Helping Parents Help Their Children

Helping Parents Help Their Children

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 If you read the research, you start to understand how 10 students had their acceptance from Harvard rescinded recently.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...

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Micro-Credentials for Teachers and Parents

Micro-Credentials for Teachers and Parents

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. 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: The 1:1 Teacher Certificate The Coaching Certificate (For TOSAs and other Tech Coaching roles) The Connected Educator 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.   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...

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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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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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