All posts by aottenad

A More Effective Online Peer Coach

As part of my studies with the Digital Education Leadership program at SPU, I recently engaged in and completed an exercise in peer coaching with a teacher.  I took into consideration that I now work at a startup, and the professional learning I would be working with her on would be all online and for a particular product. I gradually transitioned from the point of power and requests to a more to a collaborative partner, capable of leading and guiding inquiry. I practiced communication skills, including active listening and questioning strategies as my collaborating partner and I worked to rebuild our ECT program at Edmodo. Much of my work in this course centered around the study of Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Communication by Les Foltos

Beyond what we already learned and addressed how can I create a broader and more personal relationship when conducting online peer coaching?

As part of my reflection, I am considering how I can engage in peer coaching practices without ever having a traditional classroom to step into.  All the coaching is done online through Edmodo classroom and groups. On top of that, how do I evaluate and create metrics of success on the online coaching model? As I work in a business where I must demonstrate all efforts as value to the company.  So I must put forth a plan to revitalize the ECT program.

What is essential to the program to create trainers who we can trust? What support does my facilitator need from me to be more successful in the next cohort? 

Research by Shauna and Baker (2005) explains that One of the challenges resulting from the growing popularity of online education is how to efficiently evaluate online instruction.  Within their paper “Peer Coaching for Online Instruction: An Emerging Model for Faculty Development” where the central question isn’t whether this new approach to education is effective — the plethora of “no significant difference” studies mainly render that question moot — but what steps can be taken to not only ensure that individual courses are useful but provide the necessary guidance to promote faculty growth and development as they teach online.

Ensuring Quality of Online Instruction – Peer Coaching Cycle – “A team of experienced online instructors is currently adapting this peer coaching model for the online environment and has performed preliminary online peer coaching during this past academic year.”

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Within the protocol, the coach logs into Blackboard course site multiple times during a week. “We encourage the online peer coach to take particular notice of the virtual classroom environment and interpersonal communication dynamics.  Such facets include the design and layout of the blackboard web pages, the tone of the announcements and course materials, the level of learner-instructor engagement and learner-learner engagement in class discussions, the types of media used for presenting materials, the ease of navigation, the clarity of course instructions, and the instructor’s mastery of the course content and effectiveness at presenting it to the class.” As I look towards the future of our program, at Edmodo I see how important it is to figure out a way to evaluate the course as it is happening.  The program facilitator is an experienced teacher but teaching online with a cohort from 19 different countries is a whole different beast.  The kids that come to school every day are pushed from so many different sides to attend her class while these grown adults must see value and excitement every single time they log into the system.  It was tough to witness the attrition (the loss of customers or clients over time) because the end results are ECTs and these advocates are so valuable to the company.  As it sits thought it is just too long to keep hard-working teachers engaged, six weeks is a long time to stay concentrated on anything in this day and age especially when there isn’t any promise of compensation at the end.

How do I want to proceed with rebuilding the program?

Recently, I attended Advocamp an Advocate Marketing Strategy conference in San Francisco because that is a significant aspect of my job.  It was put on by a company called Influitive which is in the business of creating online hubs for other businesses to host advocate marketing campaigns and challenges.  It really allows you to gamify the system and reward your advocates with rewards and points.  The most valuable session I attended was by Deena Zenyk, from Influitive her session was titledUncover the hidden value of your advocacy program by learning to use the power of campaign-based planning.” She recently wrote a book about the Six Habits of Highly Effective Advocate Marketers and “Consider your last big purchase: What influenced your decision? A paid advertisement? A polished press release? A celebrity Twitter endorsement? A marketing email? A product webpage? Probably not. More than likely, you listened to someone you know and trust. An authentic voice with relevant experience is the most convincing proponent when we’re considering a new product or company. That is the power of an advocate.”  I think that this message although hard for some teachers to believe but sometimes we are a hard audience to sell to and we really only like to listen to people who have gone through what we have.  Sometimes I talk about my first couple years of teaching at an alternative high school like some people talk about serving in the military.  Now I know it is not comparable to what our military does for our country, but I genuinely do not feel like people at my work know what it is like for a teacher unless they have themselves have taught a couple of years.  That is just one reason why our ECT program brings so much value to our company because teachers only like to hear from other teachers when talking about a product.  But how do we create a course that is the right balance between getting enough experience with the product and short enough to keep everyone’s excitement and engagement?    So Deena Zenyk mentioned a system that CISCO put together years ago called VSEM, Vision, Strategy, Execution and Metric.  Moreover, I am going to put my program through this organization and see what comes out.  Here is what it looks like when diagramed.

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Is collaboration worth the investment? As you plot the next steps in your collaboration journey, it helps to understand the returns that are possible

The improved collaboration represents the best opportunity for business leaders to tap the full range of talents of their people, move with higher speed and flexibility, and compete to win over the next decade. But building a collaborative organization requires a transformative approach to culture, processes, and technology – along with an unwavering commitment from top to bottom. Leaders who encourage change on all three fronts will be rewarded with an energized organization that can adapt quickly to changing markets and deliver results.

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Resources:

Cisco Inc (Ed.). (2012). The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential – CISCO. Retrieved December 09, 2017, from https://www.cisco.com/en/US/services/ps2961/ps2664/collaborative_imperative.pdf

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Foltos, L. (2015). Principals boost coaching’s impact: school leaders’ support is critical to collaboration. Journal Of Staff Development36(1), 48-51,.

Shauna, T., Ph.D., & Baker, J. D., Ph.D. (2005). Peer Coaching for Online Instruction: An Emerging Model for Faculty Development. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Http://warehouse.olc.edu/~cdelong/dl401/peercoaching.pdf,

Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in Internet-based distance education. Retrieved from http://www.ihep.org/sites/default/files/uploads/docs/pubs/qualityontheline.pd

 


Supporting Online Learning Environments to Optimize Collaboration

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As part of my recent exploration of peer coaching, I have recently examined what it means to peer coach reluctant learners and what the 21st-century feedback loop looks like when peer coaching.  Now we are turning our attention to something more specific and how we can use what we learned thus far to improve lessons.  And as the program and activities I am working with are all online and being taught to educated professional adults I am going to research and examine; How can an instructor or coach design an online learning environment to support group collaboration?  I am interested in looking at how to create the most creative and engaging learning environment online. Basically, if the most convenient PD will happen online and we don’t want to distribute training but coach teachers to keep learning how can we do that online without losing engagement and excitement.  

Andrew Marcinek, Director of Technology and EducatorU.org Co-founder, states in a recent Edutopia blog post “if your edtech professional development resembles a TED talk, you might want to reconsider the method of delivery. This is not to say that lecture is an ineffective means of delivering content, but edtech professional development (PD) should include time to explore. It should be hands-on, and groups or teams should have time to share their learning.” Furthermore, as I stated to my cohort members recently it was always difficult for me to mentally reconcile the contrasting approach to collaboration and delivery when it came to PD for teachers. I have countless memories of PD being delivered to my colleagues and me about something they wanted us to implement (i.e., blended learning, flipped classrooms, or PBL) but the PD itself was delivered in a traditional sit and get style lecture. This system felt like the Admins wanted the teachers to continually be creative and think on their feet when teaching students but when it came to the PD given to the teachers, they could not think of a better way of giving us the information.  When teachers have a chance to collaborate and tinker they can “walk away from this kind of PD ready to integrate what they’ve learned in the classroom. Also, administrators should model personal learning networks and leverage a wide range of social media for on-demand learning opportunities” (Edutopia, 2014).  I also think there is a certain protocol of PD that I will outline for optimization.  I took a deeper look at the way Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of Singapore explains meaningful learning design in five different dimensions.  These dimensions represent the ways I also believe that instructional technologist can up the ante when it comes to professional development for teachers in their districts or companies.  Keep in mind the following when creating and implementing PD. 

Learning by Doing

Doing and knowing are reciprocal and participation inevitably involves doing. In well-designed lessons, learning by doing should lead to knowledge creation in which students uncover the subject matter through their performances.

Engage Students’ Prior Knowledge

The more prior knowledge the students have on one topic, the easier it would be for students to relate the new knowledge of theory to their own experiences and learn better. There is a positive prior correlation between prior knowledge comprehensive ability. Students find it easier to retain knowledge when prior knowledge is built upon; building on their prior makes learning personal for the students.

Self-Directed Learning

Learning through participation drawing on acquired knowledge and creating new understanding happens all the time when one is involved in learning guided by self-direction.  I personally believe that self-directed learning like through MOOCs or course by correspondence is difficult.  The program that I am auditing through Edmodo is guided in parts but also self-directed as the professionals taking the course must delegate their time between their full-time jobs and their PD course we created for them.

Real World Connections

In order for learning to be meaningful learners need to be provided with opportunities to call upon what they know as a point of reference, use it as a basis for new knowledge to grow.  This will help students to see the relevance of learning. Real-world connections provide these opportunities.

Collaborative Learning

As Wang stated in ICT for Self-directed and Meaningful Learning 2010, “Technology is not a panacea. However, it has great potential to address some of the above challenges” (784).

Within ICT for Self-directed and Meaningful Learning, “Some design strategies must be applied to promote collaboration. A number of strategies work well in face-to-face classroom settings such as think-pair-share, jigsaw, or ro

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 6.18.02 PM.pngle play. But they do not work at all in an online learning environment as they often need people to meet physically. Also, collaborative learning has a number of challenges,” (783) So we know some strategies that work for in-person dynamic group collaboration but when it comes to online grouping there are different strategies to get the members engaged and active.  I know that because our SPU Digital Educational Leadership cohort meets every week and we have assignments we are expected to have ready it makes me more professional accountable.  If our cohort did not meet in a routine calendared manner I am not sure I would get my work down and continue to push myself independently of the program.

The overall general design principle summarized from this study is: If teachers want to design online learning environments for the purpose of coordinating and monitoring the collaborative learning process they are advised to implement the dimensions of meaningful learning and collaboration.

Resources:

Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017, January 05). Effective Teacher Professional Development. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/effective-teacher-professional-development-report

Marcinek, A. (2014, May 20). Tech Integration and School Culture. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/tech-integration-and-school-culture-andrew-marcinek

Tan, A. (2010). Wikis. In Chai, C.S., & Wang, Q. (Eds.), ICT for Self-directed and Meaningful Learning (pp. 783 – 795). Singapore: Pearson. http://international.slo.nl/bestanden/Ch37.pdf/

 


The 21st-Century Skill & Art Form – The Feedback Loop

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This week in my studies with the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I am continuing to explore ISTE Coaching Standards 1 and 2 by investigating what effective student learning looks like. Just as norms are an essential part of a peer coaching relationship, so too is a shared vision for what effective 21st-century education looks like. This shared vision creates a starting place for any collaborative work.

As Les states, “Communication and collaboration skills are vital to helping coaches build a relationship with peers, based on respect and trust, and assist peers to develop answers to the issues they face as they work to improve teaching and learning for their students.  Effective coaches use these sets of skills and trust as a springboard to encourage their learning partners to take risks and adopt innovative teaching and learning practices. ” 

As we begin thinking about the 21st-Century skills that teachers must interweave into their curriculum, I believe that one of the most important is communication.  This communication piece led me to my question for this post.  Precisely, how can we communicate to educators that quality professional development can come from your professional learning network?  When I imagined this conversation with a potential person I am coaching I wondered if they might not appreciate a line like this.  Perhaps this educator would not like that I used a “buzz” phrase like PLN or that I asked them to break out of their comfort zone.  As it states in Designing Classroom Environments“Teachers must be enabled and encouraged to establish a community of learners among themselves (Lave and Wegner, 1991). These communities can build a sense of comfort with questioning rather than knowing the answer and can develop a model of creating new ideas that build on the contributions of individual members. They can engender a sense of the excitement of learning that is then transferred to the classroom, conferring a sense of ownership of new ideas as they apply to theory and practice.”  This is why I decided to take a deep dive into Stone & Heen’s book Thanks for the Feedback: the Science and art of Receiving Feedback Well

Within the book the authors explain how giving and receiving feedback is a skill and even goes as far as to say it is an art form.  I will admit that at times in my life when I have received critical feedback without any positive elements it was tough to recover and become motivated to work afterward. I had a couple of particularly harsh interactions with an AP Literature teacher in high school and with one of my bosses when I first became a teacher.  It is just happenstance that these were both women whom I admired and obviously wanted positive reinforcement but instead received some feedback that led me down unproductive paths.  As the authors wisely explain “we swim in an ocean of feedback. Each year in the United States alone, every schoolchild will be handed back as many 300 assignments, papers, and tests.  Millions of kids will be assessed as they try out for a team or audition to be cast in a school play.  Almost 2 million teenagers will receive SAT scores and face college verdicts think and thin” (pg 2).  And as the end goal within this process is to always keep those teens or students in mind I want to look at specific element within the “Learning Design Matrix” (Learning Design Matrix.doc) “receive real-world feedback on their work from an audience or subject-matter expert from outside the school.”  Then to take that feedback and “Reflect on, revise and improve their work while engaged in learning”.  These two elements of receiving feedback, taking it, processing it, and then making productive changes is indeed a learned skill.

Applying this feedback loop to Adult learners who can then pass it along to our students of the future. 

Stone and Heen go one to say, “it doesn’t matter how much authority or power a feedback giver has; the receivers are in control of what they do and don’t let in, how they make sense of what they’re hearing, and whether they choose to change” (pg. 4).   Now that I have changed careers and moved into the EdTech sphere and received a new title that probably did not exist in the same capacity twenty years ago I can say the review process is essential.  Keeping an open two-way communication between a whole team is a constant necessity, from morning stand-ups, sprint meetings, project managing, and weekly check-ins.  It is important to give constructive feedback to peers on their work and receive feedback in the same manner.  It must push the project forward, and if something you are excited about gets push to next quarter or next year, you have to think about the company as a whole.  I say all this because as an educator I felt much more self-propelled.  My day-to-day was consumed by what and how I wanted to proceed through the material.  I was able to read the room, and I knew my students the best to gauge where to go next.  Teachers are all very skilled project and program managers, and I wish they were perceived more so in the professional world.  Needlesstosay I mean to explain this because when I entered my new world of EdTech the number of stakeholders in “my” projects grew.  The ownership of plans and projects is shared and constantly refined as more minds are consulted.  Therefore, I would state that for peer coaching, teaching, learning, and 21st-century skills this feedback loop is instrumental to teach.  And as Stone and Heen wrap up their argument of the necessity for feedback they explain “Indeed, research on happiness identifies ongoing learning and growth as a core ingredient of satisfaction in life” (pg. 4).  Meaning that humans crave the continual learning process, but the only way to get better at something is through practice.  If we are trying to motivate students and teachers, we must make it clear that we are not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or put anyone down.  As peer coaches and teachers we see this all as practice to help encourage the user to gain experience and eventually become proficient at a particular skill.

 

Resources:

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

National Research Council. 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/9853.

Stone, D., & Heen, S. (2015). Thanks for the feedback: the science and art of receiving feedback well. London: Portfolio Penguin. doi:https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=bWw2AAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PT21


Coaching Reluctant Educators and Learning Generational Expectations

This week in the Digital Educational Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I am exploring the roles of communication and collaboration in peer coaching as they align with ISTE Coaching Standards 1 & 2. Foltos asserted that “A skillful coach uses communication skills to encourage a collaborating teacher to think more deeply about a topic or to help the teacher reflect” (2013).  It is important to create that balance between inquiry and advocacy due to the fact that our coaching plans do have a point and ensuring that we are communicating effectively will help us achieve our end goal. 

Of course, there are basic meeting guidelines like setting norms, building trust, and respecting time and space of the collaborating teacher.  Those elements do seem pretty basic at this point and although I am not going to fixate on them wholly I hope to examine the generational differences and expectations for peer coaching or meetings.  For example, in the past, I may have done something as simple as bringing my phone to a meeting and that could have set off a peer I was speaking to without me realizing it.  Therefore, I don’t necessarily believe in the necessity of these norms every single time you bring a peer relationship.

What communication techniques assist in persuading a reluctant learner to believe in a technology-enhanced learning experience for students?

While listening to the ISTE Professional Learning Series webinar “Social Media as an Educator: Modeling Digital Citizenship Daily Professionally and Personally,” presented by ISTE Digital Citizenship Network. The facilitators Nancy Stone Penchev a coding/I-lab teacher and Lauren Villaluz a Technology Integration Specialist in Oakland Schools in Michigan.  The webinar opened with a quote that I think we should keep in the back of our minds “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”  I want to keep that quote in mind because right now the word “reluctant learners” as it pertains to teachers is depressing.  I loved how in education I felt like a forever learner and that requires change and evolution.

A couple of other ideas that came up near the end of the webinar should also be established as a point of reference.  If teachers do not start believing in a tech-enhanced learning experience for students they will not be able to help a student talk about “who’s writing their story online. Teachers will not be able to demonstrate how to become “proactive about your own digital footprint and to think carefully about how you represent yourself” online.  If reluctant learners do not start admitting that they too can fail and make mistake they will not have authentic conversations with students about their online life.  Education is shifting and as material goes online it is all about how the teachers handle mistakes made online and how important it is to “be the first to respond to your own mistakes, be upfront about the mistake and model how to handle it”.  This is how we move from just digital citizens to digital leaders in the classroom.  

But as all new things are scary we have to keep in mind some of the concerns that these reluctant learners have about online services and social media. “According to a 2009 report published by The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Microsoft titled, “Boomers and Technology: An Extended Conversation”, “Boomers” have a few 

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minimum criteria when it comes to technology: They want technology to:”  

  • be safe and easy to use;
  • adapt to their specific needs;
  • connect each other;
  • act as a tool, not a tyrant;
  • be a force for good.

Other issues the reluctant learner has is that the service is too complicated, no training is available, and safety/security concerns.  Now for some of these people, it will be hard to convince them that even if they cover their camera on their laptop and turn off their Bluetooth on their cell phones that their data is still being collected. The idea that free is never free can’t be stressed enough and the only way the students are going to learn smart appropriate behavior is often from the teachers they interact with on a daily basis.

I suppose my thought process is two-fold on one side is how do we convince the reluctant learners that teaching technology and specifically safe actions on social media are essential but also the fact that they are not participating is a detriment to their students.  The first thing I want to establish is that when I interact with any reluctant educator I start by listening to all their concerns.  I want to start with an element of trust to demonstrate that I am on their side and by the end, I hope to show them how tools online can be used for good and are not always so evil.  Beginning with a demonstration and admission about how I have failed in my online life and how I have gotten tangled up in immature conversations on Facebook and Twitter and no matter what those posts stick around and follow me throughout my life.  Careers and education can slip through your fingers if when you Google yourself negative images or material pops up instead of positive actions and resumes. 

 

Resources:

Dale, N. (2016, July 21). Why Instructional Design Must Focus on Learning Outcomes, Not Learning Activities – EdSurge News. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-07-21-why-instructional-design-must-focus-on-learning-outcomes-not-learning-activities?utm_content=buffer65095&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

ISTE Professional Learning Series webinar “Social Media as an Educator: Modeling Digital Citizenship Daily Professionally and Personally. (2017, October 11). Retrieved October 16, 2017, from http://iste.adobeconnect.com/pml3r2xw7lhd/.


Education Peer Coaching in the Digital Age – EDTC 6105

This quarter in my studies in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am studying the practice of peer coaching. Throughout this quarter we will explore the ISTE coaching standards and specifically standard 1: Visionary Leadership.
Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 11.42.09 AMWhile I received peer coaching as a new educator and continually distribute peer coaching as I continue in my career, it is interesting to see how experts define the process.

What is peer coaching?

In the Digital Promise piece created by the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching at Stanford, it states three of the most widely held definitions of peer coaching. “Some define coaching as a tool to develop teachers’ ability to identify how helpful an instructional strategy is in supporting student learning (Russo, 2004). Others describe teacher coaching as a mechanism to achieve fidelity of implementation of novel teaching practices (Devine, Meyers, & Houssemand, 2013). Salavert (2015) describes coaching as an “apprentice-based approach to support professional and personal development towards achieving set goals” (p. 2). Sutton et al. (2011) add that a coach “works collaboratively with a teacher” (p. 15).” But as we attempt to drill down a definition I appreciate something simple like “Coaching can… give educators the knowledge and skills they need to grow professionally and, in turn, serve the diverse needs of their students” (Digital Promise, 2017).  We as educators and professionals need to always keep the student in mind.  I intend to focus heavily on this element in my explanation of what is essential to peer coaching especially as it connects with edtech development.

What is essential in a peer coaching relationship?

Coaches can take several different approaches to the relationship they create when they enter into a peer coaching arrangement.  As we can see in the image there are four “common forms of coaching” and although I believe that the coactive approach is what I want to focus in on for my purposes this quarter.  It “entails the coach taking more a holistic approach by striving to help the client feel fulfilled and balanced” (Digital Promise, 2017, pg 6).  If the teacher who has entered into this relationship does not feel like their life is balanced and their schedule can handle a peer coaching relationship – how will they be able to learn anything from the situation?  Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 11.56.29 AM

Of course, there is also more to the arrangement but I want to keep those elements at the forefront to the rest of the setup of peer coaching.  As Les Foltos establishes in Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration that there are the four C’s to keep in mind when it comes to student success; Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity.  As a peer coach to a professional educator though I will need to keep in mind other themes.

Participation

A coaching relationship needs to consist of willing participants, who are open to building trust with one another (Foltos, 2013).  This trust is the root of a working relationship that encourages boldness and growth.

Benchmarks

It is essential to set goals and norms collaboratively. While it can begin with a school or district goal, it can also stem from goals set by the coaching partnership (Foltos, 2013).

Respect & Kindness

Setting a practice of respect and kindness is a separate consideration from participation. It is crucial to address time as a factor and be sensitive to both sides in a coaching relationship, and recognizing certification hours and/or compensation for work being done outside of the school day can adequately value the process.

What does it mean for a “coach” to implement a comprehensive use of technology to support a digital-age education for all students?

This year I have a new role outside of public education, and I am working with teachers in different states, different countries, and with decades of more experience than I have. But as I have read more and more research there is a clear divide between how teachers feel about using technology in their daily lives and how students think. In a recent presentation, I heard a stat that blew my mind “92% of teenagers are online every single day, and 24% are constantly and continually connected to the internet (Pew Research 2017).  With that being the case some of our educators are not only out of touch but with the continued exponential growth of data the divide is growing larger each day instead of each year or decade.  I know that each generation has felt this divide due to age and what is now as the “digital native” but I think something different is happening as I watch education professionals almost ward against technology instead of embracing it.

In a recent survey we did internally at Edmodo, we asked teachers who were active users last year to tell us why they did not come back.  We had about 11% of those who answered the survey (~400) tell us they went back to paper and pencil or paper and email instead of using an LMS.  When asked why they made this decision they said it is just “easier for them” and when I read that I can see those teachers who back away from technology.  Those teachers though are doing a disservice to our students and not meeting them where they are.  They can even create a sense of anxiety when they do not use technology because they are less accessible for the student.

Coactive Learner-Centered Peer Coaching

At first, when I started listening to the recorded panel discussion it was just for work, but then I realized that what they were talking about correlates with our peer coaching discussion.  As I look to the future and see the creation of plans which are really for the benefit for the administration and policymakers I want to address meeting the students where they are and what it means for a “comprehensive digital-age education for students.”

I believe that the peer coaches need to meet the peer or student where they are in their learning, time of day, and the mode of communication that works best for them.  The coach is a guide and cannot do the work for the person but must have a light nurturing touch when it comes to coaching.  Experienced peer coaches understand that one way to show respect to their peers is to learn with and from them.  It is very similar to teaching “the coach needs to show respect to get respect” (Foltos, 2013, chapter 1). I had used this phrase in teaching on several occasions when students were out of line or acting out, and they did not like my response.  “Well you have to show respect to get respect, ” and they would roll their eyes because they were teenagers but it works the same with peer professionals. 

As in the panel discussion put on by Higher EdSurge, it demonstrates that coaching on a one-on-one basis is vital at all levels of education and professional development.  If we can suspend the idea that we are teachers and not students I think that several of these ideas correlate with our reading.

Regarding student success especially a digital-age student what does that mean? Success is hard to measure – and even more so because it depends on who you are asking and they will give you different metrics to measure that success against. But for the panel discussion, it was college completion and how colleges are trying to help with success. Less than ½ of college students today finish their bachelor’s degree in four years. Minority and low-income students are graduated at the campus average.  

An example of how one company is trying to improve student success through coaching  Dwight Smith (Assistant Director of Programs at Beyond12).  He explains the experiences Beyond 12 provides and the intentional use of the word “Coaches.”  These people wear so many hats and interact with students in unique ways.  The word coach is a catch-all for all that they do for the students.  Beyond 12 does not see their work as a replacement to traditional advising in college but more of a compliment.  Encourage students to take advantage of that is available at the colleges they attend.  Coaches are recent college graduates, and the majority of them are first in the family to attend college.  Coaching comes from a place of understanding where the students are coming from and what they are going through. Near-peer model or virtual coaching – texting. Facebook, Snapchat, online and not necessarily in person. Beyond 12 believes in the “Co-active coaching model, students are creative and resourceful on the whole.” Guide them in curriculum, activities, and support in social-emotional issues, and the coaches try to balance. Continually communicate the college completion is one step in the process and is not the finish line. It is an important step in the process, but it is not the end of the line for their life.

Then Charles Thornburgh (CEO at Civitas) a big data analytics company, we are an outcomes company that secondary success for the economy by 2025.  Right now in the U.S., just 60% of students complete their bachelor’s degree and take on average six years to get there. For two-year college programs, only about a third of students achieve their certificate or associate degree within three years. The numbers are even more troubling when placed alongside rising tuition costs, which prevent many students from adding extra semesters to finish their program.

Some institutions are thinking about how to change that through tech-augmented academic advising. That can take some forms: from early-alert systems that flag students in need of extra support, to predictive analytics, to online (and increasingly self-service) degree-planning services.  But technology alone doesn’t help students get through the hardest parts of college: people do. In this meetup, EdSurge will ask experts about the shifting role of advisors, as well as how, when or even if technology should be used to intervene with students.

Finally, something in the K-12 arena needs to change, and I think that starts with providing this same type of human-to-human and tech-augmented peer coaching.  We do not want to lose any more teachers due to burn out.  We need to show them how technology can not only help their lives become more comfortable but will inevitably create produce students who will be much more successful in their future endeavors outside of college and university.

Reading and Resources

Ehsanipour, T., & Gomez Zaccarelli, F. (2017, July). Exploring Coaching for Powerful Technology Use in Education (Center to Support Excellence in Teaching – Stanford University, Ed.). Retrieved October, 13, from http://digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Dynamic-Learning-Project-Paper-Final.pdf

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Higher EdSurge: Panel Discussion Coaches, Computers & College Completion: Can Tech Get More Students to a Degree? (2017, September 27). Retrieved September 29, 2017, from https://www.facebook.com/higheredsurge/videos/vb.372280739820732/469617456753726/?type=2&theaterhttps://www.facebook.com/higheredsurge/


Community Engagement Project – EDTC 6104

Growing your PLN through Twitter

PLN

This summer I made a huge life choice by leaving teaching and entering the educational technology industry to continue my work with SPU School of Ed and the Digital Educational Leadership program.  I moved from Seattle to San Francisco and started working for Edmodo as the Community Growth Manager.  I believe that a piece of that is due to my time on social media and growing my professional learning network. The way I used social media made me thrive and build my support base to believe in what I was doing in the classroom and for my career.  As George Siemens states “a central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs inside a person. Even social constructivist views, which hold that learning is a socially enacted process, promotes the principality of the individual (and her/his physical presence – i.e. brain-based) in learning” (2005). Educators need to figure out how to utilize the tools that we have available in place on the world wide web and by doing so we can harness the global collaborative power of teachers around the world.  Teachers can use Twitter to connect with new educators, communicate what really happens on the job, create a public professional persona to help students know what it means to have self-awareness and positive online self-management.  During April, 2017 I created and ran a Global Collaborative Project that used Twitter in the classroom.  I appreciated this video to help spur my students inspiration by Ted Ed – What makes a poem … a poem? – Melissa Kovacs

Workshop Title and Description

Presentation Session “Growing your PLN with Twitter” – Educators are using Twitter to grow their professional learning network, sharing resources, and building the global educational community. I am one of the PSESD Washington Teacher Leaders for Twitter this year, and I want to share how this program and the use of

Twitter has made me a better more informed teacher. Twitter can be a way to create a strong professional social media platform for yourself to help promote what you are doing in your classroom every day.  I think this topic is important because teachers spend so much of their time alone.  We have our classrooms and our students but when it comes to honest peer-to-peer contact it takes so much time and investment.  Some teachers don’t ever make those important connections with their colleagues in their building and Twitter or other Social Learning Networks are crucial for creating new conversations with people outside of your building.

In 2015, Denise Scavitto wrote an article Teachers: Embrace Twitter for Professional Development and I appreciate the way she explains the reason behind using Twitter to grow a PLN.  “For me, Twitter is a way of consuming information targeted to my interests. Using a hashtag like #sschat connects me to topics that will interest and intrigue Social Studies teachers – from all walks of life – and all because I know what to look for. Twitter isn’t overwhelming anymore – it’s incredible. I’ve connected myself to an extensive personal learning network of educators, entrepreneurs, and innovators through a little bird – and found it the best professional development I’ve never paid for” (Edudemic).  

Learning Objective Event

My objective is to create a presentation for my session on teachers using Twitter to grow their PLN. There are 600 educators are registered for the conference total.  I am not sure if anyone has signed up for my session yet, but I am hoping to talk to around 30 teachers specifically about my topic. The conference I am CCS Powerful Learning Conference in Issaquah, WA on August 16th, 2017. I already submitted a small proposal and got it accepted in November.  I have a handout but may need to complete a couple more. The venue is the CCS Powerful Learning Conference at Issaquah High School in my old district.  I was inspired to submit a request because I went to the conference last year and I wanted to show growth by speaking at the next year’s conference.

Length

My presentation should be one hour and fifteen minutes long. That is the required length. I think it would be essential to provide blended content. I could probably make it a lot longer but this will help me limit and edit my work.  I also submitted a proposal to NCCE for their 50-minute session.  I think I can cut a lot of my material out if I could accomplish a true flipped or blended learning environment. 

Workshop/Online Elements

Common Misconceptions & FAQ

  1. The first one is that 140 characters are not enough to have a productive conversations.  But my counter to that one is imagine you are in a meeting with 20 of your closest friends in your department or staff.  How much content do you add in that 45 to 60 minute meeting?  With the addition of pictures it opens a whole other place for content. The 140 characters also limits people from venting, blabbing, and allows for constraint when we know sometimes educational meetings can run long.
  2. If you don’t have a lot of followers then there isn’t any point.  But I disagree because it is more important about how you use the platform.  To gain followers you must use the platform on a consistent basis.  
  3. Hashtags are just trendy things for young people and are not professional enough to take serious. I think that if it is for “young people” then that in itself is a reason to give it a try.  It keeps you current and it also allows you to connect with your students.  If teachers are not constantly learning then they are taking steps backwards.
  4. Twitter for communication and collaboration come with the the idea that it is only for some politicians and weird bots who spam up your feed. But I think that is another way to show to students, parents, and admin that it does not always have to be ran that way.  It can be “boring” as my students said when they found and read my twitter feed.  I said it isn’t boring to me it is what I am interested in and what I like to talk about.  

Gates Foundation (Ed.). (2014). Teachers Know Best What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from http://www.teachersknowbest.org/survey-results/1

Morris, K. (2017, May 11). Step 2: Using Twitter to Build Your PLN. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-3-using-twitter-to-build-your-pln/

Scavitto, D. (2015, April 17). Teachers: Embrace Twitter for Professional Development. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-embrace-twitter-professional-development/

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm


Global Collaborative Project – Social Emotional Experiment – EDTC 6103 & 6104

This week in my exploration of ISTE Coaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am continuing to examine ISTE Coaching Standard 3 and specifically point G, in an effort to understand how teachers can create…Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.33 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.48 PM

This standard immediately made me think of my final assignment and Global Collaborative Project from EDTC 6103 in the Spring of 2017.  In this project, I worked together with my administrator, advanced eighth-grade language arts students, and parents to create a global collaborative environment. If you scroll down you can see the whole breakdown of the project from planning to execution to feedback and reflections.  One unexpected outcome of the project was the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) that took place. And now that the state of Washington’s educational legislative body (OSPI) and similarly in other states have hooked onto the fact that social emotional learning is essential to a student’s health and future my project is even more relevant.  The unexpected part came as many students do not get to experiment with new digital tools in their classrooms very often especially not real world social media platforms due to unpredictability and fear.  I decided to push the envelope a bit so that my students got to use Twitter during national poetry month.  I got the okay from my principal and the parents were notified. This gave my students an authentic audience and an external megaphone to share their work. The flip side and surprising part were that students felt exposed and vulnerable with their writing out in the public sphere. 

Now, taking a step back I first want to use Washington States OSPI’s definition of SEL “social emotional learning is broadly understood as a process through which people build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships and making responsible decisions, leading to success in school and in life. Research shows SEL on a large scale supports better performing and more positive school communities” (2016, pg. 3).  I think in our current 21st-century digital revolution that digital citizenship fits directly into that “awareness”. Being able to build a positive self-rewarding social media presence that adds to your life instead of distracts or detracts is something that now needs to be taught in classes.  

Therefore, to implement SEL “effectively and equitably schools will need to (1) start by evaluating and building school and classroom environments that are conducive to SEL; (2) incorporate principles of universal design for learning when adapting SEL curricula to their unique climate; (3) emphasize equity in the selection and implementation of curriculum; and (4) take a holistic approach, understanding that each person (child and adult) will start at different places and progress in different ways along an SEL continuum” (2016, pg. 7).  As I began my project with my students I did not know realize how serious posting on the internet can be for some of them.  Online personas are extremely personal and some of my students struggled with posting and sharing their poetry.  Not only but some just could not handle the wide range of communication that Twitter allows for.  As the social benchmark, standard five states students should have the ability to “demonstrate a range of communication and social skills to interact effectively with others” (2016, pg. 4).  Although many teachers and adults do not want to admit it being able to communicate on social media is essential to these effective interactions with their peers.  At the end of the process, I believe that some students understood through my examples that a social media platform like Twitter does not have to be for ranting or spamming people.  It can be used for good and for a specific purpose, to make friends and connections and build a network of people for your own community.  

 

Click to view slideshow.

 


Global Collaborative Project

Poetry & Twitter

IMS, WA

Autumn Ottenad

 

National “Poem in Your Pocket Day” in person shared on Twitter

#pocketpoem, #poetryhw, #poetryisd #npm17

April – May 2017

 

Connection Phase

ISTE Teaching Standards

In order to clearly reflect on the alignment of the ISTE Teaching Standards in the project that follows, I have used the standard number and letter to identify them accordingly.

  • ISTE Student 2 Communication & Collaboration Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
    • a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
    • b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • ISTE Student Standard 5 – Digital Citizenship Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
    • a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

Communication with Collaborating Partner

For this global collaborative project, I have chosen to utilize a vast amount of teacher professionals on Twitter during the National Poetry Month of April. Most of us teach English for middle or high school classes; there are also teachers that tweet posts for their elementary school students. Although I did reach out to a couple of other teachers specifically, it was more about working on a larger platform. Our shared intent of expanding our students’ reach regarding sharing their work is increased via Twitter (2. a. & b.).

My colleagues and I did communicate over direct messaging on Twitter.  I also reached out to other Humanities teachers in the ISD via email to inform my local colleagues and interested district employees.  Given the collective subject area expertise and subjects taught, we will focus our attention on language arts content and skills. Specifically sharing and writing our poetry.  Since I started working with PSESD and Corelaborate as a Washington Teacher Leader my ability to monitor and use Twitter has expanded.   It became apparent that this vast social media platform could be an opportunity for a wider community might provide a rich opportunity for a technology-supported collaboration project between our students (2. a. & b.).

General Overview

Project Plan

The goal of this endeavor is to expose my students to a global collaboration project, which allows students to work with peers across the Twitterverse and see how far their posts/tweets can go. It can also teach valuable skills like digital citizenship, communication and collaboration, and information fluency (5. a. & b.). I decided to work with my two-morning Advanced 8th-grade Language Arts classes; I have roughly 26 students in each class.  I chose those two sections because I thought they could handle the responsibilities that come with using Twitter and making the required deadlines of posting a lot better than my other classes (5. a. & b.). In those two classes, I have 24 boys and 26 girls which I think will play a part in participation.  Each student will be asked to create and use a Twitter account during the month of April and early May.  April is the National Poetry Month (#npm17) and April, 27th we would participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.  The project will be a sharing of creative writing to a wider more authentic audience while sustaining a professional demeanor on a social media platform.  My students will “like”– communicate and collaborate with other students via Twitter (2. a. & b.).

 

Technology & Communication

I have already stated the use of technology will be predominately the Twitter application on their smartphones.  I created a new account for this project and to keep the students safe from trolls and spammers.  Twitter is a free social media tool used for communicating.  You are allowed to use 140 characters to message other people; certain hashtags will allow others to connect and collaborate easily (2. a. & b.).  Students were told to either tweet their poetry as written or take or make a photo of their poetry.  Some students used Canva or iPhone image editing apps; others just took a picture right from their interactive notebooks.  

Project

Instead of National Poetry Month and my students and I beginning our two to three weeks poetry unit.  Students will receive four different poetry writing assignments that they will need to post to Twitter.  All will use the hashtags #poetryisd, and #poetryhw for collaboration with their peers and they will Tweet at me (@ottenadpoetry), so I am notified that they have done their assignments (2. a. & b.). Students will also participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.

 

Additional Considerations

This project will require multiple check-ins with Twitter but will be primarily asynchronous in nature.  Students will be posting at different times and will have certain requirements to hit at various times.  They are required to interact with their fellow students’ tweets regarding “likes,” replies or retweets.  I will also keep up on the people following the account and block any trolls or spammers.  I have consulted the district’s AUP and the fact that the students are at least 14 years old and Twitter is open on all classroom computers we are not violating anything.  I have notified parents of what is going on in the classroom and opened the window to allow them to follow our classroom interactions.

 

Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.5 – Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.6 – Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.3.D – Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Design Phase

Global Collaborative Project Outline

Six A’s of Project-Based Learning

6 A’s of Project Design Guiding Questions
Authenticity What is the point of writing when the audience is only my teacher? How can I get my students’ creative writing heard by a larger audience?  What could push them to create better more thought out poetry?

By placing the poetry on Twitter students have a true authentic audience that feels larger and more important than just our classroom and their classmates.

How will your project require students to produce something that has personal and/or social value beyond the school setting?

Students will start to see what happens when their poetry is shared and found.  Specifically on the National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27th.  Students will have their poem they want to share with them and also share it on the web.  It can be one of their own making or one that inspires them in some way.  

Academic Rigor What disciplines, content areas, and standards will your project address?
This project hits an array of standards that only pertain to poetry and figurative language in language arts.  Specifically, it is for my 8th-grade advanced language arts classes at IMS.  It also requires the students to share their writing with people who may or may not like it.  Their bubble becomes much larger than it used to be once we put things out there on the world wide web. It also connects securely with the following speaking and listening standards. I have taught several different units for poetry and at the high school level, we used to have a poetry night that was hosted by the language arts department.  Teachers, parents, admin and of course students would attend. This event was great but I always thought that the poetry could be sent to an even wider audience.
What higher order thinking skills will students be using?Learning Targets: Students can analyze how the structure of the text can contribute to its meaning. Students can use their Twitter accounts to correctly post and tag their poems in a multimedia setting.  They will use the social media tool to connect with the outside world.  
Adult Connection How will the adults collaborate to design the project and/or assess student work?
I have reached out to my whole language arts department at my school and my TOSA for the whole district is also sharing the Poem in Your Pocket in the next newsletter.  Teachers are sending me their favorite poetry and poems they have written so I can share it on Twitter for them or they can share themselves and use the same hashtags.  
I am also collaborating with the national cohort of teachers who are participating in the same National Poetry Month.  I saw how other teachers were conducting their programs and I got ideas of how to entice students to post their tweets.  
What opportunities will students have to observe, interact, and work closely with adults?My students are posting their poetry alongside adults for National Poetry Month.  They can see using the same hashtags what it looks like to publicly disperse your materials.  We also perused Twitter together to like, retweet, or reply to certain poets and their work.
Active Exploration How will students engage in real investigations and field-based work?
What technology tools and media sources will students use?My students are predominantly using their phones or school provided laptops to post their Tweets on to Twitter.  
How will students be expected to communicate their new knowledge and skills?They are expected to post their tweets within specific calendar dates using certain hashtags and tagging my poetry Twitter account @ottenadpoetry. Hashtags include #Poetryhw, #poetryISD, #Pocketpoem, #NPM17
Applied Learning How is your project grounded in real-world learning?
Students have to create a piece of creative writing which is not always set in the real world, but then presenting it and sharing it on Twitter a social media platform is more connected to real-world.  They will have to learn as it has taken me quite some time that self-promotion is crucial for success.  It also is clear that presentation matters, students who are taking their time to make a graphic that goes along with their poems are getting more traction than those who simply take a photo of their notebooks and post it.
How will your students work in teams and problem solve with each other?
Students worked together to find poems for Poem in Your Pocket day and which ones they would post and why.
How will your project help students develop organizational and self-management skills?
Beyond the other two questions, I think students will develop organizational self-management skills.  This project counts on them remembering to write their poems, create some graphic, and post the poems in the time allotted for their due dates.  
Assessment Practice What project criteria will students use, and how will they reflect on their learning?  During the week following most of the posting, I will have students reflect on the process of writing the poetry and then having to share it on Twitter.
How will standards be assessed? See rubric below.

Steinberg, A. (1997) Real Learning, Real Work. New York: Routledge. adapted from National Academy Foundation’s Project-Based Learning: A Resource for Instructors and Program Coordinators

CCSS Poetry Rubric
Timeframe: April 16th – May 5th

Activity details:  Students will participate in our Poetry Unit by also posting on Twitter and being involved in the International Poetry Month.  We will use different hashtags to get in the correct threads of communication so they can spread their poems to larger audiences.  


Execution of Project

Parent Guardian Email/Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.  

 

Our goal will be to tweet several times per weeks about poetry.  At first, I will model how to tweet about our work or exciting poetry opportunities.  As the students grow in their understandings of how to use Twitter to share ideas, they will begin to tweet independently or with a partner.

Students’ safety is of utmost concern.  Last names should not be used in tweets and accounts.  We will avoid using images of students in our Tweets.  Responsible use of social media and Internet safety will be explicitly taught in our classroom to ensure all students know how to stay safe while online.  Here are our classroom norms for using Twitter:

  1. Approve your tweets with an adult before publishing especially if you feel it may be deemed inappropriate.
  2. We only connect to classes and people who add value to our learning.
  3. We use first names only on Twitter
  4. Twitter is a tool for learning.

Finally, if you do not have a Twitter account, and need assistance on creating one please come by and ask me or ask your student. We would be more than willing to help you create a Twitter account so you can start following our class.  We will probably not follow you back because it is our policy that we only follow other classrooms or educational Twitter feeds.  Using these social media tools will give you a glimpse into our classroom and your child’s learning in a new and exciting format.  I think you will love being “connected”!                                                         

“Tweet” fully yours,

                                                                                            Mrs. Autumn Ottenad

                                                                                            @ottenadpoetry

                                                                                            @ssseason7


Email to Staff & Colleagues:

Good Morning,

I am working on a class for SPU that requires a Global Community Project and I have decided to combine our poetry unit, national poetry month and Twitter with my students.  I was also hoping that if you have Twitter you could potentially tweet some poetry using the #poetryhw and #poetryisd.  If you even could email me a poem I can put them on Twitter for you.  I know my students would love to see teacher input on this topic.

The other event I am trying to work into our schedule is Poem in your Pocket Day #pocketpoem (https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/poem-your-pocket-day).  It is on April 27th and students should carry around a poem in their pocket and share it with people throughout the day.

Here is some of the information I shared with students and parents. “Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.”

Thank you so much,

Mrs. Autumn Ottenad

8th Grade Humanities

IMS

@ottenadpoetry

@ssseason7


Collection of Student Artifacts from Twitter

 

Feedback from Students

 

Positive Feedback for both Twitter & Poetry Positive for Twitter/Negative for Poetry Positive for Poetry/ Negative for Twitter Negative Feedback for both Poetry & Twitter
Risa W. – The poetry unit was not as bad as I thought it would be, I liked tweeting the poems instead of turning them in.  I don’t like the reflections though. Trevor C. – Before we just turned it in.  Poetry is bad but I like that we just post it on Twitter. Ruth S. – I liked the unit, but I feel like I was not used to posting my poetry on twitter.  I would write the poetry, but sometimes forget to post it.  The poetry was fun to write. Tommy B – It was terrible, horrible, no good we could have just turned it in during class no one even reads the poems on Twitter.
Mason B. – Tweeting the poems was really fun! Poetry was a chance to express true feelings hidden within other words, using rhymes, and making everyone more fun to read! Matthew K. – This unit was as interesting unit to do.  It was an interesting way to share poems.  It was pretty boring but it was fine. Makena L. – It was good to try to involve social media but it may be hard for students without a smartphone but it was annoying to make a twitter. Alec B. – Twitter was a mess and is not an educational platform.  Poetry is fine, just boring as ever.  Technology should be used in other, more educational ways.  Whatever.
Breana L. – I like tweeting them so everyone can see, but it is kind of confusing. Cody C. – Tweeting our poems instead of reading them out loud was way better.  More convenient and faster. The writing of the poems was the bad part.  Poetry is very boring. Madison N. – The actual unit was okay…but the Twitter part was unnecessary. C.J. G. – Last year we had more instruction, this year we were just told to write poems.
Leila R. – Tweeting my poems wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I liked tweeting my poems out rather than having to read them out loud. Daniel A. – I didn’t think it was terrible, but it was not the most fun.  Personally, I don’t enjoy poetry, but I am grateful we didn’t need to present them.  Overall, I think the unit was okay. Shoki I. – Just turning in poems would have made more sense.  Making a Twitter was completely pointless Noreen A. – This unit was not the worst and it went better than I thought.  Poetry is not my favorite, but it was fairly easy.  The twitter part was different, but it seemed pointless in my opinion because most people just made the account so they didn’t have a large following.  
Medha V. – I like tweeting our poems because more people are able to see it and I don’t feel embarrassed like I would if I was reading it to the class. Benny P. – I did not enjoy the poetry unit, but mainly because I don’t like poetry in general, but I did learn a lot about poetry. Camille P. – Compared to past poetry units using Twitter was definitely different.  I think it’s difficult to use and some people don’t take it seriously and post random stuff.  I don’t know whether it would be beneficial to use again. Chris A. – My experience was mehh…it was less boring than other poetry units.  It was kinda bad and corny.
Anonymous – I love this unit and I enjoyed the prompts we wrote about and posted.  I also liked the way we shared the poems on twitter allowing me to share my poems and get used to technology.  My only question is why we are the other units so much longer? I honestly wish I got to explore more mentor texts. Gavin B. – I don’t like the poetry.  The Song lyrics were okay. I liked using Twitter in class. Aiden L. – Tweeting poems made me self-conscience about what I write so it made me think so it was fine. Braden H. – Ever since the Twitter verification did not work I lost my LA book problems have stirred though I had to re-do some of my poems.
Mary – Poetry on Twitter is a really good tool for poetry, we get to post our poems. William W. – I do not like poetry but I kind of like writing it.  Tweeting the poems is good and an easy way to turn it in from home. Aoife B. – The poetry unit was the best all year.  I enjoyed it, but Twitter sucks.  My poems don’t fit 140 characters other than that , good. Lizzy J. – I was eh with the Twitter thing because it was a little extra and no one reads other people’s poems (at least I didn’t) and my mom got mad that i got an account without letting her know.
Katie Jo – I like how interactive it was, also I liked how I got to see other people’s poetry.  I really enjoyed it! Jeremy D. – Tweeting has been really easy to do, but poems aren’t fun.  Tweeting was fun and a good use for poems. Emme F. – Tweeting poems – it is embarrassing to show school work in a public social media place.  Where I usually don’t talk about it.  It was also a little extra work that seemed not helpful. Jack W. – This was a pain it was nearly impossible to get photos to load and my poems were too long for a Tweet.
Katie – I liked using Twitter because I felt like it was a “safe environment” to share my poetic product.  I also liked that I could explore poetry unlike I did in other units. Isaiah J. – Tweeting my poems has been okay.  I liked the poetry unit last year more, although it was interesting to share my poems with a larger audience. Lindsey C. – Posting poetry for a grade is uncomfortable.  Poetry is very personal and I don’t feel okay with sharing my feelings with everyone.  Additionally, it’s hard to find all my posts even with the hashtags which is extra work for me and you to find them.  I could be a good idea but not for middle schoolers.
Abi C. – My experience with Twitter was okay.  It gave me some examples if I was stuck on what to do.  It was okay compared to other units. Ethan V – My experience with Twitter was fine and I was able to post without any problems.  I just had small problems with the pictures.  I thought it was a creative way to share, but not private. Eva A. – Technology is a bit problematic, but I like this better than having to stand up and share.
Eli L. – This poetry unit was shorter than the one we did last year and also we didn’t have a final project this year which was nice. Sophia C. – I didn’t like tweeting my poems because I don’t like sharing my writing I think it was a good concept, but I personally didn’t like it.
Kathryn M. – Tweeting poems went well.  I thought it went better than most units, and it was fun.  It was not terrible horrible no good. Eden C – Tweeting poems was easy, but it seemed odd to force us to make an account.  The comparison was okay.
Preston J. – I think that tweeting the poems were a good idea, and I am glad that we do not have to present them to a class.  Also, this poetry unit was more unique than others I have taken before.
Ansh P. – Tweeting out poem was a pretty good experience and was relatively easy to do and better than other tests.

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Data Analysis

It is interesting to note from the qualitative and quantitative data about the male to a female breakdown of their take on the project.  Twelve of the fifteen students who liked both the poetry unit and the use of Twitter were young ladies and on the opposite end of feedback for those students who hated both parts six of the eight were male students.  When I think back on it, the students who wrote negative feedback about both elements of this unit are pretty cynical students in general and usually criticize what I put in front of them.  It is this fascinating new cultural trend of apathy, that “nothing is cool” and I know that is not a new trend for teens to think nothing is a fresh idea but I can’t imagine being negative about a teacher letting me use Twitter in a class assignment even if it was for poetry.  The last piece of data that gave me hope for this overall project was the ten boy students who do not like poetry but liked the Twitter part of the project.  Analysis of their interest is important because these are all students who I struggle with engagement and enticing them to do their best on their assignments.  In this instance, their motivator was the ability to use their phones and use Twitter, but that had to come with some poetry.  So either way, I did one of those fun teacher tricks where I got them writing what I wanted them to all under the guise of “fun.”

Self Reflection

This project was more successful and easier than I had expected it to be.  I am very lucky to have an administration team that allows for experimentation and trial and error.  He and the rest of my staff allowed for me to try something new and use an online tool that is not usually utilized at the middle school level.  But because Twitter is such a notorious application, due in part to our current political situation, I thought practicing in a more academic setting could help students learn about how to act on an expansive social media platform.  

Access to technology was the initial challenge as standardized testing ate into our planned timeline. And standardized testing uses all the laptop computers in the building.  But most students have a smartphone with the Twitter app-enabled, therefore I just had to bend the school rules a bit to allow students to access the app from their mobile devices.  Those few students who did not have their Smartphones or did not have their own devices (tablet, or laptop) at their disposal I allowed to use one of the seven desktops I have setup in my room.  While Twitter proved to be a useful tool for arranging the open and moderated communication between students, I failed to consider how some students would handle the requirement of creating an account on their own.  It again made me take stock of the fact that we call this generation “digital natives” because they were born with a tablet in their hands, but when it comes to tasks like opening a new account or application they struggle.  Establishing the hashtags in Twitter required students to sign-up, log-in and post a tweet and ensure they tagged the correct people and hashtags.  Then, I had to individually check that each student had posted and labeled their tweets appropriately. Once students joined, I had to individually like and/comment on all 55+ students to their specific tweets. And, all of this was done asynchronously between classes or from home.  I also had to monitor my new account like a hawk to ensure I did not have any trolls following me or someone who had posted within our hashtags which were gross or offensive. In the end, I had to delete one to two items per day.

 

As students began the formative stage of writing their poetry they needed time to make their poems before posting them.  So some time in class was spent just generating ideas and creating versions of the poems they would eventually post.  Students decided on their own how they would post their poems to Twitter.  Because they have a 140 character limit, most students took pictures of their poems and posted them that way.  While others created word art and graphics that helped desirably present the poems.

I anticipate trying this project again and potentially having a classroom Twitter account all year long.  I had parents immediately begin to follow me and it was a great way for them to have more insight into what we do in my classroom. I have not spoken with my administration about doing it again, but because he did not deal with any actual backlash or parents being upset, I figure I would have the ability to try it again. I think I would also add in some more analytics about best times to tweet and when will students get the most views.  I would also use the work I did in Module four of this class to push the digital citizenship piece about netiquette and the real feelings that come out of putting things out into the World Wide Web.  

 

Related Resources:

Colorful Poetry: 22 Diverse Poetry Picture Books for Kids:

http://www.readbrightly.com/diverse-poetry-picture-books-for-kids/

KUOW Local Recorded Poetry Collection: http://kuow.org/post/treat-yourself-washington-grown-poems-national-poetry-month

Washington State. (2016, October 1). Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from http://www.k12.wa.us/Workgroups/SELB-Meetings/SELBWorkgroup2016Report.pdf

The Poet Tree Project:

http://thepoettreeproject.weebly.com/information.html

http://thepoettreeproject.weebly.com/lesson-7—diamante.html


Accessibility & Adaptability – Text-to-Speech – EDTC 6104 – Module 4

Thought Question:

How can I choose digital tools that are assistive and adaptive technologies but still support student learning?

Ensuring that the digital tools we choose to share with our students are ADA acceptable and keep equity and accessibility in mind, I am curious about what assistive truly means.  As 13% of students are working with a learning disability and no two student has the same diagnosis, therefore, one tool may help one but not the next (NCES).  If we also take a look at the Gates Foundation, “Teachers Know Best” study and the essential finding for me come from the fact that both “teachers and students see technology as a useful in instruction.” Which I think is an essential basis for our conversation.  If educators and students did not state that digital tools helped education then there would be no point.  And as we try to bridge gaps in learning with digital tools it is important to think outside of the standard U.S. Public School student to the ones who make up our fringe groups of students and even beyond to our global populations.

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When I think of “assistive and adaptive” for middle school language arts/ss the big names in online digital tools, come to mind like Turnitin and Newsela but I wanted to explore a realm I am not as familiar.  So I reached out to my really good friend who is a Pre-K – Kindergarten Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in the Issaquah School District.  She also has her own business where she can continue her work with individual patients throughout the Summer.  She predominantly works with nonverbal students and those kiddos who are severely impacted by autism.  When I prompted her about her favorite “digital tools” she first asked what I meant by digital tools.  That language/moniker, especially for an SLP is a bit clunky, but then I remembered I once opened her Ipad and was shocked by some educational apps she had for her very young audience.  So I asked her what are her favorite Apps, she replied quickly with her short list:

  • Bitsboard,
  • Speak for Yourself,
  • Little Bee Speech Articulation,
  • Boardmaker Online,
  • Epic, Toca
  • Board Games.  

After perusing through the provided list, I want to share some more information about Speak For Yourself.” If you click the link you will see the Apple Itunes store and that price tag gave me a bit of sticker shock, but after learning about what it does and what population it helps I understand it a bit better.  I read most of what it does from the blog “Speak for Yourself (SfY) is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application that was created by speech-language pathologists.  This AAC app turns the iPad into a communication device. It gives a voice to adults and children who are not able to speak or are limited in their ability to express themselves verbally.  Speak for Yourself is being used by thousands of individuals around the world with autism, cerebral palsy, apraxia, and genetic syndromes. Additionally, it is also being used in preschool classrooms to promote word-finding, visual language support, and verbal speech development.”  I think that this YouTube video also helped me understand where this application could be assistive and adaptable to people who are in the most need and young age.  As I contemplated how this tool could be used in other learning environments, I began to think about mute students or those dealing with traumatic situations who may not be able to always verbalize their feelings.  But I also thought about collaborating globally at young ages with students who do not speak English.  Students could potentially use the “Speak for Yourself” (SfY) pictures to speech tool, and then the group on the other side of the world could understand and send it back.  

This conversation and following brainstorming session, fostered by my involvement with the Digital Education Leadership and has pushed my thought process for tools that help with “assistive and adaptable” technology. Although I am not sure, I would have the capability or purchasing power to have gotten the funds from my previous district for the (SfY) app due to its $300.00 price tag I can see how it would be useful to a large population of Educators and students.  From there my exploration of more text-to-speech digital tools started to peak my interest.  Last quarter when I was feeling under particular pressure to balance work, life and school I utilized my Apple Iphone’s “VoiceOver” function to read several of the required web pages and .pdf to me while I drove to and from work.  When my commute was sometimes over an hour in the afternoon it was a great use of time.  I am also an auditory learner and remember things a lot better when they are told to me verbally than if I just see it visually.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 3.48.22 PMNow the Apple “VoiceOver” is not accessible or equitable to everyone because not every student obviously has an iPhone or any Apple products.  Therefore, other text-to-speech tools include Google Chrome’s “Snap&Read” which came highly recommended by a fellow cohort member and if your school is already Google (GAFE) schools and have Chromebooks in the school this extension might be the best feature out there.  Now, for the other big name in software/hardware and who sometimes mandates schools exclusively use their products, Microsoft has some innovative learning tools – for OneNote was named Top Dyslexia app for 2016, if you use the link and check out the page they have a live tester at the bottom of the page which is this new Immersive Reader which reads the script aloud. All of these tools are accessible online and it just depends on what tools the student has access to from school and at home.  

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers Know Best What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from http://k12education.gatesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Teachers-Know-Best_0.pdf

ISTE (2011). “ISTE Standards for Coaches.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches ISTE Connects (2017).

LLC, S. F. (2017, June 24). Speak for Yourself on the App Store. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speak-for-yourself/id482508198?mt=8

NCES – National Center For Education Statistics (Updated, May, 2017). “Children and Youth with Disabilities.” The Condition of Education.  Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp Perez, Luis and Kendra Grant (June 8, 2015)

Speak for Yourself. (2014). Retrieved July 21, 2017, from


Rethinking an Ideal Learning Environment – EDTC 6104 – Module 1

This quarter in my graduate work in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am exploring Digital Learning Environments by focusing on the exploration of ISTE Coaching Standard 3, which charges technology coaches to create and support an efficient digital age learning environment to maximize the learning of all students. To explore this standard, I read some original pieces on in the intersection of pedagogy and technology in educational practice. I then used these as a jumping off point to explore my initial thoughts on my own ideal digital learning environment.  As my research started and I began to read the Edsurge article by Ellen Dorr Designing Professional Learning Experiences I stopped for a second and thought about how I have heard or thought these same things myself throughout my teaching career.  

Click to view slideshow.

Professional Development (PD) is a necessary evil and must happen but the way it is structured in most PNW districts is backwards and not helpful.  Most of the time I take notes at a PD and then those notes never get looked at again.  So for my first resource I would like to share that I am not the only one with these feelings, at the most recent ISTE conference Mary Jo Madda of Edsurge went around and asked attendees what EdTech words they are sick of hearing (http://bit.ly/2tQAtzU) and it coincides nicely with what I am trying to explain regarding PD.  As Martin Cisneros states “It’s not necessarily a software, but it’s a term of professional development. We need to leave the phrase “professional development” to the side and really start thinking what we want our students to do. We’re always going to be lifelong learners, so let’s leave the “development” behind because we developed enough—let’s start learning.” Other words are personalized learning, blended learning, lifelong learner, and others like dongle which are overused, and we might want to start putting them to bed.  As the public schools are continuing to fail in their current state, I want to introduce my next resource as for how I wish one day our schools could be designed.  We need to reimagine what professional development looks like just as we have started the journey to reimagine what the next generation of high schools will look like. My thoughts are that one day our teachers will go to collaborative spaces inside the school like  “Makers Space” for professionals.  I do not want teachers to have to sit down in a stuffy library getting another photocopied pdf from the internet.  I want them to get up, get out of the building, and explore what the possibilities are out there for their students and themselves.  

Therefore my second resource stems from the fact that we need to stop for a second and think about how we are examining education as a whole, and so I would like to share is the XQ Super School Project (https://xqsuperschool.org/abouttheproject) that is reimagining high school.  “Imagine students in a school that makes design thinking, futuristic technology and high-school instruction mean the same thing. Design-Lab will put students in a mode of continuous inquiry as they design the world in which they want to live, and discover their places in it.”

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Design-Lab High School understands the global challenges facing its students, but sees absolutely no limit to the solutions students can design to meet those challenges. With design thinking baked into its DNA, this Super School will be a school based on a research-and-development framework that continually learns, builds and improves, while encouraging its students to do the same. Whether working on prototypes, podcasts or virtual museum exhibits, an academically rigorous loop of learning will prepare its students (including many first-generation college-goers) for the challenges ahead.  As Anthony Rebora found in this Edweek article “Teachers Still Struggling to Use Tech to Transform Instruction” from June 2016, 700 classroom teachers and school-based instructional specialists were surveyed, and they have a similar feeling about the current status of professional development. Teachers want stronger PLC’s; they want coaches and more opportunities for observations. I think a school like the Design-Lab could bring real life experiments to professional development sessions.  When the point of this is to think about classroom management and particularly for me, I wanted to concentrate on the participate presence, but I believe that if we create a unique creative space or environment for learning, then it will not be as much of an issue.  If we could then use some LMS to live stream whatever creative design is happening in the classroom, then teachers and students can hop on via the internet and watch whatever interests them from home.  Basically, in the end, I feel that what we are doing now is not working and we have to start looking on a larger scale for change especially when it comes to developing our teacher’s creativity and interest. 

 

Madda, M. J. (2017, July 05). Tired Edtech Trends That Teachers Wish Would Retire: From the Floor of ISTE 2017 – EdSurge News. Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-07-04-tired-edtech-trends-that-teachers-wish-would-retire-from-the-floor-of-iste-2017?utm_content=buffer69865&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

XQ: The Super School Project. (2017). Retrieved July 02, 2017, from https://xqsuperschool.org/abouttheproject


Growing your Professional Learning Networking – EDTC 6103 – Module 5

How can I participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning?

Educators must be more than info experts; we must be collaborators in learning, seeking new knowledge & constantly aquiring new skills alongside our students.(National Education Technology Plan 2010)

The word networking to me as a public school educator is such a foreign concept.  An idea meant for young entrepreneurs and marketers. Even more for those who are just graduating from college in a more mainstream industry like computer science or business administration to get their names out there and have their faces seen by the “right people” because it is all about who you know and creating connections.  But as I have learned through the Digital Educational Leadership Program at SPU teachers need to get into the mindset of networking for their own benefit. I used to ask myself why/what would I need to network for because I already have a job? Or why/how would networking help me or my classroom become a better place to learn?  Networking is not just for getting a job it is also about helping new teachers coup with challenges, finding allies outside your own school, and just having someone to talk to outside of your own business bubble.  The U.S. Department of Education stated a similar sentiment in the 2010 report “online communities of practice support teachers’ learning, enabling them to ‘collaborate with their peers and leverage world-class experts to improve student learning’ and ‘extend the reach of specialized and exceptional educators”’(p. 42 – 44).

 

As Getting Smart states in their post “20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network,”  Networking is essential for all professionals and  “a prime form of 21st-century learning.”  Education is becoming one massive global collaborative project where our end goal is to help the student the best way we can.  As many start their first teaching job, I was given a class roster and told to “teach” with a textbook in hand.  This was at the beginning of the Common Core movement, and SBAC was in the looming future.  Of course, we had standardized tests to guide what the students should be able to accomplish by the end of their 9th and 11th-grade year but not many more expectations other than that.  I needed help, and although my mentor was incredible, it was difficult for me to comprehend filling up 55 minutes with materials all by myself.  TeacherspayTeachers became my first ally, but that got expensive and not sustainable.  Then after a couple of years and realizing I will never know it all in teaching, I reached out to other sources. Getting Smart explains it well “as educators, we aim to be connected to advance our craft.  On another level, we hope to teach students to use networks to prepare for them for a changing job market” (2013).

timthumbI have focused mostly on Twitter for growing my Professional Learning Network (PLN), specifically working with PSESD and Corelaborate organizing and participating in Twitter chats about education for the past couple years.  I also attended the recent EdCampPSWA “Unconference” at Annie Wright to help grow my PLN, and although I have not attended a large educational conference before I feel like it would be a useful adventure.  But the reality is that since I have started growing my own PLN I have certainly felt less alone, and I know that my feelings as an educator are actually validated across the country.  Teaching can be such an isolating job because we live in our classrooms and I see 150 middle school students daily but days can go by without me interacting adults on an authentic level.  

It is important to remember all public school teachers feel isolated at some point in their careers. In Rebecca Alber’s article, she explains, “Six Ways to Avoid Feeling Isolated in the Classroom” and she specifically says “Unlike our friends and family working in the private sector, we teachers spend 98 percent of our time, not with peers, but with children and in our classrooms. So it’s easy to forget to reach out and have adult conversations during our workdays” (2012).  Her six options are all about person-to-person suggestions and I am always thinking about more online/technology ways to connect with other educators but she does mention Daniel Gilbert’s research on happiness, a Harvard psychology professor. He puts it this way: “We are by far the most social species on Earth,” explains Gilbert. “If I wanted to predict your happiness, and I could know only one thing about you, I wouldn’t want to know your gender, religion, health, or income. I’d want to know about your social network — about your friends and family and the strength of the bonds with them” (Albers, 2012)  And as the U.S. Department of Education reiterates “collaboration is an effective approach for strengthening educators’ practices and improving the systemic capacity of districts and schools—and, ultimately, improving student learning” (2010).  Without the outside collaborating I do on a daily/weekly basis online and with my SPU cohort outside of my school, I would feel lost.  One small fish in a gigantic pond with a little foothold on how to bridge these gaps and inspire my students to do better and more.

 

Resources:

Alber, R. (2012, January 09). Six Ways to Avoid Feeling Isolated in the Classroom. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/avoid-teacher-isolation-stay-connected-rebecca-alber

Clifford, M. (2013). 20 tips for creating a professional learning network. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from http://gettingsmart.com/2013/01/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. Connect and inspire: online communities of practice in education. Retrieved May 30, 2017 from https://cdn.tc-library.org/Edlab/0143_OCOP-Main-report.pdf