Please DM at @socratech if you are interested in this position in Downtown San Diego.
High School Technology Teacher 2012-2013 School Year
King-Chavez Community High School is seeking a high level technology teacher to come work with us in downtown San Diego. Our mission statement is “We are a local school with a global vision that empowers people through education and love.” Moving into our fourth year of operation, we are a charter high school seeking dedicated and passionate educators who are committed to providing our students with an innovative and outstanding education. We seek a technology teacher who can deliver a dynamic curriculum in an effective, innovative way. Teacher must have a current, valid California Single Subject teaching credential in Computer Science. Computer programming skills necessary include: Java, C++, scripting, SQL, multimedia skills including Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro. Teachers at King-Chavez must have strong communication and interpersonal skills, classroom management skills, and the firm belief in the potential of all students to succeed and go to college.
Please send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEaM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, is not simply a list of subjects that are to be taught, but more of an educational approach to teaching and learning. Although there are several models of implementing a STEaM program, we have developed a model based around the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Although the EDP is typically used in the professional field, we have formatted the process in the context of K12 education.
The Engineering Design Process is a five step cycle where teachers create an inquiry-based learning environment that stimulates students to learn through questioning and doing. The five steps are the following: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create and Improve. Within each of those steps, and transitions, there are teaching and learning strategies that help facilitate the process. Below describes the cycle in the context of K12 STEaM education.
Although the first step in the cycle is to ask the right questions before beginning any process, teachers often begin with step 3, the Plan. In K12 education, it is not uncommon to teach with the “plan” as the focus, and inadvertently bypass two important steps of what are we trying to do/learn, and giving students opportunities to imagine the topic/problem in question. When one skip steps 1 and 2, what often occurs is that teachers give away what we call the “formula” or “step-by-step” plans of solving problems. While understanding the steps are important skills, it is only one part of the process of learning. Students who are simply given the formula in the book are fixated on how to systematically solve an equation and not taught how to truly problem solve. Instead of developing critical thinking skills, the unfortunate outcome is that students are taught to memorize steps and practice rote techniques.
|Dan Meyer (http://perplexity.mrmeyer.com/) is a teacher who models how to engage students in math before jumping to the formula in the textbook. He offers several examples in how to introduce math concepts by allowing the students to ask the right questions, allow opportunities to imagine and formulate the problem (without giving it to the students), and leveraging multimedia tools to enhance the experience.|
The first step in a solid STEaM program is to build a curriculum established on asking the right questions. Fundamentally, we are trying to provide insight on common questions found in STEaM studies, such as “why am I learning math?” And if you are in middle school math or above, why am I studying Algebra? It is important to build curriculum that puts Algebra or other mathematical concepts in context of real-world applications. In helping guide those questions, a well-thought out socratic seminar will put the context around Step 3 (Plan) and give opportunities for divergent thoughts around the same topic.
It is in Step 2 (Imagine), that teachers give students opportunities to ask questions that will guide them to formulate the problem that needs to be solved. In this context, students are discovering the learning, and not given the answer. Strategically, a teacher will guide the questions and divergent thoughts into converging ideas, ultimately leading to Step 3, the Plan. The work and effort to get to Step 3 gives students the foundations and context of the formula, rather than searching for the formula in the textbook.
|Step 3 Differentiated: Using Blended Approaches
To provide more personalized instructional approaches to learning, a blended learning model can help facilitate Step 3 in a more efficient manner.
The first 3 steps of the Engineering Design Process remain in the theoretical framework of learning. In order to provide experiential opportunities, a well-rounded STEaM program will need to integrate the application layers of the model, which are Steps 4 (Create), and Steps 5 (Improve). Once students have established theoretical proficiency of content, teachers can elevate the learning experience by introducing project-based activities around the content. It is in Step 4 that students experience STEaM in its fullest by providing opportunities to transform the theory into practical hands-on experiences. In this level, students are building, designing, creating, and experimenting with the content in ways textbooks could never provide. It is important to develop a strong project-based curriculum that strategically brings together the theoretical frameworks into practical design applications.
The last step of the Engineering Design Process is giving students opportunities to improve upon their creation. In a test taking culture, we often create an environment of a pass-fail mentality. Step five is the opposite of that mentality, where failure is looked upon as an opportunity to improve the design. The ideal EDP fosters a culture of trial-and-error and that improvement is a sign of self-direction and evaluation. When students are in the improvement level, rubrics and portfolio-based assessments help guide the evaluation process. If designed correctly, students would be documenting the process right from the beginning in a portfolio that can be referenced, improved, and edited along the way.
The culmination of the Engineering Design Process can lead to three desired outcomes for any given topic. The first outcome is referencing back to the original question that the project asked and determining if it was appropriately addressed. The second outcome is determining that the original question was just the beginning, and that one has to ask a higher level of questions to get to the desired outcome; therefore going through the EDP again. The last outcome is what engineers call innovation, the creation of something new that addresses a problem. In K12 education, an important last step of the EDP process is providing students a platform called Mountain Top to share all their hard work, no matter the outcome. The Mountain Top can present itself in many forms, such as digital portfolios, competitions, debates, showcases, science fairs, videos, and more.
|Big Ideas Around the Engineering Design Process
Step 1: Ask to Step 2: Imagine
Step 2: Imagine to Step 3: Plan
Step 3: Plan to Step 4: Create
Step 4: Create to Step 5: Improve
Step 5: Improve and Beyond
Have you ever said to yourself, “But that is what I have been trying to tell/show you all along?”
I know in our roles we take great pride for training our staff to use technology in the classroom. But humility goes a long way…
It takes a little humility to accept that sometimes educators have to hear the message from someone/something else in order for self-actualization to occur. No matter how often and clearly you convey your evangelism on technology integration, some people are just not prepared (for whatever reason) to transform your message into action. They may understand you conceptually, but operationalizing your message is another story. While you continue to repeat and model your message in differentiated ways, sometimes the answer is to bring someone/something else to get your message through.
So don’t get mad, jealous, or annoyed, try to stay focused on your mission of evolving classrooms into 21st century learning environments. In fact, rejoice that certain staff members have embraced the change, even though it may have not come from you that particular day. Although the light bulb didn’t directly come from you that day (which can be a pride thing), the determined evangelism from you enabled them to reach that tipping point.
*Definitely the lesson I learned over the years…and I am still continuing to learn. Pride can be a tough one to overcome.
I have been on Twitter for over three years now and I am fortunate to be connected to thousands of educators and technologists from all over the world. I have developed great relationships online and learn/share resources on a regular basis. Some I have met face-to-face at other conferences and workshops, but that has been relatively a small number. For me, I have not been to ISTE in quite awhile, and certainly not when Twitter became a connection vehicle. Now I know it is a bit early to be excited, but with ISTE being in my own backyard in 2012, I can’t help thinking about having so many of my PLN folks in San Diego. It has me already wanting to plan some #tweetups before and during the conference. Anyone interested in collaborating? Gaslamp district has plenty of places for folks to gather and is near the convention center and hotels where everyone will probably be staying. It would be great to finally meet the many people I connect with on Twitterverse. Should we create a Google Doc for those interested in a #tweetup?
As Educational Technologists, we are entrusted with the role of being change agents. Agents of change to develop, design, and support the next generation of 21st century learning. In that role, we are asked to be the experts of technology integration, professional development coaches, and hubs of information and resources. We spend our efforts evangelizing how technology supports 21st century critical thinking, global collaboration, and creative expression. All really important duties and responsibilities with implications of changing the culture of schools. The pressure can be overwhelming for some who feel the need to win over the masses.
Unfortunately, the reality is not quite the dream of every Educational Technologist. In a perfect world, all teachers and staff would be tweeting, blogging, and setting up wikis as an everyday practice. Technologists would be facilitating full classes of professional development focused on technology integration, and all school operations would run digitally.
But if you live in the trenches, you will know it is not as rosy as you would like. There are the challenges of culture, infrastructure, and diversity of personalities that provide roadblocks to change. There is also the reality that change takes time, and people have their own pace of learning (sounds like differentiation to me!). And of course there are those who are set on their ways and simply do not want change.
All these varying roadblocks can frustrate many of us, and sometimes makes us (including me) feel like failures. For every 5 converts, one negative comment or feedback can affect us greatly. We are tasked with an important role, and the passion to get every one on board drives us in what we do. At least I have asked the question many times: How can anyone not want to work and teach in this way? That mentality only amplified my desire to convert everyone, but often lead me to disappointment. It was time to reflect, take advice, and reevaluate the reality of the situation.
The best advice given to me in this edtech role is that “You can’t win them all!”
Spending energy trying to convert that masses can be draining, and that focusing on the found will provide the success stories that will keep one motivated. And you hope by highlighting and supporting the found, they in turn will do the same for other people. I often found success when multiple people are delivering the same message. At the end of the day, it is not about you, it is about the students and the mission to deliver 21st century learning opportunities that foster academic excellence, leading to global collaboration, digital citizenship/literacy, and a love for learning.
THE Journal: Technological Horizons in Education – Enjoy articles that focus on IT and classroom technologies. Appreciate the focus on K12.
CIO – Chief Information Office website provides me valuable insight in the IT industry and trends that potentially affect the K12 environment.
Campus Technology – Focus is on Higher Education campus enterprise networking and infrastructure.
EDTECH – The first #edtech print publication that I started reading, now I just follow the K12 website edition.
Converge – Chronicles trends in technology in education and appreciate their willingness to reach out to the people, including myself.
MindShift – This one is new to me, but I have enjoyed the posts recently around educational technology thought leadership.
Tech & Learning – The best practices and SchoolCIO sections of the website are of interest to me.
EdSurge – Probably the lesser known of the group, but they are highlighting some great innovations in education.
Network World – The longest tenured “geeky” magazine that I consistently follow. Network world focuses on all the next generation infrastructure developments.
MacWorld – As an Apple “fanboy,” keeping with Apple news is essential. Especially with movement towards tablets and iOS apps.
Here is a compilation of links and resources that will be discussed during the edtech sessions at KSS this coming week. Thank you for participating in the session(s) and I hope to collaborate with you in the near future.
EdTech Reports: 2011 Horizon Report, 2011 Horizon Report K12 Edition, Rise of K12 Blended Learning, Digital Learning Now Report, Next Generation Assessments Roadmap to 2014, AUP in a Web 2.0 and Mobile Era, Children and Electronic Media, Media in the Lives of 8 to 18 Year Olds, Managing Learning: Next Generation Learning Systems, The MILE Guide, PBS Technology Integration, Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile, National Education Technology Plan
Mobile: Augmented Reality Apps, Mobile Learning Experience, iPads in Education Ning, iPads for Education, 40 Ways to Use QR Codes, M-Learning: Promises, Perils and Challenges for K12, PollEverywhere, QR Code Generator, Layar Browser
Game-Based Education: Games and Learning report from Future Labs, Engineering Design Tools for K12, Gamestar Mechanic, Scratch, Kodu Labs, Alice, Quest 2 Learn, Airy Labs, Compilation of Game-Based Education Links
EdTech Video Links:
- CoSN Learning to Change – Changing to Learn
- Learning to Change/Changing to Learn Student Voices
- Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
- Hip-Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education
- Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education
- Teach Education and 21st Century Skills
- Education for Uncertain Futures
- Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts
- Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of Sixth Sense Technology
- Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover
- Will Richardson: The intersection of social networks and education
- Greg Whitby: 21st Century Pedagogy
- Jeff Monday: Disruptive Innovation
- Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
- Luis von Ahn: Harnesses Brainpower
- Digital Media – New Learners of the 21st Century
- PBS Frontline: Digital Nation
- Teaching without Words in Math
- Let’s start a learning revolution
- Reed Hastings: ASU Education Innovation Keynote
- RSA Animate: Changing Educaton Paradigms
- RSA Animate: 21st Century Enlightenment
- RSA Animate: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- RSA Animate: The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens?
PollEverywhere Question: What emerging technology interests you most?
WallWisher Question: What technology tools do you use in the classroom?
Has this ever happened to you?
Teacher has spent hours thoroughly planning a lesson with careful considerations of differentiation and learning objectives. The lessons provided discovery learning opportunities embedded in a project-based learning environment. Students are jazzed and the teacher has planned it with several layers of bloom’s taxonomy. Unfortunately, one glaring oversight has been missed, the computers were not updated with the latest Java update to run the activity. And when the teacher rushes to run java updates, the network crashes with 30 laptops fighting for wireless bandwidth. The methodically planned lesson was thrown off course because of technical difficulties. Students are frustrated and begin to misbehave because the tool which they heavily relied upon is no longer working. The star teacher suddenly looks incompetent.
It is not uncommon that schools with limited budgets and hodge podge technology infrastructures run into difficulties integrating technology into their curriculum. Why take the risk when you can’t trust the technology? This seems to be a common barrier that teachers face when trying to infuse technology.
One of the most common reasons why teachers resist technology integration is because they feel the technology will fail on them during a carefully planned lesson. While there are many teachers who are savvy enough to troubleshoot on the spot, many are faced with disasters as soon as technical difficulties spring up.
As a technology administrator, building trust first is key to start building a culture of technology integration. Developing a quality tech support mechanism will help build the trust with teachers, and in effect, allow teachers to feel confident developing integrated technology lessons.
While ensuring quality maintenance and tech support is essential, there is another key factor in successful technology integration and that is teacher preparation of a lesson. As thorough as a tech support team can try to be, teachers need to prepare before instruction and that includes checking if the computers and software work. It is not uncommon to see teachers try out a lesson on their computer, but forget to try it on student machines, which sometimes have a completely different configuration. All it takes is a broken web link, a failed Flash update, or even a unplugged switch that can throw off the best of teachers.
With a combination of teacher lesson preparation and quality/timely tech support/maintenance mechanism, schools can ensure technology integration is setup for success…of course with a heavy dose of professional development.
Yesterday, there was an article published on Campus Technology’s website called Is Higher Education Ready for “The Education Bubble,” and it had me thinking about implications on education in general, in particular K12 education. Although many may think nonsense, considering that there is no money in K12 (more deficit), there are some new money being tossed around to fund new 21st century learning initiatives. With the rapid growth of software development and emerging technologies, there has been a dramatic shift in where education is focusing their dollars. Many new venture capitalists are pouring millions of dollars investing in new online software and technology hardware. “Edupreneuers” and philanthropists are funding programs and reform initiatives to tackle 21st century models of education. And government is creating federal programs (dollars) to support innovation in schools and districts. While this is exciting news for educators ready to build the next generation schools and infrastructures, we also have to be prudent to watch how this industry is progressing. Asking the right questions and being vigilant in which direction or agenda people may have will be important to avoid a potential education “bubble.”
Like many Americans, I have had the unfortunate experience of going through the dot.com stock market bubble and the more recent housing market bubble. To this day, many like myself are continuing to recover from those terrible financial periods. The marketing hype machine that was behind both bubbles fooled many of us into buying into the products (stocks and houses). Now to compare those two tragic bubbles to a potential education “bubble” is a bit of a stretch, but learning from those lessons will be key to not fall into the trap of all this new technology hype.
For example, there are a ton of new money being invested in software/hardware companies to produce the next generation curriculum, assessment tools, and other interactive learning gadgets. In the past year along, I have seen hundreds of products being marketed to the K12 industry touting solutions that will raise test scores, change the way students learn, and solve issues in education. While this is exciting for technologists like myself to see a wide variety of products catering to our needs, I also at the same time begin to ask the question, who will be around in the next 5-10 years? As we begin entering the world of digital curriculum, web 2.0, online content, and interactive technologies, there has to be a point where majority of these companies will not survive. It is such a new industry and at some point, the thousands of companies touting their products will hit a tipping point and many will be defunct, leaving schools with squandered investments. Be vigilant…
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry called The Evolving Role of the Technology Department, and detailed how the department plays an integral role in school/district organizations. No longer is the department treated separately as a “geek squad,” but rather shared decision makers on various aspects of education such as curriculum, professional development, and data assessment strategies. As schools continue to evolve programs and infrastructures to support 21st learning, the technology department is playing a more crucial role in rolling out these changes.
As I stated in a previous post It’s Changing Culture, Not Technology: We are not simply introducing technology changes in schools, but rather making cultural changes of how schools instruct, operate & function. And it is because of these cultural changes which is driving the thought of changing the technology department name. We are not simply dealing with just technology tools anymore, but the culture of our organization, and that requires more than technical proficiency. Our technologists are now required to posses leadership qualities in areas of professional development, marketing, collaboration, problem solving, and creative innovation in regards to what is best for school organizations. So why not call it the 21st century learning department, or perhaps the organizational efficiency department? What would you call this evolving technology department? Or should we stick the nerds back into their IT cubicles?