Updates from November, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Andrew T Schwab 11:48 am on November 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Three Wishes for G Suite (for Education) 

    As I sit here at Google getting an update on their awesome Google for Education tools, I have a few features on my wish list:

    1. Auto Play Embedded Videos in Google Slides – I don’t think I need to explain this one.
    2. YouTube Red for Education – AdFree Youtube, duh!
    3. Create a real Groups platform – We need a robust Group Collaboration platform, think hybrid Sites & Groups. Or better yet, make Google+ more usable for group/enterprise collaboration with support for under 13 year olds and walled garden collaboration in school.

    And for a personal one: Please solve the email black hole when it comes to project and task management. Bring the power of the big blue Share button to gmail – Sharable Gmail Labels or a way to send Email to a Google Doc to be shared as an action item.

    What would you wish for?

    • Ryan 1:30 pm on November 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great list! I have been asking for Google Classroom to let me choose what calendar is used with their product. I already have a calendar for all of my classes and I do not need a calendar just for one class.

      Ad Block Plus extension is pretty great for blocking ads on youtube.

      How about text boxes in google docs. Yes you can use them in drawings that can be inserted in docs, but having a text box feature would be awesome.

  • Andrew T Schwab 7:30 am on November 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Thinking Out Loud About Instructional Leadership 

    What does Good Instructional Leadership look like?

    It’s a question that has come up often in the past year. As a leadership team in our district we’re reading through Hacking Leadership by Joe Sanfelippo (#gocrickets) and Tony Sinanis, which has great practical ideas for education leaders. But what does that look like when applied to instruction?

    During one of our back and forth brainstorming discussions, this came up:

    “It comes down to regular formative assessments (not just 3 benchmarks) and a leader who can ask guiding questions, inspiring teachers to do better”


    That’s a pretty powerful concept right there. Powerful in it’s simplicity and powerful in it’s focus on student learning. This got me thinking about what’s really important for learning and how do we make sure we’re focused on supporting that as instructional leaders.

    Supporting learning really comes down to building a culture around a common vision for what learning looks like. We aren’t all fortunate enough to build a school culture from the ground up (like @jcorippo & @mwniehoff) but we can all strive for a student centered vision of learning for our own schools and districts that can help frame (or re-frame) the current culture. A vision where everyone believes in success for all children, where we have high expectations like:

    • Every child will read at grade level by 3rd grade.
    • Every 5th grader will make an impact in their community for the better.
    • Every 8th grader will be part of a team that problem solves world challenges for a better future.

    Where we come together around action statements that look like:

    Students will – Be present and engaged, ask tough questions, explore big ideas, have fun and change the world for the better.

    Teachers will – Create engaging learning experiences for all students, assessing early and often, using the data to provide individualized student support towards standards mastery.

    Principals will – Support teachers through reflection and guided questions that inspire teachers to move all students towards standards mastery.

    Staff will – Provide support, inspiration and guidance while removing obstacles to learning along the way.

    I guess for me, good instructional leadership looks like building/supporting/promoting/growing a community of dedicated educators, support staff and parents around doing what’s best for kids.

    So what would your definition of Good Instructional Leadership look like?

    • Arnie K. 12:05 pm on November 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It would look like a district in which the school board actively worked for everything you presented in this post.

      Boards are way too hands off.

  • Andrew T Schwab 8:00 am on November 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s Still About 1:1 #CETPA2016 


    Back in April, Adam Welcome wrote a blog post that really got me thinking entitled It’s No Longer About 1:1. As I’ve been an advocate for 1:1 in schools since 2009, I immediately drafted a response, one that I uncharacteristically then let sit for several months so I could stew on it a bit more. In that time, it looks like the post has gone away, but my thoughts on it still remain. This is what Adam said that got me thinking:

    “Even if you have the money to go 1:1, I’m not sure it’s the best idea right now moving forward. Showing students a multi-pronged approach with collaborating, creativity, problem solving, investigation, art and other relevant skills is important. Leveraging those needed skills in different ways is important as it builds different capabilities for our kids. Being able to transition from Google Apps to coding an obstacle course as part of their math instruction, to taking an iPad around campus on a picture walk looking for different angles or types of trees to include on a presentation are all really important skills that produce well rounded kids.”

    What caused me to pause in my initial response was that I agree with Adam on the importance of building diverse opportunity learning environments. Many valuable learning activities in class do not require every student to have access to their own device and we should be providing opportunities for students to have a variety of technology tools embedded into the learning. But I also believe that providing every student with an internet connected device must be a fundamental educational tenet given how we access information today. That doesn’t mean that kids should be on the devices all the time, but their device should be available to access information when and where needed. I think it’s too soon to stop advocating for 1:1 as not everyone is there yet.

    Not going 1:1 limits options for learning. A whole class collaborative essay with real time teacher feedback is hard to do without 1:1. Blended learning is hard to do without 1:1. Flipped learning is hard to do without 1:1. Real time classroom assessment with data capture is hard to do without 1:1.

    “What do your classrooms look like? What do you want your classrooms to look like? What can your classrooms look like? More importantly – how can you leverage the money you have or don’t have to give your kids a well rounded technology experience that will build their skill level in many different ways.”

    The crux of Adam’s argument really revolves around funding. Fund 1:1 or fund 1:2 or 1:4 with Spheros, 3D Printers and other collaborative tools added to the classroom. Funding is a real issue for us in CA, since we have no dedicated funding source for technology and priorities are set by individual districts. Unfortunately, 1:1 is still seen in many districts as beyond their reach. This is where I struggle with what Adam was saying; if a district can afford 1:1 and chooses not to go that route, then I think they are constraining what I consider to be a foundational element of the modern learning environment.

    Another reality to consider is state online adaptive testing. We call it the CAASPP here in California. Every 3rd-8th grade student needs to feel comfortable and confident with navigating their device, accessing information and responding to assessment questions online. This is infinitely harder if students don’t have access to their own device.

    Spheros and 3D Printers are cool. I think things like Spheros, LittleBits, 3D Printers, Lego Robotics, Drones and their like are the modern day equivalent of the Computer Lab. We should be providing students access to these experiences. But right now, these tools are still relatively expensive, specialized tech that require a lot of care and feeding (support and technical know how) just like the Computer Labs of old. There are definitely times when being in a 1:2 or 1:4 device to student based activity is better suited to the learning objective. Classrooms should have multiple types of devices for learning, especially for Multi-Media projects. On this, I totally agree with Adam, but we shouldn’t compromise on a base line expectation of 1:1. An Internet connected device for every student is the “textbook required” equivalent for the 21st Century. Thankfully, the devices can do so much more than just access information and it’s our job as educators to make sure they are used for more than electronic versions of worksheets and textbooks.

    This disruptive path we are on in education will continue. Fundamentally, how we access information has changed. Constraining access to information in a classroom does not help students learn how to successfully navigate a world of abundant information. Until classroom devices are as ubiquitous as textbooks, paper and pencils, we can’t let go of the goal of ensuring every kid has access to an Internet connected device for learning.

    • Arnie K. 12:01 pm on November 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps you are too benevolent to schoolsand the funding process for tech. California’s limited money stream should be encouraging creative solutions. Instead, I see only a general spirit of throwing up our hands since nothing we do as teachers or as a school is seen as making a difference. This leads to a “don’t rock the boat attitude”.

      Secondarily, some of the same money that goes for salaries would/does go for technology so there is a disincentive for teachers to advocate for tech spending since it means more work for teachers to adapt to new tech and less pay at the end of the month.

    • Lisa 2:28 pm on November 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that 1:1 is the way to go (whether district provided or BYOD) – every student needs their own device. We give every kid a pencil…

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