Technology – SAMR for Administrators The Edutopia series

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I have started reading a really interesting series by Josh Work – a guest blogger on Edutopia.  The series is focused on what tools administrators can use to keep up with their teachers and the use of technology.  I think this will be a terrific series.  In my experience, teachers are far ahead of administrators in their use of technology.  If we are going to be good role models to the teachers on staff, we need to get much better at using technology.

My hope is that the move to modification and redefinition (SAMR) will also influence how information is delivered to us at the district level.  That is a major topic in itself!

Josh Work is using the SAMR model as the basis for all of his work.  I think it is a reasonable expectation that administrators move through the SAMR continuum from substitution to redefinition.

In his first post, Work writes about staff presentations and how administrators can improve their communication with staff.

What a great topic to start with!

There are so many great tools we can now use to communicate more effectively with staff.  Are you still stuck using e-mail as your only communication tool?  It is really time to move on.

Before moving to any particular tool, Work makes a great point – time is a precious commodity for any school staff and we need to really examine if there are other ways to convey information beyond the traditional (yawn) staff meeting.

Work concentrates on Google Apps for Education (GAFE) which, in my opinion, is certainly the way to go.

So, what can administrators use to communicate more effectively?  Agendas can be circulated before the meeting using Google Drive.  Work also mentions that administrators can get good feedback from staff by using Google Forms or by hosting a Google Hangout to enrich communication with staff.

I agree, all these tools can really help keep the flow of information moving.  I use Google Drive to post a working copy of our agenda a week before the staff meeting.  All staff have access to the document and anyone can add an agenda item to the document right up to meeting time.  The rule is, if you can post on Drive then your item will be part of the agenda.  I then try to get away from paper copies of the final agenda.  We can then edit the agenda as the meeting goes on so that we have an annotated agenda recorded in Drive by the end of the meeting.

We also use Google Forms on a regular basis to survey staff on a number of issues – some of the best information I have received from staff members has come from these surveys.

We use Google Groups as our staff e-mail conference.  It is a good interactive tool that allows staff to communicate effectively.  The membership is controlled by an administrator and it is a closed, secure system.  It is very easy to use, I am moving to a new school in September and most of the staff in my new school are already using this tool to communicate with other staff members!

Google + is an amazing collaboration tool that we have used in the past.  We are using the Communities feature to connect special collaborative teams between schools.  This tool took a bit of time to catch on, but it a terrific way for educators to keep in touch, especially when sharing information between schools.

As administrators, we need to take a lead role by trying out these tools.  It is no longer excusable for an administrator to say they are not ‘comfortable’ with the use of technology.  It is part of our job to be risk-takers and try out new forms of communication.  If we try these tools, staff members will be encouraged to do the same.

My next challenge is to try out Nearpod.  This tool is suggested by Work – I don’t know anything about it, but I feel obliged to give it a try.  It may or may not be useful, but I need to at least check it out.

I hope all administrators read this series and then make a serious attempt to adopt new communication tools in advance of the next school year.

Then we can start work on the district!

Next – Community Interaction

#ecoo13 Learning through global collaboration, exploration and innovation

Flat Stanley

Kristen Wideen @mrswideen

Learn to incorporate global collaborative projects with your primary students. Discover strategies and resources for engaging students in all curriculum strands with authentic student examples.This presentation will highlight resources for facilitating learning through global collaboration. Student blogging, global read alouds and collaborative projects will be explored in depth.

Support notes from Kristen

Thank you so much for attending my session.  If you have any questions or comments you can find me online in a lot of places.  Listed below are some of the ways you can get a hold of me:

 

Twitter: @mrswideen

Class Twitter: @mrswideensclass

Professional Blog:  Mrs. Wideen’s Blog

Email: mrswideen@gmail.com

 

Here are a few ways to connect with other classrooms.

 

Skype

Download Skype Here: http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-computer/

Skype In The Classroom: https://education.skype.com

Mystery Number: Here

Twitter

Twitter:  Download Here

Index of Twitter Chats: Here

Blog post about activities you can do with your class on Twitter:  I Created A Class Twitter Account, Now What?

Blogging

Download Kidblog Here.

Download Edublogs Here.

Primary Blogging Community Here.

Quadblogging Here.

Collaborative Projects

Projects By Jen http://projectsbyjen.com

Epals http://www.epals.com

 

Skype or Google Hangout

Mystery Skype – skype to someone and you have to figure out where they live.  Students ask questions to the Skype connection

Mystery number – using Skype or Twitter – one class chooses a number the other class tries to figure it out.

Sharing an inquiry – any question can be explored between classes

Primary Blogging Community – project linking up classrooms to blog together – now has 80 classrooms working together K-4

What is the Primary Blogging Community?

The PBC is a community of primary teachers (children aged 5-10) that want to share their students’ learning via their classroom blog and their students’ personal blogs.  Classrooms will be grouped with 3 or 4 other classrooms from around the globe.  The program is 8 weeks long.  The first 4 weeks will concentrate on the classroom blogs only.  Each week, one of the classes will be the focus class and the other 3 classes will be visiting and commenting on the focus class blog.  The following week, the second class will be the focus class, and so on.   This is a chance for the other classes to see what is happening in your school and class, to discover where in the world you are located and to learn about how to write a good blog post and to watch how you model and work together to write good comments.  After the first 4 weeks, we switch the focus from your classroom blog and concentrate on student blogs.  The same rotations occur but the focus is solely on your student’s individual blogs.

Flat Stanley Project – everywhere that Flat Stanley went the students blogged about this.  Example of a multi-media Flat Stanley site

Here is a Flat Stanley blog

A key point for blogging – kids need an audience!  If you close your blog the students have no audience and they will lose interest.  Consider the potential of teaching other students around the world.  Kids need the feedback and comments.

Example of a project that connects – ePals

epals