3 New Tools I LOVE!

Prezi: http://prezi.com

  • Forget a linear PowerPoint or progression of website clicks!  This is one giant white (well, it’s actually black) space!!  Zoom in, zoom out, link video, audio, write text…you name it!  Check out the showcase for great examples.
  • Think about using this website with an interactive white board!

Etherpad: http://www.etherpad.com

  • Ever want to share a document with 7 other users in real time?  Maybe you are a superintendent crafting a letter to parents and you want principals to have input.  Create a new pad and all 8 of you can sit in a different location and type away.  You see the changes to the document as they happen.  There is a chat window, too!  Better than a Google Document, in my opinion.
  • I used it with two colleagues I met at the NYS Staff Development Conference – and I had not met them before the conference.  We all went to different sessions, but I have the notes from all of them now!

Google’s Wonder Wheel

  • Want to see a visual representation of your next Google search?  Type your search term(s) in the box and hit search.  Under the blue line at the top of the page, click on Show Options…  Click on Wonder Wheel on the bottom of the list on the left.
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Video Rulebooks

There has been lots of talk about instructional videos lately.  Video cameras have become smaller, more accessible and cheaper.  It has also become easier to manipulate the video using FREE programs.  And now the craze of the FLIP has made  it a breeze to take video, download it to a computer and have it forever.  Oh, and have I mentioned YouTube?

Thanks to the blog dy/dan, I found out that the NBA is creating a video rulebook.

My friend Dave is creating videos of teachers in his school.

I used my Flip to record my 97-year-old grandmother talking about growing up.  She’s now on YouTube for my family to have forever.  (Sorry, it’s a private link.)

Ok…now go to the online store of ASCD or other professional/educational organizations.  You can buy all sorts of videos that are designed to help teachers teach better…to help administrators administrate better.

I’m waffling between the effect of using a video with teachers from your own district (time spent creating = high) verses purchasing a video of strangers doing the same thing (time spent creating = none).  Is the impact greater if you can capture great things in your own district?  Is the payoff larger if people can follow up with the “movie stars” personally?  Should districts create a youtube like environment for their in-house movies?  Do video tutorials have a huge impact on teachers and administrators?

Then there is the idea of video living forever.  And what are the consequences for people that live on in these videos?  The teacher is videotaped in their second year of teaching.  Twenty years later this teacher becomes the Secretary of Education for the Malia Obama presidential admistration.  (Ha!)  Would there be an impact?  If work created in the K-12 environment has copyright that belongs to the school, how do you protect those involved?  Can a person be protected?

So many questions, so little time.

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Red Flags

Picture it: A new teacher at the first day of New Teacher Orientation.  What are they feeling?  Fear…excitement…nervousness…happiness to have a paycheck in their future?  Whatever they are feeling, they all want to know WHAT DO I TEACH?

We answer their question by handing them a curriculum map or a binder of assessments or the state standards or a link to our webpage (where parents have access, too), right?  So now that new teacher is feeling confident that he knows what to “do” in the coming months.

Okay, of course we don’t believe that (I hope).  What if we were to add a column to that curriculum map of red flags?  Think about a math map.  This would be for things like “Be careful in unit 6 – the students do not understand ‘rise over run.’  They will demonstrate they can remember it – but they will not be able to demonstrate understanding of it.”  Hand THAT to the new teacher.  NOW that new teacher will have the curriculum, AND the pitfalls that other teachers have faced.  This column may even include a great way to be sure the students have LEARNED whatever the concept or skill is…not just that we TAUGHT it.

Thank you Jay McTigue and Allison Zmuda.

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ASCD 2009

ASCD ’09 started yesterday for me!  I am taking Schooling By Design with Jay McTighe and Allison Zmuda.

They gave us a short article to read for homework: Craft Knowledge: The Road to Transforming Schools by Deanna Burney.  Burney ties accountability to standards of practice for teachers.  She gives the example of doctors holding morbidity conferences when a patient dies.  They review standards of practice and discuss what they could have done differently.

WOW…translate that to teachers!

What would happen if we had school-wide conferences when a student fails?  There would be no conversation defending our practice, but rather what else is there to do…  Is this a great way to start the RTI discussion or what?!!

If these are ALL OUR kids, we must change how we think about accountability.

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Moodle

I am now a Moodler! Thanks to the Extended Learning Practices project at Monroe #1 BOCES, and an offer to work together on a project by Danielle Edmunds, I am finally working on my first Moodle course. My plan is to use it with the new teachers in our district this summer.

The flexibility is out of control…sometimes I think there is TOO much flexibility, but then I laugh and remember that I couldn’t find software that was flexible enough until I met Moodle!

I’m thinking about the second year of teaching the course…what happens to the information that I create and/or post and the information that the class posts?  Can I keep it forever?  It would be great to have some longitudinal data on our new teachers.

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Logically

I participated in an online workshop yesterday about logic models.  I signed up for the workshop months ago, and I had no idea how useful the information would be now.

As the Library Curriculum Supervisor, I presented our department goal update to the Board of Education in January.  I was so proud of the library lead teachers and their work to get ready for the presentation.  The BOE, however, wants more information.  Enter logic models.

The basic logic model template has places for inputs, outputs and outcomes.  I love that the outputs (or data) section is not the end…the outcomes (or impact) section takes the data and applies it to the goal or situation that is outlined on the template.

Our district uses the SMART Goal format for departments and schools.  But I find that those goals are very narrow, and do not reflect the big picture of what our staff is working on.  I think that, possibly, the logic model template could help us get a big picture look.

Ok…so let’s look at the library.  The librarians have many roles: teacher, collaborator, technology specialist, manager, and collection developer.  Our SMART goal looks specifically at librarian as teacher; it is focused on assessment.  So far, the logic model that I’m working on has a place for each of those roles, what data we collect, what work we are doing, and what our program goals are.  There is a place to include the public library as a partner.  There is a place to show how library teaching assistants and building administrators are involved.  I can also break up the program goals into short-, medium-, and long-term.

I read a great explaination of why logic models are not action plans. The logic model looks at the presumed effects and/or a hypotheses about those effects (the actual changes).  An action plan is a set of objectives and a timeline  – or what the people need to do to implement something.  It really does start with the end in mind and work backwards…thank you UBD.

We will see what the response from other curriculum supervisors and the BOE is!  For now, I’m pretty excited!

My delicious links about logic models.

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Systems

We live in an insta-world.  You can anytime, anywhere (with Internet access) find out how much money you have in the bank, how many library books you have checked out at the local library, the pronunciation of the word Caprese,  and the latest news from around the world.  How is that possible?  All of those places have set  up systems.

I find myself developing systems every day – and that without them, work is chaotic.  The problem is that the world doesn’t stop while you are building them.  How do you find the balance between telling someone to wait, and making exceptions because we’re in a people business and we want to keep them happy.

On another note, today my 15 minutes of professional learning came from reading peer observation protocols.  I am excited to be part of changing how the teachers in Webster grow professionally!!

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