Neotie Magazine

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September 2015


e n i z a g a M

September 2015

Back to School Tips and Resources


The NEOTIE Group was formed by a small group of Technology Directors in Northeast Ohio with the mission to create a group that is banded together to provide students, teachers and staff with the best educational technology possible. The goal is to share knowledge and resources through quarterly meetings and annual conferences (October 3, 2015 at Beachwood High School - for educators to share and receive instructional practices used by others. This is our first issue of NEOTIE magazine, and we would like to thank all of you who contributed and all of you who are reading this. We hope you will provide some feedback to us (one of the last pages) about what you’d like to see in our next issue (slated for December) and if you’d be willing to contribute by writing an article about a practice you use at the classroom, building, or district level.


Table of Contents Rethinking Collaboration Social Media and PD

4 7

You need a Tech Integrationist


Using E-Agendas


Monthly Personal PD Challenge


Form Assessment Process and Tools


Failure, Reconsidered


Creativity or Technical Ability?


Set Your GPS


Windows 10 First Impressions


Divide, Conquer, Share, and Absorb: Rethinking Collaboration The Journey

For most of my career as an educator,

I was the “techie” of my team. This worked out great. It gave me an instant role when collaborating with my fellow teachers. I was always needed and it gave me a sense of pride. I was offering something that would make things easier for others. I had skills I could share that would ease their stress. It was great. Whenever we would meet to plan, we would plan, divide, conquer, and separate to make the best use of each of our talents. Everything was finished faster and we had more time available to come up with ideas. We were efficiently preparing for our kids but we weren’t always learning from each other. How could we do both? These were people whose talents I valued. Whenever I had the chance to learn more about how they teach and their skill sets, I wound up using some variation for my own students. Why was I not trying to spend more time benefitting from what they could teach

By Sean Whalen

me and, in turn, I could teach them? Over the years, my opportunities to collaborate with others have increased. I have often caught myself doing something for a staff member, instead of showing the person how to do it. Sometimes this was out of necessity, especially when it was needed for instruction that day. Other times, I could have spent a little more time letting the staff member learn while supporting when questions arise.

A Change in Thought

As the role of technology has changed, the model for collaborating needs to adapt. Every teacher needs to develop more confidence in

technology use and a single teacher being the “techie” doesn’t help that. This doesn’t change the need or advantages of divide and conquer. Time is always a factor in education and anything that can make the use of time more efficient is certainly of benefit. The way we collaborate just needs to be tweaked with a few simple adjustments. 1) Don’t leave It is often easier to leave the room once tasks have been divided. There is a sense of safety and speed in this. Often, we also like to avoid distractions. There is a downside to this in losing the benefit of learning from each other. It is important to try and find ways to work in the same room when possible. It may not always work but it give the chance to take the opportunity to talk about what you are doing and why, while asking questions about an approach a colleague is taking. 2) Switch roles People learn by doing. When it comes to collaborating, there is a great opportunity to share with team members how to do a wide variety of technology activities while preparing to use those same activities with students. Sometimes the best way to do this is to switch roles while using the team member as a resource and support so you can develop more confidence in the skill. 3) Work on the same task but share the load Each member of the team can help with a portion of the same task. If it is technology related, it is a great way to take advantage of everyone working in the same program or tool. You create a common way of working that becomes more efficient over time. It becomes a way of cross training.

Divide, Conquer, Share, Absorb We are all comfortable with diving and conquering. The problem is that this often leads to working in isolation. There is immense value in taking time to share our own process and talent. If we start taking time to learn to collaborate in new ways, we’ll absorb new skills that will help us grow and ultimately better serve the students we are trying to reach. This is a great year to start fresh with a new approach to working smarter.

Click on video below to see collaboration at work!

It’s an Attitude Matter! The Power of Social Media and Professional Development By Mandy Vasek

Technology has redefined the way educators think, practice, communicate, and carry out the routines of day-to-day living. I have become dependent on all my personal tech devices, which are always with me no matter where I go. As an educator, social media, blogs, tech applications, databases, and software, along with other technology resources and tools, help me to thrive in today’s connected world. Social media platforms, also known as web 2.0 tools, are common channels of communication and collaboration for educators. My professional learning network, or PLN, realizes society today is highly digitized, so we MUST embrace it! This is especially true when certain practices have prolific effects on educators as we aim to grow stronger and wiser in our field. Digital access has afforded me the luxury of personalizing my learning 24/7. One can find a plethora of research to support digital learning for educators. However, pockets of resistance stifle adult learning in almost every school system, especially when it involves a digital medium. I bet you could write the names of all the “stiflers” on your campus. There does not have to be too many “stiflers” in the pot to create havoc in a school learning community. Here is my message to the resistors, and I do hope it will be taken seriously:

Wake up! Our students cannot afford for us to neglect our own professional learning any longer. If we do, we might as well go ahead and say we have failed our future by neglecting the very idea we claim is our area of expertise- LEARNING. Can you find the irony here? This issue is an attitude matter! Please fix it!

Education lags behind the rest of the world where technology is concerned. Industries, such as sales and marketing covet new digital trends and practices. Most organizations have people whose job is to seek the next latest and greatest gadget, idea, tool, or software. These organizations are cognizant of what it means to not be on top of their game. To lose an innovative spirit would mean creating their very own demise. This is not true in education! We tend to wait until the innovative roads have been broken in and well traveled before encroaching upon the techy superhighway ourselves. When we finally buy into a digital notion, it has already become flat and worn. Let’s face it! We suppress student learning every day because we, as educators, continue learning and practicing in such ways that have us grounded in routine. Educators do love routines! The more structured and scheduled activities are…the better. Most of you will agree that we love tradition and hate change. Again, here comes more irony. We are supposed to be change agents and leaders of innovation. However, we sometimes despise the very practices that we preach are effective- technology, project-based learning, collaboration groups, professional learning networks, etc. Most educators understand the research and what it proves, but they are reluctant to change because it involves

altering their own behaviors and attitudes. Schools do have technology issues related to outdated systems and slow-moving program adoptions. Unfortunately, these issues are out of our control until we have a better collective vision supporting technology nationwide. However, we can address negativity and resistance in our own schools where professional learning is concerned. Again, this is an attitude problem, not a technology issue. One resistor can and does make a difference. After all, we are only as strong as our weakest link, right? Our job as digital leaders is to put pressure on the resistors. If possible, motivate them to change their practices. If that is impossible, we must call Here is another message to the resistors: them out. When we do this, we are standing up for the ones who matter most- the students. You don’t have to love the world we live in today. In fact, you don’t even have to like it. NeverThis summer I had the great pleasure of meeting theless, you must embrace it, or you will end up Eric Sheninger, technology guru, digital leader, au- like the companies who have failed.. Worse, yet… thor, and former school administrator. Sheninger the students sitting in your classroom (or school and his associate, Jill Bromenschenkel (both on if you’re an administrator) will fail because you Twitter @E_Sheninger and @JillBromen) made me chose to feed your attitude instead of success to realize digital leading does not mean to passively your students. Resistance by choice should be a support the movement. Sheninger and Bromen- crime! schenkel emphasized ways to really shake things up and get them moving in the right direction. By the way, when I talk about digital leaders, I am Students today live in a different world than we not just referring to campus leaders or administraare accustomed to teaching. As Sheninger tors. In fact, the best digital leaders are usually reminded us repeatedly, we must be modelers classroom teachers. These men and women are and leaders of digital practices. Therefore, we will the ones serving on the front lines. They are the need to change the ways we instruct to engage real heroes who bring transformation to life. You our learners. In my opinion, the real issue is… the are able to do this because you see yourself as a resistors in education DO NOT WANT TO ADAPT learner first. Those of us who consider ourselves AND ENTER THE REAL WORLD! Yes, most are digital leaders should no longer be complacent living in an antiquated world that does not exist supporters of this movement. any longer. Staying with tried and true practices that have always worked is the safest place for I’m going to think about it this way… those who are resistant. However, the place that will hurt students most is where the resistors stay. If I truly believe our students are the #1 priority, I must actively do what it takes to ensure that digital learning is not just an extra we add to a daily grind list. If I understand that students today will not survive in a world without it, then integrating pedagogy and technology becomes a priority. Other educators around me will sense the urgency in my own actions. It will need to become something I discuss, model, preach, infuse, support and evaluate to ensure its viability and sustainability. First things first- make the school’s vision very clear

and check for understanding. Leave no room for ambiguity. The next thing- I need to make sure the vision emphasizes continuous learning for all. Learning needs to become a constant and embedded in the culture of the school. How do we make this happen when time and monetary funds are limited? Well, I do have an answer- TWITTER! Twitter will not solve all the problems we will face moving forward, but it can help tremendously! So, let me give you just a brief synopsis of the research behind social media and the professional development of educators. I am a student pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at a university in Texas. My dissertation journey has given me insight. I have witnessed what quality professional development can do for all educators. I constantly peruse literature to gain more knowledge on this topic. Information and/or discussions have populated a variety of educational sources all over the world, such as journals, books, blogs, news, etc.- both virtual and in print forms- regarding professional development through online contexts (Wesley, 2013).

restrictions. In one study, researchers found groups of connected learners called a professional learning network, or a PLN, spent on average 1-3 hours per week learning online. This added up to about 60-80 extra hours a year of professional learning. The same report showed the participants stayed active for at least 3 years on the same platform during the study, which suggested valuable learning took place (Duncan-Howell, 2010). Personalization of learning played a big factor in the user’s satisfaction. Tailoring learning to the needs and goals of educators created an authenticated experience for participants. In contrast, traditional “sit-n-git” types of professional development (PD) showed limited retention rates in learning (Duncan-Howell, 2010; Provost, 2013). Conferences, workshops, and other group professional development efforts offer limited opportunities to meet the learning needs of the attendees (Duncan-Howell, 2010). Pamela Wesley, professor of education for the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Iowa, described learning with Web 2.0 social platforms as a phenomenon brought about by attitudes for learning rather than the technology itself (2013). “The attitude being one that focuses on the social interaction in a collective whole, rather than the expertise of an elite few” (Wesley, 2013, p. 306).

Educators on social media venues learn at higher rates and with increased satisfaction. Researchers described learning on a social platform as “short- Situations or events triggering cognitive or beterm, ad hoc, and highly situated endeavors” havioral changes occur through collaborative and (Zwart et al., 2009 p. 254) that have no time reflective processes, which lead to deeper learning and understanding. Twitter allows users to dialogue and reflect with other users in 140 characters or less. Social media users with similar interests often link together to form professional learning networks (PLNs). Studies have found that learning networks help build deep repositories of knowledge, which leads to better teaching in the classroom (Wesley, 2013). Research has also shown that continued growth and changes in teacher practices is evidence of meaningful learning from the social platform (Wesley, 2013).

Twitter is not the only social platform used by educators today. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Voxer, Google+ are all relatively easy to use. However, for professional development, I recommend Twitter as a one-stop shop to meet your learning

needs. Is Twitter overwhelming at first? Absolutely! With practice, dedication, and a good attitude, you will be tweeting like a pro in no time. The secret to Twitter is to stay with it and become active as often as possible. Now, think about this… What if we inspired the resistors to change? Maybe connecting reluctant educators to Twitter could help them break traditions, change up routines just a bit, and open their minds to new ways of learning. You might be surprised how quickly they will adopt new ways of thinking and learning. So, let Twitter work its magic on even those who are hardest to reach. Learning as practitioners in education will never be the same. The power of social media is vast and influential. Each day it grows into something bigger. Do not get me wrong, conferences and lecture style assemblies will continue. Faceto-face formats are not a bad thing. In fact, I love attending conferences and meeting up with my PLN in person. Conferences can provide arenas that help move conversations to another level. My purpose for attending the more traditional events has changed. Networking with other professionals, vendors, and speakers is more meaningful. The break out sessions offered at larger conferences are those which are

popular or trending in education. In fact, not often do I run across a course offered at a conference that I have not learned about on Twitter. Not to mention my smart device is able to attend any conference in a virtual style using the event’s hashtag. This does not cost a dime! It’s a free professional conference in the comfort of my choice environment. The power of social media has changed the format of professional development significantly. The power comes from educators being able to personalize learning and become members of a PLN. Let Twitters’ power influence you and others around you. As a digital citizen in education, we should take responsibility to help motivate and influence those pockets of resistance. Sometimes this takes winning over a reluctant educator one conversation at a time. “Social media is a tool that is only as powerful as the hand that holds it” (Butler, 2015, p.21). When people see what Twitter can do for them, they’ll be sold! Can you imagine a school where 100% of the adults are actively learning together? #Awesome! Let tweeting be your superpower this new school year. Become producers of content and share out with others. Brand yourself, your school, and your district by being a risk-taker. You will never look back once you gain your forward momentum.

Trust me!


School administrator and digital leader; Presenter of digital citizenship, socialmedia & teacher professional development, literacy, and relationships; doctoral student; moderator of Twitter chats #EduTX and #MISDDC

Butler, D. (2015, May/June). Developing a connected mindset through intentional practice. Principal, 94(5), 21-23. Duncan-Howell, J. (2010). Teachers making connections: Online communities as a source of professional learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 324-340. Provost, A. [Edutopia]. (2013, February 26). Educon: Not your typical “sit and git” conference [Blog post]. Retrieved from Wesley, P. M. (2013). Investigating the community of practices of world language educators on Twitter. Journal of Teacher Eduation, 64(4), 305-318. Zwart, R. C. (2009). Toward a creative social web for learners and teahers. Educational Researcher, 38, 274-279.

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Five Reasons You Need a Dedicated Tech Integrationist

By Mike Daugherty

In my opinion, every single school district should have at least one technology integrationist on staff. An integrationist’s role is to assist the teachers in overcoming the “hurdle of how”. If you’ve spent any time in public education, you are probably very familiar with the hurdle of how: “How can I use this in my classroom?”. I believe the best technology integrationists are former teachers. It doesn’t matter what subject, grade level, or school they taught in. What matters is they have experience in the classroom. The skill set and experience they bring to the table is the key their success. As a Director of Technology for a public school district, here are my five reasons for why an integrationist is so vital to a district’s technology implementation strategy. 1. They View Technology Differently Than You Do A strong tech integrationist doesn’t typically view technology in the same way we geeks do. Where we see an online photo editor, they see a creative outlet for students in social studies. We see a new web based link organizer while they see an app that would make a great tool for creating digital student portfolios. They have a way of looking at the web from an entirely different point of view. In my role, I seek out this view

point especially when we are looking to adopt a new application or device. The collaboration that follows leads to a better understanding of what tools will work best for students and staff.

2. They Deliver Professional Development Better Than You Do I pride myself in my ability to teach teachers, but no matter how good you are at teaching others how to use technology, you cannot overlook experience in the classroom. Many integrationists truly understand the planning it takes to create a tech based lesson and the frustration that occurs when that lesson doesn’t go as planned. They embed that unique knowledge into their teaching which allows them to connect with teachers on a level that most cannot.

3. They Can Be a Catalyst for Change A tech integrationist can be an evangelist for your plans and ideas. Their enthusiasm for a new application, model, or idea can be infectious. When they get excited about a newly discovered application, the staff listens. Why? Because the excitement is coming from a trusted source who knows first hand how they are using technology in the classroom. This is an often overlooked aspect of this role, but a vital one none the less. 4. They Can Be Places When You Can’t A technology integrationist can spend time in the classroom on a daily basis helping teachers at the point of instruction. You could too if it wasn’t for your administrative meetings, tackling that wireless issue, investigating new potential solutions, and keeping up with the day to day activities of the IT department. It can be difficult to make time for classroom visits. An integrationist can be your eyes and ears though. They can provide insights on what is working and what’s not as it relates to technology which allows you to adjust strategies and policies accordingly. Its like having a window directly into the classroom.

om c . h c e t a n moretha

5. They Can Take Your District to the Next Level When you combine the reasons listed above with a strong technology department, the outcomes are phenomenal! We’ve seen an increase in staff engagement as well as technology use in and out of the classroom. Our teaching staff is trying new applications and ideas on a regular basis. For example, we have staff using sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Vine in their curriculum. They can do this because they feel supported in the use of digital tools across all content areas. Summary In seventeen years of working in educational IT, this is my first working with a full time integrationist dedicated to our district. This has easily been one of the best years of my career. Our teaching staff is using technology to enhance their curriculum in new ways and our students are experiencing personalized learning thanks to her efforts. Every school district, every student, and every teacher needs to experience the positive impact that can be made by a thoughtful, enthusiastic, full time technology integrationist.

Using eAgendas To Make Meetings More Collaborative By Char Shryock, Dir. of Curriculum and Instruction, Bay Village City Schools

Today’s Agenda! There is no “I” in team, but there is often plenty of “Me” in the meetings that I have led in the past. Collaboration is such a powerful factor in education. This past year, I reflected on how I might use technology to make the process of planning and carrying out meetings more collaborative. I decided to use Google Docs as the base for an eAgenda. What makes the eAgenda collaborative is the fact that it is an actively changing document, not a static tool. The eAgenda serves not only as the framework for the meeting, but it also becomes the place to share resources,ideas, action steps and notes during and after the meeting. Getting Started Whether you are planning for a teacher leadership team meeting, IEP meeting, staff meeting or even a small group student collaborative team, you must first decide who will be participating in the meeting and share the eAgenda

with them. This can be done in Google Docs by directly sharing the document with individuals, or sharing the link to the document through an email. Next, set up some basic protocols for working within the eAgenda. For example, ask each participant to choose a font color to use or request that all users who make additions to the eAgenda put their initials in parenthesis after the addition. Including Collaborative Space Think about how to add a section in your eAgenda to capture great ideas that may not be directly related to the main focus of the meeting. You might also consider adding a space for questions that need to be addressed. One way to do this is to put section headings like “Pressing Questions -Topics I Really Want to Talk About” or “Brilliant Ideas I Want to Bounce Off Of My Collleagues” at the end of the eAgenda for each meeting. Consider how you could use a table as a way to organize action steps, collect team member information and ideas, or make comparisons to help finalize a decision.

Planning The Meeting Once you have shared the eAgenda, make sure that you give all of the collaborators a time frame for making additions. This allows everyone a chance to see the eAgenda prior to the meeting and add resources or make suggestions under the topics that have been included by other collaborators. If the team will be meeting on a regular basis, consider using the same eAgenda document for all of the meetings by creating the next meeting plan above the prior meeting notes. This gives all of the collaborators an archive of past discussions and resources. During The Meeting The eAgenda is at its best as a collaboration tool when it is being used during the meeting by all of the members of the team. Google Docs allows multiple users to add to the document simultaneously. One team member may be appointed the lead recorder for the meeting, but anyone can add an idea, insert a link to a great resource, capture a question to be addressed later or start to fill in action steps. I have used eAgendas during meetings where some of the collaborative team members were not able to actually attend the meeting, but followed along remotely through the eAgenda and by adding their own ideas and comments.

Following The Meeting Because the eAgenda document also becomes the minutes or collaborative record of the meeting, there is no need to send out minutes or make sure everyone has a copy of the notes. Collaborators who are sharing the document can go back into the eAgenda and add comments or dates as they complete action steps. The team leader can use the eAgenda to plan for future meetings or identify questions that may need to be addressed. The eAgenda can also be shared with an administrator as a way of documenting collaborative work being done as part of the larger culture of evidence based decision making, professional learning communities or the Ohio Improvement Process. Teachers who use eAgendas with collaborative student teams can quickly monitor the team’s progress around a performance task, research task or analysis they may be working on and make suggestions for next steps. Here are a few guiding questions to help you get started: 1. What teams that I am a part of might benefit from using an eAgenda? 2. What Google Docs training might I have to provide to help all my team members feel comfortable with the eAgenda? 3. How could I use the concept of an eAgenda to make my own classroom more collaborative for my students? 4. What protocols do I need to put in place to make the eAgenda process work smoothly with my team?

Monthly Personal PD Challenge

Challenge yourself to do one new thing each month. If you’ve already tried one, delete it and come up with your own. If you don’t understand a goal, do some Googling to find out what it’s all about. By Giovanna Orlando Month

Basic Goal

Gold Star Goal

Participate in an educational chat. Use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to make it easier. Do something that scares you a lot! For Do something with your class that me, that was teaching poetry for the October scares you at least a little. You might first time, and sharing my own poems. “fail”! But you’ll definitely learn. Eeek! Learn to share...your screen! I like Create and share a series of screenScreencastify. Others use ScreenNovember casts on a topic that would benefit your cast-O-Matic. Find what works for students, or colleagues. you. Use to complete a few Make an infographic for a 2nd quarter December design school challenges. unit. Mid-Year, New-Year Resolution. You’ve done it all on time so far? You Have you accomplished all the get the platinum star! Make up your January goals so far? If not, catch up this own goal this month and share it on month. Twitter with #NEOTIE #PlatinumGoal If you are still searching for “the one” Whatever tech tip or tool you’re in tech tip or tool, ask someone you look February love with, take some time to share it up to about their special connection to with your colleagues. a technology to get inspiration. Host a Hangout on Air with a group of Have a meeting with someone via people. It’s a live-streamed Hangout March Google Hangout, instead of traveling that will get published on your YouTube to be in the same space. channel afterward. Contribute your own photos to the pixLearn about finding and using community, which offers free, April es not under copyright restrictions at creative commons licensed pictures for use anywhere! Join Twitter. Don’t leave yourself September lookin’ like an egg.


Got too busy and missed a goal? That’s okay, but try to catch up! Once you complete all, share your favorite experience with #NEOTIE #finishline

You made all the goals on time?! You are clearly amazing. Let’s go for coffee. DM me on Twitter @gorland2. I’m serious!

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Back to School Must-Try Tech

Formative Assessment Process and Tools! By Ken Veon Formative assessment for a lot of teachers & administrators has become a term that refers to “frequent assessments”. That means exit slips, quizzes, and monthly tests (just to name a few). These practices are not poor instructional practices, but there is so much more to the formative assessment process. It is a process. The word assessment blurs what the actual meaning is for teachers/administrators. The process is about getting to know the students, what they know or don’t know. It is going back to a time of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development and setting up the learning environment so the work is “a little hard” for each student. That’s where (another buzzword) differentiation comes into play. But how is a teacher supposed to determine what needs to be “differentiated” for each student? How can teachers possibly gain that much insight about a student’s ability with a task/question/standard on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Using the formative assessment process, a teacher must do the following: 1. Set clear learning targets 2. Gather data 3. Provide feedback 4. Make alterations/adjustments 5. Repeat this cycle as required

So how does a teacher do this? In regards to #1, this is where the “Art” of teaching comes into play. The teacher should know the standards well enough to be able

to articulate them, but then to gain buy-in from students, they can use their creative skills to work with students to determine “how” they are going to learn it.

For the next two, gathering data and providing feedback, technology can help! Teachers have been able to collect data from the beginning of “school” in many different and creative ways. However, it can take hours grading papers, looking through the data, charting it, analyzing it and making adjustments to instruction. With today’s powerful technology, this process should only take seconds to minutes a day to maximize student learning! The fourth aspect of the formative assessment process, making adjustments, is more complex. However, adjustments can be made “on the fly” in the classroom, based on the collected data, or may be a great opportunity to work within a PLC to determine how to make necessary adjustments to instruction. No matter in which situation it is used, the data is quickly collected to provide feedback to students and teachers.

So how can teachers quickly gather and analyze the data? No matter what “tech skill level” teachers are at, there is a technology solution that can help collect data and provide feedback. The technology tools listed below provide instant feedback to students and teachers to adjust teaching and learning as needed. The data the students and teachers analyze (some in a blink of an eye) may indicate to move on to the next topic - or it may say there are bigger issues and teachers/students need to circle back to the beginning and review the topic/learning target in a different way.

2. Kahoot

There are so many opportunities for teachers to implement the formative assessment process by using the tools that are available. Some of my favorites are:

Kahoot is really a “hoot”. It is the most interactive and competitive data gathering tool for classrooms. It is a game to the students and it engages the entire class. It is web-based, so students are able to use phones, laptops, and tablets to play. Teachers are able to add videos, images, and diagrams to questions. Teachers may never see students as engaged and enthusiastic about assessment as they are when they use Kahoot!

1. Turning Technologies

3. Pear Deck

This is a simple, but very effective way to gather student data quickly and easily. Using a student response system (aka “clickers”) allows teachers to have a simple remote in the students’ hands to find out what they know as a whole group and individuals. Teachers can make adjustments based on what % of the students understand a concept. If the class is struggling, a teacher stops and readjusts the lesson for the day. If all of the students demonstrate proficiency, the teacher moves ahead with the lesson. This integrates into PowerPoint or can be used “on the go”. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest for teachers to integrate with or without a “tech” background.

Pear Deck is one of the most impressive ways to implement part of the formative assessment process. Teachers create presentations that are automatically saved in Google Drive. Students are able to answer multiple-choice questions, write text (short answer or extended response), draw pictures, and drag a dot (e.g. for plotting on maps). Teachers can add text, lists, images, and YouTube videos to the slides. You are able to integrate Kahoot into Pear Deck, Desmos (graphing calculator) and many Google features (Docs, Forms, Maps, etc.). It integrates with Google Classroom too.

4. Socrative

Socrative, like the first 3, gives students and teachers instant feedback through the use of real-time questioning. It gives teachers different options of question types, such as MC, T/F, Short Answer, and exit ticket. It can be done on the fly for those unplanned discussions that lead to learning opportunities!

5. Poll Everywhere

This free polling, web-based software is great for collecting student data. Teachers are able to create multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions (turn into Word Clouds!), clickable images, and Brainstorm Polls. This is great software because it can be used on any device and is very easy to use. It is typically used for live events with many people, but works out well for classroom use too.

All of these software/hardware services are only a means of collecting data. It makes it much more efficient for teachers to look to see how many students answered the questions correctly. All of these services provide data, real-time data, to teachers and students that allows for timely feedback! However, students aren’t learning as deeply when they sit and answer questions. That’s why it is imperative for classroom discussion and activities to be supplemented, not replaced by these technologies.

“one of the more powerful weapons in a teacher’s arsenal.” -Robert Marzano When a question is posed to students and they answer using one of these options, teachers are able to quickly see how the class is doing. A powerful strategy to use as a follow-up is to have students explain what they chose and why they chose that answer. It could be a think-pair-share, a turn and talk, or simply explain to the class. A teacher is able to analyze a lot about students (part of the “art”) when they walk around a classroom and listen to conversations or when a student tries to explain his/her answer. This technology allows teachers to use data to drive instruction. Based on the data (after analyzing, making adjustments, etc.), the teacher can revamp the objectives of the lessons day to day or minute to minute (based on student needs…..). When it comes to feedback, these technologies are able to provide students with timely feedback. The feedback is typically right or wrong for the student to reflect upon. More importantly, it jump-starts conversations; with the teacher or fellow students helping clarify

As long as students are being challenged so the work is “a little hard” for them, they are going to continue to grow. Using these technology tools as part of the formative assessment process will help teachers determine what needs students have and tailor learning to them.

or substantiate answers. It is up to the teacher to build a culture of learning where it is ok to be incorrect or “fail” (see Ms. Orlando’s article in this issue) as long as students learn from it and make adjustments. Feedback is vital! It is meant to be part of the learning process, not about a grade. Every student is different, so teachers need to adjust according to the students, not vice-versa. Then it is up to the teacher to make adjustments to the classroom instruction, for the whole or individual, to move students to the next level. By using this easily collected data, teachers are able to make these adjustments during the same class period instead of having to wait until the next day or a week later because they have to grade the work at home or over the weekend as they did yesteryear.

Other Formative Assessment Software (click to go to websites): Edulastic NearPod Formative GoSoapBox Backchannel Chat

Click for video

By Giovanna Orlando

d e er d i s on c e R , e Failur


Asking for Help You failed. You’ll continue to fail, over and over. Same for me, same for our students. Feel terrible now? You shouldn’t! Let me explain. Failing is, has been, and will always be a sign of reaching for something that is simply out of reach at this point. Maybe only slightly, or maybe by a whole bunch. I want to reframe failure as a necessary, and helpful step in achieving awesome goals. Failure is striving for better. You, me, and especially our students need to be told this explicitly, and be encouraged to keep failing, learning, and growing, throughout our lives. In the first week of my quarter-long 7th and 8th grade tech classes last year, I wanted to empower students by helping them realize that failure will happen, and how they deal with it can make them better. One way I did this was by telling them about my grading system. Any assignment that they received less than 70% on, they were allowed to continue working on and resubmit. This way, students had the opportunity to view their “failing” D or F grade as a chance to improve, and truly learn the material. One student resubmitted an effort-intense assignment 3 or 4 times! I supported him with comments in the document, helping at lunch, and communicating the redo option to his parents. He showed great persistence in refining each draft until it was nearly perfect. He was so proud of himself; it made me get teary. There were always a few kids each quarter who took this option to heart, and they learned much more than they would have in the traditional mindset of failure equals done, grade-sunk, oh-well, moving-on.

Another first-week activity to make this point clear is an assignment all about failure. Please, use these resources to make your classroom a safer place for striving. The first part of the assignment is watching a video by Derek Sivers called “Why You Need to Fail”. Click on picture for video.

I like to have them use where they watch the video on the left and take time-stamped notes on the right. It helps them to be more personally engaged than just projecting the video to the whole class, and allows them to pause and rewind the video to adjust to their own learning needs. They share this with me so I can see what facts jumped out at them personally. The second part of the assignment is a document (CLICK HERE) asking them to reflect on what they learned in the video, apply it to a personal situation, and surmise what my opinion is on failure once they’ve been presented with all of this, including this screenshot of a tweet. I’ve found that this approach really helps students understand that failure doesn’t have to be viewed as an extremely awful event marking a sad end, but can be seen as a not-there-yet guidepost. Throughout our time together, I am sure to praise and thank students who continue trying to make adjustments after they do something poorly, and to remind students one-on-one, and as a class that they are allowed to redo their assignments. An essential element of students being able to use their failures to learn is feeling and really knowing in their hearts that asking for help is a smart strategy. I know that I have not always felt that way personally, and I talk to them about it on the very first day they are in my class. Luckily, a great example of me realizing that I can’t always figure things out on my own was when I was in middle school, so they can easily relate. I tell them the story of how I was at a summer-program in a class about personal development. Our teacher took us all outside where there was a long rope strung at waist height around trees and poles, creating a circle-ish shape. We were instructed to close our eyes, put our left hand on the rope, and feel our way around the circle, until we could find a way into the middle. Also, we could ask for help any time we needed it.

So, I walked for a while, and heard kids in the middle after a few minutes. I cheated, and peeked, and saw that I had been the whole way around at least once, and that some classmates were inside. I felt frustrated, because I was always one of the top performers in school. I figured I must have missed something, but continued my slow walk around. After what felt like hours, it was just me and another boy left outside the

circle. When the teacher told us we ran out of time and called us to come inside, I was embarrassed. He explained that the point of the activity was that sometimes, the only way to achieve your goals is to ask other people for help and guidance. You just can’t always do it on your own. To get into the circle, all I had to do was ask for help, and I’d be invited in. This lesson hit me hard that day and I use it to illustrate how even if you’re used to understanding everything right away, there will come a time when you just

don’t know what to do. A brave and mature thing to do is to admit this to yourself, and ask for the help you need. This year, let’s make it a point to reframe failure for ourselves and our students. Talk to them about your own failures and what you did to improve. Tell them about times you needed to ask for help. Encourage them to recognize failures, strategize ways to improve, and view these actions as strengths rather than weaknesses.

Then, watch them grow as learners, and most importantly, people!

? y it il b A l a ic n h c e T Creativity or

By Tim Pike

The Story of Jack Doe A little more than three months ago, Jack Doe graduated from Somewhereville High School in Pickaname, Ohio. Jack was an honor roll student throughout grades nine through twelve. He loved his art classes. He could draw still life portraits fairly well, make a mean paper mache mask, and even attempt a Jackson Pollock look-alike on canvas. Jack even took some graphic arts classes and became fond of the digital canvas. So much so, he decided he wanted to become a graphic designer. Confident in his abilities, Jack applied to Creative Minds College – a 30-minute commute from his home. Most of Jack’s summer vacation was spent camped on his bed, soaking up the cold air conditioning and teaching himself the ins and outs of the Adobe Creative Suite on his brand new MacBook. Jack was determined to boost his skills to a professional level in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. He was going to walk into Creative Minds College that fall with his technical skillset dialed in so well, he was sure to impress any professor. Jack’s first graphic design project in college was to create a magazine ad for a fictitious shoe company

showcasing their new, top-of-the-line basketball shoes. More than excited, Jack took his honed-in skills and went to work. First, he opened up Photoshop, removed the background from a stock basketball shoe image he downloaded from the Internet, and applied a sketch filter to it. Second, Jack grabbed some free basketball clipart from a vector art site he found online, dropped them in Illustrator, changed the colors, and sized them to his liking. Finally, Jack put all the pieces together in InDesign. He wrapped some text, added some drop shadows, beveled some edges, and even made a gradient background. Confident, Jack uploaded his completed magazine ad, poised to receive his first collegiate at-a-boy. The next day, Jack hopped on his laptop eager to see his grade. There it was, in all of its gloomy glory – 84-percent, C. Shocked, Jack blasted out of his dorm room and stormed over to his professor’s office, demanding an explanation.

Calmly, the professor pulled up Jack’s ad on his laptop and said, “Jack, your Photoshop background removal was great, your vector art inclusion was good, and your layout in InDesign wasn’t bad.” Annoyed, Jack asked, “So what’s the problem?” The professor paused, lowered his glasses, and said, “You forgot to be creative!” Jack mastered the software and technical skills before going to college, but forgot to fine-tune his creativity. He forgot to think of a creative solution to his project and, instead, relied solely on his technical skill. To be successful in the art and design industry, creative aptitude is paramount. All too often I have seen people who can follow a tutorial, drag and drop clipart, slap on a few filters and effects, but cannot creatively think outside of the box. After all, the operative word in “creative professional,” “Adobe Creative Suite” is “Creative.” So how do you teach students to be creative? First, it’s important to teach students that it is okay to think outside the box. A lot of stu-

dents may think there is right way and wrong way in creative thinking and may be apt to hold back in fear they may not be thinking or doing it the right way. Encourage students to think freely, emotionally, and creatively. Teach them to brainstorm and think of multiple solutions or ideas for a project. Teach them to take a risk when creating artwork. Many times, the risk is coming up with ideas that are absurd, out of the ordinary, original, controversial, or our own interpretations of the subject matter. When I was in college, I found a particularly interesting photograph in a magazine of an elderly man with large, pop-bottle glasses, fly collar, straw hat, and aged, tanned and leathery skin. The photograph intrigued me enough to paint a four-foot by four-foot painting of it. After I completed the painting, I stepped back, and analyzed it. I had captured the expression of the man, successfully applied the technical painting skills I had learned over the years, and even got a few canned critiques from my colleagues. However, at the end of the day, essentially all I did was copy a photograph from a magazine to canvas. There was nothing in

the painting that provoked emotion or comment from its viewers – positive or negative, good or bad. It was missing a creative twist; something that separated it from an ordinary portrait painting. Eager to add element that would force people to tilt their head, squint their eyes, put their hand to their chin, and ponder what they were looking at, I went to work. Thinking freely and arbitrarily, I added a random, organic shape that twisted through the clouds behind the man, and eventually rested on his shoulder. The negative space the organic shape created in the background unintentionally took the form of an anatomically correct human stomach…inspiring the title of painting – “Stomach Sky.” Granted, this wasn’t a revolution in creative painting, but the revision did evoke more interest, conversation and comment. Being creative doesn’t mean you have to reinvent logic, it just means you can think with arbitrary expression, raw emotion, and personal insight. “Open to interpretation” should be acceptable and encouraged. Encourage, “what if…” scenarios to students.

Involving the entire class or groups of students to come up with unique ideas and soltions to a project promotes peer interaction, sparks creative thinking, and creative competition. Students with an interest or show potential in a career in the arts, fine or digital, should be taught early in their childhood the importance of creativity in arts, how to be creative, or build on their innate creative abilities. High school art and design teachers who can instill early to students how to think outside of the box independently and with originality, steering clear of status quo, will be preparing them for success in the creative industries.

By Giovanna Orlando

Set your GPS Imagine, it’s the last week of school. You ask your students to write down a few words to describe your class. What would you like them to write? Recently, I noticed educators tweeting @burgessdave, author of Teach Like A Pirate, about the 5 Word GPS Challenge Before the year begins, take some time to consider which words you hope students will associate with your teaching. Post these somewhere you will see them each day, and use them as your guiding system throughout the year. Boost your accountability by sharing your GPS words with @burgessdave, me--@gorland2, and the entire Twitterverse, using #tlap or #summerls.

Windows 10: Initial Impressions

By Sean Whelan

with just a few updated sound and video driver downloads to get myself back to operation. It was a speedy process. When new operating systems are released, I tend to be an early adopter. I love exploring a new interface and seeing the new visual style. There is this feeling of putting together a puzzle that comes from tweaking settings, seeking out new drivers, and ultimately learning your way around the changes to your environment. Notification Received, Installation Begins

I was casually following the development of Windows 10 and the promise of a lighter, more efficient operating system. Windows 7 was a great operating system and I was a fan of Windows 8.1. Everything I was heading about Windows 10 made it sound like it would only improve my experience. The notification came across the bottom of my screen that I was able to download Windows 10. Normally, I prefer to wipe my system and start off fresh. I didn’t do this with Windows 10. I let the upgrade happen and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Everything worked

First Impressions Windows 10 initially feels like a hybrid of the best of Windows 7 and Windows 8. It’s a pretty natural jump if you were a Windows 8 user. If you used Windows 7 previously, there are some Metro elements from Windows 8 that will take a little adjustment. This time, they are packaged in the start menu when in desktop mode. Besides my desktop, I have a Surface Pro 3 that I upgraded to Windows 10. It’s mainly used for work. I like swapping between tablet mode and desktop mode so easily, as there are times where each environment is preferable, even when the keyboard is not attached. There have been a few times where the onscreen keyboard did not pop up automatically unless I rebooted. This was only if I disconnected my dock or surface keyboard without powering down. The only other funny issue that I have is that I am still getting used to clicking on the start menu for access to all of my programs. I admittedly got used to the menu being on the right hand size in Windows 8 with Metro. That being said, I prefer the Windows 10 start menu. It is much easier to navigate and get what you need quickly.

Where is Everything? There are a few changes to Windows 10 that took me a slight adjustment. Programs are called Apps now. You can still sort them alphabetically or by date installed. The latter is much more important to me, because it is a great way to find any new “surprise” programs that we all install from time to time. Overall, the apps area is a simple interface that works really well. The settings area is pretty important to me, as there are always tweaks that need to be made here so I have more manual control. The device manager is found by clicking on devices and scrolling all the way to the bottom. It opens up just like the screen that you are used to from all previous Windows operating systems. It is a screen I check early on with any upgrade to make sure everything has a working driver and is recongnized.

Final Thoughts I’ve been using the new OS for a little over a month as of this writing and have never found a need to go back. It feels like everything is here that I am used to from previous versions and it is a very speedy operating environment. Out of the starting gate, this feels right.

The accounts area allowed me to quickly attach this computer to my work domain so that I could access network printers and storage folders. I had no issue with any of those drivers once I had connected. Being able to be up and working again so quickly was very nice. OneNote was never a product that I had used much before. I do like the version built in to Windows that works with tablet pens. I found it very easy to organize noted that I have typed and written. The “note” button in the bottom right hand corner was a nice touch.

Enjoy this 1+ minute video clip that all of us can relate to from years ago

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