Dec 7, 2013

#aesa2013 9a - Saturday - Balanced and Blended Experiences

#aesa2013 9a - Saturday - Balanced and Blended Experiences

Why I chose this:
I am hoping to see something about blended learning, though I'm not sure that is what this session focuses on, though. We will see!

What I learned:

Supporting teachers and principals in blended learning environments. Digital Resource Library available through ESCs to districts.

MUltiple learning opportunities in which students engage peer-to-peer, student-to-teacher, teacher-to-student (though not through the traditional model).

Compare education to retail: Open information and resources; transparent experiences; feedback, collaboration, grading on products - occurring 24/7

Ex: YELP - Find out what everyone else is saying about those restaurants. TripAdvisor, etc.

Customized experience in retail - How can this/does this transform education? Look at Amazon/Groupon. Geography - where you are determines the deals and places you would go to based on what you like and what you have done in the past.

Apple/Google - Create blended learning opportunities for their clients. Predictive, custom, Face-to-face (Genius bar)

Retail did not adapt: Borders, Blockbuster, Bennigans

Mobile learning, sharing resources, anytime/anywhere access

Data teachers can track, monitor and customize the learner's experience through quick, responsive feedback. Assess academic readiness, learning styles, environmental info, etc - transparent with what we know about that student and his/her guardian.

Use the various tools to create learning pathways for the students based on the information gathered about the student.  A blended environment provides a multi-faceted approach to student learning and engagement.

Think about: What are were the needs of society across the ages? What roles did educators/administrators play in each of these ages?

  • Agricultural Age - Farming, helping with family, being able to be out of school for farming 
  • Industrial Age - Prepare students to work in the factories
  • Information Age 
  • Conceptual Age 
Video presentation demonstrated type of content available through their platform for adult PD. The particular video shown featured a "talking head" with a cut-away to various slides. Different angles (mid-shots, long-shots) were used, basically only changing after one of the slides was put up in the video. It is delivered in a very "lecturesque" manner. I suppose in a flipped scenario, the participants could watch this on their own prior to the PD event, and the PD event would focus on discussion and learning.

In schools, we have several challenges: content-expert models, age-based grouping instead of skill-based grouping or knowledge-based grouping

What does it mean to be a leader in the Conceptual Age?
Shift in professional development to a blended environment, modeling what they can do in their classroom. Moving to a data-capture environment (LMS keeping track of what learners say, think, learn). Redeisgning instructional systems. 

Co-Construct Meaning = Understanding a new concept and co-constructing that with folks. We don't push or pull, but rather bring them along together. 

Communicating the Story- Understand the vision, people need to be part of that story and make sure they feel they are a part of it.

Create the Conditions - Mirror PD environments as to what we'd like to see in the classrooms: blended, traditional, etc.

"Teacher as Architect" - Book. Classroom Tools, Planning Templates, PD Kits

Revenue-generation program between TAA and the Education Service Agency.

Platform agnostic, though they have content already prepped for Safari Montage.

$2500 for ESC program that can be resold/delivered to schools. 

Face-to-Face PD Kits (can be blended). There are self-paced, self-driven online courses in conjunction with the f2f pieces.

This system is like the TIE program SWAEC hosts, though much more fleshed out. 

And I won a book! Wahoo!!

Dec 6, 2013

#aesa2013 - Fri 2:45p - Increase Student Achievement Through Alternative Funding

#aesa2013 - Fri 2:45p - Increase Student Achievement Through Alternative Funding

Why I chose this:
Interested in learning ways to help districts pull money in from places they may not have considered.

What I learned:

Education Technology Foundation
-- Give money back to the schools. Schools apply for awards specifically in instructional technology. The main purpose is to increase student achievement.

Generate and distribute funding to support technology programs that increase achievement.

Had to become official: articles of incorporation, by-laws, 501(3c) status as required. Available on the aesa website - take it and modify it. Need to check how a 501(3c) can be set up via co-op - not use state money, use locally-earned money (from districts using/paying for co-op services)

Advisory Board - Supts, Community/Business leader, cross-section of service area.

  • Develop framework of the foundation
  • Approve mission, vision, bylaws
  • Develop standard operating procedures, funding applications and allocations
  • Develop tactics to develop funding
  • implement funding cycle (year one)
  • Community awareness
  • Identify board prospects
  • Build the board
ESC Staff
  • Complete legal process of entity formation
  • Manage day-to-day operations
  • Support work of the board members and future board
  • E-Rate Consulting Services, separate entity so the ESC can file for E-Rate as its own entity.
  • Discretionary Funds from ESC by cutting other jobs prior to this
  • Individuals or teams involved in student instruction, must be employed by member districts
  • Timeline: Nov/Dec call for apps, due end of Jan; Feb board scores apps; March grants get awarded for the program to start the following September.
  • Grants awarded up to $5000 for teacher, groups up to $10000
  • 7 grants awarded, $59,888 distributed. Avg grant $8555. 
  • Spend 2/3rds, keep 1/3rd
  • 1783 students served, 125+ staff served
PR Pieces
  • Told Supt, but not grant recipient. Surprise for the recipient
  • Created big checks
  • Local newspaper, online props
  • Board Development
  • Strategic Plan
  • Adequate source of funding (vendor partnerships, etc)
  • Approve budget
  • Monitor stewardship
  • Set policy

#aesa2013 - Friday - 1:30pm - EPS: Educational Positioning System

#aesa2013 - Friday - 1:30pm - EPS: Educational Positioning System

Why I chose this:
Interested to see what other co-ops are doing to help with school review and improvement. Also, it's being presented by the Director of ESSDACK, Mike Cook.

What I learned:

The EPS tool was developed by CORE Education in New Zealand.

GPS for where your school is headed.

Three main components:

  • Philosophical Frameworks (What you believe and why)
  • Strategies and Structures
  • Community and Culture
The middle color section shows your 50th percentile in each category. Information is gathered from surveys. To me, this is similar to BrightBytes, but on a broader scale than "just" technology.

Each section has 4 tasks/questions to answer, which are broken into: Robustness, Collectivity, Consistency, and Congruence.

Ideally, you want data grouped together and at the highly developed end of the spectrum.

Data wheels show overall views of School Leadership, Teachers, Support Staff, Community, and Students.

Be careful not to use "educational-ese" when formulating the questions. Educate the community in the terminology. The tool itself begins to change the vernacular of the community. 

Important to involve members from each area and have conversations to plan strategically. Ultimately, decide what is important. From there, develop plans to address issues.

You run the surveys a couple times a year, not once every five years.

Superintendent/School admins can determine what questions are in the survey and what is being measured.

Can use sliders to compare where the school currently sits and where the 'ideal' sits.

Can use Wordle to take the open-responses answers and discover the most frequently-used terms and have the people find the terms used (or NOT used). "Why is 'respect' so small?" "Why are negative words larger?"

ESSDACK can help get the program started in your ESC. This is a sustaining program - long-term, analyzing.  Year-long agreement, but can survey as many times, in as many ways, as you want.  Schools interested should contact their ESA about getting the program set up.

Cost is based per-student plus set-up fees per building. Between $1-$2 per student, depending on district size. 

Dec 5, 2013

#aesa2010 thursday 3pm - Learning Business by Being One

#aesa2010 thursday 3pm - Learning Business by Being One

Why I chose this:
Learning how to teach students to be entrepreneurial. Led by Kevin Honeycutt and Ginger Lewman!

What I learned:

Tell students to be a "public genius." Tell them to publish if it's good. If it isn't good, tell them to edit them publish!

STEM needs the A - who else would design it!? STEAM

Do students know they are competing with the whole world? Learn to birth ideas.

The Maker Movement - make things that belong to the students.

What tools are available to students to create?

Contest: 1) Nothing illegal, nothing immoral. Kids make lip balm, sell it market it, create website, enable ecommerce. Sell it worldwide. Highest profit at the end wins.

"The Coming Jobs War" - Jim Clifton

It takes time and sacrifice to get where they need to go. We have to teach students this.

Tools into toys, toys into tools - what are we making with the most powerful tools we have!?

Students must choose to move ahead. Teach them to WAIT and earn what they want.

When you have success, call the media. Make the STUDENTS the stars of the news.

Why matters more than How!

Simulate the things they will have to do as soon as you show them what they will be doing.

"A rabbit takes her young out to the grass to show how to feed, where it is... If it were a school, there'd be a Smart Board in the hole with a picture of grass that's 10 feet away."

Students have to learn how to learn. Teach students to teach themselves. - click on the toolbox!

L2L2L - Love 2 Love 2 Learn!

Learn to market yourself: What do you look like when you google yourself?

Google Alerts: set up an alert for themselves. How do you see yourself? How do others see you?

Spoonflower: Upload a design and it will print it as fabric, wallpaper, decals, etc!

Tunecore - sell your music online, audiobook, ringtones

#aesa2013 Thursday 1:30p - Foundations of Flipped Learning

#aesa2013 Thursday 1:30p - Foundations of Flipped Learning

Why I chose this:
I am always interested in different ways educational material can be presented. In my effort to build on my ever-growing knowledge of blended, flipped, and other non-traditional classrooms, I am hoping this will add to my awareness.

What I learned: partnered with ESC in Milton, PA to offer services to area schools.

"What is the best use of my face-to-face class time?"
Direct Instruction

Not just classroom - how about board meetings, professional development, parent-teacher night, other meetings, etc.

Flipped Classrooms vs Flipped Learning
Flipped Classroom - Direct lecture to moved from classroom to individual learning space (home, library, etc). Basically becomes homework.

Flipped Learning - Move from teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered learning environment.

  • Does not happen overnight - process. Start with lesson, collaborate, create.
  • Extended Lab Time
  • Demos, conversations, model congress/un, etc
  • Art shows
  • Entrepreneurial Programs
Leads to various teaching methods:
  • Mastery Learning
  • Project/Problem learning/inquiry
  • Peer instruction
  • Socratic method
  • Performances
  • Writers' Workshops
  • Service Learning

Flipped is a subset of Blended Learning - Engagement is at center.
"We have a square and a rectangle." (as said by a workshop participant)

Tools of the Trade

  • Desktop, laptop, mobile
  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Wall Displays
  • Subject-specific instruments
  • Lecture capture software
  • Storage site
  • Learning analytics
  • Method(s) for communication
  • Curate (YouTube, Kahn, etc), create you own or hybrid of that (copyright, CCL, free, fee)
  • Assessments (surveys, quizzes, formative summative)

Edgar Dale's Cone of Learning - 90% of memory - simulate, model, experiment.
Bloom's Revised Taxonomy
Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge levels

Foundations of Flipped Learning
PA ESC worked with teachers and a Pearson Flipped program to learn more and support other teachers in the region. Funded via grant money initially, so they wanted to sustain the program. Totally teacher driven (13 teachers) - collaborating, they took the foundations of flipped learning course, no pay offered to teachers but offered things like some tech equipment and sent them to flippedcon. The teachers developed their own method of communication. Some use Facebook, some wikispaces. Storing videos on a 'relay server.' The ESC serves to help get the group to meet together face-to-face and/or help get resources requested. ESC asked for teachers to keep data - be honest: working, not working, etc. Most teachers in their cohort are science and math - more in-depth material and more material being covered. Assessments show growth and understanding.

Some districts were already recording content for absent students but not doing the flipped side. Snagit or Camtasia used to record screens. Teachers were given some training. Initial videos were rough, but have gotten better over time. Eduvision is a streaming server with subchannels to store the video in one place in the district.

PD for teachers: Flipped Learning Essentials (JDL Horizons)

Teach the teachers about the technology. Teach the students the application of the technology (they already know or will quickly pick up on the technology).

Four Pillars of Flipped Learning -

Combat Four Myths and Misconceptions

  • Myth: Flipped Learning is all about videos. One example using recorded info: Writer workshop, teacher screen-records the student's paper, making comments and marks, then emails to student. Another: Teach how to analyze videos, etc.
  • Myth: Flipped Learning Creates a Digital Divide - If you assign content as homework, students must have access (DVD, media centers, ipods, etc). Greg Green Clintondale 
  • Flipped Learning relies on Homework: must be decided within the culture of the districts and/or esc area.  
  • Flipped Learning Propagates Bad Teaching: Bad teaching is bad teaching. Period.

Examine Research

  • Innovative, creative
  • 85% over 7 yrs teaching experience
  • 91% flipped for less than 2 yrs
  • 95% secondary ed teachers
  • Urban, rural, suburban, etc (anywhere, everywhere)
  • 88% teachers reported improved job satisfaction
Case Study - Byron High School in Minnesota

#aesa2013 - 10:45am - Not All About the Numbers

#aesa2013 - 10:45am - Not All About the Numbers

Why I chose this:
I am interested in learning what is needed for the "next generation" of cooperative services through contracted services and programs.

What I learned:
Billed as something of a "Pricing 101" course.

Pricing is not an exact science. Must understand the variable that affect pricing decisions.

Cost Centers - mini businesses within the agency with their own budgets and revenue monitoring. Each department chair is responsible for those cost centers (some departments have multiple cost centers). They are expected to break even, but not all do and that is addressed at year end.

Various approaches:

Scientific Approach - Calculate actual costs plus overhead and investment. Salary, benefits, indirect cost rate, investment factor, based on 194 days/7.5 hrs per day. $885/day, $118/hour. Did not work well because it used the same pricing model at every situation. Made sense, but didn't work well with school participation - price seen as too high for some services.

Sky Pick

Copy Cat - Does not deal with actual costs.

Going Rate - Also does not deal with actual costs.

One Size Fits All

Price is critical - communicates a lot about the product or service, many link price with quality, free=low quality, expensive=high quality

Consider: Supply/cost, Demand/revenue, perceptions, competition and strategies, gov regulation, organization's desired pricing position.

Amount of service and demand for service must be met, always moving and changing. Dept heads must be able to figure this. Any price changes are done AFTER the fiscal year.

Just because you can justify a price with figures, it still might not be right for the market.

Positive price - Actual price
Normative Price - cost based on what consumer will pay. People must understand why they are being charged ("Why can't you do this for free?")

Offer similar services and make a case for quality, perception, prestige. What is the value-added piece?

Consumers' perception of the value they are getting, even if the reality doesn't match (GM Employee Pricing to general public)

Prestige pricing - hard to live in a world of exclusivity for services/products.

Know variable costs, fixed costs, balance profitability with palatability.  Don't get bogged down in fixed costs, but definitely consider those. May not have to be calculated into the actual cost of service/product.

We need a defensible pricing platform because people can and will research other providers. So, what do we offer that makes it value-added?

We spend a lot of time on pricing, so we must build value into what we offer.

How do we create that culture? Track record helps. Showing results from other similar programs. Show how districts can save money.

What should it cost to take part in consortium buying (bidding)?
Increase the fee to consumer. Some have an agreement with vendors for a percentage return for administrative costs based on the bids.

What are issues to consider?

What should it cost to provide a day's worth of professional development? Survey the market. Districts overlook prep time. Clerical support, follow-up, etc. How much are you saving the district in costs to send their folks elsewhere? Take into account a 'loss-leader' approach. Look at long-term earning potential.

Providing a technology audit. What price? Travel, personnel, competition. What is value to your process versus competition approach? What info are you providing? What follow-up?

Price of particular products (books, etc)? Make sure that districts do not get better price by going through the vendor directly.

A key is that you have personnel that will ensure the success of what you are offering - especially in new programs that you are trying to develop for future growth.

You may ultimately decide that a service/product is not worth offering.

Competition? Repeat customer, brand new service, loss leader, etc...

#aesa2013 Thursday Opening and Keynote

#aesa2013 Thursday Opening and Keynote

High School Students perform mariachi. Very cool!

Stephen Aguirre, President of AESA:

Dr. Yong Zhao:

@YongZhaoUO - Twitter; 

"Civilizations die by suicide... Education in America is heading down that path."

"We are fixing our schools, but to what end?" 

"Race to the Top" - Are we at the top yet? No. 

Bush/Obama actually working together...
Bush: Let's have no child left behind and Obama says let's race them to the top and push them off the cliff.

Nothing wrong with standards, just don't make them "common" nor "core."

Common Core promises that if she follows CCSS, she will be ready for college and career. Is that a good goal? Can you really guarantee that? 

New measure for education: "Out of the basement success" - what do you need to stay out of the parents' basement. Talent to gain financial independence. Live independently psychologically. Be able to handle community - social independence. 

50% college grades unemployment. 50% of employed college grads in jobs that require no degree. Companies complaining that potential employees do not have the necessary talents.

In the past, the USA had been churning out people to fill routine jobs. Technology changed that: robots on assembly lines. "It sucks to lose your job to a machine." - Look at self-checkout.  Tax agents replaced by online tools. In addition, globalization has moved millions of jobs to other countries.

The new economy: Disappearance of the middle class. Bi-polar growth. Our job as educators is to recreate the middle class. Who is the new middle class? Rise of the creative class - Facebook. Apple. Not a lot of employees.  We need to shift creativity to our schools. Today, creativity is job security. We must help our children become creative. Our schools were not designed to build creativity. Our schools were designed as 'sausage makers.' Creativity is annoying - cause disruption. Schools suppress creativity. Very little is written about children and creativity. Books focus on making our sausages better. China has no education, it has test preparation. Complaint people, uncreative people - PARCC, Smarter Balance - Imperial Exams in China. Clearly defined outcomes, standards, and format of assessment. America follows this same homogenized model. 

Children at age 5, 98% creative genius. At age 10, 32%, at age 15 only 10% can be as creative as 5 year olds!

Truly creative people have no box! No "outside of the box" - they see no box!

Creative class is the new middle class.

Traditionally useless people have become useful - Honey Boo-Boo, Kim Kardashian.  "Celebrity for nothing." Nothingness is now something. We consume different services and products made by people. Daniel Pink: We used to live of necessity and now we live in age of abundance. iPhone is not a necessity. We consume nothingness. 

Personalized consumption.

USA new economy driven by IT Industry which has nothing to do with necessity. Noncognitive skills are the important skills. These are not part of the CCSS and sausage-making process.

Entrepreneurship. We need job-creators, not job seekers.  Business, Social, Intrapreneurs, Policy entrepreneurs. 

Side Effects:

Time is constant - time on one thing cannot be spent on something else.

Some skills do not work with each other - Standardized tests test skill to find answers quickly but not how to ask questions.

Enhance student strengths instead of fixing their weaknesses.

Nov 27, 2013

She married a gamer, of sorts #pcgaming

I took the day off yesterday. Much to my wife's chagrin, I'm sure, I spent most of it playing GTA IV on my PC and doing little else. I was home alone. It was exciting, frustrating, and exactly the vicarious escape I wanted, perhaps needed. I go through periods where I rarely play PC games and then I'll have a spell where I play a certain game or two as often as I can.

Spouses/Significant others of game jockeys rarely comprehend how their chosen mate can sit for HOURS playing the same game and not get up once to clean the house or do the laundry or perform a myriad of other tasks.

For me, gaming is a way to accomplish two main things: 1) provides a pseudo stress relief and 2) forces me to think critically and analytically about a variety of situations.

I say that gaming provides a "pseudo stress relief" because often the game itself causes stress at certain points (say when you've done the same stupid mission 6 times because you keep running out of health right before the end of it). I suppose, like the scientific "theory" states (paraphrasing): matter (at least at the atomic level) never goes away, it just changes it form (by way of atomic structure). That is, stress doesn't really get "relieved" while playing video games, it just gets transferred into a different kind of stress. Don't believe me? Try playing Candy Crush or Words with Friends or Advanced Sudoku.  It doesn't have to some shoot 'em up that causes the gamer's stress. I just happen to like games that allow you to take part in activities I would in "real life."

That transference of stress, even the stress of euphoria when one DOES finally beat that stupid mission/level/tray of letters, feeds into itself. For me, the best games provide a balance of frustration and elation, though I admit the frustration side does seem to lead the charge more often than the elation side. But, in that ebb and flow of negative and positive stress, time ceases to exist. I have played many games into the wee hours of the morning without realizing it because of it. I'm not just talking video games. How many nights have you played Monopoly or Magic: The Gathering or D&D or worked on a crossword puzzle or another other of the hundreds of 'offline' games only to find yourself staring at a clock that reads "3 a.m.?" It's not just video games that create that effect. Video games just get a bad rap, in my opinion.

What I enjoy most about playing games fuels my desire to try ANY kind of game: Analysis and Critical Thinking. I love games that force me to use my brains. All of the games mentioned so far will challenge one's thinking and reasoning skills to varying degrees. To me, the most successful factor in game development are the causes and effects of the choices made. If I buy a certain piece of property, what do I think will happen? If I swap these two pieces of candy, will that set up the next move I need? If I try flanking the left side instead of the right, how will that change the outcome? Heck, even in solitaire you have that same decision-making: If I play this card on THAT king instead of THIS king, will I be able to beat the deck?

In video games, though, you usually get to try again. And again. And again. And again. You try taking out the left side and fail. Try the right side and fail. Try going down the middle and fail. Try going left for a part of the way then shift to the right and succeed! Each time, the player takes stock of what happened: what worked (at least partially) and what did not? Even with non-video games, we ideally learn from our previous encounters with those games. How long did it take before you realized you could snag Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues and make a killing on cheap hotels? How about when you watched your opponent jump willy nilly over your checker pieces because of how they were place on the board? But, hopefully, you learned from those experiences.

Time seems to fade away while playing video games because we get to try again. In elaborate games (such as GTA IV), the missions tend to last no more than 10-15 minutes... Each time you have to do them. So, a player goes through a scenario 5-6 times before beating it. That's an hour or more right there - one one situation. Play the game for a little longer and you are faced with another task to accomplish. There goes another hour. Rinse, lather, repeat. Now, a whole day has gone by and the gamer doesn't realize it because s/he has accomplished beating 7 or 8 missions (if that).

Now, before things get all sanctimonious and freaky, let me be the first to say that I *SHOULD* have set an alarm to limit my playtime. I probably *SHOULD* have started (and/or finished) certain tasks before sitting down to play.  But, I didn't. And the world didn't end (well, not the "real world" anyway). Does that mean I have more to do today than yesterday? Yeap. But, that was a choice I made when I sat down yesterday - the cause and effect.  Maybe if chores were set up like games...

Nov 24, 2013

#GIESummit 11:40a - Google Extensions

#GIESummit 11:40a - Google Extensions

Why I chose this:
I want to see what cool things you can do by adding certain extensions. Plus, my boss was in this one and I need to be able to help troubleshoot. Haha!

What I learned: and look for GIESummit.

What is an extension? Add-ins, mini-programs that help add functionality to the browser.

Useless Ex: One that turns every image into Ryan Gosling (HeyGirl)

Find them in the Chrome Web Store:

Extensions install via cloud, so matter where you are or what device you are on, those will follow you.

Want to get rid of an extension? Right-click it and "Remove from Chrome" or go to settings, Extensions, and remove the one(s) you don't want. (chrome://extensions/)

One Tab (Discussed in one of yesterday's posts): Shrinks your tabs into one tab as a list.

SnagIt for Chrome - Screenshot capture with annotations:

WebPage ScreenShot (annotate web pages):

Send to Google Drive:

Kick@$$ (game like asteroids in your browser):

Evernote Clearly (Eliminates ads, etc to display just the text of a page):

Link Shortener (copies link to current page as a shortened link. Can also create QR Code for page):

Really long url extender:

YouTube Options (eliminates most fluff around videos - no comments, suggestions, etc)

Turn Off The Lights! (Hide screen portions)

Nickelblock (Blocks Nickelback from pages):

Chromecast $35 USB plugs into HDMI port on TV. Projects your Chrome tab onto the TV.

Easy Bib (Creates biblio entry from the page you are viewing):

Ginger (spelling and grammar check)

PicMonkey (Pulls every image on the page, then you can click one for editing):

Docs Quickly (Lets you instantly create doc/sheet/etc from the page you are on - a quick launcher):

GooBric (extension for Doctopus - helps create a rubric based on info in your doc, sheet, etc. Teacher fills in the goobric and can email to student):

Hangout Extension instant access to create/join hangout

Announcify - Screen reader for webpages - robotic:

Extensions Manager

#GIESummit - 10:40a - gClass Folders and Doctopus

#GIESummit - 10:40a - gClass Folders and Doctopus (not covered due to time)

Why I chose this:
Wanted to learn more about Google Drive tools and tips

What I learned:
gClass Folders:

Google Drive

  • Paperless Classroom
  • Online commenting and feedback
  • Formative Assessment - efficient
  • One copy of each document - from draft to final
  • Full access to view and restore revision history
  • Who made what changes to each document
  • 20 students/1 assignment/6 periods/120 docs shared/600 docs per week/2400 files per month
How do you access the docs?
  • Search for it
    • What if you forgot name?
    • What if the student didn't name it at all?
    • How long does it take to find just one?
  • Use a filter
    • 120 emails in your inbox
gClass Folders - Script that creates the structure
  • Drop Box (Assignment folders) for each student
  • View only folders
  • Edit by all docs/folder
  • Teacher only
Create a repetitive procedure for creation/submission

Teacher sees everything! Offers comments/feedback and student creates and edits instantly and elevates their engagement.

Install the script, then run the script once to get permissions. Run the script again to enter basic terminology (if needed). Enter student and teacher info. Run the "Create Folders" script.

Have the students select their newly created shared folders and MOVE them folder to a new folder. Tell students what to call their new folder.

Have the students open/move any predefined assignments (loaded before they get in there) to their assignment folder FROM the "View" folder. (This makes way more sense when you see it)

If you make a mistake, delete that student from the class list, run the script. Add the student back in and run the script again.

#GIESummit 9:40a - Google Apps ~ Treasure Trove of Tools for Schools

#GIESummit 9:40a - Google Apps ~ Treasure Trove of Tools for Schools

Why I chose this:
I am always interested to learn how the tools I use are being used by others.

What I learned:

Use Google forms to get feedback and use the graphs and charts from the results to modify your training, goals, etc.


  • Teacher - Tech is inaccessible, time consuming
  • Tech integrator - teaching different tools all the time
  • PD Provider - everyone is doing something different
  • Apps Admin - permissions, accounts, devices, installs, etc
  • Network issues
  • Students need email accounts for web 2.0 tools
Logins, Applications, etc can be consolidated with GAFE. Students can have an email address and limit access within the domain and then add things like Prezi, Glogster, etc. Don't have to teach a new tool all the time because you can build on the tools in GAFE.

1 account, 1 password, 1 login for a whole slew of applications. 

  • Netiquette (Dear Mr. Smith, not "Hey James")
  • Formatting
  • Signature
  • Create a Rubric to teach the students.
  • Create a Filter for student assignments, and canned responses. Tell students to email the thesis statement with a certain subject: "Thesis: BlahBlah" and make a filter to assign a label for organization. Make that subject part of the rubric for assessment! Create a canned response to let the student know you received their assignment. (Ex: "Great! Now, please collect your three sources and work on biblio..")
  • Undo Send - Google Labs
  • Send & Archive option: add button to 'hide' messages after you reply (Ex: "Going to lunch?" "Yeah." then hide it after that)
  • Create a (homework, etc) calendar and embed on google site.
  • If user (student, parent, etc) has gmail account, the calendar(s) can be added to their own google calendar.
  • Elementary: Picture Day, Vocab, Block Schedules (PE, Art, Music), etc
  • Create an Agenda Event - Use the Description to detail what will be happening: overview, links to notes, etc
  • Can be used to teach time management - Student keep a schedule, share calendar with parent, subscribe to your calendar; Parents can access the info and resources
  • Appointment Slots - students sign up consult time; parent-teacher conference times; tech support site visits
  • Add video calls to calendar events 

#GIESummit Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

#GIESummit Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Since the IFTTT recipe cuts off the title of each post now (and why it is doing that, I have no idea), I will be copying the title into the main body. That way, you at least have an idea what topic is being covered before you start reading.

As I write this, we are sitting in the main lecture hall, waiting for this morning's keynote. Lisa Thumann, Assistant Director, SGEI, Kean University.

Animaljam from National Geographic.

Innovation: Different, Growth, Change, Enlightenment, Progress (Terms our participants came up with)

2013 K-12 Horizon Report:

Key trends:

  1. Students spend significant amount of time online researching.
  2. More than 1 billion people use Facebook - engaging. Why not use social media in school?
  3. Open content - readily accessible to remix and reshare - teach students to look for it, remix it, own it, share it.
  4. BYOD - budgets, more common
Significant Challenges:
  1. Much-needed professional development
  2. Resistance to change
  3. New models for learning (MIT, MOOCs, etc), More informal learning
  4. How do you use BYOD to facilitate differentiated learning? More formative assessment - meaningful assessment
These two lists are parallel! 1 billion people are using FB because it is engaging, yet often in school, there is resistance to change, etc.

Cloud Computing:
Google apps
Distance learning

What are you doing in the cloud NOW that you didn't do a year ago?
  • -- Students are using it now
  • -- Virtualizing servers
  • -- Collaboration for lesson plan development across the district/school
If schools are using mobile devices, how are they being used? If not, what are the roadblocks?
Not using: 
  • support, 
  • fear of retribution should 'little johnny' go somewhere he shouldn't
Using it: 
  • Evernote or Google Keep, digitizing the book; 
  • blogging from device; edmodo; 
  • writing about primary source and storing in google docs then grading it online

Nov 23, 2013

#GIESummit 2:30p - Weekly podcasts with Hangouts on Air

Why I chose this:
We have several projects that will require us to create recorded overviews, and we want to try to leverage our Google Apps to meet this need.

What I learned/am learning: - Host a variety of podcasts in different education categories.

TwoGuys podcast for mobile devices.


Up to 10 people join you within a Hangout

Go to Google Plus, Home, Hangouts, Hangouts on Air
Broadcast to Youtube channel live

Meet with a Panel of Experts, Authors, Smithsonian, etc. (for the session we are in and if you are interested in theatre in school generally)

Best to use headphones to eliminate feedback/reverb

Can join the Hangout from many different devices: phones, tablets, laptops, etc.

Can use the chat window to communicate with participants without talking and/or without having it show up on the broadcast. Q&A shows up, not the chat.

Use it weekly for podcasts. Student-led Google Hangout - hangout with students from other states, other countries. Use it for course discussion and for tutoring - screen share helps with student understanding. Absent student attended via Hangout while student was at home. Faculty meetings. Google Helpouts provides a way for people to get help with whatever topics (cooking, playing guitar, Shakespeare, acting tips, review scripts, Google tools, etc). Some are free and some are for fee.

Demo slam - teachers present 3 min on anything Google, then 48 hour voting for best. Also a Q&A with Google certified trainers.

Professional Development - In-district learning network. Don't have to stay right after school - have it later in the evening or on the weekend for a short time.  Connect with other folks using a tool in other states in order to get a better feel for that tool.

Multiple people can work on the same doc at the same time while in a hangout. Work with students on their work live - no paper notes, etc.

Google+ - You can search for your previous posts, under MORE, choose From You. Then include link to that post.

We connected with folks in various parts of the country and a gentleman from Bangkok.  It was interesting, but not necessarily on-topic. Not for me, anyway. Generally, though, I think I have an idea how to use it for our projects.

TwistedWave - Under 20 minutes, can edit online.

Blue Microphone Snowball is great for recording.

Download the video file, grab the audio and post it as an audio-only cast or keep the video on YouTube.

#GIESummit 1:15p - To Chrome or not to Chrome (Browser)

Why I chose this:
Interested in learning more of the things you can do with the Chrome browser. Plus, I enjoy Rowland Baker having worked with him through TICAL.

What I learned/am learning:
The three f's:

  • Fast
  • Fun
  • Features

Fast: Quick to launch, quick to load pages, cool shortcuts

Fun: Barrel roll (type do a barrel roll), Tilt

Google Doodles - Archive of Google Doodles, use in classroom (Authors, Inventors, etc) - Graphic for students that might tie into classroom learning.

- Cloud-based features
-- Sign-in from anywhere and bookmarks, apps, etc come in unique to the user.
-- Access to GMail
-- Google+ , Hangout

Downside: Google does not announce their changes. You sign in one day, and everything is moved.

-- Incognito Mode - Does not record pages accessed (good for gift shopping!)

Use Omnibox (address bar) for faster searches. Do not have to go to to search. Just search from the bar.

Manipulate your tabs - move them to rearrange, can break away from browser window to create a new one.

Set certain pages to automatically load on startup.
-- Settings > On Startup Load These Pages

Apps and Extensions for Chrome Browser:
-- Many are free, some cost

QR Code Generator

Go to chrome://extensions to check for errant extensions and can disable extensions if needed.

Awesome Screen Shots
Docs Quickly
Evernote Web Clipper
One Tab - converts a bunch of tabs into one list
Panic Button
Save as PDF
Send to Google Docs
Turn Off The Lights

PDF of slides:

PDF of Extensions:

#GIESummit 11:15am - Google Apps Administration

Why I chose this:
I am always looking got helpful hints and tips regarding our Google Apps for Education (GAFE) account and for tips to share with other school techs in my service area and the state.

What I am learning/have learned: - Information/presentation

This is a "basic" session. I have been using GAFE for a couple years now. So, if these notes are a bit sparse, that's why.

Click on Gear on right, choose "Manage this domain."

How do you set up the domain? Settings, Setup - Wizard will walk you through the setup. You can play around for 30 days for free Google Apps for Business to experiment with the admin tools.

Click on the apps you want to configure, click next, etc

FYI,. the new admin tool is a pain in the butt. :-)

Under Profile, you set up the fundamental info about your school/district. New User Features: Rapid Release or Scheduled Release. Rapid Release gives the users immediate access to new features. Scheduled allows for a week or so before rolling out new features.

Creating Users: Click Users, Click Add Users (manually or via comma-separated file). Enter user info. Watch the "Enter Password" link! If you do not assign one, Google will assign a random password. I suggest you create a 'generic' password then require them to change it.

You can assign different admin roles to certain users - limits abilities of admin-style users.

You can sync your directory services with Google if you have LDAP or Active Directory.

You can add aliases for users: Select the User, Profile, Add alias. We use aliases for name changes, mainly. Change the user name then create an alias showing the previous address.

- Staff
-- Teaching Staff
-- Non-Teaching Staff
- Students
-- Break by years

You can enable certain applications for certain sub-orgs.

Hover over organization, find drop-down, add sub organization
-- Teacher
---- High School
---- Middle School
---- Elementary School

Under Google Apps option, you enable or disable certain features for certain groups. Click the green drop-down and choose "ON for some organizations" and select the sub organizations.

Google Labs, if enabled, allow you to add cool functions and features to your GMail.

Marketplace Apps can only be added by and Admin, and once added they apply to everyone in the organization.

Drive: Sharing Settings - Allow people to share outside of your organization or not.
-- Transfer ownership: Enter the from and to addresses and it will transfer all their docs to the second person. very handy for people leaving the organization.

-- Resource Calendar - book certain rooms, projectors, laptops etc. Create a resource for each item (only admins can create the items). When you create an event, you can add the resource(s) to that event. Cannot double-book resources. Can embed on shared site so people can see the resources.
-- Sharing - Can set sharing options. Be aware that users can also edit their sharing. Admins can go into any user's account from the admin side to edit settings if needed.

-- Can users can create sites?
-- By default are they seen by everyone?

How to get help:
-- Support Icon in Management. Gives you a local number to call. Try searching Google first. Also have email support.

#GIESummit 10am - Creative Google Sites

Why I chose this one:
We are starting to use Google Sites for some of our extended programs at the Co-op. I want them to be transformed into something that doesn't "look" like it's a Google Site.

What I am learning/have learned:
Ken Shelton's design site:
(If says unavailable, try again later. just means he is updating)

ePortfolios can be created and stored with Google Sites and Blogs. The SItes contain the digital components (images, videos, etc) and the blog is used as reflective writing on selected works from the student's site.

Pick a color then develop a scheme based on that color. Examples on his Resources page. PIKNIK site allows you to move your mouse to visually choose a base color. another is 0 to 255: (Allows you to choose a base color and then the hue of near colors) Copy the hex code.

Color Scheme Designer - - paste your hex code into the site and choose palettes.

Once you have the scheme, go back to the site and consider the layout, page structure, purpose. Students should be able to present their content within two clicks.

Amazon redesigned their site based on customer metrics - too many clicks to search and buy.

Students must visualize their layout and navigation.

Add a page: Put at Top Level or Put Under an existing page.

Use programs like Inspiration to design structure concepts (mind-mapping tools)

Students must make a creative decision as to where they put navigation. This will affect the layout of the whole site. Edit site layout. Ex: Disable sidebar, but must provide a way to get to child pages. Ex: Horizontal navigation. Can change style: Tabs, boxes, etc. From the Nav layout, add pages in the order you want (can rearrange). Indent sub/child pages.

Custom Footer - School crest, school info, etc required by every student for consistency.

Page Layout - Edit page, choose layout based on content to be provided on the page.  Keep it simple, make it look good.

Color selection: Have students look around for palettes: Shoes, scarves, shirts, outfits, etc. USe (Set a time limit for student exploration!)

You can export from ColorSchemeDesigner to Photoshop ACO, XML, text as hex, etc. Can also do a color list with hex values.

What is main/dominate color? In Sites: Under MORE, MANAGE SITE, under "Theme, Color, Fonts," you can change, say, background and paste the hex. Change Content Area to be contrasting (either different hue or complementary).

You can let students look through fonts and have a discussion about font styles and appropriate typefaces. Comic Sans is a no-no for professional documents, sites, etc. Students need to be aware of the size of the text, kerning, etc.

Teach students to work with patterns, shapes, and other design elements as accents for their sites.

Home - Calendar
-- Project Categories
---- Projects

Google Summit Arkansas #googlesummit

I will be posting what I learn from each session I attend. Hope we all learn a little something today.

Nov 2, 2013

Change Yahoo Mail back to Basic!

I found a very helpful hint on some forum somewhere (Sorry, can't recall and can't find it) on changing the stupid new "not-quite-like-GMail" look of Yahoo Mail back to something close to the original style of Yahoo. Turns out, it's pretty easy if you know where to look!

While logged in to the new Yahoo Mail, point your mouse to the GEAR in the upper right:

From there, click the SETTINGS link to open up the Setting Panel.  Once inside there, click on "Viewing Mail" on the left, then on "Basic" at the bottom:

When you are done, be sure to click SAVE.

This will not give you TABS back, but at least it breaks out the folders like it used to be, and I believe it gets rid of the stupid "conversation view" that Yahoo copied from GMail (which I hate).

Oct 30, 2013

ad infinitum

This popped in my head the other day. I'm sharing it because, well, there is no sense keeping these kinds of thoughts all to myself.

  • Radar Gun (R) - Device used to measure the speed of a traveling vehicle. (Police)
  • Radar Detector (RD) - Device used to determine if radar is being used. (Citizen)
  • radar detector detector (RDD) - used in states where radar detectors are illegal in order to determine if a citizen is illegally using a radar detector. (Police)
  • radar detector detector detector (RD3) - Device used by citizens traveling through a state where radar detectors are illegal in order to determine if a police car is trying to detect whether or not the citizen has a radar detector. (Citizen)
  • radar detector detector detector detector (RD4)- Device used by police to determine if a citizen is attempting to thwart law enforcement by the use of RD3. (Police)
  • radar detector detector detector detector detector (RD5) - Used to determine if an officer is trying to determine whether or not the citizen is trying to detect the officer's RD4. (Citizen)
  • To quote Bugs Bunny here: "A bit monotonous... Isn't it?"
The point to this little example is to show that people who want to break the law are going to do so. Basically, laws are there to keep the "wannabe" law-breakers from becoming law breakers. Or at least, giving them a chance to stop and think for a moment before breaking the law.

A friend of mine once said, "A thief with a chainsaw can get past any door lock. They just cut through the wall. And, ADT won't even know about it."

Note: RD5 does not exist so far as I know. I'm not even sure RD4 exists. But, I'm sure they will soon enough. Just drive the speed limit and you won't have to worry about it. Thanks.

Oct 29, 2013

#inacol13 - Tuesday: Modularize This! Collaborative Professional Development

Please note: These are rough notes. Editing may be needed and clarification may be needed upon further review. I apologize for any typos and/or incomplete/inaccurate information. Information entered in this blog is replicated out to various online outlets automatically.

Why I chose this:
Since Professional Development is a large part of what education co-ops do, it is important to understand new, different, and possibly better, ways to provide the training our teachers need.

What I learned/Am learning:
State Virtual School Alliance - States share info and PD among a group of states. Help eliminate redundancy.

Key components:

  • Collaboration - Shared leadership model, though one person organizes the event(s). 
  • Share resources - Allows for a more robust PD offering, especially on a limited scale of personnel.
  • Innovation - Failure is part of the process. Latch on to the bright spots to forward innovation.
History of Online Collaboration
  • 2-day synchronous (like a face-to-face conference, breakouts, etc)
  • Wikispaces Page
  • Wimba/Elluminate
  • Asynchronous
  • Collaborate (Kickoff)
  • Edmodo
The second format allowed for deeper content. Each piece was about 5 hours. Teachers could take time to complete each module - 3 weeks per module.

Not enough structure in Edmodo for what they were trying to do.

Concepts broken into 2-week modules. Each 'presenter' would moderate his/her module. History kept after the fact. During the window, encourage collaboration, discussion, answering questions, etc. After the fact, people could ask questions, but no guarantee of answers.

What worked:

  • Google Docs for Collab planning
  • Drop box for shared final product (share the raw content)
  • Edmodo for assessments
What didn't work
  • Edmodo - Ups: Free, No ads, Basic LMS; Downs: Teachers used to bigger systems were confused by the simplistic interface, Discussion lacked robust functionality, Confusing layout for complex lessons or concept objects; Had to create materials to show hot to log in, where to do, etc; Used Google Form for evaluation - teachers did not like Edmodo (not orderly process)
  • Engagement - When given for credit, must show teacher was engaged. Discussions placed in many modules. Some teachers threw up roadblocks: goes against what they believed, they were already doing things being asked, "kind of trolling." They had "keyboard courage" - more vocal behind the keys than face-to-face. Need to set up expectations: etiquette, moderate content, challenge non-participating teachers, (basically the same things you do when facilitating an online course, which is basically what these are). 
Advantage to online PD - repurpose the content for targeted PD in a different scenario or for new teachers, etc. 

This year, use a full-fledged LMS, maybe. Looking into WordPress plugins to add LMS features (BadgeOS, LearnDash $100). Possibly use Google Hangout and YouTube Live for moderated live events. Or have a twitter hashtag that is moderated for questions.

You have to make the promise to evolve over time - adapt to the learners.

Some of my thoughts:
Several entities talked about not having manpower/resources for summer PD before this program implemented. In Arkansas, this is exactly why Co-ops are there. Additionally, if we can create a collaborative online PD, we might be able help our schools with their PD. The program presented basically applies to online-only schools/state virtual schools/programs, at least at this point.

#inacol13 Tuesday - PhET Sims for Science Inquiry

Please note: These are rough notes. Editing may be needed and clarification may be needed upon further review. I apologize for any typos and/or incomplete/inaccurate information. Information entered in this blog is replicated out to various online outlets automatically.

Why I chose this one:
This one described itself as being enhanced with HTML5, Touch, and having other features. I really have no idea what PhET is or what it does. Turns out the program is being hosted by CU-Boulder, my old stomping grounds for a brief time many years ago.

What I learned/Am learning:

Support learning inquiry

  • Students asking "What if" questions
  • Authentic scientific process skills
  • Use data and evidence to support ideas
  • Explore cause and effect relationships
  • "Safe Exploration" and rapid inquiry cycles
PhET - 128 interactive simulations in science and math - Free!

Advance science literacy worldwide through the free simulations

PhET is available as a 280 MB download and distribute on usb sticks.

Team of faculty, post-ops, k12 teachers, software developers put together the resources.

Student goals
  • Science and math should accessible and enjoyable (not "FUN," but deeper enjoyment)
  • Make connections to everyday life
  • Achieve conceptual learning (not just the 'right' answer, but understanding why and how)
  • Scientific exploration - multiple learning outcomes
  • Ownership of the learning experience
PhET uses an NPR-style model - grants, sponsors, donations

Creative Commons Attribution, open use.
Over 40 million runs per year
Easy to translate: over 4000 translations in 70 languages (all crowd-sourced, free!)
Source code is open and free - see the code and use the code to change the simulations
Conversion to HTML5

Was in Java and Flash. iPads don't run Flash. Chromebooks won't run Java. That system no longer worked. Spent last year in HTML5 so it can run in web browser. Targeting iPads and Chromebooks because that is where schools are sitting these days.

HTML5 will help make their simulations more readily accessible for people with various needs.


  • Pick and choose which sims to use
  • Your environment and Your learning goals
  • There is a database of activities (more than 500) - 3rd grade to undergrad - differentiation
The combination of the sims and real-world tools provides a robust learning environment. The sims do not replace real-world tools. The two are related and offer different advantages and disadvantages.

Is the sim engaging? (Demo was "Fraction Matcher"). Is the student "ignoring" the instructor? 

For testing, PhET tries to find test students WITHOUT prior knowledge. Not everything is inherently "intuitive." They have a new grant to develop sims aimed at Middle School students in order to bring that intuitiveness into a broader appeal.  The newer sims have tabs that separate certain ideas - scaffolding.

Support inquiry: Accurate, dynamic, visual representations. When I change something, it changes instantly on screen. Use of sliders, user interaction, etc - user controls the sim.  Allow impossible or difficult actions (change mass of sun, battery never dies, etc).

Make the invisible visible. Student can watch energy, electrons, etc. Allow students to change certain aspects on certain tabs - limit choices at first and expand into more choices.

In-Class activity, Demo, Concept questions, homework, group work, address difficult learning goals.

Begin with open play (let students find controls)
Take advantage of sim features
Short activity sheet
Minimal wording
Scaffold - tables highly effective

"Find all the ways to..."
"What is the largest..."
"List the essential items to..."
"What are two ways to.."
"How can you make..."

Future of PhET: HTML5, Touch, increase flexibility (sim mashups of multiple sims into one custom sim), Assessment (get data out, put data in, how being used, etc)

Various changes: interface, layout, etc. They love to hear feedback from users - helps in the redesign, report bugs, or ask questions about the sims.

Companion Site:
  • Guides
  • "Primers"
  • Easier searching
  • Community Forum
  • In the works (being developed, need donors to support funding)

#inacol13 - Tuesday: Is Your Network Ready for Digital Learning?

Please note: These are rough notes. Editing may be needed and clarification may be needed upon further review. I apologize for any typos and/or incomplete/inaccurate information. Information entered in this blog is replicated out to various online outlets automatically.

Why I chose this one:
I was asked to attend this one in order to see what other folks are saying regarding bandwidth.

What I learned/Am learning:

Presented by EducationSuperhighway. Link:

Mission: Upgrade internet infrastructure of every k12 public school in America.

Infrastructure upgrades required to deploy initiatives:
Common Core
Next Gen Assessments
STEM (address teacher shortages)

The focus has shifted greatly from Admins/Teachers on the network to students getting online.

Recommended 100Mbps for districts at a minimum. Most schools have 10Mbps (if even that).

Less than 10 Kbps per student is "Pre-Basic"
10-50 k/student = Basic
50-100 k/student = Emerging Reliance 
100+ k/student = Technology Rich

Each school is a different stage in the "life cycle" in terms of what they need/should have. Don't buy bandwidth just to "have it" if you don't need it.

Minimum requirements cover basic usage and an "all call" to get off the network during PARCC assessments.

Next-step is Teacher-Driven adoption and growth

Student-Driven network means more bandwidth.

Ultimately 1:1 Media-Centric rollout - every student has a device and is connected. Leadership is on board with student in-hand technology. Network becomes critical in terms of uptime.

Potential bottlenecks: What is size of pipe coming into the district. Lots of places, you cannot GET the connectivity. Other times, it is an issue of not subscribing to enough bandwidth. Many times, the filter/firewall is outdated and cannot handle the throughput required. The physical wiring set up and be an issue. Managed switches can direct and/or throttle throughput. The wiring itself can be old and degrade the quality of connection. Wireless access is a bottleneck: Is there enough bandwidth? Is there enough coverage? Is there too much coverage? Is it a managed solution? Incredible demand on Wifi if devices are constantly switching between access points. The wifi equipment itself can be an issue. And, the device can be the bottleneck: speed, age, capability, etc.

Information Gap > Expertise Gap > Procurement Gap > Policy Gap

  • Which schools need to be upgraded?
  • Schools need help with upgrade paths and plans. Schools may not have the staff to handle everything involved.
  • Can we get cost lowered for additional bandwidth? What about equipment? (Internet Pricing Portal)
  • Policy Gap: E-Rate 2.0
Schools not getting volume discounts. Why not partner to receive certain services. 

School Speed Test: Collect information from classroom access. Goal is to get 10 tests from every district. Roughly one minute test. Confirm location, run the test. - usually partner with state dept of ed. Measures continuous-use bandwidth. 

Ideally, test is taken through different devices in different locations on different days during the month. Data given to state depts of ed (where there is partnership) in order to help the DOE understand what is happening in the state.

Test results assessed against two goals: Online Assessment (PARCC) and Digital Learning (Online courses). 1Mbps/students/sec in 2017-2018 (SETDA)

72% of schools not meeting the minimum as of latest test data.

Data Infrastructure Assessment

  • 45-minute phone call and a 1.5 hour on-site visit - Zero cost to school districts for the 75 pilot schools. Would need to work with the non-profit regarding on-site visit.
  • Phone interview - What equipment they have, are buying. Can follow up with on-site. Provide supts with specific upgrade needs.
  • Take snapshot of the network and provide feedback in a color-coded, easy to read format.
Internet Pricing Portal
  • Collect data on what is being paid. This is done via Item 21 attachments. And sometimes a 30-minute phone call.
  • Reports on cost per megabit and where those costs "should" sit for what schools can provide
  • Fiber transforms the costs. Of course, this assumes fiber is even available to the schools.
  • Create a one-time upgrade fund to enable schools to meet realistic broadband goals for the next generation (fiber/wifi/etc)
  • Reform E-Rate administration of E-Rate to reduce costs.
  • Focus funds to building broadband infrastructure
*Personal thought: E-Rate needs to separate phone service from internet services. Ex: AT&T provides phone and DSL, but those are both listed as "Telephony" according to E-Rate. That is ludicrous. As an aside, I have very 'radical' ideas on changes to E-Rate and may share those later.

A 4th grader talks about his learning experiences in online learning. #inacol13

It surprises me that places still hire folks to do this...

Oct 28, 2013

Some random pics from Downtown Disney!

Some of the cool Lego displays at Downtown Disney! #instacollage

#inacol13 Monday: Coast-to-Coast Pathways to Competency-Based Education

Please note: These are rough notes. Editing may be needed and clarification may be needed upon further review. I apologize for any typos and/or incomplete/inaccurate information. Information entered in this blog is replicated out to various online outlets automatically.

Why I chose this:
Much like my choice for the Michigan presentation earlier today, I chose this one because I want to see what other states are doing/have done with their online education rollouts. In this case, the focus is on Oregon, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

What I Learned/Am Learning:
Oregon Goals

  • Every student prepared for college and career
  • Focus on student learning, not on accumulating points
  • Create environments where students are partners in their learning
Students can take classes in a Proficiency-based format. Proficiency in grade-level standards separate from non-academic factors (takes out discipline, attendance, etc)

There are documents and powerpoints on the Oregon Dept of Ed website.

Sufficient evidence of student demonstrated knowledge and skills that meet or exceed defined levels of performance

K/S/T - Knowledge, Skills, Transfer

District Support:
  • Trainers/coaches
  • Regional Services
  • Open Enrollment
  • Contracts with districts
  • Webinars
  • BEC (Business Education Compact) Document Portal
  • "On Request" folders
  • Document review
  • Team Teaching
  • Monthly Software Reviews: Remind 101, Quizlet, Class Dojo
Two categories of proficiencies/standards: those that are taught and those that are taught and assessed. Gradebooks are standards-based.


Eliminated the Carnegie unit as the basis for credit. Base credit earnings on competency.
Legislature got behind the program, gave grants for the Iowa CBE collaborative
Iowa Guidelines and Definitions: what does "proficiency" mean? What is "competency?" etc...
Students must DEMONSTRATE their competencies and proficiencies. 

Policy changes:
Code regarding credit earning
State code regarding definitions of "unit" - eliminate words like "time" or "Carnegie unit"

J-Term - 3 weeks to engage in standards-based and project-based learning environments

There is a lot more information but it was on slides that are available online. I can/will provide links to those later Monday evening or Tuesday.


Must support teachers and set the bar high for students and support the students.

Knowledge/Skills/Work Study Practices

Improve the system we have as we innovate the system we need (creating the new space).

Improve Instructional Core:
Raise level of content taught, Increase skills of teacher, Increase level of student's active learning.

Students are learning in deeper ways, so they must be assessed in deeper ways. Performances must be demonstrated in order to assess competencies.  Tasks get tested, tasks tests are vetted.

2013: New minimum standards for K-12 - grade levels are NOT MENTIONED; students must show mastery of district competencies.

Eventually, students could move ahead based on skills/competencies and not simply by age groups.

Charters can already have grade-level-less advancement.

Connections to teacher evaluation and proficiency based on student competencies and proficiencies. 

Again, additional information will be shared via links either later Monday or Tuesday.

You can have letter grades associated with CBE.