mccoyderek

NC Distinguished Leadership in Practice for Digital Learning Address

Last week, it had the privilege and honor of being invited to the final meeting and end of year banquet of the first cohort of the NC Distinguished Leadership in Practice for Digital Learning [NCDLPDL]. This cohort and event was organized by the NC Principal and Assistant Principals Association [NCPAPA]. The goal of NCDLPDL is to provide principals with a skills boost in ‘best practices for leading a successful digital transformation.’ Partnered with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation [an innovation lab and playground dedicated to helping NC schools], this has been a year long blended learning experience providing the principals with the best voices and trainers in this transformative journey.

NCPAPA Executive Director, Dr Shirley Prince, was gracious enough to invite me and my wife to their end of year banquet to give the closing address. The audience was comprised of digital leaders, all at different experience levels. My talk was crafted to share some of my experiences as well as some key focus points that we should have to

  • Our focus is on student learning and achievement – 1:1’s, computer labs, devices are all tools to make the learning relevant and engaging
  • Complacency can easily lead to obsolescence. We can’t be afraid to innovate;
  • We have to  be responsive to our new learners. Access has changed how they think and learn;
  • We have to be drivers and supporters, lead conversations from above and below;
  • Develop BHAGs for your school, staff, students and yourself;
  • Connect and grow with your PLN!

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I applaud NCPAPA for developing these DLPDL cohorts to grow the digital leaders in North Carolina. Its great to see a statewide organization take the initiative and head up a program that will support paradigm and skills shifts in school leaders. If we want to see the changes, we have to start leading the conversations and build a vision for what it looks like! This is a strong proactive initiative to build the leaders our learners and teachers and schools need.

Thanks to Shirley Prince, Emily Doyle, @NCPAPA, and the @FridayInstitute for this incredible opportunity! Thanks for this incredible opportunity.

BYOD – More Than A Guest Network

As I was making my rounds last week, during our first week of school, I stopped in the room of one of my 8th grade math teachers, Ms Sams. She was explaining some first week rules and working in some creative review when I noticed this cell phone cut out on the desk. I asked one of the students what it was for and got blown away by the answer. Unfortunately, I couldn’t record that student because it was end of class but here I’ve recorded Ms Sams and her detailed explanation about the policy and what students need to know:


Letourneau_BYOD1.pdf Love this poster! @Lisa Bijit @Sunny Williams @Barbara HumphreysM
s Sams is one of our deep and early adopters of technology and integrated practices. We are fortunate to have many teachers like her who see and understand the value add that technology brings to learning and teaching. I am particularly proud of the next level Ms Sams has gone to incorporate and plan for technology usage in her classroom. I ended the video a little early but she shared that all 8th grade teachers are using this same approach to plan for cell phone use in the classroom. We try to standardize some practices but not all. This is one the great times when we have a grade level that has taken some great initiative and put some great plans in place ahead of time to make sure kids see structure AND the value we place on integrated tech practices.

We have a BYOD policy in place. It took a while to build our official plan because we wanted to make sure teachers would not only understand it well but that they would be encouraged to implement it. I once heard a teacher say that any school that has an open guest network, has a BYOD policy default. That’s not so. A BYOD policy is more than allowance or capability – its understanding and structure and protection as well. One thing that our teachers brought to the table early was the need of clear rules for students to understand and follow.  We made efforts to build a good framework that classrooms/grade levels could operate within.

We want students to bring their devices to school and use them. Its a responsibility of schools to show students that their devices serve different functions, social, personal, educational and that they are all intertwined.

My First Edcamp – #edcampelon

customLogoSaturday 4.19 was the first day of my spring break. While that normally means testing the limit on the snooze button on cell, this day turned out to be phenomenal day of learning, connecting, sharing and growing.

For the past couple of months, I’ve had the fortunate experience to have been one of the organizers for @edcampelon. I’ve known several of the other organizers from my learning network here in NC and got to know the others through this planning venture. From beginning to now [we’re not at the end yet] this has been one of the most impactful learning experiences I’ve taken part in.

[Edcamps are local unconferences that capitalize on informal conversations and presentations to drive learning and growing for educators. Their grassroots approach and shift away from the formal, prescripted conferences.]

Personalized Learning At Its Best


BllprBwIMAA83cE These are greats shot of our initial efforts in building the board! There was a lot of work that went into making sure that all the voices in audience were heard. We started capturing ideas and topics on Twitter days before and began the visualization piece on the Padlet board you see on the right.

1397998743562Giving attendees the direct hand in creating the topics is a big part in creating a personalized learning experience. Not all attendees are as vocal/visible/knowledgeable of the edcamp process as some of the attendees in these pictures [no surprise there @plugusin @web20classroom] but we kept the building conversation active and as engaging as possible. Ensuring voices are a heard is a priority.

Great Learning and Sharing!

The sessions were phenomenal! To be honest, I was like a kid in a candy story during the first hour popping in and out of several conversations, joining in conversations and making connections.

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Personalized learning! Shifted professional development!

The Future of Professional Development

We ended the day with an incredible smackdown! Lots of people shared some great tools that are making a difference in their classroom. All tools are worth mention. Genius design facilitated the capture of all the tools on this link. This innovation is a testament to the genius of the group. Rob Breyer @rbreyer and Dayson Pasion @MrPasion were the gifts behind the app used for the event as well as the social media including the website, Twitter and Facebook account. This link leads to the site. From here you can access all the other media.

Here is why we need to change how we look at pd and shift to personalized experiences like edcamps:

  • Awesome lunch breakfast and lunch!
  • 1397998951381Connecting face to face with PLN members!
  • Embracing that learning can look leads to next level growing!
  • Embedding collaborative resources to capture thoughts and notes from sessions/gatherings and being able to reflect back to them is a major part of this shifted learning experience [Thnx @rbreyer51 and @MrPasion]
  • Organization is critical! Thanks to all who were involved and drove it forward! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the journey: Steven Weber, Rob Breyer, Sarah Henchey, Jeff Carpenter, Faith Howell, Melissa Nixon, Dayson Pasion
  • Sponsors are critical! They enable teachers to focus on learning, sharing and growing! Thanks NCPDK, Elon University, Discovery Ed, Edmentum, Yapp [link to the sponsors here]
  • Learning is NOT over! We are planning a follow up chat to the edcamp! There was so much follow up chatter, we had to create another forum for everyone to post some follow up thoughts.

This was my first edcamp experience but it will not be my last. I can’t wait to attend another edcamp as a participant and if I’m fortunate enough, I will happy to serve as another organizer.

Please add your thoughts below! I would love to hear from you on your takeaways and thoughts of this event.

 

 

Panel Discussion with ISTE and US Dept of Ed – ConnectEDucators

This week, I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in an online panel discussion about present/future critical needs of schools and educators.

ISTE Panel

ISTE originated and hosted this open reflection on our need to understand and drive support for the #ConnectEDucator initiative. #ConnectedEducator is proposal from President Obama’s administration to provide substantial funding for professional development in the area of  technology training for educators. Here’s more about the ConnectEDucator Initiative in this ISTE post.

Hilary Goldman, @hgoldmann, was the organizer for this event. The other panelists included Brian Lewis @blewisiste [CEO ISTE], Richard Culatta @rec54 [Director of the Office of Educational Technology, US Dept of Education @OfficeofEdTech], Wendy Drexler @WendyDrexler [Chief Innovation Officer ISTE],  and Dyane Smokorowski @Mrs_Smoke [2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year/Technology Integration Specialist]. I was proud to be a representative of #NASSP as one of the 2014 Digital Principals.

This was great share experience! Between the chat room and Tweets, there were lots of active sharers and participants who were enthusiastic to lend an ear and provide a question or suggestion for the group on how we can garner support and grow understanding for this needed initiative. Connected educators know the need and value of providing resources and training for our new endeavors in digital education and leadership.

Below are some resources that will get you up to speed on this initiative and our sharing!

Resources:

 

I can’t thank ISTE, Hilary, Brian, Richard, Wendy and Dyane for this experience. This worthy cause deserves everyone’s attention and voice! Please pass this on to other educators and ask that they lend their voice in making sure our schools, teachers and students get the resources we need to improve learning and teaching in our schools.

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It Became a Little Clearer Today..,

The two social studies teachers from our two 6th grade teams collaborated to create this unique learning opportunity.

To help make a great connection for their unit on recent history in India, Maria O’Connor arranged for this Skype lesson/presentation with an 18 year college student in Mumbai. Samuel Thomas, @SamuelThomas95, is a 18 year college student working on a program comparable to a CPA program. [They know each other from their mutual fanaticism with futbol] He graciously entertained and answered questions from our kids on a variety of topics covered in their class.  Samuel is a obviously a smart and engaged young man. Hearing his responses, its easy to see why that he is clearly knowledgeable involved. [Check out his Twitter profile to learn about his interests and where he’s going]

From the students’ questions, I could tell they’ve had conversations about Hinduism/religion, the caste system, general culture questions. These helped provide the share session some good direction and streamline responses. Planning ahead and giving students this guidance is a great means to ensure that the targeted learning outcomes are achieved.

After listening in on this #skypeintheclass share session, it became a little more clear today:

  • That our 6th graders really heard about the impact Ghandi made in India and the world ;
  • That our 6th graders understand how similar and different cultures are around the world;
  • That a 12 minute talk from an 18 year old in Mumbai made as much of an impact on learning [if not more] than talks and discussions and activities in a class. [Take 15 minutes on #skypeintheclass to find someone who will make that #differencemaking connection]
  • That planning the EQs and learning outcomes ahead of time and putting those in the kids hands is as equally important planning for this #Skype experience.

I’ve always been a fan of #skypeintheclass and this lesson validated the need to create more unique, distinctly relevant learning experiences like this one.

Prepping our Middle Schoolers for a Blended Experience

Several weeks ago, we began some strategic planning to address a large class-number problem we knew we would be having in our upcoming second semester. The short description of our solution is that we would create a blended learning experience, using local resources, for these students. The beauty of our solution is that we would not have to acquire any new resources, we could use existing resources in our school. The focus of our work would be in training staff members and students in the format, design and tools we would need to have a successful experience.

Training SLMS Students on GoogledDrive5

We have designed an online mini-course for our health classes. We had our Health/PE teachers collaborate with  our instructional coaches to develop quality online curriculum for this blended learning experience. Curriculum design is a passion of mine so this is right up my alley! It was exciting to see this develop during our progress monitoring checks. After we decided on the content, choosing our delivery tool was next. We are fortunate in that Cumberland County Schools, #Broadfinalist, is a Google district and one of the top 10 largest school districts on Edmodo. With a combination of the two we feel we had great resources we need to make this successful.

The most important component is getting our learners ready for this endeavor. We outlined all the operational knowledge we know our learners need and came up with a pretty concise but critical list. Our students have been on Edmodo for years so we felt comfortable with that knowledge base. We designed a training protocol for our students on Google. @CumberlandCoSch enabled Google accounts for all 6-12 students earlier this year. Our training was a walk through on the various Google tools they would need to complete assignments and navigate coursework. The pictures here are of our training day with kids. They came with a lot of prior knowledge and of course some had more experience than others but by the end of the session, all students were where we needed them. In the pictures, you will see our Innovation Coach leading a talk with a group [I even took over session when she was called to the office].

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This will be a great experience for teachers and learners, for our school as a whole. I plan on showcasing our plus/deltas and progress with our staff as a whole to show where we can go and move as a school. I’m proud of this experience we are creating and building in house. I’m excited about this because its another chance to share a real-life working example of students centered learning experiences that our learners need and that our school can provide.

Earlier this week, I found this article on the different types of blended learning models out there. A real value of this article is the summary of the benefits of blended learning. Our original plan was sparked by necessity, pure and simple. But while we’re here and have engaged in some great curriculum design and planned for great learning experiences for our learners, we are going protect this as endeavor and promote it benefits. Hopefully, we’ll see this expand and grow.

I need to give thanks to a lot of people for this:

  • SLMS Instructional Team for dreaming and pushing forward and our Health/PE teachers for curriculum design
  • Innovation Coach – Ms Crumpler, you rock!
  • 6th grade Broncos – Kids Rock!
  • NCVPS – Bryan Setser and Don Lourcey for first exposing me to blended learning
  • Donna Peters and Dave Cassady
  • Cumberland County Schools for having the foundation in place and willingness to be flexible
  • And of course my PLN!

Protecting Our Kids

In preparing for next year, I’ve been gathering resources to help spread a good message about promoting a respectful culture in our school. ‘How do you show your BroncoPride’ will be a common platform for our staff, students and community to base respectful behavior towards one another. We plan to put together a big campaign and that includes responsible, respectful behavior on social media.

While compiling some resources, I came across these infographics. There’s some great stats and information here that validates our mission and work – providing a safe learning environment for our kids.

School Online
Via: SafetyWeb

 

Source: pcmag.com via Derek on Pinterest