Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The ISTE Standards for Students: The Groundwork for What's Possible in Learning

The ISTE Standards are about pedagogy, not tools. It seems that the field of education has finally realized that throwing digital tools into classrooms without support and expecting magical changes in instruction and student outcomes is illogical. The ISTE Standards for Students provide a framework for in-depth learning, using technology to strengthen learning. The ISTE Standards support and deepen the learning derived from other content-area standards, making them not an additional set of standards, but rather a useful guide for supporting and deepening any educational content or initiative. The ISTE Standards serve as a groundwork for what’s possible in learning using technology.

Changes Over the Years

It’s interesting to reflect on the reasons for the changes to the standards over the last 20 years. In 1998, technology was primarily used in computer labs and students were taught how to use software focused mainly on productivity. Flip the calendar to 2007 when technology on mobile carts became increasingly available, as well as access to the internet. The emphasis shifted to using technology to teach critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. Fast forward to today to see devices in the hands of students. Technology is no longer seen as optional. New designs for learning and teaching support personalized learning and connecting with others across the globe.

The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students  

Empowered Learner
The standards were designed to empower student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process of exploration, creativity and discovery. They include a strong emphasis on empowering students to have a voice and choice in their learning.

Digital Citizen
Human life is no longer solely digital or physical; it’s a hybrid. Students grow up immersed in technology but they don’t automatically understand technology’s drawbacks — or opportunities. Students must learn to use technology in ways that are safe, legal, and ethical.

Knowledge Constructor
Although it is quick and easy to find a multitude of resources for a research report by doing a quick Google search, it may not be the most effective strategy for locating accurate and relevant information. Students must know how to employ a variety of methods and tools to find information, make sense of it, and produce creative artifacts for themselves and others.

Innovative Designer
Historically, the teacher has been the sole designer of learning experiences. It’s more important than ever for students to identify and solve problems in imaginative ways. This involves testing theories and developing perseverance when working on open-ended problems.

Computational Thinker
One might speak of coding skills when explaining the meaning of computational thinking, but it’s more than that. Computational thinking involves formulating ideas and procedures with enough clarity that one could break down tasks enough to tell a computer how to do them. Knowing how to leverage technology to develop and test solutions will likely be useful in all occupations.

Creative Communicator
Communicating learning by turning in a research paper to the teacher or reading information off a presentation slide is insufficient. Students must be able to choose appropriate tools for the need and use and/or remix visuals, models and simulations to communicate ideas to a variety of audiences online and offline.

Global Collaborator
There are many kinds of digital tools that can be used to broaden student perspectives and enrich learning by collaborating with others from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

The Challenge
The ISTE Standards for Students is all about good instructional practices. You obviously cannot focus on all of them during every lesson, but think about the experiences your students have had in your classroom over the course of the semester. Try to identify specific learning experiences your students have had that align with each standard. If there are gaps, you’ll know what kinds of goals to set for yourself and your students in the future.  

ISTE Standards for Students 2016. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

Redefining learning in a technology-driven world; A report to support adoption of the ISTE Standards for Students June 2016. Retrieved from


This will also be published on MACUL Community.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Instructional Technology Spring Webinar Series

Teachers often tell me that they want more time to collaborate and learn. However, there is not enough time during district PD days and/or faculty meetings. My plan is to offer webinars in the evenings as a convenient way to support teachers in their learning. Webinars will be one hour in length (earn 1 Kalpa/PD hour). Teachers were surveyed to help determine the schedule and identify topics.

Webinars will be hosted using the Zoom platform. The structure of each webinar will include a presentation, time for independent practice, sharing of learning with the group, and reflection & goal setting.

Webinar Schedule:
  • Monday, March 27, 7-8pm: Safari Montage: Digital Content for your Classroom
  • Wednesday, April 12, 7-8pm:  Support Student Learning with Snap & Read and Co:Writer
  • Tuesday, May 2, 7-8pm: The New Google Sites Platform (Now Available to Students)
  • Thursday, May 18, 7-8pm: Illuminate DnA: Assessments & Reports
  • Tuesday, June 6, 7-8pm: Creating Interactive Activities with SMART Notebook

See printable flyer here.
Hope to see you there!

The webinar platform was funded by a grant from the Walled Lake Foundation for Excellence. Thank you FFE! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Have you checked out Google Keep lately?

Last night I presented a webinar, along with the other members of the ISTE EdTech Coaches PLN Leadership team: Add to Your Ed Tech Coaching Toolkit: Tools for Organization.  Although I cannot share the recording publicly (the webinar is a member benefit for ISTE members only), I can share the handout we created. I also recorded my portion of the webinar separately so that I can share the good news about Google Keep! The video below is 3.5 minutes long. Enjoy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

As part of the Spring 2017 ISTE Professional Learning Series, join me and the rest of the ISTE Ed Tech Coaches PLN leadership team for a webinar this coming Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is Add to Your Ed Tech Coaching Toolkit: Tools for Organization.
Although the webinar is geared towards the unique needs of an edtech coach, anyone wanting to become more organized may discover a thing or two that may help. Discover web tools you can use to schedule meetings, keep track of to-do lists, communicate with staff, & organize and deliver professional development.
If you’re a member of ISTE, you can register for the members-only webinar here

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Get Ready for Digital Learning Day 2017

Digital Learning Day is coming up on Thursday, February 23, 2017. The Digital Learning Day website provides the history behind this national event:
Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. This grassroots effort blossomed into a massive nationwide celebration as teachers realized that Digital Learning Day is not about technology, it’s about learning.
Teachers in my district are providing digital learning experiences to students every day and this is most likely true for anyone who may be reading this post. My challenge to you is to provide ONE new digital learning experience to your students on or near February 23. Need ideas? See list below to spark your thinking:
  • Record a short video (1-3 min) with FrontRow lesson capture and post it to your classroom website or blog. It might be to explain directions to an assignment, show a writing sample with oral feedback, or highlight main points of a lesson for review. If you are nervous about recording, do it in the privacy of your home! Did you know that you do not even need to be connected to your classroom equipment to record a video? See two min tutorial here.
  • Create a Safari Montage playlist for an upcoming unit and share it with students using a "permlink" or QR code. Students will be prompted to log in with their WL username/password. Learn more about Safari Montage, including how to create a playlist, by clicking here.
  • Try using a formative assessment tool such as a Google Form, Kahoot, adding a question in Google Classroom, or another one from this list.
  • Try using SMART Notebook to create an interactive lesson for your students. There are teacher-created lessons that you can use/modify on the Smart Exchange website.
  • Introduce all of your students to Snap&Read and Co:Writer, learning support tools. Walk them through how to install and use both of these powerful tools. See how-to info here.
  • Explore other ideas posted on the Digital Learning Day website: digital tools, online resources, and/or lesson plans submitted by teachers.
Remember, I'm available to help and want to support your efforts. Please let me know your plans to provide a new digital learning experience for your students.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Students, Our Best Advocates

Each year, student teams and their teachers from around the state participate in the AT&T/MACUL/MVU Student Technology Showcase, an event held at the State of Michigan Capitol Building. This year’s Student Technology Showcase took place on December 7, representing 34 schools across Michigan.  It was an opportunity for teachers and students to present to lawmakers classroom technology projects designed and created by students at all levels of K-12 education.  

Through these demonstrations our lawmakers see the importance of technology integration into the classroom firsthand, hearing straight from students themselves.  The event was also a chance for teams to move about the rotunda of the Capitol to explore the work of teams from other districts.  These new connections helped students grow their digital literacy knowledge while discovering the possibilities of other technology integrations into school projects and curriculum.

For most students, this was their first experience meeting and speaking with the legislators that represent their community.  In doing so, they found out that it is not so scary to be a part of the political process. Students had the opportunity to practice speaking skills as they explained how they use technology to help them learn, resulting in an increase of confidence in speaking with adults; even if that adult happens to be Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, who visited many tables during the showcase this year.  
Photo by Ryan Burklow; he is on the Governor's Communications team.

Sometimes students leave the Student Technology Showcase with unexpected experiences. For example, ​Sen. Marty Knollenberg paid special tribute to the team from Royal Oak Middle School by inviting them to the Senate floor!

The student projects were as varied as the regions of the state they represented.  The Hamilton High School team demonstrated their process to create infographics and many of their finished products.  An overall passion for robotics was evident from many schools:  from the elementary students coding with spheros and dash robots, to the high school students who shared the robot that competed in FIRST robotics competitions.  

Western Middle School students took this to an even deeper level.  They coded EV3 lego robots and used sensors to demonstrate possible car safety solutions.  This is the type of deeper learning that can happen when thoughtful technology integration collides with sound practice and student curiosity!

We at MACUL hope that all Michigan educators will consider taking a team of students to future Student Showcase events. The structure is in place and the environment is perfect for educators and students to share their unique stories with state legislators regarding the importance of students having ongoing technology-enhanced learning experiences. Students are our best advocates!

Written by Pam Shoemaker and Joe Rommel

Pam Shoemaker is the Technology Instructional Coach for the Walled Lake Consolidated School District in Walled Lake, MI. She serves on the MACUL Board of Directors and is on the leadership team of the ISTE Ed Tech Coaches PLN. Pam is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and her interests include advocacy and everything ed tech! She can be reached by email at pamelashoemaker@wlcsd.org or Twitter @shoemap.

Joe Rommel teaches teachers how to use technology in a meaningful way for the Berrien Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) in Berrien Springs.  He was a teacher for 15 years at St. Joseph Public Schools, most recently teaching sixth grade language arts.  Joe enjoys making things with his wife and four elementary aged kids.  He can be reached via email at joe.rommel@berrienresa.org, found on twitter at @jrommel, or stop by at 711 St. Joseph Ave.  Berrien Springs, MI - he might be in his office.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Blogging Challenge Week 4: Blogs I Follow

Lady with binoculars by liftarn
When Bloglines went out of business in early 2015, my blog reading habit took a dive and I moved to spending more time following Twitter. This blog challenge is making me rethink the idea. Last week I set up a Feedly account, and followed other edtech coaches who are participating in the blogging challenge, along with a few others. I  look forward to checking out what blogs other ed tech coaches are following!

Here are a few that I follow:

Penny Christensen (organizer of the #ETCoaches Blogging Challenge - Thank you!)
Steve Wick 
Gregory Gilmore
Matt Miller
The Official Google Blog