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Join us for the Thinking Out Loud Show, Episode 1

Evan Scherr is launching a new online series called The Thinking Out Loud Show. The guests for Episode 1.1 are Eric Sheninger, Joe Mazza, and myself. The topic is Leadership in Education. We’ll be talking about all types of leadership: administrators, students, teachers, and even parents!

Hope you’ll join us this Thursday at 8pm Eastern. See Evan’s Thinking Out Loud Show page for more info. Happy viewing!

UPDATE: Did you miss the show? The webinar archive is now available!

Twitter rotation curation: I am @plaea

PLAEA Twitter @mcleod @plaea

In the grand tradition of Sweden (@sweden), Ireland (@ireland), New Zealand (@peopleofnz), Malaysia (@twt_malaysia), Italy (@i_am_italy), Australia (@weareaustralia), Mexico (@curatorsmexico), Ukraine (@weareukraine), Pakistan (@iam_pakistan), and others, this week I am Prairie Lakes AEA (@plaea)!

Follow along for updates. I’ll also be using the #plaea hashtag. This week I’m…

  • seeing 1:1 classrooms in Jewell, Iowa;
  • visiting the Freshman Academy in Spirit Lake, Iowa (which focuses on problem-based learning);
  • joining district educators for a tour of New Tech High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota;
  • participating in a meeting of district technology coordinators in Fort Dodge, Iowa;
  • attending my monthly meet up as a member of the Ankeny (Iowa) Community Schools’ Technology Leadership Team;
  • visiting Bettendorf (Iowa) High School (principal is @casas_jimmy!);
  • speaking at the annual President’s Reception of the Quad City Engineering and Science Council (Moline, Illinois);
  • attending parent-teacher conferences at Ames (Iowa) High School and Ames Middle School;
  • cheering for the Ames High girls swim team as it tries for its 4th straight state championship;

and much, much more. Woo hoo!

Here are a few more links on ‘rotation curation.’ What fun could you have with this idea in your school or district?!

2013 PLAEA Twitter

Two awesome tech leadership webinars for our Connected Educator Month book club

McLeod Lehmann book

At 7pm Eastern on Monday, October 28, we launch the fourth and final Connected Educator Month book club. Contributors Joyce Valenza, Kevin Jarrett, Richard Byrne, Kristin Hokanson, and Stephanie Sandifer will join Chris Lehmann, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, and myself for a 1-hour online discussion of technology leadership issues. We will discuss topics from our book, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media, as well as anything else that we or our audience brings up. Please join us!

At 7pm Eastern on Monday, December 2, our book club will conclude with a second webinar. Joining Sheryl and I that evening will be Doug Johnson, Steve Dembo, Dean Shareski, David Jakes, and Pamela Livingston. Hope you’ll join us for that one too!

And, in between, we’ll be talking about the book in our online discussion space. Learn more about the book club and sign up to participate with us. See you online!

[It’s been a good month for our book. Not only did the U.S. Department of Education pick our book to be one of the four featured for Connected Educator Month, last week the Illinois Principals Association offered a copy to every attendee at its annual conference. Woo hoo!]

Van Meter High and North High: Two Iowa schools that are rockin’ it

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is recognizing 25 schools across America as ‘21st Century Learning Exemplar Schools.’ Today we were informed that 2 Iowa high schools are on the list: Van Meter High School and North High School in Des Moines. Check out the case study of Van Meter. Kudos to both schools and their educators and students!

Calling all bloggers! – Leadership Day 2013

August 15 is the 7th anniversary of my blog. So, once again, I’m inviting everyone who’s interested to help me celebrate by participating in Leadership Day 2013!

Over the past 6 years, we’ve had over 400 Leadership Day posts. That’s awesome because, to paraphrase what I said six years ago,

many of our school leaders (principals, superintendents, central office administrators) need help when it comes to digital technologies. A lot of help, to be honest. As I’ve noted again and again on this blog, most school administrators don’t know

  • what it means to prepare students for the digital, global world in which we now live;
  • how to recognize, evaluate, and facilitate effective technology usage by students and teachers;
  • what appropriate technology support structures (e.g., budget, staffing, infrastructure, training) look like or how to implement them;
  • how to utilize modern technologies to facilitate communication with internal and external stakeholders;
  • the ways in which learning technologies can improve student learning outcomes;
  • how to utilize technology systems to make their organizations more efficient and effective;
  • and so on…

Administrators’ lack of knowledge is not entirely their fault. Many of them didn’t grow up with computers. Other than basic management or data analysis technologies, many are not using digital tools or online systems on a regular basis. Few have received training from their employers or their university preparation programs on how to use, think about, or be a leader regarding digital technologies.

So let’s help.

How to participate

  1. On Thursday, August 15, 2013, blog about whatever you like related to effective school technology leadership: successes, challenges, reflections, needs, wants, resources, ideas, etc. Write a letter to the administrators in your area. Post a top ten list. Make a podcast or a video or a voice-narrated presentation. Highlight a local success or challenge. Recommend some readings. Create an app, game, or simulation. Draw a cartoon. Do an interview of a successful technology leader. Respond to some of the questions below or make up your own. If you participated in years past, post a follow-up reflection. Whatever strikes you.
  2. The official hashtag is #leadershipday13
  3. TO ENSURE THAT WE CAN FIND YOUR POST, please complete the online submission form AFTER you post, including a short teaser that will drive traffic to your post. Everyone then will be able to see your post in the complete list of submissions. If you want to link back to this post or leave a link to yours in the comment area, that’s okay too!

Some prompts to spark your thinking

  • What do effective P-12 technology leaders do? What actions and behaviors can you point to that make them effective leaders in the area of technology?
  • Do administrators have to be technology-savvy themselves in order to be effective technology leaders in their organizations?
  • What are some tangible, concrete, realistic steps that administrators can take to move their school organizations forward?
  • What are some tangible, concrete, realistic steps that can be taken to move administrators themselves forward? Given the unrelenting pressures that they face and their ever-increasing time demands, what are some things that administrators can do to become more knowledgeable and skilled in the area of technology leadership?
  • Perhaps using the National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A) as a starting point, what are the absolutely critical skills or abilities that administrators need to be effective technology leaders?
  • What strengths and deficiencies are present in the NETS-A?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges and barriers to administrators being better technology leaders (and how do we address them)?
  • What is a technology tool that would be extremely useful for a busy administrator (i.e., one he or she probably isn’t using now)?
  • What should busy administrators be reading (or watching) that would help them be better technology leaders? What are some other resources that would help them be better technology leaders?
  • How can administrators best structure necessary conversations with internal or external stakeholders regarding technology?
  • How should administrators balance enablement with safety, risk with reward, fear with empowerment?
  • When it comes to P-12 technology leadership, where do we need new knowledge, understanding, training, or research?
  • What are (or might be) some successful models of technology leadership training for school administrators?
  • How might preservice preparation programs for administrators better incorporate elements of technology leadership?
  • When you think of (in)effective P-12 technology leadership, what comes to mind?

Here are the 405 ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT posts from the past six years (405!)

A badge for your blog or web site

Leadershipday2013

I hope you will join us for this important day because, I promise you, if the leaders don’t get it, it’s not going to happen.

Participant checklist

The one question I’m asking at ISTE 2013

Here’s my guiding question for the ISTE conference this year (for both presenters and vendors). If you’re at ISTE right now, I encourage you to ask this question too!

Jumpforjoy

Image credit: Because I’ve never told him he can’t fly, Lotus Carroll

Learn about robust, technology-infused learning at the 2013 Iowa 1:1 Institute

I11ilogo

It’s that time of year again… time to register for the 4th annual Iowa 1:1 Institute!

The last two years of the Institute have averaged 1,200+ attendees. There are multiple reasons why the Institute is so successful. It’s a grass roots conference at which peers talk to peers. The focus is on learning and teaching, not tools. Session emphasis is on hands-on work, discussion, and participant engagement. No ‘sit and get!’ Students are encouraged to present and there usually are multiple student-run sessions; those are always great. Whether you’re currently in a 1:1 setting – or are interested in moving that direction – or are simply passionate about robust, technology-infused learning, the Institute will be a phenomenal event for you.

This year’s Institute is on April 4 in Des Moines. We always have guests from other states so please join us. Register soon – the Institute fills up fast. Group discounts are available. Plus you can get free registration if you present!

EdCampIowa!

EdCampIowa logoI am delighted to announce EdCampIowa, Iowa’s first cross-state unconference! EdCampIowa West will be hosted by Prairie Lakes AEA at the Buena Vista University Forum in Storm Lake. EdCampIowa East will be hosted by Bettendorf High School. Both locations will run on Saturday, February 16, from 8:30am to 3:30pm. Our hashtag will be #EdCampIowa.

What’s an EdCamp, you say? EdCamps are unlike any other workshop or conference that you’ve probably attended. EdCamp sessions are created by the attendees in the morning. The rest of the day is spent in conversation around the topics identified by participants.

If this sounds strange to you, it’s likely because you’re used to a different model, one in which the agenda and sessions are determined ahead of time. The challenge of traditional workshops or conferences is that you didn’t get to pick the sessions, someone else did. As such, they may or may not meet your learning needs. At an EdCamp, participants, not planners, determine the sessions so they’re much more likely to be targeted, relevant, and timely. ‘Voting with your feet’ also is strongly encouraged, so you can (and should) quickly leave one session for another if it’s not meeting your learning needs. Since all EdCamp sessions are facilitated discussions that tap into the collective wisdom of attendees rather than ‘sit and get’ presentations directed by outside experts, EdCamps always turn out to be incredible, energizing days of conversation.

How do you know if you’re right for EdCampIowa? If these types of questions resonate with you, you’re a prime candidate:

  • What if we didn’t have class periods?
  • How can we help kids think more deeply?
  • Are high school diplomas and university degrees still necessary for credentialing?
  • What is getting in the way of us changing faster?
  • How can preschool and elementary students use digital tools in powerful ways?
  • What if we didn’t ignore that most of the time students are bored?
  • What might school look like if students were in charge of teaching at least 20% of the time?
  • Do we really need grades?
  • How can we better facilitate school-university partnerships?
  • Are tablets or Chromebooks viable 1:1 devices?
  • What has to go in order to make competency-based student progression work?
  • In a multimedia world, what is the future of reading?
  • and many, many more… (see the EdCampIowa web site!)

We hope that you will join us on February 16 for an amazing day of discussion and learning. We promise that you will leave with many great ideas, excited to take action back home! Registration is FREE, lunch will be provided, and we’ll have Internet access for any electronic device that you bring along. Please encourage your students, staff, school board, parents, legislators, and community members to participate too. Everyone is welcome at an EdCamp!

More information is available at www.EdCampIowa.org. Sign up soon. Only 200 slots at each location!

EdCampIowa Tweet 01

Why 1:1? [webinar archive]

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a 1-hour webinar for Schoolwires on the topic of Why 1:1? The archive of the session is below. As is typical, the best part of the webinar was the discussion (starting at 27:00) as 1:1 guru Pamela Livingston and I responded to a number of questions from participants. Good stuff!

 

Check out Schoolwires’ entire webinar series. Past webinars have featured Jon Bergmann, Julie Evans, and Alan November. Happy viewing!

Supporting effective technology integration and implementation: 2012 ISTE Leadership Forum #isteLF12

IsteLF12

[in honor of ISTE's upcoming Leadership Forum, there's a special prize at the end of this post!]

Chris Lehmann, Michael Fullan …

Together in one place. Keynoting and facilitating about school technology leadership. #incredible

George Couros, Jason Ohler, Kim McMonagle, Rushton Hurley …

Sharing their knowledge. Helping administrators learn and get better. #valuable

CASTLE and TICAL …

The United States’ only two centers dedicated to the technology needs of school leaders. #amazing

Chris O’Neal, Susan Brooks-Young, Mike Ribble …

ISTE authors who have written extensively on technology leadership topics. #helpful

Keith Krueger, Leslie Wilson, Holly Jobe, Sheryl Abshire, Jimmy Casas …

The list goes on and on… #mustattend

Will you be in Indianapolis in October? You should be…

—–

To celebrate ISTE’s first-ever nationwide school technology leadership conference, I am freely releasing (under a Creative Commons license) our latest book chapter, Supporting Effective Technology Integration and Implementation. Available both in PDF and in HTML, the chapter focuses on ISTE’s Essential Conditions and describes some concrete actions that principals can take for each. Hopefully you’ll garner some great ideas from the chapter of things you could initiate or do better. The goal was to be helpful and useful, not just theoretical! Three excerpts are below. Happy reading (and feel free to share further)!

Another aspect of empowered, distributed leadership is the creation of structures that facilitate team members’ learning. Schools that create ways to ‘bring the outside in’ for staff and technology advisory teams will have access to a greater diversity of ideas and resources than those that will be devised locally in-house. In their seminal book, The Power of Pull, Hagel, Brown, and Davison (2010) describe the incredible power of members at the outside edges of organizations bumping up against, intersecting with, and learning from individuals at other organizations’ edges (see also Cross & Parker, 2004; Benkler, 2006). Online – and often informal – learning structures that span institutional barriers can be powerful ways to facilitate distributed learning and leadership. A variety of technology tools are available for this purpose, including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, wikis, webinars, and social bookmarking.

AND

Another way for principals to influence the supply of technology-fluent teachers is to work closely with teacher education programs. As schools create technology-rich learning environments and focus more on higher-order thinking skills, many administrators are finding that preservice programs have not adapted yet to provide new graduates with skills relevant for their classrooms. For example, when asked how well their teacher education program prepared them to make effective use of technology for instruction, only 33% of public school teachers replied ‘to a moderate or major extent’ for their graduate program and only 25% of public school teachers reported the same for their undergraduate teacher education program (NCES, 2010b). Principals should initiate constructive, non-threatening dialogues with university faculty and administrators about the technology skill sets that they need new teachers to have. Re-aligned postsecondary curricula, joint research initiatives, observation programs, mentoring systems, internships, partnerships, and political advocacy platforms are just some of the potential outcomes of such conversations.

AND

Although most learning technologies are general enough to be used quite flexibly, by design some technologies are more teacher-centric rather than student-centric. For instance, tools such as interactive whiteboards, student response systems, digital projectors, and document cameras are technologies designed to facilitate the presentation of material by one teacher to many students. Even when a student rather than a teacher is using the technology, the vast majority of children usually are passively watching the facilitator rather than actively using the technology themselves. Similarly, tools such as DVD players, pre-selected online videos, pre-filtered web sites for research, and content management systems usually are implemented in ways that are more teacher-directed rather than student-directed. Teacher-centric technologies mirror traditional educational practices related to information transmission and – unlike laptop or tablet computers, digital cameras or camcorders, scientific probeware, and other technologies that typically are used primarily by students – are generally replicative rather than transformative. Principals should strive to create opportunities for students to have greater autonomy and ownership over how and when they use technology tools. It is important for teachers to use technology in their instruction in ways that are meaningful, relevant, and powerful. It is arguably more important, however, to empower students to do the same. Schools that mostly invest in teacher-centric rather than student-centric technology tools will struggle to adequately prepare graduates who are ready for a hyperconnected, hypercompetitive, technology-infused global information society.

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