Change is Hard. If we think about our classrooms and trying to bring different ideas into the classroom it can be hard. Hard because it means you might fail. Hard because you might not have the admin support (thankfully we have great support). Hard because it might mean a little more energy and a little less content on the schedule.
In this session we were able to explore the process of change, reflecting on best practices in bringing change, introducing innovation and providing a path to go down.
There was a great deal of information that came from this workshop, but I wanted to share some summaries.
The speaker's name is Andrew McCarthy and his resources from this workshop is here: http://bit.ly/21Change
In order to understand how change is hard, we needed to experience some moments when change didn’t work. The speaker shared about the LA County iPad roll-out scandal. In theory it was a great idea--give every student in LA County an iPad to learn with. In practice, the project failed. You can read more about it here.
The speaker than introduced Kotter’s Eight Step Model of change. Thinking through this on the business side. The research takes us through the process of creating urgency for a change all the way through the final step of making the change stick. It was an interesting concept to place onto a school environment, especially in thinking about the changes our school has gone through the past 5 years.
Next McCarthy introduced us to concepts that he learned from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. The central idea behind the book is taking a leader through the process of bringing change into an organization. Below is a summary of McCarthy’s interpretations and thoughts.
Big Idea #1: Find the Bright Spots
The initial question of this part was “why do we focus so much on a failing grade on a report card and not what is working within the class the student gets an A?”
Basically, we need to be using our time and energy to focus on the bright spots, research them and then replicate them in the dark areas of our school. For example, teachers who are successfully enhancing student’s learning with the integration of technology could be considered bright spots. From a tech coach’s perspective it would make sense to continue working with the teachers that are not at the same level as the “techie” teachers. However, if energy is focused on the why and how of the techie teachers and then replicated with those who are not so techie, change could move in a forward direction easier than without.
Big Idea #2: Script the Critical Moves
When bringing change into the classroom, change must be specific. Exactly like teachers delivering objectives for each lesson, change needs to have specific objectives of why? How? When? And who? (Thing SMART objectives but for teachers). From a tech coach’s perspective this could be specific practices of technology integration into the classroom. One example was, “ Use Google Docs to feedback and Comment on student work and encourage revision”. Specific. Simple. Focused. Easy for all teachers to read and apply this objective.
Big Idea #3: Point to a Destination
“Let me show you the future”
“Let me show you what your classroom could look like with _______”
Define your destination.
UWCSEA Learning principals--Defining the goals of learning within the school https://www.uwcsea.edu.sg/about/guiding-statements/uwcsea-learning-profile
NESTA Decoding learning: The proof promise and potential
Big Idea #4: Grow your Teachers
Big Idea #5: Shaping the Path
Remove the barriers for teachers--provide the training and objectives that they can achieve.
Be specific and focus training on specific tools and strategies, build confidence.
(lms, google classroom, schoology, seesaw etc)
Build the Habits and document them-- Remind teachers the best things that they had done within a grade level or department of how things were doing
This blog is also posted on saidosi.blogspot.com
The Job Alike was a really great experience. I think anytime we can connect and network with educators that share similar passions and responsibilities, the ideas flourish. My biggest take away was that we are on the right track. That the work that we are slowing introducing within the ES and SS in using Technology Coaches is good. We are at the infant stages and next year there will be more opportunities for teachers and coaches to grow and connect. One challenge that I hope to implement in the future is
Teachers need to SAMR-ize a unit”
Thinking about the SAMR model, this is a practical challenge where teachers can think of innovative ways to deepen and enhance learning in their classrooms. What this does is it creates opportunities for tech coaches to be in the classrooms and motivates teachers to innovate what they are doing with their students. A Win Win!
The Next Great piece was the DEMO SLAM! Here's all the toys and fun we can add to the classroom! (as of now)
Coding and Maker
This is a writing specific website that allows students to be prompted by images or quotes. Then, students submit their writing to teachers, get feedback, make changes and complete the assignment within the same website. The COOLEST part is that then students get to choose if and when they share their writing publicly. Either within the classroom or within the greater WriteAbout online community. This gives students the opportunity to launch their writing publicly and have more than one audience!
This is the app that I am the most excited about (and teachers will be seeing training sessions on soon!) Students are able to create and present their own virtual reality space. They can bring their learning to life, and integrate it into the Virtual Reality Viewers. SO COOL!
Are you a person who always opens the same 3 tabs in the morning (Portal, email schoology). If you click on the tab and Pin it, the browser will remember the tab and always open it when you start the browser or the computer.
Bloxels is a mix of hands on design and in app creation. Students use physical blocks to build different levels and characters in their video games. They are then able to scan each level into the ipad to develop the game. This can introduce students to hands on game design, storytelling through games, and so much more!
Overall the Job Alike was a great time. I have other ideas that are Tech Coach specific that you might experience soon, but for now, enjoy this!
It started with an email...
"I've been interested in Google expeditions since I learned about it last year. Now that it's open, can we look into getting some Google cardboard sets? Would love to do some actual 'virtual' field trips, and I think other teachers would too."
My first stop on this rollercoaster ride of virtual reality was to see how we could get Google Cardboard to Hong Kong. The reality is with Amazon being pretty open and an awesome procurement team we were able to get the Viewmaster viewers within the fist semester.
But let's move back a little bit...
How do you integrate smart phone based virtual reality when the Parent Association DOES NOT want their middle school students using their own phones in the school?
I looked over the kits that are available from Best Buy and used this as a model for what we were going to need. To start off a test kit for 10 students and a teacher device. Ultimately we have build a kit that has:
Let's travel the world!
Once the kits were up and running I spent a few months getting teachers okay with the idea of using Virtual Reality in their lessons. I held voluntary expeditions where I took teachers to places that were related to their subjects, (Ocean scenes, body systems, historical sites). Ultimately, teachers were very excited about the possibility of using the VR in their class.
How is it being used?
So far, when I have come into a classroom with the VR machines we are doing a mix of pre-learning, lesson enhancement or post unit review. This allows students to gain a picture of the land, scene or image that they will be studying. 6th grade science traveled on a "magic school bus" type expedition through both the digestive and respiratory system. This provided the students who were going to be researching and presenting on these systems an additional viewpoint of understanding. This was greatly enhanced by the addition of excrement in the lower intestine that caused some students to laugh and others to look a little green.
Where are we headed?
My goal for this semester is really 2 areas:
1. Elementary integration-helping the ES teachers see the HUGE potential in this tool for them.
2. High School integration-Cracking into HS classes that could use an infusion of VR.
Ultimately, my goal is to make learning more effective and innovative. When that happens, VR or not, we are all good!