Leading with Instructional Technology Post 2 @mcleod

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I really do love the entire “Did you know?” series.  If you have not had a chance to see them all I have posted them below.  With “Did you know? 4.0” it really does put a lot of things into perspective as does the entire series.  Times are changing and they are very exponential.  Things that use to take us hours to do now we can do in minutes due to technology, and sometimes we take that technology for granted.  I am sure there are some educators out there that remember the wonderful mimeograph machines.  I am not of that era but I have heard tons of talk about them.  I was once in a conversation with another teacher who was part of the mimeograph era where the district had ordered pallets of the duplicator fluid because it went on such a good sale that they wanted to take advantage of the savings.  The very next school year the first Xerox machine was released and the mimeograph was obsolete.  Now that fluid is useless and I am sure by now has been disposed of or sits in a warehouse collecting dust.

There is lots of talk about what education should have taken advantage of when a particular edtech tool was around but is now obsolete as well as on the other side of things, education waiting for the newest tool to integrate into classrooms so they can get more bang for their buck.  Note to the districts on the latter, you will ALWAYS be waiting.  I don’t like to use the terms never and always because they are absolutes, but in this case it is fitting.  Technology moves so fast with its changes and education does not move fast enough.  The minute our district purchased classroom sets of iPads for their science departments, news of the iPad 2 was officially released, so instantly we were behind.  Now if we had waited six more months and purchased them, rumors of the iPad 3 started rolling out.  So no matter what there is always going to be something better on the horizon and we shouldn’t as educators stay behind in this technology world waiting for the best tool for our students.  Use the best tool for your students that is available to you today.  Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.


Here is the “Did you know?” series.  These videos are created by Scott McLeod (@mcleod) from the University of Kentucky CASTLE.  





Leading with Instructional Technology Post 1

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Thursday was a very profound evening for me.  It started with meeting some great new people in educational leadership, all with different skill sets in technology but how no matter how different our skill set, we all have the same thing set as our first priority, what is best for kids.

Watching the video Learning to Change-Changing to Learn really echoed some thoughts and reflections that I have had about 21st century skills that kids really need to be learning in schools today.  I am a firm believer that students are learning more on their social networks, smart phones, and online video games than they are in some of our traditional bricks and mortar schools that we have around the country.  Skills that our students need in order to be 21st century ready are currently not being introduced in many parts of the country.  Having kids turn off their devices that connect them with the world is like shutting down the kid themselves.  Students get up early to text message friends, check their Facebook, and learn something new all before breakfast and heading out the door to school, only to be unconnected from 8am to 3pm.  Notice I didn’t say that kids were checking their email, email is outdated to this generation.  If you are like me and can’t live with out your email then we are the generation that is behind the students we are educating, because those students can’t live without their Facebook pages.  I go many days without checking my Facebook page, but I do not leave home without my phone that instantly lets me know when I have email waiting for me.

Careers that our current students will be employed at for the most part have not even been created yet.  These careers do not require our students to be able to rattle off facts that are just stored in their head.  These will require them to have a completely different skill set in order to be successful.  Do our kids know where to look for answers?  Do they know how to synthesis data?  Communicate?  Collaborate with a team to solve tomorrows problems?  Thinking of these questions really brings me back to a core concept that every teacher has been exposed to, Bloom’s Taxonomy.  These skills are really centralized around Bloom’s analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  These are the three classifications that are the hardest for kids when working on school work in the traditional sense because they are not use to doing it, but you give them a tech tool like an iPad, it almost becomes second nature.

This responsibility of making sure that our kids are 21st century ready with a different skill set than most of us were raised with is not something that I personally lay on teachers.  I lay this responsibility on the leaders of today schools. Leaders need to provide teachers with the appropriate professional development and time to use the tools that will help them educate their students with 21st century skills.  Many times leaders give professional development to their staff for the sake of professional development without much follow up or further direction.  If we want our students to collaborate outside the traditional classroom, then we need to give teachers the training and time to collaborate outside the classroom as well.

Recently I saw a video on TED about creating a movement that was eye opening.  Creating a movement to help our kids attain 21st century skills is what is needed.  Leaders need to be the first ones “out in the crowd” to be ridiculed, but it doesn’t mean they are wrong.  These leaders are not the ones that help start a movement, the first follower does.  They help transform the leader and create the movement.  So what does this mean for me?  If I am not leading people into the movement, then I need to be the first follower and show others how to follow.  




7 Google Tools You Don’t Know About…Yet! – SimpleK12

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We all know Google Search.  And Google Documents.  And Google Earth.   But… there are many uncharted Google tools in Google Labs (many not even released  yet!) that I bet you didn’t know exist.

Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve heard of any of these…

1.)  Google Body –  Looking for a 3D model of the human body?  Go where no student has gone before… You can peel back the anatomical layers, zoom in, and navigate through parts of the body.  You can search muscle groups, organs, bones and so much more!

2.) Google Mars –  Doesn’t look promising that you’ll be able to send your students to Mars anytime soon… at least not in person!  Take a tour of Mars with this nifty Google tool where you can view the planet in three views:  Elevation, Visible, or Infrared.

3.)  Google Building Maker –   A great 3D modeling tool used for adding buildings to Google Earth.  You can select a city and create a real building in that city based on images provided by Google. 

4.) Google Swiffy –    Annoyed that you can’t view Flash files on your iPad?  You’re not alone.  Haven’t tried this one myself, but Google claims “Swiffy converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads).

5.)  Google Music India –  Listen to thousands of full Indian songs.  You can search by artist, albums, or songs.  Great way to spice up a lesson on India.

6.)  Google App Inventor –  Who said you needed to be a programmer to build great mobile applications?  With Google’s App Inventor you can visually design applications and use blocks to specify application logic.

7.)  Google Image Swirl –  Have visual learners in your classroom?  With this neat tool from Google you can organize image search results based on their visual and semantic similarities.  They results are displayed in a unique exploratory interface, great for brainstorming, researching, and exploring.

12 Ways To Be More Search Savvy | MindShift

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  1. CONTROL F. A deceptively simple tool, the Control F function (or Command F on Macs) allows you to immediately find the word you’re looking for on a page. After you’ve typed in your search, you can jump directly to the word or phrase in the search list. According to Russell, 90 percent of Internet users don’t know this, and spend valuable time scrolling through pages of information trying to find their key word. “They’re being terribly inefficient,” Russell says.
  2. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Use search terms the way you’d like to see them on a Web site. But think of how the author would phrase it. “It’s not about you, it’s about the author,” Russell says. “What would they say and how would they say it? What are some common terms and phrases they’d write? It’s the kind of thing that people over-think and are hyper-analytical about.” Stay on topic and keep it simple.
  3. DEFINE OPERATOR. This has to be one of the best items of Google’s offerings. To learn the definition of a word, just type “Define,” then the word.
  4. ONE MORE SEARCH. It’s one thing to do a quick search for Lady Gaga’s birthday. But for more important questions that have a direct implication on your life, do one more search. Go deeper and find a second corroborating source, just like a journalist would. “We are a credulous society,” Russell says. “When you have something you care about, something you’re going to spend a lot of money on, or an issue with your help, do one extra search. Never single-source anything.”
  5. FIND THE SOURCE. Russell knows first-hand that Web sites can sometimes publish false information. Though we all know how to find contact information for an organization, confirm the phone number, look for the author’s names and trustworthy hallmarks like logos, Russell says “the bad guys know that too. They’re very good at mimicking credible sources of information.” On the site Who.is, searchers can find details about the source: where it’s located, when it was established, and the IP address.
  6. CONFIRM CONTENT. It’s common to find the same phrases and sentences on different sites all over the Web because people duplicate content all the time. To determine the original source of the content, you can look at the date it was written, but that’s also not entirely accurate. When authors edit an article, that changes the posting date. So even if it was originally written in 2005, the date will say 2011 if it was edited last week. Again, here’s when you put on your journalist hat. Trustworthy websites typically have an “errata column” or something like it where mistakes or corrections are posted. Sites where you see strikethroughs (it looks this) publicly show where previously published information has been corrected or stricken. You’ll also see “Updates” at the top of articles, where clarifications are published, which shows the Web site’s intention of providing the most accurate information. “Those idioms were not practicable or doable in pre-technology days,” Russell says. “You have to understand how the practice of writing and publishing is changing.”
  7. LINK OPERATOR. The way Google ranks sites can be confusing. Sometimes even when a site has negative comments or reviews, it still rises to the top of the search list simply because it’s been mentioned the most. When you want to know what other sites are saying about the site you’re searching, type in “Link: www.yourwebsitename.com” and you’ll see all the posts that mention that site. Whether it’s following up on a debatable article or the reputation of an online shop or person, it’s another incredibly useful research tool that didn’t exist in “pre-Web times,” as Russell puts it.
  8. DON’T USE THE + SIGN. It might have negative side effects, Russell says. Adding the + sign will force the search engine to look for only that phrase and may tweak the search in a way you didn’t intend. That said, it’s a useful tool for looking up foreign words or very low-frequency words.
  9. PAY ATTENTION TO “GOOGLE INSTANT.” In most cases, Google’s instant search function, which is fairly new, will accurately predict what you’re searching for and offer suggestions. “Pay attention to it,” Russell says. “You don’t need to keep typing!” And sometimes it’ll help you come up with the right words for your search phrase. It’s all part of tapping into the wisdom of the crowd, he says. “It’s good when you’re stuck in a hard research problem. Like ‘Which kind of hybrid vehicle should I buy?’ might result in ‘hybrid minivans’ or other ideas you might not have known about.’”
  10. SWITCH ON SAFETY MODE. If you’ve got kids in the house, Russell suggests enabling safe search. In your Search Settings, scroll down to SafeSearch Filtering (or use Control F to find it quickly!) and choose what level filter you want to use. You can tailor it to every computer in the house. Google offers all kinds of safe search tips and functions on Google’s Family Safety Center. And what to tell kids if they accidentally stumble upon an inappropriate site? “I always tell my kids the Internet is a big, wide place, and if you find something inappropriate, hit the “back” button,” he says. A teacher he knows tells her class to just instantly close the laptop when they find something objectionable. “It’s an instant signal to the teacher in a K-8 class that something is not right, and it gives the teacher the opportunity to talk about how the student got there, and how to avoid that in the future.” The tactic might not work as well in the high school setting, though, Russell jokes.
  11. FUNCTIONS GALORE. You can use Google to do calculations (just type in “Square root of 99″ or “Convert 12 inches to mm”). You can search patents, images, videos, language translations. And even if you can’t remember a Google function, you can easily search it. “I use Google to Google Google,” Russell says. “You don’t have to remember URLs.”
  12. LEFT-HAND SIDE TOOLS. Most people don’t notice these exist, but when you search a topic, a list of useful, interesting tools come up. For example, when you type in War of 1812, on the left hand side, you’ll see “Images,” “Videos,” etc., but below that you’ll see things like “Timeline,” which maps out a time sequence of events around the War of 1812 and links to each of those events. There’s also a dictionary, related searches, and a slew of other helpful links.

I love these simple ways to be more search savvy. Since most of us use Google anyway to help us solve problems, then we need to know exactly how to use it.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps | Langwitches Blog

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Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps

August 21, 2011 Featured Carousel, iPad, Learning 4 Comments

LearningToday shares with everyone two beautiful posters, that help us remember Bloom’s Taxonomy: the Blooming Butterfly and the Blooming Orange.

How do we connect the Bloom’s Taxonomy with the iPad?

Following in Kathy Schrock’s and Kelly Tenkeley’s footsteps of assigning iPad apps to the different levels of the Bloom’s Taxonomy, I created the following table with apps that I have tested out and am recommending. (Click to see a larger version of the image)

In order to make the cut, the app had to fulfill the criteria (from Wikipedia and according to the Blooming Orange’s verbs) set out for each level. You will notice that several apps that are in the same app category (ex. screencasting: ShowMe, ScreenChomp and ExplainEverything) are represented on different levels of the Bloom’s. The explanation is that each one of the apps can be used for the different levels. It is not to say that the ShowMe app could not be used on the “Analyzing” level. Also, be aware that simply by using one of the above mentioned app DOES NOT mean that you are working on the specified thinking level. Ex. you could ask your students to use the ScreenChomp app to simply list and record themselves “remembering” facts that they previously had memorized.

I want to encourage/challenge you, to take a look at the iPad apps on YOUR iPad and to categorize these apps with the different thinking levels and THEN take the next step to SHARE your list with other educators. Leave a comment below to link to your list/graphic/table.

Remember: Exhibit memory of previously-learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.

  • describe
  • name
  • find
  • name
  • list
  • tell

Understand: Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by being able to:

  • explain
  • compare
  • discuss
  • predict
  • translate
  • outline
  • restate

Apply: Using new knowledge. Solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way

  • show
  • complete
  • use
  • examine
  • illustrate
  • classify
  • solve

Analyze: Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations

  • compare
  • examine
  • explain
  • identify
  • categorize
  • contrast
  • investigate

Evaluate: Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria

  • justify
  • assess
  • prioritize
  • recommend
  • rate
  • decide
  • choose


  • plan
  • invent
  • compose
  • design
  • construct
  • imagine

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Five Major Themes of a Digital Leader

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These five themes are taken from ISTE NETS•A. For those of you that are not familiar with ISTE, they are the International Society for Technology in Education, which is the home for the National Educational Technology Standards for Administration (NETS•A).

Visionary Leadership: Educational administrators inspire and lead development and implementation of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformation throughout the organization. Key ideas: all stakeholders; purposeful change; maximize digital resources; exceed learning goals; support effective instructional practices; develop and implement technology-infused strategic plans; advocate for this vision at the local, state, and national levels.

Digital Age Learning Culture: Educational Administrators create, promote, and sustain a dynamic, digital-age learning culture that provides a rigorous, relevant, and engaging education for all students. Key ideas: ensure instructional innovation; model and promote effective use of technology for learning; provide learner-centered environments to meet the individual needs of students; ensure effective practice in the study of technology and infusion across curriculum; promote and participate in learning communities that allow for global, digital-age collaboration.

Excellence in Professional Practice: Educational Administrators promote an environment of professional learning and innovation that empowers educators to enhance student learning through the infusion of contemporary technologies and digital resources. Key ideas: allocate time, resource and access to ensure ongoing professional growth in technology fluency and integration; facilitate and participate in learning communities to nurture administrators, teachers, and staff; promote and model effective communication and collaboration using digital tools; stay current on the latest educational research and emerging trends in educational technology to improve student learning.

Systemic Improvement: Educational Administrators provide digital-age leadership and management to continuously improve the organization through the effective use of information and technology resources. Key ideas: lead purposeful change to maximize achievement of learning goals through appropriate use of technology and media-rich resources; collaborate to collect, analyze, and share data to improve staff performance and student learning; recruit highly competent personnel who use technology creatively and proficiently; leverage strategic partnership to support systemic improvement; manage and maintain a robust infrastructure for technology.

Digital Citizenship: Educational Administrators model and facilitate understanding of social, ethical and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture. Key ideas: ensure equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources to meet the needs of all learners; model and establish policies for safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information/technology; promote and model responsible social media interactions; model and facilitate a shared cultural understanding and involvement in global issues through the use of communication and collaboration tools. (ISTE, NETS-A, 2009)

Online Presentation Tools

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  • SlideShare: A very popular tool for sharing Powerpoint presentations and more, online, or embed them in your blog or website.
  • ZohoShow: Kind of similar to Powerpoint, but free, and online.
  • GlogsterThis link will take you right to Glogster’s Basic (free) plan for Educators. 
  • Fotobabble: Create talking photos with Fotobabble! I haven’t tried this yet, but I here’san example of a Fotobabble talking photo by”Becky4477″  – looks like a simple tool for adding as voice-over to pictures (they have a free iPhone app too).
  • Prezi: With Prezi, you create graphical presentations that you can easily zoom in and out of, to “get the big picture”, or “drill into the details”.
  • Voki: The idea behind Voki is to use a talking avatar to make your presentation. Click here to read a post about Voki that includes a video demonstration of the creation of a Voki avatar.
  • Vuvox: I had a lot of fun creating this music video with the help of Vuvox last year, and selected it as the first app we covered in the workshop. You can add text, pics, and embedded “hot links”, over a bed of music, to make your scrolling presentation.
  • OneTrueMedia: We took this one for a try this week – definitely easier to use than Vuvox(but I was also a little dissapointed by some of the limitations in the free version).  

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