Tag Archives: news

Our new book, Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning, was released today!

Harnessing Technology for Deeper LearningAfter 4+ years of piloting our 4 Shifts discussion protocol with thousands of educators, I am delighted to announce that our new book, Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning, is now available!

Over the past few years the protocol has really started to take off. In schools and districts all around the world, we have teachers, principals, instructional coaches, and technology integrationists who are integrating the protocol into their instructional (re)design work. We are finding that the protocol accommodates a variety of educator starting points, skill sets, and comfort levels. It’s a great complement to SAMR because it’s an instructional discussion tool, not just a technology usage continuum. And it’s occupying a wonderful design space between more traditional practice and full blown, ‘gold standard,’ multiple-week PBL projects.

To celebrate the book’s release, Julie Graber and I are inviting educators to participate in the #4Shifts Challenge and publicly (re)design a lesson, unit, or instructional activity using several of the sections or bullet points in the protocol as levers for (re)design. If we want deeper learning, greater student agency, more authentic work, and rich technology infusion to happen, we have to design for them. We hope that you will join us in sharing what powerful instructional redesign can look like. We need examples that we can point educators to for inspiration! If you’re game, simply post your redesign and share it using the #4Shifts hashtag, which will help us find your post and drive some traffic to your site! Thanks!

Why buy the book when the protocol is free?!

The protocol is open source and always will be, as will numerous other resources on the 4 Shifts Protocol resource page. Feel free to use and/or modify those resources as desired. The new book, however, takes a deeper dive with the protocol. In the book we provide eight concrete examples of lesson and unit (re)design so that you can see the protocol in practice across various grade levels and subject areas. The book is aimed squarely at practitioners and their day-to-day instructional (re)design needs. We also explain in the book why we think the protocol is a great complement to SAMR, TPACK, RAT, PIC-RAT, and the Arizona and Florida Technology Integration Matrices. And we include numerous tips and suggestions for using the protocol in your school(s)!

Let Julie and I know what you think. Please reach out if you have questions or if there are ways that we can be of support to you. We are happy to set up a chat to address questions or concerns and share how we are using the protocol with educators. And if you feel like leaving us an Amazon review, we’d love that too! 

A great big thank you to the thousands of educators who have helped make the protocol better!

Featured at Forbes

It was an honor to be featured on the Forbes web site last week. Robyn Shulman highlighted five ‘education entrepreneurs’ and included me on the list along with Vicki Davis, Will Richardson, Kristen Swanson, and Angela Maiers.

I know Robyn has more names on her list and will be sharing those over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more!

Innovation academies, workshops, presentation topics, upcoming books, and more

Some quick updates…

I created a new Innovation Academies page to better describe that work. I love those opportunities when I have an ongoing, long-term engagement with a district’s leadership team! It’s quite possibly my favorite work that I do because we can really see a district move significantly in a short period of time when all of the leaders have shared understandings, capacity, and commitments.

I also updated my Presentation and Workshop Topics page. I decided to feature a dozen or so main keynote and session topics. And then I listed several dozen more possibilities after that! If it has to do with leadership, innovative learning and teaching, school transformation, and/or technology, I’m in.

Dean Shareski and I have a new book coming out later this year regarding the relevance gaps that we see in schools. I am hoping to get final edits back to Solution Tree this week. He and I also have a session at ISTE on this topic.

My third book, co-authored by Julie Graber, hopefully will be in print by the end of this year. The focus of the book is on how to utilize the trudacot discussion protocol to (re)design technology-infused lessons, units, and instructional activities. The bulk of the book is concrete example after concrete example of how to do this, across grade levels and subject areas. Julie and I will send the draft of that book to Solution Tree in early February.

And… I now have a speakers agency. This is a very new idea for me. I figure if they’re representing Will Richardson, Tony Wagner, Alan November, and David Thornburg (among many others), they probably know what they’re doing!

Let me know if you’d like more information on any of these. And please stay in touch as I can be of help and support to you!

Iowa at ISTE

2016ISTEMcLeod

I was given ISTE’s Award for Outstanding Leadership this afternoon. That was fun.  🙂

Today was a great day for Iowa at ISTE. In addition to myself… 

#IowaRocksOut

ISTE 2015: (Re)designing tech-infused lessons for deeper thinking

Hope you will join me and Julie Graber in June for our ISTE workshop… Register here!

Title

(Re)designing tech-infused lessons for deeper thinking

Short description

Avoid the pitfalls of tech integration – technology for technology’s sake, focus on tools rather than the learning – by being thoughtful and purposeful about lesson (re)design. Bring your own lessons and units, and we’ll help you make them better.

Date / time

Sunday, June 28, 12:30pm to 3:30pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

Standards addressed

ISTE Administrator Standards A-2, ISTE Teacher Standards T-2, ISTE Coach Standards C-2. Although we selected only one of the NETS-T standards, this session actually will focus on the first three. These three standards – as well as the selected NETS-A and NETS-C standards related to digitally-enabled learning – are at the heart of this workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to help administrators and teachers assess when higher-order thinking skills and student agency factors are (or are not) present in classroom uses of technology by students and teachers. Right now most educators are poor judges of deeper, richer technology usage, which is why we see lots of lower-level technology use instead of schools taking advantage of the rich affordances that digital learning technologies could bring to our classrooms.

Participant device prerequisites

Laptops and Chromebooks tend to play best with Google Docs and Sheets, which is what we will be using to facilitate some of our work together. Ability to access Google Docs and Sheets is needed. In addition to bringing a computing device, participants also should bring a unit or a few lessons that they would like to redesign.

Purpose and objectives

This session focuses on the intersections of digital learning technologies, higher-order thinking skills, student agency, and authentic, real-world work. In this workshop we will redesign lessons and units with the intent of getting beyond lower-level academic work and technology usage. By the end of the workshop, participating administrators and teachers will have practiced using the trudacot protocol to 1) diagnose and redesign others’ lessons, and 2) create new lessons, or revise existing ones, of their own.

Outline

In addition to bringing a computing device, participants also should bring a unit or a few lessons that they would like to redesign. | 10 minutes – We will start the workshop by looking at some different technology integration and/or deeper thinking frameworks (TPACK, SAMR, RAT, Bloom’s, Webb’s, IPI, AIW, etc.) and quickly discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each. | 10 minutes – We then will introduce participants to a technology-rich unit design and classroom observation template (trudacot), which pulls from the strengths of multiple frameworks while simultaneously covering existing gaps in those frameworks. | 60 minutes – We will spend most of the first half of our workshop applying trudacot in depth to one or two video examples of technology-infused lessons (with accompanying lesson plans) so that administrators and teachers can practice utilizing the template with actual lessons to make judgments about the presence/absence of higher-order and active learning; critical thinking and problem-solving; collaboration; authentic, real-world work; and other high-leverage characteristics. In short, we will redesign one or two lessons from elsewhere to make them richer and more robust. | 10 minutes – We will take a break! | 90 minutes – Moving beyond others’ lessons, we then will rebuild (or build new) lessons of our own using trudacot to facilitate our dialogues. Participants will work in triads throughout the workshop to ensure that multiple lenses and perspectives are informing our design work. | This will NOT be a sit-and-get session with a few questions at the end. We will be talking continuously with each other throughout the workshop, so questions will be actively solicited throughout rather than waiting until the end and letting just a few folks ask questions.

Supporting research

There is a wealth of research on the TPACK and SAMR frameworks, Bloom’s taxonomy, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, the Authentic Intellectual Work framework, the Instructional Practices Inventory, the Florida/Arizona Technology Integration Matrices, and other mental models of technology integration and/or higher-order thinking work. Unfortunately, each of these is limited in terms of utilization as a lesson (re)design framework. We will be pulling these together into a comprehensive template that draws from existing frameworks but also remedies their individual gaps.

It is absolutely critical that educators have the ability and tools to examine, dissect, and rebuild student and teacher classroom technology uses for the purpose of achieving higher-level thinking, greater student agency, and authentic, real-world work. Right now we are doing a poor job of helping educators with these tasks. The purpose of this workshop is to help with this concern.

Presenters

Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. After 14 years as an Educational Leadership professor, Dr. McLeod currently serves as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, the National School Boards Association, and the Center for Digital Education. In 2011 he was a Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In 2013 he received the Technology Leadership Award for the state of Iowa. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at regional, state, national, and international conferences. He also is the co-editor of the book, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media.

Julie Graber is a passionate educator who is most interested in seeing teachers and administrators improve learning opportunities for students. Deeper thinking with technology, authentic learning, curriculum design, and performance assessments are some of Julie’s many areas of expertise. After 13 years as a technology coordinator and business/computer teacher, Julie currently serves as an Instructional Technology Consultant for Prairie Lakes AEA by supporting educators with effective teaching, leading, and technology practices. Julie was one of four coaches in the state of Iowa to first be trained in Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW). She has served on several state leadership teams, including the North Central STEM Hub Advisory Board and the Design Team for the Iowa Competency-Based Education Collaborative. Julie is certified in the Instructional Practices Inventory and provides training for Defined Learning. In 2014, Jay McTighe asked Julie to join his group, McTighe and Associates, to conduct workshops for educators using the Understanding by Design curriculum framework. Julie is a regular local, state, and national presenter focusing on student-centered learning, authentic work, and project-based learning.

Register here!

Is it wrong for me to wish the ISTE keynotes focused more on ed tech?

ISTE announced its 2015 conference keynote speakers yesterday:

  • Soledad O’Brien, journalist and news anchor
  • Jack Gallagher, comedian and parent of a child with autism
  • Josh Stumpenhorst, Illinois teacher of the year and ISTE Emerging Leader

I love ISTE and the ISTE conference. But every year I wish more of the keynotes were actually helpful to our technology integration and implementation efforts. It is an educational technology conference, after all, and we have lots of needs in the actual topic area of the conference.

Go get ‘em, Josh…

[UPDATE: See also Michelle Baldwin’s recent post on this issue]

Technology grants for Iowa teachers

Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency is working with the CenturyLink Foundation to award technology grants to Iowa teachers. As we said on our web site,

The goal of this grant program is to fund INNOVATIVE uses of digital learning tools by students and educators. Don’t just tell us you ‘need some iPads.’ Dream bigger than electronic worksheets. And please, please, please don’t send us a proposal describing how your students need drill-and-kill apps or software.

We’re looking for visionary, not replicative. We’re looking for 10X thinking, not 10% thinking. Tell us what your students are going to do with the digital learning tools and why it will be incredible. Describe for us why your students can’t make a difference in their learning and the world around them without these funds. Speak to our hearts as well as our minds and sell us a vision of learning and teaching that’s inspiring and amazing! What will your moonshot be?

Got a great idea worth funding? Visit the CenturyLink Teachers & Technology Grant Program web site to learn more. The deadline is January 2, 2015.

CenturyLink logo

Prairie Lakes AEA Logo

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!

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.

Our journalists are failing us

Tvnews

Malcolm X said:

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

What an apt quote for media coverage of today’s ‘educational reform’ movements.

We need journalists to do their jobs. We need them to sift fact from fiction, puffery, and politics. We need them to stop posting press releases as news stories. We need them to quit perpetrating their own injustices and, if they’re going to be biased, at least admit it. We need them to critically investigate and dissect politicians’ and educational reformers’ claims rather than fawning over them or accepting whatever nonsense spews forth from their mouths and social media channels. They’re supposed to be journalists, not PR hacks.

We deserve better.

Image credit: Bigstock, Television news reporter and video camera