Meaningful Faculty Meetings

I’ve spoken about faculty meetings and my strong desire to rebrand these into meaningful experiences. However, my prior positions left little room for anything but words.

But the feelings remained that the notion of faculty meetings should shift from passive consumption to maximum involvement. In other words, utilize every drop of time for meaningful learning. 

My principal challenged me to move words to action, and today was our first newly remodeled faculty meeting. 

Goals for New Faculty Meeting Format

  • Maximize time for professional learning opportunities
  • Utilize each faculty meeting as a learning and community-building opportunity
  • Create a sense of play, imagination, creativity, and wonder
  • Model the learning environment we desire in the classroom
  • Share the stage with the expertise within our school and beyond our school
  • Connect and keep on the forefront of people’s thinking the various initiatives taking place
  • Ensure faculty conversations and voices are a driving force of change
  • Leverage proper communication channels for one-way communication

Format for the Faculty Meeting
Each faculty meeting will now serve as a communication team centered on a driving question, a learning experience, and the exchanging of ideas. This will be 30-40 minutes followed by a 15 minute reporting out in the library as a whole faculty. The experiences will vary: reading, viewing, creating, and playing but always in the spirit of discussing, exchanging, and sharing (oh my -ing).

Time is precious

While there is value in giving information, I value more deeply the exchange of ideas. The 60 minutes of a faculty meeting each month is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and grow stronger as a community. These are opportunities for voices on key aspects of The school. 

Importance of Technology in Education

Our world today provides unprecedented opportunities for learning and inventiveness limited only by our own curiosity, imagination, and wonder. But to create those opportunities, we need to design the learner experience around agency, empowerment, engagement, and inventiveness. This means exploring and experimenting as we reimagine learning as engagement of the heart, mind, and body. This is where deep, transferable learning lives. This is where our educators feel the empowerment and the freedom to ignite and support the passions of learners.

All of this begins with questioning and asking what if:

– How do we amplify the creative thoughts, sparks, and passions of each student with the conditions, people, and resources in an organization to bring those ideas to life?
– How might we make schooling worthy of student engagement?
– What does it mean to be well-educated for today and tomorrow?
– What are the qualities that define the learners when they depart from our community?
– What if we created conditions for agency, agility, and people that led to engagement and inventiveness?
– What if we shifted our beliefs and actions of our classrooms towards a garage studio concept?
– What if we focused on joy, love, and passions over policies, procedures, and standardization?
– What if we were able to tell our story instead of it being told for us?
– What if we unleashed the power of learning through the opportunities afforded by the combination of student, teacher, and technology?

While there are many paths towards a learning environment where agency, agility, engagement, and inventiveness rule, there are four experiences at the heart of this transformation:

* Pencil and Pixel
* People and Places
* Pause and Perspective
* Play and Produce

Today, we need to reimagine learning around more than skills, more than content. It is about co-designing experiences for knowledge, skills, and mindsets that foster the whole child and qualities of genius. It is about getting beyond saying and starting the doing. It is about more than ideas but watching those ideas come to life when wrapped around resources, people, and time.

Technology is but one significant force in reimagining the learning environment. What I bring is less about technology and more about a scope of understanding that technology is a piece of this great journey. With that piece, all facets of the learning environment are touched. This is the importance of technology in education and it requires us to see those layers in order to create the conditions ripe for student and teacher success.

Photoshop on Chrome OS: First Impressions

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an Adobe Photoshop expert nor was I an avid user of the product when I was primarily using a Mac. That said, I was excited when Adobe and Google announced this partnership that brought Photoshop to Chrome OS.

For one thing, it attacks directly some of the misnomer that continue to run rampant in regards to Chrome OS. Second, it brings a productivity suite from an industry standard software company. Finally, it puts a great foot forward in terms of modeling what can be done with cloud-based software.

First Impressions

I turned to three experts within our organization to look at Photoshop on Chrome OS. Independently, each expressed “wow” in the fact that it is quick and fully functional. They each went to their typical flow and found it works flawlessly.

For me, I wanted to understand how the file system would operate and how well it would hold up on a Chromebook.

  1. Zero crashes
  2. Quick and precise
  3. Pulls directly from Drive so easy, easy, easy

Screenshot 2014-12-08 at 7.15.20 AM

Again, I imagine Photoshop experts having much more to say in terms of the software itself. However, I am blown away by the functionality and ease of the software on the Chrome OS. It opens the door for other heavy, complex softwares to see exactly what is possible on a Chromebook.

Early Experience with Android Apps on Chromebooks

Early Experience with Android Apps on Chromebooks

Google made good on their I/O promise to begin sending Android apps over to the Chromebooks. From a school perspective, this is an important move for the Google Ecosystem especially with the outstanding potential with Google Play for Edu. And for schools that anticipated this and went with Chromebooks that have touch and tablet-lite experience like the Lenovo 11e Yoga, the energy is off the charts.

What is the experience?

Even with just four apps available now, Evernote jumps off the page given the great educational value. So let’s take a peak at just that one.

1. Install

Installing the app is quite simple. Whether in the Chrome Web Store or in Google Play for Edu, it is like installing any other app. One click and the install begins. The app is a bit over 100mb and comes across quickly. The web app for Evernote doesn’t go away so this can be a bit perplexing for students if they have two Evernote apps.

2. Launch of the App

The app resides within the app launcher. Given it is an Android app, it works entirely offline. This is important to note due the outdated criticism of Chromebooks requiring wifi to have any functionality.

3. App Experience

The app is exactly what you would find on your Android device. It is actually quite impressive to see and lives up to what you would expect from Evernote, Android, and Chromebook <– how cool is that? I was moving back and forth between the web and Evernote but also within various Yoga modes. In other words, I was getting uber excited by the cognitive and physical flow potential.

And then my excitement plummeted. For whatever reason, the handwriting piece does not function. This dropped the entire potential of the work flow that brought together these great worlds. If and when this is resolved, wow!



4. Screen Size of App 

I’ve read some criticism on the app not launching the full size of the screen. I get that and was also a bit perplexed by it. After a colleague gave me the “Wow Factor” of us getting the best of both worlds we wanted (Nexus 7 and Chromebooks), I wondered if the size was in any way similar to the Nexus 7.

The reality is that the Evernote app and the Nexus 7 screen are almost identical.




I’m excited. This is what we expected to see occur from Google and it is quite promising given we are 48 hours into it. Time will tell if this lives up to the expectation we have for it.

As the featured image of this post has in it from our pilot over two years ago, the Nexus 7 and the Chromebook brought with them many opportunities. It was hard to choose and hours of discussions went into it. All of us wished we could have the two in one. Google and Lenovo are making that possible!




Why the Chromebook Institute Excites Me

This past weekend, we announced the inaugural Chromebook Institute for June 17-18 preceded by Google’s Leadership Summit on June 16.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of an experience that is designed with Chromebooks and the Google ecosystem as the main theme. There are so many educators and districts on similar paths that we can all benefit from greater opportunities to connect. However, we are also at different stages on that journey so the opportunities to learn from practitioners and to deepen existing knowledge with great expertise makes this an experience for everyone.

And it also provides that opportunity for schools to connect with members of the Google Education Team. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the concern about Google not having a store or a briefing center that is open to schools to better understand Google’s vision. Events like these provide those opportunities in a setting that is academic, is schools, not business. It is exciting!

There are so many more reasons I’m excited about this…

  1. Chromebook and Google Ecosystem Focused
  2. Personalized Pathways via SAMR, Project Red, and Google Strands
  3. 10x Thinking Talks by educators, for educators
  4. Network Building
  5. Implementation Driven
  6. Creation Centered Workshops
  7. Expedition of Discovery
  8. What If Manifesto Design Closing
  9. Time for connecting, playing, sharing, and celebrating
  10. Opening Keynote that will have people thinking about the moon!

I hope you’ll accept this invitation to join us on a wondrous expedition!

Registration Here
Call for Proposals Here
More Information Here



How Does this Space Make You Feel?

How Does this Space Make You Feel?

I’m knee-deep in the design process for learning space prototypes. Yesterday, I did what I love doing best: interact with students randomly using one big question:

  1. How does the physical classroom space (not the teaching & learning) make you feel? My follow-up at the end was which ones would you change?

There were four themes that emerged during these interactions (Anything in “” are the students’ words):

  • Focus on the shift from an “uncomfortable and dead” feel to a “comfortable and alive” feel
  • Focus on the shift from a “getting”/consuming feel to a “creating”/producing feel
  • Focus on the shift from a “sitting” feel to a “moving” feel
  • Focus on the shift from a “boring and distracting” feel to an “engaging and life” feel

I really dig that spectrum of thought especially the movement towards comfortable and alive. “Alive” is such a penetrating word and speaks to the heart of it, doesn’t it? It was awesome hearing use elements of the IDEA contrasted with elements of the traditional classroom to illuminate what they feel and see.

And what is uber important is that students talked about this from a space perspective not from a learning and teaching perspective. They quickly wanted to talk about how their teachers try to go to the right and do go to the right of that spectrum. However, they (students and teachers) have to navigate a physical space that makes it challenging. They especially found this true with the new 1:1 learning environment where they are trying to navigate classroom spaces not constructed with that concept in mind.

If we don’t design the habitats for the desired habits, we make it increasingly difficult on both students and teachers. We must challenge the old “it was good enough for me” statement because many school spaces no longer serve meaningful learning and teaching.