Where learning, technology and community meet.
A CULTURE OF
THE NEW TENETS OF CONNECTING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
THE ROLE OF ROBOTICS IN CONNECTING CURRICULUM TO DEEP, MEANINGFUL LEARNING
REPORT SPURS A DEEPER DIALOGUE ABOUT THE VALUE OF ED TECH entrsekt
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The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) presents
Inaugural Ball Celebrating Education in the Digital Age
Friday, January 20, 2017 Folger Shakespeare Library 201 East Capital Street, S.E. | Washington, D.C.
Award Recipients Community Builder Award Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor, Former Supreme Court Justice, United States Supreme Court and Chairperson, iCivics Hon. Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission Dr. Dallas Dance, Superintendent, Baltimore County Schools – Maryland Dr. Vince Bertram, President & Chief Executive Officer, Project Lead The Way Founders Award David Byer, Senior Group Manager, Worldwide Education Advocacy, Apple Inc.
Valedictorian Sponsors International Society for Technology in Education • National Education Association
Salutatorian Sponsors Discovery Education • Lifetouch Photography
Scholar Sponsors AASA, The School Superintendents Association • Bernstein Strategy Group • Intel • KnowledgeWorks McGraw-Hill Education • National Association of Secondary School Principals •
Honor Roll Sponsors
Guide K12 • K12 Insights • National Association of Federally Impacted Schools • National School Boards Association • Project Tomorrow For more information on Sponsorship opportunities and Ball Benefits, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2017 Inaugural Ball – Celebrating Education in the Digital Age, is presented by NCTET, the primary coalition of leading entrsekt education and industry organizations promoting the role of technology in teaching and learning. Learn more at www.nctet.org
Amplify your 1:1 initiative. Get access to free professional learning for your team with the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy. The next cohort starts Oct. 3. Register today!
Learn how to: • Gauge readiness. • Design creative learning experiences. • Teach safe online practices. • Get the skinny on devices. • Employ effective management strategies.
What you get: Credit: 2.5 JHU CEUs
Collaborate with other teams and alumni in a private G+ community
Access to instructors guiding the process
Recognition: Digital badge to showcase your new skills
Get started: Visit iste.org/vmla
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October 2016 Volume three Issue two A quarterly magazine
Where learning, technology and community meet.
Tiffany Shlain Filmmaker is at the intersection of technology, art and character.
Robotics revolution The role of robotics in connecting curriculum to deep, meaningful learning.
Digging deeper Report spurs a deeper dialogue about the value of ed tech.
24 cover A culture of civility The new tenets of connecting in the digital age.
6 about us
Our next transformation
Why the tools donâ€™t matter
15 worldwise The shared journey toward
39 dispatch 40 salute
Julianne B. Ross-Kleinmann Classroom, community both play into authentic tech integration.
Strategic planning, professional learning are keys to ed tech readiness
letters Letters to the editor in response to content in entrsekt are welcomed. Email your letters to email@example.com.
Dear Editor kudos for highlighting scrumming Your July 2016 edition was a fabulous read. In particular, I valued the thoughts on risk taking that closed the edition. Moreover, I enjoyed reading about the risks educators are taking by relinquishing “control” in the classroom and allowing students to work collaboratively using scrum. Observing the process at work in our own district has been an enlightening opportunity to celebrate constructivist learning where students have the freedom to take risks in a supportive, collaborative environment. The benefit of efficiency has been an unexpected boon for implementing project-based learning. Kudos to the folks at iste for highlighting this emerging educational methodology and its benefit for students. John Hendron, Ed.D. Director of Innovation & Strategy Goochland County Public Schools Goochland, Virginia
scrum as an empowerment catalyst As a strong advocate for authentic learning experiences in the classroom, I was immediately drawn to the July 2016 entrsekt article, “The hum of
scrum.” In order to facilitate learner success in a project-based approach, it’s necessary to help students become more organized individuals. During my tenure in the classroom, I discovered a great website to do just that: scrumy.com. This free tool gave my learners a visual reminder of the work they had already completed, the work they still needed to finalize and the accomplished work that required a check by another group member. It also provided me with a simple check on what I needed to do to better support them. The use of scrumy.com promotes the self-advocacy and self-organization skills, discussed in the article, that we desire our learners to master. At the same time, it helps them to make sense of the content that is deeply embedded in an authentic learning experience. It fosters their creativity, which is the true hallmark of authentic, relevant and appropriately complex challenges, and empowers our children to take ownership in their learning. This empowerment is what I believe is the hum of scrum. Dayna Laur Project ARC Consultant Author of “Authentic Learning Experiences: A Real-World Approach to PBL” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
appreciates powerful message on failure Perhaps the most personal and powerful message from the July issue of entrsekt was Nicholas Provenzano’s message about growing from failure. Too often, students hear that it’s OK to take a risk and fail, but they don’t see their teachers taking similar risks with teaching strategies or student choice. Provenzano shares examples of failure from his own personal and professional choices, and emphasizes how he tries again and again, always looking for the information, materials and help he needs to be successful in the end. In fact, when I tweeted out a picture of the article congratulating Provenzano on the profile, he responded right away and eagerly pointed out that one of his students took the photos included in the piece. The message from this: When we share our failures with our students we get to share success with them, too. There is no better way to build a community of trust in a classroom or school than with this approach. My colleague, Julie Cremin, and I are in the midst of planning JumpStart, our annual on campus mini-conference to kick off the school year for our teachers. Two of the major themes we are emphasizing are risk-taking and student choice. We want teachers to know it’s OK to try an approach that
might not work right away and to involve students in decision-making. In fact, we’re taking a few risks in the way we’ve designed the schedule and with the activities we’ve planned. The good news is that if we fumble and fail, we will be transparent about what we are learning with our colleagues so that we’re all continuing to move forward together. Kerry Gallagher Digital Learning Specialist St. John’s Prep Danvers, Massachusetts Director of K-12 Education ConnectSafely Palo Alto, California
Where learning, technology and community meet.
executive editor Julie Phillips Randles chief marketing officer Tracee Aliotti contributor Tim Douglas contributor Gail Marshall contributor Jennifer Snelling contributor Julie Sturgeon art director Sharon Adlis ad production manager Tracy Brown advertising sales manager Cici Trino firstname.lastname@example.org 916.990.9999 iste board chair Kecia Ray, Ed.D. Executive Director Center for Digital Education iste chair-elect Mila Thomas Fuller, Ed.D. Education consultant Urbana, Illinois
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world. ISTE’s innovative offerings include the ISTE Conference & Expo — the world’s most comprehensive ed tech event — as well as the widely adopted ISTE Standards for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age and a robust suite of professional learning resources, including webinars, online courses, consulting services for schools and districts, books and peer-reviewed journals and publications. For additional information, please visit iste.org and isteconference.org. Our vision. The vision of ISTE is a world where all learners thrive, achieve and contribute. Our mission. As the creator and steward of the definitive education technology standards, ISTE’s mission is to empower learners to flourish in a connected world by cultivating a passionate professional learning community, linking educators and partners, leveraging knowledge and expertise, advocating for strategic policies and continually improving learning and teaching. Letters to the editor. Letters to the editor in response to content in entrsekt are welcomed. All letters will be edited for length and AP Style. Please send your 200-word letter to email@example.com. Copyright 2016 ISTE. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Published October 2016.
Editorial guidelines. entrsekt’s articles are written in accordance with the magazine’s editorial guidelines, which may be found at iste.org/submissions. Story ideas may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles published in entrsekt are edited for style, content and space prior to publication. Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent ISTE policies or positions. Endorsement by ISTE of products or services advertised in entrsekt is not implied or expressed. Subscriptions. ISTE members receive entrsekt each quarter as a membership benefit. Nonmembers can subscribe to entrsekt for $49 per year. To subscribe, please visit iste.org/entrsekt or contact our customer service department by emailing email@example.com or calling 800.336.5191. About entrsekt. entrsekt ISSN 2334-2587 (print), entrsekt ISSN 2334-2595 (online) is published quarterly by the International Society for Technology in Education, 1530 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, Oregon, and at additional mailing office. Send address changes to the ISTE membership department at 621 SW Morrison Street, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97205, USA.
Our next transformation
photo by steve smith
Jim Flanagan ISTE Chief Learning Services Officer
At iste 2016, we launched a refreshed version of the iste Standards for Students – the definitive framework for successfully and thoughtfully integrating ed tech to transform learning and teaching. To date, thousands have downloaded the standards and several school systems have begun the process of adopting them. iste took a fresh approach to updating the student standards, one that engaged a wider range and larger numbers of contributors over the course of a year. One that sought grass-roots, expert and global input. And one that included student voice – 295 voices, to be exact. The work that went into refreshing these standards was significant and was made possible by the amazing insights of iste members, board members, the broad iste global community, staff and all those who blazed the trail before us. The passion and expertise that went into updating the student standards factor greatly in our new work to overhaul the iste Standards for Teachers. This effort was launched at iste 2016 and will culminate with the introduction of the new teacher standards at iste 2017. As we embark on our second standards refresh in two years, three things stand out as guiding forces:
Empowerment. Empowered learning and students taking greater responsibility for their learning were popular concepts across the board during the student standards refresh. We’re hearing that the natural corollaries for the teacher standards are empowered teaching and empowered leading. We don’t know yet exactly what the new standards will look like, but it’s likely that they will revolve around giving teachers greater control of the resources they can access and how they teach. Digital technologies open up a world of educational resources to teachers, but that world is and will increasingly be overwhelming in sheer volume. No one can be expected to maintain an awareness and mastery of the myriad resources for every learning need. Technology must fuel collaboration and connect all educators to the best professional learning and just-intime advice. Role shift. We’re also hearing lots of discussion about the changing role of teachers. There are a few angles to this potential aspect of the updated teacher standards. First there’s the idea of teachers as facilitators versus keepers of knowledge. Then there’s a sense that teachers need to model behaviors of adult learners, helping students see
that learning is indeed lifelong. And there’s thinking around how teachers might give up some control and take on greater tolerance for risk. Also, how can teachers access learning science and useful data to better inform decision-making? All big ideas. All worth exploring. Personalization. Personalizing learning was a constant thread in the student standards refresh. Personalized professional learning is emerging as the corollary for teachers – moving away from one-size-fits-all professional learning to a range of options that match teachers’ needs, time and interests. With the teacher standards refresh just underway, we can’t say yet where it’s headed or what the final standards will look like. But we can say that we’re off to an amazing start thanks to the thought leadership, knowledge and passion of the hundreds of participants across the globe who have already signed on to assist. I want to encourage even greater numbers from the iste community to participate. Look for ways to weigh in on the teacher standards via iste communications channels. Join standards refresh-related events. Participate in the coming surveys and draft standards reviews. The profession is counting on it. entrsekt
Why the tools don’t matter
photo by a moment in time photography
By Ben Smith
This is 2016, right? I thought we had moved past the age of the tool. Cavemen used tools. Some animals, including crows, make tools. Kids can definitely use tools. But one of the problems I see in stem education is that we’re still fixated on the tools. During iste 2016, I spent some time walking the exhibit floor and was mesmerized by the great tools that are available for stem classrooms. There were 3d printers, robots for coding and all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. All great stuff, as long as educators first understand the culture of the room and space it’s being put in. If we build it, they will come. Create a space that has toys, I mean tools, and students will be drawn to it. I believe that students want to play, tinker and create. When I was a kid, we went out in the neighborhood and played. It wasn’t really organized – at least not by adults. We played baseball and set up our own ground rules. Same for hide and seek or whatever was the game for the day. We were creative in
setting our rules. If there was a problem, we solved it ourselves. But when it came time to go to school, there was very little of that type of choice in the classroom. How times have changed. I have students in my science classroom from first bell to last bell. Students come in during their study hall time, their lunch time and sometimes during other class time. I started asking myself why that was. Sure, there are computers, comfy rolling chairs and tables that move. Students didn’t have to work on curriculum. They could spend their time however they wanted. I had students from my second-year course sitting in the back of a first-year class. They would sometimes participate in discussions, answer questions for others or smirk as students struggled with material they themselves had the same issues with a year ago. The more I thought about why the students were there, the more I understood I had developed a culture that appealed to students. They have freedom, access to tools and the flexibility to work in their own way. They can get
help from me or other students, work on their assignments or relax. How can we establish this culture? I am often vague with my instructions. The more detail I give students, the more they try to exactly match that criteria. Instead, I want to see what they can do. I allow students to help build the rules and rubrics that govern the class and assignments. Students can ask questions, but they also provide many of the answers. We set up back channels so these conversations can take place throughout any learning process. It did mean giving up some control. Students are expected to make their own media content called User Created Content (ucc) instead of just searching for images. And they can resubmit their work if they choose to make edits. These elements all add up to a place where students want to be. But let’s return to that place. During our last renovation, I argued with the architects who wanted to make my room into the “ideal” science lab.
What I desired was flexibility. Finally, they relented saying, all you get is tables and chairs. Perfect! The tables move easily. We take them in the hallway, push them together for group work or clear the room for large demonstrations. The chairs spin, roll and move up and down. Teachers will come by and say, “Doesn’t that drive you crazy?” Nope! It means that students will be comfortable. They love the movement. I really think I could put any tools in the room and students would be engaged in innovative and creative tasks. But the room and culture must come first. Even when we have that, we still aren’t ready to bring in the tools. We need to ask ourselves what we want
students to do. Only then are we ready to select the right tool for our space. Too often, I hear about tools first and pedagogy last – or never. I wish I had a 3d printer, new robots for coding and some great gadgets. But only because I have everything in place to make sure my students take advantage of them. Ben Smith is a physics and technology resource teacher at Red Lion Senior High School in Pennsylvania. Smith also serves as a consultant to iste and works on ed tech and stem through his EdTechInnovators partnership. He is a former iste Board Member.
WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES WHAT WE WANT STUDENTS TO DO. ONLY THEN ARE WE READY TO SELECT THE RIGHT TOOL FOR OUR SPACE.
YOUR TEAM IS A CATALYST FOR LEARNING. LET ISTE BE YOUR SPARK. Teams that learn together, level up together. That’s why ISTE offers group learning opportunities that bring the year-round benefits of ISTE membership to your entire team. ISTE Group Membership allows you to sign up 10 or more educators at a time, giving each one access to thousands of ed tech resources and limitless global networking opportunities. Learn more at iste.org/team
Tiffany Shlain Filmmaker is at the intersection of technology, art and character By Julie Phillips Randles
T i f fa n y S h l a i n i s a n E m m y - n o m i n at e d f i l m m a k e r who Newsweek magazine spotlighted as one of the women shaping the 21st century. But the real story behind Shlain’s success is how she’s using film and technology to do just that. Shlain is the founder of the Webby Awards and a co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. She runs a film studio/lab called The Moxie Institute and the nonprofit Let It Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change that makes free films for schools and creates global events to catalyze conversations around important topics. She has directed and co-written 28 films, some with accompanying books, including “The Science of Character,” “Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks,” and the featurelength documentary “Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death & Technology.” Raised by a surgeon and a psychologist, even as a child Shlain sought to influence the future, as exemplified by a quote she kept on her desk: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic
in it. Begin it now.” Shlain is a woman who believes in the empowering force of the internet for her gender and champions the idea that technology will “give them the tools to do whatever they want to do, whatever they dream of doing,” as she told The Untitled Magazine. But here’s where the left turn in her story comes: Shlain has begun to unplug. For the past seven years, she and her husband, Ken Goldberg, a robotics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and her two children have taken “technology shabbats” for a 24-hour period each Friday. She shuts down all technology for this window in an attempt to spark her creativity and produce strong family bonds. Instead, the family and friends sit down to a big feast, where they gather around the table after and ask everyone four questions: What are you grateful for? What was one thing that happened in the last week you want to let go of? What was one thing you learned in the past week? What is one thing happening next week that you are looking forward to? It’s her way of paying tribute to her own roots, when her mother called young Tiffany “Miss Enthusi-usi-usi-asm.”
Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain says the skills we all need to succeed in the 21st century are creativity, crossdisciplinary thinking, empathy and taking initiative.
“Today, I would say I am still very enthusiastic but with a handful of perspective and self-control and a lot of gratitude,” Shlain recently told a reporter. Her mindset spawned the annual Character Day (held September 22) in more than 20,000 organizations, including classrooms – a free annual day and global initiative where folks screen films on the science of character development, aka resilience, grit, empathy, courage and kindness. Here’s how Shlain sees the intersection of technology, film and character building:
In seventh grade, I learned how to outline information in social studies class. I will never forget it because I’ve used it so much – the whole idea of how to organize information using a hierarchy of ideas. You’ve noted that women have pioneered many of today’s technologies. Who are some of your heroines from applied science and technology?
There are several that come to mind. Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Marie Curie, the first female Nobel Prize winner. Maya Deren, the mother of independent cinema. And Hedy Lamarr who came up with the technology for all of the wireless devices we use today. How do you want your films for schools to impact learning and teaching?
I’ve made 28 films and there have been about eight that are focused for educational environments. I hope to get students and teachers to ask the big questions about meaning and purpose, including who are you and who do you want to be in the world? And I think film, supported by online and other accompanying materials, is a great way to do that. entrsekt
Your Character Day movement highlights humans’ core positive qualities, including virtues like wisdom, courage, justice and humanity, as well as strengths like humility, gratitude, honesty, social intelligence, self-control and humor. Tell us about the movement and how a project like this can impact the sometimes divisive and combative social media discourse that is common today.
Character Day is a way of using film to launch a global conversation about the importance of developing character strengths. It also taps into digital citizenship and the idea that we’re all moving so quickly and not thinking as much about how our sense of character applies to the online world. Character Day is one day to stop and think about how your character is translated online and how to live a life of meaning and purpose. To think about who we are and who we want to be. These are old questions, and yet we have so many tools today that influence our character, some that are not always used well. We have research from neuroscience that now backs up how to develop these aspects of yourself, and we think it’s a positive step forward. Bettering yourself so you can contribute best to society.
Shlain says all humans want to be part of something larger than themselves. "It's a beautiful thing."
photos by hope harris
What is the best lesson you’ve ever received in a classroom setting?
Just last month during Character Day 2016, we had over 20,000 screenings in schools and organizations all over the world. They screened one of our films on character development, used our discussion materials and then engaged in a global conversation using Google Hangouts. It was an experiment that started three years ago and really blossomed, and it’s all based on getting people the world over to join a conversation about character strengths like resilience, grit, empathy, courage and kindness. What’s interesting is that Character Day is so in line with the 2016 iste Standards for Students. When we go through the 24 character strengths and identify what are your strengths and what you want to work on, it’s a very custom view of the world. We ask, what are the five you are really strong in and what are the five you want to work on? It’s a very catered experience. You created an Emmy-nominated series that explores how science and technology influence creativity. What did you learn about technology’s influence on creativity in the course of this project?
Well, first, there are so many collaborative tools today that weren’t available before. I studied film when it was still celluloid and a camera and it was so expensive. Now, I write with four people using Google Docs and make films in a new way in the cloud. Recently, my kids spent an hour or so making a music video on a tablet and it was great. So there’s the benefit of technology as far as expression; it offers so many more venues for self expression and tools to create unique artifacts. I made a film called “The Participatory Revolution” about that sense that everyone wants to feel a part of something, everyone wants to make something. I think an invention that doesn’t get talked about enough is that button on a smartphone that turns the camera around so you can film yourself. That little button is so powerful. I often do a call for entries in my films where I ask people questions online and they send their videos back to me. Everyone wants to be part of something larger than themselves. Humans love to participate. It’s a beautiful thing. For the past seven years, you and your family have taken technology shabbats where you unplug each week for 24 hours. What are some of the insights or lessons you’ve learned from your tech shabbats? How do your children respond?
It’s changed my life, and these breaks keep getting better and better. The screens in our house go down on Friday before
shabbat and it’s my happy place. It’s brought an amazing sense of peace to my life. Then, Saturday night, everyone is ready to go back online. We re-appreciate technology all over again. As far as lessons, I’ve learned that it’s really good to daydream. When I was doing research for a film called “The Case for Dreaming,” I found that creativity comes from the unusual linking of things done when your mind is not focused on something. It’s called the default mode network. I tend to daydream on my shabbat (since I don’t have a screen to distract that important activity) and I’m always more creative the next day. It has also really become a family day when we get involved in nature. I have a teenager who is a big reader and she loves to read and write on Saturdays. She recently wrote a spoken-word piece about how powerful these weekly technology shabbats are. Like any teenager, she loves Instagram and Twitter, but she also likes the day off when she doesn’t have to be “on” and think about everyone else. Your films and other work often wrestle with the good, the bad and the potential of technology. Can you share a couple of examples from each category? What’s good about technology? What’s bad? And what is its potential?
“I think an invention that doesn’t get talked about enough is that button on a smartphone that turns the camera around so you can film yourself.”
The good is that it can connect you with ideas you would never otherwise be exposed to and to people from all over the world with whom to collaborate. The bad is that people are looking at their screens too much and are not spending enough time making eye contact. We can’t forget that humans need eye contact and they need authentic connection to others. As far as potential, when I started the Webby Awards, there were only 16 million people online. Now we’re at half the planet online – which is an amazing growth cycle in 20 years. I think it’s really only going to be five to 10 more years until everyone is online. Just imagine the potential when all of those different perspectives are interacting. There’s a writer named Matt Ridley who points out that throughout history, innovation happened most in big cities because you had the greatest number of people from different places living in close quarters trying to solve problems. I think when you have the whole planet online and all of those different perspectives from every continent tackling some of our biggest problems, we’re going to see innovation we can’t even imagine. I made a film and a ted Book about early brain development in children called “Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks.” Neuroscientists explained that the whole goal of the first five years is to connect all the parts of the brain, entrsekt
“With all the fear about robots and machines taking over humanity, the skills we truly need to flourish in the 21st century are all the skills that make us human.” and that a child will have their first insight at age 5 and that’s the moment when all of the different parts of the brain are connected. I like to compare early childhood brain development to the growth of the internet because we’re in a similar period, an early stage of getting everyone connected. So the moment when people are connected from every part of the planet will be very powerful. At that point, what we’re going to see is a scale of innovation we can’t even imagine. You’ve written that a child’s brain and the internet are both highly creative, experimental, innovative states of rapid development that are waiting to make connections. How can we help shape both of these “networks” to create a better future?
Be mindful of the connections you are making. Every email you write, website you visit and post you comment on, you’re making a new link. You are either strengthening in a positive way or in a negative way. entrsekt
In your film “The Adaptable Mind,” you explored the skills we’ll all need to succeed in the 21st century. What are those skills?
The skills are creativity, cross-disciplinary thinking, empathy and taking initiative. The film team looked at a lot of research to find the commonalities and to identify the crossover skills we felt would be most needed in the 21st century, and these are the skills that we determined were most important. The best part about what we uncovered is that with all the fear about robots and machines taking over humanity, the skills we truly need to flourish in the 21st century are all the skills that make us human.
Shlain and her daughter, Blooma.
The shared journey toward education transformation Anthony Salcito
anthony salcito is vice president of worldwide education for microsoft. under salcito’s leadership, the company has l aunched sever al education initiatives, including the global microsoft educator communit y, microsoft innovative educator experts and microsoft showcase schools. microsoft and iste recently announced a program to combine and expand a host of their world-cl ass initiatives to ensure educators and school leaders worldwide have access to school pl anning and professional development resources.
Learning has changed. We must adapt and change with it. New digital bridges have torn down walls across our planet to connect us all. With ubiquitous access to information, availability of rich content, perpetual creation and sharing, the ability to change awareness, tolerance and career readiness is more possible – and perhaps more needed – than ever before. While the shift in how we connect, create and learn has changed the potential for our schools and education systems, there is still a fairly wide gap between what’s possible and what’s actually taking place in many schools. This is our next digital divide to cross, and our journey to close the gap will be far more complex, requiring bold leadership and a purpose-driven focus to help students succeed in an increasingly dynamic world. During my travels, I have the great opportunity to visit classrooms where I see amazing innovation. Educators are bringing new approaches into their classrooms, they’re challenging the status quo and changing the learning environment for their students. The issue – and it’s a big one – is that these magical moments, ideas and best practices often stay inside the walls of classrooms. While isolated, these points of light shining from schools around the world give us hope for what’s possible and give us a blueprint for the change that’s needed broadly. Every school, every country is different, but the journey we’re all on is often shared. I’ve learned from the efforts of leaders – from their hopes, amazing successes and failures to break through. Many of these lessons have stayed with me over the years and serve as great reminders to all leaders who are working to embrace a journey to transform. Here are just a few: •
Start with leaders. The change we need to make is on people and culture. Leaders set the tone, change the expectations and ensure innovation is the norm. Every step starts with purposeful focus on student achievement.
• • • • •
Leverage process to drive plan. We need to create common language to help spread innovative practices into every classroom. Creating a method to drive thinking that’s shared across a school helps ready great ideas for easier importing and exporting. Build from the “inside out.” Real change starts with a focus on enabling students to achieve more. Technology is best used as an answer to purpose-driven questions, not as the focus of the change. Parents play a key role. Many of the most successful projects I’ve seen acknowledge the tremendous value parents provide in both driving student success and keeping kids safe online. Use data to measure. The best projects thoughtfully integrate data to improve efficiency, keep students safe and drive insights to drive impact. Data needs to help students and educators get to a better future, not just report on the past. Celebrate Teachers. Always.
We all need to empower school leaders to create a culture of transformation inside their schools and to shift our mindsets so new approaches to education are the norm. We need to make failure an option (and a tool to learn from) and sharing the journey of transforming learning with others a requirement. Change starts with purpose. We often focus on how schools look and how the pedagogy is structured, but this needs to be balanced, and I would dare say re-balanced, with how schools feel and the purposefulness of every aspect to inspire a student to achieve more. The world needs our schools to be beacons of hope and our students to lead our communities to peace and prosperity. Greatness awaits every classroom.
THE BIGGEST THOUGHTS often
come from the littlest people. A Canadian second grader had just spent an hour or so coding with his classmates when the child was asked a simple question: “What have you learned?”
ROBOTICS REVOLUTION The role of robotics in connecting curriculum to deep, meaningful learning By Gail Marshall
“Today taught me that anything is possible,” the child said. “I kept wanting to give up when I couldn’t make the computer do what I wanted, but I kept on trying and having a growth mindset. When I couldn’t get it, I asked a friend, and we realized that two brains are better than one.” That little gem is the kind of comment exciting Kerry Zinkiewich, an innovations consultant at Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. She’s found that if you want to get a close-up view of the progress in teaching robotics and coding around the world, start with these “littles.” From a primary schooler’s sense of wonder to high school students building a prosthetic hand for the disabled in Clovis, California, robotics and coding education over the past five years is igniting worldwide interest as teachers gain expertise and new products make it possible for teens entrsekt
“Teachers are starting to see how different robotics kits like Lego Mindstorm, Lego WeDo and Vex can not only grab student attention but also help them learn concepts required from the curriculum in deep, meaningful ways.”
and college students to improve the world right in their classrooms. Plus, it’s super fun! ENGAGEMENT AND BRAIN BUSINESS
Kindergarten students in Zinkiewich’s district are enchanted with a little critter called Bee-Bot in their classroom. As the children learn to program this floor robot to do things that make them giggle, they also are doing serious brain business, like learning direction, location and procedural writing. And the educators are having just as much fun. One particularly delightful day for Zinkiewich involved a field trip to a local high school, where innovative primary school teachers teamed up with high school counterparts. Eleventh grade students were trained to teach the kindergartners how to program Lego Mindstorm robots.
“To say the day was a success is an understatement,” Zinkiewich says. “All the kids, young and old, had a blast.” It is a very good day when school is fun, but job one for all teachers and learners is to connect that fun with the fundamentals of the curriculum. Where, exactly, do coding and robotics fit into what schools are charged with teaching? Here is a start: Robotics students and teachers are making connections in math to spatial sense, patterning and problem-solving, reasoning and proving process. In social studies, there are connections to mapping, and in language to reading a new language and procedural writing. “Teachers are starting to see how different robotics kits like Lego Mindstorm, Lego WeDo and Vex can not only grab student attention but also help them learn concepts required from the curriculum in deep, meaningful ways,” Zinkiewich says. One seventh grade classroom used the Vex iq kits to reinforce the Cartesian Plane by having students program the robots to move to various locations along the X and Y axis. In primary classrooms, students use the Lego WeDo kits to explore various ways machines move, and to link the characters they build and program to story writing. Zinkiewich also is excited by the creative way teachers are approaching the curriculum. It is no longer a series of skills to check off. “If we truly want our students to learn deeply, we need to consider the curriculum differently and bring students’ interests and questions into the planning process. Robotics and coding supports that happening.”
This year, Zinkiewich has made it a point to talk to many different people in the world outside of education who use coding and robotics in their real lives. One coder wishes that people applying to work with him knew how to think and problem solve. He finds that many people can write code but have no idea what to do when there is a problem. “This is what coding and robotics teaches our students,” she says. In the future, “we have no idea about the types of jobs that our students will be performing. However, we do know that there are some skills that will be needed.” Canadian educational researcher and consultant Michael Fullan calls these the six Cs: character education, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and creativity. Coding and robotics develop all of these, educators say. “Of course, they won’t all be addressed without careful planning of tasks by teachers,” Zinkiewich notes. FROM STRUGGLER TO SCIENTIST
Technology teacher and iste member Trevor Takayama of Amherst, Massachusetts, watched a sixth grade student he calls “J” go from a struggler to a scientist in just a few weeks. J had an aide every day because learning in the classroom was such a
hardship for him. There was one exception – he loved technology class. If only, the young boy wished out loud, this exciting time could be more than just 40 minutes once a week. One day, during an elective makerspace time with Takayama, he built a fully functioning robot from only a few parts with a Lego ev3 kit in one class. He asked Takayama to please save it for him until next time. The following week, his teacher gave J his own iPad mini and demonstrated how to use the Lego Commander app to connect to and control his robot – which the child named “Bob.” When the next two classes
met, J was no longer the struggler but the center of positive attention from his classmates on his “awesome creation” as he drove the robot down the hallway. J is one of Takayama’s favorite success stories. “When students free build or free play with robots, you can really see them being scientists,” Takayama says. “They love to test things out, push the boundaries of the programming and try out the cool new toys. It’s fascinating to see what they can come up with;
each student does something different, and teachers usually learn a thing or two from them.” Takayama has been working as a technology teacher for five years in California and Massachusetts. He loves working as a specialist because he gets to teach students how to code, control robots, create presentations and become Google masters. He’s observed many secondary learning skills his students at Fort River Elementary School have acquired using robotics. For instance, they learn to read directions, follow directions and troubleshoot when the diagrams don’t make sense.
“When students free build or free play with robots, you can really see them being scientists.”
“It’s amazing how caring, helpful and kind they can be when when they work together.”
Robotics kits mean “they often build in groups,” he says, “which helps build their communication and teamwork skills. It is amazing how caring, helpful and kind they can be when they work together. Adults can learn a lot from them!” Oh, and for J, this was not temporary success. “At the end of the year, he told me that technology class was his favorite part of school, and he wished that he could spend the whole time in school building robots.”
GET REAL WITH STUDENTS
Mark Gura, iste member and author of Getting Started with Lego Robotics and Make, Learn, Succeed published by iste, was an early adopter. Robotics, Gura says, is a perfect example of showing students how they will live and work in the world they will encounter as graduates. “The whole point of student robots and programming them is for kids to see that there are ways for humans to talk to machines and to instruct those machines to do the things we want,”
Gura says. “Further, to see robots as machines that we create to solve our problems.” It is very much about applied student creativity, and therefore, he believes, it is one of the most relevant things educators can offer. Gura got started in robotics as a way to play and discover with kids after school. And he highly recommends that strategy as a starting point. As a curriculum coordinator for a group of middle schools in New York
City, he purchased some Lego Mindstorm kits, and then sat with a few teachers and students for a couple of after-school sessions just playing and experimenting, sharing their discoveries and fun. “Later on,” he says, “we sought more formal, precise understandings, but this was a great way to start. Playing alongside the kids to figure things out was one of the best examples of how technology redefines learning roles and processes I’ve ever witnessed.” But the rapidly exploding marketplace for robotics teaching tools can be a bit intimidating. His advice for beginners? In essence, there are three varieties of robotics materials for students: > Robots that are already whole and functional. The challenge is for students to program them to do things. This involves programming and writing code.
Lego Mindstorm (including nxt, ev3, etc.) and WeDo robotics kits. These call on kids to design and build a robot for a specific function and then program and test its performance. He sees value in both options, although he is particularly taken with what he calls “the ‘end-toend’ variety that have been so wonderfully explored and made available to kids by Lego.” Robots built using generic parts like the low-cost Arduino and Raspberry Pi processors.
“I find Bird Brain Technologies’ Hummingbird Robotics Kit intriguing because it encourages kids to see the expressive side of robots as they work on the technical and functional
aspects of making what I see as kinetic sculpture perform in unique and artistic ways. “In my mind, this offers kids so much, both the creative possibilities of visual art and of robotics, in the same project. Wonderful!” Gura sums up. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BASE: COMPUTER SCIENCE
Hadi Partovi, founder of code.org, completely understands the fascination with robotics. He’s a big fan, too. Perhaps you saw him hanging out with R2-D2 at iste 2016 in Denver? However, Partovi has a big message of his own. Behind every great robot is one critical thing: computer science, perhaps the most neglected academic necessity in our schools today. Check out code.org and you’ll see a vigorous campaign to make computer science classes available to every
Behind every great robot is one critical thing: computer science, perhaps the most neglected academic necessity in our schools today.
“In this day and age, computer science is no longer just vocational for getting a job,” Partovi says in his popular TED Talk. “In this day and age, computer science is completely foundational for any job you may want to have in the next 20 to 30 years.” child in every school in America. Site visitors get an opportunity to make that happen in every community, and there is a petition to sign, pledging support for the effort. Hundreds of thousands of people are on board. His statistics are pretty startling if you are listening to the presidential political discussions, as we all are, that focus on the need to multiply the job opportunities in our country: > Computer science drives innovation throughout the u.s. economy, but it remains
marginalized throughout k-12 education. Only 32 states allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation. > There are currently more than 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide. Last year, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce. Those jobs are just sitting there, waiting for our students to be trained and to snap them up. Did we mention that these jobs can pay 40 percent more than the salary of the average college grad?
Partovi, his colleagues and partners are pushing for computer science to be part of all core classes in high schools, right along with algebra and biology. A huge part of his mission is also to encourage more girls and students of color to jump aboard this great opportunity. This fall, 500 u.s. high schools are launching ap computer science classes in a partnership with code.org, the College Board, National Science Foundation and teals, which stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, among other partners.
“In this day and age, computer science is no longer just vocational for getting a job,” Partovi says in his popular ted Talk. “In this day and age, computer science is completely foundational for any job you may want to have in the next 20 to 30 years.” It should not be this hard. Research shows computer science is in the top three most popular academic interests of high school students, just under subjects like art and design. Code.org’s research shows 90 percent of parents in the u.s. want their children trained in computer science, yet many schools are still striving to meet the need and demand.
gail marshall is a writer and editor for the fresno bee, a major metropolitan newspaper in california. she also owns and operates a freelance business, marshall arts communications consultants.
RNE GE LEA A L A T I DIG STUDENTS I AM A ISTE STANDARDS FOR
EMPOWERING LEARNERS WORLDWIDE Introducing the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students
The ISTE Standards for Students are about learners who live, work and play in a technology-infused world. Start supporting a learner-driven approach to education today.
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A culture of civility The new tenets of connecting in the digital age By Jennifer Snelling
long before the internet and social media , political discussions mostly occurred face to face. People sat around the dinner table, stood at the water cooler or gathered at the lunch counter and discussed, debated, yes, argued with each other in person. While that still happens, much of the discourse today takes place online, often under the cloak of anonymity. Thatâ€™s perhaps one key reason why a 2014 Pew Research study found that the United States is more polarized than ever in our ideological camps. Have you had the urge to â€œunfriendâ€? any of your Facebook friends who are posting political views different from your own? When was the last time you were at a dinner table discussing the Brexit or refugee policies and were able to have a civil debate about the issues?
A culture of civility
Civility and citizenship come from understanding alternate viewpoints and being able to have conversations and respectful debates.
Along with this polarization, or perhaps because of it, it’s become commonplace for politicians and candidates to incite hate for those different from themselves and speak in sound bites and hashtags rather than in reasoned, thoughtful arguments. Our political conversations are losing the nuance, subtlety or complexity of the issues. Our students, too, feel this climate of intolerance. According to a study by the Hindu American Foundation titled “Classroom Subjected: Bullying & Bias Against Hindu Students in American Schools,” one in three Hindu-American students has felt bullied in school for their religious beliefs. We’ve heard the heartbreaking stories of Ryan Halligan and Megan Meier, teenagers who committed suicide after being bullied online, but statistics, too, indicate that cyberbullying and other types of harassment are happening way too often. According to the CyberBully Hotline, 42 percent entrsekt
of teenagers with tech access report being bullied last year. How do we reach beyond our divisive and hate-filled climate to find our better selves and return to a culture of civility that promotes critical thinking and engaged citizenship? CIVILITY AND CITIZENSHIP
Since we are increasingly communicating with each other via devices, digital citizenship must be part of the answer. Technology, along with its access and anonymity, sets up conditions that often encourage us to do and say things we wouldn’t in person. We are no longer forced to talk face to face with those we disagree with. More often, our debates are on social media or in chat rooms. Civility and citizenship come from understanding alternate view-
points and being able to have conversations and respectful debates. To understand why civility went missing, we need to understand how our society has become so polarized. In 2011, Eli Pariser’s book, The Filter Bubble, pointed out that Google and other customizable search engines use our past search terms to guide our future search results. Google uses algorithms to play along with our existing ideological views. We may think we’re getting unbiased information, but we’re really finding information that confirms our existing world views. iste member Alec Couros, professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, points out that when we search Google while based in North America, our results are very different than what we find in searches from other parts of the world. Using advanced search features (for instance, searching within country codes) can
allow us to see opinions we would not otherwise see. “Unfortunately, there is no way to search for what is most relevant to the world, most important to our future, that which makes us most uncomfortable, that which challenges our views, or specifically, other viewpoints,” says Couros. “Google and other search engines aren’t in the business of critical thinking, so we have to both understand and be able to hack these limitations.” The recently released 2016 iste Standards for Students include skills
that build awareness around data-collection technology and how search engines and social media use algorithms in this way, notes Carolyn Sykora, senior director of iste Standards. The Digital Citizenship standard helps students understand the implications of these “virtual echo chambers,” she explains. THE ROLE OF EMPATHY
Being able to understand intellectual arguments that shake our world view or wrestle with facts that don’t support our own opinions is one thing, but feeling empathy for those whose experiences we do not share is another
key component of a civil, empathetic society. Psychiatrist Dr. Helen Riess, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that, as a broader society, we have lost the art of listening. “As soon as there is a culture of disrespect for opposing opinions, we lose the art of not only listening but also of compromise and negotiation, and that’s what’s contributing to this polarized society,” says Riess. “In the
A culture of civility
past, what helped shape a respectful discourse was statesmanship, a display of a command of the issues of the day and a sense of scholarship or a deep experience.â€? While the digital age is rightfully celebrated for connecting us with people from all over the world, the nature of that connection also causes us to lose critical information about those people. Riess says that much of entrsekt
the ability to listen to each other as individuals happened more naturally in the past. Whether you were sharing a toy, taking turns, negotiating through talking to or listening to people, we used to be socialized via being in the same room with other humans. And this distance can have negative effects
on our communication. Without faceto-face contact, we lose tone of voice and facial expressions. Those vital pieces of information ease communication and connect us to our shared humanity. That said, Riessâ€™ research indicates that empathy can be learned. Her work at Massachusetts General shows that after doctors underwent only three hours of training in verbal and
non-verbal perceptions and responses to others, their patients rated them significantly higher on empathy. “Empathy is a brain-based capacity,” she says. “It’s an ability to perceive the thoughts and feelings of others and the ability to feel or understand the context of a person’s situation. We teach how to respond in a respectful and caring manner after really listening to what the person is saying and showing curiosity to learn more about their circumstances.” Technology has become integrated into our lives so quickly that the youngest often learn social media and technical skills on their own. So Riess asserts that educational systems that implement social and emotional awareness in their curricula are on the right track. One approach involves group projects that require students working together individually, but also communicating virtually, so students have to learn to listen to each other.
“We need to emphasize emotional connection,” she says. “It’s scary to think we could lose the ability to recognize fear in one another’s faces.” The iste Standards come into play here, too. The Global Collaborator standard puts a premium on team work and collaboration to achieve broad and mutual understanding, as well as being a critical skill for the digital workforce. Listening to multiple viewpoints and learning from those with differing backgrounds is embedded in the standards, Sykora says. POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS
While Riess and Couros acknowledge that technology is changing our communication, both see ways in which technology can help us overcome the challenge of interacting in a digital world. Virtual reality is one example of a potential solution. While you may have trouble imagining what it’s like to have a certain medical condition or live in the war-torn streets of Afghanistan, virtual reality allows
you to see the world through another person’s eyes. Courus says courses related to online discourse are essential for our students. “We have to remember that approximately 58 percent of students will have a social networking account by the age of 10,” he says. “We need to teach to that reality.” Awareness is a big part of teaching students within the contemporary world. Couros recently participated in Saskatchewan’s Student First Anti-Bullying Forum. Through a live broadcast, he spoke to more than 9,000 students in grades 6 to12 about being safe and respectful online. “It’s important to be able to speak online with conviction,” he says, “but to also listen openly to others.”
“We need to emphasize emotional connection.”
Turns out, some students are already doing this. They’re taking it upon
A culture of civility
“It’s hard when hate speech is online because I can’t rationalize with someone who’s hiding behind a screen and doesn’t want to see me as a person.”
themselves to change our culture of division and rancor. For instance, Konner Sauve, valedictorian at East Valley High School in Yakima, Washington, under the username @thebenevolentone3, shared more than 650 photos of students at his school, each captioned with a thought or message highlighting students’ positive attributes. “I wanted to focus on the better aspects of people,” Sauve told abc News, “to shed a positive light on each individual, make them feel appreciated and to know that someone cares.” After seeing a story about school bullies harassing their victims via social media, Iowa teenager Jeremiah Anthony uses the Twitter account @westhighbros to send more than 3,000 tweets to members of the West High School student entrsekt
body, teachers, faculty and staff. He compliments friends who might be going through a hard time, preparing for an event or celebrating a victory. When a fellow student at George McDougall High School broke into Canadian teenager Caitlin PraterHaacke’s Facebook page, posting messages saying she should kill herself, Prater-Haacke turned the other cheek. She bought hundreds of Post-it notes and stuck uplifting messages all over her school in Airdrie, Alberta. Ziad Ahmed, a 16-year-old Bangladeshi-American in New Jersey, was bothered by the prejudice and anti-Muslim attitudes he witnessed and experienced. As a child, he was placed on the tsa watch list because
of his name. At 14, he founded Redefy, an organization that combats harmful stereotypes by encouraging students to share stories about themselves. “It’s hard when hate speech is online because I can’t rationalize with someone who’s hiding behind a screen and doesn’t want to see me as a person,” says Ahmed. Online commentators have told 16-year-old Ahmed he should die for his thoughts. Such upsetting occurrences speak to the need to teach students to be digital citizens, but they also highlight the values embedded in the Global Collaborator standard, where students are expected to “enrich their learning” by collaborating and working effectively in teams. This standard calls for students to broaden their perspectives by engaging with “learners from a variety
of backgrounds and cultures” and examining “issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.” In an era of cyberbullying and sharp divides, these attributes embedded in the iste Standards are vital skills to empower students to thrive in an uncertain future. Last year, Ahmed was invited to the White House for dinner with President Obama on Iftar, which marks the traditional breaking of the fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan. Recently, he was invited back for a roundtable discussion on discrimination and bullying of Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian students. Ahmed says we, as a culture, must continue to look for ways to challenge our own biases, ways we can convey what we care about and bring that to our communities in a real way. “Change has to be continuous, informed by students’ voices, talking to kids one on one and having them realize their potential,” he says. “The problem is that people treat the internet as if it isn’t human interaction, but as we normalize social media, we realize that it’s another form of human connection. Social media isn’t a place to fabricate yourself but a place to connect with people who inspire your original self.” Maybe Ahmed and these other students can lead adults back into a world where all people, regardless of skin color, religion or political affiliation, are respected. We can start by teaching students to be thoughtful about what they choose to share on social media, reminding them that
intelligent people with other points of view may be reading their posts. We may even be able to have a sincere and respectful debate around the dinner table for our children to hear. jennifer snelling is a freel ance writer who writes for a variet y of publications and institutions, including the universit y of oregon. as a mother to elementary and middle school-aged children, she’s a frequent cl assroom volunteer and is active in oregon schools.
“Social media isn’t a place to fabricate yourself but a place to connect with people who inspire your original self.”
Report spurs a deeper dialogue about the value of ed tech
By Tim Douglas
atch tv. Pick up a newspaper. Check your devices. You can’t miss them. A new study. A recent report. A just-completed survey. Even research into the impact of technology on learning. Most of these measurements are meaningful and serve a purpose. They are usually steeped in science, supported by reputable institutes and agencies and introduce compelling findings. We as viewers, listeners and knowledge consumers need to do our part, however, and continue to pursue the story. Here’s an example: In the last few months, we’ve been told by a variety of news outlets and websites that coffee can reverse the effects of liver damage. Coffee can help prevent colon cancer. Coffee can help decrease the risk of endometrial cancer. And coffee can increase the risk of miscarriage. According to the various results, coffee wields enormous power. No doubt, there are great truths to be learned, but we should look beyond the headlines and dig into the details. What exactly was studied and how? What was the purpose? Perhaps the real value of all these reports is the dialogue and discussion they spark. These findings start us thinking, and thinking solves problems. entrsekt
MAKING THE CONNECTION
“The OECD information is interesting; now we need to build on these findings by getting more granular detail to inform what works and what does not.”
The Organisation for Economic CoOperation and Development (oecd) released a report last year titled “Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection,” that’s still causing ripples in the education community. In summary, the report found that schools across the world have “yet to take advantage of the potential of technology in the classroom to tackle the digital divide and give every student the skills they need in today’s connected world.” More specifically, the analysis of the oecd Programme for International Student Assessment (pisa) data in the report finds that “despite the pervasiveness of information and communication technologies in our daily lives, these technologies have not yet been as widely adopted in formal education. But where they are
used in the classroom, their impact on student performance is mixed, at best. In fact, pisa results show no appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in technology for education.” oecd countries and economies include, but are not limited to, France, Italy, Spain, Korea, China (Hong Kong and Shanghai), Japan, Turkey, Brazil and the United States – quite a cross section of nations. The report was based on data gathered in 2012 that covered a wide variety of students, cultures, economies and technologies, and provided a broad view – think a mile wide but a foot deep – that needs greater examination.
A CONVERSATION STARTER “This [report] is valuable to start a conversation, but dangerous to use as a conclusive headline,” says Jim
Flanagan, iste chief learning services officer. “The oecd information is interesting; now we need to build on these findings by getting more granular detail to inform what works and what does not.” In other words, it’s another tool in figuring out how best to integrate technology to help students achieve. “What oecd did is very reasonable,” adds Rick Hess, the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s wise to do these comparisons across nations, but this is a snapshot, and we need to be cautious about putting too much weight on a snapshot.” The aim, then, is to turn a snapshot into a feature-length motion picture through better analytics, assessments and measurements. oecd did its job and measured bluntly, which was necessary, as it was never designed to measure the level of detail truly required.
But a more surgical touch is required to get at the root issues. “Look, we need to find better ways to measure how students are doing, period,” Flanagan explains. “We need to get data faster and learn from it. Other industries have developed better ways to identify individual needs, prescribe solutions and measure impact, so shame on us. There are no technical barriers – we just need the will to invest in better assessment and analysis.”
REAL-TIME ASSESSMENT Educators cite the need to improve and harness real-time, growth-based formative assessments that are more immediate and offer small data instead of the macro look that usually happens only at the end of the year. A good place to start is to make sure educators are using the right technology in the first place. Rapid-cycle technology evaluations may prove invaluable as educators continue to search for the best ways to measure technology integration. Rapid-cycle tech evaluations are partially designed to assist school leaders in making evidence-based decisions regarding education technology purchases. The evaluations help get the right technology into the right hands quickly to help students. The current education environment as it exists in the classroom, especially where technology is involved, simply moves too quickly to meet the needs of real measurement. Traditional research approaches take too long and cost too much, and by the time a conventional research project is complete, new iterations of the app can
render the research outdated before it is even published. In fact, the oecd report is from 2011-2012, a time when smartphones with their easy access to knowledge were less common. “Technology is fabulous. I love technology, but we need to think carefully about how we are using it. We need to use technology to push the boundaries of what we can do in education and not just repeat old practices,” says Helen Crompton, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University, via a video chat. “Furthermore, we are in the 21st century; however, a lot of these tests [like oecd] are often using 20th century formats. There are parts of the oecd where
students may be using technology, but they are still requiring students to just regurgitate facts and not actually think critically.”
MODERN MEASUREMENTS There are many efforts underway to be more thorough. For example, the u.s. has a program dedicated to using short-cycle evaluations to assist districts that are moving toward transforming education through the use of technology. The u.s. Office of Educational Technology (oet), a part of the Department of Education, is using short-cycle evaluations in Future Ready, “a set of online tools designed to help educators evaluate technology,” according to the oet website.
“Technology is fabulous. I love technology, but we need to think carefully about how we are using it.”
“The success lies in how students use technology – and how they’re taught – to shape their experience as learners.”
Specific programs are also emerging from the private sector, and some of these are being supported by a variety of organizations and endowments. Karen Johnson is a senior program officer with the Gates Foundation, and her lens for education technology is to look at the foundation’s investments in math and literacy, with a keen eye toward helping administrators and districts choose the best technology tool for them. She points to Zearn, a comprehensive k-5 math learning experience designed to work with teachers to create
a personalized learning experience for every student, as a program that serves two important purposes. “First of all, Zearn provides exit tickets so the teacher can see how they’re doing at the end of each day and understand each student’s progress,” she says. “It’s not only immediate, it’s a full-course curriculum. Many times ed tech tools are supplemental, leaving teachers confused about how to use them and when to deploy them. This makes it clear.”
GETTING A SHARPER VIEW While how we measure the integration of technology is important to get
a better picture and a clearer understanding of this issue, what we measure is equally important to get an even sharper view. It’s one thing to talk about the lack of integrating technology effectively, but are we truly educating our children? Are they career-, college- and world-ready? Improving measurements are clearly necessary. The oecd report is an integral part of the process, but what are we missing? “Speaking from a u.s. perspective, we know that many employers, like engineering firms, don’t necessarily care about language arts standardized test scores,” says Brandon Olszewski, senior education consultant with iste. “They care about skills that show a workforce readiness, like the ability to solve problems, which I believe is also a global concern. Are students across the globe ready to contribute?” “Even as we have more students graduating from high school and college, we are not educating enough of them to fill the jobs in today’s labor market. Where are the measurements to answer why?” Flanagan asks. Olszewski adds that iste believes that technology access alone doesn’t determine or shape student achievement. The success lies in how students use technology – and how they’re taught – to shape their experience as learners. That’s why it’s valuable to find out how test scores, like the ones noted in the oecd report, correlate with other outcomes of interest, he says. For example, at a national level, how do scores relate to the number of patents granted per capita?
THE START OF A DIALOGUE Meanwhile, the macro nature of the report also spawned a very important dialogue. “The report is partly about a measurement, but in its own way, it also calls out the need for practicing strong digital citizenship,” Olszewski says. “This will get us thinking more broadly beyond our borders. We can no longer be isolated. It’s time we all speak more than one language, whether it’s English and Scratch or something else. We’re all together.” Thanks to technology, the world is smaller. Working as one to improve student outcomes is more necessary
than ever. It’s not a district, student or school problem. It’s a “we” problem, and teachers in particular play a starring role.
RIGHT TECH, RIGHT TRAINING So if we’re going to talk about how we measure and what we measure, we need to talk about the on-the-ground experts who should lead the way. Teachers need the right tools and they need ongoing support. “We wouldn’t give a teacher who has never played an instrument an ex-
pensive violin and expect them to teach students how to play,” says Crompton. “Furthermore, we wouldn’t give the teacher one lesson and then expect them to be effective. Technology is the same thing. Yes, let’s buy and invest, but it needs to be the right technology, and the training needs to follow.” “We have to focus on professional development,” says Olszewski. “We have to make sure our teachers are prepared.” That preparation is certainly aided by iste resources like the iste Standards, which support educators, students and leaders with clear guidelines for the skills and knowledge necessary in the digital age; and the iste
It’s a “we” problem, and teachers in particular play a starring role.
So, coffee: good or bad? The answer is both and all of the above, and it’s up to us to keep searching for more information and find the right answers.
Essential Conditions, the 14 critical elements necessary to effectively leverage technology for learning. So, coffee: good or bad? The answer is both and all of the above, and it’s up to us to keep searching for more information and find the right answers. For educators, it’s very much the same, with the caveat being that coffee is an individual’s choice and education is a collective concern. Nevertheless, it’s still wise to avoid the report and study whiplash and dig down for more details, better testing and more varied categories of what is tested. “Here we are, more than 30 years into the integration of technology in education, and we still have a long way to go,” Flanagan says. “We have moved at a glacial pace; reports like oecd are absolutely necessary. Large institutions, particularly public
ones like schools, are not designed to change quickly, but anything that moves us along is helpful. Resources like the iste Standards and Essential Conditions are supporting change, but we have a lot of learning to do to accelerate improvements. We need much better data to collect and analyze more quickly so now it is far too early to reach any conclusions.” tim dougl as is a former television news producer who also served as a senior media consultant for several speakers of the california state assembly. today, dougl as is a freel ance writer who covers a wide range of topics.
Strategic planning, professional learning are keys to ed tech readiness
photo by steve smith
Yolanda Ramos, Ph.D. ISTE Senior Director of Professional Services
T h a n k s t o m y f o r m a l e d u c at i o n b a c kground and the early stages of my educational career in the United States and Puerto Rico, I was fortunate to work with school leaders, inservice and preservice teachers, and teacher training faculty responsible for educating students from multiple ethnic, cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic and academic backgrounds. Strategic planning was imperative in the efforts to address the diversity of needs and challenges districts, schools and community stakeholders faced every day in those learning environments. Needs assessments on native and English language proficiency levels and the available information on a student’s academic background were some of the data sets necessary to start drawing the picture of the right learning pathway for a recent-arrival student trying to learn in a new language, with new academic content and a new skill set. In 1998, I focused my work on learning technologies and their role in learning and teaching. For 12 years, I had the opportunity to work with educators across the Caribbean, the West Indies, Bermuda and Central and South America. In some cases, I had the amazing opportunity to visit countries when they were launching their national ed tech initiatives. Since 2011 in my work with iste, I’ve visited and worked with educators in Brazil, Chile, China, India, Panamá, Uruguay and, most recently, Malaysia. In the u.s. and across the world, I continue to notice that key stakeholders are facing challenges similar to those experienced by my former English language learners from 30 years ago. Today’s ed tech challenges are due to many variables, but the most common challenges when designing and implementing ed tech initiatives are due to the lack of strategic planning and a shared vision that is student centered and prioritizes professional learning. iste is currently collaborating with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, the Malaysia Ministry of Education and its Institut Aminuddin Baki to train 90 coaches to support principals across the country. In the u.s., we are collaborating with the Verizon Foundation to train
approximately 3,000 educators through the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy. In both initiatives, we apply iste’s digital age professional learning pathway, emphasizing a coaching and team approach through the lens of the iste Standards. Our goal is to move participants from what they know about the promise of technology to what they need to do to help their target audiences achieve their learning goals. These programs provide: • A pathway to develop visionary ed tech leadership and opportunities for leaders to learn how to effectively engage and collaborate with key stakeholders. • Team capacity-building skills where all stakeholders become active learners and collaborators. • Coaching and mentorship support from iste faculty and ed tech subject-matter experts. • Job-embedded ed tech integration skills that promote changes in instruction that are associated with greater student engagement, learning gains and technology proficiency. • An online professional learning network that recognizes the power of learning together and promotes regional sharing. • Opportunities for leadership to learn how to engage and collaborate with key internal and external stakeholders to support their ed tech initiatives. We know that even with the recent advances in technology, technology alone cannot create the shift needed to support new and effective digital age learning and teaching trends inside and outside the classroom. That shift requires thought leadership, strategic planning and personalization of learning. I’m excited about the road map ahead of us using the 2016 iste Standards for Students to help educators worldwide discover ways to leverage technology to transform learning. entrsekt
Julianne B. RossKleinmann helps students and teachers authentically integrate technology and strives to make everyone feel "they are home."
Julianne B. Ross-Kleinmann Classroom, community both play into authentic tech integration
photos by harold shapiro
By Tim Douglas
I t s e e m s t h at a l l t o o o f t e n, p e r s o n a l connections get pushed aside for the sake of convenience or comfort. We look into tiny screens instead of engaging with the world around us. We move too fast to tie the important invisible threads together on a human level. And yet, quality personal connections have a direct impact on the quality of our lives. This isn’t to say social media and various personal devices are the bad guys – far from it. The key is to connect community with technology effectively and make sure we all communicate in a variety of ways. This is iste member Julianne B. Ross-Kleinmann’s mission as she pours this philosophy into educating her students. “I sometimes feel like I’m a concierge,” she says. “I’m like a living resource in a lot of languages – I love language – and the one I practice the most is coding.” As the lower school technology coordinator at the Foote School in New Haven, Connecticut – a title as long as her name, she says with a laugh – Ross-Kleinmann is able to pursue her passion, which is instructional technology in the service of teaching and learning. And she does it by weaving many elements together to create a well-rounded environment for education.
“I’ve always worked with the community,” she says. “I’ve always tried to bring the community into the classroom or take the classroom to the community. Everyone has wonderful resources that they can help share.” Her deep civic commitment, always a part of her personality, grew significantly when she joined the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a private, nonprofit organization whose purpose, according to its website, is “to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world.” She remains active in her sorority; having recently moved to New Haven, she has connected with that city’s alumnae chapter and has reached out to her sisters for their assistance. “Many Deltas are educators, so there’s another connection I can tap into for my students,” she says. Now she is grateful to Foote for opening its doors to virtually any field – from artists to coders – and she has excellent professional relationships with external partners like the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which encourages “…mixing and matching seemingly disparate research areas;” the Logo Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation; and the Harvard School of Education, which offers a segment on computational thinking through Scratch. The latter happens to be particularly near entrsekt
Julianne B. Ross-Kleinmann
“I’ve always worked with the the community. I’ve always tried to bring the community into the classroom or take the classroom to the community.”
and dear to Ross-Kleinmann’s heart, the language that underscores her connections. Ross-Kleinmann has a particularly close relationship with the Logo Foundation and its aim to bring coding into schools. To spread the word, the foundation supports and hosts “Scratch Days.” Ross-Kleinmann says one of her favorite features of Scratch Days is that she gets to co-teach with her students – but teaching Scratch is so much more than an activity, she adds. “It is transformative for students, especially for those who others say are fragile,” she notes. “There are students who have a difficult time communicating. We need to try to find connections at all levels, with all people, in all ways.” Beyond involving the community in her pursuit of educational excellence, Ross-Kleinmann keeps many plates spinning at Foote. She is a mentor for students, “pushes and pulls” into and out of classrooms and she helped develop the third grade stem curriculum at her school. Pushing and pulling allows her to work with a small group of students to really drill down on lessons and practice their technology skills. She’s also active with iste, and this year she is chairing the stem Personal Learning Network. She recently spent the summer doing what she loves for a broad community: being a geek. “I love learning and I love educating. Fortunately, I also love to travel. So my summer involved conferences and gatherings across the United States.” As soon as she returned to Connecticut, she restarted her work to create the ultimate education experience. “I help students and teachers authentically integrate technology, which I believe in deeply,” she says. “My real goal, though, is to work with everyone – at Foote, in the community – to make our students feel like they are home.
That’s where we’re all most comfortable, and it’s easier to learn when we’re comfortable.” There’s no home without family, and “family doesn’t mean biology,” to Ross-Kleinmann, reinforcing her belief in community and the power it has to shape students. “I didn’t think I would be a teacher,” she shares. “Now, I wouldn’t do anything else. The biggest joy is when the student surpasses the teacher. That is powerful.” tim dougl as is a former television news producer who also served as a senior media consultant for several speakers of the california state assembly. today, dougl as is a freel ance writer who covers a wide range of topics.
Where learning, technology and community meet.
Statement of Ownership. Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685). 1. Title of Publication: entrsekt. 2. Publication No.: 10825754. 3. Filing date: October 20, 2014. 4. Issue Frequency: Quarterly. Number of Issues Published Annually: 4. 6. Annual Subscription Price: $49.00. 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication (Not Printer): International Society for Technology in Education, 621 SW Morrison Street, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97205. 8. Complete Mailing Address of the Headquarters of General Business Offices of Publisher (Not Printer): for business name and address refer to #7. 9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of the Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor: Publisher: ISTE, 1530 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 730, Arlington, VA 22209; Editor: Julie Phillips Randles, 524 Rye Court, Roseville, CA 95747; Managing Editor: Tracee Aliotti, Chief Marketing Officer, 621 SW Morrison Street, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97205. 10. Owner: Refer to #7. 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: None. 12. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during preceding 12 months. 13. Publication Name: entrsekt. 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: Fall 2014 (Volume 1 Number 2). 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation. Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months. 15a. Total Number of Copies (net press run): 19,788. 15b. Paid Circulation. 15b1. Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include paid distribution above nominal rate, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies): 16,430. 15b2. Mailed In-County Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include paid distribution above nominal rate, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies): Zero. 15b3. Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 267. 15b4. Paid Distribution by Other Classes of Mail Through the USPS: 707. 15c. Total Paid Distribution [Sum of 15b]: 17,404. 15d. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) 15d1. Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County Copies included on PS Form 3541: Zero. 15d2. Free or Nominal Rate In-County Copies included on PS Form 3541: Zero. 15d3. Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes Through the USPS: Zero. 15d4. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail (Carriers or other means): 2,077. 15e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution [Sum of 15d]: 2,077. 15f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e): 19,481. 15g. Copies not Distributed: 307. 15h. Total (Sum of 15f and 15g): 19,788. 15i. Percent Paid (15c divided by 15f times 100): 89.3%. Actual No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date. 15a. Total No. Copies (net press run): 17,864. 15b1. Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include paid distribution above nominal rate, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies): 19,073. 15b2. Mailed In-County Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include paid distribution above nominal rate, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies): Zero. 15b3. Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 93. 15b4. Paid Distribution by Other Classes of Mail Through the USPS: 680. 15c. Total Paid Distribution [Sum of 15b]: 18,437. 15d. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) 15d1. Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County Copies included on PS Form 3541: Zero. 15d2. Free or Nominal Rate In-County Copies included on PS Form 3541: Zero. 15d3. Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes Through the USPS: Zero. 15d4. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail (Carriers or other means): 594. 15e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution [Sum of 15d]: 594. 15f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e): 19,031. 15g. Copies not Distributed: 42. 15h. Total (Sum of 15f and 15g): 19,073. 15i. Percent Paid (15c divided by 15f times 100): 96.9%. 17. This Statement of Ownership will be printed in the Winter 2015 (Volume 1, Number 3) issue of this publication. 18. Name and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner: Tiffany Montes, Senior Director of Finance, International Society for Technology in Education. Date: October 20, 2014. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties).
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Learn it today. Teach it tomorrow. Need inspiration for tomorrow’s class? Visit the ISTE EdTekHub, where you’ll find content and resources full of ideas for implementing ed tech to help students excel. New content added daily and it’s absolutely free. Visit iste.org/EdTekHub
Bounce back Resilience isn’t as simple as getting up – we break down the myths. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well, um … going where? To the mall? To bed? To Antarctica? This is the challenge with resilience: just when you think you know what it is, you realize there are gaps in your knowledge. Hopefully, this handy chart will help you find your way: MYTH: Resilience involves facing bad stuff. REALITY: That’s only half the battle. Resilience involves not running from the difficult events in our lives and using positive emotions to get over them.
MYTH: Resilient people use their power of positive thinking to overcome the impossible. REALITY: Resilience isn’t a life or death issue. It’s a better life or bitter life distinction.
MYTH: Resilience is for headline events. REALITY: Most of life’s calamities don’t stem from major disasters on CNN. They’re mistakes, wrong decisions and generic “life stinks” moments. Not falling apart when you didn’t get a part-time job to pay for a vacation to Europe absolutely counts.
MYTH: The resilient are lone wolves. REALITY: Research shows that people who have a strong social network conquer this task of making lemonade from lemons much more definitively.
MYTH: Resilient people succeed because they say “I must.” REALITY: Resilient people say “I prefer to,” because they know they aren’t totally in control. They have the flexibility to bend. MYTH: Resilient people float above their problems. REALITY: Hahaha. People who can bounce back merely take things at face value so they don’t shoulder secondary stress. That leaves them free to cope with what ticks them off or to combat the toxic elements head on. That calmness you see? It’s actually impulse control.
MYTH: Resilience is a blessing of birth. REALITY: OK, genetics do play a role in how individuals approach stress. But it’s also possible to cultivate a sense of mastery, a belief that you are capable and competent. And it can happen at any age. MYTH: Resilient people are covered in Teflon. REALITY: Quite the opposite. The people we consider tough have scars; it’s through crying, railing, hurting and then dealing with adversity that people earn their “tough as nails” badge. This isn’t about manning up – it’s about not letting certain emotions you feel control you.
MYTH: Resilience goes hand in hand with humbleness. REALITY: They might always be kind, but humble? It takes an overconfidence, or what psychologists call positive illusions, to take control of your life. In other words, delusions of grandeur can fuel the energy.
By Julie Sturgeon
technology-charged learning starts here You’re pushing the boundaries of education by harnessing the power of technology to advance learning and teaching. Connect with other innovative educators and take your own skills to the next level by participating in the world’s largest and most comprehensive ed tech meeting of the minds –
the ISTE 2017 Conference & Expo. isteconference.org #ISTE17
SAVE THE DATE!
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Creating Real Change in the Classroom
Manage student evidence, administer professional development, facilitate PLCs, and so much more in just one platform. The LSI Tracker provides one central place to collect, document, and share dataâ€”and itâ€™s all available whenever and wherever you need it. - Help educators strengthen the implementation of instructional strategies, new teacher training, recertification programs, and PLCs. - Equipped with the standards from all 50 states, it is easy to collect student evidence during instruction and share data with other educators.
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