After listening to Dr. Yong Zhao this past Tuesday, it reinvigorated a concept I hold dearly in this 21st century environment: taking ownership of your own professional career. To quote Dr. Zhao from his recent ISTE 2012 keynote, “you don’t wait for someone to create a job for you, you go out there to create a job for yourself.” Spending the last four days at ISTE, I was further convinced that our innovative teachers are expanding their own horizons (theme of the conference) and creating 2.0 versions of their professional career. It is nothing really revolutionary, but it has been amplified with the rise of ICT (Information Communication Technologies). Some teachers are considered “Rockstars” and have become professional icons to many; in fact, I bet some are making more money on the speaking circuit than they probably make as a teacher back at their school district. I certainly know a few teachers who left the traditional classroom and branched into independent consulting. Many teachers have written books, produced educational videos, created hashtags used by many, designed software, garnered thousands of Twitter followers, developed global Nings and continue to deliver professional development around the world. I mean this is stuff that definitely was not in their job description originally as a teacher, but has become an entrepreneurial endeavor based from their classroom teaching. It is important to note that many are not driven by the money (being an entrepreneur doesn’t always equate to monetary gain) from these endeavors, although I am sure a little side money doesn’t hurt. I am impressed and support how these teachers have branded themselves and evolved their career to something bigger than they have probably imagined going into a teaching career.
As Dr. Yong Zhoa highlighted in his keynote, it is the rise of the creative class and people with unique specialized skills. The talented teachers I have met are as creative as anyone, and have unique skills of authentic teaching with the “entrepreneurial” spirit of sharing their skills in branded ways (whether driven by $ or not). He further describes in his keynote the need to move towards entrepreneurial-based education and that schooling needs to be product-oriented. From the many great PLN that I finally met face-to-face, I see educators who are truly modeling what Dr. Zhao has been preaching in his keynote and new book: World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. The next layer is to bring this mindset and culture into our classrooms and students.
There is no doubt that my PLN on Twitter has provided an abundance of quality information and resources in K12. I am connected to over a 1000 teachers, admins, edtechnologists, librarians, and “edu-minded” IT administrators. It has been a crucial part of my professional growth. As I continue to evaluate systems in education, from operational to instructional systems, I feel the need to look outside of my K12 PLN and expand my connections to other institutions, businesses, and organizations that can bring unique perspectives when applied to K12.
One area I am looking outside of K12 is data-analytic software. Data-informed instruction and operations will only help schools run more efficiently and effectively. Based on my previous post on The All-In-One K12 Software Solution, K12 products are just not ready for what I feel is needed for data-analytic software. This is where I feel the business world might have the products we are looking for if tweaked to K12 education. Companies like IBM’s SPSS, SAS and CRM solutions like Salesforce might provide some insight how we effectively use software to improve data-analytics.
Another area of the education model that has peaked my interest is e-learning. Often K12 institutions have looked to higher education for leading the way on e-learning products and virtual best-practices. While higher education provides great value, I have been actively researching how corporate training and professional development is being deployed across businesses. I went to DevLearn a couple years back in San Jose and found myself one of few K12 representatives attending. Despite being an outsider, I learned how many businesses were deploying virtual learning across their companies using game-based applications, virtual worlds, social networking, and mobile computing. The E-Learning Guild is an excellent resource for K12 folks to start researching because they have been tackling the digital learning industry intensively.
There are many other industries that will help expand my systems knowledge in how to effectively operate and educate students in K12. I want to expand my PLN to add folks in business, engineering, religious, non-profit, gaming, and fringe technologists who are bringing strategic change in their respective industry. In addition, I have found my PLN is US heavy, that needs to balance out to add PLN in other parts of the world. I am especially excited to start connecting with more PLN from Asia. Always appreciate connecting with PLN from #edbrunei.
When I first started Twitter back in August of 09, I had about 30 followers and was more interested in learning from others than actually engaging in conversation. It was primarily due to unfamiliarity with the tweeting culture more than anything. It wasn’t until I a few months later and the help of @simpleK12 that really launched my full use of Twitter. I had roughly about 70 followers when @simpleK12 recommended me to their followers and thus propelled me to engage with a bigger education community. Thank you @simpleK12!
Since then, I have engaged with many educators and technologists on various hashtags. It even inspired me to create a hashtag for K12 Technology Administrators called #EduIT. However, I noticed a change in my Twitter use since the early days of PLN engagement. I use to have daily conversations with folks and reciprocation was there. In the last few months however, I have felt like back in my early days when I had about 50 or so followers, less engaged and more reading and tweeting without engagement. For someone who has over 1000 followers, it has occurred to me that this is a sad state of my Tweeting. I normally interact with only a handful of my followers (maybe 20-30) and I find that to be a poor effort on my part. I have to remember the whole point of being on Twitter is to engage in dialogue to grow as a professional and share resources amongst each other. Because of my less than engaging effort, I found my learning has steadily decreased as well. I remember a paster saying “when in need, sow a seed.” I wrote this post as a reflection to change my engagement habits on Twitter. I hope to connect and learn more from my larger PLN.
I am launching Google Apps across seven schools this summer and asked my education PLN to help provide reasons why they use Google Apps? Thank you to all the valuable PLN members on Twitter for providing this amazing list! Keep the responses coming, I will continually update this list.
- @pmcash Students create a folder for a course/teacher. Store all work in the folder, teacher has access, no need to share each item.
- @kelalford I use Google Docs for myself to be able to collaborate with other teachers. Want to try to introduce third graders this year.
- @kelalford we use it to create grade level tests.
- @dmantz7 I like using Google Apps for Education because it can be integrated into Moodle. Also add Creately (mind mapping) to GAE domain.
- @jenroberts1 5 ways I use docs in an English class and 5 tips to make that easier: http://tinyurl.com/28wpje2
- @techmunoz #edtech I love google apps–forms, because it makes it so easy to create a quick assessment that you can embed or email 2 stdnts.
- @soltauheller we use googledocs to create surveys then to look at graphs that are produced – we can send the link to anyone we like
- @soltauheller have also used it to do collaborative unit planning with other teachers
- @bandlady All my students use google docs & presentations; so easy to share #edchat #edtech
- @coreygin Some reasons for Google apps: Simple, accessible, available anywhere anytime using any computer. And best of all: Free!
- @oh_the_places Used Gdoc for students to write collaborative letters – requesting info/decision from principal, parent letters, etc.
- @mtrump Too many ways to list in 140 characters
- @shfarnsworth #edtech #edchat – communal lesson plans that all teachers, study hall teachers, subs, at-risk teachers can access on google docs!
- @pughamy accessible, collaborative, community of resources #edchat #edtech #googleapps
- @pmcash Use anywhere, collaboration, FREE #edtech#edchat
- @jasonschimdt123 I want it for the communication and collaboration tools. I use GApps in my class, spoof it with a class email acct.
- @doremigirl Project assessment http://ht.ly/28KAi; teachers using GDoc to brainstorm curr ideas, sharing folders for diff classes GSites 4 Ss
- @wmchamberlain cloud based is nice, plenty of apps that allow them to be worked on locally too. Easy to share and collaborate with.
- @mtrump I share several G-calendars out of many with key people so they know if I’m in meetings or PD, etc. Integrates w/ Outlook Cal. if needed.
- @mtrump And collaborative editing on G-Docs = priceless! Teachers use for PLC planning….
- @mtrump Also use G-forms for instant surveys and assessment of classes/school/district. See the forms on http://bit.ly/dltTkg – they link to SSheet
- @thnorfar editing collaboratively-google apps
- @franze98 1 thing i liked over exchange (besides cost) was the more granular options for e-mail groups
- @marcellarepp I love igoogle-It is a great, quick way to organize all my websites I enjoy&areas that I want to keep connected with everyday.
- @carolgau Google docs – st collaborate and create rubrics, st make presentations for class
- @ariellehg multiple students take notes in a google doc using different colors focusing on different things ie: numbers, vocab, stories…
- @rosengo I have students use Google Pres for collaborative Socials presentations about Mesopotamia and Early Homonids. #edchat #edtech
- @MrA47 I use google docs with my students to go paperless. We are creating spreadsheets now and charting survey results
- @rkiker I use all the Google Tools b/c of simplicity, reliability, global access,and collaboration. Not sure why I wouldn’t use them.
Here are my reasons why I use Google Apps in K12 Education:
- Unified communication for all staff members using tools such as video chat, email, docs, wikis, and shared calendars.
- Growing list of available apps through Google Marketplace.
- Empowering users to contribute to the knowledge database using sites and docs.
- Access anywhere and anytime.
- Postini services provides strong mail filtering capabilities.
- Uses Google search engine for all our applications. Simpler to find information and hard to find emails.
- No servers to manage.
- Scalability of users is simple.
- Capability to combine multiple domains under one management interface. Schools can separate teacher and student domains.
- Google Docs editing on the go using mobile technologies is now available.
Since I wrote about the concept of #EduIT back in January, it has definitely sparked interest from both the information technology folks and teachers/edtech specialists who integrate technology in their instruction. With the growing role of technology in both the operations and instructional side of schools, the communication between IT & teachers has become more important than ever. I want to thank the following people (http://tweepml.org/23EduIT/) for being part of this conversation and I hope we continue to get more teachers and technology administrators to join the discussion.
Blog posts that formed my thoughts on #EduIT:
Over the past few months on Twitter, I have seen several blog posts regarding issues between teachers and school technology administrators. Majority of the posts come from teachers and edtech specialists expressing frustration that information technology administrators don’t get their instructional needs. In almost every post, a rebuttal comment from IT admins spark animated discussions back and forth. They are great discussions and it only supports my vision for a growing need of education information technology hybrid specialists.
On Twitter, I see many teachers and edtech professionals “geeking” out, and conversely, I see many IT admins participating on teacher #edchats. There is interest in both worlds, and until we have EdIT degrees and certifications, the #EduIT hashtag is the closet you will get to a hybrid world. Join “education” minded Information Technologists & “geeked-out” EdTech Specialists, in this resourceful best tech practices forum that tackles current and next generation K12 infrastructures.
This is a compilation of the most valuable resources and links I have either shared or received from my PLN on Twitter (January – April 15th):
Information Technology Related Tweets
- Role of ICT coordinator in 21st century schools http://bit.ly/aYkX6u
- Reading up on Really Linux to setup K-12 Linux Terminal Server http://www.reallylinux.com
- Creating Webinars Using Open Source Software http://ow.ly/1wAXk
- Windows 7 Deployment Best Practices http://bit.ly/aayumn
- Workplace Learning: Developing Effective Teams http://bit.ly/c2iAEE
- Here’s a K12 example of Live@edu in the UK: http://bit.ly/ascp1D
- Google Gmail vs. hosted Microsoft Exchange http://bit.ly/aze0Xu
- There is an entire section on Infrastructure in the NETP [pdf] http://bit.ly/at7u1B pg. 51-62
- Google Apps Education vs. Microsoft Live@Edu http://bit.ly/ayV5KQ
- Free Open-Source Software For Windows http://ow.ly/1bsIb
- How to migrate from MSFT Exchange 2003 to Google Apps Education http://bit.ly/7SuEAR
- Google Apps Education “How To” Screencasts http://bit.ly/8Bgvwz
- New CTO guidelines issued for schools http://bit.ly/aRh0mY
- Developing a School or District Technology Plan http://ow.ly/Vvay
- Friday Institute for Educational Innovation featuring state of the art school technology infrastructures http://ow.ly/UZ2j
- Technology plans and ERate http://bit.ly/5uSXwG
- 8 Ways Cloud Computing May Change Schools http://bit.ly/IJQYd
Educational Technology Related Tweets
- List of iPod touch educational apps for K1-12 http://bit.ly/68ZUPr
- Building safe digital communities http://www.digizen.org/
- Freeware screen video capture software Record video from screen for free http://bit.ly/bwsTKy viawww.diigo.com/~dmantz7
- Pixorial – Online video editor with your own private screening room w/real-time comments http://bit.ly/183pOx
- 5000 pieces of classic literature available on iTunesU via Univ of South Florida COE http://ow.ly/1rfgI
- Thorough Internet Safety Lesson Unit http://bit.ly/9cwozg
- The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book http://bit.ly/9efxSe
- Thank you all for sharing edu site where no email is needed by students, here are the links so far: http://bit.ly/aNMguC
- COSTP http://www.opensourcetext.org
- The frontpage of newspapers from all over the world:http://bit.ly/2xXBkO
- Edmodo presentation you can use for prof dev http://bit.ly/72OJ7Z
- 100 Coolest #Science Experiments on YouTube – X-Ray Technician Schools http://ow.ly/15Qmq
- Buck Institute for Education: http://www.bie.org/ Project-Based Learning Professional Development.
- Gesture-Based Computing made it on the 2010 Horizon Report. http://ow.ly/XmJ3
- What Are the Top-10 Ed Tech Priorities for 2010? http://is.gd/6haf4
- Check out the EdTech conference calendar http://ow.ly/W9Xh
- You can download entire video tutorial library of Google#Sketchup: http://ow.ly/VDfo
- Socratic Approach to Character Education:http://bit.ly/5BqAwZ
- Children and Electronic Media Report: http://bit.ly/55cnBC
- Excellent resource with research and analysis about policies and programs for children. http://futureofchildren.org
When I wrote about the Boiling Frog EdTech Metaphor post, I felt compelled to ask the following question to my PLN members on Twitter: What are some pitfalls and mistakes EdTech trainers make when evangelizing technology to our wide spectrum of teachers? This post is not intended to tell people what to do because every situation is quite unique. Rather I wanted to make aware of what fellow edtech colleagues think about why it is difficult to reach some of our reluctant teachers. Thanks to all who contributed below. Please leave a comment here or mention @socratech and I will gladly add your thoughts to this growing list.
- @Oh_the_Places Mistakes – not following up one on one; not knowing the tech level of ur teachers
- @Oh_the_Places Thinking like a teacher not a techie. How easy will the tech be to learn and use. Specific ex of how to integrate w curriculum
- @EdTechSandyK Also badmouthing or blaming the technical folks when something doesn’t work, is blocked, etc. Not being team players.
- @EdTechSandyK Making teachers feel guilty if they aren’t already using tech or new tool. Should show possibilities and benefits instead.
- @edtechsteve the biggest mistake trainers make is forgetting the realities of classroom teaching.
- @jgmac1106 Last mistake 4 now:short-term vision. Using outside consultants 4 whole staff instead of 4 building capacity among tchr ldrs
- @jgmac1106 Another coomon mistake. Not differentiating learning 4 tchrs. some need tool intro, next cool tools, next changing curriculum
- @jasontbedell Also, start by showing them that it can work with their students without being too difficult, not that it does a neat trick.
- @jasontbedell Don’t try to sound smart. Teachers get intimidated easily and their eyes glaze over. Go at their pace, even if it means crawling.
- @jgmac1106 biggest prblm is starting with the tools and not content or change. Its look at this fancy widget instead of learning #edtech
- @megbg76 assuming basic skills are known to all. ie “opening a new window” does not mean what it sounds like
- @MrKeenan Assuming everyone has an interest in adding tech to their practice is a big one.
- @franze98 good points, i find it difficult to gage audience understanding of concepts. i also find teachers to b bad students when w/ peers
- @mswanson Nothing other than watching there eyes roll in the back of their head or just the confused look.
Blog Post: Technology – It’s About the Teachers, Not the Tools by Oh_the_Places
Yesterday, I gave a professional development session on how to tweet at conferences? I spent most of the session focusing on the “how” and did a poor job on explaining the “why” behind Tweeting. As a reflective teacher, I wanted to follow up my session by providing a list of reasons why a teacher would want to tweet at conferences. To illustrate my point about Twitter, I asked the question this morning on my feed and I was fortunate to receive feedback from many PLN members. Here is a compilation of their posts. Thank you to all who contributed to the “reason” list.
- @jasontbedell A Twitter backchannel can help influence the way that a conference progresses, for better or worse.
- @slopez1 To help keep notes, ideas or online resources all in one place #edtech #edchat that is why I tweet at conferences
- @CoachB0066 to share ideas/thoughts w others attndng, also some presenters will use a hashtag to receive immediate feedback #edchat
- @megbg76 discuss and share ideas with others present as well as those not present. It broadens the experience, leads to deeper synthesis
- @SimpleK12 Off top of head: 1.) share w/ peers 2.) continue to build PLN 3.) connecting w/ more ppl once u see who else is tweeting
- @SimpleK12 also when teaching students we ask them to do things over and in different ways. Repeating info in a tweet is a learning tool
- @SimpleK12 we just did that fron a conference…think you will get inspiration from our blog regarding the conference: www.IHeartEdTech.com
- @Oh_The_Places A chance for real time reflection and discussion w attendees that is not possible during conference presentation #edtech #edchat
- @rstoup To teach others.
- @bjnichols Tweeting at a conf. allows you 2 connect, share thoughts, ask questions in real time. 21st cent. learning is anytime, anywhere.
- @teachntech00 to get the word out! it allows you to share the ideas with a wide audience! #edchat #edtech
- @mom2preteens Yesterday I wanted 2 tweet @ a wrkshop bcuz my PLN knew more than presnter & I had ?s.#edtech
- @mom2preteens I tweeted 1 ques from my phone & had answer in less than minute. #edtech
- @novemberMonster Because it’s less rude than shouting across the room. Also, one way info is so 1990s.
- @cpoole27 by tweeting during a conference allows you to get input from people globally as opossed to confines of the conf. alone
- @jgmac1106 It provides a channel for those fellow staff unable to attend. Acts as a metacognitive tool during presentations #edtech
- @kunami10 tweeting during your conference gives you an online place to store your notes. No clunky notebooks or lost papers!
- @cnansen Why should people Tweet when they are at a conference? Here’s why - http://tinypaste.com/d0f50
- @msmithpds to share with me what you are learning!
- @Russauntry so I can follow in England! #edchat
To supplement what everyone else wrote above, here are my reasons to Tweet at a conference.
- Differentiate learning
- Archive all your thoughts for future use
- Connect with teachers you probably would never talk to at the conference. (maybe you will after connecting through Twitter)
- Reflect on your sessions immediately after it is over rather than waiting to discuss at a later date.
- Connect with others in the world that share your thoughts and reflections.
- Our students are learning through social networking.
- Share valuable resources in real time
- Everyone has a voice. Imagine if everyone asked questions during a session, the session would never end. Why end the session at the time allotted. It allows continuation of the session for as long as needed.
- Everyone has a voice part 2. Not everyone will talk during sessions. Lets give them another avenue to communicate their thoughts.
- There are many 3rd party apps that allow surveys, graphs, and polls for more feedback.
- You can start the pre-conference chatter.
- In my opinion, you will see majority of professional development move to this environment in the next 5 years.