgotten…I will still look for you at the TCEA Conference, when we were most likely to run into each other and catch up. Who knows, we may end up working together again, no matter what you say. 😉
|Image Source: Elena, a friend|
Thanks to Dr. Evan Lieberman, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for this July/August 2016 piece, What’s trending in school technology spending?, for the Texas School Business journal:
|Source: Texas School Business – Read it online|
Some of my take-aways from this article include the following:
- Budgets for public school districts are shrinking while edtech costs are rising.
- A knee-jerk reaction is to reduce instructional technology budgets [and, if I may add, cut Instructional Technology specialists/facilitators out, putting them to pasture or forcing their well-roundedness into square holes aligned to yesteryear’s approach to curriculum].
- Some of the key topics in the article include:
- IT Budgeting – A shift in spending towards mobile devices such as Chromebooks.
- Chromebooks – Versatile devices that are easy to secure and support.
- Open Educational Resources (OER)
- Teacher Technology Training
- Network Infrastructure
- One of my favorite quotes :
Miguel Guhlin…cites testing as another reason districts are switching to Chromebooks. “These devices are flexible, and preparing (the devices) for high-stakes testing is an easy process that makes yesterday’s efforts for maintaining Windows devices a nightmare by comparison,” says Guhlin, a former school district technology director.”
- On OER, Miguel Guhlin says, OER are “awesome because they are updated frequently by both teachers and students and are frequently less expensive to acquire.”
- On teacher technology training, “effective technology training helps students and teachers understand that classroom learning isn’t solely about gaining theoretical knowledge but also finding expression in real-life application” (Source: Miguel Guhlin).
By acknowledging these trends, school districts can plan today to better serve our students of tomorrow.
Recently, Tim Holt (El Paso ISD) inquired about whether it was possible to use Texas Instructional Materials Allocation (IMA) for “creating textbooks.” A clarifying response from Jennifer Bergland, TCEA Advocacy, indicates that IMA funds can be used to pay the salary of an individual who writes textbooks, but not a stipend. Tim’s question makes me wonder, “Does this mean school districts–perhaps in collaboration with students and faculty–be able to create their own textbooks?”
If so, it’s a fascinating question. Another one is, “Who ‘certifies’ these teacher-generated textbooks for use in K-12 classrooms?” Perhaps, we will soon see textbook companies disintermediated altogether. That would be a lot of money. I predict if that were to happen that we would see textbook publishers partnering with school districts to author textbooks, not unlike what happened with Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) where districts started partnering up with K12,Inc and others for a hefty pay-off to both.
|Image Source: http://millennialceo.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mceo_amplify.jpg|
Note: This blog entry originally posted at TCEA TechNotes Blog! Check it out!
Tip #1 – Amplify Teachers’ Voices in Campus Decisions
Tip #2 – Deepen Relationships
Tip #3 – Promote Quality Professional Development Opportunities
“When do you find time to blog?” Yes, the question frequently comes up. Often, I blog in the wee hours of the morning, in the evenings, or binge-blog during the weekend and schedule postings during the week (delayed gratification and all that). These days, though, I blog during the day, at work. Would you believe I wrote 4-5 blog entries just yesterday? I’m almost back to my early blogging years output (7-8 per day)! What fun! I’m grateful that my colleagues have noticed.
|Photo Credit: Peggy Reimers (@preimers)
Normally, I’d be wearing a suit and tie but today was casual dress.
The Kick-It Award comes with high praise from my esteemed colleagues at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA). As the first recipient of the Kick-It Award (eat your heart out, Chuck N), I earn the award for…yes, doing what I love, writing, which in today’s parlance is, blogging.
Update: You may want to read this blog entry offering Five Ways for Leaders to Say “Well-Done!”
The award means a lot, not just because it was home-made by Dr. Bruce Ellis (although that does speak to his puissant skills as a “TCEA Maker“) but rather because recognition from your work colleagues is always esteemed.
Thank you for making me feel welcome and for letting me do what I love. In the meantime, why don’t you check out some of my TCEA blog entries? Tweet, RT, and Facebook them…not for money, but to ensure all read the gospel of edtech.
You are cordially invited to attend a Promethean Lunch & Learn at ESC-20 this coming from to (this will take place after Curriculum Forum so time may vary by a few minutes).
The topic will be Four Strategies to Get Kids Thinking (based on Marzano’s Effective Strategies for Teaching and Learning). Bring a smartphone or other mobile device, join us for lunch, pretend you were the student in a digital classroom, and have fun!
Registration is free but required at http://tinyurl.com/PrometheanLunchLearn
“The mission of the public education system of this state is to ensure that all Texas children have access to a quality education that enables them to achieve their potential and fully participate now and in the future in the social, economic, and educational opportunities of our state and nation.” [TEC Sec. 4.001]
Source: Dealing with School Vouchers
Growing up, I attended private Catholic schools. The effects of Catholic education on my life can’t be overstated. For example, consider these long-lasting changes:
- Praying for deliverance from strict, ruler-wielding nuns helped me develop a healthy respect for clergy, especially nuns. One of my favorite movies is Lilies of the Field, showing how one can play with humor with people who have committed their lives to the service of others.
- My wardrobe usually falls into “uniform” type dress. I like to wear the same shirts and pants, and if they are all alike, I’m OK with that. It definitely prepared me for a life of uniformity.
- Being organized, having a plan to bring order to the chaos of human life…well, that’s definitely a plus coming out of private schools.
Dear San Antonio Educational Technology and Fiesta Aficionados,
This is a reminder that you are cordially invited to the “Fiesta 2016” GoGuardian Product Demo to be hosted at Ft. Sam Houston ISD on Friday, April 15th from 9:00 – 11:30. Kick off Fiesta right by exploring ways to keep your students safe and engaged on their Chromebooks using GoGuardian! If you have Chromebooks, or are even thinking about getting Chromebooks, you owe it to you and your students to attend.
This product showcase will feature Beau McCoy and Max Porter from GoGuardian and a live look at GoGuardian for Teachers in action! And .. the unveiling of the first ever GoGuardian Fiesta Medal! (Yes, you get one!)
Jennifer Bergland (TCEA) shared this information about this event…For your convenience, please find a brief blurb below:
The day and half agenda provides Future Ready District Leadership Teams with dedicated time to set a shared vision for student learning, make action plans for digital learning, and meet other regional leaders who are engaged in Future Ready. Each summit provides access to experts in the field who will answer detailed questions and help solve specific issues facing each district team. The teams will engage in facilitated conversations, sharing sessions, networking activities, and team planning opportunities
And, from TCEA:
One of my favorite commercials is this funny, if problematic, commercial featuring Cowboys’ coach, Tom Landry:
I was reminded of this commercial when a friend sent me this photo of me staring in rapt attention at my Chromebook while sitting in an Apple’s Austin headquarters:
In the meantime, iOS 9.3 Update shared a whole bunch of great information today. Carl Hooker writes about some of it here, as well as shares a Sketchnote:
I wrote a few blog entries about the information shared, but those are pending publication via the TCEA blog.
Check out my latest blog entry, On the Horizon: Digital Signage, over at the TCEA TechNotes blog! Here’s the lead:
Today’s schools are asking for digital signage: in the cafeteria, in the hallways, near the entrances. Digital signs can be a wonderful tool for getting your message out. But what’s the best solution for providing them? Find out in this blog post. (read more)
|Read the complete blog entry|
Today was my first day in my new position as Director of Professional Development at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA). Key parts of my day were spent planning with Diana Benner and Peggy Reimers, as they prepare for the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Teacher Academy on Wednesday, 03/23/16!
On the Road: While driving to Austin from San Antonio, I listened to Lindsay Buroker‘s Emperor’s Edge series (get the first book free…warning: you will want to buy the follow-ups!), a deliciously engaging steampunk/fantasy fiction collection of books! I highly recommend it!
TCEA laid out the welcome mat, and I’m truly grateful to be working with such fun folks! They were kind enough to share the following:
|Read this technotes blog entry online at TCEA!|
I suppose it’s safe to announce that I’ve created my alter-ego, STEAM Twitter account @tceamg and created a companion web site to house all the content I’ll be creating for workshops:
While my Twitter account (@mguhlin) is focused on sharing topics I remain interested in–essentially, cybersafety/privacy issues, leadership/learning/teaching with technology–I decided that since I was learning SO MUCH about STEM/STEAM, Raspberry Pi (read my previous adventures here), Arduino, Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE)–including Office365, OneNote–and Adobe, I probably should get a new Twitter going to do my research for me.
Using IFTTT.com, I am sharing some awesome resources via that Twitter account, @tceamg! I hope you’ll take a moment to follow that account!
Finally, I have to admit, working with such wonderful folks and with the hope of visiting Texas learners, I can’t wait…
Looking for a Cisco-based Voice Over IP (VOIP) System Administrator position with a pay range of $67K-$92K? Check out Judson ISD in San Antonio, Texas:
|Title||VoIP Systems Administrator|
|Reports To||Network Manager and Director of Network Services|
- Must have B.S. in a computer or business related field from an accredited school; may be substituted for years of experience in a related field
- Preferred CCNA/CCNP Voice certificate or equivalent
- Must have valid Texas Driver’s License
- Managing data communications networks, local (LAN) and wide (WAN) area networks
- Supporting, maintaining, and configuring Cisco network equipment and operating systems
- Knowledge of Ethernet network topologies both LAN and WAN
- Knowledge of querying and setting up a user access to a database (Preferred)
- Knowledge of basic telephony principals and VOIP protocols
- Perform routine system administration tasks including OS and application patches, upgrades and backups
- Ability to assess verbal computer concerns to provide technical support
- A high priority on providing outstanding customer service and turnaround time
- Strong ability to work with others
- Highly knowledgeable of computer hardware, software applications, computer operating systems, and network operating systems
- Highly proficient in keyboarding, computer use, and phone use
- Knowledge of correct English usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation
- Excellent math and analytical skills
- High ability to use computer and software to develop spreadsheets, update databases, and do word processing
- Ability to use effective verbal and written communication skills to provide outstanding customer service
- Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced office environment, supporting many people at once
- Ability to solve problems and handle situations diplomatically
- IT Experience in a large school District or organization (Preferred)
- Experience with route lists, patterns, hunt groups and global directory administration experience
- Experience with network security, QoS implementation and troubleshooting
- Excellent telephone and communication skills
- Cisco Unified Communications Manager administrative experience
- Server experience on Cisco UCS, Exchange and Active Directory with ability to extend this knowledge into Cisco Call Manager Telephony, Unity Voice Mail, Cisco IPCC applications and MS Lync
- Install, configure, and maintain Cisco network server equipment and operating systems
- Utilize Cisco network management software and hardware to identify and correct problems with the data communications equipment
- Provide configuration and problem resolution support for the district’s telephone system
- Evaluate and implement new technologies for data communications related to data, voice, and video
- Develop and support user programming required to monitor and maintain telephone system
- Attend instructor led and computer based technical training and then use this training to enhance ability to perform job and to obtain required certifications
- Lead efforts to diagnose and resolve complex system configuration, production and deployment problems
- Maintain inventory records for all equipment purchased, installed or controlled under Network Services
- Inspects all contract work completed for Network Services
- Perform equipment, software, and firmware updates as recommended by industry standards and directed by the Network Manager
- Research and investigate new and current VoIP tools
- Research and price voice, video, and data items as requested by Network Manager and Director of Infrastructure Services
- Repair or facilitates repair of two-way radio
- Maintain a clean and safe work environment
- Participate in professional development activities to maintain current knowledge of personnel rules, regulations, and practices
- Maintain a consistent professional demeanor and appearance
- Daily attendance and punctuality at work are essential functions of the job
- Office equipment – personal computer, printer, calculator, multi-line telephone, software programs and peripherals, copier, fax, and other equipment applicable to position.
- Communication equipment – radio communication equipment, cellular telephone
- Video monitoring equipment
- Maintain emotional control under stress
- Work with frequent interruptions
- Frequent: Sitting, standing, walking, climbing stairs and/or ramps, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, pulling, pushing, reaching, repetitive hand motions, hearing, speaking clearly, visual acuity, distinguishing colors, driving, traveling.
- Occasional: Lifting, moderate, 15-44 pounds; carrying, moderate, 15-44 pounds
- Frequent exposure to: temperature extremes (hot and cold), humidity extremes, noise, low or intense illumination, vibration
- Occasional exposure to: biological hazards (communicable diseases, bacteria, insects, mold, fungi, etc.), work outside, work around moving objects or vehicles, work on uneven surfaces, work alone, work prolonged or irregular hours.
The East Central ISD–in San Antonio, Texas–has posted its Director of Technology position…
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY
March 8, 2016
The position of Director of Technology will be available for the 2015-2016 school year. All individuals (district employees included) who are interested in this position must apply online through AppliTrack via the district website – http://www.ecisd.net. The deadline for submitting an applications is 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, 2016 or until the position is filled .
Primary Purpose: Direct and manage the information systems and computer services for the district. Ensure efficient and effective access to information and related technology by all campuses and administrative departments.
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:
1. Provides leadership and coordination of the district’s technology department.
2. Develops, implements, and controls the overall strategy and plans for the development, deployment and utilization of
technology to support the District in Departments and Campus operations.
3. Encourages and supports the development and implementation of innovative instructional programs to achieve identified needs.
4. Facilitates the use of existing technology in the teaching/learning process.
5. Provides foundation for developing student and teacher acceptance of future technological innovations.
6. Assists program directors in incorporating technology for efficiency of their daily operations.
7. Conducts training for staff to ensure that technology is being used effectively.
8. Plans for bids, purchases and follows through budget process to meet hardware and software needs.
9. Maintains a balanced technology budget and accurate hardware and software inventories within the district.
10. Manages repair needs in-house and external.
11. Analyzes facility and equipment needs for optimum teaching and learning; utilizes information to make necessary changes or
12. Implements the policies established by federal law, state law, state board of education rule, and the local policy in the area(s)
13. Actively seeks and uses evaluative feedback from peers, subordinates, and superordinates regarding performance.
14. Demonstrates openness and willingness to listen to parents and community members, and staff.
15. Communicates effectively with parents and community members, and staff.
16. Demonstrates a commitment to the mission of the district as it is communicated to the public.
17. Performs other duties as assigned.
NOTE: Not all applicants will be interviewed. Each applicant’s resumé, application, and other available information will be considered in the screening process. Only those persons currently meeting all of the minimum requirements will be screened.
EXPERIENCE REQUIRED/MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:
•Master’s degree – preferred
•Understanding of and background in LANS and WANS and the type of applications that run over these networks
•Ability to interpret policy, procedures and data
•Experience in managing budgets and personnel
•Ability to prepare accurate reports and to present them to small and large groups in both formal and informal settings
•Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously
•Successful experience as a campus administrator or comparable district level leadership role in instructional technology preferred
EQUIPMENT USED: Multiple platforms and devices
Mental Demands/Physical Demands/Environmental Factors:
Maintain professional demeanor under stress. Protracted and irregular hours of work.
Prolonged sitting, light to moderate lifting and carrying.
Subject to frequent interruptions.
Frequent district-wide and occasional statewide travel.
PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT: 226-day basis
SALARY: Administrative Pay Grade 106. Based upon experience.
“When was the last time I reminded myself of what I should be grateful for?” Each and every one of us can easily come up with a list immediately on what we’re grateful for. There are moments, memories, experiences and relationships that can bring smiles to our faces. So every morning, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve been blessed with in your life.
Source: “Get a blender”: 10 habits to take your life into the stratosphere of greatness
When I look back over my career, I have many experiences that bring smiles to my face. May I share one in particular with you?
Note: You can read the short version of this by just jumping to the Big Announcement at the bottom of this post.
When I became a TENET Master Trainer in the 1990s, I remember the thrill as I signed up to present at my first-ever Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) State Conference (TCEA is a non-profit, 35-year old organization focused on serving educators and students in Texas and boasts 16K+ members!). It was magical to assist others in learning, but more importantly, connecting them to each other. The funny part was that I left the usernames and passwords for the session participants in my hotel room. As my wife jumped into a taxi, I saw her head flop back as the taxi accelerated away at top speed. “What did you tell that taxi driver?” I asked her later. She said, “I’ll give you an extra $20 if you get us there and back in 15 minutes!” We often look back on that experience with a smile, and TCEA made that successful opportunity to excel a reality for my wife, myself and the participants who became connected educators!
And, it’s been one packed room after another over the years (maybe not ALL of them were packed, ok?). That was the beginning of a life-long love affair with a Texas community of educators committed to sharing how they approached teaching, learning and leading with technology. How amazing is that?
Over the years, I’ve volunteered at TCEA as a conference presenter/speaker at regional and state events, Area 20 Board Member, and TECSIG Officer. I served on a TCEA State Conference Steering Committee with Barbara Brown (thanks, Barbara! You are great!), TCEA Leadership Retreats with Jackie S., and others. How wonderful that at TCEA 2016, I ran into both of them and had a chance to express my sincere appreciation for their support to a young educator.
And, at these TCEA events, I had the chance to facilitate–with awesome folks who taught me a lot–the Problem-based Learning Academy two years in a row at the TCEA State Conference. And, later, I was proudly awarded my Making IT Happen Award (with the signature jacket with hot-pink lettering) at a TCEA TECSIG Luncheon, and met many awesome folks. For me, TCEA is a volunteer organization–that is our strength as volunteers and members that celebrates our successes as Texas educators.
In the old days, the challenges we faced as members were different. We encountered roadblocks to tech implementation in schools because most people just didn’t get IT (some still don’t but thankfully, they are growing and learning). I encountered roadblocks to tech implementations and I began to ask myself, what could I become and do so that I could empower others…to free them from having to deal with, “Youtube is blocked! WiFi isn’t universal, we don’t have systematic approach to multi-year equipment replacement and I don’t have what I need, and more importantly, neither do our kids!”
My guiding question during those years was, “How can I create spaces where technology and learning can flourish?” My answer to that has been to try to eliminate boxes and wires hurdles, engage in strategic planning, address resource allocation issues, etc. And, I’d say I’ve been successful in building infrastructure solutions–through collaborative strategic planning, resource allocations–that enable those spaces to flourish. As one colleague put it, “I shaped that reality.” Thank goodness, none of this is done alone. There’s fun in that work and I enjoy juggling budgets more than I should.
This past year, though, I’ve felt the call…the fire of presenting and sharing began to warm my heart. I thirsted for that spirit-affirming work again… I found creative expression and realized my heart was asking a different question now that challenges and obstacles had changed over time. The question…Given universal access to technology now present in schools, what if I could just facilitate amazing, awesome learning experiences for others? This question really taps into who I am, and excited me tremendously.
While I have certainly enjoyed my stint as a Director of Technology, which has delighted me with strategic planning, multi-year equipment replacements, growing the WiFi network and bandwidth, eRate and budget planning, I wondered if maybe, just maybe, I was missing out on fun I’d enjoyed when younger. And, I followed that thought….
When I look back over my career as an educator, those experiences I am most grateful for are intertwined with my volunteer efforts with TCEA. Isn’t that an incredible realization? That’s why, when the opportunity arose to see if I could rekindle my flame in a new role WITH TCEA, I couldn’t say no. And, this brings me to my big announcement.
Today, I am proud to announce that I will join the terrific team at TCEA, each committed to serving a Texas-wide community of learners! I’ll be stepping down from my position as Director of Technology for a San Antonio area school district, and embracing Texas in a way I have only dreamed. My new position is as a Director of Professional Development for the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA); I start officially this March, 2016 after Spring Break.
Aside: Please allow me to extend my sincere thanks to the TCEA team I will be joining, as well as the TCEA Board of Directors! Oh, the places we’ll go!
Don’t be afraid to call TCEA and say hello, ok? My new email address there will be mguhlin at t c e a dot o r g
|LISTEN to MIGUEL|
Welcome! Bienvenidos! This is the page of TCEA Radio Contributor, Miguel Guhlin. Connect via Twitter @mguhlin or Voxer @mguhlin. Below, please find my latest contribution to TCEA2016 Radio! Find out more about TCEA Radio! (Hint: Get the app for iOS or Android first!)
Diana Benner (@diben on Twitter)–Read her blog, Sprinkle Innovation–from TCEA has a great blog entry on the subject of badges. This blog entry below captures some of the most salient points that I found worth noting for later using the Liner app (getliner.com) app on my iPhone.
Listen to Practitioners Share About Their District’s Use of Badges:
Note: The following audio files were harvested from the Voxer chat, #TECSIGchat, a free, Texas-wide open educator group. Get Voxer on your computer, iPhone/iPad, or Android mobile device! It’s free! Get more information here – http://tinyurl.com/tecsigchatinfo or share Voxer link at http://tinyurl.com/tecsigchat
- Listen to Joel Adkins: “We are doing digital badges too. I use cred.ly to manage distribution. Badges can be made on site or uploaded. I make mine with shape tools in PowerPoint and upload them. I didn’t think teachers would care for them. I thought they would think they were a waste of time. I was wrong! Teachers print them and hang them on doors and desks. Some add to their webpages too. They love them!”
- Listen to Dr. Roland Rios share about Ft. Sam Houston ISD’s use of badges.
Although I’ve encountered many examples of badges online since folks started, I was tickled when I actually began considering using badges in my district when I received the following from Joel Adkins (@mradkins from Crandall ISD)….
|Badge generated by Joel Adkins (Crandall ISD) using Cred.ly Web Site|
Christy Cate (@christycate) has also been kind enough to share her insights into badges via Voxer, and she introduced me to Denton ISD’s Instructional Technology badges. I remember my first contact involved asking questions like, “Wow, did they design all the professional development videos that have to go with a badge system?”
The answer was quite astonishing–teachers are expected to simply submit a description of HOW they are using a particular technology (e.g. Google Classroom) in their work. How and where they get their professional development is up to them…which makes sense given that how-to videos abound for free on the Web. You don’t need Instructional Technology to spend so much time developing How Tos unless they are specifically customized for work in your District.
That said, I’d like to add a few resources I’ve been collecting regarding badges as I work to embed badges in my technology professional development plan:
- As Diana Benner, Joel Adkins and Dr. Roland Rios mention, some are using web sites like Cred.ly. Other potential sources include micro-credentialing sites:
- Open Badges in 2016: “…when we build a distributed ecosystem of educational credentials together, we will give people the tools to manage their digital footprints themselves, without requiring a relationship with any one particular mega-corporation. We believe that by working together in the open, we can build systems that improve access and equity of educational and career opportunities.”
- Digital Promise‘s MicroCredentials for Educators: “Educators earn credentials at the beginning of their careers, but they learn new skills every day. Through our educator micro-credentials initiative, Digital Promise is building a coalition of educators and partners to develop a micro-credential system that provides teachers with the opportunity to gain recognition for skills they master throughout their careers.”
- Charting Student Growth with Digital Badges: “Educators are hopeful that a flexible assessment model called digital badging is a way to bridge these gaps and describe student attributes that are currently left unacknowledged.”
- The Teachers Guide to Using Badges in the Classroom:
- Some district web sites who have embraced badges:
While I have considered that digital badges for tracking professional learning, districts like Ft. Sam Houston ISD have taken an approach to celebrating expressions of learning. Dr. Roland Rios (TCEA Vice-President, Conventions for 2017, BTW and online at @drrios) celebrates badge-making by visiting teachers in their classroom (when students are present) and making a “big deal out of it.” Some teachers, he reports, then feature those badges on their classroom web sites and in print format in their classroom.
One of the modifications I will probably make before launching this in my district is to add recommended videos. For GoogleApps, I will be taking advantage of ShakeUpLearning’s 5 Awesome Resources for Badges in the Classroom and Alice Keeler’s work!
- ” During the presentation, I mentioned rewarding teachers who come to training by giving them a badge.
- The technology team at Lubbock ISD immediately stated, “Rewarding our staff with badges for completing staff development has really motivated them.
- If you are looking for ways to motivate teachers to attend professional development, try incorporating badges.
- Badge Resources
- Class Badges – Class Badges is one of the more popular badging platforms.
- Class badges allow the teacher to easily award badges aligned with learning goals.
- Credly– Credly allows teachers to create badges, upload their own designs, and give credit through the platform.
- It is available as a web-based version and an iOS app.
- Create a Badge with Google Drawing
- Create a Badge with Google Drawing– If you have ever thought of creating your own badges, Google Drawing is a great tool to use.
- Read Alice Keeler’s blog entry on how easy it is to do.
- For All Badges – For All Badges is an iOS app that works in conjunction with For All Rubrics to align your rubrics with badges.
- For All Badges also integrates with Mozilla’s Open Badges platform, and allows students (or staff members) to save badges to their “backpack.
- Open Badges – Open Badges allows teachers to create and issue badges that do not have to be tied to a certain platform.
- Take the Badges 101 Quiz to see how it works and to earn your first badge.
- With badges, teachers who take the time to learn now have a way to be acknowledged for that learning.
- And we all know that recognition from our peers is the sweetest reward.
- Encourage them to include their badges in their email signature or print and post them in their classroom.
- You can even publicly honor them by “presenting” the badges at a faculty meeting.
- Here is Lubbock ISD’s Digital Learning Badge site, a great resource.
- If you are incorporating badges into your professional development, we’d love to hear from you.
- We love badges – they make learning fun and reward teachers for all of their hard work!
- Here is our badge site: https://sites.google.com/a/dekalbisd.net/dkinstructionaltechnology/
By Miguel Guhlin
Thanks to Jennifer Bergland (TCEA.org) for facilitating this webinar:
Could this be the solution for districts that have to rely on wide area network providers that constantly have aging equipment fail, interfering with school district business and student learning? It seems every time I turn around, the wide area network provider for a local area school district has had a piece of equipment fail.
Everyone howls, looking for the Technology Department to fix equipment they don’t even own, control, or know what to do with. And, each time, the WAN provider drags their feet to resolve the issue.
|Find out more|
What to do about this problem?
Dark fiber is a privately operated, secure and dedicated way for organizations to have access to high bandwidth, while controlling their own network. Dark fiber puts you in control of your own network, allowing you to control costs by gaining the benefits of network ownership without having to construct the physical network yourself.Source: Unite Private Networks
There are definitely benefits to private fiber, especially leased fiber. You setup a contract with a vendor, and they get to deal with all the headaches and problems. They are the ones that have to worry about “right of ways” (great podcast), and the District enjoys unlimited bandwidth on its fiber network. This really sounds like the solution to a lot of problems districts deal with when it comes to providing access to faster networks and internet at lower cost…check out this info below:
This chart of five different school districts across the U.S shows some of the savings schools have experienced with municipal networks. The orange is the original provider’s exorbitant price for each <cite title="Megabits per second – a measure of speed. 8 Mbps means that 8 million bits are transferred each second. Using an 8 Mbps connection, it would take 1 second to transfer an 1 MB (Megabyte) file – a photo, for instance. Don't get lost in the details – when it comes to Mbps, more is faster. 1 Kbps (Kilobits)<1 MbpsMbps per month. The blue is the price from the municipal network. The savings are stunning.
I recently asked a colleague:
What do you see as the process of laying your own private fiber network?
Here is his response…as you read it, ask yourself, what’s missing? What would I add to this?
- Do an RFP with kind of bandwidth outlined in it. You’ll want to define how many strands and locations you’ll want. Dark fiber, he pointed out, is fiber you’re not using. Dark fiber can be leased to others, such as small businesses. Based on the size of your fiber, you can lease out a certain amount of bandwidth.
- Define builds that will be part of the loops, and which are jump-overs.
- Idenify the type of network–loop or star topology. Vendor would provide a design based on how much redundancy is needed.
eRate now pays for 80% of leased fiber costs. That’s pretty awesome!
And one of the biggest challenges facing schools and libraries today is the “fiber gap” — by the FCC’s own estimates, at least 35 percent of schools and 85 percent of libraries lack access to fiber infrastructure today. That’s why we’re excited the Commission adopted changes recommended by OTI and many of our allies to make it easier for schools and libraries to use E-rate support to invest in fiber.
The new order also goes a step further to allow schools and libraries to construct their own networks (or portions of their own networks) if it is the most cost effective solution. This rule is designed to help schools and libraries that receive few or no bids in response to their Form 470 submissions by giving them the option to direct E-rate dollars toward direct investment when it makes financial sense to do so.
|Find out more|
TCEA shared the following information earlier this year:
- New E-rate rules allow districts to do things they haven’t been able to do before. Three main points to remember are:
- The new rules allow school districts to lease dark fiber and receive discounts on the fiber as well as the electronics to light the dark fiber beginning in 2015-2016.
- Beginning in 2015-2016, in some situations, districts will be allowed to self-provision (own) the fiber if it is the most cost effective solution.
- Up until now, the E-rate program would only provide discounts on construction projects that costs $500,000 or less. For four years, they are suspending that cap. This is an opportunity to utilize E-rate funds for those districts whose construction costs for fiber installation exceed that amount.
- The E-rate program will provide up to an extra 10% discount on special construction costs for fiber installation if the state of Texas matches up to 10% of the total cost of the construction.
Source Link: https://newbraunfels.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx
The Network Administrator is responsible for effective installation, configuration, operation, and maintenance of network hardware and software and related infrastructure. This individual participates in technical research and development to enable continuing innovation within the district. This individual ensures that network hardware, software and related procedures meet or exceed organizational policy.
- HS Diploma Required
- Preferred Associates Degree in networking; may be substituted for years of experience in a related field
- Preferred CCNP/CCIE Certificate or equivalents
Special Knowledge / Skills:
• Knowledge of gigabit networking systems and technologies, Ethernet, setup and management of VLANs, WANs, LANs, multiple types of WAN/LAN switches, routers, VPNs, IPS, IDS, wireless systems, radius, 802.1x and firewalls and content filters.
- Working knowledge of Apple network protocols.
• Working knowledge of fiber optic cable, copper cable, and network test equipment.
• Knowledge of Industry standards for structured cabling systems.
• Excellent telephone and communication skills.
• Ability to assess verbal computer concerns to provide technical support.
• A high priority on providing outstanding customer service and turnaround time.
• Strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
• Highly knowledgeable of computer hardware, software applications, computer operating systems, and network operating systems.
• Highly proficient in keyboarding, computer use, and phone use.
• Knowledge of correct English usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
• Excellent math and analytical skills.
• High ability to use computer and software to develop spreadsheets, update databases, and do word processing.
• Ability to use effective verbal and written communication skills to provide outstanding customer service.
• Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced office environment, supporting many people at once.
• Ability to solve problems and handle situations diplomatically.
At least three years of experience in the educational environment preferred.
At least three years of network experience preferred.
Job Contact Information
|Title||Executive Director of Technology|
|Listen to the Audio Recording of the TECSIGchat #1: Hour of Code
Listen to this Preview of TECSIGchat #1: Hour of Code!
Need Help Getting Started with Voxer?
- Video Tutorial #1 – Intro to Voxer Part 1 via Justin Schleider
- Video Tutorial #2 – Voxer Tips and Tricks via Justin Schleider
Get Voxer – Download Links
Get the Voxer app for your mobile device using links below for Windows, iOS or Android.
Chat Notes and Links
- Use STEM Library to Connect – https://t.co/5oVLRfwhJW
- PBS ScratchJr – https://t.co/yWvZmyotQn
- iPad Monthly magazine – Coding Edition (Free) – https://slate.adobe.com/a/zXbAo/
- Coding Board Game – http://www.amazon.com/Code-Master-Programming-Logic-Game/dp/B014993TCI
- Apple’s SWIFT coding resources
- STUDENTS: A Swift Time to Code
- TEACHERS: Teaching Swift coding
- Browse the “App Development” Collection of curated apps, podcasts, books and iTunes U courses.
- Browse the “Learning to Code” Collection – a curation of amazing resources for your upcoming ‘Hour of Code’ campus events!
Susan F. Reeves’ Shared Resources:
- Hour of Code Countdown Planning
- Hour of Code Resources:
- My 6 Favorite Code.org/Hour of Code Links: http://hourofcode.com
- direct to tutorials: https://code.org/learn
- Pair Programming Video to show students: https://youtu.be/vgkahOzFH2Q
- Understanding 4 types of Mistakes from KQED: http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/11/23/why-understanding-these-four-types-of-mistakes-can-help-us-learn/
- Promotional materials: https://hourofcode.com/us/promote/resources – Includes sticker, certificate templates, media release drafts, posters and more
- Printable student certificates (up to 30 at a time, be sure to print landscape mode): https://code.org/certificates
- BEYOND HOUR OF CODE:
Information for teachers and school districts about training options and opportunities
K-5 Teacher training opportunities (underwritten by Code.Org)
Online, self-paced workshop for elementary teachers
School District Partnership Information
BECOME A MEMBER OF TCEA TEC-SIG!
TEC-SIG is the largest SIG and was established in 1989 for the purpose of providing a means of communication between technology coordinators, instructional technology leaders, and other administrators throughout the state.The organization furnishes its members up-to-date information on legislation, happenings within the Texas Education Agency, grants, and TEC SIG activities. Members share their own technology-related experiences at three yearly meetings in an effort to educate and inform each other on what is happening in the field of technology.
Our next meeting is April 14-15, 2016 and will feature keynote speaker Doug “Blue Skunk” Johnson on April 14th! Special presentations will also be made on eRate on Friday, April 15, 2016. Want to join in the planning of this meeting? Please join in!
Disclaimer: Please note that TECSIGchat is not affiliated with TCEA, nor do opinions shared in the chat reflect TCEA. Of course, I am the current Vice-President of TEC-SIG–barring impeachment or something–and my purpose for doing this is to amplify Texas EdTech voices!
And, I recommend that all technology support staff, teacher-librarians, instructional technologists, digital coaches, and anyone who supports technology in Texas teaching and learning situations (e.g. public/private/charter/home schools) join TCEA TEC-SIG so you can connect to other educators as committed to transforming teaching, learning, and leading with tech in schools!
When a hurricane, typhoon strikes a remote area, as a citizen of the U.S. where every surface appears paved, every destination has an asphalt road leading to it, I am always amazed that the only way for people to help is to walk, climb, float or fly. It’s a frightening thought–help is a helicopter flight away.
“In a country where we expect free wifi with our coffee,” said President Obama in June 2013, “we should definitely demand it in our schools.” Many would go so far as to say, we need it in our children’s homes, too. As the Internet becomes even more essential to student success, it’s clear that more needs to be done to connect families at home.
Case Study: As I recorded here, 1:1 Infrastructure for Equitable Mobility, large Texas districts like Dallas ISD have put in a lot of blood, sweat, money and tears to get students connected at home. Dallas ISD did a wireless study to discover how the District can provide a wireless connection to students, which do not have any internet connections, throughout the Dallas urban area. They found several possible options, including setup of an 802.11 wireless mesh system homing back access points to nearest school or network location, microwave antennas for hard to reach places, local internet service providers, issuing WiFi hotspots, and private LTE.
Wow, that’s fairly mind-boggling! What should the role of schools be in making this happen? Per a this study, CoSN Infrastructure Survey Highlights Broadband Progress and Troubling Gaps, there is an expectation schools provide access to students at home.
And this is reflected in some of the presentations I’ve seen at Conferences, not unlike Dallas ISD. I’ve seen an increasing push for school districts to cover the cost of creating networks so that students can have Internet access at home.
“For some families, $9.95 a month is still too much,” Leonard said. “Also, one hard-wired computer per family doesn’t necessarily work in our world anymore. If I’m giving kids iPads and MacBook Airs to bring home, those are not hard-wired devices. They work in a wireless environment. Even if you did hardwire one of them, you can only have one computer on that hard-wired system at a time. You need a router.” Source: Bandwidth for All, THE Journal
When you consider that EVERYTHING is on the Web, I can’t imagine many schools arguing that this isn’t essential. Internet is a utility, like telephones, electricity.
…many rural schools are looking to expand bandwidth by installing fiber optics, either between buildings or across parts of the community. “They have to negotiate right of way, or even crossing rail road tracks,” he said. “That’s where it takes a lot of work and leadership in the local community. It may take five years. In many cases, the community may look to bond funds or other sources in addition to the E-rate program to get that funding in place.” Source: Bandwidth for All, THE Journal
For all schools, getting their pupils connected at home can be a daunting task. Comcast’s effort, laudable as it is, isn’t getting the job done in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
We need a better solution. What is your district doing?
digital textbooks and technology use in Texas schools
· Brendan Desetti, director of education policy for the Software & Information Technology Association, who works with stakeholders to identify educational trends.
· Jay Diskey, executive director of the Association of American Publishers’ PreK-12 Learning Group, who directs the group’s advocacy, public policy development and operations.
· Lan Neugent, interim executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, who has first-hand experience with online testing and statewide instructional technology resource teacher deployment.
· Anthony Swei, co-founder of EducationSuperHighway, who is on the forefront of leading the nationwide effort to provide network capacity and connectivity to allow digital learning for every K12 student.
· Chuck Weaver, chair of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University, who is widely published on the topics of reading and education, memory and language, and the relationship between confidence and memory.
· Jon Wilkins, managing director of the Federal Communications Commission, who will discuss the E-rate program which provides discounted telecommunications, internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.
After the TCEA System Administrator Conference on October 30, several districts met to discuss the Texas Textbook Nightmare (click this link to catch-up) visited upon school districts by digital textbook publishers!
Mary Mitchem (Georgetown ISD) shares her thoughts and an awesome rubric Curriculum Depts can use to avoid pitfalls when choosing a digital textbook provider.
This is an awesome rubric! I shared it with several staff members and I am taking it to our admin meeting Tuesday. I can also see how this would help bring the technology team into the decision making process so every purchase can be supported with current equipment and systems we have in place. Thank you! Source: Feedback from one school district.
TCEA TEC-SIG members (not a member? Why not join up?) accessed this resource first!
More important, Mary shares a rubric that SHOULD be adopted by all Texas School District Curriculum Departments BEFORE they decide what digital textbooks to embrace:
I wanted to follow up with an email to TEC-SIG about our recent Austin-area district meetup with Clever on October 30th to discuss instructional systems management, and specifically, the recent textbook adoption digital resource setup issues.
We had been expecting 10 districts but due to the weather that day (torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes) – we ended up with just five districts, but it was still a fantastic discussion about the other TEXTBOOK TORNADO we had all survived. We had both instructional and technology staff represented and we all shared very common experiences and frustrations with our instructional systems.
One of the light-bulb moments for me personally was when we were talking about how much money was spent on this recent adoption compared to the less-than-stellar quality of the products we received.
Georgetown ISD also did an SIS RFP this year, but our textbook adoption ended up being double the cost of our SIS contract. Our SIS RFP process involved at least 50 phone interviews with other districts, a 700+ item requirements list, an online survey, and 2 site visits. Our SIS will provide online assignments, a teacher/student/parent portal, and ALL of the other features such as scheduling, PEIMS, attendance, etc. that we need to run our district - at HALF the cost of our recent textbook adoption.
So why are we spending twice as much on our instructional content, which is increasing delivered in a technology system rather than a textbook, but only evaluating content rather than system requirements during the evaluation process? It's no surprise that the result is systems that are woefully inadequate for our needs and outrageously overpriced for what they deliver to our districts.
In brainstorming this issue, we decided that districts needed an objective set of scoring criteria for instructional systems that evaluated not only the content quality, but the other features that can make or break the delivery of that content, including data integration, user account management, and more. We worked on a rubric in our meeting and at this point we would like your feedback on these criteria. Ultimately, we would like to have a common set of criteria we can use to help our instructional teams in vetting these systems.
INSTRUCTIONAL SYSTEMS CRITERIA: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FE1IJc8LkysStybfPb208K2gIFV8a6IKm7FQbNsdzrI/edit?usp=sharing
Please comment, share with others, and/or email me with changes or things we might have missed.
One possible way that we think Clever might help us in this process is by hosting a nation-wide site that provides districts a way to share ratings and reviews of instructional systems based on these criteria – it would be great to share that information with our adoption committees and curriculum departments as they consider these purchases.
Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide on this rubric or the ideas we brainstormed in this meeting!
Information Systems Manager
Are you a school district in or around Austin or close enough to get there? Consider attending the Texas Meetup. Here’s the email Clever.com staff sent out about the event:
I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all tomorrow at our first Texas District Meetup! More than 10 Texas districts will be attending to share experiences and any challenges around software implementation. I’m excited to see whether having a united voice across the State might drive some positive change to solve some of our districts’ most pressing needs.
Here is a snippet of stuff I’ve heard from districts in your area:
|Left to Right: Miguel Guhlin, Virgil Kirk|
Earlier today, Virgil Kirk and I had the opportunity to share our district’s journey in solving a wicked problem–user account management and user provisioning. Whew, it was a big room!
- Articles on the Subject
- The Texas Digital Textbook Data Nightmare – In this engaging comprehensive primer, featuring quotes from Texas school districts, Miguel explores the problem and solutions available. This is a great intro for those struggling with vague notions of what is happening (or not) in regards to data integration.
- Data-Driven School Districts Experience Growing Pains – In this “pictures of the problem”-rich article, Miguel shares his journey to find a solution, including job descriptions and expectations.
- To the Rescue – @Clever in Texas Schools? – Want to use Clever to in place of or to complement your existing user provisioning solution? Read this article to get answers to key questions!
- MyNotes: ClassLink for Rostering – My notes on ClassLink’s connection to OneRoster.org, a presentation shared at the TCEASysAdmin.
- Potential Vendor Partners
- Identity Automation
- View list of Texas School Districts using product
- Contact Info: EST Group ((817) 271-3178) + Identity Automation ((281) 220-0021); Primary Contacts are
Mark Hanna and Tim Till (email@example.com), respectively.
- Videos: Watch Intro Video | School Case Study
- Tools4Ever’s UMRA (Watch intro video)
- Watch Intro Video | 1-Hour Video Overview
- ESC-11 Information Page
- TxCTO Presentation
- Encore Comparison to other SSO Solutions
- Encore Value Statement
- Encore vs Clever Comparison
- Rostering Solutions & Single Sign-On
- District Links
Are you the database administrator, technology specialist for your school district? As school districts move from paper textbooks (remember those book closets filled with textbooks that few ever used, or worse, students had access to) to digital ebooks, they face a host of challenges. This 3 part article explores a few of those challenges, then offers several solution providers. You may also want to check out this presentation resource site, Identity Crisis: Managing User Accounts.
1-Exploring The Problem
School districts have been caught flat-footed in the last two years, facing an onslaught of digital textbook providers who follow no standard data file creation process. This problem is called “user provisioning,” (a.k.a. account provisioning) a fancy way of saying that you have to create usernames and passwords in EVERY online system students and staff will need to use.
|Image Source: http://cognisec.com/wp-content/themes/cognisec/images/workspace-home.png|
The gold standard is single sign-on–ONE username and ONE password–that provides access to and is updated in ALL systems a user connects to. Simplicity–remembering one login and password–and security is the focus. To make this happen, user provisioning (a.ka. rostering) has to happen in the background.
There are a variety of single sign-on providers that already have partnerships with other vendors. Some SSO providers include ClassLink (video), Global Grid for Learning (video), and Bitium’s Passkey (video). Please note that this issue is greater than “single sign-on,” however. We will explore the different levels of solutions later.
Some of the challenges include:
- Getting data out of your Student Information System (SIS)
- Blending student and staff data (e.g. usernames, passwords, student/staff IDs)
- Knowledge of complex database tools and file format conversions (e.g. CSV to XML)
- Unnecessarily complex usernames to represent different textbooks within the same digital textbook system
- Multiple usernames and passwords for students and staff that do NOT match their District username and password.
Student Information Systems (SISs)
The “big database in the sky,” or think of it as a lake from which critical information flows, for most school districts is their Student Information System. There are a variety of SIS solutions, including the Education Service Center, Region 20’s iTCCS, as well as TXEIS (so two solutions from ESC-20!), Skyward, eSchoolPlus, and many others. In Texas, most districts have standardized on either ESC-20’s iTCCS or Texas Enterprise Information System (affectionately known as TxEIS), or opted for Skyward.
From their Student Information System, school districts can export data about students and staff. But this is not the end of the fun. Down the stream from this lake of data (e.g. SIS), school district technology departments create user accounts that allow people to log into computers (a.k.a. Active Directory) and create email accounts (e.g. GoogleApps for Education, MS Exchange, Office 365).
Most districts have some automated process for accomplishing this. For example, here’s the process one Texas school district follows:
- A person is approved as a new hire.
Person(s) Responsible: Personnel Staff
- Insertion into SIS/Payroll System. A person’s critical information–FirstName, LastName, Location, EmployeeID#, EmployeeType–is entered into the SIS/Payroll System.
Person(s) Responsible: Payroll staff
- Automated Creation of Digital Accounts. The Identity Automation System takes those new hires put into SIS/Payroll System prior to 2:00am and generates accounts (e.g. Eduphoria, AESOP, SchoolWires, Payroll, TxGradebook, Active Directory and GoogleApps, Discovery Video*, TCMPC, AESOP) for people with the default password.
- Email Sent to Person with Digital Account Information. The Identity Automation System generates an email for all accounts generated and sends a copy to 1) the new hire; 2) the campus secretary; and 3) Technology.
- New Hire, who is now a district employee, logs-in. If a password needs to be changed, any authorized staff member can do so via an easy to access web console.
As you might imagine, the process BREAKS DOWN for many districts in step 3 shown above. The difference in the process above is that the Identity Automation System referenced is a user provisioning solution that handles all the legwork. The process is MUCH MORE difficult without this type of user provisioning solution. The process WITHOUT user provisioning is as follows:
- A person is approved as a new hire.
- Insertion into SIS/Payroll System. A person’s critical information–FirstName, LastName, Location, EmployeeID#, EmployeeType–is entered into iTCCS.
- Payroll emails a daily list of users with their unique employee ID to a designated contact in the Technology Department.
- The Tech Dept contact takes the person’s critical information–FirstName, LastName, Location, EmployeeID#, EmployeeType–and generates unique user IDs following the naming convention for digital accounts needed while trying to provide a consistent username and password in all systems for people with the default password.
- A paper document with a New Hire’s Digital Account Information is provided. This is usually a mail merge or a typed letter created by the person(s) creating accounts.
- New Hire, who is now a district employee, logs-in. If a last name or password needs to be changed, either someone in Technology does it or it has to be done system by system.
In the example above, there are 38 different district information systems. Can you imagine ONE person, or even a team of people, working full-time to maintain account usernames and passwords across all those different systems? The answer is, “Not hardly, but what can I do? It has to get done!” So most districts try to create data files that include all the information for easy import into multiple systems. The problem is, creating these data files can be quite difficult.
Blending Student and Staff Data
Few school districts have the technical wherewithal to generate the quantity of data files required by digital textbook providers. For example, a textbook provider may ask for the following fields (e.g. Harcourt Teacher Data File used to create teacher usernames and passwords):
While that is a short list, combine it with student data and it can become much tougher!
Knowledge of Complex Database Tools and File Format Conversions
Requests can become increasingly complex, especially as you try to JOIN students in secondary classes to ONE teacher. Take a look how this interaction plays out with Pearson’s EasyBridge solution, which is supposed to make it all work. For example, Pearson EasyBridge requires multiple data fields, as well (e.g. LEA District#, List of schools, List of classes, List of teachers, List of students, Associated teacher to class, Associated student to teacher, City, State, Address of School, Zip, and Phone number).
|Image Source: http://www.w3schools.com/sql/img_innerjoin.gif|
Generating these multiple data fields that are inter-related is a daunting task, requiring complex Structured Query Language (SQL) JOIN statements. What’s that, you don’t know about SQL JOIN statements? Well, most technology specialists tasked with generated these data files for different vendors don’t know about them either…and since SQL is used to interact with a big database, this presupposes that your district even HAS a large database with ALL student and staff data–organized in tables–it can query.
Note: Think of these databases housing confidential student and staff data as giant Excel workbooks in the sky, each sheet (or tab) in the workbook housing data related to other data in a different tab. Somehow, you have to combine/join disparate data from multiple sheets (a.k.a. tables in database-speak) into the ONE you want. This can be a complex proposition, made all the more difficult
Unnecessarily Complex Usernames
McGraw-Hill, another of “the Big 3 Publishers,” also can get convuluted. For example, McGraw-Hill requires a student file with only a few fields (e.g. lastname, firstname, gender, gradelevel, username, and password), but things get complicated. The fields have to be arranged in a specific order. If out of order, then the data transfer will not work. And, even when successful, for the teacher, life is complicated. Imagine if you had to create fictional usernames for each textbook you needed to use with your students, resulting in two handfuls of usernames…just so you can access the same digital textbook students are using! For example, if your username is “MiguelGuhlin,” for each of your classes, the username would be something like
In one local school district, my username for email is “firstname.lastname@example.org” and that is my username. It’s unique in my district, but if I want to access textbooks, then I have to use one of the monster usernames shown above.
Question to Ponder: Were schools made for digital textbook publishers, or the other way around? Is the tail wagging the dog?
Usernames and Passwords that Do NOT Match District Usernames and Passwords
Worse yet, most students and staff ALREADY have a username and password for their “schoolwork.” That username and password is their Active Directory and/or email username and password. I don’t know about you, but asking a 2nd grader to remember more than one username (like what they use to login into a computer, a Chromebook or send email) would require a pretty awesome digital textbook. automated their student and staff user account names, using that foothold on automation to then branch out. Branching out means automating other systems (e.g. Istation, Think Through Math, Khan Academy), using the core list of usernames and passwords.
2-Exploring Solution Providers
“At the end of the day,” says Steve Young, Chief Technology Officer in Texas, “I think any sizable district who has not automated identity management needs to look at these two products in the very least.” In this section, we will explore more than just two products.
When I first began exploring this issue, a local 10,000 student district suffered a wicked problem. All user account management was done manually. That is, all accounts for staff were created in Payroll in the District’s Student Information System, then someone had to create or maintain those accounts across many different systems. The wicked problem was that there were always people whose account information was wrong and did not work. Keeping their information up to date resulted in a full-time task that one or more people had to support. At the start of the school year, it was IMPOSSIBLE.
WICKED PROBLEM…SOLVED! When considering price, ask yourself, “Does the District want to continue dealing with centralized account management by giving the job to one or more people, who may or may not do a less than adequate job managing those accounts?” When you’re considering Active Directory, account management for GoogleApps (or take your pick of system), Student Information System (SIS), the flavor of the month textbook adoption, this job can be a bear with a sore tooth locked in your office.
At the time we selected Identity Automation, I had a smaller team of staff and account management, as well as creating data files for systems was problematic. That problem alone delayed implementation of several key initiatives. However, afterwards, we were able to accomplish quite a bit. We’ve slowly consolidated account management into a 1-person job that doesn’t occupy all his time.
That’s the real problem with failed account management processes…they eat up one or more people’s times because there is no standardization. The “wicked problem”–the bear with a sore tooth–had been solved.
Banishing the Nightmare
To banish the nightmare, after heavy research, two steps needed to be taken:
- Hire someone who could slice and dice data files. This person needed to be comfortable with SQL databases, Access/Filemaker database queries, and love Excel, file formats (e.g. CSV, tab, XML), and more. While I could do some of this, with 38 different district information systems, I didn’t imagine that there would be time left over to do much of anything else. You can find the job description online at the bottom of this blog entry.
- Select a turn-key identity management solution. Checking with multiple school districts in the State via TCEA TEC-SIG group, I was able to identify two available solutions, although there are now more.
LEVELS OF SOLUTION PROVIDERS
If we had to group solution providers mentioned in this article in categories, it could be like this:
- Level 5 – A district staff member works collaboratively with a user provisioning solution (such as those listed below) to maintain data file creations, and connects with a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution.
- Level 4 – District data specialist extracts data from the Student Information System, customizing it, relying on a user provisioning system like Identity Automation, Tools4Ever’s UMRA to automatically set up nightly uploads needed by vendors.
- Level 3 – District staff or data specialist creates data files (or gets them from the student information system) and manually imports them into external vendor systems. Vendor partners may or may not work together with a regional education service center to obtain data files directly from their source.
- Level 2 – Integration of SSO + Data File Management and Select Vendor Partners Only like Clever.com and ClassLink’s OneRoster (free).
- Level 1 – Single Sign-On Providers like ClassLink (SSO only), Global Grid for Learning, and Bitium’s Passkey
- Level 0 – Classroom teachers or campus staff create student and staff accounts, maintaining it themselves via some graphical interface or uploading an Excel file.
Given these levels, where is YOUR district?
Here are some potentialNow, school districts have access to a variety of solution providers, each of which may offer “modules” that expand the power of each.
Solution Provider #1 – EST Group and Identity Automation
This turn-key solution provider is one that I heartily endorse. The process of working with them involved creating data files for student and staff. These were exports from our Student Information System/Payroll, and had to be placed automagically on our Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) server nightly. Then, these files were “sucked into” the Identity Automation solution, and magic things started to happen.
From these data files, Identity Automation is able to control our Active Directory, GoogleApps for Education and the 38 district information systems staff and/or students have to interact with. We also had to setup two servers that would enable the transfer of data, remote access for Identity Automation support staff. While this seems complicated, consider that they eliminated our data creation mess for various solutions, solving our account management “wicked problem.”
“We use Identity Automation. They are out of Houston. And I highly recommend them!”
–CTO from a Texas School District
Identity Automation, however, can be expensive to launch ($30K for Year 1, and about $8K thereafter annually). Of course, you are getting great support and this can be a life-saver in small to mid-size school districts who can’t afford a dedicated systems interface specialist position.
Find out more:
- View list of Texas School Districts using product
- Contact Info: EST Group ((817) 271-3178) + Identity Automation ((281) 220-0021); Primary Contacts are
Mark Hanna and Tim Till (email@example.com), respectively.
- Videos: Watch Intro Video | School Case Study
Solution Provider #2 – Tools4Ever’s UMRA
User Management Resource Administrator (UMRA), described by some as being less “turn-key” than Identity Automation, requires someone on staff who can knowingly work with the solution. “It’s like Active Directory Tool but on steroids!!” shared one colleague. This is a capable solution used by several Texas school districts and one of the top two middle to large sized school districts should consider.
Tools4Ever’s solution has a great video explaining the challenges and the solution offerings they have:
UMRA is an upfront purchase, rather than a subscription) product for managing network accounts, home directories, Exchange, Lync, Google Apps, etc. for students and teachers. We use UMRA from Tools4Ever and have a superb experience with their support and programming teams, having used their product for about 7 years. Teachers and students can log into the school district network, GAFE, and many other things using their AD credentials.
Solution #3 – Encore Software Solutions
This is a solution a large Texas school district is using, and that is also endorsed by the Education Service Center, Region 11:
Region 11 is partnering with Encore to provide an Identity Life Cycle/Federated Security/Single Sign on Application called Encore Software Solutions. Encore Software Solutions automates the most important and often the most complex functions required to connect users to necessary resources. ESS provides user management (creation, change, archival, removal and self service), provisioning of resources (applications, information and data) and seamless secure access (Federation and Single Sign on) to those resources for resources both on premise and hosted 3rd party platforms. Read more.
Find out more:
AND (not necessarily OR yet),
While not perceived to be a 100% solution–given that it doesn’t facilitate access (yet?) to the big 3 publishers or the new out of the ordinary vendor that just pops up unexpectedly (for example, the San Antonio, Texas Municipal Court is looking to get student/staff data to help Texas districts comply with new truancy laws…and they need data files!)–it takes a novel approach to banishing the nightmare.
That approach is to provide their Single Sign-On service to school districts at no charge (yes, sign-up is free!), asking districts to provide only 5 data files (easy), which they, in turn, use to interface with over 250 vendor partners (e.g. Khan Academy). The vendors are charged. This solution makes a lot of sense, bypassing the problem districts face in generating data files for all their potential partners and allowing Clever.com to deal with all the issues, such as student data privacy, syncing data nightly or more with others.
“Why is Clever of value, especially to school districts that may already have another solution in place?” I asked. The response was a cool “Do you want to manage all those point to point integrations or let Clever handle one to many integrations?” With that answer, one immediately realizes the benefits that Clever offers–why waste some dynamic individual’s time slicing and dicing data files for various vendors? Instead, have that person create 5 files and let Clever do the hard work.
The main challenge Clever.com faces, though, is getting large district textbook publishers to take advantage of their Application Programming Interface (API) to allow the flow of data from the District’s Student Information System (SIS) to the vendor partners.
“Clever is very transparent about our commitment to privacy and security. We are their [school districts and smaller vendors] security infrastructure. We have invested in the resources so districts, as well as some of our vendors, don’t have to.”
Once you are sending your 5 data files to Clever in an automated manner, Clever represents that data in a dashboard that allows the District access to ALL of the vendor partners Clever has. For example, if you want all students in the District to get access to Code.org or Khan Academy, you just indicate that via the panel. Or, if you only want math students at a certain campus to get access, then you make those selections and submit the request. The interface appears easy and straightforward.
Once data is syncing on a regular schedule, students have the option to login to ANY of the systems with a single sign-on.
As I reflect on the solutions available, I am inclined to combine solutions at this point–one of the first 3 solutions at cost plus Clever at no charge. The main benefit of this approach is that schools build the capacity needed in-house to slice and dice data, but also capitalize on Clever.com’s pre-existing vendor partner relationships. Instead of the arduous process of building data files needed for 250 partners, you just connect with Clever and focus on the data files that Clever does NOT support, but which you need. This is a much smaller number!
- Watch intro video
- Student Data Privacy
- What Schools Are Saying about Clever
- A Case Study: Sunnyside Schools
While a potentially complex topic, one perspective that needs to be discussed is, Why are digital textbook publishers not getting together with the Texas Education Agency or state agency to make this user provisioning process easier for school districts? Probably what is needed is a federal agency to require states to standardize their student/staff information systems so that vendors work with ONE set of data files, rather than one per school district. Is that likely to happen? No, because this nightmare is perpetrated on all by partisan politics that are divisive and built-by committees of rivals.
So, if you’re a school district, I recommend you take the following steps:
- Hire someone who can slice and dice data. A job description exists already for you to start with.
- Select a turn-key solution provider, whether it’s Identity Automation, UMRA, Encore, that is up to you.
- Sign up with Clever. Since it is free, there is no cost and you can connect to many different providers with a single sign-on, eliminating problems you would face otherwise doing things yourself.
- Lobby, demand, protest legislators to take the steps needed to eliminate the daily horrors that begot The Texas Digital Data Nightmare.
Beautiful Huntsville ISD (love the countryside over there!) has posted several positions in their Technology Department:
- Systems Administrator – $67,000
- Systems Interface Specialist – $54,000
- Computer Tech Level 1 – $33,000
Frankly, the Systems Interface Specialist position is a bit low…probably add $30K-$40K to that salary, but nevertheless, it is a starter position for someone if they are willing to relocate and grow!
“When will all the digital textbook providers get on the same page?” Or when will TEA or Texas legislators crack the whip to get them all on the same page? You’d think that any textbook publisher making so much money off of Texas schools would be willing to reinvest in Texas schools and make life easier for under-paid, over-worked educators cranking out data files. Their collective failure to help school districts overcome the creation of data files–which allow students and teachers to access the expensive digital, online textbooks–means this expensive investment is wasted.
If we can’t get to the video-rich, expertly designed digital textbooks, what’s the point? That’s what is frustrating so many educators–and students, their parents–in schools today.
|Image Source: http://bit.ly/1jDi4yo|
At the TCEA 2015 State Conference, a group of technology directors and instructional technology specialists met to discuss a problem that has them pulling out their hair–digital textbooks and automated account management. And, resolving this problem is a top priority for Texas schools.
Our foci is to support each other, as we join in our districts’ strategic conversations to identify solutions related to digital teaching and learning platforms; preparing RFP for Ed Tech systems; digital learning interoperability, and data exchange standards; systems integration and design to address current K12 educational needs; support of various sorts for 1:1 initiatives; Privacy, Safety and Security issues; data processes and governance in light of new federal and state-level concerns and laws.
Source: Email, February 8, 2015, Author Anonymized to Protect Identity (leave comment if you want to “out” yourself).
What a great summary of the issues facing school districts. Let’s dig into these a bit more, since the howls of anguish have arisen in many places, from regional to state-wide meetings (e.g. TCEA TEC-SIG meetings).
School district superintendent or CTO? Join other school districts in demanding that Textbook Providers standardize on single sign-on requirements, OR better yet, sign up with Clever.com. Attend the 12:30-3:30pm Texas District Meet-Up on October 30th (Friday) meet-up in Austin, Texas! Meeting will take place at the Courtyard by Marriott, Austin Airport in the Trinity Meeting Room (7809 East Ben White Blvd).
And, fill out the TCEA Survey intended to inform conversations at an SBOE Learning Workshop at the State Capitol on November 17th.
This isn’t an issue that has just “popped up.” Like boiled frogs about to expire, technology specialists are trying to create and manage comma-delimited files, XML formats, for different vendors. For example, in one school district with approximately 10,000 students, there are 38 different information systems that have to be integrated.
Note:Read more about this challenge online, Data-Driven Districts Experience Growing Pains.
The multi-faceted problem has even drawn the attention of traditional media, such as the Austin-American Statesman, but no one needs “The News” to make an obvious observation…the benefits of digital textbooks have landed like a pile of bricks on the heads of school districts!
The digital transition gained momentum about four years ago when the state stopped paying for a textbook for every student in every course. School districts statewide were given a pot of money — $1.4 billion for this school year and next — to buy textbooks, forcing them to cut costs. Concurrently, textbook publishers were offering more cost-effective and spruced-up electronic products than ever before. Almost all texts on the state-adopted list this year have a digital option. Several textbook publishers, such as McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, offer cost-effective bundles that include a yearslong subscription to their digital editions along with a class set that often includes 25 printed versions.
Source: Austin-American Statesman, Wave of Digital Textbooks Hits Area School Districts by Julie Chang.
In spite of all this money for digital textbooks, districts are struggling to create student and teacher accounts for EACH separate textbook publisher they acknowledge. Imagine juggling thousands of student and teacher usernames and passwords for multiple textbook systems…and expecting students in grades 3-12 tracking all those separate usernames and passwords.
Single sign-on (SSO) is a property of access control of multiple related, but independent software systems. With this property a user logs in with a single ID to gain access to a connected system or systems without being prompted for different usernames or passwords, or in some configurations seamlessly sign on at each system. This is typically accomplished using the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and stored LDAP databases on servers. A simple version of single sign-on can be achieved over IP networks using cookies but only if the sites share a common DNS parent domain.
Benefits of using single sign-on include: 1) Reducing password fatigue from different user name and password combinations; 2) Reducing time spent re-entering passwords for the same identity; and 3) Reducing IT costs due to lower number of IT help desk calls about passwords
Single sign-on is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity now. More importantly, only a few school districts are staffed to accomplish this (after all, to get a systems interface specialist or database administrator can be as high as $85K, at minimum, if not closer to $125K…quite expensive).
ONE SOLUTION: Clever
One possible solution, aside from building capacity in-district by hiring a database administrator who can slice and dice data files and set up automated account management, is to take advantage of 3 year old, Clever. As they say, Clever is a vendor that makes automated account management for all these different systems possible – Clever keeps educational applications rostered and up-to-date. We make using software in schools as easy as ABC.
“Why is Clever of value, especially to school districts that may already have these integrations in place?” I asked.
“Do you want to manage all those point to point integrations or let Clever handle one to many integrations?” With that answer, one immediately realizes the benefits that Clever offers–why waste some dynamic individual’s time slicing and dicing data files for various vendors? Instead, have that person create 5 files and let Clever do the hard work.
Earlier today, I had the chance to chat with a Clever representative and ask a few questions. Here are my notes from that eye-opening conversation:
- What does Clever do for schools?
- Clever eliminates the need for classroom teachers or technology specialists to maintain electronic rosters in multiple digital textbook systems. It also ensure security and privacy of student information, resulting in nightly or more frequent updates.
- Single Sign-On for students, and enables teachers to share links.
- Tiered access for district level staff (e.g. Curriculum Dept) and school levels is on the roadmap.
- How does my District sign up?
- Clever does NOT charge or cost school districts anything; want to create a free account for your school district? There’s nothing stopping you.
- Clever has a single sign-on solution for students to use…when students sign-in to Clever, they get access to every vendor service–some of which are free to school districts–that Clever has an arrangement with.
- But how does Clever make money? It signs a contract with a vendor partner (200 partners and counting so far, but not the Big 3 (Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton-Mifflin) yet. Clever charges vendors per school, per month…the rate varies from vendor to vendor.
- How does Clever’s “data ingestion” process–getting data from districts into the vendors–work?
- The District is asked to prepare 5 files:
- A “teachers” file
- A “students” file
- A “sections” file
- An “enrollments” file
- A “schools” file
- Nightly (or 3-4 times per day) snapshots of data are transferred via Secure FTP (SFTP) and then made available in Clever’s system.
- If problems arise with the data, Clever captures those data warnings and makes them available to you for viewing and/or download as a comma-delimited file (a.k.a. CSV file).
- On the Vendor side, Clever has created an API to transfer data securely to the vendor.
- Clever works with a long list of student information systems (SISs). For Texans, you’ll want to know about the following:
- Yes – eSchool Plus
- Yes – Skyward
- No – iTCCS
- Pending Talks – TxEIS
- Once you are sending your 5 data files to Clever in an automated manner, Clever represents that data in a dashboard that allows the District access to ALL of the vendor partners Clever has. For example, if you want all students in the District to get access to Code.org or Khan Academy, you just indicate that via the panel. Or, if you only want math students at a certain campus to get access, then you make those selections and submit the request. The interface appears easy and straightforward.
- Once data is syncing on a regular schedule, students have the option to login to ANY of the systems with a single sign-on. Choices that I observed included the following:
- GoogleApps for Education – If you are a GoogleApps for Education school district, then students and staff–if they have GoogleApps accounts–can login.
- Active Directory Federated Services – If your District uses Active Directory (who doesn’t these days?), then those usernames and passwords can be used (although you’ll have to have an external server, which some IT directors shy away from).
- Does Clever adhere to StudentDataPrinciples.org principles? I asked (find out more about this). Not sure, but we do adhere to the School Data Pledge.
- “Clever is very transparent about our commitment to privacy and security. We are their [school districts and smaller vendors] security infrastructure. We have invested in the resources so districts, as well as some of our vendors, don’t have to.” This is a great gift…if you haven’t started down the road of encrypting data transfers to multiple vendors, encrypting data while in transit (SFTP), then you may not fully appreciate the value of this service.
- “The last thing we want,” said the Clever representative I spoke with, “is the abuse of student data.”
- What happens if a school district leaves Clever? If a school district leaves Clever, since data uploads/syncs happen frequently, only the historical snapshot remains, and that is removed in 30 days or sooner.
- What happens if a vendor leaves Clever? In those situations, the District is notified and will need to work with vendor on data. Access to the Clever API (which provides data to the vendor partner) is severed.
- Would you sign a letter (view example) certifying that you will safeguard school district’s sensitive data? “We are happy to sign anything a District gives us, such as a Memo of Understanding (MOU).”
- Find out more here:
|Dr. Wilson and Dr. Alaniz at TECSIG Fall, 2015 meeting presenting on collegial coaching|
(hosted via Dropbox)
- Access the Padlet for this session
- View slideshow for presentation
- Access www.coachingwithtechnology.com
- The Promise:
- Instructional Technology offers teachers key tools for re-envisioning their lesson delivery.
- It enables students to become co-creators of their own learning experiences.
- How do you use new tools in a collegial way?
- “More than 90% of winning is being excited.” A.L. Williams, Coach: The A.L. Williams Story
- This book is about coaching. We want people who are excited about the process…integrating technology in meaningful ways.
- Coaches can offer new perspectives, breath new life, offer innovative practices to teachers.
- Problem: Faced with increasing demands for accountability, many teachers cannot find the time to explore–let alone implement–.
- Winning strategy?
- Instructional activities should support and engage a combination of learning tasks incorporating technology as a tool to learn with rather than from. Build these activities over time.
- Educators are more likely to incorporate technology into their instruction when they have access to coaching and mentoring (Strudler & Hearrington, 2009).
- Collegial coaching…
- Enhances tech integration through all levels of instruction, in both private and public school settings.
- Bridges the divide for teachers, as coaches offer support and guidance on teachers’ own campuses
- Allows for the delivery of individualized, targeted, student-centered, and content appropriate tech interventions.
- Collegial coaching…
- Eliminates one-size-fits-all training
- Changes the focus from teaching to implementation.
- Encourages risk-taking and provides scaffolding.
- Invest more heavily in individuals who need it. Teachers aren’t going to be risk-takers or resistant to using technology, you’re not going to kick the door down and teach them anything. They need hand-holding. Those teachers were pretty proud of themselves after they had been successful.
- Empowers teachers themselves to be change agents.
- What would it be like if we didn’t have to catch people up on how to use technology anymore?
- If you can get started on that trek, one by one, you are making a difference.
- Coaches provide teachers with differentiated, personalized professional development – at their exact points of need.
- Coaches support educators:
- as they brainstorm.
- as they plan.
- as they teach
- as they assess.
- “Relationships are huge!”
- Coaches help grow each professional’s expertise where they need it most…
- Brainstorm for tools to implement.
- Assist with the organization of lessons
- Explroe how to use certain tools
- Plan specific implementation steps for a unit.
- Create collaborative learning experiences.
- Organize the initiative
- Will it be a district, campus, or casual coaching initiative?
- Who will lead it? Who will participate?
- Will it be done full time? Part time? On a volunteer basis?
- What factors will determine whether goals are being accomplished?
- Recommend 3 new technology pieces per semester, using the same tool more than once. Repetitive is good so they can get comfortable with it.
- If you don’t have the pedagogical tools in your tool belt, being a coach will be difficult. [Reflection: Do Instructional Technology specialists have the ‘pedagogical tools’ in their respective tool belts?]
- In Katie’s schools, they want coaches to be teachers.
- Question: How did you decide who initiated the coaching? Scheduling seems to be the biggest issue or factor in a school day. My counterpart in middle school would host tech trainings for small groups of teachers. Teachers were required to attend 3-5 tech trainings per year.
- Meeting by grade level teams to launch STEAM.
- This is definitely a process.
- Being goal-centered in what you’re doing is the whole point. Keep track of who is trying to do and with what. If you don’t have goals, then nothing is going to get accomplished. Depending on the size of your campus, you could have several goals per grade level and/or team. Lump the goals together, allowing them to differentiate those.
- Getting Started
- Set your goal and decide how you will measure success…
- number of integration projects?
- Teachers involved: Novices in the classroom or needs specific to digital immigrants?
- Complexity of projects?
- Get others involved
- Vary participants and how they are involved (volunteered and/or drafted)
- Determine strengths and weaknesses of teachers.
- Build on successes.
- Encourage ripple effects…enabling others to share their success with others.
- Two example goals…
- 2nd Grade: A unit that has been involved telling a story by making it digital.
- 3rd Grade: Making books out of index cards.
- TPACK model
- Everyone has a different starting place…that’s why it’s important to differentiate learning opportunities.
- The Dawn and Katie Model:
- Establish the need.
- Create partnerships
- Target differentiated projects. Spread around the different ideas and tool/topics into grade levels so that across the campus, a variety of tools can be seen.
- Assess the progress – build a portfolio of their work, or certain number of integration projects. [Why not use badges to track this along the way?]
- Reflect on the integration.
- Coaches can be seen as someone who work shoulder to shoulder, side by side…not an administrator. Rather, seen as a colleague and collaborator, a peer rather than an administrator.
- When a coach goes into the classroom, there is no need for a dog-n-pony show.
- Catch teachers doing great things.
- Administrators are huge cheerleaders.
- There is a lot of time invested in those who are being coached…and those folks turn into the biggest cheerleaders, eventually becoming coaches themselves. They blossom over the time spent coaching together.
- Successful coaches
- Ample technology skills
- Effective instructional skills
- Impeccable relational skills
- Approachable and diplomatic (“have a ‘teacher’s heart'”)
- The people who are afraid the most will benefit the most. You will see that these people are the most appreciative when you spend that one on one time with them.
- Assessment considerations
Planning to attend the no-cost, learning event known as TechDaySA? If it’s not on your calendar for November 7, 2015, you might want to check it out!
We invite you to join us for our FIRST “TCEA Area 20 Tech Field Day”. The event will be held on the Robert G. Cole High School campus in the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District.
- Google Apps
- Web 2.0 Tools
- Global Communications
If you’re an American educator, then chances are you have applied for different jobs in various school districts. Aside from the value inherent in the process of getting to know who you are, what you’re about, how to format your education and jobs in ways that engage job recruiters, you may have picked up another skill–how to navigate the various job application systems available online.
“Miguel,” asked a friend last week, “do you have any suggestions for where I can go to apply for a job in Texas schools?” This question made me hunt up this blog entry on different solutions available.
- Aspex Solutions‘ Applitrack: This system is in use in quite a few school districts, ranging in size to under 1000 (e.g. Archer City ISD) students to over 50,000 students (e.g. Austin ISD, Dallas ISD)
- NetChemia’s School Recruiter – A few school districts are using this product. I found it pretty easy to navigate. In the interests of full disclosure, my current employer is using it but I had nothing to do with selection, support, or maintenance.
- Winocular – In my opinion, this is one of the less friendlier, albeit venerable, systems available. I’ve seen several school districts move away from Winocular to other solutions, such as Applitrack, etc.
- TASAnet.org’s Career Center – This is one of the best sites around to find out about new jobs. While it doesn’t have ALL jobs available, you will find more here than anywhere else.
- Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) School District Jobs – This is a collaborative effort by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas WorkForce Commission. Definitely worth checking out. For example, I did a search based on a zip code in my city. Unfortunately, the result just has you going to individual district/charter school job sites. Not strictly providing a list of jobs, but if you’re are hoping to relocate to another city, it’s worth a look.
- Education Service Center Job Pages – includes web sites from regional education service centers that offer district employment networks, enabling one application to work for all the districts they serve, or at least, sharing open positions at school districts. Some of these include the following:
- TCEA Jobs – Find technology and education related jobs online.
- SchoolSpring.com – You’ll find jobs on this listing.
- Indeed.com Search Engine – Easy to use search engine that enables you to type in your city and type of job you want. For example, here’s a search for Educational Technology as well as different one for education.
- Texas Cares Online
- Education America
- Texas NonProfits Job Search
Are you a CTO, technical support or Instructional Technologist in Texas schools? Then you’ll want to attend the inexpensive TCEA Technology Education Coordinators Special Interest Group (TEC-SIG) meeting taking place October 8 and 9, 2015!
Session 1 – 10:00 – 10:50am
Presenter: Hal Speed & Kim Garcia
Presenter: Joel Adkins
Managing Your Classroom with Atlas Learning
Presenter: Kristi Hinze & Tom Spall
Get Down with the Best Google Add-ons for Educators
Presenter: Amy Mayer
Session 2 – 11:00 – 11:50am
Hour of Code
Presenter: Kellie Lahey
Digital Signage Using Google Sign Builder
Presenter: Kim Strauss
Google Sys Admin
Presenter: Mike Wallace
Bringing a New “Voice” To Schools, Libraries and Education Through Makerspaces
Presenter: Shannon Miller
Session 3 – 1:00 – 1:50 PM
If They Make It, They Will Learn: Makey Makey/Scratch
Presenter: Juan Orozco
Amazing DIGITAL Tools and Apps That Will Engage Your Students & Promote Creativity
Presenter: Shannon Miller
Google Console and/or Chromebook implementation (panel discussion)
Facilitator: Mike Wallace
Collegial Coaching for Technology Integration
Presenters: Dr. Dawn Wilson and Dr. Katie Alaniz
Session 4 – 2:00 – 2:50 PM
Basic Google Apps Scripts
Presenter: Richard Lombardo
The Changing Role of Instructional Technology Specialists
Presenter: Elizabeth Langer & Doug Shudde
Enhancing Efficiency with APQC Processes
Presenter: Mark Gabehart
The FCC and USAC staff will discuss the 2nd E-rate Modernization Order and special construction/dark fiber options for applicants.
The EducationSuperHighway staff will provide solutions to real-world fiber problems. They will also review their new Fiber Tool Kit.
– Lunch (provided)
– Round table discussion and Q&A to answer district-specific questions about barriers you are experiencing in acquiring sufficient broadband at a reasonable cost.
Hard to believe, but last summer, a colleague asked me to craft a proposal for a “digital data archive,” exploring the various options. I did but then promptly forgot about it when the school decided to not pursue it. In chatting with a friend at iPadpalooza 15, I remembered that I had done this and had not shared it.
|Image Source: https://goo.gl/3MQRms|
As such, I hope someone will find this helpful!
Provide 4 teachers with the opportunity to track quantifiable data, notes (e.g. Student Data Profile), as well as student evidence of learning in digital format (e.g. Evidence).
Teachers will need to complete a series of self-paced and face to face sessions. The course overview includes professional development in the eGT digital tools.
Capturing handwritten notes, maps, drawing/images/photos
Capturing student responses to document-based questions (DBQs) and free-response questions.
Teachers need to be able to annotate–including text and/or audio–this student-generated content, as well as easily share that with students, parents, and be viewable by other administrators.
All data captured needs to be “portable” and follow students through their high school years and beyond.
A. GoogleClassroom & GoogleDrive
B. Evernote Business for Schools
Students and teachers would be given Evernote Premium accounts, allowing for sharing of content. Evernote also allows for export of notebooks so that students could take their work out of Evernote, as well as a free version which would not be reliant on the Premium version. You can literally put anything into Evernote, including audio recordings (the Evernote app facilitates audio recording), pictures, handwritten notes, and more. Evernote Premium has an age requirement (older than 13) but that should not be a problem for students.
Evernote Premium for each user: This is available at 75% discount of the regular pricing ($45 per year per user). For 800 students and 5 teachers, the cost would be approximately $9K.
Evernote Freemium for all students, Premium only for teachers: The free version of Evernote is available for free to each student 14 and older. Premium accounts are available to teachers at a cost of $45 per person. Total cost is $180. Additional digital scanners can be included per classroom to help students digitize their work. Otherwise, iPads with Evernote can be used, as can apps on mobile phones.
Google Classroom/ Drive
Evernote: Scenario 2
$180 for 4 teachers or $45 per teacher user.
Capture handwritten notes, maps, drawing/images/photos easily
No, but students can put content online.
Submit via email, app, computer, web interface
Submit via mobile app, computer, or web interface
No, but students can put content online.
Annotate student-generated content
Add audio,text annotations to each note.
Data is portable and follow students in District and out
Yes with Evernote Freemium account or notebook export
Yes, data is “save-able”
Yes, accounts remain.
Restricted access to teacher, student, parent
Supports Teacher-only editing of Student Data Profile (allows for student viewing only)
Centralized management of accounts
Yes linked to AD/GoogleApps accounts
No…labor intensive but better than paper folder
Yes linked to AD
Yes linked to AD
Teacher Level of Expertise Required
Low to Medium
Low to Medium
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of handwritten documents
Setup time per student