Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Planning Technology PD for Administrators

Administrators can be a hard group to get to technology training. After school sessions don't always work well with their busy schedules. Summer can be hit and miss. So when I was given three hours of time at one of our administrators' summer retreat days, I jumped at the chance. I was told I needed to cover copyright, Clarity data and "tech tools for busy administrators." With that as my base, I went to work.

Because I only had three hours, I wanted to maximize our time together. An earlier request from some administrators was to know more about Google Classroom. So I decided to flip part of the meeting and show administrators how they could use Google Classroom and a few other tools to do the same with their staff.

Three weeks prior to our face to face meeting, I put together a Google Classroom and asked the administrators to join it. They would have three tasks to complete before our face to face meeting. When they joined Google Classroom, they were presented with their first task in the form of a question. My goal here was to show them how they could have an online discussion with their teachers.

When we had a couple of administrators who weren't exactly sure how to work in Google Classroom, I made this video to show them what they needed to do and posted that to Classroom.

Task #2 had the administrators reviewing their Clarity data. For the past three years, we have surveyed students, teachers and administrators using the Clarity survey from BrightBytes. While we have participated in the survey, we really haven't done much with the data we have received. This was one of the items we were going to discuss face to face. Since many of them hadn't been in the Clarity dashboard for a year or more, this task was really about getting them into Clarity again to familiarize themselves with the dashboard. Because each principal only has access to their school's data, this task was also about sharing the data from their building with others.

I included some supporting materials for the assistant principals and other CO admin to review. Only building principals and certain CO admin have access to Clarity data. Classroom makes it easy to share links to sites and upload PDFs or Drive files to share. Two of the links I shared were to infographics summarizing our 2015 Clarity data and our 2016 Clarity data.

The third task they had to complete was to watch an EDpuzzle on copyright. My purpose in assigning this task was twofold. First of all, I wanted then to have some background information on copyright before we met face to face. Secondly, I wanted to show them a tool that would allow them to track whether or not people actually watched a video. I've had administrators say to me, "I can't send my staff a video. They won't watch it." With this tool, you can see exactly who watched the video and how long they spent watching the video. And since EDpuzzle shares directly to Classroom, getting it to staff is simple. You can view the copyright EDpuzzle here. My EDpuzzle tutorials are available here.

The day of our face to face meeting we started with Breakout EDU. We did a game called Dr. Johnson's Lab. As with any Breakout EDU game, they had to work together to solve a series of challenges before the time expired. We debriefed after the game and discussed how they might use this with their teachers and how their teachers could use this in their classrooms.

We moved on to discuss our Clarity data and how we could assist teachers in using technology in their classrooms.

Up next was a discussion on copyright. I used Kahoot to ask a series of copyright questions. After viewing the results we discussed the answers. Kahoot is a great tool that is often used for review activities. I wanted to show them how they could use Kahoot as a fun way to have a discussion with their teachers. You can access the copyright Kahoot here. Discussion points are available here. Questions and answers came from the book, Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide.

To finish our copyright discussion, I had them do a group activity to assess whether or not audiovisual performance rights were needed for a particular activity. I used Group Picker to divide them into groups. Each group needed to open their situation from Classroom and evaluate it based on the Audiovisual Performance Worksheet that was also distributed through Classroom. Once the groups had completed the assignment in Classroom we had two groups share their findings. In addition to having them get up and move and work in a group, I wanted to show them how Classroom could be used for group work. (The Audiovisual Performance Worksheet is available in the book, Copyright for Schools.)

For any type of professional development activity, I believe it is important to have participants reflect. Our reflection activity for the day was Speed Dating. For Speed Dating, divide your group into two lines facing each other. Give them a topic and two minutes to discuss. Then have them rotate so they have a new partner. Our reflection topics included: Breakout EDU - how could you use it as an administrator; Clarity - what goals do you need to set for your building; copyright - one new thing learned.

Finally, I brought them all back together to explain the method for my madness of that day. I encouraged them to think of themselves as the instructional leaders for their building. Every time they get up in front of their teachers they need to seize that as an opportunity to model what good teaching looks like. We talked about the next opportunity they would have in front of their teachers: the back to school meeting. I shared with them that this year would be my twenty-third back to school meeting. And in that 23 years, technology has changed drastically, but the back to school meeting looks virtually the same. Twenty-three years ago I was given a stack of mimeographed papers that was read to me word for word. Today, I sit through a Google Slides presentation that is read to me word for word and takes up two hours of my time. It doesn't have to be that way. My goal in structuring this admin training the way I did was to show them how they could structure a staff meeting differently. They could use Classroom as a communication tool with staff. They could use EDpuzzle to have staff watch a video and know who actually watched the video. They could use Kahoot to start a discussion. They could use Breakout EDU as a team building activity. They could use Speed Dating as a reflection activity. I really challenged them. Selfishly, I want a better back to school meeting experience. A better faculty meeting experience. But more importantly, I want them to take their roles as instructional leaders of their buildings seriously.

Since that day in June, I have had several administrators contact me wanting help setting up Google Classroom. Others have contacted me regarding the copyright information that I continued to add to the Google Classroom. Others have contacted me about doing a Breakout EDU game with their staff as a team building activity at their back to school meetings. Another said they had created a Kahoot to use with their staff. So while we are still a few days away from our official back to school meetings, I think what I said got them thinking. I challenged them to do things differently and hopefully they will put that into practice. We shall see!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

ISTE 2016 Reflections: It's About the Sessions

So my ISTE 2016 experience was too big for one post. My first post was all about the connections. My main goal for ISTE 2016 was to meet as many people as possible. Mission accomplished!

So I have to be honest, when it came to the sessions, I didn't really have a good game plan. My husband on the other hand knew exactly what he wanted to focus on. He wanted sessions on math, assessment and flipped learning. With that plan in mind, he did go to some great sessions.

We did learn one thing about the ticketed sessions. We obviously didn't do a good job of looking at the schedule ahead of time and so Chris didn't get preregistered for some of the BYOD sessions he ultimately wanted to attend. For those ticketed sessions, they have a line you can wait in. If all of the ticketed participants don't show up to the session, they let the people in line in. So Chris managed to see several BYOD sessions without signing up ahead of time. An insider's tip for future ISTE conferences.

As a regular conference attendee I have learned that if Leslie Fisher is on the schedule, you go! In Leslie's first session, Apps, Tools, Tips + Gadgets You Can Take to Class Tomorrow, she highlighted two of my favorite tools Seesaw and Formative. But a new to me tool was PBS LearningMedia. This isn't a tool as much as it is a place for teachers to find great standards aligned, digital resources. You can do a search and filter by grade, subject and media type. Some of the resources include supporting material like background information, discussion questions and teaching tips.

When I saw Alice Keeler was presenting, I knew that was a session I had to attend! I've followed Alice on Twitter and I've given away her 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom book at every Google Classroom training I have done. I got a chance to introduce myself and she autographed copies of her book for me. One I plan to keep but the other two will be giveaways at my next Google Classroom training session!

Her session was entitled "Talk Less and Get More with Google Classroom." Access it here. Alice used the new Google Slides presenter tools in this session to take questions from the audience. This was the first time I had seen presenter tools used and I was impressed with the new Q&A feature.

I attended George Couros' session entitled "From Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership, Empowering Learners Through Social Media." As always, George was inspiring and thought provoking. Since our district is participating in a book study of The Innovator's Mindset, I knew I had to have George's session on my list. I reached out to George prior to his session in the hopes that we could meet up so he could give a shout out to my book study friends... and he did! You can see his message here (I don't know why I am looking off to the side in this video - just look at George!).

One of the BYOD sessions I attended with Chris was "Boost Your Instruction With Formative Assessment Tools." This session was a fast and furious introduction to several formative assessment tools. The full presentation is available here. Many of my favorite tools were covered including Formative, Nearpod, EDpuzzle, Actively Learn and Kahoot. Lots of others are listed in the presentation.

Another session I attended with Chris was "Assessment Doesn't Have to be a Four-Letter Word." Again this was a showcase for several assessment tools. You can access the many resources from this session here.

The final session I attended was the closing keynote with Canadian educator, Michelle Cordy. Michelle's message was heartfelt and inspiring. I hope that ISTE will make her keynote available on video to everyone. She had a great message and was an awesome close to another great ISTE.

While that is not a complete list of the sessions I attended, it highlights some of the best and lets you share in some of the great resources I was able to find.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

ISTE 2016 Reflections: It's About The Connections

I was able to attend ISTE 2016 in Denver in June. This was my second ISTE conference and I was super excited to take in the awesomeness of ed tech at this one of a kind conference.

I attended my first ISTE in 2011 in Philadelphia. I had just accepted a new position in my district as the educational technology facilitator. In 2011, I wasn't a connected educator. I openly refused to join Twitter - I didn't need to know what everyone was having for lunch. Google+ and Voxer weren't even things in 2011! So I knew my 2016 ISTE experience was going to be different.

My main goal for ISTE 2016 was to connect with as many people as possible. I wanted to meet face to face these people and ed tech companies I had been connecting with on Twitter and Voxer and Google+.

I met the amazing team from Seesaw including Victoria and Zach and the awesome Angela Gadtke. Their booth was swamped the entire conference. It seemed like everyone was talking about Seesaw. A lot of the sessions I went to mentioned Seesaw. The Seesaw team has been working on all sorts of great updates. As a Seesaw Ambassador, I have seen what they are working on. This great tool just continues to get better and better!

As I was walking down the convention center on the way to a session I happened to see Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook. I had exchanged Tweets with Matt so I thought why not go up and introduce myself! So I did and we took a selfie! Matt's book is great and so is his blog. Make sure you sign up to receive his newest posts delivered right to your inbox!

I finally got to meet the Quizizz crew in person. My tutorial videos are featured on their website so I was anxious to connect with them in person. If you haven't tried Quizizz for assessment, give it a try. Your students will love it.

The Kahoot gang was awesome! I got to meet Steph who had Kahooted with us during Dr. Seuss week. We did a Google Hangout with one of my first grade classrooms and a class in Council Bluffs, Iowa all arranged by the amazing Josh Allen. Steph was so sweet to answer questions that our first graders prepared. Our first graders were amazed to be face to face with someone in London! When I started to introduce myself to Steph, she said (in the cutest accent) "Are you Mickie Mueller?" and gave me a big hug! Kahoot isn't just for review activities! I'm planning on developing a session on taking Kahoot to the next level.

I was also attending my first ISTE since becoming a Google for Education Certified Trainer. Google hosted a mixer for trainers and innovators one evening. I got to go with my pal Beth Still. I ran into Aaron Svoboda who was formerly at Kearney and who is now with Synergyse who is now a part of Google. I also got to hear about some great things the Google Apps for Education team has in the works. Due to a nondisclosure agreement I can't share any of those awesome things but let's just say when a room full of trainers and innovators ooh and awe like school kids, the stuff is good!

I made it a point to connect with some of the ed tech companies that I interact with and admire from afar including BrightBytes, GoGuardian, Promevo, Pear Deck, Bitsbox, CodeMonkey and Formative.

All in all, ISTE 2016 was a great conference. I met some awesome people and learned a lot. In fact, my ISTE 2016 experience is too big for one post. My next ISTE 2016 Reflections post will be all about the sessions I attended. Stay tuned!