Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Google Certified Trainer!

So it is official -- I'm now a Google Certified Trainer. I'm super excited about this opportunity and look forward to helping people learn how to use Gsuite Education Apps to enhance teaching and learning. The last time I was truly this stoked about my own professional development was when I become an Apple Distinguished Educator. This was a serious milestone for me and caps off a year long odyssey. I first decided to get my Level 1 Certification as a leader, because CDS was requiring all teachers to do it. Then I moved on to Level 2 this school year. I was so happy with my success in the Level 2 exam, I decided to jump right in for the Trainer Level. It has been a year of some serious highs and lows, but this is certainly one of the highs. And now I'd like to encourage others to challenge themselves. Have you been putting off taking the exams? Have you been sitting on the fence about it? Are you doubting your abilities? Don't! Don't hold yourself back. If I can achieve this, anybody can do it. Get out there and do it!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

ISTE Standards for Coaches Standard 1: Visionary Leadership

The last chat session on Twitter with #isedcoach was on the ISTE Standards for Coaches; specifically it was about Standard 1: Visionary Leadership. After reflecting on the chat for a few days, I wanted to revisit the topic of visionary leadership.

  • What is visionary leadership?
  • How does one become a visionary leader? 
After re-reading all the tweets, I have come to the conclusion that visionary leadership is a very large task and to aspire to be a visionary leader is no small aspiration to reach toward. It requires constant work with networking and reading. This standard alone is enough to be a full-time endeavor for a normal person and it is only the first of six standards. It seems overwhelming, but that is what makes the perfect challenge for each of us. With the rapid rate of change currently existing in the world, staying a visionary leader is difficult. No one can do it alone. So the actual requirement to continue to remain visionary is collaboration. Coaches must work with others; we must network and read and challenge each other to be better, work harder, and continue to be visionary leaders. If you are a department of one (like me) you will need to use networking with people outside of your institution in order to grow. It cannot happen in isolation and it cannot happen in a comfort zone. It requires collaboration and discomfort. The discomfort of knowing that to fall behind is not an option in this job. I take my job as a coach very seriously even though I have a playful personality. Visionary leadership is a difficult standard, but with help from other coaches, I think I can manage it.

Monday, September 4, 2017

ISTE EdTech Coaches Blogging Buddies

Blogging Buddies
I decided to join the ITSE EdTech Coaches Blogging Buddies program for this school year. If you are unfamiliar with the idea, you sign up and agree to write one blog post per month and comment on at least one of your assigned "buddies'" posts. It is a great way to keep accountable and motivated with your blogging; plus, it puts you in touch with other EdTech Coaches. What could be better? You are interested in learning more you can use this link. I'm looking forward to adding some new people to my PLN.

Friday, September 1, 2017

3 Great Ways to Use Google Classroom Questions

I believe that the most under utilized tool in Google Classroom is Question, which is unfortunate, because it is rich with potential for gathering feedback, generating discussion, and starting a lesson. If you are unfamiliar with the Question option in Google Classroom, allow me to introduce it to you and explain way it is an amazing tool.

My favorite use of the Question is as an exit ticket near the end of a lesson. In real time, I can gather rich data about my students learning that day, which allows me to plan immediate modification if I see that students are still confused by a concept. Set your question to be done immediately and have students get into your Classroom and answer it. I recommend using multiple choice option, because the data collects in a chart automatically. You can immediately see how many students feel comfortable with the concept of the lesson and how many still feel confused or lost. But, you don't have to wait until the end of a lesson to use it either, you can gather some quick feedback during a lesson as a temperature gauge with your class.

My second favorite method is as a discussion starter. Show a short video, a photo, or share a short reading and ask a Question that requires students to have an opinion on it. As the votes roll in and populate your graph in real time, ask different students to explain why they felt the way they did about the video or reading. After doing this a couple of times, you can have students submit topics and resources for discussions they are interested in having during class.

Finally, you can use the same approach mentioned above to make a hook for your lesson. Show a video, a photo, or a reading to get your students interested for the day's lesson. It is a fast and powerful way to engage students in the learning.

Now go out and use the Question tool!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Parent Notifications in Google Classroom

Some parents have been having trouble with notifications from Google Classroom. These Slides will walk you through the basics. Some things to know -- Google Classroom sends a list of assignments and activities directly to your email account daily or weekly. You DO NOT have to join a Google Classroom. You DO NOT need to download the app for your mobile device. The app is for students and teachers, not parents.