Friday, September 28, 2012

Month in Review

september 9+9

Here are the top posts everyone's talking about - Did you miss any?

An Interview with Todd Whitaker

In this interview, also my first podcast, Todd talks about his book, Shifting the Monkey: The Art of Protecting Good People From Liars, Criers, and Other Slackers.  Well worth a listen.

Great App for Conducting Teacher Observations

Are you adapting apps to make your work as an administrator easier? Here I talk about using the iPad app inClass for conducting teacher observations.

The #1 Twitter Tip for Teachers, Administrators and Other Educators

Short version - you're not in any videos.

Are We Missing the Mark? Three Ways to Get Beyond BYOD Fears

Districts are adopting BYOD policies but are devices being used in classrooms?

Sometimes You're the Jackass

'Nough said.  
Photo Credit: rosmary

Monday, September 24, 2012

HR For Principals - The Americans With Disabilities Act

my wheelchair at stowe pool

For a while now I have been planing to write about the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) to give principals an overview of the Act and potential impact on managing the workplace.  The ADAAA can be highly technical and writing a good synopsis was a tough task - the post never really got out of the planning stage.

Fortunately, the Emily Douglas over at Education Week recently posted a guide for K12 talent mangers.  The post begins:

Most Americans have heard about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the importance of being ADA compliant. But, what does that mean for employees and organizations, and how does the law impact school districts? Following is information about the ADA that all K-12 talent managers should know. 

The post is well worth your time - click through to read more.

Photo credit: Rachel Groves

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sometimes You're the Jackass

KKyMason County Roundup & Jackass Race

The other night I was driving down a two lane, tree covered road.  No streetlights, no moon, it was dark.  Because there was occasional traffic coming from the other direction I kept switching between my high and low beams. 

Someone comes around a sharp bend and blinds me with his high beams.  You’ve been there – completely blinded by the light (I hear a song there) trying to navigate the turn at 45 MPH. 

Jackass! Alone in the car, I direct the name toward my window knowing full-well that he can’t hear me but the utterance makes me feel better.  As I continue on down the road, I switch the high beams back on … or so I thought.

Turns out I had my high beams on the entire time.  I realize that I was the jackass. 

It happens.

Happens on the road, happens at home, and happens at work.

Can’t do anything about when it happens on the road but at home or at work I can admit my ‘jackassedness,’ apologize, and attempt to do better in the future.

Photo credit- Kyle Martin

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Embrace the Remix

We are not self-made. We are dependent on one another. Admitting this to ourselves isn't an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness, it's a liberation from our misconceptions.” (Kirby Ferguson)

Embrace the Remix

Nothing is new.

Everything is a copy.

Our creativity comes from without not from within.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Interview with Todd Whitaker

Today I am pleased to post a recent talk I had with Todd Whitaker about his book, Shifting the Monkey: The Art of Protecting Good People From Liars, Criers, and Other Slackers.  Here, Todd talks candidly about his book, gearing his responses and applications to school leaders.  I think you'll find the talk extremely helpful as you apply the strategies of Shifting in your situation.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

(Update: The embedable player is not working in all browesers - if you're having trouble click this link to go to the host page.)

Click here to find this interview on iTunes.

If you missed my review of Shifting the Monkey click here.

If you haven't read Shifting and would like to purchase a copy or any of the books Todd mentions in his talk, click the links below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Are We Missing The Mark? 3 Ways to Get Beyond BYOD Fears

Gadgets (past and present)
Is your thinking on BYOD as dated as the tech in this picture?

Open house.

I wonder how many administrators have trouble attending open house as a parent.  I know I do.  It's hard to turn off the urge to evaluate and coach while listening to the teachers' presentations.  Am I supposed to be scripting?  Should I point out the typo on the class expectations sheet?  Are you really going to enforce that policy?

I try to look at the big picture and for the most part my children have had wonderful teachers.  My kids do well in school. They work hard, they play sports, they stay involved.  There are two areas, however, where my children's teachers (and others?) are missing the mark.

Today I explore one area.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

As a self proclaimed tech geek I was excited when our district adopted a BYOD policy this year.  The old policy on tech was "if you use it or we see it - you loose it" and included progressive, mandatory discipline for each infraction.  To illustrate how 'big a deal' BYOD was in my house, my wife and I bought the kids new smartphones because of the policy.  Imagine my dissappointment when I attended open house at the middle school (I have 3 middle schoolers in the same grade, same core) and the teachers announced, "Even though the district has said your kids can bring their own devices to class, we decided that they need to be kept in their lockers during the school day."  

Are you kidding me?

Fantastic opportunity wasted.  The math teacher even said they could download a four-function calculator to use - on their homework!  I'm sure my kid's teachers are not the only who fear BYOD.   But fear should not keep us (the collective educators us) from using these powerful tools.  Here's three things you can do to help your teachers adjust to a new BYOD policy.

1) Teach etiquette. Students are used to hiding devices and sneaking looks while the teacher's attention is directed elsewhere.  Teach kids that there is a right time and a right way to use tech in an academic setting.  Texting during Cornel notes is not ok; using an app to take notes is.

2) Carry portable tech and use it productively yourself.  Let teachers and students know you are using it and what you are using it for.  Find a lost student in-between classes?  Instead of using the walkie to radio the office to get the kid's schedule, use your mobile device to access the network and find the information immediately.  Students and teachers will make the connection.

3) Offer to demonstrate ways to use tech in the classroom.  Showcase tools like PollEverywhere or PollDaddy.  Get instant student feedback and interactions with TodaysMeet.  Start with simple tools like the ones listed  then delve into deeper tech usage like blogs, wikkis, and online assessments.

I've offered just three suggestions to keep the starting point simple - I know it's easy to get overwhelmed with the number of apps and tech choices out there.  If you have other suggestions for helping teachers adapt to BYOD policies I'd love to hear from you.  Just leave a comment below.

Up next is part two of Are We Missing the Mark? where I'll look at formative and summative assessments.

Photo credit:    JasonLangheine


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