Uncategorized

Should I go to Grad School?

thetechrabbi:

Lovely visual on “Should I go to Grad School?”

Originally posted on Indiana Jen:

Special thanks to a reader Roy from the University of Arizona submitted to me an excellent infographic that highlights the costs and benefits of enrolling in a graduate program. Many recent college grads are not contemplating this very issue. Check out the handy infographic below.

If like Roy you have an idea you would like me to highlight on my blog, please send me a suggestion here. As always, I cite my sources and give credit to contributors!

Grad School width=
Source: GradSchoolHub.com

View original

Standard
Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

None to One: Thoughts On Year One of 1:1

iPadProgram

Imagine, a school where every student has a mobile device. Freed from the chains of classroom walls, outdated textbooks, and the grip of an all-knowing authoritarian teacher. A place where students carve out their own destiny through thoughtful and innovative learning experiences that not only result in a gain of knowledge, but character and life experience as well. Now wake up. Welcome to an edtech fairytale that simply does not exist – yet.

We all want to be there, but the question is how?

Since spending $1 billion dollars doesn’t guarentee success, and no amount of passion and determination will launch a costly technology project into reality, how is a school able to harness the power of mobile technology as a learning tool in a way that supports authentic learning?

How we did it

There is no magic formula for success. Every school culture is different and the Director of Educational Technology has little to do with an organic and sustainable 1:1 environment. During the 2013-2014 school year, we launched phase one of our iPad Program distributing 130 iPads to faculty and students, as well as a Macbook Mobile Lab with 30 laptops. This coming fall we will launch phase two adding another 110 iPad devices.

This is what we did, and how we did it (and didn’t).

Professional Development:

I worked with a handful of educators for a full year supporting carefully guided projects with a set of 10 iPads. Students were always two or three to one, and no project launched without careful planning and focus on learning objectives that kept the iPad in check as a tool and not a solution. In June and August before the fall launch, we had a mandatory three day iPad Bootcamp for all 4th through 8th grade faculty led by our principle, Jason Ablin, and myself. Faculty learned how to use an iPad through collaborative projects that demonstrated the iPad’s power as a learning tool and helped build confidence for faculty that would have these devices in the hands of their students on a regular basis.

1:1 Student Launch:

This is an area where schools need to be very careful. No amount of teacher buy-in, and parent support can make this program a success without the students. When we toured Hillbrook in Los Gatos, Don Orth shared with us how they release iPads into the wild. It’s a method that we did not use, but retroactively wish we did and plan to use in the future. Instead of handing iPads to students and then working on digital citizenship, literacy, and expectations of learning, they flipped that process. Based on his advice, our fall 2014-2015 launch will be as follows.

During the first 30 days of school, students in the 1:1 iPad Program will work towards a educational technology certification that will demonstrate their proficiency in Digital Literacy with the iPad and Google Apps, as well as Digital Citizenship and 21st-Century Competencies. Students will not be able to take their iPad home until they become certified. In addition to the basic certification, student will have an opportunity to get certified as a student technology leader.

This past year we launched 1:1 iPads after a full day workshop with students and 1 parent. We had Lori Getz come 3 times to speak with students and parents on the social and emotional challenges and benefits of technology and internet use. We offered “Tech Cafe” events for parents as well. During the year, I taught the Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship curriculum to classes culminating in me becoming a Common Sense Media Certified Educator.

This process worked well, but the soft launch seems to offer better opportunity for conversation about how we use, and would like to use technology.

Faculty Support:

This is another crucial area. Workshops are great, but the faculty in the first two years needs to know there is someone in the building that is supporting them above and beyond. I work with faculty members daily supporting them in integrating iPad technology into current curriculum, as well as build up confidence to create new projects using the SAMR Model, ISTE & UNESCO Standards, and Gartner’s Hype Cycle. Together we documented our plan, our challenges, and closely record the process from start to finish. At the end of the project, we debriefed to determine how to better manage the project in the future.

Digital Literacy:

I worked with faculty and students on digital literacy.

I am a true believer that our students are digital natives, and do not need to be trained on how to operate technology devices, but they, without question, need guidance on efficient, organized, and focused uses of technology.

Thank G-d, we have an amazing and truly innovative faculty. Their willingness to grow as educators, as well as find new ways to help students explore, is the key ingredient in the success of any type of program that supports education. Stay tuned for Phase 2 this fall.

Standard
Education, Technology Integration

21st Century Competencies: Nothing And Everything To Do With Technology

image

 There is no denying that current technology trends in education are here to stay. Whether you choose Apple, Samsung, Google, or Amazon, the platforms, companies, and devices will come and go, but the learning outcomes they produce are everlasting. The user experience might be different, but the goals for their use are the same; We want our learners to be able to achieve 21st-Century Competencies. It is evident that these technology tools allow learners to gain these skills while achieving faster and higher quality products, through a more efficient and practical processes. This is why

21st Century Competencies have nothing and everything to do with technology.

 In fall of last year I began to research how to support learners’ and educators’ understanding of 21st-Century Competencies. I discovered many amazing resources, but felt that each one lacked one key component. Acquiring 21st-Century Competencies cannot be defined through the lens of the technology itself. It must be through the lens of what the technology allows us to create and the experience gained. 21st-Century Competencies are about social interaction that helps connect individuals in a way that achieves a more developed and meaningful outcome. This has absolutely nothing to do with technology as it is nothing but a connector between two or more people.

21st-Century Competencies allow for strong, independent learners that are highly functional in environments that require advanced skills in collaboration and human interaction, aka the real world.  

The challenge was to concretize this process in a way that could achieve measurable results including the hope that through developing a formalized process, learners and educators would be more open to failure. This means that even though we did not “solve” the problem this time, we still gained skills in organization, collaboration, communication, as well as a better understanding of the process of problem solving and critical thinking. This process also allows for a reflective and revisionist process where learners can continue to work on identifying strengths and weaknesses in the project and in themselves. This is because learning is not always about solving the problem, it is also about gaining a deeper understanding through experimentation and discovery, with the understanding that even failure can lead to a significant learning experience.

Together with my colleague, Samantha Pack, we set out to create a rubric that would support the development of 21st-Century Competencies with the following criteria in mind:

1. A clear definition of each of the 21st-Century Competencies.

2. Ability to measure proficiency in each of the 21st-Century Competencies.

3. A universal approach that will support the development of 21st-Century Competencies regardless of discipline.

4. Ability for learners to achieve skills through reflection and revision.

5. To ensure that the 21st century competencies work together with various pedagogical models.

In June during a PD Workshop with middle school faculty, I shared the rubric to get feedback for the final draft slated for launch in the fall. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The faculty described it as supportive but not restricting, giving students the ability to capture the essential idea of each skill, and assist them in becoming independent learners with the ability to assess their own performance. One faculty member said,

This rubric doesn’t describe how to use technology, this rubric describes how to be human.

Ladies and Gentleman, we have arrived. This is the true purpose of technology. Its ability to help us build relationships, foster personal growth, and truly arrive at a better more connected global community.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 12.27.35 PM

I will be sharing this rubric at my session “The Invisible iPad – Significant Learning Experiences Without Actually Losing Your iPad” at the EdTechTeacher Summit July 28th-30th at the Navy Pier in Chicago.

Standard
Apple™, Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

The Invisible iPad: Ready, Set, Goals!

As seen on the EdTechTeacher Blog

Do you remember your first plane ride? As young children we remember the excitement of preparing for our trip, the adrenaline as the plane sped down the runway, and the occasional turbulence that met us with surprise, or perhaps fear? All in all, our first plane ride was an experience, and it might have been a big part of what we shared with others about our trip. What about the second trip? What about the tenth or the fifteenth? At some point the flight to our destination has little if anything to do with our real purpose and reason for traveling. Our main focus becomes where we need to be, and what  needs to be accomplished.

Our experience and interactions with technology are analogous to many first experiences. In the initial stages it’s all about the tool, the method, and the experience. Then at some point, either through our own maturity or the routine exposure, the tool becomes invisible and the final outcome becomes the focus. There is a buzz in the EdTech world declaring that we must stop talking about technology. On the other end of the education spectrum, the digital native theory is being debunked as a myth, rendering our students as helpless “tech(no)vices” incapable of utilizing technology without us holding their hand. Bobbi Newman makes a very important point that an “educator needs to show students how to successfully use technology.” The question is what are we showing them and why are we showing it? 

Students want to see relevant and practical applications of technology just as much as they want to see the same in the learning itself.

Educators can successfully model the use of technology, but if there is no destination or purpose, then very few students will appreciate the process or utilize its potential for meaningful learning. Our students are not helpless, nor are they incapable. Our students are clever, creative, and determined innovators. We must support them and guide them to make careful and well thought out choices. This doesn’t mean that students do not need any technical training, it’s just that they need much less of it if there is an exciting and engaging reason behind its use. I have witnessed 5th graders learn how to create complex objects in Google Sketch Up. What increased productivity and enthusiasm was the challenge to build the Tabernacle from descriptive Bible verses, or build the Capitol Building from blueprints, which could not be achieved without the understanding of the program’s fundamental tools and application.

You can program a robot to use technology, but you cannot program it to create a successful and meaningful learning experience based on individualized passion, and self-driven pursuits of knowledge. 

There is a buzz around the EdTech community that we must stop talk about technology. I suggest that we continue to talk about it, and cease having it define us and our learning. This is a crucial piece of advice for any school that has any type of tools that help support learning. This includes pencils, paper, staples, and even crayons. While many learning tools have a slightly lower learning curve than the iPad, it is extremely important for schools to begin the conversation focusing on tech. The question is how and when is it appropriate to shift this mindset to a philosophy that embraces invisible technology.

Standard

Tech Tip - Google Form Response Notification

Uncategorized

Tech Tip – Google Form Response Notification

Image
App Fluency, Education, iPad, PBL, SAMR Model, Technology, Technology Integration

The Invisible iPad – Part II

InvisibleiPad

 

 

Invisible Technology in Theory is powerful. Its practical application for educators can be challenging, frustrating, and fill even the most confident learning facilitator with doubt. Invisible Technology empowers its user to be independent, collaborative, and truly shift learning into the 21st century. How do we measure its success? Is there a definitive technology yardstick to build confidence not only in the student, but in the teacher as well? What are our goals and skills we wish our students to acquire, develop, and reflect upon?

If our goal to create an army of App Savvy iPad Aficionados then we have utterly failed.

We are not trying to create students that successfully use technology, because they don’t actually need us for that. We have seen the viral videos of toddlers successfully executing in app purchases on their favorite game, and their digital literacy skills will only increase with their exposure to new technologies. My colleague Yossie Frankel stated it simply that,

 We cannot confuse Digital Literacy (ICT) with 21st Century Competencies. 

If we do, we rob our students of what we really can offer them, which is the ability to communicate, think critically, collaborate, solve problems, and create dynamic ways of internalizing information and sharing it with others. This is what our place is in 21st century learning. Yes, we will need to support them with certain technology skill building, suach as keyboarding skills, app fluency (Greg Kulowiec), best practices of sharing and store, and the certain nuances of utilizing technology tools, but this isnt a class or a workshop.

Students don’t need theoretical workshops, they want hands on action with a purpose.

As I wrote in my previous article, when we teach someone to effectively and properly use traditional tools, our reason is not for the tool itself but for what we are able to achieve. No one gets excited over using a welder, but its ability to connect difference pieces together to create something unique and useful from raw material, is where its value as a tool really shines. Our challenge with technology like the iPad is that it has so many different abilities, that the user is faced with a real dilemma of losing sight of what the tool accomplishes, for the experience of using the tool. 

Before we even begin to think about how and where we place the iPad in our learning process, we have to concretize our goals, possible challenges, and the planned path of process. If we reach a point during the project and hit a road block, it can be flustered to not have even a rough outline to backtrack to a clear point of success. This all starts with identifying which skills we will need to use. In elementary and middle school, these skills need to be clear and simple so students know that right now they are “collaborating” or “problem solving”. We can expect these skills to be sub conscience as adults, but this is not realistic for most students below or even at high school level. At each grade level the following Learning and Innovation Skills can be acquired by students and built upon as they learn and grow.

  • Learning and Innovation Skills (the 7 C’s) + (2 P’s)

    • Creativity/Contribution

    • Critical Thinking

    • Communication

    • Collaboration/Cooperation

    • Connection

    • Community

    • Continual Learning

    • Culture

    • Problem Solving

    • Personalized Learning

Once our skill sets are assessed, we then can use these skills in our PBL experiences. Bloom’s Taxonomy, ISTE 21st Century Standards, UNESCO Competency  Framework, are all great sources to teach these foundational skills. Many confuse the SAMR Model as a way to learn. The SAMR Model, is not viable method for learning. Its success is in measuring and assessing effective use of technology in our learning.

The challenge for educators, especially Directors of Educational Technology, Innovation, etc. is that we need to not limit how our teachers teach, but to focus on the foundational skills, and provide a clear and concrete formula for how different technological devices and applications will enhance these skills and give a learner the ability to create a product that will change the world.

How to translate this vision to a tangible process is a challenge. In the next few weeks I will be featuring guest articles from faculty members that have successfully integrated technology into learning.

Im having trouble locating the iPad though, must be that invisible thing.

Standard
Tech Tips

Tech Tip – HDMI Audio Issues

HDMI is a must for anyone needing to share high quality audio and visual on the big screen. Oddly enough many of us have issues getting the audio to go through the HDMI Cable on Macbook Pro & Air Laptops. The solution is an easy one, but many dont know where to look in the first place. Rest assured, a solution to this challenge is provided below. Enjoy.

I hope to continue to share tech tips with you all.

TechRabbiTechTip1

Standard