Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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The idea of long-term embedded professional development has always been a passion of mine. In my heart, I truly feel it is the best type of professional development for educators….or anyone for that matter. Time and time again pre-service and beginning teachers will tell you that student teaching was by far the best part of their pre-service teaching program. Why? It is long-term embedded learning with a Master Teacher. Now you can have the same experience online.

If we know this is the best type of professional development, and we have research that shows time and time again that the traditional PD model adopted by schools; the one-off PD day, the yearly conference, the after-school two-hour session, do not lead to improved teaching or changes in student performance. Then why do we keep using them?

This is the reason when school districts contact us at Eduro Learning to help teachers understand the changing nature of teaching and learning in a connected classroom, the first thing we tell them is: It takes time.

There is no quick fix. Research shows that long-term professional development has a positive effect on technology skills of educators and a deeper integration of technology. However, the research also shows that if educators are not held accountable to try out their new skills, reflect on them and share their learning with others, that their technology skills improve but teaching practices stay the same. This is why the embedded model of professional development works. Teachers are doing the things they learn while they are learning them. It’s that embedded approach that allows for the change to happen.

This is why we are seeing the rise of the Micro-Credential. In a report recently released by the American Institutes for Research, we find that Micro-Credentials are showing to be a powerful force in changing professional development for educators. Although the research around Micro-Credentials continues, the report points to five lessons learned so far.

“The lessons learned offered by these three states fall into the following five categories: ƒ

  • Decide on your purpose
  • Start small
  • Provide choice (but not too much)
  • Keep an eye on the score
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate” (AIR, 2017)

As we launch our Micro-Credentials at Eduro Learning on October 15th I wanted to take time to explain and reflect on how we are addressing these lessons as well as other needs we see from our own lessons learned in providing professional development over the years.

[box] Meet the mentors and learn more about the micro-credentials in this webinar. [/box]

Decide on your purpose:

The purpose of our micro-credentials is simple:

To help teachers utilize the technology they have in their classroom to maximize its effect on teaching and learning.

The passion our team has for students and how technology is changing the way they learn, play, socialize and grow-up is second to none. We are all educators whose focus is first and foremost on students and helping teachers to best prepare them for their future and not our past.

Start Small (Stay Focused): 

On October 15th we’re launching three very focused Micro-Credentials.

The 1:1 Teacher: For those that find themselves in a 1:1 environment or might soon find themselves there, and all the pedagogical and classroom changes that occur because of it.

The Connected Classroom: For those who might not be 1:1 and/or want to learn how to connect your class to the world outside. We hear all the time that technology can “break down the walls of the classroom“. This Micro-Credential will have you knocking down the walls and blowing the roof off as well.

The Coach: All of us at Eduro Learning have been in this role. We used technology well in our classrooms, we were seen as a leader in our school so we became the tech support, the coach, the integration specialist. Yet we had no formal training on what it meant to coach adults not teach children. This course is for ALL teachers who find themselves in a coaching role within their school or district. This isn’t about technology, this is about supporting teachers regardless of the subject.

Not only are we starting small, we plan to stay small. Small and focused on what we do best. Focused on supporting teachers through these changes. Depending on what avenue you pursue you can be in a cohort as small as 5 and no larger than 25. Depending on what you need/want your experience to be. That leads us to the next lesson learned from the report.

Provide choice (but not too much):

Not only are we starting small (and staying focused) we are providing four different pathways for educators based on how they learn best.

Honor Level: For those that are independent learners and just want to go on the journey by themselves. There can be peace in going on a journey by yourself. Whether that journey is hiking through the woods or learning online. There are moments when people want to be alone. We’ll be there to guide you if and when you need help, but really this journey it all about you.

Certificate Level: For those that are independent learners but also want company on their journey. You don’t mind or you want to meet others taking the same journey as you. You want a place to reflect, to learn with and from others, and to bounce ideas off of. The Certificate Level also comes with a certificate of completion and we provide an online community manager to help you dig deeper into your own learning as you reflect and implement along the way.

Academy Level: We have limited this cohort to just 15 participants. We know that small class size makes a different and the same applies to online learning. This is for those who learn best when in small groups and have a mentor they can go to with questions. For someone who truly wants to connect with other educators, to be pushed to new professional heights and to have a unique learning experience. At this level and the next level (Premium), we take everything we have learned from the research plus our own learning which is learning needs to be personal. We know we learn best as adults when the new information is personal to me, my classroom, my school, my situation. With a cohort size of 15, your mentor will mentor YOU not the class. They will push YOU, talk with YOU, and be there for YOU.

Premium Level: Take everything above and then put it in a cohort of 5 people. Add a mentor who has years of experience and more importantly passion in their micro-credential (because they designed it) and you get a personalized approach to learning like you have never seen in an online learning environment. Learning is not about the content you can put together, the videos you watch, the articles you read. You get all the benefits of face to face learning without leaving your classroom or home. You get all the benefits of online learning of flexibility of time, place and pace. There is no research to support this model of blended learning but we know it is powerful, so join us and help us create the research!

[box] Hear just how passionate we are about these micro-credentials in this webinar. [/box]

Keep an eye on the score:

There are micro-credentials for educators popping up all over the Internet. We have actually purchased a few in our research of how we wanted to structure ours and I will be honest with you…some of them are not good…..some downright boring, and others you could tell where “hoops” you had to jump through. We can do better than this!

We have partnered with Heritage Institute to provide continuing education quarter credits for our micro-credentials. Their continuing education quarter credits are awarded through Antioch University Seattle at the 500 level. Meaning all our courses that you can get credit for have a syllabus that has been reviewed by a university. When I read that one of the recommendations of a great micro-credential is “keeping an eye on the score”. Understand that our rubrics, assessments, and techniques have been reviewed by a non-profit organization in Heritage Institute and backed by Antioch University Seattle.

Communicate, communicate, communicate:

Of course, this is the foundation of any good teaching. Be it online or face to face. Our mentors and community supporters know this as well. After all, they are all educators themselves. Most of them still in schools, working day to day with students and educators. We know our role is to support the learner and we are here to help whenever you need us.

Learning needs to be personalized (our own lesson learned)

You won’t find this in the research…or I can’t find research that focuses on the personalized learning of educators in professional development. This has been a focus of ours ever since we started our first micro-credential (even though that’s not what it was called at the time) in 2009. Kim and I, along with others, started the Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (COETAIL). Since 2009 we have graduated over 1000 educators from this micro-credential and have built a community around the learning that happened through this process. Early on we knew that the number one question every educator asks themselves when it comes to PD was:

“How is this going to apply to me and my classroom?”

What has made us successful is that we keep this question front and center in our minds. Every course we create allows for every teacher to take the knowledge they learn and apply it to their setting. Every school, every classroom, every teacher is unique. Just like every student in front of us is unique. We love…no we thrive…on that challenge of helping YOU wherever you are from in the world, whatever technology you have access to, to put it to use in the best way possible for your students. We want you to be successful, we want to learn from you, and we want to help you teach better. We can all be better, we can all keep learning, and we are excited to be here with you. I hope you can join us on this learning journey. We get started on October 15th and if you have any questions please reach out. We’re here for you.

[box] Learn more about Eduro Learning and the micro-credentials in this webinar. [/box]

As part of the #EduroChallenge leading up to our Micro-Credential program launch, we wanted to pay tribute to the most important educators in a student’s lives…their Parents. Nobody has more influence over a child in their lives than their parent/guardian does…and raising a child today is different.

Digital Parenting is No Longer Optional

It’s a hard realization I find for many parents. Understanding there are things your child may be doing online that you don’t know about, or maybe just don’t understand. The following video is from one of the parenting sessions I did last school year for Everett School District.

This was just the first half of the night. At this point, the students left to do other activities and then I got to have some real heart to heart conversations with the parents in the room. We touched on some of the information I reflected on in this blog post, as well as other information on what children are really doing on their devices and why it is so important for schools to work with parents in helping today’s generation understand Digital Literacy.

Kim, Chrissy and I are so passionate about this subject of helping schools, PTAs and parents everywhere, that we created six online courses for parents around the top concerns we have heard from parents and schools throughout the years of doing trainings. I truly believe these courses might be some of the best we have created so far and are so needed today.

Each course focuses in on a different aspect of things to consider when being a digi-parent. We have interviewed parents from around the world to hear what strategies they are employing for their own kids, as well as readings. There is a private Facebook group that goes with the courses where all parents can share stories, ideas, and strategies that work for their families.

If you are a parent or know a parent these courses are for you. If you are a member of the PTA and would like to have us come and do a PTA presentation or work with you…we’d love to. We can even do a blended learning model where a school or PTA can become a member and we will come to your meeting or school once each course to lead discussions, talk through ideas and help support your community.

As part of our Micro-Credential #EduroChallenge and launch. If you purchase any or all of the parenting courses before October 15, 2017 you can save 15% on checkout using the code: TTSparents

The idea of practice, not mastery has been on my mind a lot these past few days…so it’s only fitting that its part of our #EduroChallenge. I first started really reflecting on this idea of practice, not mastery a few years ago when I started doing yoga. My wife and I had a deal. I would try it five times and after five times if I didn’t like it, I could quit. Well, after the fifth time I just kept going and the more I went the stronger I got, the more flexible I got and the better I felt. I’m now to the point that I can tell when I have not been doing yoga. My body lets me know.

What I love about yoga is it’s called your “Yoga Practice”. There is no mastery in yoga everyone in the room is practicing, getting better, pushing themselves and their bodies in ways that fill right to them that day and in that moment. I’m never going to master the perfect downward dog or crow…..but each day I practice I get a little better, a little stronger. Some days are harder than others, but you have to practice if you want to get better.

One thing I think we need to get better at is talking to students about practice and the importance of continuing to practice. We all look at our heroes and wish we could be like them. They make their craft, whether it be cooking, baseball, soccer, racing, football, etc look so easy. When we watch our heroes in action we get to watch hours upon hours of practice. None of them became the best at what they were over night…what you don’t see when you watch TV or a sporting event, are the hours of practice it took to get there.

I’ll often have people ask me how I went from classroom teacher to consultant to edupreneur. The answer…practice. I forget sometimes how long I have been doing this. Over 1000 blog posts here, over 100 podcasts there. A company here, here and here, and countless conversations, video chats, and trying stuff out in the classroom. I have been practicing this since 2000 and I’m still practicing it today. We call it the “Teaching Practice“. That’s what teaching should be…..we’re never going to master it. We’re always looking for new ways of reaching that child, or that child or trying this new strategy out. That’s what excites me the most about the Eduro Learning Micro-Credentials we’re launching. I get to help teacher practice, practice with them, and be a part of the journey.

My wife and god-daughter running along the Seattle waterfront

This all hit me again earlier this week when I was running. I’m always practicing when I run. I’m focused on my form, on the way my feet land. I know the only way I’m going to keep up with my wife (who out ran me the other day by a minute a mile) is by having better form. According to RunKeeper which I use to track my runs. I have logged 506 runs since I started using the app in 2008. That sounds like a lot of practice and it is. That is why us going for a 3-mile run is a short run, and a 6 mile is standard. That didn’t happen over night. I still remember thinking a mile was a long way, then two miles. Now running 3 miles is just what I do and running 6 is hard…but totally doable.

How do we instill the mindset in students that life is about practice, not mastery? That learning is about practicing and that practice will lead you to know more and practice more. How do we get to a place that practice means do, not try? Practice is what we do, not try to do.

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?

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.

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.

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.

auburnbandYesterday 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 enjoy as they try to divide 6 quarter notes by dotted 8th notes.

Before easy-to-use student notation software, kids didn’t get the instant feedback when they tried to incorrectly assemble measures of music. Now, not only will they be practicing math, but they will be able to connect the songs from their cultural backgrounds to their instruments at the same time!

bandchromebookI know that students have to play their instruments to improve, but the Chromebooks are helping me fill in the gaps of basic music education in an interactive way that they weren’t getting before.

Yesterday at the end of class a student came up to me and put his hand out as if we’d never met before. When we shook hands he said, “Thank you.”

However, my evaluation goes this year is immaterial. For this kid, I just passed it.

On behalf of my students I’d just like to thank Auburn for giving us what we didn’t know we needed.

Orlyn Carney
Music Teacher
Olympic Middle School
Auburn School District
Auburn, WA

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

eduro logo 800x300I 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!

COETAIL

Who would have thought a program started in 2009 to help the teachers at one school (International School Bangkok) would 7 years later have over 1000 educators going through this learning journey……not us.

A couple weeks ago our 6th online COETAIL Cohort completed their 18 month learning journey with some amazing final projects. You can view them here (link to blog) or follow COETAIL on Facebook or Twitter as we release them once a week over the summer.

The program continues to get rave reviews from educators who complete it. Full disclosure our dropout rate is roughly 15%. This is not just some courses that you do to learn. This is a community you join to truly reflect on your teaching practice and make the most of the technology you have available to you in your classroom. Our instructors and coaches (COETAIL graduates who want to continue supporting the community) are what make this program work. The program continues to focus on being reflective in our practice while learning together to better ourselves as educators. A simple approach with an amazing impact. Our next Online Cohort starts in September. If you want to be a part of this amazing community of dedicated, learning focused educators please join us.

Learning2: Expanding Globally

L2-profile

It’s been a big year for Learning2. Our 8th successful Asia conference was incredible in Manila this past October. Then off to South Africa for our 2nd Learning2 Africa conference. Then it was on to our first ever Learning2 Europe in Milan, Italy where Stephen Riech and Carrie Zimmer helped to pull off an incredible start to Learning2 in Europe. This conference does not have a big keynote speaker but rather teachers doing “Learn2Talks” or 5 minute inspirational talks on their ideas, passions and thoughts. Follow Learning2 on Facebook and Twitter to get a weekly talk sent to you, or subscribe to the Learning2 YouTube channel to get all the Learn2Talks past, present and future.

Next year not only can you find us in Asia (Saigon) in Europe (Warsaw) but we expand to South America (Quito) in October. With flights from the US being around $800 I hope to see some American teachers expanding their PLNs and making connections in South America this coming school year.

Personal Consulting: Enumclaw School District

Doing the work in Enumclaw #esdimagine
Doing the work in Enumclaw #esdimagine

This past year I had the honor to lead the Connected Classroom Teacher (CCT) in Enumclaw on their learning journey to 1:1. This group of 15 teachers not only did the work. They did it in a humbling fashion. Taking failures (First Attempt In Learning) in stride, learning not only a new OS (Chromebooks) but also thinking differently about teaching and learning in a connected classroom. Chris Beals, IT Director in Enumclaw and myself put together a case study of our work and partnership together here. The work continues with three more CCT Cohorts this coming year. Work once again that I am honored to be apart of. There is nothing like a 6am drive towards Mt. Rainer on a clear morning to remind you to be humble and be present.

Personal Consulting: Auburn School District

As Auburn School District prepares for their 1:1 rollout they have put together ATLA Cohorts (Auburn Teacher Leaders Academy). Cohorts of teachers to go through a series of trainings to think about teaching and learning in a 1:1 environment. Our work continues next year with a new group of ALTA teachers.

Auburn SD this year also launched #techconnect a one day conference for their teachers to come together and share their learning, their classroom practice and have conversations around teaching and learning with devices. I was honored to be this year’s keynote and look forward to continuing our work over the next year.

Keynote: Washington State School Directors Association

A true highlight and memorable moment of this past school year was being asked to be a keynote speaker at the Washington State Schools Directors’ Association (WSSDA) Conference. To be asked to keyonte, inspire and push the school board directors’ in the state that I was educated in, love and call home was simply an honor.

Selfie with students after Keynote
Selfie with students after Keynote

I have now had the pleasure of working with over 25 school districts in my own state and was able to bring my knowledge of what I’m seeing, hearing and thinking about to those ultimately responsible for leading the change in our schools. It was great to be able to talk about the above mentioned school districts, to highlight the great work I have seen being done on behalf of students across the state and at the same time to push for a future of schools within Washington State that will prepare students here for a future that is continually evolving.

Whatever I said must have hit home as I will be keynoting this year’s conference as well. This time in the town where I grew up Spokane, WA.

Then there were the countless other experiences. Keynoting the WCTSMA student conference in Kennewick, WA. The State of Education address to parents and community in Enumclaw. The work with Everett School District’s Leadership Team over the past year in preparation for their Tech Levy passing, which it did, this April, and starting our work together to bring 22,000 students and 1,100 teachers into a 1:1 teaching and learning environment.

It has been an incredible year. Full of learning, of meeting new people, and most importantly helping schools help students prepare for their future not our past.

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+.

Teachers from Marysville School District pitching their unit ideas
Teachers from Marysville School District pitching their unit ideas

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 bad teacher-there isn’t judgement. We’re saying we changed the landscape on you and with that comes a new way to approach learning.

Schools need to understand when they decide to go 1:1 they must make sure to invest pedagogically in their teachers as well. Not PD focused on devices and software but focused on new ways of learning and understanding what the 4 C’s really mean in today’s connected world.