The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is in the midst of refreshing the National Educational Standards for Administrators (NETS*A) in much the same way they did last year with the National Educational Standards for Teachers (NETS*T).
The recent draft (.pdf) being review offers the following key strands:
- Visionary Leadership. Inspire and lead development and implementation of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformation throughout the organization.
- Digital Age Learning Culture. Create and sustain a dynamic, digital-age learning culture that provides a rigorous, relevant education for all students.
- Excellence in Professional Practice. Promote an environment of professional learning and innovation that empowers educators to enhance student learning through the infusion of contemporary technologies and digital resources.
- Systemic Transformation. Provide leadership and management to continuously improve the organization through the effective use of information and technology resources.
- Digital Citizenship. Model and facilitate understanding of social, ethical and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture.
All five offer much to the idea of a 21st Century leader and I’m excited to see Systemic Transformation as its own strand — too often, our satisfaction with pockets of innovation or our lack of focus on the next level (teacher thinking department, department thinking school, building admin thinking district, etc) holds us back from meaningful change.
Whether you are a teacher or administrator, your feedback on these standards will help to shape what I hope will guide professional development and expectations for school leaders.
I do hope more schools will begin to utilize these standards with students, teachers, and administrators. In fact, I wonder how many schools know of these standards and have incorporated these in the classroom, in teacher evaluation, and in administrator reviews.
[Tags] ISTE, NETSA, administration [/Tags]
Jeff Utecht and David Warlick are talking a bit on their blogs today about the whole notion of conferences. While I really like Jeff’s idea that his learning needs to be social and David’s idea of growing knowledge not just sharing, it seems we too often come at these from our personal pespectives, ones that have MANY conferences under our belts and quite a foundation thanks in part to a powerful network.
So, while I still say just go fishing to many of these discussion, I couldn’t help jump in here a bit with two points to ponder:
1. Maybe some of us need to take a Trip down Memory Lane
Do you remember your first time attending a major conference? I do! It was NCTE in 2000 and I was simply blown away: the speakers, the sessions, the tote bags, the give aways, the vendors, and the star struck feeling when I saw the rock stars of English Education! Although I attended many conferences from that point, I didn’t feel the same level of excitement until the Effective Schools Conference in 2003 when again my mind was bent in ways I hadn’t experienced. Again, more conferences from that point with much the same until the T^3 Conference in 2006 where math and science teachers broke me down. You get the picture, right?
For some of us, attending conferences is a part of our weekly routine. We are always attending so of course we are reaching for something more especially when they are the same surface level type conferences. However, what if you, those that are longing for something more, attended TED? Would the same excitement return? Something tells me it would.
2. Everyday is a Conference when you Network Effectively
This next line isn’t meant to be arrogant but a simple reality: ed tech conferences offer some but not a lot to me in terms of formal learning: sessions, workshops, panels, etc. I’m willing to bet the same holds true for most in my digital network. Why? The great minds and ideas that lead these conferences are being shared daily, being enhanced daily, and being rethought daily within the network I roam. Thus, the ideas that are being shared at the conferences are already actively explored as a community to a great degree before the conference happens making the actual conference seem surface level.
What does this mean for those of us in this regard? Let me throw out three ideas: 1. challenge conferences to create learning opportunities for all but remember the minority is not who they are striving to reach 2. Go Fishing 3. and the one I’m most serious about, LISTEN! I can’t tell you how much I learned at the last conference when I stopped the formal learning, stopped talking to those I knew, and started talking to teachers and administrators that weren’t part of my network.
Maybe it is Just Me
I plan on attending as many national conferences of specific subjects as possible this year in hopes of bending and stretching me so that I can better serve all content areas in my school. It seems to me that I will be 100% engage in the conference because these are outside of my comfort zone. However, I’m sure there will be a percentage that have attended a number of these and find themselves wishing for something more or making it more of a social trip.
All of this speaks to the goofy echo chamber and maybe, just maybe, speaking as the loud minority. How many people attend conferences and love the whole experience? How many find these to be excellent learning opportunities? I would say it is a large percent because they don’t have the luxury of frequent conferences and they haven’t leveraged a digital network on a sustained level.
Morning Fishing Group Image by Tonto & TLL
Dr. Marzano’s 2009 CUE Keynote, “What do we know about the effects of technology on student achievement”, spends a considerable amount of time breaking down the research on IWB and student achievement. While he is sure to point out that all research is equivocal especially in education where no one can account for all the factors impacting the classroom, IWB do enhance student achievement (Marzano).
However, these findings only remain when the The SWEET SPOT is reached with an experience teacher
- who has two years experience with the tech
- who spends 75% of class time using the tech
- who has attended enough professional development (PD) to feel confident in using the tech (Marzano).
I would hypothesize this Sweet Spot is true for almost any technology and this raise some interesting questions
New Teachers and Technology
How much “new” technology should be introduced to new teachers? Now, I don’t want to read too much into Marzano’s thoughts but…. As Marzano states, “tech can be a bit of a distraction when we forget about good instruction and the focus becomes the technology” and this is where we need to reflect on the amount of technology introduced to new teachers. By no means do I believe new teachers should not merge their growth in methodology with the use of technology, I simply am pondering how much is too much.
The teachers I’ve seen use technology the best have a great understanding of pedagogy both in theory and practice. It is the rare new teacher that enters with that background, so the question remains to what degree do we bring technology to our new teachers. Thus, I think we should ponder deeply Marzano’s following statement: “Weaker teachers require PD in effective teaching and proper use of technology” with proper use being on content not the bells and whistles.
Today We are Doing Technology
Are we working with teachers on the flash in the pan use of technology or changing/enhancing their instructional practices? In other words, if teachers need to spend 75% of class time immersed in the technology like IWB for it to make a difference, how are we working with teachers to sustain this beyond just a moment in time, the moment where we get to “do technology”. Yes, there is room for the projects and the “cool” uses of technology but I always try to remember the bigger picture, which is helping teachers to recognize how they can shift their practices.
Are we working with teachers over an extended period of time or just get you started professional development? As Marzano states, the more experience teachers have with the technology the better chance it has in increasing student achievement. If it takes two years with the technology to reach the sweet spot, professional development goes way beyond the introductory sessions dominating too much PD. It takes intensive, on-going learning and support.
Not only that, it takes ubiquitous access to technology if it is going to make a difference in student achievement. We must reach a point where we are putting technology into the hands of the teachers and students every day, all day. Learning shouldn’t be tethered to a certain spot in the building or a certain checkout schedule. Isn’t it time we start thinking about technology in the classroom NOT in labs or other designated “tech” spots in the building?
Ye Olde Professional Development
Marazano’s final point for the Sweet Spot is that the teacher has participated in enough professional development to feel comfortable with the technology. How are we designing our professional development programs to move teachers towards comfort levels? With new technologies and tools popping up daily, it is easy to get tied to breadth not depth but we can’t forget that “you can’t just give technology to teachers and expect it to automatically enhance student achievement” (Marzano). If the Sweet Spot is accurate and applies to many technologies, we are doing little for student achievement when we approach educational technology in this way.
The more I ponder technology in schools, the more I come back to leadership, powerful professional learning, culture of innovation, and access. It is time we as leaders model, empower, foster, and provide if we really believe in technology as education not technology in education.
[Tags] marzano, cue09, professionaldevelopment, newteachers, iwb [/Tags]
On March 28th at 8:30 pm I am Flipping the Switch as part of a global community united for a global concern:
December 2009 world leaders meet in Copenhagen to agree on a post-Kyoto policy for tackling climate change. One billion people voting with their light switch during Earth Hour will create a powerful mandate for our leaders to take strong and decisive action on climate change in Copenhagen.
I hope those that are reading this will take this opportunity with family and friends to unite around a common challenge.
Be sure to visit Earth Hour to see a wealth of resources, connections, and networks.
[Tags] earthhour, globalawareness, globalcommunity, voteearth [/Tags]
It seems we in secondary education focus so much on students and their digital footprint when maybe we should put equal weight into educating our adult population about their digital footprint.
A case in point is Twitter and the amount of adults publicly stating “I hate my job”.
A critical topic schools need to discuss is the notion of teachers and students friending on Facebook.
However, the time is not right for scare tactics. It isn’t right to attack social networking. It isn’t right to blame technology. The time is right to have an honest discussion about what is important for all stakeholders and provide the right alternatives, if needed, so that we don’t lose the power and potential of participatory media and social/learning networks.
Should Teachers Accept Friend Requests From Students
To answer this, we need to understand what Facebook is for many students. I won’t pretend to know the answer to that question as students are the ones that really need to assist us with that understanding. However, for the sake of this blog article, I’ll give it a shot.
It seems that for many young adults it is a virtual hangout. And, if that is true, should we ask ourselves whether or not we would hangout with students in the physical places they “hangout”?
What about legitimate uses for Facebook between teachers and students such as communicating, sharing, and community-building? Without a doubt, Facebook offers this possibility with relative ease for many students. However, are there other means of making this happen via networking tools such as Nings?
We also have to consider the legal ramifications and responsibilities teachers have in reporting issues they may encounter when visiting a student’s Facebook page: abuse, drugs and alcohol use, and harassment. By no means am I saying that all young adults fill their pages with content falling into these categories, I would say that it is likely teachers will run across photos of questionable content at some point.
Should Teachers Request Friendship From Students
We must think about the pressure this could potentially place upon students especially if they don’t want to accept the friendship. Should students have to determine whether or not to accept the request? Should students have to wonder what will happen if they don’t? Should students have to ponder the level of access teachers will then have to their profiles?
What to Do
I’ve heard of a few schools moving to policies that forbid teachers from engaging with students on social networking sites and even IMing. I struggle with this but will say that any district moving towards such a policy should include all stakeholders in the discussion.
For me, I think it is about education, discussion, and proactive measures. In other words, let’s educate our teachers about Facebook using students to assist and even lead our growth and understanding. Let’s be sure to work with our younger teachers especially those recent graduates that have spent their young adult years in college on Facebook with a digital footprint that may outline their mistakes of youth.
Let’s have discussions about approaches that allow us to leverage the power of participatory media and social/learning networks within a framework that is best for all parties. Let’s have discussions that remove fear and promote understanding.
I also think we need to take proactive measures by working with all stakeholders on what we value and who we are as a community. What tools can we provide students and teachers to create powerful learning networks? How are schools moving towards multi-dimensional learning spaces that create environments that render Facebook redundant to class goals?
Overall, the worse thing we can do is destroy means of growing stronger as a community because we are in a reactive state due to our failure to engage in the topic. How will you, as a leader in your organization, begin to have this conversation remembering that this is not about banning, policy-making, or scaring?
Now is not the time for schools to be ostriches. It is time for schools to be professional communities working together for the common good.
[Tags] facebook, socialnetworking, schoolpolicy [/Tags]
I just finished attending quite a nice webinar where Don Tapscott presented and fielded questions on the Net Generation and Growing Up Digital. While there is much to discuss from it, one thing that struck me, in much the same way it strikes me at conferences and other such gatherings, is the fact that this talk is not new.
While Tapscott pointed out the need for a new model that moves away from teacher centered, one-way teaching towards a new model where curriculum is customizable, the ghost of Dewey and others must be smiling (or is that crying) as they listen from above. In fact, if we removed the technology portion of it, one would think we were smack in the middle of the Progressive Education Movement.
But that is just it, we’re not. We’re in 2009 and that is what makes this so darn frustrating.
So, why is education still wrapped in a model, the old model according to Tapscott? Why are we so slow to change?
This is exactly the question thrown out during the Q & A portion and the thoughts were common road blocks: finances, fear of change, bad teachers, old teachers, new teachers, measuring value, lack of leadership from administration, no clear models, poor professional development, bad curriculum and the timeless lack of time issue. And, I tossed in students preferring the old model and the tradition of education as part of the problem.
The reality is that these are all part of the problem and not the problem, I guess, at the same time.
While I don’t pretend to have the answer by any means, I continue to ask myself this question: what caused me to change? what causes me to continue to seek new methods, new approaches, and new innovations? what is pushing me to be a risk taker, to question everything, and to challenge the status quo? what is driving me to embrace educational technology, progressive education, and the new <gulp> model of education as a leader and educator?
I ask the questions because I really wonder if the answers to those questions can be applied to how we make change happen in education. Surely, you can answer those questions, too. What insights can we gain?
Seriously, this change occured for many of you despite all of those excuses (yes, that is what they are in my opinion — some more valid than others but still excuses), so why are we willing to accept those as the reason for the slowness of change to education as a whole?
I don’t know if it was the basketball player tweeting at halftime, the overnight sensation of Twitter being used by Fox News ALL THE TIME, the Hudson Bay plane crash, or the masthead of the Chicago Tribune that caused me to stop in my tracks, shake my head, and realize that Twitter is mainstream.
Honestly, Twitter is all over these days but an odd feeling still comes over me when I hear Twitter used in so many spots. After all, it seems like yesterday Jeff Utecht and I were trying to wrap our brain around a category for it just to better understand how to explain it to people that looked at us as nuts when we said “we’re tweeting”.
At the same time, people still struggle with the point of it, the seemingly ridiculous nature of updating what you are doing in 140 characters or less.
Yes, they might sign-up because they are at a conference or workshop, but there seems to be a number (maybe just what I’ve seen) that never really embrace it, never really make it a part of their learning community/network.
While there are many reasons for this, keeping Twitter as a random, “stop in when I can” website keeps it foreign and somewhat odd for many. This makes it is really difficult to experience the power of connecting, contributing, sharing, and always on learning.
Thus, my challenge to those of you exploring the potential of Twitter, those of you promoting Twitter (share this approach), or those of you that have dismissed it in the past is to do the following things for 30 days and then (re)evaluate the value of Twitter:
- Follow 100 people from the following lists of educators: Twitter4Teachers, Director of Learning Professionals, Top 100 Edu Tweeters
Yes, 100 people sounds like a lot but you need to immerse yourself in a loud enough crowd. Be sure to be diverse in your selection including a global focus.
- Download and run TweetDeck on your computer as a means of having Twitter always on.
This is the critical step. It allows you to engage synchronously and asynchronously
- Understand and engage with the following Twitter Basics:
@ – when placed in front of a twitter name, it allows the person to see a reply to them under Replies
RT: – you this to retweat a tweet that is worthy of sending again
# – hash tags to track specific conversations (try #ascd in Twitter Search to see what I mean)
DM – Direct Message users for private messages
- Post at least 5 Tweets a day: something great (or a struggle) from your teaching/leading/learning that day, a question for the day, something that displays your personality and interests, and two replies to Tweets from others
- Optional: Utilize some of the great Twitter Apps that make the experience that much richer: Top 10 Twitter Apps for iPhone, Mr. Tweet, TwitterEarth, Twist, or some of these other great tools.
In the next 30 days, embrace Twitter as something more than just a random spot to visit on the web. Turn on the network and see what it can do for you by embracing this 30 Day Challenge! You’ll be happy you did.
Talk to you on Twitter,
A few months ago, I had a conversation with a person that works for a well-known textbook company. While the conversation was primarily about the future of education, it inevitably switched to where textbooks fit into this future.
While one that does not see textbooks going away any time soon, I did explain that I expected quite a major shift in textbooks away from a static set of pages to a combination of static print and dynamic digital content. What I explain had little to do with textbook software though or superficial items that appear to be cutting edge. What I talked about was a collaborative space shared by all schools that worked with that textbook, an open wiki that provided a wealth of possibilities for local and global collaboration and contributions:
- the entire textbook online that is updated and controlled by the textbook company
- each page of the textbook would have a user generated space for editing, revising, and adding content, both text and media
- all schools would share a common space but you could sort for your school’s edits or all schools
- if the textbook company wanted to permanently adopt anything from the sandbox, they could and it would move into the permanent portion — this would include a submission form and a voting system by the various schools
- there would be links to lesson ideas, global learning opportunities, and shared resources from all schools
- As new editions of the textbook become available, the schools have access right away via the digital text – no additional costs but a benefit to shared knowledge in creating this next generation. When a school feels as though enough changes have been made, they can order new copies at new textbook costs
- Schools can customize later editions with pieces from the common space that their teachers have developed
- Seamless integration of the textbook with learning systems like Moodle as well as embed potential
What is intriguing is that the State of Virgina is by-passing the textbook company all together and basically doing this via what they call a Flexbook, a “21st Century Physics Flexbook” according to Governor Tim Kaine.
Even more interesting is what one of the authors, Tony Wayne, had to say, which perfectly sums up what I was trying to address with my hypothetical textbook:
“This project will give students access to organized, contemporary information. It will allow us to adjust the text’s information and questions as technology and science uncovers new horizons of thought. Clearly this is about excellence; it’s about excellence in real time, taking advantage of advances in learning in real time.”
In my humble opinion, Wayne has it correct in regards to where textbooks need to go based upon the rapid pace of information transformation and distribution. This was probably true 10 years ago as much as it is today, but it is simply more evident today. Thus, what are we doing to move our schools in this direction? What conversations have begun to build a collective visiont hat will make this possible? Is this where textbooks need to be going? all subjects? What about access to technology for all students?
Great stuff and great discussion starters. The key, though, is making sure that we move towards action, too, like Virgina is doing.
[Tags] textbooks, wiki [/Tags]
How long until this is reality for our students? Maybe it already so the better question is how much longer will they be tolerant of the textbook as we know it?
Just a thought to ponder today by way of the Science Leadership Academy students.
[Tags] sla, textbooks [/Tags]