Make School Different @ #KTI2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 3.57.31 PMThis past week, I had the pleasure of speaking to this year’s class of Keystone Technology Innovators (#kti2015). It was a pleasure to speak with such a group of dynamic and dedicated educators! A bonus: three teachers from Salisbury Township School District were present – Jen Brinson (@jbrinson21), a KTI Lead Learner; Linda Helfrich (@LindaHelfrich), 5th grade teacher from HST; and Laura DosSantos (@LDos322), World Language Department Chair and Spanish teacher. We as a district are very proud of you for your work with our students and receiving this recognition!

The topic of the talk was Make School Different, and there were lots of opportunities for the STARS to engage by exploring ways they can make school different and committing to something for 2015-16 by the end of the talk. The conversation on the #kti2015 hashtag is embedded in the Storify below along with the Today’s Meet conversation and resources shared during the talk. Lastly, I’ve shared the slides from the presentation. Thanks to Ross Cooper (@rosscoops31) for help in designing the builds for the presentation (of which you don’t see in the Slideshare). KTI is an awesome breath of fresh air for teachers! Thanks to Ann Noonen (@anoonen) and the KTI Lead Learners for all you do to make this a transformative week for PA educators!

Storify of #kti2015 during the talk…

Todaysmeet backchannel

Additional resources mentioned in the talk

Slides from Slideshare




What I learned about innovation at Edcamp Hershey – #sweetpd

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 7.05.54 PMA few weeks ago I shared some thoughts on innovation in a post titled Curious about innovation in K12. Attending Edcamp Hershey today, my colleagues and I took advantage of the opportunity to engage in a conversation with educators about this topic by offering a session, How do we lead innovation? — supporting curriculum, instruction and assessment. Thanks to my leadership colleagues Ross Cooper (@rosscoops31), Ken Parliman (@kenparliman) and Rob Sawicki (@sms8thgradess) for sharing in the conversation as well.

The session went well and I was particularly pleased with the way we structured it. We started with a modification of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), asking the participants to brainstorm questions around the topic of innovation. After generating as many questions as possible in the allotted time, we asked them to add the 3 most important questions to the session document. Be sure to click through to see what we came up with. The questions then provided the fuel for an extended conversation that lasted around 40 minutes.

Reflecting on the hour, here are my three takeaways and a question:

  • Innovation is context dependent. What is innovative in one classroom or school may not necessarily be innovative in another context, for example, an online learning environment. This can also make it challenging to define innovation and messy to implement it.
  • Engage students in conversations. This was also a theme from the last Edcamp I attended. It’s easy to forget about the students, but as we move forward, more clearly defining innovative practices for our leaders, students and teachers, we cannot forget this voice.
  • Innovation must be grounded in a WHY. Innovation for innovations sake is not OK. How is the work tied to what students should know and be able to do? If the innovation is not, then it’s probably not worth doing or needs to be modified so it can be mapped to standards.
  • Where are the leaders? Yes…anyone can be a leader, and clearly the participants are teacher-leaders in their school contexts. I mean the school leaders. If we are ever to achieve change that is system-wide we need to have school leaders understanding the value of having these conversations and following them up with action plans. Engaging the leaders (and parents and students) is the only way we will move beyond pockets of innovative teachers. I am grateful we have leaders on the team willing to engage in this important conversation.

Be sure to check out the document for more questions as well as resources shared by several of the participants.

Are you engaging stakeholders in the important conversation about innovation? Why is this important?


PAECT 2015 Outstanding Leader of the Year

IMG_6184Last month I was quite surprised to be recognized by PAECT as the 2015 Outstanding Leader of the Year at the annual PETE&C conference. Thanks to Robin Burns, Diahann Snisky and Kelly Wetherhold for putting forth the nomination. But most importantly, thanks to the team of educators and board members I get to work with in Salisbury Township School District. Your willingness to embrace change and work to provide the best opportunities for our students makes the work extremely rewarding! The award really represents your good work!

Salisbury educators: Lynn Fuini-Hetten, Teresa Cross and Jennifer Brinson

Salisbury educators: Lynn Fuini-Hetten, Teresa Cross and Jennifer Brinson


PETE&C 2015 – Are you evaluating your tech initiative?

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 8.57.39 PMIn the last post, Moving toward transformation…., I shared how a colleague (@lfuinihetten) and I were days from the opportunity to dig deeper into our leadership challenge and working with 18 other school districts from across the country, researchers such as Ruben Puentedura and Damian Bebel, and a team of facilitators from Apple, Inc. Because of inclement weather conditions, we never made it out of Allentown, and the work session was moved to later this month. We are still very much looking forward to fine-tuning our assessment/evaluation efforts on our teaching and learning initiative – TL2020. More to come… But in the meantime, both @lfuinihetten and I attended PETE&C, Pennsylvania’s educational technology conference and were privileged to share two sessions with our colleagues from across the state:

  • Evaluating and Assessing Your Tech Initiative – Evaluating and assessing your tech initiative is key to adjusting your implementation and knowing whether you’ve reached your goals. You will learn how Salisbury Township SD is using a simple framework for evaluating and assessing its 1:1 initiative. You don’t have to be a published researcher to successfully assess and evaluate your initiative!
  • The SAMR Framework: Leveling Tech Integration – Do you want to take technology integration to the next level? Discover a framework that can be used to classify the richness of technology use on a ladder from substitution through redefinition. Participants will learn the framework, view examples of technology use along the continuum, and apply the framework by developing a sample SAMR ladder.

I wanted to write about our first presentation, Evaluating and Assessing Your Tech InitiativeNot only is the topic a personal interest of mine, I also think it is valuable to share because I don’t see many 1:1 schools or districts asking how they are progressing toward their program goals. Since we started our 1:1 initiative in 2011, we have been collecting a wide variety of data from our context. We have used this data to tweak the course of our work as we progress (formative assessment) and provide a more formal year-end evaluation of the program to our school board. Over the course of several years, we have developed a framework of questions that has helped us assess and evaluate what we are doing with technology: (The framework could be used for any initiative, really.)

  • What are the goals of the initiative? (I’m surprised – still – how many tech initiatives really have no valid published goals or expected outcomes.)
  • Who is your audience? (Who cares whether you are making progress toward your goals – school board? Community? Educational researchers?)
  • What data will you collect? (What data sources will help you determine whether you are making progress on your goals?)
  • How will you analyze the data that you collect? (What methods of analysis will you use and who will be involved in the analysis?)
  • How will you share your results? (Faculty meetings? Board meetings? Online?)
  • What’s next? (Research – practitioner research in this case – should be cyclical. What did you learn and what will you change? And the cycle continues…)

While we are using the terms assessing and evaluating, we are really talking about research. Usually, though, that word scares people and they think they can’t do that because they don’t consider themselves educational researchers. That’s a shame because practitioners such as ourselves have a unique insider perspective. Our perspective should be used to help inform what we (and other practitioners) do to define best practices. You don’t need to be a published researcher with a doctorate. All you need is curiosity, a framework similar to that presented above and the wherewithal to gather and analyze data. The outcomes are well worth the investment! Be sure to check out the embedded presentation below for examples of how we have implemented the various phases of the inquiry process. I’d love to hear feedback or ways to improve the process.

What process do you follow to evaluate and assess you technology initiative?

Twitteracy, Literacy and Generation Z – a few more presentations

sharelearnPresentations benefit both presenter and attendee as opportunities to share and learn. I enjoy sharing ideas, and developing a presentation always helps me to clarify my own thinking. And if others can benefit in that process, that’s a bonus! In the last post, I shared a presentation I did for the Keystone Technology Innovators/Integrators group in the Lehigh Valley. After writing that post, I realized there were a few other presentations I gave the past few months but did not share on this blog. So I thought I’d share them here as some may find the information useful and interesting.

Generation Z: It’s Complicated – – For this presentation we engaged in a conversation around two resources: a presentation on Generation Z from the marketing firm Sparks & Honey and the recently published book by danah boydIt’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.

Twitteracy: The What, Why and How – How can Twitter be used to develop and reinforce literacy skills? In this presentation I started with basics about Twitter and ended by sharing practical examples of how Twitter can be a powerful (and relevant) tool in developing the literacy skills of our students.

Approaches to Literacy for Generation Z – My colleague,  @lfuinihetten, and I presented this session to the Colonial Association of Reading Educators and the Moravian College Education Department. During the session, we explored the potential for technology-rich literacy instruction in four areas: (1) analyzing and discussing literature; (2) reinforcing reading and writing through digital storytelling; (3) crafting effective persuasive and argumentative writing; and (4) engaging social media to improve reading and writing skills. A podcast recapping the session is available on TLTalkRadio.

In February, @lfuinihetten and I are looking forward to our next presentation, Evaluating and Assessing Your Digital Learning Initiative: Keys to Success at both the AASA National Conference on Education and PETE&C. We will also be presenting The SAMR Framework: Leveling Tech Integration at PETE&CWe’ll be sure to share those as well! 

How do you share your knowledge with others? What is the value to sharing your knowledge with others at conferences and other professional gatherings?