COETAIL Registration Open

COETAIL Registration Open

Just a quick announcement to let you know that COETAIL Online5 Cohort is now open. Kim Cofino along with Robert Appino and Rebekah Madrid will be leading this cohort. COETAIL continues to amaze me. As we continue to evolve the program with the changes in technology we also continue to see amazing things happening in classrooms all over the world at the end of the 18 month program. Check out Reid Wilson’s Final Project video below and the rest of the details on his blog here along with more in-depth interviews with his students. Some amazing higher-order thinking coming from these fourth graders and just a really great look at true technology integration leading to new and different learning. If you like that one you’ll love this one from Laura Klecker and the integration and crossover of art and technology. Just two of the many great projects from the 50+ COETAIL graduate this year. If you would like to join us for an amazing learning journey starting in September. Head on over to the COETAIL Online5 Cohort blog and register...

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New Teachers Won’t Save Us

New Teachers Won’t Save Us

This is going to come as a shock I know…but pre-service education programs are not preparing teachers for a technology rich classroom teaching experience. Or to put that another way the classrooms of today. According to a Project Tomorrow Report …principals concluded that they want to hire new teachers with creative ideas about how technology can be leveraged to create authentic and differentiated learning experiences. But student-teachers report that their tech training focuses only on simple management tools. At the same time, the report concludes that those who have the biggest influence on new teachers — veteran educators –  don’t always embrace new ways of using technology to engage students. ~MindShift This is an issue and one I have seen first hand. I have had the privilege of meeting with pre-service educators in both undergraduate programs and Master’s In Teaching programs…mostly here in the State of Washington. Now some of these programs are doing things different, trying to do things differently or bring a different approach. However, for the most part what I’m finding is technology is still an afterthought in these programs and not a true representation of what is happening in schools. One of the main issues I see is that technology, in many programs, is a separate course and is not integrated into each of the subject/classes that a pre-service educator takes. History teachers….as part of their program should be required to know how to use all the amazing layers found in Google Earth. Math teachers should know about things like PhotoMath and how you could leverage this in the classroom. English teachers should study and understand how writing has changed over the years and have students practice writing in mediums that apply to 2014. Blogs, Tweets, Status Updates, images and videos. Those are the writing tools of today and of the future. Or how about just on an professional level. I wonder how many pre-service program cover things like: How to respond to an upset parent over email How to respond to an upset student over email How to respond to colleagues professionally over email How to write a professional email that conveys your message and will be read How to handle a situation in which a parents sends you a DM on Facebook about their child (yes they can…yes it happens) How to handle yourself professionally when everyone has a camera in their pocket...

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Online Learning Research

Online Learning Research

Seeing that I’m fully invested in online professional development for educators through both COETAIL and Eduro Learning, I’m always on the look out for research on how to make online learning better. What is it that sets good online learning apart from the OK online learning systems? How can we use that research to start blending our classrooms more and more to prepare students for the universities that away them? Universities that more and more are requiring students to learn online. New research out of MIT, Tsinghua University, and Harvard came to the conclusion that online learning…specifically MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) do work….or at least work as good as traditional teaching. An article overview of the the research can be found here.  Check out our online courses at Eduro Learning here. What’s even more interesting is in part because of this research, MIT released their Future of Education Report. There are whole sections of the report looking at blended learning and game-based learning. What I find most interesting however is their commitment to creating communities both online and offline. Personally this is what sets apart good online courses and why MOOCs work. MOOCs are about creating a community of learners, good online courses do the same. They create a community that allows everyone to learn from each other, to support each other and not rely on a traditional teacher to “teach” the course. That is the mindshift that needs to happen. Not only in our traditional classroom settings but specifically in online courses. Online courses work when a community forms and learns together.  We continue to improve our systems both at COETAIL and Eduro Learning to be more community centered. Setting up the system to create a community is one thing….helping people to understand how to learn in a community and not from a teacher is tougher. If you have taken online courses before. What aspects do you like and don’t like about...

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Replacing Skills

Replacing Skills

I haven’t been blogging here much as my time has been spent working with teachers in their schools, Learning2 and COETAIL…which I love! Replace is my new word of choice when talking about the skills of technology.  I have done the word dance on this blog. Going from integrate, to embed and now to replace. However, I think it’s just the progression of adoption of any new way of thinking any new skill set as we reach a new level. A level where we need to start replacing the skills we use to teach with new skills that must be taught. The standards haven’t changed….the tools and skills have and we need to make sure we’re updating the skills to match the needs of our students. Here in Washington State our new state assessment is done on a computer. Typing has finally become more important than cursive writing. It must replace cursive writing and maybe even most writing done by students. Many schools are now complaining that students are doing poorly on the test because they don’t have the computer skills needed to even navigate the test software. So now we need to replace navigating a book with navigating a website. I wonder in how many schools these skills have been replaced? I have been focusing my trainings on this idea. A standard is a standard I say….but the skill and tool to reach that standard has changed. Let’s look at a couple of examples. Maps: Digital maps are replacing paper maps in our society as a whole. From your captain on an airplane to your captain of a ship. We’re relying on digital maps more and more. With pretty much everyone walking around with one in their pockets today I’m wondering why we are not replacing the paper mapping skills with digital mapping skills? The skills are different. A paper map doesn’t zoom, a digital maps doesn’t have longitude and latitude lines. A paper map defaults to North being at the top. A digital map can be changed to either North as being up or the way you happen to be facing. A paper map you kind of know where you are, a digital map you know exactly where you are (within 30 feet and if you have GPS of course). If you still want to teach the skills of a paper map….I don’t have an issue with that. But I do hope...

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What Happens When We Forget The Mind Shift

What Happens When We Forget The Mind Shift

I read an article today titled: Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops. It only took me two seconds to figure out what the issue was here….I’ll give you a clue….it’s not the laptops. There are some interesting quotes and lines in this article that caught my attention. Now I don’t know this school district, I give them an A+ for trying something at least. It sounds like they got caught in the netbook era of computing and just couldn’t get out. What follows are some of my thoughts around what went wrong here. “We had the money to buy them, but maybe not the best implementation,” said Mark Toback, the current superintendent of Hoboken School District. “It became unsustainable.” Problem #1: The funding cycle Changing the mind set of thinking that technology is a one off capital expenditure rather than an operational cost. Technology, much like textbooks, paper, crayons, etc. need to be updated. This is issue #1 with our current system. Here the school was given stimulus money from the government…that I’m guessing…as usually….needed to be spent ASAP and on hardware. So it’s great we have this now…but thinking long term…thinking past year 2 or 3 needs to be a focus when starting a program. None of the school administrators who initiated Hoboken’s one-to-one laptop program still work there. Toback agreed to share Hoboken’s experiences so that other schools can learn from it. Personally I believe this is a solvable problem: Hire administrators who understand the changing nature of schools when every student is connected. Yes…you are going to have administrative turn-over. But hiring leaders who understand what giving a laptop to every student really means is on the School Board, the Superintendent and leadership. There are good administrators out there that get these changes….hire them….and then allow them to hire teachers who “get it”. This year alone, schools are projected to spend almost $10 billion on education technology, a $240-million increase from 2013, according to the Center for Digital Education. Problem #2: The Need to invest in PD Really this is the issue of this entire program and the entire way the system is structured and goes back to a post I wrote (along with others) about professional development. The National Staff Development Council still recommends 25% of funds for any new project be earmarked for PD. Why…because that’s what it takes! Meaning...

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