Twitter has been a topic for educational Bloggers for several years now. I believe that those educators using Twitter are drawn to those posts, while other educators, not using Twitter, are driven away. Maybe the problem is the emphasis, or focus of the blog posts. Maybe the focus should be on relevance and no mention of twitter. Are educators relevant in our technology-driven society?
I have been fortunate to attend the annual NYSCATE (The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education) Conference in Rochester, NY for three consecutive years. I am always amazed that Rochester hosts the biggest educational technology conference in New York State. I am also amazed at the number of people that attend from across NY and beyond. NYSCATE hosts a top notch conference, with excellent keynote speakers, outstanding workshops and presentations for teachers by teachers. This is exactly the type of conference that teachers of all technological experience should attend. There is a little something for everyone.
In my role as Director of Curricular Technology, I love to take in different presentations to see where it might fit into the curriculum at Allendale Columbia School. I would have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to attend a conference like this in my previous position as a kindergarten teacher. This year, I was able to convince a kindergarten teacher to come with me, Erin Eder. We taught kindergarten together for three years. When I worked with Erin, she was a mentor and a friend. Now, the roles are slightly reversed. I am showing her Twitter, Glogster, and helping her with her class website.
After half a day at NYSCATE, Erin and I had a completely different conversation at lunch. The conversation was driven by her and we were immersed in a discussion about how to use technology with her students in new and exciting ways. Several examples we brainstormed were, using Edmodo to flip lessons, digital literacy, internet safety, digital storytelling, embedding interactive media in SMARTNotebook files, and starting a class blog. It’s the type of conversation that every tech person loves to have with teachers. Now she is ready to start implementing these ideas in her classroom. I will happily support her in this endeavor.
Erin also discovered Twitter. This is something that I always expose to teachers as a professional development tool, but in never really clicks until you experience it in the right context. NYSCATE and the conference attendees provided that context for Erin. Special thanks to a few of the folks the the Social Media Kiosk @JimTiffinjr @Ted_Love @ransomtech and @TomWhitby for adding to the conversation!
I was able to attend a session that I found truly entertaining and fun. It was very different than the usual sessions that you expect to find at conferences. It was called “Speed Dating for Techies”. It was hosted by two energetic and passionate educators, Katie Regan and Shari Sloane (#ladygeeks), both paid by their districts to teach english but they also volunteer as technology integrators at their respective schools. Interestingly, they work at different schools but collaborate weekly. They use technology to bridge the gap to explore their common interests and passions, with curriculum and technology use. It was inspiring to chat with people and hear their stories. The structure of the session was like speed dating and gave people 3 minutes to chat, network, and share interests. A “dance card” was used to collect basic information from the people you met, name, passions (education related) and contact information (in most cases a Twitter handle). Katie and Shari did a great job!
Overall, NYSCATE gave me some ideas and energy to return to work. I love being a part of the learning that goes on at this conference. Great job to everyone at NYSCATE for hosting a fantastic conference!
So often I hear other teachers say, "I wish I had more time for that". What they are referring to is my connectedness to social media. I have spent the last three days using Canvas instructure to add syllabi and course information. It is incredibly time consuming work. I'm not even close to being finished. However I feel that doing the work now and preparing for the classes that I will have this year will save me time once the school year begins.
Every year at Allendale Columbia School, the department heads and administrators write up “Year End Reports.” These reports are summaries of the school year and plans for the year to come. I have decided to use it as my next blog post. Feedback and questions are always appreciated!
Curricular Technology Year End Report written by Tony Tepedino, Director of Curricular Technology
Highlights from this year included creating a bi-weekly program, called Tech Tuesday, for AC faculty to share how they are using technology in their classrooms. I presented, with Beth Guzzetta, at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Indianapolis, IN. We hosted two sessions, “iPads Apps in the Science Classroom” and “Hi-Tech, Low Cost Science Classroom.” I co-presented with Brian Meehan at Barcamp RIT about iPad 1:1 deployments. We also rolled out Google Apps for education accounts for all middle and upper school students with Gmail. The Middle School started a 1:1 iPad program this year. It proved to have a tremendous impact on the learning environment in the middle school. We hosted visits from Canandaigua Academy and Elmwood Franklin to check out our iPad program in action. We have an opportunity to be a resource for schools considering 1:1 iPad deployments. We have tremendous practical knowledge to share from a variety of perspectives – pedagogical, operational and management of devices. I also consulted with Red Jacket CSD BOCES about iPad implementation.
I coordinated with Rochester Institute of Technology to use a new web based platform called BookBag. We are helping RIT trial this tool in a K-12 school in hopes of securing a grant. It hasn’t been used outside of RIT until now. Diana Gleeson’s Bioethics class is currently using BookBag. I continued to oversee the Alsina Language Lab. Michael Murphy, from Sanako Labs, donated language teaching software and will continue to update AC with the latest versions.
I have continued to work with teachers to integrate social media, PLN’s (Personal Learning Networks), and LMS (Learning Management Systems) into their curriculum. The new Digital Art Lab created the perfect environment for Amy Bonner to develop an online course in graphic design, for upper school students, during the Spring semester. The class content was delivered using a LMS called Edmodo. Amy offered a blended learning environment with both her middle and upper school art classes. This approach combines web based technology to deliver content, evaluate student work, quiz and assess, collect assignments and communicate with students. She continues to use blogging and social media to communicate and share information about her classroom. Julie Thompson, has used Twitter for professional growth and as a review tool for her AP Biology class. She also blogs regularly about her classroom environment and as a reflective tool for her teaching.
We are in year two of using FA Web for online grade reporting. There continues to be issues with FA Web (browser compatibility). Resolution of issues takes a long time, sometimes months. I have been consulting with Blackbaud on the look and feel of their future releases of FA Web. I take part in discovery sessions online during regularly scheduled meetings. They seem to appreciate the input from someone who has been a classroom teacher and currently trains teachers on how to use their products.
I have continued to maintain a good relationship with Tequipment, our SMARTBoard installer and support specialists. It took 6 months to complete the installation of the new portable board in our music department, due to backorder of parts. I taught the Nursery and Pre-K students two mini lessons on the SMARTBoard in Kindergarten. We demoed a SMART Table in nursery/PreK for 30 days. The software is hard to use and the hardware wasn’t dependable.
Conferences and Visits
Attended NEIT, (NYSAIS Education & Information Technology) conference at Mohonk.
Attended NYSCATE (NYS Association for Computers and Technology in Education) conference in Rochester, NY
Attended T4 – Think Tank for Teachers & Technology at Elmwood Franklin in Buffalo and hosted a session on copyright images.
Attended ISTE Webinar an Independent Schools Special Interest Group for Online Learning.
Attended ISTE Remote Summer Workshops.
Attended the Reading Digital Symposium at RIT.
Attended Tedx Rochester
Attended Tedx Flour City, June 9, 2012
Visited Manlius Pebble Hill School in Syracuse, NY to learn about Blackbaud and technology integration.
Attended Cambridge Institute Webinar for An Overview of the Modern Chinese Education System.
Plans for Next Year
I am currently working with Cathy Beaton at RIT, and Beth Guzzetta on a grant for technology use in education. This grant, if awarded, would provide the following items to participating schools.; lab kits with all necessary materials and tools, iPads, and original YouTube instructional videos created by AC students.
Plans include developing a web based curriculum for faculty to continue training when they have time. I will expand Tech Tuesday to include workshops for hands-on training. I am sending out a survey to assess faculty requests for specific workshops. We are planning to install two new SMARTBoards next year. I would like to see web-based delivery of report cards to parents via NetClassroom. We continue to evaluate and assess the hardware, software, mobility, and usage of the current Alsina Lab. Beth Guzzetta and I have submitted proposals to present at NSTA in San Antonio, TX. I would also like to attend the NAIS National Conference in Philadelphia and serve on an visiting accreditation team. I would like to take a select group of teachers to attend the NYSCATE conference next school year.
This year I was given the opportunity with colleague Leah Danielsto plan and coordinate full school Spring Professional Day. Based on the reviews and suggestions from the professional day, I am confident that we could host another successful event.
- Ratings from 1 (horrible) – 5 (amazing), Average Ratings, Morning – 4, Afternoon – 4.12, Overall – 4.26
I am constantly looking for new and better ways to filter information in my PLN (Personal Learning Network). The other day, while browsing my PLN, a blog post by Tom Whitby caught my eye. Tom mentioned a tool called SmartBrief and how it’s part of his daily routine. I had never heard of SmartBrief until I read his post. SmartBrief sends you customized daily emails containing links to articles from a wide range of industries based on your interests. SmartBrief was very easy to setup and use. The mobile app nicely organizes your briefs for easy reading online or offline. Check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks Tom!
Here are some images from the mobile app.
Recently, our school's Director of Curricular Technology, Tony Tepedino, directed my attention to Will Richardson's post, "My Kids Are Illiterate. Most Likely, Yours Are Too." In the post, Richardson points out that even good schools are not making the grade when it comes to student literacy. How can students graduate from strong schools and still be illiterate? Richardson notes that "learning and literacy are absolutely shifting, and that means that the roles of schools and teachers are going to have to shift as well." Thus, educators must have a good grasp of what literacy actually is in the 21st century.
I just wanted to take a moment to recognize my fellow Allendale Columbia School bloggers. These are the teachers who are reflecting, writing, and sharing what is happening in their classroom with the world. It takes a brave soul to put yourself out there into that big crazy world called the web. It takes an even braver soul to share your work, practice, classroom, lessons, and reflections.
On January 10th, 2012, we were fortunate to have two great faculty presenters from our own Allendale Columbia School, Spanish teacher, Lindsey Brown and Physical Education teacher, Ray Istas. Both teachers stepped outside of their comfort zone to try some very different things using technology.
Lindsey Brown – She talked about using her web-site (designed in the style of a blog) to create a community across the three levels of Spanish she teaches. She became interested in the way creating the “blog” entries has shaped her pedagogy. She has been able to capture and reflect on spontaneous teachable moments due to the forum of reporting. In addition, she designed projects that require more synthesis and evaluation from the students, a direct result from the creative process of formulating the “blog.” In the future, Lindsey is hoping to launch a REAL blog that allows for more student reaction and student comments.
Ray Istas – He presented an iPad App that he created for middle school P.E. class. The presentation included the jump rope app itself and the steps he took in order to create the app. He discussed the process of learning Xcode and Adobe Illustrator, submitting the app to Apple, and making the app functional. Currently, Ray’s Jump Rope app is still being developed and is not yet available in the Apple App Store.