Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 Edublogs Nominee

My nominee for the 2008 Edublog Awards for Best Resource Sharing Blog goes to Jackie Roehl's Edina National Urban Alliance Program Blog.

For those unfamiliar with the National Urban Alliance (NUA), they are an organization whose mission is:

to substantiate in the public schools of urban America an irrefutable belief in the capacity of all children to reach the highest levels of learning & thinking demanded by our ever-changing global community.

Through the use of Thinking Maps, teachers and students use specific strategies to give meaning to their learning. Developed by David Hyerle, Thinking Maps identify the 8 ways to visually represent information. Jackie has done an exceptional job on her blog offering resources and insights into incorporating NUA strategies into curriculum from a variety of disciplines. She is very deserving of this award!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Adding a Flip Video to a Blog

The following is a screencast for adding a video clip to a blog. Unfortunately, does not allow embedding at the present time, so you have to click on the link when finished to view it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dr. Burke visit to Mill Creek Middle School: Kent, WA


Mill Creek Middle School
Kent, WA
On-site visit by Dr. Michael Burke

  1. District Demographics
    • 770 students from poor and lower middles class, 65% on free and reduced lunch
    • Classrooms all have:
    • Smartboard
    • LCD projectors
    • Color & B/W printers.
    • Document camera
    • Each room has a wireless hub.
    • All students have e-mail.
    • District has 26,000 students
      • 2,200 staff
      • 4 high schools
      • 6 middle schools

    • Most classes only had 20 students

  2. Hardware/Software:
    • CISCO switches and wireless equipment and hubs
    • HP low end laptops
    • Purchased computers
    • Use Moodle for MLS
    • Bought extended battery (6 hrs.)
    • Private fiber between schools

    • For more information:

  3. Teacher Interviews
    • 8th grade science teacher
    • Easier to differentiate
    • Student in her class have had 1 year experience, no problem using them as tool
    • She can do more with laptops as tool, more access to resources.
    • Students were using spreadsheet for lesson.
    • She received training and laptop 3 months before students.
    • They have classroom set of textbooks for reference.
    • Quality and quantity of student work has improved.
    • Biggest change is the paradigm shift to student centered learning.

  4. Other Teacher Comments
    • Student productivity has increased substantially.
    • Teacher said he gets 3-5 emails at night from students with questions.
    • Could not live without SMART board (note: SMART school)
    • Never enough time for staff development and sharing ideas.
    • Students have been an excellent resource in learning how to maximize use of software.

  5. Student Interviews
    • Students can loose access to laptop for 3 days for code of ethics violation plus detention.
    • Most students have access to internet at home. District worked with Qwest for students on free and reduced lunch
    • They are responsible for making sure they charge their battery every night.
    • Students are responsible for their own computers.
    • If they run out of power they have to use paper and pencil. They’ve learned how to manage 6 hr. of battery life.
    • Cell phones are to be kept in locker.
    • Student felt they were more organized, less paperwork
    • Felt their quality of work had increased
    • They liked Moodle lessons. They can go back and see teacher’s comments and make changes electronically.
    • Students signed up for academy because they liked the idea of using technology.
    • They felt some teachers need more training.

  6. 8th Grade Humanities Class
    • Still had to turn in some reports on paper.
    • Working on book report as a collaborative effort, using word processing to compose report.

  7. Technology Academy
    • Started 3 years ago with 90, 7th graders.
    • Selection by application and lottery
    • Second year the pilot expanded to 90, 8th graders.
    • This year all 7th graders have laptops.

  8. Administrator’s Comments
    • More kids passed state science test last year than the year before, when they didn’t have a 1-to-1 program.
    • Kids are scoring better than state on average on language arts and writing test.
    • Bond, 5 million/year for 4 years to implement district wide.
    • They have instructional coaches who model lessons and provide support.
    • Barbara Grohe, Superintendent, is the chief proponent of 1-to-1 laptop program.
    • First thing they did was to write a 10 year tech plan with vision, revisions are made every year.
    • Start small and grow
    • Set a target where they want to be.
    • Used book “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works”, as a guide.
    • Worked hard to make sure process, procedures and structure is in place.
    • Infrastructure Breakout
    • Very few laptops (2 or 3 were lost) in the last 3 years – use Low Jack monitoring software.
    • $70/computers for 5 years.
    • District owns machines. Hot Swap is available if their laptop dies during the day.
    • Students have to call help desk for support. If it can’t be fixed over the phone they take it to be exchanged for repair.
    • Took 5 years for wireless network to stabilize.
    • All information is stored on district files
    • Support system is pro-active in monitoring network use and health.
    • Centralized software deployment
    • Customer support center at school, students provide tech support.
    • Unrestricted network storage
    • Very large network data center 5,000 sq. ft. and 64 racks
    • Use SSL VPN for access from home, F5 is the vendor. $75,000. for 2,000 concurrent remote users.
    • Virtual Application Deployment System
    • 6 LCD projectors on carts in case ceiling mounted LCD’s burn out
    • Lightspeed for filtering software.
    • 10 Gig Backbone
    • Remote assist tracking
    • 1300 wireless access points in district
    • 54 staff members for tech support
    • Started with 10% additional machines, for Hot Swaps, smaller percentage is needed each year.
    • Bridge track used to keep track of repairs
    • 48 hr. support turn-around
    • Use paid interns from tech college.
    • Use students to help during summer and school days.
    • Students call in their own support from classroom. 5 min. rule, if you can’t fix in 5 minutes, take it in for a Hot Swap.
    • Very few after school service calls, looking to tie homework support with tech support.
    • Several student intern programs to provide software training for trackers and tech support.
    • Purchase replacement computers every 4 years.
    • Textbooks are online although some classes still require that books be brought to class.
    • Laptops collected and re-imaged each summer.

  9. Miscellaneous
    • Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation
      Goal is to provide all students access to unlimited opportunities to learn.
      AALF provides consulting services and support to Kent
    • 1-to-1 should help you obtain that which you are unable to without this technological tool.
    • Helps you address diverse learning styles.
    • Results from 1-to1 studies
      • Attendance increases
      • Motivation increases
      • Students write more often and better.
      • Improved test scores
      • Students are engaged in higher order thinking skills.

      Design Strategy for Implementing

    • Success of 1-to-1 program depends on teachers.

  10. Staff Development

    • Used to build foundation and define expectations for hardware and software use.
    • Started with needs assessment of staff ability and knowledge
    • Emphasis on using computers to provide differentiated instruction.
    • Teachers ranked as basic/proficient or exemplary in their use of technology
    • Limited in time, money and training staff
    • Summer institute
    • Some online training
    • Content embedded coaching
    • A lot of training was just-in-time for staff
    • Training on laptop care and Hot Swap procedures
    • Basic troubleshooting
    • Use of electronic resources
    • AUP and how to handle violations

  11. Instructional Model

    • Instructional staff and information technology staff collaborate
    • Used “Understanding by Design” and “Marzano models”
    • Moodle is their learning management system.
    • Teachers share units.
    • Embedding technology across the curriculum

  12. Classroom Management
    • Staff have agreed and are consistent in what behavior they will and will not accept during class.
    • Students 100% responsible for their laptop
    • Teachers design lessons that are engaging for students using real world experiences
    • Electronic Resource Use Policy and AUP
    • Students take test to get laptop “drivers license” which lets them take laptop home.
    • Students leave laptops in Phy. Ed. lockers and in the classroom that they are going to after lunch.
    • District tech department does history check periodically on student use.

  13. Family Involvement

    • Family training is required to discuss AUP, laptop care; Internet safety, discipline, high speed access and getting help.

  14. Evaluation

    • Hired an outside consulting firm

  15. Implementing Your 1-to-1 Roadmap

    • Create a vision and establish desired outcomes.
    • Monitor priorities
    • Provide just-in-time for staff and student training
    • Student training
      • Laptop care and Hot Swap procedure
      • Basic troubleshooting
      • AUP and technology violations
      • Using electronic software and online resources
      • Laptop driver’s license – 80% on test of 50 questions

    • Typical student tech violations:
      • Using when not supposed to.
      • Not on task.

    • Student e-mail is internal only.
    • Policy violation
      1. Verbal warning
      2. Detention
      3. Take laptop away, create a public service announcement, have to have a parent or peer monitor, reapply for drivers license.