Save 15% on Parenting Course!

Save 15% on Parenting Course!

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. 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...

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Chromebooks in Band Class

Chromebooks in Band Class

As I start my second full year working with Auburn School District educators in what they call their Auburn Teacher Leadership Academy 2.0 (ATLA), it’s aways great to hear that long-term professional development really works. For context, I meet with the ATLA group 5 times throughout the school year. Each training builds upon the one before giving depth to the professional development you just can’t get at a conference or one-day PD session. This is where my focus with school districts is right now. If we’re going to make actual lasting change in schools with these powerful connected tools, then we need to make sure we have professional development plans in place that help teachers learn how to use them in truly meaningful ways.  –Jeff Utecht The following is reposted with permission from Auburn School District. Last year when I received my Chromebook at ATLA (Auburn Teacher Leadership Academy 2.0), I didn’t see how it would benefit me as a band teacher. After all, band is about having students blow air through instruments, not typing up a summary about a music history assignment on a glorified typewriter. But after graduating from ATLA, I realized that there had to be ways to use technology to support my students that I didn’t realize. Yesterday was our first day of Chromebooks in the band room and I was blown away. I realized that the little laptops give all of my kids instant access to digital keyboards. After a brief survey, less than 5% of my students could name the notes on a piano. Now 100% of my students can. That simple lesson is going to lead into much more complex musical theory discussions in ways that we could never have had before. In this way, the Chromebooks took us beyond supplementing what we were doing because it wasn’t feasible to provide access to pianos for all my students. Now the Chromebooks offer us a quick and portable way to do so. And the software! Instead of just presenting information to students, they get to practice! Repetition is a key to student growth. Today I am out of the building and my students’ Do Now is to practice naming piano notes for 50 repetitions! Currently, we are in the process of buying Flat, a simple to use music notation program that will allow our students to become composers. I’m excited by the cross-curricular benefits my students will...

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Changing the T&L Culture of a District – SXSWedu

Changing the T&L Culture of a District – SXSWedu

I’m excited to be partnering with Becky Berg, Superintendent of Marysville School District #25 (MSD25) and Scott Beebe, MSD25’s, Chief Technology Officer, as we are submitting a case study proposal to South by Southwest EDU conference (SXSWedu). I have wrote occasionally here about the work the Eduro Learning team and I are doing in partnership with Marysville as they roll out over 5000 Chromebooks to students 6-12 in their district. I use the term “rollout” loosely, as what Becky, Scott and the Board decided to do was not so much a rollout as a leapfrog. In the video below, created and produced in partnership with a Marysville student, you hear Becky talk about what the technology was like in the district before they passed their tech levy in 2014. What the Marysville School Board and the leadership understood was that “rolling out” devices over a long period of time will not help their students tomorrow. If we wanted to help them tomorrow, we needed them to have the devices today. So they “leapfrogged”, skipping the laptop/Chromebook in carts phase, skipping trying to figure out what is the most equal way of getting devices in the hands of kids, and they just did it. Here is a quick rundown of their timeline (though Scott has made a way cooler one here). February 2014: The community of Marysville passes the Tech Levy and infrastructure work begins February 2015: Working WiFi is deployed in all schools for the first time May 2015: Every teacher receives a new laptop. The district makes the jump from desktops to laptops for educators May 2015: Rollout a 3 year, 12 full-day training program for teachers partnering with Eduro Learning November 2015: Deploy over 5000 Chromebooks to every 6-12 student August 2015 – June 2019: A total of 180 training days equalling 1260 hours of training for roughly 480 educators In under two years, MSD leapfrogged their existing education model to something completely new and different. I have worked with many schools both here in the US and overseas and have never seen a school district commit to changing the teaching and learning landscape as quickly and as fully supported as Marysville has. At SXSWedu, I want Becky and Scott to be able to share their district’s story of how they did it, bringing the community along with them, supporting teachers and most importantly doing right by students. As for my part….Marysville chose Eduro Learning...

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School Work needs to be meaningful research shows

School Work needs to be meaningful research shows

A new survey released from ADP looks at what millennials (age 18-35) and right behind them “Generation Z” (for lack of a better name at the moment), want from their job and employers. Quartz had a nice write up of the research and I was drawn to this both in the report and in the write up. “[T]he need for meaning has certainly evolved over the years,” the ADP researchers wrote. “Today, the younger generation of Millennials places more of an emphasis on a search for meaning within their jobs than previous generations, who tended to look for meaning outside of work.” -Quartz So this generation is searching for meaning in their work. When work is school you are searching for meaning in your school work. We call this student-led, or student ownership, or a host of other names I’m sure you’ve heard in eduspeak. But what we really need to understand is that for this generation in our schools today they want work to be meaningful….to them….not to us the teachers. How do we help them do meaningful work? Work that shows their passion, their love and something they want to do? Each generation is different from the one before, yet we treat the new generation like our generation…because that’s what we know. Today we have more research on this generation than ever before and all that research says the same thing. They are an amazing generation that if given meaningful tasks will work hard for you. If the tasks are not meaningful, if they don’t feel they have control over their own time and space, then they shut down (more from the above research). I was thinking about this as I subbed in for the tech teacher at my wife’s school. The lesson plan called for them to explore a couple of data websites on their own. I watched 4th graders struggle without knowing what to click on or where to go. They go to websites all the time but without meaning, why go at all. So we came up with meaning. For a few kids they were interested in Antarctica, a few others their favorite sports player. All of a sudden we were looking and navigating data websites in a meaningful way….meaningful to them. Employers are having troubles keeping Millennials happy in the workplace (that’s really what this article is about) and Gen Z is coming...

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A Year in Review 15-16

A Year in Review 15-16

I haven’t made much time to blog this semester…..OK….this year. But what a year it has been! I am currently writing this sitting at Rialto Beach on the coast of Washington. One of our favorite ‘get off the grid’ places to go. We hike in about a mile, no Internet, no cell service. Just the waves, nature and prana. It’s here that I find time to finally sit and reflect on this year’s journey into amazing new educational adventures with more on the way. Eduro: Marysville School District I wrote last year about the 5 year contract we signed with Marysville School District and the work the team and I would be doing there. The first year has been simply amazing. From August when we started training 150ish teachers in Cohort 1, to deploying over 8000 Chromebooks to students 6-12 grade in October and November. Then “Doing the Work” to start changing teaching practice to understand how to make the most of this new tool and connected classrooms…it’s been tough but exciting. Last week at a training that Kim and I were facilitating for Cohort 2 (the next 150 teachers) a math teacher said to me, “I’ve started using Google Forms and ‘Flipping’ my class, but other than that I’m not doing much.” Let’s see, you made a transition from a PC to Mac operating system, you are learning and are continuing to learn the power of Google Apps for Education. You also have started to change lessons, units and overall pedagogical approaches you use in the classroom. Yeah…..I think you’re doing plenty for a 7 month roll out. So often as teachers, we don’t take time to step back and reflect on the journey we have come on in a year with our students and with ourselves. The changes are so small at the time that we don’t often see that they add up to something much larger. If this is where we are at in 7 months. I can’t wait to see where we are in 2018 and beyond. Cohort 1 is on training 7 of 12. Cohort 2 is on training 5 of 12 and Cohort 3 starts their training the end of June. Soon we will be changing learning for students from 3-12 grade across a district. Impacting the learning of roughly 11,000 students. What an honor! COETAIL: Another Cohort in the Books! Who would...

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Doing The Work

Doing The Work

If learning something new was easy everyone would do it. One of the reasons I love working with school districts and teachers over a long term basis is that you get to really dig in and do the work. I have started many presentations over the past year with this: “Raise your hand if you were ever taught in your pre-service program what learning looked like in a 1:1 environment?” “Raise your hand if you were ever taught classroom management strategies in a 1:1 environment?” “Raise your hand if in your Master’s degree you learned teaching and learning strategies for a 1:1 environment?” “Raise your hand if the curriculum you have to teach from was created for a 1:1 teaching and learning environment?” In the past year I’ve asked these questions to hundreds of educators. The only question that ever sees a hand go up is the Master’s degree and even then we’re talking 1 or 2 in a staff of 300+. Here’s the thing….once your school or district decides to go 1:1 everything changes. The curriculum in a moments notice needs upgrading. Your classroom management changes, and what we can do, know that we need to do, and how learning happens all changes. It changes in ways that most educators were never taught to teach in. These are the reasons long-term focused PD sessions need to be implemented once a school decides to go 1:1. No one-off conference or one-off PD day is going to be able to address the deep pedagogical shifts that happen once every student has access to the Internet the moment they want to learn something. It changes everything. School leaders need to understand that investing in this type of long-term, pedagogically focused PD is the difference between devices becoming replacement for paper and pencil and becoming something transformational in the classroom. It’s not a teacher’s fault that they don’t know how things change, because chances are they were never taught to be prepared for this change. So for better or worse we have to “go back to school” and learn how to adapt our teaching methods, ideas, and understandings to a new connected classroom where we have leveled the content knowledge playing field. We have to “do the work” to be OK with this and to become learners again ourselves. To open our minds and understand we’re not saying any one is a...

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