Note: Do not do this lesson until you have watched the Watch First video. Lesson Video:
Action Guide Video:
Once you have watched both videos please complete this step in the Workshop Checklist.
Updates to these videos: none
Transcription of Videos:
Hello everyone, my name is Brad Flickinger, with SchoolTechnology.Org - and welcome to Step 3 of our Workshop. And this one is called “Watch Out for Speed Bumps”.
Now, before we really get into these speed bumps, let’s just review where you are at so far. So, you understand what “The Big Picture” is; you know that 21st century skills are the much-needed thing we need to bring into our schools. You have hopefully downloaded iTunes; and you have downloaded and watched, or listened to, some podcasts; things that interest you when it comes to technology in schools - and I hope you have learned things from those. You have also joined a few Nings - and we are going to, in the upcoming Steps, talk about contributing to those Nings and getting information from those Nings. And also, hopefully, you have joined ISTE; so you are now a member of the International Society for Technology in Education.
So, hey, welcome to it! This is it! We’re moving on! So, this Third Step: Watch Out for Speed Bumps. Notice, I pick my words, you know, really consciously here - and so I didn’t put “Road Blocks”. Speed bumps are just things that just slow us down from wanting to go as fast as we possibly can when it comes to integrating technology and 21st century skills into our schools.
So these are just speed bumps - not road blocks. So really kind of keep that in mind. So, watch out - speed bumps ahead! And let’s get into them. There are four of them that I have kind of come up with; and if you work like me in your buildings, you are going to agree with these four.
Okay, let’s get into them. The first one is that of Time; then Money; and then Not Knowing What System to Use - whether it is curriculum or… you know - you just need to have a good plan; and then People: people are another one of these speed bumps; you know, they get in the way.
So let’s review each one of these just in order, and we are going to talk about each one.
Alright, so the first one, Time, is this idea that some of the things that I have come across do not respect the teacher’s and administrator’s time. You know, they are busy, they have a lot to do; and if we steal too much time we are stealing it from something else, like Literacy or Math or something. We need to respect that time. Also, let’s not waste the time of people who already have the skills. You know, the mandatory meetings that these poor teachers have to go to - it is like, “Okay, flavor of the month now is Blogging! Everybody has to go to a mandatory Blogging meeting!” And you’ve got Joe in the back, like, “You know, I’ve got seven blogs of my own - why am I stuck in this meeting?” So they don’t respect a person who already knows it.
And then everybody has to go at the same pace. So whether you are a newbie or you are an expert person, “No - we’re going through!” And somebody is like “Oh, but how do you double-click?”, and the other person is, you know, “Finished!” So, you know, you have got to respect people’s skills and not squish them into the same pace model and idea.
And there are just too many people for one-on-one attention. Time: if I was to work with each of my teachers individually it would take like nine years to bring this all into place, okay? There is just not enough time for that.
And we are going to see how that plays also into this next speed bump here - and that is Money. If we had to buy and hire enough people to be able to get this done in a shorter amount of time that would be way too expensive. There would be like ten of me at my school to work with these teachers - and you just can’t have that.
And then I have looked at systems in the past that are just not scalable or affordable because, whether you are a little tiny District in the rural areas or you are a huge school District, you are kind of… everybody is kind of paying the same; and it doesn’t work for the smaller ones. And that is what I mean when I say this; that you have got to be scalable and it has got to be affordable.
And you have got to be able to measure the results. I mean, let’s get what we pay for, people! And you know what I’m talking about. There are all these phone calls you get saying, “Oh, you know, we’ve got this new tech plan” and this and that. Well, “Proof is in the pudding”: can we measure the results from when the students started, or teachers started, and where the students or teachers are after a year or so? So I want that kind of stuff.
And let’s not waste money on tech that doesn’t get used, just for the idea of “fairness”, you know? Like, “Everybody is going to get an interactive whiteboard”; and then you go in and two-/three-quarters of them, you know, they are sitting on the wall not being used. I mean, we have got to make sure that they are trained and that they know how to use them so we are not wasting money on those types of things.
Our third one here is “A System”. And I don’t know what electrical engineer person is designing some of these, but they are so hard to understand and navigate and use that it just turns people off. I mean, it is like, you know, “I would rather do something else than try to use some of these things that are being peddled around here and used that way.”
And then also, you know, I am doing this right now at my home; I like to work in my home - sometimes on my sofa with my laptop, watching TV; or down at the local burger hut thing downtown, you know, that’s got Wi-Fi - those types of things. And I don’t like this idea that, “Oh, it is just on the school server, and you can only use it in this particular way, and network… No, I want to use it from anywhere.
And then sometimes I have had these things demoed to me where the examples of what they are saying or doing are of such poor and low quality that I am just like “No thanks!” And it’s like, “No, no, look at this - this is a little podcast a student made”; and it is such a horrible podcast or presentation or whatever, I am like, “I’m not interested.” I want good quality things, okay? We are in a state of… we need to be able to produce and reproduce well-made artifacts, digital artifacts, okay?
And I don’t know what other way to word this, but this idea of “Not fresh or frozen.” At my building we certainly do not have the latest release of the office products; ours is years, years old, okay? And so if suddenly the system is only saying, “Well, this is the 2010 version of this”, you know, I can’t use it. Mine is older than that, a LOT older than that. And so whatever we use has got to recognize that some schools have state-of-the-art, and some schools have not so state-of-the-art, and quite old, okay? So it has got to be able to handle both those worlds.
And then finally: the People. And don’t you love the picture I picked of this guy? This is the “Not over my dead body am I going to do your tech stuff!” kind of guy here. But this kind of goes back to that first speed bump, of Time: I don’t like it that everybody has to follow at their own pace - and no-one does.
Also, these ideas of “public assessment results”; so it is like “Okay, let’s all do a little pre-assessment on blogging”, you know? And suddenly… who wants to go to that, and have people tell you that you don’t know how to do something? I mean, it is just… no-one wants… they won’t show up; they don’t want to feel like they are inferior with their skills and their knowledge. So, you know, there has got to be something that people do privately, you know, and at their own speed and their own pace.
And also, respect that whole different range of passions and skills: some people are really into this kind of stuff and some people aren’t; but we need to still do it, for our students. And so we need to respect; so we are not forcing people to sit there through classes that they already have the skill for.
And some teachers are scared of this idea of being corrected by their students. Because in Math it doesn’t happen - very often at least - that some student will correct you; or in English or something like that. But in Tech, you could have that happen. And you have got to be okay with that; and your ego has got to be okay with that. And your teachers’ egos have got to be okay that a student could possibly come up and show you how to do something better. And you have got to have a plan to embrace that and use that.
And then also a lot of teachers just don’t know what to look for. And I have been hauled into classrooms and, “Oh yes, Mr. Flickinger, come in and see this! Look, our children have been working on these presentations”. And they pop them up on the screen and I am just like mortified; I am like screeching tires, and flaming logos, and all this stuff - and it just drives me insane because that is not what a good presentation is.
But the teacher doesn’t know what to look for. So that is what kind of scares them. Whereas we don’t allow that with Math; they can’t just do any willy-nilly thing they want to; or in Grammar and in English - they can’t just write it any way they want to, with bad grammar and bad spelling. No, we insist on the best.
And we have to help teachers know how to look for, with all these new technologies and these new skills, what is the best, and how do you grade it; what rubric do you put it on? Those types of things. And that is what we need to help our teachers with.
Alright, now, the reason I can talk about those speed bumps is unfortunately I have done most of them: I have made most of those mistakes in my positions I the past, and in working with Districts. And we have learned; every time we have gotten better and gotten better. And now we finally are using a system that works and a plan that works.
So, it doesn’t work by forcing them; saying “You will do this by this date”. I can tell you right now; that will get you the phone calls from the, let’s see, the Superintendent might call you; or the Union, or a School Board Member: “No! Because you know what?” And this is what it has kind of been, you know, like some 62-year-old Math teacher is like, “I didn’t sign up for this.” And so we need to work with that and those people so that everybody can get on the same page and be enjoying all this.
Alright, so here are the four speed bumps that we have talked about. And what I want to tell you is that when you go through these next couple of Steps, you are going to learn the plan that I use that kind of, you know, levels out these speed bumps so they are not such an issue any more and that we can work around all these things. And that is what we are really talking about, okay?
And this plan involves this little system that I use; and I use it over and over again with my teachers and my schools to get them all to have these 21st century skills. And I am just going to give you a little teaser of it right now. It is K-T-E-C. And I just use it over and over again; it is a little cycle that I use with my teachers, that gets them to have the skills that then the students have the skills.
So that is kind of where I am going to kind of leave it off for this Lesson part of Step 3. So get down into the Action Guide; get those things done. I don’t know how long it is going to take you - it might take you a couple of hours, it might take you a few weeks to get these things done - but don’t move on to Step 4 until you have done those things, okay?
I’ll see you down in the Action Guide.
The Action Guide
Alright, welcome to the Action Part, or the Action Items, or Guide - whatever we want to call this - for Step 3, the “Watch Out for Speed Bumps” Step.
Now, on this Step you are going to be spending some money and still continuing to join things. Now, I’m sorry that it has been a lot of these, you know, “Join this thing” and “Join that” - but it really will make sense in the next upcoming Steps, because I need you to have access to those Nings and to ISTE, and all those things so that we can build on this and complete this full integration of technology and 21st century skills into your school.
And, like I said in that “Watch First” video, you NEED to spend some money. And so we are going to not only spend some money, but you are going to request a quote from a company that I have worked with and have used for years. So we are going to get into that.
Okay, first off let’s look at the Resource List. Okay, so I want you to go to Ning; go ahead and click on this to get into here. And then with any one of these Nings that you are part of - let mine load up here - I want you to contribute; start to get used to contributing things.
And so if I go into this Classroom 2.0; okay, so I am in there, and do you see where it says “Forum” right up here? If I click on “Forum” and there is one called “Introductions”; if you go into “Introductions” and then you can kind of introduce who you are, what you hope to be able to do over the next three or four months in your school - those types of things. Or you can go in and start interacting. Like, okay, here is one: “iPod Touch in Education”. This is very big for me because my school was thinking about getting some for next year. So I could click on this; and so look at this guy: “I have a class of thirty Year Eight students” (he must be speaking from Australia or from the UK because they are called Year Eight over there; so 12-year-olds) “and a set of eight iPod Touches” - and so he wants a little bit of information about that. And then here are all the people’s replies; people that have used things; you have got links to other schools and what they are doing.
So contribute to this; either help somebody out or ask for some help yourself - but be a contributing member. That is part of you having 21st century skills. Okay, so that is me banging on my little drum about that! So I want you to go and contribute to at least one Ning; do some kind of contribution to it.
Alright, go to Google Docs. This will probably just take me right into mine so I will have to maybe log out. But I want you to go to docs.google.com and I want you to register; if you don’t already have like a Google account, whether it is a Gmail or something, I want you to be able to do that. So go ahead into Google Docs and get an account.
Again, in two or three Steps I am going to need you to have that account so you and I can collaborate, and you can collaborate with other people on documents, no matter where we are. It is really cool stuff that we want to be able to do together. And you are going to be asking teachers to open up Google Docs accounts so that you can collaborate with them. So you need to be able to have that. So that is that second link there, with the docs.google.com.
EPals is our third item on here. And in the future Steps you are going to be using ePals to find schools all over the world that you can work with. Your students can work with them and either video chat; work on projects together through Google Docs - those types of things. And I am going to show you how I use ePals in I think two more Steps. So go ahead and create an account right now.
Now, it does take a while to create an account because one of the great things about ePals is that they verify who you are; so they will be calling your Principal or your School District to know that you are an employee in good standing and those types of things. So it is a closed community of good people that have already been verified who they are. So that is what keeps them all safe - because you do interchange with other classrooms and exchange information. So, ePals; you need to join that because that is going to take another week or two to get approved for that, and we need it in place when we start using it in a few weeks. So that is ePals.
Okay, let’s start spending some of that good money that you are supposed to be coming to this Workshop with! In ISTE, in the Bookstore here - and since you are probably a member you will get the discount - here are the books (and there is a list of books of course in the Resource Section) but basically this one: “Web 2.0” book; it is “New Tools for New Schools”, okay, there is that book. From ISTE: “Reinventing Project-Based Learning” - another fantastic book. And then there are these: they are thin but they are the Guides for the Education Standards for Teachers; this one is for Teachers; this one is for Students; and my Administrator one is at my desk at the school - so you need all three of those. And of course the list is on there.
And then of course lastly from ISTE, you need to have this one here: “What Works in K12 Online Learning”, because we are going to be pulling little bits and pieces out of those chapters in the upcoming Steps, and so you need to be referring to those. And it is a good… just start reading them; they are fantastic books that are all about technology in education. So, that is ISTE.
Then you are going to need to go over to Amazon, because these books aren’t available at ISTE. Now, ISTE you get a great discount. So I go to Amazon - these are the three books I need you to order from there: “21st Century Skills” - that is a great book; and it is all about the partnership for 21st century skills and showing you how it looks in schools, and what it is all about. And again, we are going to be referring to different chapters and quotes out of that book.
Then we have this one here: “Leading 21st Century Schools” - another brilliant book. This will just inspire you as to what you are able to do in your school. And finally, just to kind of stir things up a little bit, I want you to get this book here, called “Disrupting Class”. “Disrupting Class” is, like it says here, “How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns.” It is an amazing book that will really open your eyes to how things are when we talk about wanting these changes. And you need to have these books on your shelf, and you need to be referring to them because in upcoming Steps you are going to meet with your Administration; you are going to meet with teachers - and you need to be in a position of knowing this stuff, okay? So that is why it is so important to have it.
And then last on our list here is “Atomic Learning”. And this is a company that I trust and I have used for years. And I want you to go in here, on Atomic Learning’s website. And these guys are all about teaching… it is like “just in time” learning; but they also have curriculum on 21st century skills. It is brilliant and we use this a lot. And you are going to see why it is so critical in the success of bringing 21st century skills into your schools.
So up here… okay, not subscribed today. You can go “How to buy” and… let me go into there - oh no, “Subscribe today”, right up this - this is the link you want, “Subscribe today”, because that is going to be where you can request a quote from them. It is right there at the top.
And don’t be thinking that you are going to have to pay the $299 per person for your building, because it works different, on a volume-purchase base. But I used them for years, just myself having a subscription, because it is so critical to what I do. And then over time then my whole school has bought into it and it has been great.
So, this little button right down here; click on “Request a quote” and go ahead and fill it out. They are not going to be bugging you and going crazy with it - but you need to know how much it is going to cost for you to bring something like this into your building, because when you meet with your Administrator in a couple more Steps, you need to have these kind of things saying, “Listen, I need X, Y, Z dollars for this; I need a little more money for this; we need to buy a couple of hardware/software to make this happen”, okay?
Now, can you do it all without Atomic Learning? Well, you can but it is just a lot harder. So go ahead and fill this out and then, you know, you are going to have to work with how many teachers you have in your building / how many students you have in your building. Brilliant stuff!
So go ahead and do that. That is your assignment for Step 3 here. And don’t go to Step 4 until you have done all that, okay? So go ahead and get that done - and I will see you in Step 4. Thank you.