Techconnects

Celebrating Connections – Ed Tech In Schools

June 20, 2012
by ncara
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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 http://www.isteconference.org/2012/program/participate_remotely.php

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.

May 2, 2012
by ncara
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An Internet Minute

This is real world. See what is happening in an internet minute. To what degree do these activities this reflect what is happening in your school or work environment? Are most sites open or blocked? Do policies and discussions around effective use occur? With our world changing so rapidly, discussions around use of technology must happen often. This is the type of support we owe to students, teachers, employees.

I recently had a discussion with a group of teachers about school policy and technology. Each came from a different school. In this group most said that they knew that their school had a policy but had only seen it once if ever. Most said that they didn’t have input into technology use policies and only one recalled discussions on policies(AUPs) at a faculty meeting. They felt that in order to implement new technologies in schools they would need a better idea of the parameters were, what the policy said.

In my role as Director of Technology, K-12 for the last five years, I oversaw the development of policy around technology use in our schools. Evaluating and updating the policy on a yearly basis was a priority. The policy was a go-to document whenever an issue arose or a new technology was employed in our schools. For details on how this was done you can read more here.

What is happening at your school or workplace regarding Technology Policy and Usage? What have you found to be most effective? What would you like to see happen?

Source: intel.com via Nancy on Pinterest

Infographic by Intel.

March 15, 2012
by ncara
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Leadership Communication Tools

Communicating in today’s world requires both a new mindset and a new toolset. Like a maestro conducting a symphony, savvy leaders pay attention to the sound, the effect, the and the instruments needed to strike just the right notes.

Image by Peter Shanks

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34081640@N00/758143313

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some schools have a full time communications person. Others have none. Regardless, a school leader can set just the right tone with a good strategy and a 21st Century set of tools.

New media adds new avenues for communication. These can enhance the mode and the message yet effective communications can still be a problem. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Ron Ashkenas pointed out that even with new communications tools at hand, good communications can still be a challenge. He notes 3 areas where communications may be lacking:

3 Areas Where Communications May Fall Short:

  1. Lack of Context – People need to know why something is important
  2. Lack of Questions and Dialogue – People need to be able to question and discuss
  3. Lack of Connections – People will focus largely on how news affects them

Clearly, Communication aims, encouraging discussion and feedback and relevancy of your message can help you hit just the right otes. Technology today can help!

10 Tools for Leadership Communication

  1. Microblogging – Create an account on Twitter. Follow other administrators. Tweet out information about your school Explore use of twitter for conferences or meetings for sharing ideas.
  2. Blogging – Write frequent news updates. Follow other school leaders. Encourage and read comments. Use Google Blogger, Edublogs or create your own.
  3. Podcasting – Create audio messages for playback on web and devices. Use tools such as Audioboo, Audacity
  4. Electronic Surveys – Use Zoomerang or Survey Monkey for advanced functionality. Make quality surveys with Google Forms which is free
  5. Email – Yes email. It is still a common tools used by many. Regular timely updates seek responses and give responses in a timely fashion. HTML newsletters can be pre formatted with a consistent design to add appealing design.
  6. Learning Management System – Post easy to follow information on organization or school site to reach out to teachers and students. Google Sites and Wikispaces provide free places for sharing school or classroom information.
  7. School Website – Consistently post updates that are both engaging and informational
  8. Facebook – Use Facebook to update school community on latest school news, photos and videos
  9. Video – Use Youtube or other video sharing sites. Broadcast videos about school events
  10.  Google alerts – Set up Google Alerts to stay on top of mentions of your school and other topics of interests to school community.

If you’re a manager, part of your job is to strengthen the communication pathways to, from, and between your people. To do this effectively, take the time to provide context, encourage questions, and stay sufficiently connected to the different ways that people respond and react to messages. Ron Ashkenas, HBR

This is a list you can start with. Many effective tools exist for this purpose. Please add comments  or other suggested tools in the comments below. If you wish to tune up your School Communications Strategy, sign up for my 5 Week E-Course ‘School Communications Toolkits for School Leaders‘ offered through Powerful Learning Practice.

Related Resources:

National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators – Nets – A

Communications Checklist for School Leaders - TechConnects

Social Media As Listening Tool for School Leaders – TechConnects

One Minute School Website Check – TechConnects

School Websites with Pizzazz – TechConnects

7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Tech – TechConnects

Connected Principals – Blog

 

Excerpted on SchoolCIO by Nancy Caramanico

February 29, 2012
by ncara
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15 Ways to Support Student Work in the Cloud

 

5 Ways Students are Supported via Cloud Computing 

Below are five ways in which student learning is supported by cloud computing.

  1. Student Access – Students today should have anytime anywhere access to school work.  With cloud access, students can work at their own pace. Teachers often report teacher that students will send in assignments and responds to discussion prompts at all hours of the day and night at times most convenient to them.
  2. Student Collaboration - Easy collaboration among students is supported. Students can collaborate with others on documents and creative projects. They don’t have to wait for face-to-face time and school network connections.
  3. Teacher/Student Communication – Ease of communication is enhanced via cloud applications and school sponsored learning management systems. Example students are often more vocal in online spaces
  4. Parent access - Parent support of their children is made easier when at home or out of school access to student grades and work is made easier.
  5. Mobile Devices - From Smartphones to Tablets to Ultrabooks devices supporting cloud access are becoming commonplace.  Many devices are being released without media drives and usb drives. Cloud access is and will continue to be a ‘go to’ place of the near future.

5 Top Apps for Classroom Work in the Cloud 

The applications below offer quick and easy access anytime and anywhere via the cloud.

  1. Evernotehttp://www.evernote.com/evernote/ – Capture and annote ideas, images and more. Tag and search easily for fast retrieval. Online access across devices.
  2. Google Appshttp://www.google.com/apps/edu/students/index.html – Real-time collaboration and sharing. Full productivity applications such as Word Processing, Presentations, Forms, and Spreadsheets
  3. Dropboxhttps://www.dropbox.com - Store and share files easily. Retrieve from any device, any location.
  4. Microsoft Office Web Apps – Online access to Microsoft Office applications. Shareable and accessible.  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps/
  5. Pixlrhttp://pixlr.com/ Online image editor. Upload and edit images. Easy share across devices and platforms.

5 Research Studies on Cloud Computing in Education

The following research studies look closely  at the benefits and needs for cloud computing in education.

  1. The Horizon Report 2012 http://www.nmc.org/publications/horizon-report-2012-higher-ed-edition
  2. Pew Internet and American Life Project http://pewinternet.org/topics/Cloud-Computing.aspx
  3. CloudBook - Full list of College and University Based Cloud Computing Studies http://www.cloudbook.net/directories/research-clouds/cloud-computing-research.php
  4. Speak Up Survey 2011 – Tomorrow.org – Reports http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_reports.html
  5. National Science Foundation Report on Support for Cloud Computing  http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12040/nsf12040.pdf

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” Theodore Levitt

This post is cross-posted on the ACER Education Blog by Nancy Caramanico

February 9, 2012
by ncara
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Emerging Technologies to Watch 2012

 

The newly released 2012 Horizon Report gives us a glimpse into the classrooms of the near future. How can our schools benefit from this report? All school leaders who focus sharply on emerging technology trends can effectively plan for what students need and how schools can prepare.

Any school or organizational leader will realize by looking at the Horizon Report’s technologies list how quickly these changes are impacting our world and indeed our own lives on a daily basis. Action is needed to ready our schools and organizations for the changes ahead.

The Horizon Report has been published since 2002 and is the result of collaborative effort fostered by NMC (New Media Consortium). Released in January, it highlights emerging technology which impact teaching, research, learning and creative inquiry. A timeline is created which details when these technologies are set to have the most impact in those areas. A K-12 version is set to be released in the spring. In researching the report international educational leaders across many sectors come together. The structure of the report is a compelling one which gives us clear insight into means for implementation.  It is a must read for educators.

Image via http://www.nmc.org/news/download-communique-horizon-project-retreat

Metatrends - Horizon Report, Image from www.nmc.org

 

 

 

 

 

Main Areas of the Horizon Report

  1. Technology Trends and Timeline
  2. Key Trends
  3. Challenges

Key Trends Identified in the Horizon Report

  • Role of Educators is undergoing change in light of an abundance of resources and relationships
  • Blended learning via online programs, hybrid learning and collaborative models are taking hold
  • Working and Learning are anytime, anywhere activities
  • Cloud computing is becoming more common and IT decentralized
  • Classroom learning is becoming more active and challenge based
  • Student work is becoming more collaborative as work and learning organizations are moving to collaborative and collective models of work

Emerging Technologies List

  • Mobile Apps – One Year or Less
  • Tablet Computing – One Year or Less
  • Game Based Learning – Two to Three Years
  • Learning Analytics – Two to Three Years
  • Gesture Based Computing – Four to Five Years
  • Internet of Things – Four to Five Years

Critical Challenges

  • New Metrics for evaluation are needed in a web centric classroom
  • Digital Media literacy is an important skill in all professions
  • Traditional models of education are giving way to new modes due to economic pressures and student need
  • Resistance to change and new technology by educational institutions
  • New publishing modes such as social networks are challenging traditional research and scholarly resources putting pressure on libraries and schools to support new modes of curating scholarship

Tips for Applying the Horizon Report

  1. Distribute to Stakeholders; Parents, Teachers, Board Members and Students (html ,pdf)
  2. Involve curriculum leaders to forge connections to academic aims
  3. Form an Innovations Team
  4. Discuss Trends and Challenges. Share the Communique developed for use with the Horizon Report
  5. Explore Technologies to Watch. View Supporting data, articles and examples
  6. Seek Supporting technologies for academic and organizational goals
  7. Connect with success – Plan to visit or connect with schools applying these technologies
  8. Plan to pilot new technologies. Plan for ongoing evaluation.
  9. Review technology plans and budgets.  As technology evolves so must our plan.
  10. Keep an eye on the horizon. Continue to evaluate new developments. Follow developments and news on the Horizon Report 2012 via Facebook, Twitter #NMchz, Wiki

 Since we live in an age of innovation, a practical education must prepare one for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined.
Peter F. Drucker 

What I find most validates the importance of this study is their past reporting. Take a look back at reports from past years and you will see how on target these reports have been. School and organizational leaders are advised to take a close look at the results of this report and to take action on behalf of the population or the students they serve. Fostering a relevant, engaging learning environment in tune with today’s world is the job of visionary leaders. Keeping eyes tuned to the horizon’ will be an essential part of a transformation in tune with what is to come.

 Related Links

Emerging Technologies to Watch – 2011 on TechConnects

Horizon Retreat Wiki

 

 

Horizon Project Main Page

 

Horizon Project Navigator

COSN – Consortium for School Networking  

This post is cross-posted at School CIO

 

December 20, 2011
by ncara
0 comments

10 Resources for Assessing School Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needs Assessments

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

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

  • ZoomerangSurvey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Survey MonkeySurvey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Google DocsGoogle Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
  • Loti - Loti Survey - Administrative and Teacher Available

Related Posts

This post is cross posted by Nancy Caramanico on School CIO 
Image Flickr CC