What I’m Reading. What are you Reading?

I am interested in the conversation about where education needs to be in 5, 10, and 20 years.

Below are a few of the books I’m accumulating for summer reading.  What else would you recommend?

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown — Definitely check out her TEDx Talk too.  Brown tackles vulnerability and shame. Her work has changed the way I approach leadership  teaching, and my family.  Engaging your family, colleagues, students from alongside and working to see what they see and feel what they feel.

The Secrets of Happy Families – A great book on parenting and being a better parent in our intensely competitive and over scheduled world.

Creating Innovators – Tony Wagner — What we should be doing/thinking about in education to prepare our students for their futures.

If you’d like to discuss what books you are recommending and how you are helping your faculty look towards the future, please let me know.

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Filed under Books, Education, Professional Development, Summer

NEIT2011 Take Away’s…

Here are my closing remarks for the 2011 NYSAIS Education and Information Technology conference. It was an amazing three days that really inspired me to come back to school and make some change. You’ll see some of my goals in this presentation:

NEIT2011 Closing on Prezi

Here are the sessions I attended and some of my take away’s:

  • danah boyd – Take away: We need to ask our students how they are using technology and be cultural anthropologists.
  • Unconference
    • The future of SISs – Take away: I’m as confused as everyone else.  There are some possibilities out there, but we really need to build this.
    • Smartphone policies: Take Away:  We need to start talking about PLD – Personal Learning Device program instead of laptop program — Kids should be able to use the tools they carry with them.
    • Google Apps for Ed – Take Away:  Only a few weaknesses vs. Office.  Lots of benefits.  Use the right tool for the job.
    • Makerbot 101 Take Away:  We need to make to learn.  How do we find more time for this.  Action:  Looking at engineering/building programs for Math/Science in 8th Grade.
    • Running Effective Meetings – Alex Led: Take Away:  Using our time together better.  Let the structure set you free.
  • Gaming Panel -Take Away:  Advertising and Game design is way beyond schools for teaching and learning. We need to be looking into how games can teach us to operate in society.

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Real World Examples of Technologies that Empower Learning: ERB 2011

I had a great time presenting at the ERB2011 conference this afternoon. Please post questions/comments in the comments area below.  Here is my Prezi:

Real World Examples of Technologies That Empower Learning on Prezi

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Filed under 21st Century, Presentations

iPad Project, Year Two

At Collegiate School, we have entered year two of our iPad Project.  In year one, we asked these two questions:

  • “How can we use the iPad in a class with one teacher?”
  • “How can we see using the iPad in a class where all the students are equipped with iPads?” (from Essential Questions for iPad UserGroup)

The first question changed a great deal on the release of IOS 4.3 that enabled us to mirror the iPad with a VGA connection.  Many faculty used the iPad as a projection device in the Spring and are continuing to do so this Fall. 

As our faculty UserGroup tested their iPads and explored different apps last year, they found numerous ways to use the iPad with students.  Melanie Hutchinson, Lower School Curriculum Coordinator explored many of these ideas with Lower School students in these two posts:

In the Spring, after numerous UserGroup meetings and lots of interesting conversations with faculty, we decided to enter year two of the project by deploying two shared sets of shared iPads in Lower School and Middle School.  In the Upper School we decided to test the iPads in a 1 to 1 roll out with two classes (one in the Fall and one in the Spring), much like Reed College did with its iPad Study.  As you can see from the previous post on this blog, we deployed 15 iPads for Art and Religion this fall.  We’re running an action research project around the students in Art and Religion and will post results from that in the Spring. 

In the Lower School, our faculty will continue to use the iPads with interactive apps to support skill development, the creation of comics and illustrations,  writing and anything else the faculty can dream of — including creating videos or composing music in Garage Band. 

In Middle School this Fall, the main use of the iPads has been with in class research.  We’re deploying Google Apps in the Middle School and will be testing that along with numerous other apps on the iPads. 

In addition to these school sponsored iPad projects, we’re continuing our 8th grade UserGroup and adding the 7th grade to that mix.  Once students earn their iPad drivers license they will be able to bring their personal iPads or Tablet Devices to school.  This training will review acceptable use as well as train them on Google Docs, Evernote or Noteshelf and GoodReader. 

Our question  for this year is, “How does the iPad change the way teachers teach and students learn at Collegiate?”  We’ll be exploring this big question over the year. 

How does the iPad change the way teachers teach and students learn at your school?

Photo Credit

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Filed under iPad, Learning, Teaching

NYSAIS – Moving from Professional Development to Professional Learning and Collaboration

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of attending the first annual meeting of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Council for Professional Learning and Community (CPLC).  The meeting was coined Think Tank 2011.  This group consists of members of all of the conference committees and institutes that NYSAIS organizes each year.  The conferences include, Diversity personnel, Heads of School, Division Directors and Assistant Heads, Technologists and Librarians, Development and Alumni personnel, Early Childhood directors, as well as a number of Institutes: New Teacher, Experienced Teachers, New Division Heads, and New and Emerging Leaders.  NYSAIS also offers many one day professional growth opportunities throughout the year.

The framing idea of Think Thank 2011 was “What Would Google Do?” a book by Jeff Jarvis from 2009.  That theme helped this group think about how to be in the place where the professional development and help facilitate conversations and continuous growth, while being open and helping people navigate all of the offerings of professional growth available to them.

The change I noticed in the conversations these school leaders were having was the shift from professional development to professional learning.  It was a wise person who coined the title Commission for Professional Learning and Community for this group.  Instead of just thinking of the one shot professional development day, this group was thinking about how to create supports for the continued learning and development of each faculty and staff member at NYSAIS Schools.  This was a powerful shift for this group to be making. 

To go along with this movement towards continuous growth and learning was the launch of the NYSAIS Community, a site developed to support the learning and continuous growth of faculty and staff at NYSAIS.  The site uses a NING back end and was developed over the last year by arvind grover, Barbara Swanson, Josie Holford, George Swain, and Marcy Mann, and me.  We dreamed up the site in June of 2010 during the first NYSAIS Think Tank.

I am excited about the movement of professional growth with NYSAIS and I can see that it will be better poised to support the growth and development of stronger teachers, staff, and administrators.  Thanks to Mark Lauria, Barbara Swanson and Lois Bailey for their leadership of NYSAIS and organizing this event. 

What organizations do you know of that are leading the way toward better learning for teachers?

Photo Credit:http://www.flickr.com/photos/joiseyshowaa/1400175456

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Filed under NYSAIS, Professional Development, Professional Learning Community

Critical Friends Group Reflection

Trust, Deep Analysis, Positive Feedback, Constructive Criticism, Growth – These are some of the characteristics of a critical friends group. 

I recently completed a one week Critical Friends Group facilitator training.  I participated with thirteen other faculty and administrators from my school.  Eric Baylin and Monika Johnston from the Packer Collegiate Institute led our group.

At the National School Reform Faculty web site, CFGs are defined as:

… a professional learning community consisting of approximately 8-12 educators who come together voluntarily at least once a month for about 2 hours. Group members are committed to improving their practice through collaborative learning.

We spent a week using protocols, or structured conversations to analyze readings, listen carefully, analyze pieces of student work, dig into dilemmas, and plan for the future.  These protocols (many found here)  allowed us to focus in and have deep conversations about the work we do in schools: teaching and learning.  It put us in a learner role and quickly helped us listen and provide critical feedback for our colleagues.  The week built trust between and among the participants and developed what McDonald et. al. describe at Facilitative Leadership in The Power of Protocols: An Educators Guide to Better Practice.  Leadership from within the faculty of a school, instead of top down. 

Towards the end of the week we created a plan for the Fall by scheduling dedicated times to continue to practice and build our facilitation skills.  By setting specific goals and scheduling dedicated time, we committed the group to continue to practice. 

Building CFGs into the culture of our schools will help us dive deeper and become better educators.  Helping our students become better learners and citizens.  I’m excited to see how we grow and develop in the fall. 

Have you used CFGs?  What practices do you consider critical for growth and development? 

Photo Credit: Rossap

 

 

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Audio Editing 101

In Tech 6 we’re working on a project to create a Story Corp podcast.  Students are working in groups of three and have set up interviews with community members, written questions, and interviewed their subjects.  This week, we’ll be editing the audio they are listening to in the free program, Audacity.  Here’s the process we’ll use.

  1. Open Audacity
  2. Import MP3 audio that we recorded using our Sony ICD PX820 recorder by selecting Project –> Import Audio
  3. Save the file – Name it with the date of the interview and the subject.  For example if you recorded an interview with me, on April 3, 2011 the file name would be 2011-04-03-Ragone
  4. Watch this video on using audacity:
Audio Editing 101 with Audacity

 

5. Now listen to your audio. Take notes on the time you begin questions and when you hear great stories. You might have to listen to your interview multiple times.

6. Decide on the most compelling story from your interview and edit it down to 2-3 minutes.  You can story board the story and arrange the pieces in different orders if it makes the story more compelling. 

7. When you’re done, select File –> Export as MP3 to save the file. 

Feel free to post questions below. 

I’m looking forward to listening to the audio interviews that you create!

* Image Source: arvindgrover

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Filed under Lesson Plan, Podcast, Podcasting, Teaching