Showing posts from 2012

Google+ for K-12 Edu is Now Available

Google announced yesterday that Google Plus (Google+) is now available for edu domains. The announcement I received said: Today, November 15th, we announced that Google+ is available to be enabled as an additional service for all Google Apps for Education domains, including K12 (primary/secondary).   By default Google+ is set to off for all EDU domains. You can enable Google+ for all or some of your organizational units by following the instructions in our Google Help Center article on how to turn on/off services . Please review important considerations before enabling Google+ in our Google Help Center. Please note that as Google+ is an additional service (like Blogger and Reader) it is not subject to the same terms and conditions as core services such as Gmail and Google Drive. Please review the Google Apps for Education Agreement which includes a link to the Additional Terms for Use of Additional Services . This is  great news but with it came a bunch of questions. Here a

Midwest Google Apps Summit 2012

Looks like we are ready to go for the Midwest Google Apps Summit for 2012. The response for the event has been incredible and I am excited for 3 days of learning. I have all of my materials put together (although I will add and tweak leading up to the presentation). I cant wait to see everyone there!

Google Scripts - Bulldozer Update

In preparing for the Midwest Google Apps Summit we have updated our bulldozer script - you can get it here . I also put this slide deck together:

Listening to All Voices

The news is dominated today by the events of  one national convention  going on,  another  on the way, and a  hurricane heading into the Southeast . All three events involve a lot of wind. One thing you can be sure of is that the 24-hour news cycle will be in full swing over the next week. One of the common strategies that will be used will be “people on the street” interviews, where one person will be thrust to the forefront and her perspective will be used to reflect that of everyone experiencing each event. As the school year starts, what will you do to make sure that this same strategy does not happen in your classroom or school? How will you hear all voices and make sure that the one who yells the loudest is not the substitute voice for all? What tools can you leverage to ensure that each student or other members of your school community are heard? How can you  personalize learning  to recognize students as people first, and learners second? As this year starts, I hope that we wil

How Many Jobs

This is in response to Doug Johnson's post  which examines how many jobs someone has between 18 and 38. Since I just crossed the plateau I thought I would make my list. If you count just the ones I was paid for I easily make the 10 . Nursery Assistant - Platt Hill Nursery - helped with trees, shrubs, and compost (a theme that continues) Lab Assistant - Earth Science Department at Concordia University Sales - local teacher store Teacher - Conant High School Science Teacher Band Director Coach Activities Sponsor (graduate student  Roosevelt University) Private Music Lesson Teacher - local music store Director of Youth Ministry - Holy Cross Lutheran Church Consultant - Riverside Publishing Technology Coordinator - Conant High School (doctoral student - Roosevelt University) Educational Consultant - self-employed Adjunct Professor - Roosevelt University Curriculum designer - several colleges Chief Technology Officer - Maine 207 SET Connections President (volunt

Personalization in Education - Part 2

The first part of this series looked at what it mans to personalize learning and some of the key beliefs one must have to do successfully switch in a new direction. What I want to start to get into is how we do this in our classrooms. We are busy in schools gathering a lot of data. The problem is that we are gathering the wrong kind. Personalization starts with PERSON. We need to gather more information about the students we serve. We have to gather real data on who they are, what makes them work, how they learn, what they care about, their challenges, their successes, and all of the important DATA. Nobody really wants to learn from a teacher that doesn't care about them and doesn't show interest in them as an individual. We need to understand students as a person first and a learner second. We have whole child initiatives out there and lots of big thinkers saying we need to drop standardized test data and become more personal. However, very few are telling how. It can h

Personalization in Education - Part 1

It has been great to attend ISTE12 and finally begin to hear some honest buy in and acceptance to the philosophy of personalization of education for each student. I know this has been floating around in the ether for quite a while, I believe it can be tied back to Nel Noddings work on the ethic of care in the classroom (and probably before that). I was researching this in the early 2000's while working on my dissertation and am glad to see the rest of the community grab on and embrace the concept. Here is the general idea behind personalized learning: the teacher finds a way to know about each individual student to be responsive to their needs just at the right time they need to be guided in the right direction. As Yong Zhao  has pointed out, we have made the mistake in education (actually by policymakers around education) to believe that this can be accomplished by standardized testing. NCLB was quick to prove that the type of data we were gathering was not adequate to cause ch

Retire the "21st Century" in "21st Century Learning"

At the start of ISTE12 I tossed out a concept through twitter that was discussed in the School CIO conference preceding ISTE. I proposed that we should retire "21st Century Learning" and start calling it "Learning". It has caused quite a discussion in twitter and I have had some great intellectual exchanges over it. I wanted to take this venue as a place to put my thoughts on the concept together. Here is the general idea: words matter All of the discussion on PLC's show us that a common vocabulary means something when working with groups of people. Over the course of the past 15 years 21st Century Learning has developed as a term to prepare educators for what was coming when technology became a common and essential part of society, children, families, and learning. So let's just admit what happened. The 21st Century came and we were not ready. Some screamed for change and some resisted - others just rode the wave.   The 21st Century started a dozen ye

Google Apps for Education - Safety and Security

Recently we had a question come across the Google Apps User Group message board about GAFE security and privacy. Here is the list of questions: 1.) Does Google meet HIPPA compliance? 2.) Does Google meet FERPA compliance? 3.) Is an additional encryption tool need for Google email? 4.) If we put children's names and other demographic information on the calendars, is it secure? 5.) If we decide to use the forms and data collection functions of Google, is it secure? 6.) Is there any documentation to support that Google Apps are secure? The first links to visit are: I also have a presentation that goes through many of these:   Although I am not a lawyer, here are my direct answers to these questions: 1.) Does Google meet HIPPA compliance? - Most schools are not subject to HIPPA guidelines, these records a

What We Know to be True About Best Instructional Practices

A group of us have been reading up on best practices in instruction based on research and have been looking for common themes and/or terminology. At the same time we have been investigating how those fit into the Danielson framework . Based on that research I have been trying to cross reference all of it to come up with a common statement that describes the best practices and philosophies that will help to lay groundwork for each domain. Here is what I have so far: _______________________________________________ Planning and Preparation Developing clear intentional goals that are designed through understanding data that leads to action Classroom Environment A cooperative and collaborative learning community that is focused on objectives, feedback, and effort. Professional Responsibilities Shared leadership that uses care, reflection, and best practices to advance each member of the learning community. Instruction Challenging, engaging, and per

Enhancing Technology Proposals

Over the past couple of years we have "tightened our belts" across the district. The technology budget and plan is dedicated to maintaining current technology. Yet we still want to encourage our teachers to create and enhance instruction with technology - especially using best practices.  To encourage this we have begun a process called "Enhancing Technology Proposals" (here is the template for the requests: ). The goal of this is to allow teachers to propose innovate ways to use technology in an action research format. This will accomplish a few things: There has to be some investment in the plan behind the instructional change The focus is on instruction and research We should learn from data gathered from the project  With limited funding this should help us find the best ideas that are prepared to impact instruction. Here is the email that went out today to department chairs to begin the process: There have been several reque

Teacher Preparation - Start with the learner

As I reflect more of the vision of what I was presented with in my teacher preparation and in the courses that I have taught as a professor, the more I realize that although we teach great ideals we really do not spend enough time getting teachers ready for what needs to be done in education today. The practical matters would have been much more helpful as I started my career and I believe our new teachers need a change in focus as well. It took me several years to understand what went on in the classroom was not about me, it was about my students. Everything we talked about in teacher preparation was about me as the teacher and did not focus nearly enough on student needs, growth, or results. I believe that now we are better at explaining those goals to future teachers, however we still have many teachers that joined the profession with entirely different purposes or training. I think it is essential to respect that teaching has developed into a much different endeavor than what mos