Anybody can hear - it takes brains to listen. -Joanne Greenberg
I just finished book 4 of 7 in my Executive Communications class. The Listening Leader by Richard M. Harris was a very interesting read that covered communication from a listening aspect. As someone who leads professional development on a regular basis and coaches teachers, The Listening Leader made me think about my own listening style. I “pride” myself in being a multi-tasker; someone who can work on a computer AND attend to a presentation at the same time. I used to wear the badge with honor. Reading this book made me truly think about the way that I listen and I have come to the realization that I am not a good listener. Harris said, “today, too many listeners are passively sitting by, forfeiting feedback and commitment to the speaker in favor of focus and self-interest." This is an area of my leadership life that I need to work on. Fortunately, I have some friends that are awesome listeners. Reading this book made me think of them and how they make me feel when I’m talking to them. I want to be that kind of listening leader for my teachers.
Showing yourself to be a listening ready leader will afford you a sounder basis for developing trustful relationships with your customers, subordinates, and coworkers.
My favorite part of the book was the checklist for facilitating learning. This concise list of twelve steps was written to help you get others to listen when you talk. This is exactly what I need for my position! The step that struck me was step seven, which states that speakers must “create realistic moments for rehearsal and practice." This is one area that I lack professionally. Creating great slides and researching content come easy, but practicing delivery would be great for improving my confidence and delivery. Because of this book, I will take more time to practice my delivery before facilitating learning so I can help others be better listeners.
Keeping it Techy,
When I was in the Kindergarten classroom 5 years ago, I remember reading an article about the new Nearpod app. I was instantly amazed at its capabilities to control a classroom of iPads, even though I only had 5 of my own at the time. Since I was a campus instructional technologist for my school, I shared the app with my Technology Director and he shared it with a high school science teacher who had 1:1 iPads in his school. This was the beginning of Nearpod in my district.
Since then, I have shared the app many times at various trainings and the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" from teachers speak of the draw that the program has. Over the years, the app has morphed from a separate teacher and student app to a common app. Plus, the iOS only capability has expanded to include all web based devices plus App Store, Google Play, and Chrome Web Store apps. This makes Nearpod even better for a BYOD or mixed-device classroom.
The premise behind Nearpod is easy. The teacher can either create or download a Nearpod presentation that is then shared to the student device and controlled by the teacher. While the teacher is flipping through the screens of the presentation, the student's screen automatically advances as well. Most teachers love the "control" that this application provides. What makes it even better is that you can embed formative assessment question screens into the presentation! You have multiple choice, drag and drop in the blank, text, and draw features placed seamlessly within your lesson to check understanding. While the students are completing the work, you can view the progress of the student on your teacher device. How cool is that? Videos even work in the slides and play on each individual device. Make sure you have student headphones though! The videos are often just a few seconds off of each other and can make a hectic noise when they are all playing.
Did I mention that all of this is FREE?!
In my district, I finally decided to try my hand at Lunch & Learn sessions...again. This was something that I tried in my first year as an Instructional Technologist, but quickly dropped it when my first session was met with dismal attendance. However, I LOVE getting out on the campuses with the teachers and students...so I brought back the Lunch & Learn format. I chose Nearpod as the first one because it is an app that even the most tech reluctant teacher will try. Usually I push "creation" applications for the iPad since I believe that student use of any device in the classroom should be more about creation than consumption. In this case, I wanted teachers to come and learn a tool that they can learn and use the next day with ease. Baby steps...
I believe that student use of any device in the classroom should be more about creation than consumption.
To help draw teachers and "plus" the session, I provided dessert with the adorable Nutter Butter packages above. Thanks Mindi at Anna ISD for the awesome idea! Without good instructional technologist friends like her, I wouldn't know half of the tools or tricks that I do today!
The attendance at the Nearpod session was much stronger than my first Lunch & Learn. And after these two Tweets came through my feed today, I am calling this a success! Thank you Mrs. Sonya Mathews and Mrs. Patricia Nelle for not only using the tools that I share, but for sharing your classroom with the world!
What's next? I'm not sure. With STAAR testing, T-TESS training, and BrightBytes data collection, this might be my one and only Lunch and Learn for this year, but it energizes me to start strong next year with a new series. Any ideas? What Lunch & Learn sessions have you shared with your teachers?
Keeping it Techy,
If you follow me on social media, you know that I am in the final stretch of my coursework for my Master's in Educational Administration. The class that I am taking right now is called Executive Communications and it is RIGHT up my alley! With PDAS going away and T-TESS coming, the PDAS class for my degree was dropped and this class replaced it. I am happy about that! Of the 7 (Yes, SEVEN) books that I have to read over the next 7 weeks, this book intrigued me the most. As immersed as I am in social media, I am always looking for ideas on how to use the various mediums more effectively in the educational setting.
Dr. Brian J. Dixon wrote Social Media for School Leaders: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting the Most Out of Facebook, Twitter, and Other Essential Web Tools from his experience as a high school principal. His field experience and use of the technology tools explained in the book makes this guide an essential piece to round out any school leader. Dixon hit the nail on the head when he said “the abundance of social technology has begun to shift the role of the school leader from the site administrator to community engagement specialist." School leaders are not just building managers or just instructional leaders; they are expected to navigate the waters of social media and web tools to connect with the school community. This navigation can get difficult when trying to translate the personal use, or no use, of social media to the educational area. Dixon says "school leaders…are familiar with social media in their own lives, but because of the complex issues surrounding the use of social media with students they need help effectively using social media in their school practice."
The abundance of social technology has begun to shift the role of the school leader from the site administrator to community engagement specialist. -Dr. Brian J. Dixon
I loved this book. Out of the stack of books sitting on my desk for this class, this is the one that I have been the most excited about reading. Social media and educational technology are my passions and I’m blessed that I get to work in my passions every day. Understandably, a few web tools listed in the book have changed dramatically or have disappeared all together since the publication of this book in 2012. Technology changes so drastically that it’s hard for a printed book to stay relevant. What keeps Social Media for School Leaders relevant is that it gives detailed “how to” for each tool and wonderful application examples. I was impressed at the layout, sequence, and information presented and found myself looking up each unfamiliar tool while reading the book.
In the preface of the book, Dixon explains that he wrote this book for all types of people – the technophobic, the cautious, the early adopter, and the non-educator. I am definitely the early adopter but many principals and district administrators are either cautious or technophobic. This book is a great resource for any administrator regardless of their technological ability. You should check it out!
Keeping it Techy,
Turns out that 2016 is a year of change and growth in many areas of my life. To keep up with the times, I have decided to branch out with my own professional blog. While it will be educational "techy" in nature, I know that parts of me will seep through as well. My prayer is that this will be a place for you to learn about some of my favorite EdTech tools, hear the great things that the teachers in my district are doing with technology in the classroom, keep up with the events that I attend, and anything else that pertains to my learning journey.
If you are reading this, please leave a comment below and tell me what you think so far! I am always looking to learn, grow, and improve! Plus, any blog topic ideas are welcome. I am here to serve!
Keeping it Techy,
This blog post was originally published on my commerceisdtech.weebly.com blog
My new Google obsession is Google Keep. Maybe it's because I yearn to be organized. Maybe it's because I have OCD tendencies. Maybe it's because I haven't found the best way to keep checklists and todo notes...until now.
Google Keep is a simple note-taking application. You can create voice memos, checklists, and insert pictures. What sets Google Keep apart from other checklist tools (like Trello, which I also love) is that it links to the awesome world of Google. I can share notes with family members or team mates WITHOUT them having to create an account...because they already have one! My school district is a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) district so all of my peers AND students have accounts where I can share organizational notes. I even got Superintendent Cooper on board with Keep and he has notes for each administrator that he shares with them. Google Keep is our new "agenda" for team meetings. It is working well so far, and I'll "keep" you updated! (hehe!)
TCEA recently blogged about this note-taking platform and included some ideas for student use in the classroom. These are the ideas that they shared:
You can check out the entire article on the TCEA Blog.
Do you use Google Keep? How do you utilize this tool? I would love to hear from you!
Keeping it Techy,
Thank you Splash of Ink blog for the Google Keep image above.
Instructional Technology Coordinator for Commerce ISD. Just a teacher looking for a classroom to make a difference! Not only sharing EdTech tools, but sharing my thoughts, feelings and the great things happening in Commerce ISD.