Creating a Five Year Plan

Creating a Five Year Plan

School is in (or just about to begin). Now is an appropriate time of the year to reflect on your desires and dreams for digital learning. It starts with a goal. Knowing where you want to be in five years. Casting a vision for the future. Working toward that goal each day. Success will come with challenging work, learning from failures, and the tenacity of your team to accomplish the dream. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to share Clark County’s path of success in a recent podcast, hosted by Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI). Listen to the 30 minute Podcast #40 August is a wonderful time of the year. The new school year is upon us. The energy level is high. Excitement fills the air from parents, students, and teachers. How will you capitalize upon this? Who can you reach out to support your dreams and desires? I’ve been at five different schools in the last two weeks, from traditional comprehensive, alternative education, and specialty schools for adjudicated youth, plus helping with a brand-new school opening this year targeting students overcoming the chains of addition. It’s an exciting time for digital learning. More schools are thinking outside the box when it comes to the possibilities of online courseware. Well beyond just credit recovery! When I think back to the how this all started, I’m taken to the humble beginnings in Clark County School District, with a goal of one-third of all students in an online or blended learning environment. The steps we took to meet this goal started with teacher professional development, followed with access to...
Four Mindsets for Digital Learning

Four Mindsets for Digital Learning

I often get asked about changing mindsets for digital learning. This is a great question. I tried to tackle this question in the June 2016 blog post. In the last year, I’ve come to realize there are four identifiable mindsets for digital learning. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first ask, “What is a mindset?”. Mindset as a Competency The Learning Accelerator partnered with the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) to work with experts and practitioners around the country to draft the iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework. The document identifies 12 key competencies, organized into four large domains and mindsets is the largest domain. In the document, mindset is defined as “the core values or beliefs that guide thinking, behaviors and actions that align with goals of educational change and mission.” Four Digital Learning Mindsets Teaching is a craft, an art, and the core values stem from seeking instructional methods that better serve students’ understanding and growth. The digital learning environment requires teachers to re-think their place, their role, and the needs of students when digital curriculum aides in the delivery of content. When looking back at the 10 models of digital learning we begin to see several different educator mindsets when deploying digital curriculum: Online Blended Innovator Designer Each of these minds sets come at a different cost of change. See the Four Digital Mindsets  infographic below. Online $$$ Too often when digital content is first introduced, the initial thought is, “I’m now an online teacher.” This is a huge mind shift change. Teachers feel out-of-control when the digital content takes the lead and determines the...
The Cost of Change

The Cost of Change

When you think of the words “blended learning” what image comes to mind? I ask this because blended learning models are not just one thing. It’s like the words, “vehicle” or “home.” You have a mental image of a vehicle and a home, but your mental image is probably not the same as the person next to you. Vehicles and homes come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and prices. A pickup truck, compact automobile, and luxury sports car are all very different vehicles. As are a two-story, ranch, and apartment homes. Sadly, for some of our students their vehicle is home.   Blended learning, like vehicles and homes, come in many different formats. Some are just a few small steps outside the traditional setting, others are very large leaps away from what one would consider a traditional classroom. And like the varying prices of vehicles and homes, the price or mind shift change in pedagogy and structures of the blended classroom or school can be low or steep. Blended learning is not just one thing. It’s underpinning, like the four wheels of a vehicle or the foundation of a home are described in the definition: combining online digital curriculum with traditional classroom instructional methods, but each deployment model, just like vehicles and homes, will look and feel very different when filled with students and teachers.   Like the varying prices of vehicles and home there is a cost, or “purchase” price of the adoption of each type of blended learning model. As you consider blended learning adoption, think about what structural changes your classroom, school, or district would...
The CIA of Blended Learning

The CIA of Blended Learning

Every quality classroom is built upon three components – curriculum, instruction, and assessment, or CIA for short. In a digital learning world the CIA is the same, just with qualifiers: Digital Curriculum Guided Instruction Authentic Assessment See the CIA od Blended Learning infographic below. Digital Curriculum Digital curriculum typically comes in the form of software or open education resources (OER). It is a rare situation when a teacher can actually create their own digital curriculum that has all the components of an effective lesson from an opening hook, review of previous knowledge, delivery of new content, real-world application, a summative close and tasks for students to demonstrate understanding (e.g. assignments and assessments). Typically a teacher gathers pre-made resources from others such as publishers to ‘deliver’ lesson, rarely are they actually ‘developing’ lessons from scratch. Teacher are good at curating OER materials, but this takes time. Teachers that have ‘flipped’ their classroom by creating video lessons will tell you that digital content development is time consuming, and most schools only provide a very small preparation period for teacher planning (not developing). Thus the need for high quality software or applications that can aid in the delivery of digital content is needed.   Digital curriculum can be thought of as a teacher’s aide with significant advantages:   Engages student attention and delivers content Provides data with insight to student strengths and weaknesses Has no limits as to when or where it can be accessed Is ideal for presenting and assessing student understanding and practicing skills   Guided Instruction One thing a digital curriculum can not do is establish a relationship with students. That’s...
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...
7 Steps to Program Design

7 Steps to Program Design

Planning for a digital learning program can be overwhelming. There are many things to consider, from content, devices, to staff and facilities, and so much more.   Go back and read the previous sentence. Notice that the items specified are visual, touchable. Too often this is where the planning begins and stalls. After acquiring the “junk and stuff” little investment goes into the necessary steps of building a quality digital learning program that are less visual, but comes at the cost of time and effort, like professional development, planning milestones and benchmarks,  or documentation of policies and practices.   Like spokes in a wheel, if the strut is weak or missing, the wheel becomes wobbly and may topple over. So too can a digital learning program if attention is lacking in strategic areas. Having a roadmap or a checklist can guide leaders into investing time and resources strategically. Management and evaluation of the program design process is essential to ensuring that your digital learning program enables students to be successful and excel academically.   See Digital Learning Program Design: 7 Steps to Success infographic below.   Don’t get caught up in the bright colorful furniture, or the sparkling new devices, when you should be focused on operational procedures, or preparing your staff for new pedagogy and classroom instruction.   Successfully implementing a digital learning program requires analysis and thoughtful planning. Knowing all the steps you need to take and having a progress monitoring system in place will keep your team focused. At i3DigitaPD we help schools/districts with the seven steps to program design (see infographic below): Goal Setting Target...