A Messy School-wide Digital Plan

A Messy School-wide Digital Plan

Without a complete understanding of the changes in education too many administrators lead into the digital age with making teacher requirements, without understanding the ramifications. Most building administrators have the foresight to know that each and every teacher needs to have a digital presence. But without leadership and guidance this can become a train wreck – very quickly.   At one school a mandate goes out to all staff that they must establish a digital presence and use digital resources in their classroom. What and how they do so, is up to the individual teacher. Teachers scramble to find how they will do this. Some go off and make a website. One might use Weebly, or Google Sites, another learns WordPress and purchases a domain.  Others find apps like Remind or Pocket. Those strong in literacy might buy into Blogger or Edublogs. Those looking for quick digital assessments key in on Quia, Socractive or Kahoot. Some go looking for games to practice skills, from which there are a many to choose from. Others want play list and resources like PowerMyLearning, Khan Academy, CK-12, or LearnZillion. Still others grasp at platforms like Edmodo, Schoology, or Canvas learning management system.   Shortly everyone is doing their own thing, with different key codes, logins, and just trying to figure it all out. Though it is difficult, individual teachers are working with typically a single platform – of their choice. When teachers are not provided professional development, they may not see the connections between platform such as embedding Quia or CK-12 into a learning management system to create an ecosystem for digital learning...
Start School with Digital in Mind

Start School with Digital in Mind

It’s the start of the school year and teachers are busy preparing their classrooms – or should we say their learning environments. Technology should be part of the learning environment in today’s world, but how teachers embrace technology will differ: Will teachers use technology to embellish assignments and create fun ways for students to share new knowledge or will the technology deliver curriculum? Will teachers use technology that calendars and reminds students what is due and when, or will they build an online forum for student discussions, collaboration, assignment submission or take assessments with an embedded classroom calendar? Will teachers use technology to replace a worksheet skill based center in the classroom or will they build an online environment that takes the learning outside the classroom to a different place and time? As a profession, we – educators are all over the board, when it comes to technology use in the classroom. Some are fully embracing hardware, software, production tools, online communication venues and more. For example my daughters, one a freshman in high school, the other in 7th grade started school this week in Las Vegas and as a family have several different places to go – from online textbooks, Remind Me app, Edmodo, Schoology, teacher-made websites, to submitting assignments to teacher email accounts. Yet there was no Google for Education, however both girls have Chromebooks and are avid Google fans. Throw in our soccer team’s group texting and Team Snap app and we’re up to our ears with logins, passwords, and bookmarks. Each teacher moving in a different direction for can be overwhelming for students and parents....

What it Takes to Do It Right

  On April 16th, I had the pleasure to share with administrators across the national on a webinar hosted by District Administration and sponsored by Canvas about Blended Learning: What it Takes to Do It Right. It was a great opportunity to speak about the four key focus areas of building quality blended programs: Content Teaching Technology Operations All too often we get wrapped up in the things we can see and touch when planning for blended learning environments – like the technology, the software, and even the physical teacher. All these items are visual and can be purchased rather quickly. But it’s the unseen items that will be the undoing of blended programs. Does the content meet your district standards and benchmarks? How do you change the mindset and pedagogical practices of a 5-10-20 year veteran teacher? What are the instructional expectations of teachers who rely heavily on online content delivery? Should the student information and learning management systems integrate and roster students into online classrooms? What support services will be put in place for students who need direct instruction? What policies and procedures need documenting to ensure proper communication and deployment across classrooms or schools? These are just a few of the ‘unseen’ items that can make or break your blended learning program. Here at i3DigitalPD we have worked with many teachers and administrators to identify what it takes to do it right. Don’t get caught up in the “stuff.” Don’t be like the parent that works late, travels much and who brings home a gift for their child. Yet, the child would rather spend time together...