Celebrating EdTech Women Making an Impact

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March is known as Women’s History Month and this year the theme honors Trailblazers whose passion has influenced their respective field of work. This month I plan to highlight groups of Edtech Women each Friday that are leading the way in our field, celebrating their passion, innovations, and work. These women are helping to lead the way in creating a change in the field of education that is best for kids around the world.

leslie.jpegLeslie Pralle Keehn, Instructional Technology Consultant at Prairie Lakes AEA

“I want to help teachers and students follow their passions to create, change, and lead a  world that is better off than when I entered it.”

  • Current Edtech Favorites: DIY.org, ISTE Young Educator Network, #ObserveMe movement
  • Advice: Don’t let any individual or system keep you from doing the work that is best for your kids. There is a huge network of educators ready to lift you up and support you, often only one click away.
  • Connect with Leslie: @LPralleK (Twitter and IG)

 

beth-500Beth Holland, doctoral student, writer, consultant

“My entire education focus has always been to find the best possible ways to create meaningful learning experiences for students.”

 

julieJulie Daniel Davis, Technology Coordinator

“Somewhat of a futurist, I am passionate about meeting teachers and students individual needs through the use of technology and taking them forward in their growth as lifelong learners.”

 

alice.jpgAlice Keeler, Teacher and EdTech Blogger

“You don’t teach a class, you teach a room full of individuals.”

headshot_jenn_2Jennifer Womble, Program Chair, Future of Education Technology Conference

“My mission is to design the highest quality professional development that inspires educators, accelerates learning and engages curious minds.”

  • Current Edtech Favorites: Catchbox (great for engaging audiences and getting people talking), Mentimeter (perfect for visualizing responses from an audience),
    Google Cardboard (inspiring VR with low cost tools and apps)
  • Advice: Engage your professional passion every day; teaching children requires building relationships and inspiring thinking, when educators are passionate, students are motivated to create, be curious and learn new things.
  • Connect with Jennifer: Twitter @JenWomble and at face to face conferences around the country–especially FETC

 

karaKara Welty, Mentor Teacher and Technology Integrationist

“Do everything with great love.”

  • Current Edtech Favorites: All things GAFE, Do Ink Green Screen App for iPad, Seesaw
  • Advice: Let your heart steer you. Follow and embed your passions as an educator into everything you do. When it is clear to others that you love your work and thoroughly enjoy what you do, it is contagious to all who interact with you. Be the person that uplifts everyone you meet through EVERY single interact you have. Furthermore, anyone who dedicates their life to teaching, leading, and learning understand how important our roles are and see how much it takes to be an educator that our students need.  Having said that, through your journey, keep your eye focused on what really matters, which is always the people we serve. Through serving others, we grow and become better as a result. Give yourself grace and acknowledge the incredible acts of service YOU dedicate to your school and community. Lastly, continue taking in as much knowledge and inspiration from the people around you and you will be UNSTOPPABLE!
  • Connect with Kara: Twitter- @kara_welty, Website- karawelty.com, Instagram- kara_welty

 

sueSue Gorman, Consultant

“Always see the good in everything and everyone and be kind always.“

victoriaVictoria Olson, Grade 3/4 Teacher & Technology Coach

“To me, education is about nurturing the growth of the whole child and providing them autonomy in their learning so that they’re proud of what they can offer the world.”

  • Current Edtech Favorites: Explain Everything, YouTube Playlists, Google Classroom, IFTTT
  • Advice: Let kids make mistakes and give them space and time to realize it. When adults interject too much in the lives of kids, we are failing them. Realizing mistakes allows kids to build independence, self-regulation, and resilience.
  • Connect with Victoria: Twitter @MsVictoriaOlson, Insta @msvictoriaolson, Blog: techteacheronamission.com

 

kerryKerry Gallagher, Digital Learning Specialist at St. John’s Prep, Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely, and EdSurge Columnist

“Start with a question, and let your search for answers lead to better questions.”

  • Current Edtech Favorites: Open Education Resources, Formative , PlayPosit
  • Advice: While it is important to listen to the feedback of your colleagues in your school and your PLN, be true to yourself and your students when you make your final decisions about what happens in your classroom and how you represent yourself to the world professionally.
  • Connect with Kerry: Twitter: @KerryHawk02, My Blog www.KerryHawk02.com

 

heatherHeather Callihan, District Technology Integrationist

“Every day is an opportunity: As an educator, I embrace the opportunities, reflect on the process, learn from others and never stop learning!”

  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, Twitter and Podcasts
  • Advice: Failure is a learning opportunity.  Own your experiences and embrace all opportunities!
  • Connect with Heather: Twitter @hcallihan email: hcallihan@ginorthwest.org

 

How to Read Infographics: The SCD Strategy

new-piktochart_903_8a2035b2468fed4b37b4b82dec9cd930f8f1d96aTo help students become independent readers and comprehend the complex information they will encounter throughout their lifetime teaching comprehension strategies will help them flourish. The capacity to self-direct reading strategies is extremely important in our fast-paced, technology-rich world. Cognitive processes to access and understand information is done automatically in good readers and these are the exact strategies we must model and teach to our students.

The onset of the internet has triggered an explosion in visual information with an increase of 400% in literature and an astounding increase of 9900% on the internet but little is done in terms of supporting students’ gain skills to comprehend information in the area of visual comprehension strategies.

Aligning to best practices in literacy, I created the SCD Strategy to help students understand Infographics. To begin with, students need to understand the general purpose of infographics – Infographics make information visible, tell a story visually that is easy to understand, grab the reader’s attention, and spark conversation. Identify the issue or topic presented and the author’s purpose or claim.

SCD Strategy for understanding Infographics:

SStructure – Infographics have a definite structure just as any other text they may read. The information presented is connected and not just a bunch of random thoughts put together. Have students determine how the information is organized.

  • Is is Chronological? Cause and Effect, Inductive/deductive?
  • Is the information organized by person, event, product?
  • Does the author use data or % to organize information?

Identifying the structure of an infographic helps readers understand the flow of the information and is part of comprehending information.

C- Content – Infographics are constructed around content to help the reader understand complex ideas visually. Students should identify the story the visual content is telling the reader.

  • What is the main claim and evidence the author is using to support it?
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is it reliable and current information?

Only 53% of infographics contain data and numbers, have students key in on important words, phrases, and repetition. Most infographics chunk information into digestible, bite-sized segments. Identify the parts and how they relate to the whole.

D – Design – Infographics visually tell a story and relate information to consumers. Not only is content important in this form of communication but design elements help to convey meaning. Making students aware of design principles used in infographics is another strategy to support comprehension.

  • How is Typography used? Italics and bold-faced words jump out to the reader and signal important information.
  • How are Colors used in the infographic? What information is emphasized through the use of specific colors? Do the colors relate to the content or topic? 
  • Spacing, alignment, and whitespace is used intentionally to focus the reader’s visual cueing system, provide direction or flow, or connect like ideas.
  • Finally, icons, numbers, images add to the overall understanding of the message, highlight important information, and help students visualize key points.

Digital communication will only increase the use and creation of visual information and while many students have never experienced a time pre-internet they are not equipped with the strategies that will help them flourish as readers. Modeling and teaching the SCD Strategy will equip students with the necessary skills to comprehend infographics and demystify visual information.

3 Alternatives for Generating Citations

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Just as one should always backup their pictures, documents, and videos in multiple places; so should educators always have a backup for their favorite digital resources, tools, and apps. In the blink of an eye, something that was accessible yesterday could vanish into the digital abyss just as the recent deletion of the Research Tool in Google Docs. Educators and students had grown accustomed to the search and citation options available with the “Research Tool” and many are now scrambling for alternatives…

Here are 3 Citation Generating Alternatives to Consider:

 

  1. logo-easybib-cheggEasyBib – A free citation generator that is available online, as an app, extension, and as a Google Doc Add-On. EasyBib is also offering a free EasyBibEdu account for all educators for the 2016-17 school year. Not only can you generate citations using MLA, APA, and Chicago styles, with EasyBib, you can also create notecards, outlines, and avoid plagiarism and check the reliability of websites.

 

  1.  citation-machine-logoCitation MachineA free tool that helps “students and research professionals properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources, that there is virtually no reason not to.” It allows users to choose from 4 styles – MLA, APA, Chicago, and Tribune. It is a web resource that is simple to use.

 

  1.  refme-logoRefMe – Also a free web tool that allows users to create citations and manage them by scanning the barcode. Choose from over 7,000 styles to fit requirements. RefMe also allows you to share your list of citations with others making it perfect for collaboration and group work. RefMe is a web resource and also an app. Cut and paste citations into documents or download the entire bibliography.

 

No one is happy when a widely used digital tool suddenly disappears.

As educators, we need to model to our students how to readjust and seek alternatives. And remember, most digital tools have feedback options so users can share their likes or needs with the creators. You can find Google’s feedback form here. Help to improve Google’s products for all user, let them know your thoughts.  

A Challenge: We Have to Stop Pretending

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Tagged by my good friend, Beth Still, who took Scott McLeod’s challenge, which asked educators to create a top 5 list of things to “Stop Pretending” (in education) I offer my response:

When it comes to education we need to stop pretending…

  1. That literacy; modeling, practice, and teaching is confined to the ELA classroom.
  2. That letter grades are the best way to inform us of the skills and competencies a student possesses.
  3. That… Rewards + Compliance = Learning.
  4. That the climate and the culture of a building doesn’t affect student learning or teacher morale.
  5. That technology will fix bad teaching.

 

My list contained many more thoughts, but these 5 resonated with me, as I hope they do you!

 

I tag: Erin Olson, Jimmy Casas, Cornelius Minor, Rafranz Davis, Tom Murray, and Jeff Zoul

 

I challenge you to write about education and what we need to “Stop Pretending”. If you write a post, please tag it with #MakeSchoolDifferent

 

 

 

So You Want to Be a Teacher: Interview Tips

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April is fast approaching, which means interview season in the teaching profession. Below are a few tips to consider to help you land the teaching job of your dream!

Prior to Interview:

  • Time the route to the interview location; nothing says “Don’t Hire Me” like arriving late.
  • Google self; make sure your online presence transmits professionalism (facebook, twitter, linkedin).
  • Professional dress; as a nice touch, wear a tie or blouse that matches the school color(s).
  • Resume; print 5 copies of your resume to hand out at the interview in case someone does not have it.
  • Do your research; show interest in the school by reading their website. Make connections during interview.
  • Author(s) and Question(s); many times an interviewee will be asked what they are currently reading or which theorists have shaped their practice, be sure to have a few names in mind. Also, think of  questions to ask at the end of the interview when prompted.

The Interview:

  • Punctuality; arrive 15 minutes early to the interview.
  • Breath; NO GUM, but a breath mint before the interview is a good plan!
  • First impressions; whether interviewed by one or many, as soon as you walk into the building you are being interviewed. Introduce yourself to the secretary, say hello to the students you pass, and before being seated, look at each employee, smile, and give them the “Power Handshake”.
  • Specifics; providing specific, personal examples for questions asked will help you stand out from the rest of the candidates.
  • Notes; having a piece of paper and pen to jot notes or questions. This will help you cover all important areas.
  • Pause; when needing a bit more time to digest a question start with the phrase, “Great question, I need a moment to collect my thoughts” to buy yourself time.
  • Smile; although interviews are nerve-racking, smile, make eye contact, and relax.
  • Sell yourself; to set yourself apart from the others be sure to highlight skills that show you are a team player, responsible, and willing to learn. Relationships matter, and while some may be hired based on “skill” most are fired based on “attitude”.
  • Kids first; always, always, always remember the reason you are there, Students First!

After the Interview:

  • Decisions; it is perfectly fine to ask when a decision will be made on the candidate chosen to be hired.
  • Thank You; be sure to send  a handwritten Thank You note (not an email, tweet, or post) to the administration thanking them for the interview, highlighting your qualities, and showing your enthusiasm for the school.
  • E-mail; a short email to the principal a few days after you send the Thank You is appropriate as well.
  • Celebrate; after completing your first interview, the ones following will seem less daunting. And who knows, one may be all it takes to land your “Dream Job”.

Best of Luck, and Welcome to the Best Profession on the Planet!

~Shaelynn