Reflection of Learning

A challenge I encountered in this class was determining the correct APA format. There are a lot rules and formats that are a part of APA and different types of publications. I used the book once I received the copy of it. The Purdue OWL websites that were suggested during our research projects were also very useful. I can better understand these rules and formats when I have examples. I also looked over peer’s papers to determine their format, but I was not always sure they were correct.

I feel that Technology Trends artifacts were my best products. Anytime a person is given a choice, the ambition to learn and produce are much greater. I was driven to research, read, and write about the topics because it was relevant to me. I choose Problem or project based learning because that is the direction our school is going next school year. I wanted to have a more solid background in this pedagogical approach so I can be a better coach for my teachers. In this module, I also chose to analyze blended learning at my school. I coached 2 of my teachers with this teaching approach and wanted to present it to my staff at a recent meeting. The 2 teachers and I were able to reflect on the process and successfully inform the rest of the school what blended learning is, the benefits and possible barriers. Since that presentation, we have had more people ask to start in this process.

The one thing I plan to do at my school as a result of this course is review the school evaluation tool,  Maturity Models Benchmarks, with the Technology and Leadership Committee. As a team, I would like them to explore issues of technology use and read through our district’s technology plan. If teachers can see the vision of where the district wants to go, I am confident my teachers would put forth more effort into their own learning and technology use. If I can get them involved in more of our planning process, it may encourage them to become self motivated.

The information I learned about project based learning will be utilized next school year when my school is being trained by BIE. I have already shared one article with my Administration Team. The article I shared discussed the the barriers a school encountered while they were first implementing this process. If we can have a plan for barriers already researched, we can hope to be more successful in our rollout.


School Evaluation Summary

In this assignment, we were asked to familiarize ourselves with the Technology Maturity Benchmarks. This is an evaluation tool for a person to use to determine where their school or business is in regards to the use of technology. I have not heard of this rating tool until this assignment, however, I found this tool very helpful when I analyzed my school’s current situation. As the Technology and Learning Coach, I felt that I knew my school’s technology level. However, I was able to determine what level my school is and, more importantly, where we can improve. I attend yearly district meetings to develop professional development plans and such for my school, but I have never looked deeper into what truly goes into technology. For example, connectivity. I do nothing with this planning or implementation for this filter. After using this survey tool, I can see that our district has done an outstanded job getting the 30 schools working efficiently.

As a school, our strengths are in the connectivity filter, planning, budget, integration, and assessment just to name a few. We are proactive in using technology and knowing the importance of getting the technology into the hands of our students on a daily basis. The support the Technology and Learning coaches give our teachers to use the technology will improve each year. This is the first year the Technology and Learning Coach coaches individual teachers. The coach will plan, implement, and reflect on a weekly basis with 3 specific teachers. Through this process, we have seen already seen tremendous growth in teachers and because of this, the students are using technology more frequently and critically.

I plan to use this evaluation tool with my Technology Leadership Team at our next committee meeting. I would like to get their feedback and thoughts to this survey and start to develop our plan for next year.

Please feel free to review my survey and give feedback on the evaluation. Link are below.

Survey Results


Tech Trends – Blended Learning at North Springs Elementary

In this assignment we were required to identify a trend or tool that was interesting to me and that could be used in my school. After identifying this trend/tool, I had to analyze it and create an artifact for a specific audience. I chose Blended Learning and my target audience is my colleagues. I created a Haiku Presentation as I really want to learn the “storytelling” style of presenting to my colleagues.

Haiku Deck

PDF file of Blended Learning

When I read The Horizon Report for an introduction to this assignment, I immediately thought blended learning is what I need to research more and present to my entire staff.  I first heard about it in January when I was touring a school, I immediately jumped on board and asked 2 of my teachers to try this. I asked 2 of our district personnel to come and assist us in our day of planning since I did not have much experience in this at the time. I did assist my teachers in the planning of the their first unit and the implementation of it, but we had not quite gotten to the reflection portion. This experience in itself was eye opening. It takes a lot of time to prepare an entire unit of study when it comes to a blended learning environment. 1 day was not enough time for my teachers to complete an entire unit. But, it was a start and they walked away feeling confident.

I feel the reflection piece is often forgotten, but it is critical. This assignment allowed my teachers and I to reflect on the process. My teachers were reflecting daily and making necessary changes to make this learning environment successful in their own classroom. That was the part that I wanted to know about.

In the presentation, I used pictures and statements from the blended classrooms at our school. I felt that using the teacher reflections are very helpful and more personal to their colleagues because they with work them.  The student responses were not as helpful, but it can be used as inspiration to the other teachers. At a 2nd and 3rd grade level, they are seeing a difference in their learning and they see themselves taking ownership of their learning.

I think if I were to do this assignment again, I would sit with the students as they answered the questions instead of sending the form to the teachers. I wonder if the answers would be more in depth and focused if I could elaborate on the question. Great thing is I can do that. I can ask the teachers if I can send it again and I have them answer each question as a whole group. I have learned a great deal from this experience to assist my other teachers who want to begin this process. I know what they need and how I can get them there. I am excited for this adventure.

Annotated Bibliography

This assignment, Annotated Bibliography, gave me an opportunity to research, learn, and develop a better understanding of problem based learning. I chose this topic because the school that I work for was accepted into the Buck Institute training program this summer to train, learn, and implement the problem based learning approach in the classroom. I located, read and annotated 5 different articles about problem based learning. Each article discussed different theories or studies that were conducted in the recent years. All the articles were consistent with the definitions and background information about the basics of problem based learning. After reading these articles, I was able to gain more insights into the effects of PBL in students outcomes, the effects of using this pedagogical approach to teaching and learning, and the barriers both students and teachers encountered when implementing PBL. The articles I felt most excited about and interested in were the ones discussing the barriers. I feel that if we can prepare for the barriers before they even occur, our success rate is higher. In order for our students to be successful in this digital age and their own future, we have to move into a learning system that allows students to use 21st Century skills. PBL provides this environment and opportunity for students and teachers. This assignment allowed me to prepare myself for the next school year in my own profession.

I also enjoyed learning how to use Google Scholar. It is a useful tool for anyone who is completing a research project, to narrow down the search within Google and the school library in which you attend. I like that it will send me email alerts on the topics that I want to learn more about. It reminds me of Feedly because of that feature. I realize that APA style format is a skill that I will continue to learn and master through my education.

RSS in Education

I have used an RSS Reader for a few years. I learned about Feedly when Google Reader was no longer going to be available. Feedly was recommended so I transferred my feeds. It is a simple tool to use, whether you are searching for new content, navigating to your feeds and such. As a Technology Learning Coach, it is imperative I stay up to date with the recent tools to use in the classroom, whether it is for teachers or students. Feedly does just that. It keeps me updated on new plans or ideas so I can share them with my school. I did learn a new part of Feedly that I did know about before, organizing the Feeds into appropriate content. Great tool!

As part of the assignment, I was required to write a lesson plan using Feedly. I wrote my plan for Educators in my district. This can be used at a single school or at a District Inservice. Our sessions are about 45 minutes each. This lesson plan is designed for Educators to learn the tool, but have an opportunity to explore individually. I am an instructor who wants my participants to interact during their learning, so I implemented so we could have an ongoing discussion and sharing tool throughout the session. This lesson will be used in the near future with my teachers to determine if I need to make necessary changes for other TLCs to use.

Lesson Plan

Digital Divide and Digital Inequalities

This project allowed me to dig deeper into the topic of digital divide and digital inequalities. Digital divide is a pretty common topic. I was aware of the people “who have and do not have” being associated with the digital divide. I was not as familiar with the phrase “digital inequalities”.

After reading National Education Technology Plan 2010, I was able to dissect my school and district’s approach to bridging these gaps. Each section allowed me to brainstorm the ways we successfully are meeting the needs of our community or not at all. Our district is on the right track.We rolled out 1:1 in grades 3-12 in 3 years. Prior to this roll out teams of community members (including teachers, district personnel, purchasing departments, parents, stakeholders, and principals to name a few) were developed to look at various components of what needed to be addressed to make this successful. Teams looks at infrastructure, the teacher and student learning, the tools, appropriate use procedure and policies, and such. We hired an outside firm to assess our roll out procedure, using collected data on an annual basis, to determine if we were on the right track. If not, the same teams came back together to discuss what do we need to fix and how are we going to fix it. I believe our district did a tremendous job of executing this initiative. However, there is always room for improvement. Of the most critical issues I discuss in my presentation teacher experience, technical means, and at home accessibility are the topics that we should address as a whole.

Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds, was another book that I read for this project. This rang true to me in so many ways and I had many “AHA” moments. The bulleted power points that are so dreary and boring to listen, I remember these presentations. Unfortunately, I have given many of them too. The idea of “telling a story” through pictures and keeping the attention of your audience really motivated me to change my presentation approach. Pictures are worth a million words and will stick with the audience more than a diagram or chart with data.

This new presentation approach does take me out of my comfort zone for a variety of reasons.  The process of creating a presentation this way takes a lot more work than putting a bunch of data on a slide to share. Trying to find the appropriate pictures to really paint the picture I am trying to tell can be a challenge.

This is a skill that I will continue to develop as I create more presentations. Many of my presentations are “How to” because I train teachers in using technology and other teaching strategies, so the snipping tool becomes my friend when I am creating presentations.

Haiku Deck is an online presentation tool that website supports the idea from the book, Presentation Zen, using pictures to tell a story. It is a pretty simple website to navigate through. I shared this with my Administration team at my school along with the book, trying to shift them to this process too. I am anxious to share my teachers and students as a new innovative way to present information.

Haiku Presentation

Digital Divide and Digital Inequalities

Facebook Foolishness

There was a lot of history to digest while reading Chapter 11 in Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. However, there is a reason for history, we don’t want to repeat ourselves. Often times people do not learn from something until they encounter the situation. When we make the mistake, we learn from it and determine how we will not make it happen again in the future.

We have an AUP (Acceptable Use Procedure) video we are required to watch at the beginning of each school year. It speaks a lot about these Codes of Ethics with technology specifically. However, many of the ethics topics  are also within the video. In the past, we watched this as a whole faculty and staff to be sure everyone watched it. We even had to sign a paper for the district saying yes, we were present when the school showed it. The district was pretty adamant that it was part of our beginning of the year procedure. It helped, many people had questions about parts of it and we could go into discussion about various topics. Now, it is part of a checklist and we watch it individually. We miss that part of discussing and clarifying so people truly understand acceptable use. After reading this chapter, I advocate that we watch it as a school again.

This small research topic helped me to dig into the situation of social media and our district. Our district encourages teachers to use Twitter and other social media for Professional purposes. For example, they want teachers to showcase the work in the classroom, share ideas, collaborate, and celebrate the successes. However, we have had individuals that are discussing work related issues on Facebook, whether it is with a staff member or students. It is a personal account, but these negative comments can have an impact on their job with the district.

Facebook Foolishness – Code of Professional Ethics