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

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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.

As the school year comes to an end….and I know it’s coming to an end because all my teacher friends are busy monitoring, agonizing and stressed out about the testing happening this time of year….and those are the teachers…wonder what the kids feel like?

To help take minds off of the endless hours watching kids take tests, I thought I would share PD opportunities that I am directly involved with either in creating, organizing or advising on.


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Eduro Learning Summer Institutes

July 2nd – Eduro Learning Summer Institute in Seattle

BellHarborHosted at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, this 1 day institute looks to inspire educators to be creative. Check out this venue! We chose this place because too often we find that educational conference venues are dull and boring and do not spark that innovative, creative feel. Being on the pier on the Seattle waterfront you can not help but feel inspired. Follow Eduro Learning on Twitter and look for promo codes to save some money!

July 6-8 – Eduro Learning Wired with Wine Institute

whitmanhotelA brainchild of mine when my wife and I were wine tasting in Walla Walla a year ago, I just kept thinking that there is no reason why professional development for educators can’t be fun!  This 2+ day institute offering the same strands as the Seattle Institute just allows us to go a whole lot deeper in thinking and creating when we have more time together. Hosted at the historic Marcus Whitman hotel and within walking distance to 70+ tasting rooms this event will be fun on many levels. Check out the schedule and I really hope to see you there!

What’s the difference between a conference and an institute?


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Learning2 Conferences

Registration is now open for the fall Learning2 Conferences. This year Learning2 will be hosted in Manila, Philippines and Jo’Burg, South Africa in the fall and we’ve just announced Milan, Italy a year from now.

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If you have questions about any of these please contact me or leave a comment below.

Photo Credit: rwentechaney via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: rwentechaney via Compfight cc

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

Students on devices
Photo Credit: Barrett.Discovery via Compfight cc

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 in this coming school year $2.5 Billion of it should be marked for professional development. To this day I don’t know any school that does this (if yours does please let me know!). Does this mean lest technology? Absolutely! Does it mean better use of the technology we have available? Absolutely!

We also need to understand the type of PD that is required. When changing the classroom in such a dramatic way as giving every student a connected device, schools need to offer PD that goes beyond 1 sit and get institute, or a conference. You have to go beyond 1 PD day dedicated to technology. You have to think different, you have to start over….if you really want to feel the full impact of what technology can do to the classroom you have to give educators the time, space, and freedom to learn.

This is why Kim and I create the COETAIL program. Schools have come to us and asked us if we could do the whole thing in a year or even six months. No…we can’t….it takes at least 3 semesters to do the program and to change the mindset. We’re not after a quick fix, rush everyone through a process type of learning. We’re after real change…and real change takes time, support and dedication.

Screens cracked. Batteries died. Keys popped off. Viruses attacked. Crocamo found that teenagers with laptops are still… teenagers.

I love this part of the article….as I’m reading this, right away I started thinking to myself….I bet they took away all the personalization of the device. I bet they locked it down for the students…….and……

Hoboken school officials were also worried they couldn’t control which websites students would visit. Crocamo installed software to block pornography, gaming sites and Facebook. He disabled the built-in web cameras. He even installed software to block students from undoing these controls. But Crocamo says students found forums on the Internet that showed them how to access everything.

…and there it is. Let’s make this clear BLOCKING DOES NOT WORK, EDUCATING DOES!

Problem #3: Technology is Personal

Thinking that technology is not a personal thing is a trap. Technology is very personal and as soon as you put the type of over reaching controls…which don’t work….in place you force students to “not care” for the device. I’ve seen this in many schools. The more freedom you give students with their devices the better they care for them. In fact…..at my last school (ISBangkok) I would say we had more teacher issues with laptops then we had with students. You see even adults struggle with ownership. When the technology isn’t yours, isn’t personal, we have a hard time taking care of it. More coffee was split on laptops by teachers than any food damage we had by students using them in the cafeteria at lunch time. By blocking websites we force students to be rule breakers. We force them to be hackers….which I guess….is teaching computer skills in one way. 🙂

“Probably in the last few months I’ve had quite a few principals and superintendents call and say, ‘I bought these 500 iPads or 1,000 laptops because the district next to us just bought them,’ and they’re like, now what do we do?” Powell said.

Problem #4: No District Wide Plan

Setting Up Computers
Photo Credit: Barrett.Discovery via Compfight cc

 I have seen and heard of this same issue. Mostly at school districts who have decentralized the technology purchasing process. Principals get to the end of the year have money left and want to buy tech. I was at one district office recently when the phone call came in from the principal. She had money to spend and wanted to know how many iPads she could purchase with X amount of dollars. The Director of Technology told her about 12….then she asked how many Surface RTs she could purchase….he told her about 20. She decided to order those as she could get more devices. The Director of Technology looks at me with a look of sadness on his face. She just wants devices without a plan on how to use them, what she’s going to use them for, or how to train teachers on them. Because the Principals in this school district were responsible for there own budgets and the technology was decentralized the Director of Technology had no say…and was supporting every type of device across the district.

This summer, Hoboken school staff will go through the laptops one by one, writing down the serial numbers and drafting a resolution for the school board to approve their destruction.

Then they’ll seek bids from recycling companies to figure out how much it will cost Hoboken to throw them away.

Problem #5: The Exit Plan

Ah…..the exit plan. To often schools get into a mess like this not knowing how to get out of it. Of course this goes back to Problem #1. If you view these devices as a capital expenditure then you believe they’ll be around for a long time. I’m not sure where this idea ever came from, that you were going to buy a computer and have it last longer than 3 years. But it’s a mind set we need to change. We need to understand that this is a continual budget line that needs to grow with the program and devices. Textbooks continue to go up in price and we find money to buy them…..we need to start thinking of computers as textbooks. Better yet just have the computers replace the textbook line of the budget you might just come out ahead. 🙂

 

Again….I feel for this school….they did what they thought they were suppose to do…what everyone is doing….and it’s suppose to be easy. You give every student a laptop and BAMM! Learning changes!

If only it was that simple.

 

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I am proud to announce that working with Buffalo State-SUNY we are now offering a fully online Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (COETAIL) Program to International Educators. This is a special program that only International Educators (Educators working at recognized International Schools) can apply for.

I can’t believe it’s been four years since we started this program at ISB and three years since Kim Cofino and I took it on and expanded it to other International Schools. At the moment we have 5 Cohorts running (a total of about 100 educators) throughout Asia and now with the online option we can expand into other regions as well.

Here are the details of the program:

The first fully online Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (COETAIL) program offered by SUNY will begin February 5th, 2012.

This 15 Graduate Credit program has been created specifically for International Educators and is taught by International Educators. Over 120 educators have completed the program thus far and SUNY calls it “A rigorous set of courses that address the current and future needs of educators.”

Online COETAIL Details:
– Starts Feb. 5, 2012 and ends May 5, 2013
– No Summer Classes (we like our summers too!)
– 15 Graduate Credit Program. Credits can be used towards a Master’s Degree from SUNY
– No need to travel, all you need is a computer and an Internet connection
– Only International Educators can apply, due to special rate.

For more information and to register visit http://www.coetail.asia/online12-13/

It really is a fantastic program that is seeing great results. We surveyed graduates of the program six months after completion to see if the program’s concepts, knowledge and understanding had brought about change in their teaching. 86% of educators strongly agreed or agreed that what they learned had influenced their teaching practice a full six months after they completed the program. You can see other stats in the infographic below.

 

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It’s also great to hear administrators liking what they are seeing and hearing from those that are in or have completed the program. I was having dinner with an administrator this past week who was here in Bangkok for the recruiting fair. He works at a 1:1 Mac school and is looking for educators who have a pedagogical understanding of how to teach in a 1:1 environment. He was impressed with the knowledge, skills, and understandings that the COETAIL participants had…but what he was really impressed with was what they were doing with students in their classroom.

That, I believe, is the real strength of this program. From the first course teachers are creating lessons and implementing new ideas in their own teaching practice and reflecting on their outcomes as they build their own skills and knowledge. 

This new online cohort starts on February 5th. So if you are an International Educator and you or someone you know is interested, visit http://www.coetail.asia/online12-13/ and sign up today!

 

 
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As I’m rolling out the PD announcements I can’t leave out my most looked forward to conference of this summer. I’m honored to be this years Keynote at the Laptop Institute in Memphis this summer. A whole conference dedicated to 1:1 classrooms. Besides keynoting I’ll also be doing somewhere between 4 and 6 break out sessions. We’re gonna get geekie with it! 

While you’re there…also have a look at the pre-conference sessions. If your school is going 1:1 garunteed you can find a pre-conference that will fit your needs. There’s only about 5 I want to attend. 

 

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Although I’m officially retired from the planning committee this year…..I’ve been honored as being invited as a speaker and cohort leader for next year’s Learning 2.011 conference. We learned a lot last year about using the cohort model along with the unconference approach and this year the organizers are once again pushing to redefine what it means to be a conference. That’s what I love about this conference, it’s created by educators that are looking to get out of the box, do things different and meet the needs of the 400 people who are lucky to attend. 

One great thing about holding this conference in China is presenters and cohort leaders love a free trip to China…that’s something you don’t get the chance at everyday and over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to continue to attract great cohort leaders and this year will be no different!

Year after year cohort leaders tell us this is one of the most switched on group of educators they get a chance to interact with. To listen to last year’s cohort leaders debrief stop by Wes Fryer’s blog where he’s posted a podcast of last years debrief with cohort leaders to get a feel of the conference and what to expect. 

Last year the conference sold out by July so you are gonna want to register early for this one!

Just a quick announcment that another 1 credit class around my book Reach begins on April 20th. Last week I got to interact with those taking the first class. It was great to read their reflections on the book, ask questions of me, and use the book as a starting guide to building their communities and networks for their own professional development.

The course, much like the book, is meant for newbies to the web and web 2.0 tools. So if you know of someone in your school or district that needs some structure and a grad credit to get them into the Web 2.0 world this just might be the thing. 

Here’s a PDF Poster with information about the course that you can hang in your staff lounge as well.

Thanks again to PBS, WVIZ and of course you….my PLN!

 

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Click on the Image to download the Poster

Thanks to wviz.org and PBS who are putting together a short course based on my book Reach. I was excited when they contacted me and asked if they could offer a course. Not sure if anyone will sign up but if you want to learn about building personal learning networks and communities for your own profesional development and are in need of a graduate credit not a bad way to get it.

I’ll be joining at least one session online and will be following this closely to see what people think. I’m just honored they decided the book was good enough to offer a class around.  

Amazing what can happen when you openly share your thoughts and ideas on the web. First you start blogging…then you write a book…crazy world we live in. 

$2.00 OFF LIMITED TIME!

To celebrate this I’ve decided to offer Reach to those of you who have not bought a copy or gotten one of the over 5,000 free copies to date a limited time discount of $2.00 off. If you have already bought a copy I appreciate your support! 

1. Go to the website here

2. Enter the discount code: DT3PXCWH

(CreateSpace is an Amazon.com affiliate)

(If you take the course the book is included)