Thursday, February 22, 2018

Unpacking the TPACK Model for lesson design

The education world has created many models of learning, from Bloom's Taxonomy to the P21 Framework, there are models that fit pretty much any theory of teaching and learning that has ever existed. Despite this, most models work to structure learning in the same way: a continuum of lower to higher level thinking. As teachers, these models can be useful for structuring lessons, but the focus on student learning doesn't always correlate well when trying to visualize good lesson design. The TPACK model attempts to bring together the most vital pieces of lesson design into one easy to follow graphic.
The TPACK model breaks a lesson into three parts: Content knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge, and Technological knowledge. While good lessons can be created with portions of this model, use of the entire trinity yields lessons that plan for the greatest student experiences. Unpacking TPACK can help in designing the best lessons possible. 

Content knowledge is a vital part of teaching. If the teacher is unsure of the subject matter, chances are that the students will not effectively learn about it.  The most direct application of content knowledge tends to be a lecture based class, a method that makes use of the teacher's knowledge to disseminate information to students. Taken without the other two facets of the TPACK model, a focus on content while excluding pedagogy and technology makes student centered instruction much more difficult. 

Second in the TPACK trinity is Pedagogical knowledge. Without understanding how students learn, it is difficult for a teacher to achieve any goals they may have. The traditional methods of education combine the pedagogical and content portions of this mode to create curricula. These may be student or teacher centered, and may or may not provide ways for all students to access and engage with content in ways that work best for them. 

Technological Knowledge:
Technological Knowledge represents the last of the three components of TPACK. it is also the newest. While new educational technologies have always existed (pencils anyone?) The speed and impact of current trends in educational technology make knowledge of technology and how to best implement it incredibly important to our teaching practice. Technology on it's own is a gimmick that will not create strong learning opportunities, but combined with strong pedagogy and content knowledge, it creates opportunities to personalize learning for all students. Prior to having good access to educational technology, teachers could customize learning for all students by creating tiered lessons, providing different resources, and alternate means of assessment, but in order to do this well, it required a large time investment. Today, learning technologies allow teachers to create banks of resources, assessments, and assignments that can be differentiated based on student need. It also enables greater collaboration and sharing of resources, expands methods of demonstrating knowledge, and provides opportunities to strengthen the effect that good pedagogy and content knowledge have. 
Want to know more about TPACK or work to build your skills in any of the three categories of TPACK?  Contact your friendly local ed-tech coach!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Personalization- The Growing Reality in Westerville City Schools

The Goal... to be an educational leader who collaborates with stakeholders to better personalize professional learning for your staff.  

The Goal... to be a adult learner who continuously grows in an environment of professional learning that is designed to meet your needs and with your input.

Sound out of reach?  It isn't- it is becoming a growing reality in Westerville City Schools.  Inspired by their own professional learning, like Leadership in Blended Learning, the Future Ready Institute, and knowledge about how adult learners grow best professionally, WCS is gradually replacing leader-centered staff meetings and other professional learning opportunities with a                                                       more personalized, customized and individualized approach.

Teachers leading staff meetings by sharing practices that are working in their classrooms? 

Teachers reflecting on what they need as a learner to improve instructional practice to benefit their students?

Building leaders reflecting on how to make learning opportunities more meaningful?

Building leadership teams working together to involve staff in how we can achieve these goals?

Yes- these things are all happening!  We are making amazing strides toward personalization very quickly.  

You may be asking yourself....How do we get started?  What are the steps to move in this direction?  How do we do this together, as a community of learners?  

We would like to share this Future Ready Personalized Professional Learning Self-Assessment which defines elements of personalized professional learning that many of us are working toward.  It's a tool to help grow our thinking and spur further conversations.  If you have any questions about personalization of professional learning, contact your Ed Tech Team.  We are supporting this work each and every day and can connect you with a growing group of educators who believe in the importance of this journey to personalize education- for everyone!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Schoology's Big Blue Button Feature is Now Called Schoology Conferences

Looking for a professional solution for video conferencing within Schoology? Schoology Conferences provides real-time sharing of audio, video, slides, chat, and screens. Schoology Conferences enables schools and organizations to deliver a high quality learning experience to remote students.
You can use this app to schedule video conferences with your students and take advantage of these great features:
  • Interactive Whiteboard
  • Integrated VoIP
  • Presentation Mode
  • Video Conferencing
Check it out in the app store.
BigBlueButton is now Schoology Conferences

Friday, January 19, 2018

Clint Eastwood and the Road to Individualized Professional Development.

At Genoa Middle School, staff meetings look a little different this year. Principal Mike Hinze and Assistant Principal Chris Poynter are redefining professional development for teachers. The goal? To address the disconnect between how we best learn and how pd sessions are conducted. In most measures of teacher quality, the ability to differentiate and individualize learning are a major focus for evaluation, yet most teachers attend pd sessions that are presented in a one size fits all approach. We hope to document the journey that Genoa is making to a new style of professional development through this blog.

Initial Steps: 

Redefining pd takes some brainstorming to wrap one's mind around. As with any major shift in curriculum and teaching style, thought needs to be put into the process so that resources can be gathered and roadblocks can be anticipated. Genoa's first step was to lay out the structure that would be followed to individualize teacher development. Since all teachers are required to go through the OTES process, the goal setting piece of teacher evaluation would be used to generate goals for individualized pd as well. To serve as a check on progress, there would be some sort of deliverable or progress check at specific intervals during a pd cycle. Teachers would also be responsible for tracking their time and progress and reporting out at these progress checks. At the end of the cycle, share outs would take place to ensure that all staff members benefit from the learning that each teacher is doing.  Time frames for these sessions and more details will be developed as the cycles are proposed and developed by teachers. Possible topics were brainstormed and a library of resources for possible topics was begun using existing pd courses in Schoology, book studies, websites, and through leveraging district departments that are responsible for the areas that these topics might cover.

Involving Staff: 
The next step in the individualized pd process was to involve teachers, get feedback, and wipe the pd slate clean. A staff meeting was held where building culture around pd was discussed. Very quickly it became evident that staff members wanted more voice and choice in the content of pd sessions.  An activity where staff identified The Good, the Bad and, and the Ugly, was conducted and results were tabulated. Good pd (worthwhile and relevant) was identified as well as bad (not great, but salvageable) and ugly (stay far far away from this).

See? Clint Eastwood made an appearance!

Interestingly, there was mixed feedback about many of the pd sessions of past years. The most common items in all three categories were very similar. This pointed to the need for pd to be individualized so that, according to Chris Poynter, "teachers can grow exactly where they need, and have interest, in a way that best benefits teaching and learning for the students of Genoa Middle School"

The next staff meeting reviewed the feedback from the Clint Eastwood Exercise
 and formulated the next steps in the process: The Expectation

The Expectation: 
Teachers have been asked to choose a topic that is needed and interesting that pertains to their classroom practice. They will generate a challenging, attainable, and measurable goal for their growth.  From here, they will develop a learning plan as well decide how to demonstrate the impact on students. The goal is to complete this by the end of this school year in order to hit the ground running next year. Teachers used a forum to submit topic ideas for PD and talk about the different possibilities that these offered. 
The forum generated an expansive list of options as well as strong rationales as the the value of these topics including Social Emotional Learning, Technology, models of teaching like stations, PBL,  or centers, writing, and student culture. Teachers can form groups or work individually to find the topics that are most important to them and their teaching. 

Future Steps: 
Staff members will be developing their plans through the rest of this year and begin implementing them next year. The successes and difficulties of this process will be an important part of demonstrating the value of the different proposals and how they align with teacher's goals for their professional growth.  Stay tuned for more information on the development of the requirements for deliverables, how reflections and feedback will be incorporated, and other details!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Showcase: On the Journey to Personalizing Learning

Beth Eddy, a chemistry teacher at Westerville South High School, has been interested in creating customized learning opportunities for her students throughout her career. In the videos below, Beth talks about her journey to create these opportunities and shows how she has harnessed the power of technology to expand upon her efforts. Beth does not view herself as a "techie" teacher, but her passion for helping her students build ownership in their learning and approach the content in ways that make sense to them has driven her to make creative use of the digital tools available to her. In the first video, Beth takes you through her process, talking about how she came to creating a learning environment that allows students to learn at different paces and through different methods, and discussing some of the challenges and successes that she has had along the way. 

In the next video, Beth takes you on a tour of her Schoology course. You will see how she has set up her course, what Schoology tools she uses to deliver varied content to her students, and how her course design encourages students to reflect on who they are as learners and how they can be successful in her class. 

The way that Beth has designed her course allows her students to take part in classroom activities when they are ready, helps them reflect upon their understanding throughout the learning process, and encourages them to truly master the material. And she isn't done yet! Beth is continually reflecting upon her own practice, trying out new ideas, strategies, and tools to further engage her students and individualize their learning. As Beth points out, success is a messy business, but the messiness makes it all the more rewarding.

Interested in learning more about how you can develop ways to customize learning opportunities for your students? Contact your Ed Tech Coach today!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Digital Learning Day 2018 is Coming!

Digital Learning Day (DLDay) 2018 is just over a month away on February 22. This year, the goal is to highlight even more examples of how great teaching paired with technology can improve student outcomes. 

Help us get there with these two easy steps:
  1. Add your #DLDay 2018 event to the official DLDay map.
  2. Send the tweet below tagging @OfficialDLDay to have your celebration highlighted on Twitter.
    Twitter Logo Click to Tweet: We're on the @OfficialDLDay map for Digital Learning Day 2018! Are you? Add your event next to ours: #DLDay
Check out the #DLDay hashtag on Twitter to see events like yours, meet fellow educators participating in DLDay, and build your professional learning network.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Augmented Reality Sandbox

Westerville City Schools have a new educational tool available to use in classrooms — the Augmented Reality Sandbox.

If you attended Starry Night last Spring you may have seen the Augmented Reality Sandbox in action. The Westerville Partners for Education, with the help of Westerville North High students, created the ARS and it has been visiting Westerville Schools. The ARS has impacted student instruction at Fouse and Hawthorne so far, with future dates at Hanby, Pointview, and Huber Ridge.

The ARS is a dynamic, hands on tool to address learning objectives such as landform identification, the effects of forces on landforms, contour lines, topographic maps, erosion, weathering, and watersheds, just to name a few.

Basics- What is an Augmented Reality Sandbox?

The ARS uses a projector, Kinect video gaming camera and a computer running the specific program. The camera continuously reads a 3D image that tells the computer where the surface of the sand is at any time. The computer takes this depth of information and adds contour lines and color depth coding. When the sand is moved the projected image is updated. Lowest areas are projected as simulated water.

Students are able to make hills, mountains, islands, plateaus, rivers, and even add human elements like small structures and dams by moving the sand with their hands or small scoops. Students can simulate rain entering the watershed by making a “rain cloud” with their hands. It is also possible to make “waves” using a small ball or a piece of cardboard. Users can also add a greater quantity of “water” or “drain” the ARS with different keystrokes.

One of the most captivating qualities of the ARS is the hands on component. Students discover many concepts quickly and make fabulous connections on their own. There are lots of structured ideas hitting on everything from gravity to topographic maps to the surface of the moon and impact from meteors to art concepts.

Students also benefit from experiencing a new way to solve problems and a real life example of using code to create genuine projects and activities like the creators of the ARS.

For lesson plans, integration ideas, or to host the ARS  please contact your Ed Tech Coach!

#WCSWhereUBelong, #WestervilleWay, #augmentedreality

Monday, December 11, 2017

Showcase: Integrating Technology into the Bridges Elementary Math Curriculum

The new Bridges math curriculum offers opportunities for student engagement and technology integration through the use of the Digital Display Materials and creative use of student responses. Google Cast for Education is a powerful and easy to use tool that allows teachers and students to "cast" their screens from any Chrome browser to the projector. The only requirement is a computer attached to the projector and laptops in the classroom. This allows the teacher and students to show their work without being tied to the desktop at the front of the room allowing for more interactive work, the ability to move throughout the room, and even giving students a way to virtually raise their hand when they have something to share.
Image result for diagram of cast for education 
At Fouse Elementary, Heather Griffith has been using technology in amazing ways to meet student needs and increase engagement. She has graciously allowed us to record her lesson and has also provided the lesson plan materials that she used in her planning. In this lesson you will see students working in several ways: First students work in small group or on their own while others work with the teacher in a group for intervention. When new content is presented, the students provide input and discussion by sharing their work with the class and working together to identify and learn from mistakes.
 There are two videos attached to this post showing important aspects of the lesson and how it was planned. If you are interested in using this lesson, materials are attached to this post, As always, if you would like to learn more about any of the strategies or tools used in this Showcase, contact your Ed-Tech Coach for more information.

Video 1: See the Entire Class Period 
This video shows the process the entire class period followed from intervention/ group work through the main lesson. Text boxes can be used to navigate to different sections of the lesson. (Length 27:40)

Video 2: Tech Integration Highlights
This video shows how technology can be integrated into the Bridges curriculum from the teacher side as well as from the student side. Again, text boxes are included to ease navigation to different areas of interest. (Length: 8:54)

Click the Link Above for PDF/Larger font sizes


Friday, December 8, 2017

Showcase: Engaging Middle School Students with Station Rotation

Station rotation is an instructional model that can be used in classrooms K-12 and any subject area. You can use stations at any point in a unit, from introducing a new concept to learning the “meat” of a topic to wrapping up a unit. Using station rotation in your classroom can give students the opportunity to dig into different aspects of a topic, helping them gain a deeper understanding of the content, and can increase collaboration between students in small group formats. The versatility of the station rotation model allows you to be able to incorporate it in ways that make sense for you and your students.

Jacob Cullen and Tristen Henry, two outstanding teachers at Blendon Middle School, have been experimenting with ways to incorporate stations into their 8th grade Social Studies classrooms. Recently, Jacob used the station rotation model to help students learn about the Battle of Yorktown. Two of the stations included activities using digital materials, while the other two stations included activities that did not require the use of a device. Watch this video to hear Jacob’s reflections about station rotation with 8th graders:

While Jacob's students were working on the Battle of Yorktown, Tristen’s students, in the classroom next to Jacob, were rotating through 12-minute stations focused on reviewing a unit on the causes of the American Revolution. Tristen designed three stations for her students to rotate through, one of which included students working with her to review concepts through playing a Kahoot! game. Another station included a collaborative activity for students to complete, while the third station included a list of options for students to choose from to make sure they had a solid understanding of the topics in the unit. Adding choice into the station activities allowed students to work on activities at their ability levels, supporting them in their learning while also keeping them actively involved in their learning. The way that Tristen structured her stations allowed her to work more intensely with one group while also ensuring that students at the other stations were on task and engaged.

Jacob and Tristen have approached the use of stations in their rooms thoughtfully and in full consideration of what their students need in terms of interests, ability levels, and time management, which allows them to implement well-designed station activities that fully support their students in their learning. Interested in learning how you can incorporate stations into your classroom? Contact your Ed Tech Coach!


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Small Steps Toward Personalization of Professional Learning Opportunities for Staff

Personalization of professional learning for staff?  Yes we can!

In this screencast, learn how Westerville City Schools are taking beginning steps toward providing greater personalization of learning for our staff.