Connected Educators A-Z: F is for Face to Face

Conferences and meetings have always been places where people could go to learn. At conferences you hear of new concepts, design new strategies, learn a skill. In today’s web enriched environment though, we can do all of those things online. We attend webinars, tweet, and Linkin. We email, Facebook, skype and chat. We can learn online easily and explore topics in depth.

So why attend conferences face to face?  To meet people face to face, to hear their stories, to build relationships. To quote this piece by Sr. Geralyn in the VFLR blog. If we are to provide well for the learning of today’s students we need to

Broaden their vision with your understanding of their world. If that world is way beyond your knowledge, leverage some assistance from another educator.

Just listen to these young adults as they discuss the benefits of Face to Face talk below.

As educators, it is important for us to discern how to best support all new and innovative venues for learning – to make online learning, educational uses of technology AND face to face learning the best it can be!

As powerfully as the tools of today can provide learning and forge connections, face to face gatherings

 can deepen our learning and partnerships.

An upcoming conference is planned in Philadelphia and is hosted by Powerful Learning Practice. The agenda is packed with inspiring speakers and collaborative opportunities for educators. This can be just the place to talk with connected educators from all over the world.

Having the opportunity to meet and greet innovative and passionate educators does not come along every day.  I’m happy to be part of the planning team for this conference. I look forward to connecting with other educators there – face to face!
PLP Live 2012 - Friday September 28 - Philadelphia

Connected Educators A to Z: E is for Evaluation








14 Resources for Needs Assessments and Evaluations

In bringing the benefits of technology to education and indeed to any organization, needs assessments and surveys are a valuable tool for School CIOs and school leaders. These can work hand in hand with your school plans and technology plans. Both in the planning stages and during implementation, surveys can provide you with valuable feedback which can lead you to the goals you envision.

Seeking input and feed back is essential to the success of any initiative. This survey feedback can act as a ‘GPS’ telling you where you are currently and what you need to do to get to your destination. Your school or district technology plan is your map. Needs assessments and surveys can get you on the right path and keep you there.

These assessments can look at both classroom technology and overall technology needs in your school or district. Below are some resources for this purpose

Note: These resources have been updated, August 2012

Topics for Assessment – Consider Survey Topics

  • Technology Integration
  • Tech Support and Equipment
  • Communications
  • Professional Development
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Digital Learning and Skills
  • Lesson Planning for 21st Century Learning
  • Emerging Technology, New Ideas

Framework & Assessment Instruments – Below are some existing Surveying Guides and Instruments

Create Your Own – Ways to Customize to Your School/District Needs

  • TIMTechnology Integration Matrix created by the University of Southern Florida – Matrix which has been a model for other states and schools
  • Framework – Base it on given frameworks such as ISTE’s Nets, P21 or other frameworks
  • Local Vision – Base it on current school/district vision and other existing plans such as Technology plans

Tools to Use – Sampling of Available Online Tools

  • Clarity – Brightbytes tool for assessing educational technology. Provides recommendations in easy to use formats for schools, boards. Graphical representation of results. New and dynamic. Ask for a tour.
  • ZoomerangSurvey Tool – Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Survey MonkeySurvey Tool – Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Google Docs – Google Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
  • Loti – Loti Survey – Administrative and Teacher Available

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Connected Educators A to Z: C is for Connecting

C is for Connecting

Connected Educators Creed

“Be both a leader AND a follower, teacher AND student. Learn from people who inspire you AND inspire others with your boldness. Lead with conviction AND be prepared to change direction. Walk an authentic path AND inspire others to walk theirs. A leader is anyone willing to grow and change and live out loud.”




I saw this quote online today via communications specialist Randi Thompson. It really struck me as a quote that applies to connected educators everywhere. Whether twittering, in online forums, webinars, or any number of venues I see this is a great mantra for connected educators!

In order to allow people at all levels of your organization to lead, they have to be empowered to do so. Allowing new forms of learning and connecting is key to any school or organization today.

  • Do teachers have access to tools for connecting?  Computers, tablets
  • Is the internet connection free of overblocking of sites?
  • Does professional development time allow for learning and exploring new web tools?
  • Is mentorship encouraged?
  • Are successes shared regularly?
  • Do policies support collaborative tools such as Twitter, Wikispaces and more?

The more we can empower educators to connect online for their professional benefit and for that of their students, the more we are the light that is needed in education today.



Connected Educators A to Z: A is for Aspire

Many think that opening the doors of your classroom can be a key to making your students shine. What do you think?

On August 1st, the US Department of Education kicked off Connected Educator month, As Karen Cator states, ‘our ability to share approaches and explore new opportunities is essential to transforming education and improving student learning’.

For the month, I’ll be doing a A to Z series focusing on Empowering the Connected Educator.

A is for Aspire.

Why Makes Educators Aspire to Connect?

They read, blog, tweet, chat and skype. They connect with others around the globe using the latest Web 2.0 tools. They form twitter chats and conduct teacher sponsored edcamp professional development. Much of this is done on their own time for no pay. They want to make their classroom alive with ideas. They want to make sense of the rapidly changing technologies at hand and find ways to use them for student success. They find grades partner and colleagues online and make meaningful learning occur for both themselves and for their students.

I like how Maureen Devlin said it when I asked the question on twitter –





How Can School Leaders Empower Teachers?

During Connected Educator Month, educators everywhere are discussing best practices and collaborating online. They are talking about what it means to be a connected educator.

  1. Share the Connected Educator resources with faculty and colleagues.
  2. Join in! Explore the calendar and follow it on twitter at #ce12. Connecting with others allows us to learn and grow.
  3. Read about the impact that connected educators are having such as noted by Jeff Goldstein and here on TechConnects
  4. Aspire to be a connected leader who encourages and equips learners with all they need

I am passionate about innovative learning and empowering today’s leaders. In my work as a Technology Specialist and a K-12 district Technology Director, I have seen collaborative teamwork provide essential support to educators seeking to achieve the best for their students. As connected educators aspire with passion to bring the best of today’s learning into their classrooms they will tell you that they see real and true benefits to their own practice.  As they aspire for professional excellence in building their connections, it is our students who stand to benefit the most.

7 Resources for Attending ISTE12 Virtually

For the first time in many years, I will not be attending one of my favorite conferences –  the ISTE conference.

During that week, on the opposite coast, I’ll be teaching a one week course in an Educational Leadership graduate program locally.

In exploring ways to connect and learn along with passionate educators on the opposite coast at ISTE I wondered:

How can I connect virtually? What resources are best for others wishing to do the same? What resources can be shared with my classroom so that they can connect with some of the ideas at ISTE12?

This year’s theme for ISTE is Expanding Horizons. This theme is a perfect tie in for connecting virtually!


7 Resources for Attending ISTE Virtually

  1. Twitter – If you are not on twitter, sign up for a twitter account. If you are new to twitter, access this Twitter Handbook for Teachers created by those at Powerful Learning Practice.   It contains ‘how to’ resources, basics guides and a list of twittering educators which you can follow and also join. My virtualiste12 twitter list will be located here.
  2. Hashtag #ISTE12 – Follow the hashtag for the conference. Lists will connect you with a certain group but following the hashtags will give you a wide range of results and resources as you will see results from anyone using the hashtag.  If you use the application Tweetdeck to access Twitter, you can create easy to follow columns for any list, search term or hashtag. To connect with others attending virtually use the hashtags #iste12 #virtual or #virtualiste12
  3. ISTE Ning – Join the ISTE 2012 ning. Create a group there or join a few.
  4. Full Program Guide – Read about the sessions, posters and events. Shared presentation materials are linked here. At the main site, you will also find news feeds, video clips and other updates.
  5. Google Reader – Set up a Google Reader account to follow bloggers at ISTE. By following  ISTE Unplugged you will be able to find blogs to add to your reader. ISTE has a blogger list you can access or join too.
  6. Mobile AppsISTE Mobile App has a list of standards and the ISTE Connects Blog, ISTE12 Conference App lists sessions and more.
  7. ISTE Remote – ISTE has a pay option which provides access to certain sessions. See the schedule here

About the ISTE Conference

Sponsored by the International Society of Technology in Education, the ISTE Conference draws close to 20,000 people and is the gathering place for scores of educational technology enthusiasts.

Educators gather to discuss new trends, to talk about what works what does not. Sessions explore best practice and emerging trends. The vendor floor is full of product samples and representatives ready to answer your every question.

Most importantly, it is a fantastic place to connect with people. That is what makes it great. ISTE is about the people – the passionate educators and educational supporters who bring the best of today’s learning strategies to our classrooms.

Though you may feel like a fish out of water not being at ISTE in San Diego, happily you can explore it before, during and after virtually! Taking advantage of virtual learning is more doable than ever before. Connecting with educators around the world is a lesson in 21st Century learning in and of itself!

This list is a beginning. What other resources would you add?

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” Carl Rogers”


Related Posts

Online Options for Professional Learning

This post is cross posted at SchoolCIO a division of Tech and Learning Magazine.

Web Tools Picks – June 2012

In working with technology, we have a seemingly never ending array of web based tools for doing our work. In working recently with teachers, I gathered a selection of top used classroom tools. Though these teachers are Business and Technology teachers at the high school level, these tools are broadly applicable to many classrooms or for organizational use.

Feel free to use these presentations with your teachers or contact me for more information. I’m happy to assist your organization or school either face to face or virtually as you explore technology for teaching and learning.

All resources posted to this wiki.

Below is a selection of tools used with teachers in February. There are some favorites that many find very valuable and will be found in both selections.