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April 2016


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. The goal is to grow a community of learners beyond the classroom, district, region to become global learners!

Thank you! NEOTIE GROUP www.neotie.org

From Left to Right - Andreas, Sean, Jennette, Ken, and Mike

Table of Contents

Click on the block below to jump to that article. 9 Tips for Effective Tech PD Page 4 Design Thinking Approach Page 6

SAMR: How We Integrate Page 8

App Evaluation Rubric Page 10

EDTech Anonymous

Page 12 What Netflix Taught Me Page 16

What I’ve Gained from Twitter

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15 Awesome Websites Page 23 Beachwood City Schools IT Dept.

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@MoreThanATech 9 Tips for Effective Technology By Mike Professional Daugherty Development Designing effective professional development for teachers is no small order. As many technology integrationists can tell you, teachers can be the worst students. In order to have an impact, your lessons must be relevant and engaging. Sound familiar? Here are nine tips to creating effective technology professional development sessions.

Know Your Audience

Effective professional development is personalized. It’s crucial to know who you are teaching to and what they’re skill level is. You’ll want to design your session to fit the skill set of the people in the room. A simple survey can go a long way toward helping you create a meaningful workshop. Prior to the meeting, send a short three question survey to everyone you expect to attend. The survey should include a question or two to gauge their level of knowledge in the application or tool as well as an inquiry into what they hope to learn during their time with you. Adjust your teaching outline based on what you learned from the survey. Start with a Clear, Focused Objective Teachers need to have a clear expectation of what they will be learning. The objective of the lesson should be well defined. For example, telling the group they’ll be learning “Google Forms” is vague. Instead, explain what the technology is and how they can use it. A better description to your audience would be “Using Google Forms to Collect Summative Data in Your Classroom.” Your session attendees receive a clear, focused explanation of what they can expect to learn.

Align with the Long Term Vision

Make sure that the topic of your professional development session is aligned with the long term vision of the school district. Too often these workshops are focused on the latest trend in education. Select topics that are associated with where the district is headed as it relates to technology. Be sure to let your audience know how this session is integrated with the overall plan.

Check Your Work

This one I see all too often in professional development sessions. I know I’ve been guilty of this myself. Here’s the scenario: The instructor goes to use a tool or demonstrate a feature and it doesn’t work because the application has changed since the last time they taught this lesson. Confidence in both the software and the instructor is immediately put in question, not to mention that the session outline is thrown off track by this unexpected bump in the road. Web apps of today are not like the traditional software packages of the past. These apps change, update, and add features on a regular basis without much notice. When you know you’re teaching a lesson, be sure to run through the application prior to the start. Five minutes of prep work can make a huge difference in the success of your session.

Create Actual Lessons

One of the most effective ways to engage teachers is to structure your session around creating a real lesson they can use in class. Making a sample assessment is good, but

an external webcam into the lower right hand corner as well. Taking it a step further, use a tool like EdPuzzle to embed questions into the video then analyze the response data as a way to improve your teaching style. Recording your sessions is a no hassle, free method to take your professional development to the next level.

Ongoing Support building an actual assessment is outstanding. A great way to ensure success is to ask participants to bring a worksheet or lesson with them from their classroom. Teachers constantly struggle with finding the time to learn new technologies. By building a session with their lessons and worksheets in mind, your audience will walk away with something that they can immediately use in their classes. This is time well spent! Additionally, the satisfaction of a small “win” with that technology will likely push them to use it again.

Time Means Everything

Another key to truly effective professional development is time. It is a constant battle to find time to work with new tools so it is critical that you provide time during your session to allow people to practice. Everyone needs time to work through the skills that you’ve just taught. Even the most tech savvy teachers like some time to tinker with whatever new tool or ability you’ve shown them. This gives the audience time to run through ideas they may have and in return, voice any questions or concerns they may arise.

Record Your Sessions

Use the technology you have at your disposal to record your presentations. This is a fantastic way to begin building an in-house library of professional development content. Additionally, those who attend the session can look back on what you did and exactly how you did it. You can use a screen capture tool like Screencastify to record your voice as well as your screen. You can even choose to embed video from

The teachers who take this back to their classroom need to feel supported. You’ll want to provide your audience with all of the resources they can go to for ongoing support. This can be something simple like who they can email with questions or it can be much more in-depth like an online library of help videos. Whatever the method is, make sure your teachers know they have a place to turn to for answers.


As you conclude your session, ask your participants to fill out a short feedback survey. The survey shouldn’t be more than five questions. You’ll want to give them the opportunity tell you what they liked about the lesson, what they didn’t like, and how you could refine your presentation. I recommend you make the survey anonymous to encourage honest feedback.

@askMsQ A Design Thinking Approach to Education By Sabba Quidwai In the book Linchpin, author Seth Godin opens by asking readers, “Are you a genius?” I’d like to follow this question by asking you two more, “Are you creative? Are you innovative?” There may be mixed answers coming to mind. Our initial response to these questions might be to think that’s not me, that’s someone else I know. Perhaps immediately images of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg come to mind. Therein lies the one of the greatest challenges we face as a community - our own preconceived notions of these terms genius, creative, innovative. By embracing our inner creative and innovative selves and by continuing to enhance these skills, we act as what Godin calls linchpins. A linchpin is a pin passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position. It’s so insignificant that most people don’t even know it’s there but without it the wheel falls apart and can’t operate. And when you translate this into economics they are a person vital to an organization. This is the ultimate creative problem solver who we all want to have on our team. Is anyone this all the time? “No, no one is a genius all the time, but every one is a genius sometimes,” says Godin.

I think all of us if we think hard enough can remember a time where we were able to solve a problem that no one else was able to. We were able to help in a situation that no one else was able to. Godin says that when we apply our creativity to the work we are passionate about we are creating art. It is through the creation of this art that we are able to make a difference in our work, in our organization, in our field, in our community and maybe even in our world. It’s about doing work that makes a difference and it feels good! The changes taking place so rapidly around us as a result of advances in technology can no longer wait for government and other bureaucratic organizations to create the circumstances that will foster an environment that support the paradigm shift needed in education. Our country can no longer survive on just a few outliers being creative problem solvers. We need everyone to bring out their creative innovative selves. Unfortunately many of us had not had much practice with this. Put simply, as Ken Robinson would say, we have been “schooled out of creativity.” How then can we begin? As the challenges and opportunities facing education grow more complex design thinking is one framework we can begin to apply that serves as an iterative process that employs design-based techniques to gain insight and yield innovative solutions for any type of challenge that we face as we strive to innovate and redesign learning for the 21st century. What differentiates design thinking from other frameworks is that it asks users to start with developing empathy. When trying to address challenges we often immediately jump to the

solution first. Often times imposing our own opinions and ideas upon others, ultimately leading to solutions that are not sustainable. By beginning with empathy you immediately focus your attention upon the users and their needs. It’s in this stage that often “what we think” is challenged by “what we learn.” It is these enlightening conversations and research that allow us to understand what gaps exist, allowing us to learn what needs to be designed. Once the initial empathy stage has been completed, the second step is to define the problem. This can be done in a short sentence like this one for example, “WHO needs WHAT because WHY.” This problem statement then guides the rest of the design process by creating a, “How Might We…” statement. From here, you enter the ideation phase where once again this framework sets itself apart from traditional problem solving methods. One reason why we often struggle to solve problems is that we aim for the perfect solution. Design thinking teaches that early on the quantity of ideas you come up with is greater than the quantity. You never know which idea will pan out and which ideas may merge together. It isn’t until the next stage, prototyping, that you hone in on one idea and build it out. As you test your prototype the key is to fail fast and fail forward. Design thinking is an iterative process and with each test of your prototype you can continue to

refine your solution. Often times an initial test will help refine the questions you ask of your users. By using the design thinking process to ask “how might we…” we enhance and develop this mindset and empower ourselves to be the linchpins of our organizations. How might we redesign the learning spaces in our classrooms to encourage more creativity and collaboration? How might we redesign professional development days to allow teachers to create interdisciplinary activities. How might we redesign the school schedule to allow for more project based learning? How might we redesign school to create future citizens who are indispensable to their organizations and their communities. This is a responsibility, not a choice. The success of our organizations, strength of our economy and the sustainability of our planet now demand that each and every person take on this role. To get started consider using the Design Thinking Workbook for Educators developed by IDEO.

@seanwhelantech SAMR: A Look at How We Integrate in the Classroom

By Sean Whelan

A New Model for a New Era Time is one of the most important commodities in education. Teachers who work hard in the profession, naturally want to try new lesson ideas to reach all learning styles. Time for lesson analysis often winds up being factor in understanding how to stretch and adjust lessons to give the largest amount of impact. The SAMR Model has only been around a few years but gives teachers an easy to use framework that drives moving classroom activities to more advanced levels of instruction. By using a framework to drive planning, time can be focused more on the development and growth of the lesson. What is SAMR anyway? Developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR Model is a way to look at how technology is currently used for classroom activities to evaluate how to build towards the higher levels of instruction that are often hard to reach. SAMR is broken into 4 stages, starting with substitution and ending with redefinition.

A Practical Example I recently had the opportunity to see a few classrooms using Lucidchart for word work with their students using Chromebooks. It made me think on where the various elements of the activity would fall within the model. Original Activity: Using the word root of the week, students will create words, write the definition and use it in a sentence. Substitution: Student using Lucidchart to group words by the word root. Students will write a definition and corresponding sentence. Augmentation: Students do the same activity in a shared Lucidchart. Each student is color coded. They each our responsible for their own words, definitions and sentences but create a team product with the support of peer collaboration. Modification: Students add pictures, audio and video to explain practical use of the words in their Lucidchart. When finished, the team product is made available to the class so students learn from peer creations. These can be used for classroom writing activities.

Redefinition: Lucidcharts become part of a larger class created dictionary that is used to create writing assignments throughout the year. The goal being to understand how vocabulary improves message delivery in writing. Encouraging Lesson Analysis In the current era of changing standards and evaluation, the focus on criticism of education needs to be balanced with building of what teachers know is being done right and benefits students. The SAMR Model embraces this. By starting with substitution, teachers can use this model to take proven practice and plug it into embedding technology into their classroom. This makes it easy to create lessons that are built off of a strong foundation of student learning. The model then provides an easy method to analyze that same lesson to allow for growth through the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This gives teacher’s an encouraging way to bring and enhance technology use in the classroom. It also connects to a model that teachers have been exposed to during their early foundation.

SAMR is a benefit because it isn’t about what is being done wrong in education. It is about taking what works and stretching it to high levels of instruction. There is nothing wrong with substitution of a great learning activity. Similarly, not every lesson will achieve or need to

achieve redefinition. The model succeeds in providing another avenue towards reaching those higher levels. It’s a model that is simple, smart and encouraging without sacrificing critical analysis. If you haven’t tried it, see how your lessons can benefit from plugging them into the model. Who knows where it may take your instruction? References: http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/ https://www.graphite.org/blog/samr-andblooms-taxonomy-assembling-the-puzzle

@gorland2 When searching for new educational apps, it’s helpful to have a few key considerations in mind. Here’s one way you can evaluate resources. [Created by Giovanna Orlando with Canva]

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@sdemichele EdTech Anonymous: A Twelve-Step Program to Overcoming Your Fear of Technology

fearfully and sometimes confidently--and what they hope to share are their personal experiences and own collaborative twelve steps to success. Because like any solid twelve-step program, it’s the shared stories that help us persevere and eventually triumph.

By Stephanie DeMichele, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Wickliffe City School District There are currently over 200 self-help organizations (from Alcoholics Anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous to Clutterers Anonymous) that employ the renowned and respected twelve-step guiding principles that assist members in overcoming those particular behaviors that stand in the way of personal growth and progress. In short, the execution of these steps serve as an instructional guide for a comprehensive transformation. Of course, I don’t dare to presume to possess either the salience or the eminence of the founders of the original twelve-step program, but as the majority of my gig as an instructional coach involves supporting the gradual integration of technology into the curriculum, it occurred to me that a structured and guided approach was already being implemented by our more deliberate and insightful teachers in Wickliffe. It also occurred to me that an audience of teachers most likely want to hear tried-and-true advice from real-time educators. And hence this story idea was born. When it comes to educational technology and 21st-century learners, it seems that we allow the fear of technology--or the fear of failing--to impede our own progress. Every single teacher I’ve coached has had that one soul-crushing moment of “I can’t do that. It won’t work.” While we’ve all been reluctant adopters at one point or another, we can’t let our fear of failing get in the way of our students’ path to success. Perhaps the best way to transform trepidatious teachers is to furnish a set of guidelines, or our own twelve steps. The following teachers in my district have taken steps to introduce technology into their curriculum--sometimes

Mary McKeon (top left) is currently in her fifteenth year teaching eighth grade science and language arts at WMS, and in her seventeenth year of teaching. Wendy Dugan (bottom left) is currently in her fourth year as a second grade teacher, and in her nineteenth year at WES, having previously taught technology and fourth grade. Logan Moritz (top right) is in his fifth year as an English teacher at WHS. He teaches Freshman composition and Film & Music as Literature. Stephanie DeMichele (bottom right) is in her second year as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the WCSD, having previously taught high school English, gifted and talented, and technology.

Q: Do you remember the first time you tried a new tech tool with which you weren’t familiar? Wendy: Oh, yes! I was teaching fourth grade and was asked to use our building’s first interactive whiteboard with my class. I was told, “Hey, we can get this technology for you, but you’re going to have to do this on your own,” so I watched a lot of the video training and did some of the chats, but it was the reaction of the students that motivated me to learn more about it--and to use it more effectively. Mary: I remember using the CPS clickers; they were very difficult to set up and figuring out

how to use them, so I didn’t use them again for a while. I was disenchanted because it seemed too hard. But then something better came along and I tried that. You have to keep trying to find something that works. Logan: At my old district, we had an online assessment program that also had a bunch of features that you could use to create assignments. It didn’t work very well, and there were a lot of bugs. Overall, I guess it wasn’t a very positive experience, but I still tried to put my best foot forward. I saw the utility in it and the potential it could have. I knew technology would improve, and I looked for solutions to take my classroom digital to prepare students for the future. Stephanie: It was 2008, and instead of writing book reports, my students wanted to create a shared wiki for their peers. I remember staying up until 3:30 a.m. the night before, reading the “rules” of how to create a wiki, checking the FAQs, and basically making sure that, in effect, I had all the answers for an air-tight lesson. And then disaster struck when editing and image issues arose and every student looked to me for the answers. I panicked. And then a student piped up, “Ms. D, I think I figured out the problem!” He became the image trouble-shooter; another student became the editing trouble-shooter. Then another student activated the social commentary function so that they could all help each other. They were empowered! From that moment on, whenever I introduced a new technology tool, I let the students be as much of the discovery process as I was. I refer to it as a “teacher-bordered” classroom. Q: What’s your approach for introducing a new educational technology tool? Wendy: Students are not afraid of technology, and they’re not afraid of making mistakes with technology; they just seem to navigate their way. A lot of times I’ll tell my students, “Hey, I found this thing I want us to try,” and we solve the problem together; it’s very motivating

for all of us. My philosophy is to leap before I look; think later. The benefit of this is that by taking risks and finding out things together, it breathes new energy into teaching and learning. We learn from our mistakes, so nothing is a risk when you learn from it. I never find myself saying “I wish I hadn’t done that.” Not knowing how to do something never prevented me from trying it. Any risks I’ve taken were either a learning experience or a success; never a failure. We need to remember we’re doing this for our students. When you’re vulnerable, you’re showing your students that you’re a learner, too! Leaping makes us all learners. Mary: I don’t know if it’s a personal approach, but I find that in this day and age, students are pretty good if you just point them in the right direction. They’re able to figure out things pretty quickly-- sometimes quicker than we can! Logan: I feel like I have to get in and experiment with it; playing in the sandbox is the only way I’m going to learn how to use a new tool. With the kids, I guess I take a similar approach: I make sure that I know enough that we can be productive in class, but I also like to have the kids experiment with it. Nine times out of ten, they already know pretty much how to do whatever I’m asking them to do, and that usually goes pretty well. If it doesn’t, then we just call it a learning experience and we talk about how to figure it out. Stephanie: Find the tool, see how it fits into what the students are learning, and let them roam around with it like free-range hens. I act like a border collie, gently guiding them in the right direction (if there is such a thing with creativity!), and encouraging them to be

Q: Can you share a recent story of technology integration in the classroom?

collaborative in problem-solving. My favorite part is when they teach me something new about the tool or platform or app. Q: What’s your philosophy: educational technology tool or purpose first? Wendy: While I have loads of tools I always want to try, I think of the content standards. One of the things about digital projects is they’re more dynamic, and each activity we try sparks a new idea. There are times when we use a tool and the kids think of a different way to use it with their learning as we move forward. I love when they come up with ideas on their own! Mary: When I see something that might be useful, I like to see if it will make my classroom become more efficient. Whether it’s student learning or grading or presenting, my first concern is, will it help us get to where we need to be? Logan: I design my curriculum over the summer and then try to find the best way I can teach it, so I suppose I’m a purposefirst person. On the other hand, if somebody suggests a new tool, I’m going to try to figure out if it’s applicable to what I’m doing; if it is, I’m going to at least try it once. I make it a point to at least try things once. Stephanie: Oh, I’ve always been a tool-first teacher, and I realize that causes curriculum leaders to clutch their pearls in horror, but I’m such a tech tool junkie! I subscribe to at least ten blogs, so I’m never at a loss for new things to try. However, instructional design is my passion, so once I find a new tool to test out, I adopt the SAMR approach with it and find a way to integrate it into something we’re already doing.

Wendy: Because my students use apps like Tellagami, Seesaw, and PuppetEDU, they’ve been invited to go into other classrooms and grade levels as tech leaders. When the students take leadership roles, it boosts their self-esteem. We have a growth mindset in our classroom: we believe that the brain can grow and change by taking on challenges, and that our classroom is a safe place to make mistakes. Mary: I was helping my son study for midterms, and I came across cK-12.org. It’s a tool that his teachers recommended to help him study. What piqued my interest about it was the number of topics at different levels-and it’s better than worksheets. It has good videos embedded in the lessons and has various activities for the students to use for each topic. The practice tools and activities really help my students master the material. Logan: The high school’s adoption of Google Classroom has been interesting. I didn’t really know what that was going to look like because I had never used it before, so I just played with it, and I created an assignment. It went very smoothly. Stephanie: I was recently invited by a Kindergarten teacher to introduce Seesaw--a digital journaling tool--to her students. Now, I’m a big believer that our 21st century students are intuitively tech-savvy, but I have to admit that I was blown away by how quickly they figured out screenshots, audio, and video with very little adult direction. Once they completed their assignment, we let them play in the digital sandbox, and their creativity was insanely astounding. I wish I had recorded them as they discovered and created. It’s a much-needed reminder that learners today are much, much different than they used to be.

Stephanie DeMichele is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for Wickliffe City Schools, a former high school English teacher, and a former gifted and talented coordinator who developed a paperless classroom providing for authentic learning opportunities. Her passion is the curriculum integration of engaging educational technologies. She’s the underappreciated mom to two teenage boys, a rabid U2 fan, and an avid Netflix and Hulu binger. You can connect with Stephanie on Twitter @sdemichele or at her website: techknowteacher.weebly.com


Professional Development is my thing. As a Technology Integrationist, I provide training to about 30 school districts in northeast Ohio. As a Google for Education Certified Trainer, I conduct Google professional development sessions all around Ohio and across the country. So it is safe to say I think quite a lot about training and what makes it good, what makes it bad, and what can make it better. In addition to being a Google trainer, I am also a “Cord Cutter”. For those not familiar with the term, this means I am one of the growing population of people who has cancelled cable television and now gets all of our media through streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, and such. Not only has this changed the method through which I get my entertainment, it has also altered the pace of how I view TV series with the ability to binge watch a show in a weekend. Recently I was considering this and began to see a connection between my changing viewing habits and professional development. See below for an explanation of this insight, and some ideas for how we can learn from this to improve the professional development we provide as trainers, and the professional development we receive as learners.

By Eric Curts Binge Watching Netflix has a unique way of releasing television shows. This applies to shows that have already aired on regular TV, as well as the shows that Netflix creates specifically for its own network such as Daredevil, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and others. When Netflix is ready to release a new season of a show they simply release the entire season all at one time. Boom! 13 episodes. 22 episodes. However many episodes there are in the season, everything is available to watch at once. This has lead to what many people call “binge watching”. Instead of having to wait a week (or more) between episodes of your favorite show, you can watch as many as you want as quickly as you can. It is not uncommon for someone to binge an entire season over the course of a week, or a few days, or even a single weekend.

(search frequency for “binge” in the United States “Arts and Entertainment” category While I have never been able to consume that much media in a weekend, I certainly take advantage of access to an entire series. I often tie my Netflix or Hulu viewing with a daily run on the elliptical machine, allowing me to knock off one episode per day of Jessica Jones, rather than spending the eight or nine months the season would normally have lasted. And I love the binge option. It is great to have the freedom to watch a season at my pace and within my schedule. However, sometimes I feel like something is missing.

Traditional Seasons Before binge watching was such an easy option, the most common way to view a television series was one week at a time. Even if we recorded the shows to DVD (or videotape way back in the day) we still had to wait a week (or more) in between episodes to see what happened next. And of course this is still true for new shows on traditional network and cable television. Although it can be frustrating to wait a week in between episodes of a favorite show, there are actually some interesting benefits to that arrangement. To illustrate this, let’s consider one of my all time favorite shows that I had to watch in week-by-week format when it first came out ... Lost. Lost was a fantastic show full of mysteries, complex characters, lots of questions, and not many answers. It is a show that I became deeply invested in. I often wonder now, if Lost had been available all at once to binge watch, would I have become so connected to the show. Here’s why… Since Lost only came out every week or so, I had lots of time in between episodes to think about the show I had just watched. In the week or two I waited for the next episode I did many things to dig deeper into the show: • I went online and read reactions from other fans in online forums. I would learn about their theories, their predictions, and bits of clues that I may have missed when I watched the episode. • I subscribed to and listened to Lost-themed podcasts. Again this exposed me to the ideas of

other viewers, and sometimes even included interviews with the cast or writers for some inside scoop. • I debated and discussed the latest episode with coworkers, friends, and family. It was the “watercooler talk” at the office. • Sometimes I rewatched the episode to see something I may have missed the first time through. • And of course I thought a lot about the show and developed my own theories. As a result I became much more involved in the show, remembered more from past episodes, got more out of new episodes, and to this day still consider its themes and stories.

However, I can’t help but wonder if we lose some benefits when we stop at “one and done”.

Professional Development

Lately I have had the privilege to begin offering more and more such trainings. One example is a technology integration “course” that lasts over a period of four or more months. Over that period of time I get to meet with the participants multiple times in person, as well as connecting online. • The teachers learn about technology integration models, standards, and tools. • They develop a project for their students that integrates technology on a higher level. • They get feedback and suggestions for the group to help design the activity. • They conduct the project with their students. • They come back to share with the group how the project went, including the good, the bad, and how to improve the activity for the future. This sort of extended PD builds relationships, a deeper understanding of the technology topics, a practical application of the concepts, and a strong foundation to build upon for future growth.

So how do these two methods of consuming television shows relate to professional development? First, I would argue that a lot of technology professional development is much like binge watching a Netflix TV series. That is, most PD is often “one and done”. • You may go to a tech conference for one or two days, consume a wide range of technology sessions, and then head home. • You may come to one of my Google Boot Camps in the summer for four or five days of intense Google Apps training, and then continue on with your summer plans. • You may watch one of my edtech webinars, and then go about your day. Just like binge watching a Netflix show, there is nothing inherently wrong with this model. We are so fortunate to have so many high quality options for technology professional development, and many that are flexible enough to fit into our busy schedules.

Just like watching Lost one week at a time, how much more investment and impact can we get by extending professional development over a period of time? What if we have time to process what we have learned, to share our ideas with others, to hear what others have discovered, to test out and apply the new concepts, to have a continuing thread of inquiry over a period of time, to have expectations to come back and build upon what we have begun? How much more would that transform our teaching practice?

Extend - Don’t Just Binge So how can we apply these ideas as providers of PD and/or as learners? Below are three options to consider for improving professional development. 1) Look for extended opportunities When possible, look for or create professional development opportunities that carry on for a length of time. They could be in person, online, or a hybrid of both. Meetings could be weekly, monthly, or on some other recurring schedule. Common examples may be book studies, online courses, study groups, and more. Whatever the case, the focus should be on learning, practicing, reflecting, and building on what you have learned. 2) Share with your PLN Another option, regardless of the PD you partake in, is to share what you learn with your Personal Learning Network (PLN). Just like the “watercooler talk” for Lost, share your new ideas with other educators on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Edmodo, and other social networks. Not only will you help others with the resources you share, but many times they will help you stretch and grow with their perspectives. 3) Apply what you learn Finally, there is nothing wrong with any form of PD as long as you do something with it. Go to that conference, attend that boot camp, watch that webinar. Just make sure you apply what you have learned. Challenge yourself to take the new ideas from the PD and apply them in your classroom, test them out, reflect on them, and then take those ideas into your next session. In effect you will be building your own extended course where you work toward your own personal learning goals.

Conclusion As I mentioned before, I really am glad that Netflix allows me to watch a show as quickly or slowly or sporadically as fits my schedule. Likewise we are so fortunate to have so many professional development opportunities to fit our needs, interests, and lives. I just want to encourage everyone to look for and to create professional development that gives us time to process what we have learned, apply the concepts in a practical way, reflect on the process, and build upon our growth. Now if you don’t mind, season 2 of Daredevil is streaming on Netflix and I have some watching to do! (Note: If you are looking for free edtech professional development, please feel free to check out my webinars at www.controlaltachieve.com/webinars Just make sure to apply what you learn!)


When I first heard of Twitter, I dismissed it as yet another time sink, one that I would never get any use from, and one that I should probably stay away from. I was a high school teacher at the time, teaching social studies (mostly US History and Economics) at Nordonia High School. Some of my students suggested I should sign up, and I promptly dismissed them.

And then something happened. I reached a wall, in terms of resources. As a new teacher, and one that wanted to innovate, reach new highs, and bring the world to my students, Twitter opened those doors for me. I can’t remember now how I made the leap of faith to get started, but once in, I was hooked. Resources, connections, ideas – all started to flow into my Twitter stream. I was no longer alone*, and could share with and learn from anyone, anytime – even teachers from other continents. So much potential. *You’re really never alone… and I had plenty of help, colleagues, and others to support my journey as a beginning teacher. But in terms of reaching out, and connecting with thousands, Twitter is unmatched. And then I found the Twitter chats. I started meeting regularly with other social studies teachers in #sschat on Monday nights to discuss anything under the sun – assessment, units of study, resources to teach history, and sharing everything. If you

haven’t experienced a Twitter chat, you’re really missing out, as lots of people, just like you, meet in the Twitterverse every day to discuss exactly the same problems (and solutions) you’re facing. Once I really started tapping into the many benefits of Twitter, it served as a go-to for lots of projects, resources, and ideas. On multiple occasions, when an activity failed in first period, I would ask for assistance and help from my PLN on Twitter, and 7-10 people would get right back to me with courses of action. It was like having a coach, right there in my pocket, for all things teaching social studies. Wonderful. Over the years, I’ve used Twitter differently. No longer in the classroom, I now use Twitter to connect with other professionals in the same field as I am, communicate in the backchannel for whatever conference or meeting I’m attending (using #hashtags, of course), but more than anything, sharing all the wonderful things we do in my current district. Twitter is one of the fastest, most transparent tools for getting the message out. I can snap a photo of a wonderful activity, and tweet it for the world to see in less than 30 seconds. What’s not to love? Sure, you say… “I don’t wanna know what you had for breakfast!” And that’s fair. I seldom share things from my personal life, but when I do, it’s for the sole benefit of sharing with society, a greater group, to grow one other person, to grow many, and most of all, to grow myself as a person and global citizen. It’s about responsibility, more than anything else. Come on, the bread I bake is delicious, and you know you want some…

Twitter is a life changer. Something not to ignore. Powerful. Dangerous. Just like the ice in Frozen. But so worth it. If you haven’t started, you’re looking at unlimited, unrealized potential. And that’s nothing to trifle with. So get started today. Sign up, start sharing – it’s only when data becomes universally accessible that we all benefit. Good or bad. Just do it. Here’s to another 10K tweets – can’t wait to see where I’ll be then.

Who to Follow?? Sometimes it’s really tough to find that one particular Twitter feed that will change the way you approach a topic, a system, or your thinking. Sometimes it’s not a person, but a group that helps you grow as a professional. Sometimes you don’t even follow the person you gained some much appreciated advise or suggested from, but you participated in an EdChat. This page was created to just give a few ideas about different people/groups/chats to follow to improve your instructional technology use and leadership. Although it would be nice to have a bio for each person, it is important that you check out the different accounts and determine if it’s someone you’d like to follow and not have a “bias” based on any bio someone would share! You are going to be pleased you did!


@AaronPena @AliceKeeler @AngelaMaiers @AngelaWojtecki @AskMsQ @BeachwoodTech @BethHouf @CarriSchneider @Cybraryman1 @DrNeilGupta @E_Sheninger @EricCurts @GarthHolman @GOrland2 @JakeMillerTech @JenWilliamsEdu @KarlyMoura @KathySchrock @KleinErin @KristenSwanson @MandyVasek @Morethanatech @Mr_Johansson @Pernilleripp @RMByrne @SalimaHudani @ScottKinkoph @SDeMichele @SeanWhelanTech @ShakeUpLearning @ShannonMMiller @SMGaillard

Educational Chats #1to1techat #21stedchat #ADEchat #BFC530 #edchat #edteach #EdTechChat #EdThink #elemchat #ieedchat #Nt2t #OhioEdChat #gafechat #ipadchat #digcit #educoach

By Mike Daugherty & Nancy Kevern

Click on any of the sites to connect!

Beachwood City Schools IT Department

By Alex Mier, Vytas Saldunas and Jason Pinoniemi Over the last four years, with the backing and full support of administrators, Beachwood has revolutionized its infrastructure and support framework. This was made possible through teamwork and this consistent approach: address the task so that it done right the first time, is future proof, and most importantly, addresses the needs of the school. The first step to make this possible is to build a solid foundation for the department, including good documentation, a solid service desk ticketing solution, real-time 24x7x365 monitoring, and open lines of communication between educators and IT personel. At Beachwood, all staff members can access the helpdesk at any time with a toll free number, or via email to the service directly. In this way all service requests are

captured, an alert is sent to the team for the new request, and then it is assigned to the appropriate resources. Beachwood uses the best of both solutions to track all things IT. User requests are managed as a service ticket and will stay open until the contact’s request has been satisfied. The system is also vital for documentation of procedures, renewals, support vendors details, licensing, and much more. There is no greater obstacle to quickly completing tasks in IT than a lack of information or documentation. Although this is not a glamorous aspect of IT, it is the most important step and often overlooked as it is time consuming In addition, Beachwood has the most advanced automation and monitoring solutions available. Beachwood has automated solutions deployed for lighting, camera, HVAC, physical access, and digital signage systems. Automation, when possible, is leveraged to reduce administration costs and reaction times enabling Beachwood to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. By properly identifying and addressing inefficiencies within the IT infrastructure, Beachwood’s Data Center uses 80% less power and cooling then it did four years ago while providing more than three times more resources, and 500% more bandwidth. To ensure educators have access

and teachers and staff know it will be connected with a reliable network.

to the tools they need, when they need it, Beachwood leverages a highly availability virtual infrastructure and a robust network. They are monitored and managed in real time 24x7x365 by both Beachwood’s and NetOps Consulting teams who work hard to ensure best practices are being adhered to across all seven layers of technology. Many other IT Departments will only leverage these tools to lock down or restrict the students and staff. Beachwood allows more freedom then most IT departments. Restrictions are limited to preventing clear security issues and inappropriate content. The focus is to provide as much access for students to technology and electronic information as possible. Beachwood has a state of the art wireless infrastructure providing high speed Internet access for the students and the community. This provides the opportunity to incorporate technology,

Beachwood is dedicated to ensure the students have all the resources they need to receive the highest quality education. This unique collaboration between Beachwood staff and NetOps Consulting has allowed Beachwood Schools to embrace IT and reach its goal of ensuring there is no ceiling or barrier to what the students can do or achieve. There is no doubt Beachwood IT staff, students, educators, and administrators embraces this challenge and work every day to keep Beachwood technology on the front line of excellence. Please contact Beachwood Schools if you’d like more information. Vytas Saldunas started at Beachwood Schools in 2011. He has been working in the IT field for 19 years, and in schools for 15 years. Vytas has a Master’s Degree in Network and Communications Management. He is a Google Enterprise Admin, Certified Apple Tech, Microsoft MCP, ChromeBook Technician, Apple Mobile Device Technician and Network Technician. Jason Pinoniemi started working at Beachwood Schools in 2011. He has been working in the IT field for 17 years and in schools for 16 years. Jason has a Associates Degree in Electronics with ITT. He is a Certified Google Enterprise Admin, Certified Apple Technician, Windows Technician, and ChromeBook Technician. Alex Mier started consulting for Beachwood in 2009. He has been working in the IT field for 23 years, and in school for 6 years. For Beachwood he is a Wireless Architect and an Engineer in Networking, Server Infrastructure, and Storage.

NEOTIE Neotie.org

Profile for Beachwood Schools

Neotie Magazine Issue 3  

Neotie Magazine Issue 3  


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