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Ready to maximize your school technology investments? Try this approach with campus culture initiatives. The approach? Juxtapose new technologies with strategies that close the growth gap.

TASA's Insight publication just published my article, Five Action Steps to Growth Gap Innovation. I was delighted to have the opportunity to write this article for TASA's publication on behalf of TCEA.org. You can find the complete Spring, 2019 issue online.

I have to admit that I love the lead I wrote for this article, especially the question, "Where technology abounds, does innovation flourish?" It's such a wonderful question to ask, especially in schools that have ample access to tech. The answer is as simple as this:
Juxtapose tried-n-true strategies with new technologies in this series of action steps.

Want to read the unedited version? Scroll down and check out my blog entry. Otherwise, click the link to see the final version (they're not that different) in TASA's Insight.




Want to read the article in text format? Here's the unedited version:


Five Action Steps to Growth Gap Innovationby Miguel Guhlin
Ready to maximize your school technology investments? Try this approach with campus culture initiatives. The approach? Juxtapose new technologies with strategies that close the growth gap.
Innovation eludes us. Rich or poor, your school won't find it with fancy gadgets unless you take these action steps. Ask yourself, "Where technology abounds, does innovation flourish?" As a school leader, how can you make meaningful growth happen with digital technology?
Follow the Money
"If we scatter some technology, like fairy dust, will we see 10-points of growth?  Only then is it worth the cost," said my large urban area superintendent. The problem? Innovation and growth don't happen in isolation. Consider the cost of growth.
Against a $457 billion worldwide market of inter-connecting devices, schools make their plans. In 2015, U.S schools spent an estimated $6.6 billion on technology. Texas spent $1.5 billion in 2015. In 2018, K-12 spent $14 billion (GovTech.com). Is our mad pursuit for innovation working? The answer is, "It has stalled amidst competing priorities." Even when we have the technology, we lack the innovative culture to close the growth gap.
The Growth Gap
The growth gap, also known as the learning gap, is more than technology competence. It's about juxtaposing new technologies with established cultural norms. The short-term superintendent spends money and forces technology in schools. This is first-order change. The culture engineer transforms the culture. She does this as she combines change and constructs technology infrastructure (Biggs, 2013). The preferred latter approach is second-order change (Marzano & Waters, 2009).
While first-order changes tend to be technical, second-order changes focus on attitudes, beliefs. Second-order goes to the heart of culture norms and people's shared values are. It's time to move beyond first order issues to second-order. The smart leaders have done so.
Does innovation elude you? Juxtapose tried-n-true strategies with new technologies in this series of action steps.
Action Steps to Innovation in Your School
Open innovation thrives in spaces of juxtaposition. Create a space for diverse ideas to collide (Bokai, 2016). Put the right tools in place to capture what results. Build a platform for magic to manifest. Not sure what to do? Take these action steps to get started, then try it on your own.
Action Step #1: Build a Platform for Enhancing Cultural Competence
Per the National Education Agency (NEA) (Alston, 2006), here's one strategy to close the growth gap. To do so, they recommend valuing diversity, increasing cultural competence for staff. They suggest (in a positive way) taking advantage of students' culture and abilities. Aside from celebratory from language sensitive parent gatherings, how do you do this?
Juxtapose real life events with technologies that amplify positive experiences. Use technology to create a rich platform for celebrating and sharing student success. Adopt the #TxEdTuesday approach of Tell It, Tag It, Share It. Not familiar with that approach or how to get started? Explore specific strategies on how to showcase your school's success online (TCEA, 2017).
Action Step #2: Go Digital to Increase Instructional Time
Increase instructional time for students who need higher intensity sessions. Go digital. This doesn't mean digital tutorial or drill-n-practice ad nauseum. Those approaches only yield short-term returns, long-term headaches. Long-term headaches for children put in front of digital tutorials include several issues. Issues include difficulty organizing information. Increased screen time can impact (long-term) children's ability pay attention (Bhat, 2017).
Juxtapose real-world problems with digital solution-making. Use design thinking approaches (Staff, 2018) to perceive the world in new ways. Go digital with collaborative, inquiry-based projects. Real-world learning works for students. It empowers learners to be hands-on, social problem-solvers as media-makers. Digital media, team-building, real-world problem solving work well (Benner, 2018). Team-building in small groups can lead to scaffolded instruction. This explicit, focused instruction aligns to student needs (Fisher, 2015). Use technology to drive team work. Rely on one-on-one connections to scaffold a student's learning.
Action Step #3: Connect with Cloud-based Conversations
At a time when connecting classrooms and culture via the cloud has never been easier, we do not. Culture impacts student learning and their academic abilities. As technology can connect countries, juxtaposing cultures can occur in the classroom. Students walk in with different perspectives
Juxtapose literature and students' worldviews, making it possible to setup a counter-culture literature. Have students create walk-n-talk podcasts (Staff, 2018) of what they're seeing or learning. Get them to compare that to what they're reading. Do the same with adult learners to blend ideas that build towards a culture of innovation. Rely on tools like Google Meet and Skype in the Classroom, Voxer, and more.
Action Step #4: Speed Learning with Multimedia Text Sets
"Kids don't know anything, why ask them to share?" asked a principal once. How do you build background knowledge K-12 or adult learners need? One approach could be team learning focused on multimedia content. Engaging students with team learning methods has positive achieement results (Slavin, Karweit, 1981). The same goes for adult learners. In this way, you combine varied, effective strategies. How can you use technology to speed diverse learner instruction?
For me, learning involves sense-making, mixing information and ignorance.  You create an idea collider. What survives the force of many collisions is what results. Get faster learning with more content and learner interactions.
Juxtapose team learning with multimedia text sets. Using Lisa Highfill's multimedia text sets, you can speed learning. Even more so, you can scaffold team learners. Create Multimedia Text Sets (MMTS) to ease introduction of new information. MMTSs help learners glean information and ideas from a rich variety of media sources. Learn more online at http://ly.tcea.org/mmts
Action Step #5: Make Learning Connections Visible
"Why does this matter? How is this going to be of value in my life?" Those are two questions that disarm most educators. In this final action step, make the impact of learning viewable to learners.
Several ways are possible. They range from inviting guest speakers to working with primary source documents. News stories sources abound online (http://ly.tcea.org/freenews).
Five Action Steps to Close the Growth Gap
Many schools are working hard to show growth for each students. Use the action steps to bridge the gap between learners’ present status and their future they are capable of.
Web Link to Article References
References appear at length online if too lengthy for inclusion. Available at http://ly.tcea.org/tasarefs

References
  1. Alston, Denise (2006). "Closing Achievement Gaps: An NEA Association Guide."
  2. Benner, Diana (2018). "Five Culturally-Responsive Instructional Strategies." Available at http://tinyurl.com/ycmpnhdh
  3. Bhat, Jyothsna (2017). "Attention Spans in the Age of Technology." Available at https://tinyurl.com/y8d3ttye
  4. Biggs, Sharon M. (2013). "Superintendents’ Beliefs about Barriers That Can Influence Their District Technology Leadership Practices." Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 1873.  Available at https://tinyurl.com/y7qyle4o
  5. Bokai, Dina (2016). "Open Innovation Thrives in Spaces of Juxtaposition." Available at https://tinyurl.com/ydghxmwt
  6. Fisher, Ossa (2015). "8 Proven Ways to Help Close the Achievement Gap." Available at http://tinyurl.com/ybvp9m6p
  7. GovTech Navigator (2018). "Estimated 2018 Education IT Spend: K-12 vs. Higher Ed." Available at https://tinyurl.com/y764jd5b
  8. Guhlin, Juan M. (2018). "Design Thinking Learning." Available at http://tinyurl.com/y9l6pmwe
  9. Marzano, Robert J.,  Waters, Timothy (2009). "District Leadership That Works."
  10. Pusey, Stacey (2018). "How Does Culture Impact Our Ability to Learn?" Available at http://tinyurl.com/y8ngggrn
  11. Slavin, Robert E., Karweit, Nancy L. (1981). "Cognitive and Affective Outcomes of an Intensive Student Team Learning Experience." The Journal of Experimental Education,50:1, 29-35. Available at http://tinyurl.com/y785lz6w
  12. Staff, TCEA (2017). "Showcase Your School's Success." Available at https://tinyurl.com/y95v8l2l
Staff, TCEA (2018). "Walk and Talk Podcasts." Available at http://tinyurl.com/yahn3zl5
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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It's inevitable. Interact with people, and you'll find a need for knowing how to have crucial conversations and/or confrontations. Since it's been awhile, I thought I might share some of my notes and a presentation I created a few years ago.



Go Crucial - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires


Over time, I've realized that while these books are very helpful to me, for others, they may not be. After all, one's brain absorbs what it needs or thinks it needs, and that's true in this case.

Some of my favorite take-aways from the books, I keep written in memo pad that I carry around with me.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION
Whenever I believe I'll be having a crucial conversation/confrontation, or simply want to review, I revisit my notes...the following is my "cheat sheet" so I don't have to read the books over again. However, I would definitely encourage you to visit Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble (bn.com) and pick up copies of these powerful books, Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations.

The authors also have some other titles worth checking out, such as Influencers. I encourage you to take these books a bit at a time and practice their principles in your daily work, whether you are a manager or CEO. This stuff is gold but it's so easy to skip over it with the mistaken perception that "Oh, this is common sense or I already do this." You may think you do, but I encourage you to try "the formula" for crucial conversations.

I honestly wish I'd read these book a decade or more ago. They would have profoundly changed how I interact with others. Ah well, we get wiser as we get older if we're fortunate.

In the meantime, here are my notes from the books...any mistakes are my own.


Crucial Conversations
--What do I really want? For myself? For others?
--How would I behave if I really wanted those results?

AND
1) Clarify what you really want
2) Clarify what you really don't want.
3) Present your brain with a more complex problem.

SILENCE
Masking - understating/selectively showing our true opinions...Sarcasm, sugarcoating, couching.

Avoiding - Steering completely away from sensitive subjects. Don't address real issues.

Withdrawing - Pull-out of conversation completely.

VIOLENCE
Any verbal strategy that attempts to convince, control or compel others.

Controlling -  Coercing others to your way of thinking. Cutting others off, overstating your facts, speaking in absolutes, changing subjects, asking directive question.

Labelling - Putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category.

Attacking - Being belittling and threatening.

SAFETY
When you look around, evaluate conditions and realize that it doesn't feel safe, take these steps:
• Step Out.
•Make it safe then step back into the flow of conversation.

One way to accomplish that:
"Can we change gears for a minute? It would be good if we could both share what's working and what isn't. My goal isn't to make you feel guilty, and I certainly don't want to become defensive. What I'd really love is for us to come up with a solution."

Conditions of Safety
1) Mutual Purpose: 
  • Do others believe I care about their goals in this conversation?
  • Do they trust my motives?

2) Mutual Respect:
  • Do others believe I respect them?
  • What are ways in which we are similar?

To rebuild mutual purpose or mutual respect, use 3 skills:

• Apologize - When you've made a mistake thhat has hurt others, start with a sincere apology.
• Contrast - Contrasting is a don't/do statement that:
1. Addresses others' concerns that you don't respect them or that you have a malicious purpose.
2. Confirms your respect or clarifies your real purpose.
"Let me put this in perspective. I don't want you to think I'm not satisfied with the quality of your work. I really do think you're doing a good job. This punctuality issue is important to me, and I'd just like you to work on that. If you will be more attentive to that, there are no other issues."
• Create a mutual purpose: Use the following 4 skills to create mutual purpose:
1. Commit to seek mutual purpose.
2. Recognize purpose behind strategy.
3. Invent a mutual purpose
4. Brainstorm new strategies.


Four approaches:
1) Make a unilateral public commitment to stay in the conversation until you come up with something that serves everyone.
2) Ask people why they want what they're pushing for.
3) If after clarifying everyone's purpose, you are still at odds, see if you can't invent a higher or longer-term purpose that is more motivating than the ones that keep you in conflict.
4) With a clear mutual purpose, you can join forces in searching for a solution that serves everyone.
Retrace Your Path to Action
1) Act - Notice your behavior. Am I in some form of silence or violence?
2) Feel - What emotions are encouraging me to act this way?
3) Tell Story - What story is creating these emotions?
4) See/Hear - What evidence do I have to support this story?

Types of Stories
• Victim - Not my fault
• Villain - All your fault
• Helpless - Nothing else I can do.

Flip the Clever Story:
• Am I pretending not to notice my role in the problem?
• Why would a reasonable, rational decent person do what this person is doing?
• What do I really want? For me? For others? For the relationship?
• What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?

Contrasting Statements
"I know this is difficult and I don't want to upset you; I just want to make sure we consider everything we area dealing with."

Tentative Statements
"I'm beginning to feel that you are an upset with me. Did I do something to make you angry?"

STATE
Share your facts
Tell your story
Ask for others' paths
Talk tentatively
Encourage testing.

Talking tentatively means that we tell our story as a story rather than disguising it as a hard fact.

Examples:
Perhaps you are unaware...
In my opinion....
I'm beginning to wonder if...
I'm starting to feel like you...

Invite Opposing Views
• What am I missing here? I'd really like to hear the other side of the story?

Mean It
• "I know people have been reluctant to speak up about this, but I would really love to hear from everyone."
• "I know there are at least 2 sides to this story. Could we hear differing views now? What problems could this decision cause us?"

Model Disagreeing
• "Maybe I'm wrong here. What if the opposite is true?"

Share your facts.
Tell your story
Ask for other's paths.
Talk tentatiely Encourage testing.

1) Learn to look beyond content to conditions.
2) Tone down your approach.
3) Catch Yourself.

Share Your Facts
Start with the least controversial, most persuasive elements from your path to action.

Tell Your Story
Explain what you're beginning to conclude.

Ask for other's paths.
Encourage others to share both their facts and their stories.

Talk tentatively
State your story as a story--don't disguise it as a fact.

Encourage Testing
Make it safe for others to express differing/opposing views.

Try AMPP approach
Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase, Prime.

Mirroring is most useful when another person's tone of voice or gestures are inconsistent with his or her words. Some examples:
• You say you're OK, but by the tone of your voice, you seem upset.
• You seem angry at me.
• You look nervous about confronting him. Are you sure you're willing to do it?

If you do disagree, compare your path with the other person's. Rather than suggesting that he or she is wrong, suggest that you differ. Start with a tentative but candid opening such as:
"I think I see things differently. Let me describe how."

Agree when you agree. Build when others leave out key pieces. Compare when you differ.

Ask:  Start by simply expressing interest in the other person's views.
Mirror: Increase safety by respectfully acknowledging the emotions people appear to be feeling.
Paraphrase: As others begin to share part of their story, restate what you've heard to show not just that you understand, but also that it's safe for them to share what they're thinking.
Prime: If others continue to hold back, prime. Take your best guess at what they may be thinking and feeling.

As you begin to share your views, remember to agree when you share views, build when others leave something out, agree where you share views then build. And, compare. When you do differ significantly, don't suggest others are wrong. Compare your two views.

ON MEETINGS
When teams meet and generate a host of ideas, they often fail to convert the ideas into action for two reasons:
• They have unclear expectations about how decisions will be made.
• They do a poor job acting on the decisions they do make.

Four common ways to make decisions:
• Command
• Consult
• Voe
• Consensus
Suggestions for leaders:
• Make a list of some of the important decisions made. Then, discover how each decision is currently made and how each decision should be made--using the 4 question method:
1) Who cares?
2) Who knows?
3) Who must agree?
4) How many people is it worth involving?
After discussing each decision, decide how you will make decisions in the future...make sure to ask, who does what by when? How will you follow up?
Talking: "I'd like to talk about something that's getting in the way of my working with you. It's a tough issue to bring up, but I think it'll help us be better teammates if I do. Is that OK? [Describe issue then...] I'd thought I'd bring these up because they send a message that makes me uncomfortable. How do you see it?"
Learn to look for patterns, don't focus exclusively on a single event. Practice CPR:
For first incident, focus on content.
For second incident, identify the pattern.
For the third or more, talk about how repeated pattern affects relationships.

Crucial Conversations
  1. “Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand. This unique combination of thoughts and feelings makes up our personal pool of meaning. This pool not only informs us but also propels our ever action.”
  2. “When two or more of us enter crucial conversations, by definition we don’t share the same pool. Our opinions differ. I believe one thing, you another. I have one history, you another.”
  3. “People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool—even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open. The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more committed action later on.”


  • Don’t fall prey to a Sucker’s Choice. A Sucker’s Choice is a this or a that, an either / or … etc. The assumption is that you have to trade one thing for another.
  • Find an “and” solution over “either / or“. Find a way to have it both ways. Challenge yourself to seek the higher ground.
  • Know what you want and what you don’t want. Stating what you want and don’t want are powerful because they clarify your intentions. Clarifying what you don’t want can be particularly powerful because of the principle of contrast. It can can also help take away perceived threats. Clarifying intentions is an important step because it’s easy to get lost in the content and lose sight of the real intentions. Your intentions guide you through your dialogue.

  • Crucial Confrontations


    1. When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they'll hold it well.
    2. If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it's likely there's another more important problem you need to address.
    3. CPR = 


      1. Content-what happened; 
      2. Pattern- what has been happening over time; 
      3. Relationship - What's happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it's that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. "This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don't like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can't trust you to keep the agreements you make."
      1. People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don't respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don't care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).
      2. Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don't mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.
      3. AMPP = 
        1. Ask to get the conversation rolling; 
        2. Mirror to Encourage; 
        3. Paraphrase for understanding; 
        4. Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.
      4. WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN - Follow-up
      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Back in 1996 (wow, that was a LONG time ago), I wrote an article for publication in Technology Connections (3(3): 13-14) magazine. The article? Stage a Well-Designed Saturday Session and They Will Come! 
      Available via ERIC


      I did a quick google search and found that it's been cited many times. What was all the excitement about? Too bad, you won't find a bootleg copy online. While 1996 may have been a good year, it was not so easy to publish content online (although many of us did try to). Now, you have a copy of the article below.

      Well, here's an oldy but...well, you decide if it's still a goody. A question that's worth reflecting is, "How well have my 1996 assertions held up now that we are in 2019?"



      Stage a Well-Designed Saturday Session and They Will Come!
      "What?!? Come on a Saturday? Are you out of your mind?" said one elementary teacher to my suggestion that instructional technology training be done on Saturday mornings. When I first heard that response several years ago, I felt discouraged. Would technology ever be integrated into the curriculum and how could we accomplish change if teachers did not want to learn? 
      Years later, with countless hours of instructional technology staff development under my belt, I know the truth. While most teachers will claim that they will not attend technology training, the fact is that they will. They will also come to after-school training. And, it's a good thing, too.
      According to research (OTA), the role of the classroom teacher is critical to the full development and use of technology in schools. If teachers are not the focus of the technology training, then technology will fail. 
      Instructional Technology Design: Points to Consider 
      As teachers and recognizing the necessity of integrating technology into the curriculum, we must begin by addressing the design and implementation of an instructional technology staff development program.
      #1: Technology's potential is largely unexploited. 
      Over the past years, various technologies have found their way into education. Most failed because administrators put it in but expected teachers to use it. Teachers received little training, and were not part of the decision-making process to bring the technology to the school. In order to take advantage of technology, I involve teachers from the beginning, understanding that while I may write the proposal and technology plan, it will be the classroom teachers, not the special programs teachers, upon whom the responsibility will lie. I reassure classroom teachers that extensive staff development will be provided.
      #2: Most teachers want to learn technology but lack time, access, and on-site support. 
      In order to address this, develop a campus technology plan that makes time for teachers to explore and learn to use a computer. Emphasize that while teachers will not become expert users, they will be able to use the computer and additional technology instructionally. My staff development sessions follow this pattern:
      • Introduce how to use technology for specific instructional tasks with lots of hands-on time;
      • Individual follow-up modelling in the classroom (using SuperSub concept);
      • Whole class follow-up and sharing. By necessity, training must take place before/after-school, during contracted time (school day) and summers/weekends. Yet, time is not often enough. 
      Without a computer or the technology to go back to in their classroom, teachers are seriously hobbled. From past experience, many administrators are wisely reluctant to purchase technology just to see it waste away. However, research suggests that having one to four computers in a classroom is a more comfortable setting for teachers to use technology. With technology in their classroom, both students and teachers are apt to use it when they need to, not when the computer lab is ready for them. Therefore, technology plans must allow teachers to earn hours towards getting a computer (or more than one) for classroom and weekend/summer use. This is a powerful incentive for teachers.
      Other powerful training incentives include providing copies of the software and manual that teachers are trained on, educator computer purchase programs, and summer/weekend loan programs. As mentioned earlier, classroom follow-up sessions ensure the integration of technology. This necessitates on-site support.
      As a veteran campus technology coordinator, I know that on-site support is critical. Unfortunately, most technology coordinators are saddled with classrooms and instructional technology duties. Site administrators must decide on how to help balance the load. Usually, an extra planning period specifically for technology works well. Campus technology coordinators can log their activities during that time and share them with administration.
      #3: Lesson plans, related materials/handouts and curriculum guides must have clear and relevant objectives.  
      While hands-on training addresses a fundamental need involved in integrating technology into the curriculum, technology has to be interwoven into the curriculum. Starting out, teachers weave technology into the curriculum through their lesson plans. Often, they take lesson plans that have been written and "add" technology on. While this approach works with some success, and is a necessary developmental step for teachers, integrating technology will not happen until technology is used to do things that were unavailable before technology appeared. Integrating technology involves redesigning our lesson plans. Certainly, this flies in the face of those teachers who use lesson plans from year to year without adjusting them to their class' needs. 
      For the most part, teachers do change how they teach because of their genuine concern for their students. The questions for these teachers is, "How do we work technology into our already packed curriculum?" and "What do we do with the students once we start?" Curriculum change is driven by what students need to know. In the past, for example, curriculums were driven by arithmetic and computation. Now, math curriculums are beginning to incorporate arithmetic and computation within the grander scope of developing creative problem-solving, decision-making strategies and cooperative learning. 
      The answer to the teacher's first question is not an easy one. It is that technology is best suited to curriculum that involves discovery learning, developing higher-order thinking skills, and the comprehension and communication of ideas and information. If the current curriculum--that which focuses on lower order thinking skills (basic skills) as a prerequisite to higher-order thinking skills (metacognition, problem-solving & decision-making)--does not change, the computer will remain a drill-n-practice tutor. The answer to the second question is much easier. 
      Once the first question is answered so that H.O.T.S. are addressed, technology becomes a tool for comprehending and communicating, serving both students and teachers. Yet, writing lesson plans can be a difficult process. I am currently developing databases that will address these needs and assist in the development of lesson plans that incorporate technology. Notice the word "incorporate."
      The job of "integrating" will fall on the classroom teacher and the curriculum writers. The "key" to integrating technology is the classroom teacher. It is she who can shut the door, or open it. Supporting them has to be the first step in any technology teacher training program. To quote the voice in the movie Field of Dreams, "Build it and they will come." 
      Build a technology teacher training program addressing these issues and they will come--after-school, on weekends, during the summer, and their free time.
      References
      Finkel, L. (1990). Moving your district toward technology. The School Administrator Special Issue: Computer Technology Report, pp.35-38.
      Office of Technology Assessment Report. Power On! New tools for teaching and learning. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Stock #052-003-01125-5.
      Snyder, T. (January, 1995). Technology is cool, teachers are cooler. Teaching with Technology NewsFlash; #33.
      Solomon, G. (October, 1990). Share the Spirit: 15 Ways to generate excitement and support for classroom technology. Instructor.


      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org by Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin) - 1M ago
      Over the past few years, I've often remarked that my experiences in education fuel my writing. The reason why is that writing helps me make sense of the world around me, as well as my place in it. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
      Read the complete article online at eSchoolNews


      Thanks to TCEA.org and eSchoolNews, I'm happy to report a piece I wrote in 2019 a few weeks ago has been republished in eSchoolNews. The article was inspired by a workshop my colleague, Diana Benner, facilitated a few years ago. As I was perusing the old examples on her site, I asked myself, "How could this be updated and revised for today?"

      Some of the additions and changes I made included the following:

      • Ideas that fellow Texan, Joy Schwartz, shared regarding celebrating STEM/STEAM success
      • Sharyland ISD's PD in Your Pajamas, introduced to me by Alfonso Mendoza, Jr.
      • The use of infographics to capture and share digital stories from people who experienced history as it happened
      These and other ideas featured in the article are fun ways to promote and share edtech success. My thanks to TCEA and eSchoolNews for celebrating these ideas and insights online.

      Interested in other ways to celebrate school success? Why not read one of my other articles?


      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org by Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin) - 2M ago
      In an astonishing Blast from the Past (that is, republished blog entries from Doug "Blue Skunk Blog" Johnson), Doug points out the following:
      I've never made a secret of the fact that if I have any gift it is a shallow wit, not a deep intellect. And wit may well serve a writer better in a fast information culture than intellect. Bullet lists, sound bites, and bumper stickers are the snack foods of knowledge. Tasty, popular, and even addictive, but not nutritious. (Source: Blue Skunk Blog)
      While I forget when Doug first wrote these words, I remember my reaction. I imagined that blogs were the junk food of the web. Now, years later, I know better.

      Blogs represent freedom from an all-knowing editor who can reject to print your work. They allow anyone to have a voice. More important, they enable each of us to give activities we might never share by conventional means a voice in the world outside our environs.  A Seth Godin quote suggested anyone starting a business should write a blog.

      In today's times, anyone who interacts with the world, who seeks to dig deeper than the surface learning those interactions make possible, should write. Blogs ensure, however, that the words you utter will not disappear in paper notebook destined for obscurity. Rather, your words go forth, to build alliances and connections with others who experience the world in ways the same and different.

      Thanks for memories, Doug.


      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Did you know about Portable Apps? I did but I didn't know one exciting aspect of it that has just changed how I do stuff.  First, here's a little about PortableApps:
      The PortableApps.com Platform™ is a full-featured portable software system that lets you build your own custom portable app suite for use use in your synced cloud folder, on your local PC, or on a portable USB drive.
      Think about it. You're an educator, student, and you need to run certain apps. Maybe you don't want those apps taking up space on the hard drive of your work computer. Maybe you need to safeguard files and folders since you never know who might be logging into your work computer.
      Your PC On a USB Flash Drive
      PortableApps makes it easy to run what software you need on an inexpensive USB flash drive.
      PortableApps.com lets you have all your favorite apps self contained to use from a synced cloud folder, on a local PC's internal or external drive, or carried on a portable device. Your browser with your bookmarks and extensions, your office suite, your photo editor, your music collection, your games, your development tools and more. Everything you need for work and play with you on every PC you use. Work, home, school, visiting family and friends, even while traveling. And everything stays in that one location, too, making it easy to install, update, and backup. Carried on a portable drive, every PC becomes your PC.
      Now what's really cool is that you can do more than just install it on a flash drive. You can setup the PortableApps.com Platform on your favorite cloud storage!
      The PortableApps.com Platform comes with a smart installer that lets you easily install your environment to your cloud drive (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc), to your local PC for personal or shared use, or to your portable device. The apps are portable and will run from everywhere you work from, making it a snap to keep your apps and data with you and safely backed up to the cloud.
      That's pretty amazing. For fun, I set it up on two Windows 10 computers. It pulled the same installation of Thunderbird email program for both, making it unnecessary to reconfigure everything on the second Win10 computer. Yay!

      What software?You can run tons of software as a PortableApps. You can find the complete list online. Some of the best features include:
      Over 400 Real Portable Apps
      Over 800 Million Downloads
      Free, Legal, Safe, and Fully Portable
      No Shovelware. No Bundleware.  
      The PortableApps.com Platform installs and automatically updates your apps and let's you view by category, title, new, or recent updates
      One of the key points is that the PortableApps.com Platform automatically updates your apps, making keeping them up to date a cinch. You can also load your own fonts in this environment without actually loading them on the computer you are working on. And, you can run it all out of your Dropbox, Google Drive, cloud storage.

      Amazing!! Can't believe I missed this. I hope you will check it out. Oh, it's all FREE.


      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org by Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin) - 2M ago
      As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, there are a variety of solutions for getting your Google Drive content out of one location and putting it into another. One that I had heard then lost track of is an add-on that fellow Google Certified Trainer, Joseph Wood, shared in a conversation via the GCT group email list. 

      See Joseph Wood's Tutorial

      The problem is simple. You are using G Suite EDU (or whatever), and you want to Copy a folder with all your amazing content to another Google account. You may be doing this because you want a quick backup, or you are hitting the road. How do you do it?

      Before I take a look at it, I have to share what I have been doing. I had to take another look at available solutions because CloudHQ said, "Sorry, you've been freeloading too long!" (they didn't say that, and I'm grateful for what they have let me do).
      Wait, Are there Other Ways To Get This Done?Here's what I shared via the GCT List:

      #1 - Google Takeout - https://takeout.google.comThis approach will involve exporting all your files in Drive and saving them as a massive files (ranging from 2 gigs to 50gigs, as I recall). If you have tons of content, downloading the file itself can take an hour or two (imagine doing this over a modem...haha). The main issue I have is that while Docs, Sheets, Slides files will come down as DOCx, XLSx, PPTx, files like Drawings, Forms won't be as clean or editable. My experience, since I just did this this morning with a massive repository of Drive data, is that it's OK but not the best route. It will do in a pinch but...not the best. 
      #2 - CloudHQ  - https://cloudhq.net/?r=dswqThis is my favorite solution and I've used it for years, at least 7 years. It handles all the user ownership, permissions issues, copying the contents from your G Suite EDU to your consumer version of Drive (or any other cloud storage for that matter). It works flawlessly and it's my go-to tool for daily, incremental backups. 
      There are some other competitor products worth a look at, as well. You could check out BackupifyMultcloud.com and VaultMe. The Vault Me solution offers some interesting pricing options worth investigating for one-time migrations. 
      One point to keep in mind. Solutions like CloudHQ offer a trial period. That should be sufficient time to migrate content from G Suite EDU to wherever in a pinch. 
      I just wrote about this since the question came up earlier this week from a school who had unexpectedly decided to switch from 1:1 Chromebooks with G Suite EDU to Microsoft Office 365. 
      One of the things I like about CloudHQ is that it does incremental backups, so it's "always on." In a sudden situation, you might not have the opportunity to use Google TakeOut or Copy Folder. These automated solutions would ensure that you would still have the most up to date access. But that comes at a cost.

      Copy FolderThe Copy Folder add-on works well. One key point is that it maintains the sanctity of those Google Forms you may have working. Joseph Wood has prepared a nice tutorial that's worth checking out. I encourage you to drop by his Site and check it out!


      When started Copy Folders going, I logged into both my G Suite EDU and personal G-Drive accounts in the same browser. That allowed the Copy Folder add-on to work its magic and copy from one to another. What's cool is Copy Folder updates a Google Sheet with everything it's done.

      Depending on your needs, one of these solutions may work for you! Give 'em a try.
      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org by Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin) - 2M ago
      Looking forward to an article being published in this magazine's TechTake section (towards the back of the magazine).

      INSIGHT is the association's professional quarterly journal contains news, features, research findings, and articles on issues related to education leadership, administrative management, curriculum and instruction, school finance, legislative issues, and technology. A subscription to INSIGHT is included with TASA membership. Read current and past issues via their website.
      Image Source

      Be pretty awesome to join the ranks of notables such as Joy Freeman Schwartz​, Luann Hughes​, John Bimmerle​ and others. The title of the upcoming article is, "Five Action Steps to Growth Gap Innovation."

      In the article, I outline 5 actions that District leaders can take. While I can't share those yet (hey, don't want to give it all away), here's the blurb and lead:
      Ready to maximize your school technology investments? Try this approach with campus culture initiatives. The approach? Juxtapose new technologies with strategies that close the growth gap. 
      Innovation eludes us. Rich or poor, your school won't find it with fancy gadgets unless you take these action steps. Ask yourself, "Where technology abounds, does innovation flourish?" As a school leader, how can you make meaningful growth happen with digital technology?
      That question, "Where technology abounds, does innovation flourish?" It's been pretty easy for most edtech folks to ignore it. After all, when have we ever had easy, abundant access to technology for a sustained period of time? It's like asking a person who lives in a desert, carts their own waters everywhere, "What would it look like, what would you do differently, if you had abundant water sources?"
      Lack of clean water is responsible for more deaths in the world than war. About 1 out of every 6 people living today do not have adequate access to water, and more than double that number lack basic sanitation, for which water is needed. In some countries, half the population does not have access to safe drinking water, and hence is afflicted with poor health. By some estimates, each day nearly 5,000 children worldwide die from diarrhea-related diseases, a toll that would drop dramatically if sufficient water for sanitation was available. (Source)
      I imagine that if you've spent thousands of years adapting to scarcity, it might be difficult to think different about something now in abundance. If you're a teacher who has had to deal with unreliable technology, you may have trust issues when you suddenly have improved access and reliability.


      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Note: This is an updated version to a blog entry I wrote awhile back.



      As the identity management and data security needs of school districts continue to evolve, it’s important to employ tools that can keep pace. Enboard is an industry veteran whose expertise in paralleling and even predicting the direction EdTech growth sets them apart from the competition. Enboard has been implemented by over 35 school districts in Texas to date and their presence continues grow across the country.

      Since reviewing the platform in 2016, Enboard has continued to improve upon their suite of products, which include account provisioning, resource rostering, identity authentication, and user analytics. The latest version of their Single Sign-On (SSO) portal takes the ease of access Enboard is well-known for and expands on it for more granular administrative control, improved navigation, and greater overall extensibility.

      Backstory
      At a 2016 state-wide conference, I was scheduled to present about the challenges associated with managing user accounts. During that week I had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Enboard’s CTO, Michael Knight, to learn about what the platform had to offer. In the months before, I had published several posts about the difficulties of identity and resource management, as well as an overview of other IAM solutions:
      1. The Texas Digital Textbook Data Nightmare: In this engaging comprehensive primer, featuring quotes from Texas school districts, Miguel explores the problem and solutions: available. This is a great intro for those struggling with vague notions of what is happening (or not) in regards to data integration.
      2. Data-Driven School Districts Experience Growing Pains: In this "pictures of the problem"-rich article, Miguel shares his journey to find a solution, including job descriptions and expectations.
      3. To the Rescue - @Clever in Texas Schools?: Want to use Clever to in place of or to complement your existing user provisioning solution? Read this article to get answers to key questions!
      4. MyNotes: ClassLink for Rostering: My notes on ClassLink's connection to OneRoster.org, a presentation shared at the TCEASysAdmin.
      My conversation with Michael lasted about and hour and a half and a recording can be found in my original review of Enboard:



      I was thoroughly impressed by Enboard’s solution to the IAM problems I had seen so many districts struggle with. Some key features that differentiate Enboard from its competitors include:
      • Pricing follows a subscription model dependent on number of total users and hosting options, rather than number of rostered resources.
      • Enboard deployment comes standard with 25 resources of the customer’s choosing rostered/provisioned to the district’s SSO portal. With each subsequent year, the 10 more resources can be added. After completing training, districts can deploy as many applications on their own as they wish at no additional cost.
      • A built-in confidence engine allows for multi-factor and multi-step login methods to be utilized for different user groups depending on their security needs. For example, the system can be configured to require QR code badges and 2-digit for young elementary students to login, while older students might be required to enter a specific password and Google Authenticator code.
      • All user data is kept within the district’s environment to ensure privacy and security.
      New SSO Portal Features
      Previously, Enboard’s SSO portal was housed within Microsoft’s SharePoint, which presented some constraints on implementation. However, the newly released Version 5 is an independent web platform compatible with all browsers and mobile devices. Version 5 is more responsive than ever and capable of handling large volumes of traffic, while requiring fewer server resources than previous portal versions.

      Configurable Pages & Containers: Administrators can create portal pages and containers within those pages to better organize resources for users. The SSO portal can be fully integrated with your district’s Active Directory implementation, meaning page accessibility can be dictated with the security/user groups you already use. Pages are customizable with logo banners, background images, and ADA-compliant color schemes.

      Custom User Links: Portal users can create their own shortcuts to pages outside of the portal for quick, centralized access to those resources.

      Favorites: Users can curate their favorite resources and custom links in a container for easy access.
      Location Awareness: This feature supplies teachers with information about where users are accessing resources. This is important for ensuring students are using the applications and textbooks they need to complete homework after hours. The weather widget on the portal home page provides users with the time, date, and weather specific to their location.

      Multi-Factor & Multi-Step Authentication Methods: The SSO platform utilizes a confidence engine for multi-factor and multi-step authentication on a per application level, based on security group, location, or other user attributes. Mechanisms for login include:
      • User-created passwords
      • SMS/text message codes
      • PIN codes
      • Google Authenticator
      • Security questions
      • QR code badging
      Password & Shortcut Management Capabilities: Each can manage their own login credentials for each application, removing some of the workload from teachers and recapturing valuable classroom time otherwise spent trying to recover forgotten credentials.

      Event Log & Power BI Analytics: The portal’s event log records details of when users access applications, providing teachers with valuable insight into how students are using resources. Enboard also integrates with Microsoft Power BI Analytics to deliver rich data visuals.

      Within-Portal Administrative Application Management: Administrators can now manage an application’s users and configuration details from inside the portal, giving them easier and more granular control.

      Region 11 is extending their partnership with Enboard into 2019, which is great news for smaller districts. Region 11 offers resale and implementation of the Enboard platform at a very low cost statewide for districts under 5,000 users. They have a handy document comparing Enboard to its competitors on their support page: https://www.esc11.net/Page/7571

      For more information about Enboard’ SSO portal or any of their IAM products, feel free to reach out to them at enboardinfo@encoretg.com.
      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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      Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org by Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin) - 2M ago
      In education, it's difficult to imagine being rude. It's unprofessional. Yet, sometimes, we need to be direct, to say the hard thing. Too many tools in your toolbox can be just a  jumble of junk.


      Consider my esteemed colleague's (Eric Curts) perspective:
      Microsoft Office and Google Drive are both amazing tools. For the most part they both do very similar things… word processing documents, multimedia slideshows, and spreadsheets. However there are certain things Office does that Drive does not, and there are things Drive does that Office does not.

      They are both tools, like a hammer and a screwdriver. The key is to know which tool to use in which situation to make the best use of the resources you have available. Thankfully with the options described above, it is not an "either/or" situation. You and your students can benefit from both suites, and Office and Drive can live and work in harmony. Source: Eric Curts, How Google Drive and MS Office Can Live Together in Harmony
      I disagree with this perspective. While we live in a tech-rich world, there is a problem with too much of anything. I've seen it firsthand many a time, experienced it myself. It happens when you seek to provide a wide variety of technology tools to education staff (e.g. teachers, administrators). You may think it's the right thing to do, but the truth is, you've introduced unnecessary complexity. Consider the iPod and its success.

      A FAKE STORY BASED ON A TRUE STORY
      "You won't believe what just happened," said a friend over the phone earlier this week.
      "What?" I asked.
      "I walked into my office and was told we were switching from G Suite EDU to Microsoft Office 365. Just like that."
      "Well," I started, "what kind of devices do you have?"
      "We just went one to one with Chromebooks in five different grade levels. So now I need to learn everything I can about Microsoft Office 365."
      What does this prove? It goes to show that you can still have a dictatorial, top down decision-maker suddenly decide to move everyone from one ecosystem to another, no matter the current investment. Sure, they have the power to do it. But not involving stakeholders, bringing people together to talk about it...what's up with that?

      The problem in this story isn't that there is a switch from Google to Microsoft. The switch could just as well be Microsoft to Google, or Google to Apple. The problem is HOW this decision was arrived at.

      EMPLOYEES QUIT MANAGERSThis blog entry, Asking These 5 Questions Will Instantly Reveal What Employees Think of Their Manager, suggests that employees quit their managers. Let's take a look at the 5 questions through the lens of this situation.

      Question 1: Do you feel valued at work?
      Having real engagement with your team means listening to them, changing course even when it goes against what you think is right. I still remember the time when my team said they wanted one MDM solution, and I, of course, was sold on another. I emphasized to them that I would hold them accountable (well, I was in this as well) for this decision, but if they were sure they were right, I was going to support their decision.

      In our story above, the instructional technology coaches who had been working side by side with classroom teachers didn't find out until AFTER some guy on high had made the call. Do you think those coaches, those classroom teachers, students stuck with Chromebooks when they are now switching to something else, are feeling valued? Of course not. How could this have been handled better?

      Question 2: Hypothetically, if you were to quit tomorrow, what would your reason be?I've had the opportunity to quit leaders who didn't do the right thing. Or rather, they did the wrong thing to colleagues. I still remember with some disappointment watching a new superintendent begin to systematically ignore and push out the old guard. The old guard wasn't bad, they were eager to do the right thing but the new guy wants his guys, not the previous superintendent's guys. And, so, out went a whole team of great folks.

      In this story, I suppose the reason would be a lack of communication and a failure to bring stakeholders together to make a decision that affects everyone in the organization. This, of course, includes both teachers who have been working hard to learn and teach inside an ecosystem and the students.

      Question 3: Do you feel like the management team here is transparent?Wow, this is a tough one, right? When you're doing the wrong thing, treating team members like dirt, or disposable cogs in a machine that only you know what is happening, then transparency is anathema to your efforts as a boss.

      Unfortunately, when a boss acts unilaterally, s/he is not transparent. We can only detect the evil that is done through its effect on people. What effect will there be in this situation where one person made a decision to push people from one ecosystem to another for unknown reasons?

      Question 4: On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable do you feel giving upwards feedback to your supervisor?This is an incredible question. I suspect that offering feedback back up the chain is not allowed. Some supervisors can accept valid criticism, then choose to proceed anyways. Allow me a moment to revisit Crucial Conversations, who assert that there are four ways to make decisions:

      • Command – decisions are made with no involvement.
      • Consult – invite input from others.
      • Vote – discuss options and then call for a vote.
      • Consensus – talk until everyone agrees to one decision.

      Most of us assume that a consult, vote, or consensus will be the approach. But there are times when command is appropriate. What goes wrong is when command is masked as one of the other approaches. In this mode, command is only justified when:
      “Let’s start with decisions that are made with no involvement whatsoever.  This happens in one of two ways.  Either outside forces place demands on us (demands that leave us no wiggle room), or we turn decisions over to others and then follow their lead.  We don’t care enough to be involved – let someone else do the work.”
      What some supervisors do is to cite outside forces. These imaginary outside forces make it impossible for the supervisor to do anything but do what s/he has decided to do. While these forces do exist, I would never use this rationale to justify a command decision UNLESS one was completely transparent about it.

      My favorite story is a superintendent who adopted a curriculum delivery system for the District. Several hundred thousand dollars spent, and no one knew about it until components started to show up in the district's schools. In that case, it was easy to say, "Student achievement made me do it. We had a dire need and this is the solution." As time would show, it wasn't. But the superintendent did get some nice perks out of it (e.g. cruise ship trip, a consulting job afterwards). Where's the FBI when you need them? (don't bother, this happened over a decade ago).

      For the story about shifting ecosystems, it's obvious a command decision was made without any discussion whatsoever. This raises the question, "What was in it for the decision-maker?"

      Question 5: Do you feel like coworkers give each other respect here?In a private, religious school, you would expect some respect, a culture of trust would be cultivated. However, some world views are a bit more patriarch oriented. You know, the old George Lakoff frame of, "Father knows best, and Mom and kids (staff, students, community) need to just do what they're told."

      It's possible that the decision-maker is working from a frame where father knows best. This could be true in a religious, conservative setting (this one is Protestant but I can see it in Catholics, too).

      Final ThoughtsOf course, there are no final thoughts. The truth is, Google or Microsoft doesn't matter. What does matter is how a school or district make their decisions.

      Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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