Saturday, August 16, 2014

Harnessing Powerful Ideas: Leading One-to-One

How you set up and lead one-to-one is based on your vision for one-to-one. So, what's your vision?



Why 1:1? How will students use the tech? For what?

The purpose of one-to-one is to give the students ubiquitous access to learning. The device itself is not the purpose of one-to-one -- augmenting students' learning is. Therefore, it's essential to know what change you want to see in your district/school that one-to-one can support.
  • What learning do you want to see, and how will technology make that possible?
  • What does that look like? 
  • How will the students use the technology to accomplish those goals?
For me, it's simple, I want to see students using their critical thinking to create, collaborate, communicate, and contribute as digital citizens.



How does 1:1 connect to and support other district or site initiatives?

One-to-one is a learning initiative, and not a technology program. It should not be treated as something separate or as an add-on. It needs to directly connect to the district's/school's mission and vision statement, especially regarding how it will enhance the educational goals.

One-to-one must also connect to and support other district/site initiatives. For example, our district is also implementing the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (known in other states as the Common Core State Standards); therefore, it's imperative that we connect and communicate how technology is built into the standards.

What percentage of the tech budget goes towards educator PD?

One-to-one can make a difference when there is ongoing, job-embedded professional learning. Yet, I hear about some of the epic failures, and one of the lacking ingredients is the allocation of budget, time, and energy regarding professional development.

Professional development for one-to-one must be more than a few workshops before the beginning of the school year. Administrators need training to lead a one-to-one learning initiative, and so will the teachers. Consider investing in technology peer coaches that "get it" and have great people skills.

Set realistic goals for each year of implementation; focus on the pedagogy; help them gain quick wins; and support the educators. Change is difficult, and it takes time, which is why having ongoing professional learning is important for one-to-one success.

What feedback do you collect from students and parents? How often do you collect it?

In addition to communicating with staff, include students and parents in the feedback loop. There is a lot to learn from students and parents by collecting feedback and listening. Use their responses to improve the one-to-one initiative. Furthermore, this needs to be done throughout the year.

I like asking questions based on Kirkpatrick's levels of evaluation.



Final thoughts

First and foremost, create clear goals for one-to-one and communicate those goals.

When those goals can clearly be communicated, it will help with:
  • decisions about devices to purchase
  • the programs/apps to load on those devices; 
  • other 1:1 campuses to observe or interview to learn from and with; 
  • and how to prioritize educator training.

Beyond the infrastructure that needs to be established, the leadership must be ready to drive the initiative by:
  • creating, communicating, and implementing the vision; 
  • connecting the initiative to other initiatives; 
  • provide educators with ongoing, job-embedded professional learning; 
  • and collecting feedback from all stakeholders, including students and parents.

Image by Scott McLeod

This post was written in honor of Leadership Day 2014, a call from Scott McLeod to share powerful ideas with education leaders.
  • What powerful ideas would you add to this post about leading one-to-one?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What insights can you share?
  • How else did this post connect with you? 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Core Tech for Math Common Core Standards #ISTE2014

In this post, my focus is sharing some of the math resources that I heard about during "Core technologies for the Common Core" by Kyle Brumbaugh and Elizabeth Calhoon at #ISTE2014. I'll also add a few ideas of my own.

Math in the real world

Students should be able to apply mathematical concepts to real world issues. In the real world, math doesn't come in a box labeled, "Today you will only use your multiplying with fractions skill." In the real world, students must use critical thinking to solve problems.


As math is taught, it must be relevant to our students by connecting to the real world. Technology can assist in relevancy by giving students access to real-time data, current information, interactive tools, and audiences beyond the four classroom walls.

Use appropriate tools strategically 

Students are asked to choose appropriate tools strategically when solving math problems. Appropriate tools include traditional tools such as rulers, protractors, etc., and it also includes online tools.


There are a number of online tools for mathematical learning.
  • Desmos: Graph functions; plot tables of data; evaluate equations; explore transformations; and much more. Students can create models that can be manipulated by changing variables. This tool is powerful enough to be used in trigonometry and calculus.

  • Google Calculator: This tool can be used as a "scientific calculator" or geometry calculator. It can convert from one measure to another for temperature, length, mass, speed, volume, area, fuel consumption, time, and digital storage. To use this calculator, you can either type your equation directly into the Google (or Chrome) search box or do a search for calculator.
  • GeoGebra: Online site that allows students from all levels of education to build models and test them using a variety of mathematical concepts. It joins geometry, algebra, tables, graphing, statistics and calculus in one site.

Information and data tools

Students must be able to collect data, synthesize the data, evaluate data, and present data in strategic and creative ways. Technology can also greatly increase productivity for students and teachers.


Technology also helps us to tap into the plethora of data and resources available on the Internet.
  • Google Trends: Use the statistics and analytics from Google searches. Each spike on a graph connects us to specific events going on in the world. This allows students to research statistical information to use in data visual displays and other projects.
  • Google Public Data:  Statistics of topic you search, with the ability to hone in on certain data such as age, gender, economic status, or location.
  • Infographics Archive: Search the archive of infographics, create an infographic or data display using their suggested tools, and submit your infographic to their archive. 
  • Piktochart: Create an infographic or data visualization with this tool. This is a great way to take data and synthesize it to present in a creative way. 
  • Canva:  Create infographics, presentations, etc. with this simple and beautiful free tool. (Thanks Lisa Johnson for introducing me to this tool!)
More resources
  • Khan Academy: There are online tutorial videos as well as skill and drill exercises that provides students with feedback.
  • CCSS Math: Sort the standards and find more resources for each standard.
  • Learn Zillion: More video tutorials that really focus on conceptual understanding along with the skills.
  • Ck-12: Online math textbook. There is a teacher version in addition to the student version. You can set it to your state standards and grade level (6th-12th).
  • Gooru: More online resources for various content areas.
  • Real World Math: This is a collection of free math activities for Google Earth designed for students and educators. These activities help connect mathematics to the real world.
  • TedEd -- Math in Real Life: Here's a series of TED talks (or You Tube videos) for Education connecting math in the real world. It has videos, lessons, and the ability to create your own lessons.

Final thoughts

Technology can enhance learning. It's a tool to gather information, organize, synthesize, analyze and draw conclusions. It gives students access to quality and current information/data. Students can use it to understand abstract concepts, and construct their own understanding of a concept. They can use it to create, collaborate, and share with others inside and outside of the classroom.

The bottom line is technology is part of our world; part of preparing students to be college and career ready; and is built into the standards. It needs to be part of how we "do school."
  • How do you incorporate technology in math?
  • What resources or tools would you recommend?
  • How does this post connect with you?