I partner with organizations in helping to understand the changing nature of learning by working together in long-term, embedded professional development that prepares us all for our future, not our past.

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Jeff Utecht

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There is nothing better to practice FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) then buying a house. Just about a year ago my wife and I moved into a new home here in Seattle. It was built in 1927 and well….it was built in 1927. It’s been a project, to say the least, both inside and out. Below are pictures from a first learning for me. The first picture is of the hot tub deck that was in the back yard when we moved in. I removed the decking and then raised it all up to one level to make it a functioning deck. The added bonus was reusing all the wood and decking to do it. The only thing we purchased for the deck was new railing and new screws. Building a deck from scratch is one thing, having to repurpose a deck from materials you have was a the first attempt for me. The second picture shows the outcome of the deck with the two wrap-around planter boxes that use to be stairs.

Learning something new like this takes time. The process I went through followed the engineering design cycle very closely. I found myself often reflecting on the work and the process and how it applied to what we want to see students doing in school. Authentic Purposeful Work (APLE: See Kim’s post and resources here). The learning wasn’t easy, there were failures along the way and a ton of learning that I applied to the next project…the upper deck.

How do we help students to understand that your First Attempt In Learning is that just that…an attempt….and from there you learn, grow, and attempt again. How do we change grading systems to allow attempts at learning instead of mastery of learning? Big questions that we need to start asking if we want to truly embrace FAIL in our schools.

Day 3 of the #EduroChallenge is about teams and it’s something I’m personally very passionate about. Not only because we at Eduro Learning are a virtual team. We have no office space, yet we meet and work together all the time.

In 2009 I set up a camera to UStream our COETAIL session live from Bangkok as we had two virtual participants

In my opening keynote this year to educators I talk about that collaboration means in 2017 and beyond. We’ve always wanted students to be good team members, to learn to collaborate. However, in 2017 we need to make sure we’re also teaching students how to collaborate across time and space. That is a skill that is highly sought after in companies today. When are we creating learning experiences for students to collaborate across time and space?

I have a friend who works for Amazon (everyone in Seattle has a friend that works for Amazon). He is based in Luxembourg because it’s more central to the two teams he manages. On in Seattle, the other in Bangalore, India.

A survey by Gallup in 2015 found that 37% of American’s telecommute to work. I wasn’t able to find research newer than that but the trend is definitely heading upwards to 50%. If half the students in our classrooms need to know how to work in virtual teams, when are we giving them the opportunity to practice and understand how to communicate in that form, respectfully and productively.

Do you have stories about virtual teams? How do you help students learn to collaborate across time and space?

The Day 2 #EduroChallenge as we start school is all about getting excited about learning. There are moments when I’m not excited about learning until I’m in the learning process…and then once that happens I’m all in. Take learning how to ski for example. I didn’t want to learn to ski. I mean I wanted to ski but I didn’t want to have to go through the learning process. But once I was on the hill and learning I was all in.

Sometimes the “Getting Excited” part doesn’t come at the beginning of the journey. Some times you have to be in the journey in order to be excited. The video above is just a little something I made a couple years ago skiing while I was learning how to use my Go Pro camera. Now that was exciting…..for me…not so much for my wife. 🙂

When we say “excited about learning” when is that moment for you when something challenging becomes something exciting?

Sometimes we need a little nudge to do the things we know are good for us. Like blogging…I know it’s good for me, I always mean to do it, but doing it…that’s the hard part. I think that’s in part why at Eduro Learning we decided to do a 21-day challenge to start the school year off with. Not only to challenge others, but ourselves to be more reflective as this new school year gets under way here in America. So now that this is my job it means I’ll actually make time for it. You can join us for the challenge on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram by using the hashtag #edurochallenge.

Teachers from Marysville School District pitching their unit ideas

It is actually the day before school starts for most students here in the Seattle area. My wife, a school counselor, is back today preparing for her 15th year as a School Counselor. This first #EduroChallenge is about our students and as the school year gets under way I think of my students as well. My students are a bit older, then the K-5 students my wife will have. She’ll be the counselor for roughly 520 students, while I’ll in some way get to impact the lives of 800 educators with our work in Marysville and Everett School Districts and that doesn’t count the number of educators who will join me for a workshop in Chelan, Washington or those that I will have the pleasure to learn with during our 1:1 Micro-Credential this year. Then there are the teachers in Auburn’s ATLA program (roughly 90) and Enumclaw’s Connected Classroom Cohorts (roughly 30). You get the picture….there are a lot of students to think about this school year.

As my wife talks about all the things she hopes to accomplish this year with her students I can’t help but think of all the things we have been working hard to put in place to help our students as well. Students come in all ages…and it just so happens that I have chosen to work with those that work with kids. So my #edurochallenge is to remind myself that when we use the word “students” we mean all of those we teach, regardless of age.

What’s your reflection on students as the school year begins?

I often start or end may of my parent presentations with:

“Congrats! No parent has ever raised a digitally connected child. You’re the first of your kind!”

It’s true…it’s hard to lean on all those parenting skills that you learn and read about when the rules around play, friendships and hanging out have changed…sort of.

Danah Boyd’s great research paper “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” (PDF, Book, Audio Book) is some of the best research I have seen in helping all of us understand the new complicated lives of Networked Teens today.

If you read the research, you start to understand how 10 students had their acceptance from Harvard rescinded recently. How does something like this happen? It’s complicated for sure but it starts with understanding and education. My own fear about this recent Harvard news; there are parents out there that will take the social networks away from their children. That’s not the answer and in some cases can make things worse. It’s time we all come together; parents, teachers, schools to understand and educate ourselves about the new connected world these children are growing up in and how we can support them in making the right choices that will lead them to great possibilities.

Over the past year Kim Cofino and Chrissy Hellyer have been hard at work to put together resources for parents to first understand the new social lives of children today, and then help them support their children through this new digitally connected landscape.

Throughout the next month Kim and Chrissy will be holding Facebook Live sessions for parents as well as giving away some great resources they have created to help parents understand and educate their children. Kim’s first Facebook Live session was last week where she focused on helping all of us understand the new learning landscape these children are now growing up in and why and how we must embrace this in our homes and schools.

Here is the full schedule of Facebook Live Events:

June 1: Kim Cofino: How is learning today different from when we were in school? (above)

June 8: Chrissy Hellyer: Technology Never Sleeps: Managing Our Many Digital Devices

June 15: Chrissy Hellyer: Staying Safe Online: Helping your child build good “digital habits”

June 22: Kim Cofino: Social Media & Your Child: Connecting, sharing and communicating with others

June 29: Kim Cofino: Overexposed: Helping your child to navigate and manage what they see in a media rich world

July 6: Chrissy Hellyer: Is your child learning while they’re playing games online?

We have created a calendar that you can easily add to your own calendaring system. Just click on this link and follow the prompts to add our Eduro Live Events Calendar to your own calendar.

Free Resources:

Along with the Facebook Live sessions each week, you will also get access to the free resources Kim and Chrissy have created. Here’s a list of the freebies you can get.

7 Things All Parents Need to Know about Kids and Technology

Top 10 Tips for Managing Screen Time

Conversation Starters and Family Media Agreement Template

Parent’s Guide to Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Helping your child navigate a media rich world

A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft

Each resource will be released during the Facebook Live session on the Eduro Learning Facebook Page. Or if you sign up for the Eduro Learning Newsletter you’ll get access to them in your inbox as well. We do ask for your email to receive these free resources. It’s our way of tracking which resources are most popular so we know what to create for you in the future.

As we approach the end of the school year we feel the summer months are the perfect time for parents to both learn and implement some of these strategies to help their children become amazing digital citizens. I hope you will help us spread the word among the parent communities at your school.

We also offer in-depth Online Courses that parents can take on their own or that a school/district can purchase to use with their school community. See our Parent Courses for more details.

Can’t tell you how excited I am that our program COETAIL (Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy) has joined forces with the Google for Education team to offer educators the ability to complete both your COETAIL micro-credential and your Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) certificate at the same time. As one COETAILer put it.

It would be like the best of both worlds – COETAIL’s pedagogy and Google App for Education Suite make a formidable force to have in your teaching toolbox! ~ COETAIL Graduate

If you haven’t heard of COETAIL before. You can head over to our about page for more information. For a real look at what COETAIL is all about, make sure to check out the homepage where you will see blog posts from current COETAILers.

We are in the process of gathering data of who might be interested in completing both the COETAIL program and their GET certificate at the same time. If you are interested please fill out this form and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Here is the official announcement:

Announcing a New and Exciting Collaboration

Dear COETAILers

It is with great excitement that we write to you today to tell you about a new and exciting collaboration to benefit COETAILers past, present and future.

We have worked with the Google for Education Team to bring an exciting new collaboration to COETAILers. A collaboration that will allow COETAIL graduates priority access to apply to the Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) program and future COETAILers to complete the COETAIL program and at the same time earn their Google for Education Certified Trainer credentials.

We are so excited that Google for Education chose to collaborate with COETAIL. COETAIL has always strived to be a leader in supporting educators in authentically and purposefully integrating technology into the classroom. The rigor and reflective nature of COETAIL and the GET program have many overlapping objectives and outcomes making this collaboration one that will benefit COETAILers past, present, and future.

Aligned Mission

COETAIL and Google for Education Certified Trainer program

Foster a network of globally connected educators

Support members in authentically and purposefully integrating technology into their classroom and the school as a whole

Support members in being seen as technology leader within their school

Help create a culture of ongoing, sustainable, professional development program for all educators

If you are a COETAIL graduate and are interested in becoming a Google for Education Certified Trainer please fill out this form by Thursday, March 9.

If you know someone who might be interested in completing COETAIL and the Google for Education Certified Trainer certification, please feel forward this email and have them fill out this form as well.

In the coming weeks, as we finalize the collaboration we will be sending another email with specifics of what will be required for past, present and future COETAILs to earn their Google for Education Certified Trainer credentials. For now, sign up to become a Certified Trainer and forward this opportunity to fellow educators who might be interested in completing COETAIL featuring Google for Education Certified Trainer.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you

Jeff, Kim and the Google for Education Team

 

The world we exist in now is very much an on-demand one. We expect to watch our favorite TV shows when we want where we want, we expect to have the entire music library in our pocket. We want what we want when we want it.

We believe professional development for educators is headed in the same direction.

Over the past six months, the team and I at Eduro Learning have been working on a new online learning system that not only is on-demand but could lead to new micro-credentials. Our goal is to partner with school districts where teachers could receive Clock Hours or Continuing Education Credits (CEC) through the school that leads to either re-certification and/or movement on the salary scale within the district.

Districts seem to be interested. We have already started rolling this out in the Marysville School District and Everett Public Schools with more schools and districts interested in signing up.

badge-coding_classroom
The badge you will receive from the coding in the classroom course.

The idea is that teachers can take different courses. Each course earns them a badge of completion. Teachers can then take a combination of courses that lead to a micro-credential. Our first micro-credentials are:

As we started creating these micro-credentials for teachers we realized there was a need to support parents as well.  So we’re excited to announce the launch of the Parenting in the Digital Age Certificate.  Zurich International School is now offering these courses to their entire parent community.

 

pdacoutline

This six-course certificate program is self-paced. Parents can take courses in any order or just take the course or courses they want to take and learn about. Of course, the content is not even half of what the program is really about. The social aspect within the courses is where the real learning happens. We have created a social learning experience for parents to support each other, try new approaches, have conversations and help one another as they raise their kids in a new digitally connected world.

We are excited about the direction these micro-credentials are headed and feel that this is just one more way we can help school communities as a whole. If your district or school is interested in chatting about how you can bring these micro-credentials to your school please feel free to contact me.

Most tech coaches end up in the role of tech coach or Tech TOSA (Teacher On Special Assignment) because they are good at using tech and integrating it into their classroom. That’s how I got into the role and pretty much everyone else I know as well. However, once you are in the role of a coach things change. Your job isn’t to use tech with students, rather it’s to support teachers in using technology with students and supporting teachers is a whole new ball game.

I was lucky enough when I worked at the International School Bangkok to work with 6 other coaches and the school gave us time together to work on and learn coaching strategies. Ways to support teachers in their own journey of integrating technology.

Do you work with the willing or do you work with all?

It’s a question that, as coaches, we need to continually ask ourselves. It’s easy to work with the teacher that wants to integrate technology, that sees the power in it. It’s a whole different ball game when trying to work with a “closed door” teacher. How do you get into that classroom? What approach strategy can you use to get in that door and support those students as well?

Related Eduro Blog Posts

3 Pathways to Coaching Conversations

Everybody Needs a Coach

Co-Constructing a Coaching Protocol

Top 5 Strategies for Your Coaching Toolkit

Starting the Year Off Right: 5 Tips for New Tech Coaches

When administrators are hiring coaching positions all to ofter they focus on whether or not the educator has the “tech skills” or the “math knowledge” to be in a coaching role. I would argue that is only half the formula to being a good coach. Being an effective coach has more to do with building relationships and interpersonal skills then it does tech knowledge. You can have all the technology knowledge in the world. You can be an Apple Distinguished Educator or a Google Certified Trainer….that’s all great! But if you cannot relate to people, if you cannot form relationships all that know-how is worthless.

Tracy Brown from Enumclaw School District recently wrote a blog post on the power of specific coaching PD that Kim Cofino gave on behalf of Eduro Learning a few months back. As coaches, many of us never get the opportunity to learn coaching strategies. Many of us are the only Tech Coach in our districts or schools. Making it even harder to connect with and learn from other coaches in a similar role as we are in.

First, I was reminded that building relationships with the teachers I work with is the foundation of being able to coach. I am a relatively new coach in my current district so building relationships is paramount to my work with teachers. ~ Tracy Brown

It’s because of this that one of the first courses that we created at Eduro Learning was a Coaching from Theory to Practice course, and why today it is still our #1 course. On February 6th, we will be running another facilitated cohort. While you can take the course for the self-pace option, the facilitated course gives you an instructor and a community as well as a timeline for completing a course. Something that not only students need but it turns out adult learners as well. If you have more than one coach at your school or in your district, take the course as a team. This is by far the most powerful way to do any PD. When you can learn in a blended community that is both local and global at the same time is very powerful and allows you to support each other within your school or district.

We’re excited to start another facilitated cohort in a few weeks time and hope you can join us for what we believe is the key to becoming a successful tech coach or TOSA.

Last week I had the pleasure of running a lab site in an Enumclaw 5th Grade class as part of my work with the district over the past couple of years. It’s a lesson that I first taught in 2009 and is still as relevant today as it was then.

The students were working on opinion writing. They were writing in Google Docs which made it easy to have students peer edit with their editing partner. At the same time, there was an opportunity to have them experience commenting not just on someone you know and are in class with, but also learn to leave a comment on someone you don’t know and probably will never meet. That is a whole new level to commenting.

So here’s the lesson….it took about an hour:

  • Have students share their opinion writing with their editor buddy giving them “comment only” rights to their document. (Students in this class had shared their writing with their partner before….this time we change the permission to be “comment only”).
  • Take time to read your partners writing and leave comments on their work.
  • Now close your computer and have a discussion about the difference between a compliment and a comment.

What a great conversation to have with students. We started listing what makes a compliment and what would be a good comment. The image to the left shows what the students came up with. We then talked about how you might give both to someone. Everyone likes compliments but they don’t really help the author with their writing. But if you make a compliment/comment sandwich you can do both! So we practiced in table groups what a good compliment/comment sandwich might sound like.

An example:

“I really enjoyed reading your post. I am wondering if you could add more details when you talk about the house. I couldn’t quite see it in my head. I really like the way your story ended, it made me laugh”

The day before the lesson I went to Twitter and did a search for #comments4kids 5th to find 5th grade classrooms that were blogging and looking for comments from others. In no time at all, I found the two following classes:

We took the links from the tweets and put those into Google Classroom for the students to have. Once we finished our conversation on compliments and comments we had the students open their Chromebooks, click on the links and practice writing compliment/comment sandwiches on other 5th graders writing. This lead to some more great discussions:

  • What do you put in the name field and why using your first name only is OK when leaving comments.
  • If you don’t think their writing is very good what do you do? What do you say? Or do you not say anything?

My favorite part of the day was as we were debriefing the activity, I asked the students what it was like to leave a comment on someone you have never met before?

“Weird” was the best we could come up with. We unpacked weird to be not knowing the person, not being able to explain yourself, and you didn’t want to hurt their feelings because you don’t know them.

A compliment/comment sandwich isn’t new. In fact, it’s a strategy for writing emails as well. I’d even call it a digital literacy strategy that can be used whether you are leaving comments on writing, on others blogs or any digital writing where someone can’t see you physically. It’s a great strategy to start teaching kids. Again…nothing new here I know….just thought I’d share my lesson for others.

I hear it all too often from teachers, administrators, and school board members.

“Who’s training the parents?”

Well….we are!

It’s true that if we’re going to change the culture of what we expect schools to look like and be like we have to help parents understand the changing nature of education as well. Along with that, we have to help parents understand this generation. They are a great generation for sure, however as I tell parents….nobody has raised a fully online, fully connected, fully mobile generation before….lucky you!

This generation is different we look at them and their devices and we don’t get it. Why can’t they go outside and play like we use to do? Why are more and more of them not getting their driver’s license? Why don’t they go to a friends house instead of texting all the time?

These are just some of the questions and issues that usually come up in parent training sessions. They are all legitimate concerns and great questions to be asking.

As part of our work (Eduro that is) Kim Cofino and Chrissy Hellyer have put together a 6 course parenting certificate program for parents who want to learn and understand the connected digital lives of teens today. These courses are not about taking devices away, or answering the way to open-ended question “how much time should my child be on a device?”. No, these courses are about understanding this generation of connected teens and appreciating the world they are growing up in and trying to understand it and the pressures they are under within it just a little better.

15-off-ttsparents

Kim and Chrissy interviewed parents and teenagers for the course. Throughout the different courses, you get to hear parents and teens talk about how they are handling this new world of parenting. A world where you are having to parent in both a physical space and a digital space. The physical space is much easier as we can see kids actions, we can talk to them. However, their digital spaces are hidden, or not so hidden, and we need to be talking about and parenting those spaces as well.

Parents can take just one course if they would like or they could take all 6 and get a Parenting in a Digital Age Certificate from Eduro for completing all 6 courses. The classes come with a private Facebook group for parents to share their stories, talk about how they are handling things with their own children, or ask for help and advice. It’s a community to support each other as we help children today navigate a world that no other teenager before them has ever had to do. Their world is not what our world was when we were their age. This is a new landscape for both parents and teens.

The six courses are:

pdacoutline

As Kim and Chrissy were creating the courses they also started to pull together resources and ideas for a book. They created a Top 5 Concerns for Digital Parents E-book that you can purchase on the Eduro website or get free when you purchase all six courses. It’s a great quick read that parents can take and use in helping to understand this generation just a little bit better.

We’re so excited to be launching these courses and e-book and with the holiday season upon us wanted to offer readers of The Thinking Stick and parents a discount for the courses. If you purchase a course between now and January 1st, 2017 you can save 15% off your purchase with the promotional code: TTSparents

We hope these courses help and please do give us feedback on them so we can continue to make the better and relevant to parents today.