Sunday, October 27, 2013

#EdCampOnline Experience 10-26-13 #ce13

Yesterday I had the exciting opportunity to participate in the first ever EdCamp to be held online. If you are not familiar with EdCamps, they differ from traditional professional development experiences in that they are organized by the participants on the day of the event. This EdCamp video gives a brief introduction to EdCamps, and this TEDxPhiladelphia talk by Kristen Swanson gives a much more in-depth story of how the EdCamp movement came to be and what it seeks to provide to educators.

I have watched many EdCamps from afar by following their hashtags on Twitter while they are taking place, but have never had the opportunity to participate in one in person myself. I am excited that EdCamp Austin is coming to my area very soon, but I was also pumped when I heard about EdCamp Online and registered for it right away. After being a part of yesterday's event, I am even more excited about the in-person experience I will be having in just a couple of weeks!

To preserve the experience, I created a Storify using the Tweets I sent out during EdCamp Online. They include general getting organized Tweets, information from the session on engagement in online learning that I took part in, and the wrap-up. Also included is evidence of some technical issues that were bound to happen with a large endeavor like this one.  I've embedded the Storify slide show below so you can see what my experience was like. You can also click here to view the Storify in a different format. 

I hope it will help inspire you to take part in an EdCamp experience at your first opportunity!

NOTE: When Storify shut down in May, 2018, I exported my Storify collections to Wakelet. Below is the original collection of Tweets I saved during Edcamp Online in 2013, now hosted on Wakelet.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Favorite Videos For Describing Educators' Professional Use of Twitter

A snapshot of the information flowing
through my Twitter stream today.
I have been actively using Twitter for professional learning for a little over four years. It has become my most valuable professional learning resource during that time.

As a result of the tremendous value I've gotten from it, I've written about and presented on Twitter quite a few times. You would think that based on my extensive use of the tool and the number of times I've presented formally on it, words which describe its value and use would trip easily off of my tongue. You would be wrong.

I am often at a loss for words when I am trying to briefly describe Twitter as a learning tool. Especially to someone who is highly skeptical of "that Twitter thing" anyway or who has only ever used Twitter to follow celebrities and friends for social purposes. For whatever reason, I have difficulty with the initial task of helping them see Twitter for the powerful learning tool it can be when used specifically for that purpose.

Fortunately, I am not alone in my quest to convince others of the value of Twitter for professional learning! There are many educators out there who are passionate about spreading the word, and a few of them have made videos which help me compensate for lacking in the ability to initially describe what the heck using Twitter for professional learning looks like.

In case you are ever in the position of trying to describe Twitter for personalized professional development, here are my favorite videos for introducing Twitter to teachers. I find that after sharing videos like these, I am able to better move the conversation forward and share tips for finding and sharing quality content on Twitter. I hope these videos are helpful to you as well!

The Videos

Twitter in D123 - A professionally done video by a school district, showing how staff members including teachers, tech coaches, administrators, and the superintendent use Twitter for professional growth. I love this video because it is under 2 1/2 minutes long and serves as a good intro to discussing Twitter.

Twitter in D123 from OLHD123 on Vimeo.

Re-Imagine Your Professional Development Experience...With Twitter! - Created by elementary technology teacher and edtech graduate student Victoria Olson, this video gives a wonderful overview of the use of Twitter for PD. As I write this post, this video is only a week old. I came to know about it because Victoria asked permission to use a graphic I had created in her video. I particularly like how Victoria breaks down three stages of Twitter participation into the Lurker, the Participant, and the Author. I love, love, love this video, and I can't wait to use it with educators who want to know more about Twitter!

Why Tweet? A Personal Journey Through the Twitterverse - University of Alaska professor Skip Via  created this video a couple of years ago to address what he saw as resistance to use Twitter for professional learning among higher education faculty. I relate to this video because it describes an experience similar to mine, where I left Twitter after trying it for the first time because I just didn't get it. Dr. Via also incorporates some graphics in his video which help explain how the connections you make on Twitter expand your scope of learning and influence.

Obvious to You, Amazing to Others - This video is not directly about Twitter, but I like to show it before the end of every gathering where I discuss Twitter for professional learning. From my earliest days of teaching, I never understood why I had to go ask other teachers for ideas all of the time. I would see evidence of projects they were doing with their students, wonder about them, and then just march right in and ask if I could know more. The teachers were never reluctant to share, but I always had to ask first. I exposed my own students to numerous impactful learning opportunities because of those conversations. This video helped me understand; we do things because they are obviously smart/right/good to us, but don't think it's worth sharing them with others because they make so much sense to us. Educators often wonder what they have to offer to other educators via Twitter (or any other medium). I use this video to help convince them to just share what they are already doing, because the rest of us need to know.

Now It's Your Turn!

Please take time to share in the comments below any other videos you have used when talking with educators about Twitter. Or, share a way that one of the videos above was helpful to you!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Create Short Animated Videos for Learning With the Tellagami App

Through a teacher and an educational technologist in my school district, I've recently discovered the Tellagami app for creating short animated videos. The video below is only the third Gami (the app maker's term for a finished product) which I have created. I was able to learn the app very quickly this weekend in preparation for introducing it to secondary fine arts teachers from my school district this morning. I won't take time in this post to teach you how to use Tellagami, because the app gives you a very nice tutorial the first time you launch it. There are also good instructions included on the Tellagami website. 

Check out my Gami (it's only 26 seconds!), then scroll down to learn more about what I like about the app and some ways I think it could potentially be used in teaching and learning.

What I Like About Tellagami

  • The app is free  for both iOS and Android mobile devices, which makes it ideal for both 1:1 and BYOD learning environments. I created the Gami above on my Galaxy Note II Android smartphone.
  • You do not need to create an account to use Tellagami.
  • The app has a few choices for customizing your avatar, which helps keep a focus on the final outcome of the product.
  • There are a few backgrounds to choose from in the app, but you can also doodle your own background,  select a photo stored in the photo library on your device, or take a photo while you are creating the Gami to use as a background.
  • There is an option to directly record your voice or type what the avatar says and let Tellagami add the speech with a computerized voice.
  • The maximum length of a Gami is 30 seconds, which lends itself to succinctness.
  • There are numerous ways to save your Gami, including directly to your device as a QuickTime (iOS) or MP4 (Android) or sending a link by email without saving to your device.
    • An advantage of sending by email without saving is your Gami gets uploaded to the web, and you get a link that you can Tweet or share on Facebook or in a text message. You can follow the link to get an embed code if you want to post the Gami on a website. This is the procedure I used to add the Gami above to this blog post.
    • An advantage of saving the Gami to your device is you can then upload the movie file to a website of your choice such as YouTube or a blog. Here is the Gami I created as a demo during a fine arts teacher inservice this morning, saved as a a file to my iPad, and then uploaded to YouTube.

Ideas for Using Tellagami in Teaching and Learning

  • Any teacher or staff member could create a Gami to add to their website or blog with a brief welcome/introduction message.
  • A foreign language teacher at one of our high schools lets students speak via Gami because it is less intimidating than standing up in front of the class.
  • Create a public service announcement (PSA) on a health, wellness, or safety topic.
  • Create a book teaser/trailer to get peers or students interested in reading a book.
  • Explain a problem, process, or procedure. This Gami uses a screen shot created with the Educreations app to explain a math procedure.
  • Create a news report recounting the important facts of a current or historical event.
  • A possible advanced use could include recording several 30 second Gamis and then editing them together into a longer video. This might be a way to get students to create a collaborative presentation, with each student recording a Gami for their part.

What Other Ideas Do You Have?

Have you used Tellagami before or had an idea spark from the examples above? If so, please share your ideas in the comments, and please include links to any Gamis you have posted on the web!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

LMS & CMS Discussion - #TECSIG Fall 2013 Breakout Session

Some CMS/LMS systems districts are using:

  • Moodle
  • Schoology
  • Edmodo
  • Project Share Epsilen
  • iTunes U
  • Blackboard Collaborate
  • Blackboard - U of H Clear Lake
  • Desire2Learn
Administratively difficult to use multiple systems at university level. In K-12 also difficult.

If you work for a university or school district, who owns a course you create? If you put it together on your own time and are not compensated extra for the development, is it yours or your employer's?

If teachers put together a course with no editor, there is no quality control. Teachers may not have all of the skills they need to do online instructional design. Also, once the course is built, links go dead or change or become outdated. Continued design is a huge time investment.

Is there a need for dedicated online course instructional designers in K-12 education?
  • Consistent look and feel? (Unified design)
  • Deep understanding of the LMS/CMS and how it works.
  • Keep course content updated
Do K-12 schools need courses completely delivered online? Is the cost to develop worth the need? (homebound, credit recovery, acceleration)

In K-12, CMSs fill a blended learning niche more than than a fully online learning niche.
  • Lewisville ISD is doing a two day in person/three day online model with a group of students and students are seeing benefits.
Teaching online courses is a lot of work. It is a bigger time investment to design and implement online courses than in person courses. This is woefully misunderstood by administrators and teachers.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Effective Coaching - #TECSIG Fall 2013 Breakout Session

Does anyone have a model where core teachers have extra off periods for technology coaching?

  • One district has that model but for core area coaching (not technology)
  • Another district pays a stipend to classroom teachers to be first-line support to teachers in addition to their teaching duties. 
  • Another district has an on campus person who has a stipend and also core content specialists who teach two classes but use the rest of the time for coaching other teachers. At district level, now focus on building capacity in the core content specialists instead of working directly with teachers. Meet with content specialists and try to help them prepare for the next two weeks at school.
Another model - District-level coaches go to campuses and teach a class for teachers while they observe.

Another district shared they have six district-level people and prefers this over liaisons because there is inconsistency in a campus-based person's ability to devote time to the job. Campus based personnel are also more likely to be given campus duties such as covering classes, organizing science fair, creating and sending newsletters, etc.

Definite tension between coaches being fix-it people and instructionally focused repeated across school districts.
  • Decision trees for whom to contact in what kinds of situations
  • Use the 10 minute rule - if it's going to take more than 10 minutes for a fix, it's a technician problem
  • Sometimes it's your instructional coaches who have the problem saying no
  • Great resource from Brenham ISD:

Changing what PD looks like: Would challenge based learning opportunities help with building capacity in to teachers who are already constrained for time? Could this be done in a blended or fully online space?

Apple has an online SAMR assessment survey (FREE) that will help teachers self-assess where they are in their technology learning. People are notoriously bad at assessing their own skills, however.

Bright Bytes Clarity for Schools - Not free, but allows teachers, students, parents, and administrators to assess where they are in tech integration. Region 11 has purchased this for all of their schools. Identifies gaps and offers solutions. Look for info videos on Vimeo.

How can we stimulate binge learning? (Similar to binge viewing of videos on Netflix.)

  • Appy Hours
  • Potlucks
Be models of growth, not perfection.
  • Share your own stories of how you learned something. Ex: Coach shares she used to take a picture of how her IWB was set up so when the cables got rearranged she could hook it back up herself.

Provide incentives for attending PD. Ex: Tech Bucks you can save up to purchase technology items. (Ann D. had this idea.)

Speed Geeking - Get some teachers who will share a snipit of something they are doing in their classroom. Set up in stations (Ex: in library) and have other teachers rotate through the stations for 10 minutes.

Book study recommendation for tech coaches - ISTE's Technology Facilitation and Leadership Standards

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Device Implementation - #TECSIG Fall 2013 Breakout Session

Participants & Their Questions:

Sandy Kendell, EdTech Coordinator in a 4A District - We have implemented one iPad for every teacher K-12 and we are rolling out BYOD grades 6-12.
  • How do you manage iPads efficiently while still giving individual users latitude with their devices?
Bruce Ellis, Director of PD TCEA, former Director in a LARGE URBAN district.
  • Questions: iPad management at a distance, tweaking the conflict between using them as shared devices vs. 1:1.
  • Information on implementing Android
Anonymous Inst Tech Coordinator from a Fast Growing suburban school district. Implementing 1:1 for 3rd through 12th grade students. Not committted to a device yet. Evaluating what to do PK-2. 3rd - 5th in Spring and 6th - 12th in Fall. 6-12 will take home.
  • How do we go about doing this? Procedures? Would like to visit with people who've done it successfully.
Millie from a small rural CenTex district. 1:1 with Macs in HS. 4th year. 7th & 8th also one to one but don't take home. PK-6 sharing iPad carts. All teachers have Mac Books. PK- 6 teachers all have iPads too.
  • Just moved in to new elementary schools. Teachers have had Windows laptops. They are getting Macbooks on Monday morning and need training! 
  • Teachers will have two "computers" in the classroom. What device should it be? What do they want it to do?
Molly Valdez, San Antonio ISD. Did a Kindle Fire deployment last year. Good but kinks. Students liked the size of the Kindle.
  • Anyone else using that device?
Mark Gabehart, Round Rock ISD - Forming a tablet committee to develop specs on what they want tablets to be able to do to support curriculum and teacher efforts.
  • How do you go about supporting a variety of tablets in your school district?
Joel Adkins, Pleasanton ISD - Just here to help answer questions! :-) Policy is now not writing policies. Any device is supported!

Tim Holt - El Paso ISD - multiple roll outs - iPads, Chromebooks, BYOD, a stew of things happening in the district.
  • How do you keep a balance in the control without losing purpose?
Tanna Fiske - @fiskeclass on Twitter - EdTech from Eanes ISD - Fully 1:1 K-12. Has done cart scenario in past as a classroom teacher. Just wants to see where everyone is.

Timn Yenca - @mryenca on Twitter - EdTech from Eanes ISD. Looking at different MDM solutions for 1:1. Anticipating Apple's MDM solution coming in Fall.

Bryan Fuqua - Robinson ISD Tech Director - All teachers have iPads, BYOD at jr. high and high school. Different carts all over the place. Exploring 1:1.
  • How have others decided on what device to go with? Who all had input? Staff? Teachers? Community?
Caleb Basinger - Systems Engineer with Apple, here to help!

  • Have heard New Braunfels ISD has gone 1:1 iPads and are a very good resource.
  • Eanes ISD does site visits. Includes teachers panels and technical information. Try to share their successes.
  • Belton ISD - 1:1 iPads and Chromebooks. They do scheduled tours
  • iPad Carts vs. Small Pods of iPads in classrooms - In Sandy's opinion (a few people agreed), pods of iPads are more robustly used because teachers have consistent access.
    • A shared cart often winds up being monopolized by one or two teachers
  • Another option is an iPad Cart shared and dedicated to each classroom on the grade level for six weeks or another specific type of time.
  • Security - Joel's district blocks porn, gambling, and murder. Keep it flexible so tech is not an obstacle to prevent teachers from being flexible in the classroom.
  • Basic image on iPads, then use Apple volume purchasing for teachers to customize the apps they want on their iPads. Help teachers learn how to assess apps.
  • Devices going home - not filtered by most districts. Can be pointed back to the filter on the district network by global proxy, though.
  • Kindles have been difficult to globally manage. They have to be touched.
  • Consider hiring contractors to help set up devices.
  • In elementary classrooms - iPads seem to be the device of choice.
  • Right now, it's really a browser war. Something work well in Chrome or Firefox or Explorer. Use what works for you to get the task done. - Joel Adkins
  • Don't forget bandwidth! And access points!
  • Educate your stakeholders on bandwidth.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Parent Communication in a Mobile Device Initiative - #TECSIG Fall 2013 Breakout Session

Eanes has had 67 parent meetings since starting their 1:1 initiatives 3 years ago.

Parent  Concerns:

Equity - What if all students don't have devices? - Need to assure we are helping teachers plan for that.
Distraction - What about off task behavior? Be ready for it at first, make lessons shorter. Novelty will wear off.
Screen time - Studies have shown interactive screen time is very engaging - - kids brains are changing.

How can we help educate parents also? So we can work together as a team for kids. Ex: Modeling appropriate use of technology.

What about parents who don't have access? How do we communicate with them? This is a big challenge. No big answers here.

Parent support is essential for long term financial sustainability of programs. 

Philosophical Videos for Thinking About Place of  Tech in Our Lives - tangent that came up in this session:


All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Mobile Learning in Georgetown ISD

Over the past year, the school district I work for has made tremendous strides in the realm of mobile learning. I am proud of all that our school board, administration, technology department, educational technology staff, and teachers have done and are continuing to do on a daily basis to move students' educational experience forward through integration of district-owned and student-owned mobile devices. Our Engage! initiatives are rolling right along.

And now, a peek into what's happening in GISD...

Yesterday, local ABC affiliate KVUE did a story on our grades 6-12 BYOD initiative. High school Latin teacher Mark Warren and his students were featured, as was our EdTech Coordinator Kim Garcia (my boss). They both did a great job of reperesenting the goals/purposes of the program! I think my favorite moment, though, is when one of Mark's students talks about not really getting homework anymore. See if you can catch what he says about that!

For our opening convocation earlier this year Kim put together a video montage showing what our teachers and students had accomplished in 2012-2013 with iPads that were rolling out across our district. as of the start of the 2013-2014 school year, every teacher in our district has been issued an iPad, and many campuses are bringing in small sets of iPads to use with students. Take a look at how creative our teachers were in a relatively short amount of time; the majority of teachers did not receive their iPads until mid-Spring 2013!

After posting resources and stories about other districts on this blog from time to time, it's fun to get to feature my own district and rewarding to be a part of these endeavors!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.