Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Many Plates are you Spinning?

How many plates do you have spinning in the air right now?  Do you feel like this?

Just watching the video makes me feel stressed out!

As a first year Superintendent, I often feel like this is what it looks like in my office (or maybe in my head!) at any given moment.  There are many things to balance, juggle, and try to keep moving in the right direction.  On top of that--in this information age--it's challenging to keep up with the speed at which things like technology are developing, identify trends, and make great decisions based on what you know that minute.

As our district is looking at moving to 1:1, we know it's not about the device, it's about how these tools will change the way instruction is delivered and positively impact student achievement and engagement.  It's exciting to think of harnessing even that small amount of energy and propelling ourselves forward.  I'm ready--are you?

And...perhaps there is an app to help me keep those plates spinning!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

iBooks Author

Disclaimer:  I am a huge fan of Apple.  And the Green Bay Packers, but that part isn't relevant to today's post!

I have been learning more about iBooks Author and the power it holds for digital content creation.  This app allows the user to create books that can be used on the iPad.

But these aren't the typical textbooks you and I grew up reading.  These have video, audio, interactive graphics and diagrams--all embedded in one spot and revolutionizing how we interact with knew knowledge.  On top of that, iBook Author allows the user to find great resources and centralize them all in one location--the book you are creating.

If you've used iBook Author already--you might have to come help me learn.  I'm off to iTunes U to find a book, subscribe to it, and learn for myself how to get moving using iBook Author!

*And no, this post wasn't sponsored by Apple...although that sounds like a great idea...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Learning Management Systems

Has your district explored use of Learning Management Systems?  There are quite a few out there for differing price  points.  We are exploring what will be best as we look at implementing 1:1 at our high school.

I’ve been to quite a few 1:1 seminars lately and I have a lot of great information to share.  As you know, it’s not really about the device—it’s about how going 1:1 will change instruction and student learning (although it sure is fun to look at devices!).  It has been interesting to see what others around the state of Indiana are adopting (both device and Learning Management System or LMS).  It’s also interesting to see how districts are funding their initiatives.  In just a few short years I would imagine everyone will be 1:1 and conversations like these will focus on how teachers are creating content rather than how to jump in!

This week I’d like to share some interesting Learning Management Systems.  As we have already jumped in to use Moodle, the most natural progression may be for us to determine how to continue to use Moodle for our 1:1 initiative.  Many districts are using Moodle.  However, many districts are using other resources—sometimes on their own and sometimes in combination with Moodle.  The good news is that many of these are free!  I’ve listed the top ones I’ve been hearing about below.  These are free (although advanced user interface or district enterprise licensing sometimes adds a fee) and you can create an account today to start exploring (most of them also have some type of overview video, too).  My Big Campus seems to be the biggest player in Indiana.  However, listening to some teachers from Chicago last week I learned about Schoology—and these teachers think it’s the latest and greatest providing analytics that “are just sick” (that made me feel old when they said that!).  According to them, Schoology is pulling ahead of Edmodo nationally in popularity…

Anyway—check it out.  Feel free to share these links with your colleagues.  I’m excited to continue exploration down this path as the potential is limitless—and VERY exciting!

We'd love to hear comments about your experiences, too!

Learning Management Systems (LMS)
My Big Campus:

Monday, February 11, 2013

NBC Learn

Have you checked out NBC Learn yet?  If not, take a moment to watch this webinar!

NBC Learns

Friday, February 8, 2013

Huffington Post: Center For American Progress Proposes Preschool-For-All Plan

I read an interesting article today--and I thought it may interest many of you, too.

The only comment I will make is that I believe it is important first to have states like Indiana require students to attend kindergarten.  The next logical step is for states like Indiana to fully fund full day kindergarten.

After those two items are complete in states like Indiana--then we should tackle the preschool challenge.

Huffington Post:  Center For American Progress Proposes Preschool-For-All Plan