Discovery Education Future is Now Conference – part II

New panel discussion: Creating a Culture of Change

Where do you start with staff regarding digital transformation?

The basic idea – show teachers what is possible.  When you give them a model – this could be your classroom – are you willing to do this?

Thomas Gentzel – Executive Director National School Board Association-  need to be able to ask the right question.  There are plenty of examples where initiatives haven’t worked.

What works?  Engage the community – how is technology being used in the classroom

Second – a strategic view on where the system wants to go – before purchasing equipment.

Michael Martiano – Superintendent St. Mary’s County- start with a cadre of our teachers – the level of excitement generated by early adopters spreads to other teachers.  Build that cadre of support first.

Chris Kennedy – as a district, set the high level – this is what we are about as a district.  Rather than look to pilot schools, we replicate the conversation in each school then link the schools together.

Michael Martiano – to bring this change to the system look where your money is invested – move from traditional texts to digital across the board.  I will never allow for another traditional textbook adoption

Allan Lee – superintendent Baldwin County – engage the community to see the benefits of technology – how students are learning, telling the stories of success.

Michael Martiano – sometimes we don’t take advantage to tell the stories about technology – communities need to become aware of the advantages of the digital transformation.

Thomas Gentzel – the traditional jobs are a way of the past and we need to tell the community we are preparing for the future.

Chris Kennedy – As practices change, we see improvements using the old measures – this reassures the public.  We are still doing some traditional assessment and the students are doing better.

Allan Lee – Key point – ‘I no longer have to wait to learn’. Individual students learn in a distinctly different ways.  Elementary teachers realize that the learning environment is dynamic – high school teachers need to see this.

Digital Renaissance Learning Academy – building capacity in the schools – you need a critical mass of highly qualified teachers – Baldwin County Schools

So what is the district going to do to assure success?  The decision about the device comes lst – teachers will not change unless they have the good PD that they need.

Next Speaker – Kaya Henderson Chancellor DC Schools

Demonstrating the power of blended learning.

Technology cannot replace a good teacher, however it can assist with differentiation, it can assist students to be more engaged.  Students take responsibility for their own learning.  Blended Learning allows teachers to deliver curriculum in totally new ways.

How do we encourage blended learning?

Supporting our teachers means to support teachers as they try something new.  They also have outside partners that help teachers to develop.

Creation also of blended learning feeder patterns – centers where students can focus on learning blended learning techniques.

Integrate the work into our everyday structures.  Supporting schools that are integrating technology into key subject areas.

Developing Teacher Leaders

panel host – Dr. Karen Beerer, VP Discovery Education

Dr. Gene Carter Executive Director ASCD– Leadership is inclusive.  It can be learned.  We have the opportunity to encourage teacher engagement.  We need them to sustain the energy for innovation.  Higher ed personnel have resp to prepare grads to be effective teachers; schools must provide job-embedded learning.  Teacher leadership is integral to change in schools.

Marie Izquierdo Chief Academic Officer Miami-Dade – Digital leadership model – focus on visionary teachers, innovative, willing and open to have other teachers come into their classrooms.  They are designated as model teachers that can contribute to the learning of their peers.  Very rigorous mentor-mentee teachers – has ed to a great amount of success.

Anthony Nash – Superintendent – a title does not make you a leader.  It is critical that we create an atmosphere where teachers feel free to take risks.  Teachers need to hear that change is going to be messy.

Aileen Altman Mitchell Principal – Middle school principal – many partnerships with universities, Discovery Education and other organizations.  Key formula for success – making sure teachers are empowered to be leaders.  Teachers worked in teams – focused on professional development theme of their own choosing.

Dr. John Malloy Director Hamilton Wentworth – We who lead believe that we are distributing leadership more than we are.  Do we have the right conditions for shared leadership?  Challenge – what don’t you know that people think you should?  A block can happen if we cannot be honest learners together.

How do we build a culture where teacher leadership can happen?

  • you need to create systems where teachers can collaborate and try new things.
  • we have to broaden the definition of leader so more people consider their potential
  • need to resource and support teacher who do not want to become formal leaders
  • we are learners first, leaders second
  • rust must be earned – if your behaviours go against this you will destroy any opportunities to work in tandem
  • everyone needs to learn how to learn together
  • technology at best is a tool that can facilitate good teaching.
  • Reflection, learning, and risk-taking are necessary for developing a culture of teacher leaders

Changing the PD model

English: Blended learning methodology graphic
English: Blended learning methodology graphic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Learn together and no experts needed to bring in, because leaders emerge in all conversations within a school.
  • learning can be exponential if we depend on ourselves for PD rather than to ‘wait’ for the expert
  • time is precious – can we give teachers time to collaborate with their peers during the day?  We don’t need to bring in people, just free up the schedule!
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#Futurenow final Discovery Education session today

Digital by design – integrating devices into the classroom

panel discussion summary

Allowing students to create rather than just consuming – this is important.  The desire to create is very important.  Examples – coming up with movie trailers, pitches using media – this increases the stakes because the student owns the material.

Dr. Cynthia Elsberry – As we move into the digital era, digital tools are being embedded into the curriculum.  Curriculum being built by other teachers.  (Horry County School District)

Vision Eric Williams, Superintendent York County, is to have teachers develop their own curriculum, not a centrally dictated curriculum.

Zach Leverenz – CEO Everyone ON – what happens at the end of the day.  In poorer areas, students do not have access to digital devices.  Equitable access must happen to avoid deepening the digital divide.

Brian Lewis ISTE – how do we create the environment for student to learn the technologies that don’t even exist yet?

Equitable access meant in Horry County that every student was given a device no matter the income level.

Home access is key – we need to have tools that kids can use to create new things – ie constructing boards on Discovery Education. However, we have to think how to offer the same services for everyone.  (very interesting site for Everyone On – offers $10.00 internet to families that are not connected)

Lessons learned from BYOT at York County – Eric Williams.  We have more access to devices because kids are bringing them in.  Kids who do not have devices can use those available at the school.  More of a workplace environment where people can use the device of choice.

Horry County – schools could apply for a grant from the district.  Had a huge effect on the district.  People learned off the early adopters.  Then they put a device in the hands of every child.  Gives the student that tool that will teach them how to use the technology they will need in post secondary or the workplace.

How can teachers effectively navigate this 1:1 environment?  Horry County started with blended learning.  As teachers became comfortable with a few devices in the classroom they became prepared for a 1:1 environment. Part of what we have to do is create collaborative environments where teachers feel comfortable in learning the new technologies (Brian Lewis).

Eric Williams – stop getting in teachers’ way.  Allow kids to bring in their devices and support teachers who are ready for this in their classrooms.

How do you model technology integration? Answers – does it improve the quality and impact of student work.  Another measure – SAMR – we are interested in moving people into the transformative stage of teaching.  Another measure – when you walk into the classroom who is doing most of the work, the student or the teacher?

How to build momentum to adopt technology – leaders need to model the use of technology (Eric Williams).  We can solve the problem of lack of connectivity in the home – we can solve this (in the United States) (Zach Leverenz)

Finally… Alberto Carvalho – Superintendent Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade – improved achievement rates in a disadvantaged area

There are digital wastelands across our country.  Are some students getting more access to resources than others?  Digital convergence is important because opportunity gaps lead to achievement gaps – it is a moral imperative.  To reach maximum potential – eliminate the opportunity gap.

HOW of digital convergence – there is a sequential way to do this work.  The tools must be available for everyone.  Does not believe in pilot programs because only some are leading the train, the rest are left behind.

Start with digital content – the most important decision more important than the device.

Second – create the highway to facilitate the traffic – broadband.

Third – connectivity – every single space in your district must have access – every school.

Can’t wait for the investment because these steps are essential.  Done through fund raising in the community – raised $7 million with matching funds raised $70 million.

Only after the three steps above did they choose a device and a platform.  Bought 38,000 devices to see how they would be used, but that was the very last decision to be made.  Also surveyed how many students would need devices – over 100,000 students.

Finally, evaluation – iPrep academy – studying the impact of e-learning, flipped classrooms etc – this informed the system wide implementation.

Funding – using textbook money to pay for digital content, bank loans for buying devices – ( a little complicated)  main point, funding came from multiple sources.

The power to learn any time anywhere is a moral imperative.  To deny this to any students is to condemn students to a life of poverty.  There is no opportunity equity without equal access to digital content everywhere.

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Future@Now Conference – Discovery Education Conference

picture of an e-learning classroom
picture of an e-learning classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some of the notes I took from the one day Discovery Education conference.  The record has been supplemented by tweets from #futurenow.  Some of the sessions were quite short, so I don’t have great notes for some really interesting speakers!  I will try to supplement them later as I find more material.

How do we implement a plan for creating a digital transformation? That is the theme for today.

First session – The Call to Action – Student Speak – how digital learning is impacting the lives of students.(trying to upload this!)

Dr David Dance – Superintendent  Baltimore County Public Schools @DDance_BCPS

  • conversion starts with engaging community. “Build a case for the urgency of now”
  • If the infrastructure is not there this is not going to work –
  • really makes sure they have strong partners in the community
  • Lighthouse schools – application to become school labs – teachers need to vote to become a Lighthouse school
  • digital transformation started with elementary!!
  • digital conversation is about making edication individualized for all students
  • we have to build cultures where risk taking is part of the culture
  • status quo is not acceptable – we only get one chace to work with our children
  • our goal – to deveop students who can compete on a global level
  • School districts need to partner with groups like Discovery Ed to plan the transition
  • Technology allows students to take responsibility for their learning
  • Our world is digital. Schools can no longer ignore this fact…our students need opportunities to excel in the digital world.
  • The cost for infrastructure should not be so unattainable and exorbitant that the implementation of digital learning is halted

US Representative George Miller – Senior Democrat House Education and Workforce Committee

We are making that transition to digital schools by bringing students, teachers, parents and the community on side.

“There’s a magnificent bonfire [of education innovation] burning across this country.”

The achevement gap does not have to be a constant – we are inspiring education in and outside of the school through new initiatives

Universal access for ALL students to online resources is critical to successfully transition to new educ paradigm

Politicians can take ownership of the system so that we can get the resources we need in our schools!

live audience at Furure@Now conference

Close

Digital Transformation – panel discussion

How do you measure success in implementation?

  • “Measures of success? Funding Infrastructure and finding innovative ways to inspire”
  • other meaures? Accelerating outcomes for all students
  • looking also to ‘repurpose’ our spending. Difficult to do since the vast majority of spending is on staff
  • a case can be built for ‘if we don’t spend it now, we will spend it later’ – investing in our students
  • centralize spending on technology to allow for bulk buying discounts
  • have to demonstrate our early wins so that we can leverage what we are learning to allow for future investment (Lighthouse Schools)

Chris Kennedy @chrkennedy – next speaker – Superintendent of Schools – West Vancouver

  • OWN IT, ACTIVATE IT, ENGAGE WITH IT. I say ALL parties should do ALL. You gain a wealth of ideas,creativity, & henceforth
  • Conversations over BYOD is the wrong conversation.  If we are spending time talking about digital, there is probably a conversation on education we need to have first.
  • if your community is fighting about digital there’s conversation missing–should be about learning!

Chris’ full presentation can be found here

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Week 22: Differentiation…for staff? #SAVMP Feb 10

“Supporting teachers begins with knowing that we should meet their individual needs in their own learning and growth. We no longer can be ok with the status quo, or a one size fits all mentality when it comes to PD. As the leader, it is up to you ensure that each educator has what they need in order to be the very best that they can be in their classroom.”

If you really want teachers to take professional development seriously, you have to let them set their own agenda.

This seems to be difficult for many leaders to accept.  I think it is the most basic of questions – what do you want to learn – and with that – how can I best support you.

 If we teach social skills to a target group then will we see an increase in self-regulation and positive social interactions outside of the classroom, within the target group (s).

resource teacher triad

 I have written about this before and I welcome the opportunity to do it again for the #SAVMP blog. It is more by accident than design that we started using a model that allows teachers to set their own agenda for professional learning. Three years ago the principals in our group (triad) decided to do our school improvement planning together.

It was hard to figure out at first – none of us had ever done this before, there was no model or guide to follow. I think one of the most important elements was, and continues to be the support we received from the school board. This was new to them too, but they were willing to let us try this new model out.

Over the past three years the teams have changed and we have learned a great deal. We still plan together and we have gotten a lot better at recording our learning. We have a great respect for the inquiry approach and have followed the learning stance of our board that encourages teachers to ask questions about how students learn.

If we continue to solidify their ability to communicate about math through the use of math journals in support with conferencing, then they should be able to demonstrate their learning.

grade 4,5,6 math inquiry

Teachers now keep a running record of their inquiries in a Google Drive document called Evidence of Learning. I am drawing inquiry statements from this document for today’s blog. This document allows the principals in our group to have a good understanding of what teachers are working on.  With an app called Kaizena, we can actually leave audio comments for each group in their evidence of learning section.

There nothing cooler than being able to talk about the learning plans of teachers in three schools!  As principals, we are active participants in the learning, but the teachers are in control of the process.

Having said that, I really feel an obligation to keep a careful record of what they are learning this term. I was able to do some of this last term and I have blogged about some of the really interesting work the math and French teachers were doing. Now I really need to get the rest of the groups!

Through the month of April, I should be able to meet with most of the groups and add the results of their inquiries to the blog!

Through this process, we feel we are giving the teachers the opportunity to set their own agenda.  We will continue to do this and teachers will continue to learn and grow.  I think this is the very best that we can do for the teachers we work with.

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