Friday, December 2, 2011

What I've learned this week - 12/8/2011

Exciting week!  So many things learned this week, it's hard to put it all down.  I started this last Friday and it's already Thursday.  It shouldn't take this long to blog!!

1. SmartSync will work, but there is some weird permissions thing that is giving students an error (sometimes).  What did I learn?  When a problem is not defined clearly, it is hard to attack it effectively. 
It seems that when students get the Windows updates that are pushing out district wide, the problems with Smart sync go away.

2. Windows updates can be a good thing.

3. The need for REAL-TIME or Right-on-time PD will NEVER go away.  It's really the BEST model for improving instruction with technology integration (innovation).  However, the practice of this really needs a continual process of problem definition and solution.

4. PILOT programs are GOOD!!  I love to see the impact our pilot teacher is making with 30 ipads in his Lang. Arts course at NHS.  Great Job, Mr. O!

5.  Quickreads is an amazing product.  I can't wait to see if it produces results for student's fluency in reading.  The setup has been fairly painless, except for the fact that it won't work with NComputing setups.

6. Having the stomach flu is NOT a healthy way to lose 10 pounds!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Windows 7 tips

As a district, every computer (now almost 8000 staff and student computers) went to Win7 operating system. For some this has been a 2nd order change.
I ran across this blog post with some simple tips that almost everyone can learn from to navigate this new interface more effeciently.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Change has come!

I have to give big props to our Teacher/Librarians in the Sioux City High Schools!  They have started this year with a bang and really have shown us how important our library's are to the technology integration in the classroom.
With the 1:1 rollout now 3 weeks old, it is amazing to see how quickly students, teachers and library's adapt to change.
There is a post here:
about what NOT to do in your school media center.  Our teacher/librarians have taken the opposite approach and reached into to the messy business of integrating technology and learning together.  Neat and quiet doesn't describe our HS media centers.  I don't think it should.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Using Coaches for Technology implementation

Using Technology coaches was important or extremely important to our teachers as we rolled out classroom Dualboards, Mobi's, Responders, document cameras and laptops to our classrooms. In each scenario, more than 88% of our teachers surveyed agreed that the use of coaches was important or extremely important.
I can't say enough about how good Jamie and JoDee are at building relationships with teachers and focusing on student learning as they train teachers to use these tools and others to integrate technology into the classroom. The other chart shows how most teachers feel student engagement and productivity have increased by integrating technology into the classroom. Over 70% of our teachers surveyed said that they CANNOT go back to teaching without these tools in their classrooms.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What an incredible school year!

Yesterday was my 14th "last day of school" in the Sioux City School district. This year has been a wild ride, looking back to where we were a year ago at this time.
Last year at this time we were getting ready to train 300 elementary teachers to teach differently while utilizing new classroom technologies like Interactive whiteboards, Mobi's, Document Cameras, and CPS responders. It's amazing to see how that training has made a huge difference in classrooms around the district. No matter what building I visit, I see teaching that integrates technology to engage, motivate and foster student learning. I cannot say enough about our Instructional Tech Coaches, Jamie and JoDee! They have been an inspiration to me and several teachers who made the leap and tried new things in the classroom this year. The real-time support and professional development they have provided has been the catalyst for excellent learning for students.
We completed 1:1 pilot projects with 3 different classrooms in 3 different high schools. These teachers did incredible things with students and we learned right along side them. Their experience has had ups and downs, but has led our district to a place that we can confidently bring 1:1 initiative to our 10-12th grade students starting next fall! Check out the press release here -
The opening of new science wings at 3 high schools was an amazing experience. Coming alongside our HS Science professionals was a huge treat for me. They adapted and adopted technology for teaching so quickly and effectively. Each day working with them was a learning experience!
In 2 of our 3 middle schools, we also worked to install classroom technology for instruction. Utilizing team planning time for training was a new experience. It worked well because it forced us to be precise in the delivery and allowed me the ability to coach teachers more effectively. For example, at NMS, I delivered a 45 minute training on using the Dualboard and Mobi. Then the bell rang and teacher's dispersed to their classrooms. I would then follow them in, show them in real-time, ways to apply what they had JUST learned the hour before. AMAZING results.
A new building called Liberty Elementary will open this year, which is always exciting and knowing that the teachers who are teaching in this new environment are prepared and ready to use the new technology is very exciting.
This summer couldn't be more busy with 5000 computers going from XP to Windows 7. Preparing HS teachers to have globally connected students in their classrooms. Migration of all email to the cloud, implementing Office 2010, and so much MORE!! Not to even mention the 3000 laptops that students will be using that are 3G Verizon network connected 24/7. I just got back from EHS where our 1st shipment Of 1000 was delivered! (See Pic)
The end goal is always to improve student achievement. These initiatives are all part of the greater idea of making our schools more effective and for each and every student.