Thursday, September 1, 2011

Edina's Teaching & Technology Cohort

Over the past year 29 teachers from Edina Public Schools participated in a Teaching and Technology Cohort. Because of a grant from the Edina Education Fund, the teachers were able to participate in the cohort for a reduced price.

The certificate consisted of four courses:
  • Collaboration and Community with a Global Perspective
  • Curriculum in the Cloud - Integrating Curriculum with Technology
  • Authentic Assessment using Technology
  • Emerging Technology and Trends

After completing the four courses, each Edina teacher earne
d a Teaching and Technology certificate from Hamline University. The teachers participated in these courses in a blended learning format. Once a month the teachers met face to face and then throughout the month they engaged in learning online using Moodle and Google Apps for Education.

The two Edina Technology Integration Specialists, Mike Walker and myself, taught the courses and were able to tailor the courses to enhance Edina's curriculum. Teachers were able to develop lessons, projects and assessments that they could use directly in their classroom. This was a great opportunty to really enage Edina teachers in transforming learning in the 21st Century.

We took a pre assessment of how the teachers in the cohort were using technology and how they felt about their skill level implementing technology into the classroom. We did the same survey at the conclusion of the cohort and were very excited to see growth in the level of confidence that teachers flet as they now could integrate technology into the classroom and curriculum.

Some of the areas that teachers grew the most in were incorporating digital images and digital stories into their curriculum, using Moodle for a blended or online learning experience in their classroom, using Google Docs, blogs, Google Sites, and other Edina Apps in their classroom, and using web tools and resources to enhance learning in the classroom. A highlight of the course was lear
ning about screencasting and how to video lessons and instructions so that they could post these lessons to the web for students to watch and relearn or practice concepts. Teachers found that as a result of the cohort they were posting more information and student work to the web. They found themselves participating in global learning networks and promoting digital literacy and citizenship more frequently. At the end of the cohort, 90% of the teachers felt confident in integrating technology into their classroom and curriculum...the other 10% simply said they have so much more to learn. Overall, teachers grew immensely in their understanding, in their tool set, and in integrating technology into the classroom and curriculum. Teachers increase
d their Personal Learning Network by using twitter and other social networks to collaborate and share with professionals outside of their district and building walls.

When asked what technology tools would help them to engage students in learning, the top tools were laptops, iPads, iTouches and Smart Phones. The teachers reported that technology has greatly impacted the way that they teach and the way that the students learn.

At the end of the cohort each teacher created an e-Portfolio showcasing their work. View Kristy's Portfolio to see a sample of all the projects and work each teacher completed.

You can view a list of all of the ePortfolios off of the Edina Teaching and Technology website.

Each teacher was asked to share an "ah-ha" moment or a reflection of the chohort. They could write about it, blog about it, create a podcast, or find any other creative way of sharing their ideas. Here are a few reflections from the Edina Teaching and Technology Cohort.

Reflections and Ahha Moments

Kristy's Reflection

Kalea's Storyjumper Reflection- See the website version here

Here are a few other written reflections...

SueWhen I started the CoHort my computer was something I used to do office tasks and social planning. I didn’t know how to go to a coffee shop and find a Network. To me a Tab Bar was the thing that moved the cursor to the left and right and I couldn’t figure out why Mike wanted us to open a Tab (pop?). My hardest obstacle at first was overcoming my anxiety at being such a low-ability user. Learning through Moodle took time at first, but it’s practical and now I will use it with the kids. It’s a good way to organize, post and find information. Some skills we learned in CoHort are more helpful in my field than others but the year of course work has altered the way I teach. We learned a lot of new presentation methods like Prezi, Jing and Screencast that will update my lectures and can be downloaded on Moodle so students can listen at home. I’ll focus on the technologies that help kids produce spoken language (Screen Cast, Voki, Go Animate, and the many language Apps out there). Finally GASP! I’ll allow mobile devices in my classroom. Things will change but I’m open to the idea that not everything is going to work. I’m just giving it a try. It’s time....
Finally, a cool part to the CoHort was looking at what other K-12 teachers are doing with technology. Wow! We have outstanding teachers here in Edina schools.

HeatherWhen we started the cohort, we were asked to share what we were looking forward to during our year. I said I was looking forward to “having permission to spend lots of time playing!” Play we did…with tons of really useful tools! I can’t count the number of instantly applicable tech application we learned about during the cohort, and have found great value not only while trying them out with my students, but also in learning how my colleagues are embedding them in their classrooms. I’ve been AMAZED at the thoughtful and creative ways other teachers have approached using technology in the classroom. I’m grateful for the new ideas! This has proven that the properly chosen tech tool is useful in any grade level and any content area.
I appreciate the fact that Mike and Molly really supported us in our efforts to try new things out in the classroom. Knowing their expertise was just a phone call or email away at any point during a project was exactly what I needed to jump right in with different technologies as we learned about them.

I acquired really valuable information and gained valuable skills during the cohort. The information was very timely – technological advances are totally changing the world, and the cohort gave a solid overview of many of the current trends. I think that if we are going to properly prepare students for the future, we need to model the skills and tools presented in the cohort. Along with these tools, we need to make sure students know how to use them effectively, ethically and safely. The four cohort classes did a really nice job preparing me to do my part in making sure that happens.

Heather- About Google Apps for Education a.k.a. Edina AppsThe list of tech tools that I incorporated into my classes this year is long, and I can’t think of any that I won’t try again in the future. If I had to choose only one tool to highlight here, I’d say that the arrival of Google Apps for Education has made the largest impact on my teaching. The sharing functions of Google Docs greatly facilitated collaborative work. In my classroom, students used this format for collaborate in partners, small groups, and with a classroom at Normandale! Google Forms allows for the creation of really quick progress monitoring and visual overviews of student mastery. Picasa’s photo storage options allowed us to keep our class photo albums updated and easily stored uploaded illustrations for 100 students! On the practical side, Google Docs and Google Forms have kept me organized and have greatly simplified homework procedures. They’ve allowed me to easily share templates with students instead of making needless photocopies, and the options they offer for correcting student work have allowed me to give almost instant feedback on many activities AND make informed decisions about student learning needs.

Chad S
I believe that the biggest impact to my professional learning was through the use of Twitter. Twitter has put me in contact with numerous other PE teachers that integrate technology on a regular basis. It helps knowing that there are professionals out there that are willing to help when you want to bounce ideas around. Just like in the actual building I teach, teachers always say we could use more time to meet, that it would help our teaching. Twitter does that without needing the actual facetime. My life and teaching won't be the same becasue of Twitter.

Now I see technology as a powerful learning tool not just a cool thing to add to lessons and projects. During the cohort, I had my students use most of the new tools I was learning. It truly empowered them and they always wanted more. They wanted to know about the new tools that I learned. I thought that it was very empowering for them to know that they were learning and using the same tools I was learning in my classes.

What have you gained?I have gained knowledge of tools, resources and ideas. I have gained an appreciation for collaboration and assessment. I have gained confidence in my own technological abilities. But most of all, I have gained an excitement for showing my students how technology can enhance their music making!

Mary Z
Before the cohort, I had a pretty healthy attitude towards technology in education. I did not, however, see the benefits of truly integrating technology into the curriculum. I always held the notion that the teacher was responsible for utilizing technology in her lesson plans. I did not see how the student could take advantage of the myriad of technology in order to better his or her own learning. My perspective on technology prior to the cohort was that I, the teacher would teach with it, rather than actually teaching it. I never had seen myself as a technology instructor, whereas now, I see myself as responsible for introducing and cultivating technological skills.
It is so amazing to work with this talented group of teachers who are ready to transform learning using the new technology skills and tools they learned from the cohort. They are our new leaders in technology education and they will be showcasing their work at the District Kick Off on August 29th. They will also be sharing their projects, tool set and learnings in staff meetings, team meetings and other various opportunities throughout the year.

We all know that behind all learning is great teaching. The teachers have a new tool box to transform their classroom, projects and learning space. Congrats to a great cohort of Edina teachers in the Teaching and Technology Cohort! Your dedication, hard work and example of life long learning is inspiring to all.

We hope to offer the Teaching and Technology Cohort again staring in the fall of 2012.

-Molly Schroeder
Edina Elementary Technology Integration Specialist
@followmolly on Twitter

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Technology: assisting students with special needs in Edina

 Edina’s Special Services department continues to serve our students with special needs.  One method for helping these students is through the use of technology.  Indeed, for these students, technology may provide opportunities for expanded participation in our school district.  In Edina, the district has an assistive technology person who is dedicated to identifying these opportunities.  Assistive Technology is defined as “promoting greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks
Nichole Krier, is the districts Assistive Technology specialist and has been doing some outstanding work.  Specifically in Edina, the following activities have been recently undertaken
In the spring of 2011, the Special Services department increased the number of iPads, produced by Apple, in various programs across the district after being awarded grant funding from the Edina Education Fund.  Over the years, people with disabilities and other special needs have seen an improvement in quality of life due to new technology tools. These fast technology moves continue to open many doors for people with disabilities in education, employment, and social interaction.  As we all know, Apple continues to increase the number of applications (commonly known as "apps") available for individuals with special needs.  The Special Services department has experienced tremendous success in the piloted programs at Cornelia and Creek Valley Elementary.  The students are engaged in the learning activities, as well as being motivated with the innovative tool.

Other tools, including interactive whiteboards, Alphasmarts and various software programs continue to help level the playing field for our students.  Edina’s online applications labeled EdinaApps, primarily made up of Google Apps for education and Moodle strive to provide universal access by reaching people who are blind or low vision and deaf or hard of hearing.  Though both products show great potential, they also have identified assess issues and potential work arounds.  Here is some additional information surrounding access,:
Both organizations are committed to continue to work to improve these tools to provide greater access.

In Edina we will continue to identify and promote technology tools that provide universal access for all students to the world of life long learning

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blogged posting on Edina Teaching and Technology Cohort 2010-2011

Molly Schroeder has blogged a recap of the year long technology certificate program she and Mike Walker delivered last year for Edina Public Schools.  The technology certificate program has been a huge success and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike and Molly and all the participants.  You all are creating the critical mass for change!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Technology Plan video

We have just created a short video of our recently approved technology plan.  This video discusses the following aspects of the Edina Public Schools technology plan

  • Technology Philosophy Statement
  • Goals
  • Benefits/Objectives
  • Key Initiatives

To read more about the technology plan and the process please visit the planning website

Friday, May 13, 2011

The role of Library Media in Edina Public Schools

The Edina Public School schools media specialists have put together this year in review video.  I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them for all of the hard work they do for our children.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Technology Change in Today's School

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Have you seen the new commercial from Best Buy about how fast technology moves? The commercial shows a series of people realizing that their technology is now outdated with the release of a newer version. Though the idea behind this commercial is to sell us insurance on technology innovation, it speaks volumes to the rate of change that technology continues to undergo.

As a district we are not immune from this technological change. Technology tools, including iPads, interactive whiteboards, Google, social networking sites, Web sites and cloud computing, continue to provide opportunities for our students and teachers to empower and enhance learning. Our challenge is: how do we quickly identify, deploy and train our organization so that these advances add value to our students and teachers?

I would like to share two examples of how we are building the capacity for change.

Professional Development
A certainty is that any technology without proper training does not have the same impact on student learning. Throughout this year the Technology Integration Specialists are providing professional development though our Ed Fund sponsored "Teaching and Technology Cohort" program. The goal of this 12-month program is to provide educators with the tools and skills they need to integrate technology into their classrooms and curriculum.  In the most recent course, participants were asked to spend 20 percent of their time on a personal learning project, integrating what they learned into their classrooms and then share their experience. Teachers shared that this type of professional development was exactly the time and space they needed to engage in technology and how it can impact student learning.

Technology Vision
To help us navigate this constant change, Edina Public Schools has been actively defining a vision for how technology will impact our work. After meeting with students, parents, teachers, staff, and other community members, four goals emerged from the conversations.
They are:

1. Unleash students' passion for lifelong learning
2. Empower and enhance excellent teaching
3. Engage families in a partnership for education
4. Demonstrate excellence in service, operations and    

For each or these goals we will define key initiatives that, when accomplished in the upcoming year, will harness the power of technology to move our district forward. Yes, technology will continue to evolve and change the way we teach and learn. These are just two examples of how District Media and Technology Services (DMTS) will continue to adapt and prepare for change so our students will be successful in an increasingly technology-rich world.

Stay tuned.

Steve Buettner
Director of District Media and Technology Services (DMTS) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Molly's March Links of the Month

Think Spring!

Click here for Molly’s March Links of the Month 2011

Remember you can copy and paste any of the links of the month onto your own Google Classroom Site…click here for directions!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bring Your Own Technology Initiative

February 22 at Valley View Middle School, I held the last orientation meeting for the"Go Wireless" Bring Your Own Technology Initiative for this school year.

We currently have around 130 students, about 10% of the population bringing their own technology to school at Valley View. On March 1st, we will hold a similar student/parent orientation at South View Middle School.
At each training session, I ask students about their hopes on how the laptop will enhance their learning. You can see their comments in the image on the right.

It's rewarding to see all of the students connect to the network right away and have access to the survey and other resources they now have access to in the classroom. Our district tech staff continues to improve the infrastructure to make the use of personal technology possible.

Last fall, our district was featured with several others in an article on the Bring Your Own Technology model in Converge Magazine. Many districts are seeing the advantages of students bringing their own technology as a way to sustain programs. The "Bring Your Own" model has been in place now at Edina High School for the last three years. With the additional netbook carts we have purchased at each building, we hope to allow for greater access to information and tools for students to create authentic artifacts of their learning. 
-M. Walker
Edina Public Schools featured in Converge Magazine

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

On Friday, February  18th, Twin Cities Public Television aired a program 
entitled, Digital Media: New Learners of the
21st Century

From the tpt Website: “Targeted at parents, teachers and anyone concerned with education in America, this documentary takes viewers to the front lines of an education revolution. "Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century" examines how mobile devices and digital media practices can empower young people to direct their own learning. Documenting five success stories both inside and out of the classroom, the program demonstrates how digital media, games, smart phones and the Internet are fundamentally transforming the way young people communicate, collaborate, participate and learn in the 21st century.”

Several staff and parents watched the program, and chatted about it here.
You may view the program in it's entirety below:

Please take a look at the video and take a moment to provide us feedback on the form below. You may also look at additional video and Web resources we have collected on our Engaged and Inspired Learning Website, for additional information. Thank you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Choice Is Yours Laptop Program

Families who are members of  The Choice Is Yours program in Edina are provided with a laptop computer and Internet access. Mary Manderfeld, Assistant Director of Administrative Services who administers the program notes:
One of the barriers the Choice is Yours (CIY) students and families may face in Edina Public Schools is access to computers and the Internet. Each year Edina High School and Middle Schools are increasing their use of technology within the classroom setting. Many classes are placing their entire syllabus with all homework assignments online. The academic registration process at Edina High School is completely online at this point. Families and students need to have Internet access in order to register in a timely fashion for classes the following year. By having a computer, families are also able to log in to theirs student’s academic information to see grades, missing assignments and other vital academic requirements. Families and students who do not have a computer or access to the internet at home are placed at an immediate disadvantaged to peers who have access to this information. Edina Schools is happy to assist our families by providing computers and internet access to lessen the digital divide.
The computers are paid for out of the Integration funds received from the State of Minnesota

Sara Swenson, Media Specialist at Edina High School asked a few of the students what impact the program has had on their learning. Here are their responses.

Edina Edfund Video: Join Us!

On Monday, January 26th, the Edina Education Fund hosted a luncheon showcasing how funds provided have impacted the Edina Public Schools. The program began with a video that discusses learning today, and how Ed Fund dollars are impacting classrooms. It is a great example of teachers in Edina engaging and inspiring student learning!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Edina Engaged and Inspired Learning Summit: January 26, 2011

January 26th, Educators in Edina met for an "Engaged and Inspired Student Summit" with the purpose of:
  1. To create the ‘Edina definition’ for ‘21st Century Skills’ AND
  2. Ask staff to identify where such skills are currently in place within our students’ learning experiences AND
  3. Share a common understanding for use in communication and curriculum/instructional design AND
  4. Consider what technology has to do with it
Dr. Dressen started off our discussion today, asking us to cross out 21st Century skills on our packet and replace it with 22nd. Students in our classroom will be living in the 22nd century, and our discussion today needs to reflect that.

He noted that learning is no longer linear, and we need to embrace that fact.

Dr. Jenni Norlin-Weaver then led us in a discussion, where each of us had a piece of art, and we were asked to identify how it might be used in the classroom.

We then viewed the following RSA Animate video, on Sir Ken Robinson's ideas.

Dr. Bruce Locklear, Edina High School Principal, then shared some of Tony Wagner's work.

Looking outside the windshield. Sometimes you feel like the bug. "Everyone" is an expert on education, because we all went to school. Sometimes we feel like we're hanging on for dear life. Everything is changing, and we are on a fixed income. Change is sometimes "taboo." Instead, we talk about "reform" or "best practice."

Last Friday, while working with the teachers at EHS on equity, five students of color came to speak to the group. 5 years ago, they would not have been at EHS, they would have been in an alternative program. The essence of what Sir Ken is saying, is that we need to personalize learning for each student. For 85%, they know how to "play the game" of school. What about the other 15%? By personalizing learning, and making all students feel a part of the community, we will reach that group. When you hear about 5 students who have had success, it gives you the energy to get up off the windshield and try again!

He then lead us through some of Tony Wagner's work.
We have an 19th Century Curriculum
20th Century Buildings and Organizations
21st Century Students

Dagget-"The world our kids are going to live in is changing four times faster than our schools."
In the last 50 years, our economy has transformed, and routine cognitive and routine manual labor has decreased, whereas non-routine interactive, non-routine analytic has skyrocketed.
What are the 21st Century Skills? Expert Thinking, Complex Communication are the new skills students need. How have are classrooms changed to address these skills?
  • Elementary classrooms-Instead of the teacher standing in front of the room, "talk with your elbow partner"
  • Edina Apps-Students can collaborate on documents
  • More group work-How do we evaluate that work? How do we prepare them for that?
  • Highlands elementary uses a lot of Johnson and Johnson's collaborative learning strategies
  • Band and Athletic teams support these skills
  • Need to differentiate and look at collaboration at different developmental levels.
State Standards lack attention in several key areas:
  • HS English Standards and courses emphasize literature (Though the refresh and core standards are changing.)
  • Reading material students will encounter in college or on the job is informational.
  • Ability to work in teams is not in the curriculum.
Creative work is the key in developed countries.
Top 5 new hire skills
  • Communication
  • Honesty
  • Teamwork skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Strong work ethic
How do we align learning to purpose and relevance.
Wagner believes we are doing students a great injustice by putting them in AP courses to take information in, spit it out and fill in a bubble.
Locklear finished with a look at some questions brought up by Bernie Trilling in his TIES Keynote.
Here are the slides from this morning:

Further resources for the day can be found on the Edina Engaged and Inspired Students Website.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaching and Technology Cohort Takes Off

This fall, 29 teachers from Edina embarked on a Teaching and Technology Certificate program through Hamline University.
Funded through a grant from the Edina Education Fund, the teachers started the program in a course called, Creating Community for All Learners. Through the course, they worked to form their own community, gained understanding of the importance of sharing, and how technology can be used to connect and collaborate. We created a hashtag on Twitter (#edinatt), and invited participants to share with one another.

The course was delivered in a "blended" format of face to face and online, and the participants described their learning experience as:

One of the activities involved creating their own metaphor for educational technology. The examples cohort members came up with ranged from a steamroller, an 8th grade boy and running a marathon to a rainbow, rain on a farmers field and a tapestry!
A definite highlight was the final face to face session, where groups created a community building activity and "taught" it to the rest of the class. The groups created lesson plans for these activities that can be found here. Some of the activities involve Webcams, and Technology tools such as:
The final assignment involved a plan for how they would create community in their classroom. They can be found in the portfolios on our public Website.
After a break, the cohort will pick up again January 25th with a class on Integrating Technology, followed by courses in Assessment and Cutting Edge Technology later this year.. This experience is providing staff with a 21st Century learning experience that will provide them with skills to enhance their instruction with technology.

-Michael Walker, Secondary Technology Integration Specialist

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Internet update

Mike Walker shared with me this website that reviews some of the current statistics around the Internet and use.

As the the utility that Internet provides continues to increase, we must recongise how we can tap into the potential for
  • Engaging families
  • Empower Teachers
  • and most important Enleashing the passion for learning in our students.

What this also means is that continued growth means more resources will need to be dedicated such as:
  • More speed or higher bandwidth
  • More access to productivity and information tools
  • More management and security for the increased use
  • and finally more staff development opportunities in order to take advantage of this great tool