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Join me at the @ASCD Annual Convention in Anaheim this Sunday! #digiportfolios #EMPOWER17

In a couple of days, I will be flying out to Anaheim, California for my first visit to the Golden State. Purpose: I am facilitating a session on digital student portfolios on Sunday, 3/26 at 3 P.M. Click here for location details.

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This session will be an opportunity to share new resources and ideas from my upcoming ASCD book (August) on authentic assessment and technology. The confirmed title is Digital Student Portfolios in the Classroom: Celebrating and Assessing Student Learning.

If California is a bit of trek, consider attending one of my upcoming summer workshops in the Midwest (click here for schedule). I may also be available to facilitate one- and/or two-day workshops in your neck of the woods; reach out for more information.

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Exploring Classroom Innovations at the AWSA/WASDA Summit for Data-Informed Leadership in Green Bay

Data is a four letter word, literally and sometimes metaphorically in education. Educators need data to drive instruction and making informed decisions about student learning. When students have information about their own learning progress, they know themselves better as learners. Yet when data does not serve an important purpose, it can also monopolize our time that is better spent teaching and learning.

I was grateful for the opportunity to speak about the challenges and promises of this topic at the Wisconsin Summit for Data-Informed Leadership this week in Green Bay. This event, co-facilitate by WASDA and AWSA, gave administrators and teachers the opportunity to develop a better understanding of data in the context of schools today.

Beyond the Gold Star: Strategies for Nurturing Self-Directed Learners

This first session guided participants to explore innovative classroom approaches that gave students more autonomy in their learning. Data in this context wasn’t necessarily a number or letter; video, audio, and images can also serve to inform teaching and learning.

Educators tried to create a story using an unknown digital tool with little direction. This activity gave participants, especially school leaders, an opportunity to experience the anxiety that teachers and students might feel working with technology. Some of our tensions are healthy, as we sometimes don’t challenge ourselves enough.

Attendees were directed to a simple Google Site with several pages devoted to innovative approaches for classroom instruction: http://bit.ly/classroominnovations. Right now it is pretty bare bones; I hope to add more ideas and resources to it as time goes by.

Digital Student Portfolios in Action

This session was much more technology-focused, around one approach to facilitating qualitative assessment. Our goal was to “rethink our plates” instead of trying to add one more thing to our busy days.

Participants had a lot of time to explore different digital portfolio tools, as well as new ways for students to represent their learning. This group already had a strong understanding that data was not limited to quantitative information. They offered smart questions and creative ideas for making their classrooms more student-centered.

Having studied and experimented with digital portfolios for students for almost five years, it was probably the most comfortable I have felt presenting on informational technology. It was a good way to prepare for my presentation on the same topic at the ASCD Convention in Anaheim on March 26.


I will be facilitating a number of workshops this summer on these two topics at CESA 3 and CESA 4. If interested in learning more about classroom innovations that work, as well as having time to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum. please reach out!

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How might making lead to literacy? A #WSRA17 presentation

Today I facilitated a 1.5-hour session on makerspaces at the Wisconsin State Reading Association convention. The focus was on trying to answer the driving question:

How might making lead to literacy?

This was a true wondering. Although I had some suggestions and ideas, it was on the educators that attended to determine this. They are the kid and literacy experts.

Below are some pictures from the experience. Click here to access the agenda and click here to view the slides. As you can see, we had a lot of fun exploring the possibilities.

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Interested in learning more? I am hosting a one-day workshop at CESA 3 on July 18. The focus will be on how to use technology to increase student independence as learners.

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Free #edchat Resource: The Secrets of Self-Directed Learning

Today is the release of The Secrets of Self-Directed Learning: Strategies for nurturing and stimulating independent learners. What started as a whitepaper for FreshGrade is now an eBook. Click here to download this resource today.

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In The Secrets of Self-Directed Learning, I make the case that we need to start releasing more responsibility of the learning to the student. The challenge is: How do we do this? The false promises of praise and administering measures of compliance in the name of accountability have made this task that much harder. To help, I offer four clear steps that any teacher can use to better develop self-determining learners:

  1. Cultivating the Conditions for Success
  2. Clarity Above All
  3. Feedback, Feedback, Feedback
  4. Real Work for an Authentic Audience

I’ll be honest: there are no secrets described in this resource. Most of the suggestions shared here are based on sound research, as well as practice from my own experiences as a public educator. I know how busy teachers can be. Let this eBook be a practical guide for fostering true independence in the classroom.

To read my eBook immediately on your mobile device, click here. Registration is free.

 

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Join Me for an All Things PLC Twitter chat, Topic: Using Technology Thoughtfully in PLCs #atplc

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Tonight at 8 P.M. CST (Thursday, November 5) I will be hosting an All Things PLC chat. This conversation is supported by Solution Tree (www.solution-tree.com). Our topic is around the use of technology in thoughtful ways within professional learning communities. Follow the #atplc hashtag on Twitter to join us.

Specifically, we’ll discuss what benefits can be found from leveraging digital tools to work smarter and not harder. We will also reflect on how technology can sometimes get in the way of professional conversations. Specific tools will be addressed, but the focus will remain on exploring the best ways to make collaboration effective in our schools with the help of today’s technologies.

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Digital Student Portfolios: Site License for Teacher Professional Development

Thinking about your school’s professional development plan? Are you looking for a focus for your grade level or department inquiry? Still searching for that textbook for a college course you are teaching on technology integration? Then consider this offer for a powerful, year long learning initiative.

Digital Student Portfolios School Site License

Possible questions:

What is a “site license”?

A site license means that a school or organization has unlimited access to an author’s content. This can be a big money saver if considering a whole staff book study. The site license would be a one time fee, no recurring subscription.

What is included in this offer?

  • Unlimited access to digital copies of my text (ePub, Kindle).
  • A PDF version of the book for printing out and reading on paper.
  • An original study guide with thought-provoking questions and links to powerful learning activities.
  • Access to our Google+ Community on digital portfolios for students, to host asynchronous discussions and to connect with over 400 other educators with similar interests.

What is the author’s background?

  • B.S. Elementary/Middle Level Education, 1-8
  • M.S. Educational Administration, PK-12
  • Licensed as a Director of Instruction, PK-12
  • Currently leading a school in a digital portfolio initiative (2011 – present)
  • Training: Online professional development, connected coaching

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

Please fill out the form below to register. If you have questions, please include them in the form.