Friday, June 21, 2013

The Technology Integration Matrix and Me

This week in our online and blended learning course we took a look at the Technology Integration Matrix. As I don't deliver content in the areas of LA, Math, Science, or Social Students to a classroom of students any longer, it's hard to pick a spot where I belong, because my job these days is working with teachers and helping them integrate technology into their own classrooms. So if I approach the matrix as a whole and look at each square's description and think about HOW I work with teachers and deliver professional development instead of focusing on a traditional teacher's subject areas, I find myself somewhere around the Adaptation column, wishing I was more into the Infusion section, but feeling like I'm working that direction. When I teach, I focus a lot on collaboration and the tools I like to use and share with teachers involves the ability to collaborate in a variety of ways or for a variety of purposes. When I read the intersection of Adaptation and Collaborative, for example, it says:

Students independently use technology tools in conventional ways for collaboration. Students are developing a conceptual understanding of the use of technology tools for working with others.
The teacher provides opportunities for students to use technology to work with others. The teacher selects and provides technology tools for students to use in collaborative ways, and encourages students to begin exploring the use of these tools.
Desks and workstations are arranged so that multiple students can access technology tools simultaneously.

In my training environment I'm often introducing a new tool or demonstrating how a tool works in context of what the group teaches, to give them some practical examples that they can actually go back and use right away. I'd like to think that the development of my professional development has evolved to this point, where there are bite-sized chunks of modeling, and then opportunities for my "students" to work with others. Because the training is on something specific, I'm often providing the tool and then encouraging them to explore them and apply them in their area.

I feel like when I started my position three years ago, I was definitely further left. More Entry. When I was a classroom teacher several years back the idea of 1:1 or BYOD was newish and not very mainstream or widespread, and we all used the computer lab as much as possible usually for research and typing papers for homework assignments. So yes, we were using computers, but that didn't mean it was more than just a substitutional use, when referring to the SAMR model. This makes me feel good, though, when I look at the Technology Integration Matrix, because I feel like I can see that I've come a long way. So has technology in the classroom, though! And seeing the Infusion and Transformation columns help me see where I want to be and where I need to go. I feel like I have a good grasp of these columns on paper and in my head, and I'd love to think that if I were back in a traditional classroom these days that I could say with certainty that I'd be Transformational all the time, but let's be honest... I also know that in my head and the reality of day-to-day are not always the same. But I'd sure be trying, and that's better than nothing.

Right now my focus is helping move other teachers who are more Entry or Substitution to move forward and progress with technology in a meaningful way. Heck, for some I'm still working on getting their feet wet. It's a daunting task some days, and I know that if it is for me, it definitely is for them, but as long as we're shifting our thinking towards embracing technology and shifting into the facilitator role and letting students drive the bus, we'll all get there eventually.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Summer of eLearning

eLearning Quizlet cards
My eLearning Quizlet Cards
This summer I'm excited to be taking a course on online and blended instruction. In my profession as an Instructional Technology Specialist, I work closely with teachers to help integrate the meaningful use of technology to support best practices, standards, and to promote the engagement of students. This summer I'm offering around 20 different sessions of professional development at our administration building to staff members who voluntarily want to come in and learn things like Google Docs, Excel, or our online CMS, Moodle. We're also hosting a BYOD training for the first time this summer, as we are trying to communicate our newly rolled-out BYOD access across the district.

As I continue to train this summer AND take this online course about blended and online instruction, I really wish that I was able to offer some of my professional development sessions online, too. I haven't decided whether the technology PD I provide would be better suited to a weekly module arrangement or perhaps just a live, accessible way for teachers to tune in to my classes from home. The idea that I could reach so many more staff members than the physical classroom capacity allows in the summertime (or anytime, really!) gets me so excited, and at the same time disappointed that I am not prepared for that this year. Yet. I am really hoping that I can learn from the course I'm taking to help pitch the idea and offer future professional development in SOME way online. I think I'd be able to cover more material, a wider range of material, and give teachers more time to play, explore, and practice their new skills.

While I feel like I don't really offer PD online yet, I do realize that a step in the right direction has been made with the way we offer documentation and video screen-casts online for teachers in our staff "tech tips" area. This staff-accessible-only database that we have built over the years is mostly of PDF step-by-step documentation on software and tools that have been tailored to a teacher's perspective and needs, and screen-casts I've recorded of me walking teachers through the steps of using a piece of software or tool. (One example is a recent virtual tour I recorded of myself to show off the features of a tool I'm showcasing at the BYOD workshop this summer!) This database of documentation does allow for some flexibility, as teachers can reference, read, or watch bite-sized instructional chunks on their own time from home or school, but I really love the idea that having teachers virtually attend my summer professional development sessions down the road will help take this to the next level. I'm really looking forward to more ways I can make what I do better and more meaningful, to in turn help our staff do the same. Here's to a summer of eLearning!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Video Tour of's Features

It's no secret based on my post a month ago, (Learn a Zillion Things at LearnZillion!) that I'm a big fan of

As I prepare for the professional development opportunities that I'm offering to our staff this summer, I'm including a plug for LearnZillion as part of a BYOD training. It's just one of several tools that I'll be highlighting in the context of bringing your own device. While developing my BYOD session, I wanted to "flip" the training and offer some quick video clips to introduce the variety of tools in rotating stations for teachers so that they could explore. While I like that LearnZillion has several short video snippets to help you navigate your new account once you're logged in, I decided to record my own quick intro video tour of's features to use in training, and to introduce others who may not have an account yet to the tool.

Maybe this feature tour will get you as excited about LearnZillion as I am, and inspire you to create your own (FREE) teacher account and get started! You'll be happy to know that if you need any help along the way once you're registered, that LearnZillion has got you covered with helpful tutorial clips every step of the way. And if you're wondering what the fuss is all about, you may want to check out my first LearnZillion post to get the additional scoop.

You're still reading? What are you waiting for?! Get started with LearnZillion today.