Tag Archives: ISTE

Why I Pursued ISTE Certification

After the conference in December, I posted a public commitment to being more connected, whether it was blogging or tweeting or pursuing my own professional development. In fact, “walking the walk” is my theme for 2019.

I had already made a private commitment earlier in 2018 when I signed on to participate in one of the first cohorts to complete the ISTE Certification.

I am not a full time educator, but I teach School Technology, a graduate course, for University of Richmond each fall, and I have been experimenting with that course to make it more student centered and exploratory than a typical graduate course. Testing my syllabus against the ISTE Standards for Educators intrigued me.

I am pleased to announce that I have successfully completed the certification process and am now an ISTE Certified Educator. As I had hoped, the process, especially the portfolio, allowed me thinkdeeply about my practice in all aspects of my work both in and out of the classroom.

But, the work doesn’t end with the portfolio and the certification. My video reflection was called “Walking the Walk,” and I professed my commitment to connecting online and with my local community. I live in an underserved community and have been looking for ways to connect. The local 4H director introduced himself at the library Halloween party where I was demonstrating Makey Makey. Now, we are working together to sponsor a STEM special interest group. We start next Tuesday. We will be using some of the activities included in the coding curriculum developed by 4H and Google and also exploring Makey Makey and robots.

I am excited but a little nervous as it has been awhile since I have worked with kids. The group will meet six times, and our first meeting is next Tuesday after school at the local community center. I spent the break doing lesson planning. We will be creating LED-lighted name tags as our first activity. I figured it was an engaging and quick way to assess their existing knowledge. We are also going to do an unplugged activity using cards to code a dance and share it. I will let you know how it goes…wish me luck!

Being A Learner

At the end of July, I gathered with a group of other educators to begin the journey to ISTE Educator certification. I’m still not sure why I signed up when the invitation showed up in my inbox. Maybe it’s the same reason I became a JoyLabz certified trainer this spring,  finally opened the box for the Micro-bit this summer, and ordered a pi-top laptop after checking one out at ISTE. I want to devote some time this year to my own learning and professional growth. And, I want to share my journey publicly through this blog.

Despite a busy schedule, I have been making time to tinker. The Pi-Top is the perfect answer to easily using a Raspberry Pi: no need for setting up a monitor and keyboard in limited space, easy to connect a breadboard and components and just kind of fun. Open the lid, press the button, and you are using a pi. In addition to doing the tutorials that came with the laptop, I am practicing my Python skills using the turtle to draw pictures, following along with John Rowland’s Learn Python 3: A Beginner’s Guide Using Turtle Interactive Graphics.

Here’s my answer to the hexagon challenge in the book: (sorry for the low quality: I took a picture of the pi-top screen. Figuring out screenshots on the pi-top will come later.)

hexagonal flower






Reviving the Blog

I have dabbled with blogging almost since blogging began but never started a regular practice the way others have. (Tim Stahmer has always been my blogging hero…he posted almost daily for a very long time.) Blogging regularly means more than just making time to write. It also means connecting with the larger community, committing to research and writing, and being willing to write publicly for comment.

This fall, as part of the certification process in support of the ISTE Learner Educator standard, I will make the commitment of strengthening my ties to my professional learning community. I will make regular blog posts that will reflect on the course I am teaching this fall, share my work around coding and making, and explore research topics related to ed tech. The collection of blog posts will be part of my portfolio for the ISTE course, representing my work around the Learner standard and indicators.

So…the last step: what’s the commitment? Every day? Every other day? For now, I’m going all in: at least 250 words every day. I think a daily practice gets the habit going. I’ve been doing 10,000 steps every day since May 1. I’m not sure I would have achieved that if I had taken a break on May 2.

Five Tips for Keeping Up

I worked with a team of great educators to present a session related to Digital Age Learning with a focus on ISTE NETS A, Standard 3 at the recent ISTE Leadership Forum:

Educational Administrators promote an environment of professional learning and innovation that empowers educators to enhance student learning through the infusion of contemporary technologies and digital resources.

My focus was on indicator d, which I think of as the “keeping up” indicator:

Stay abreast of educational research and emerging trends regarding effective use of technology and encourage evaluation of new technologies for their potential to improve student learning

I had 30 minutes to offer up ideas for how to meet this indicator so focused on five tips:

  1. Know Your Tools
  2. Make Time
  3. Read Critically
  4. Include Your Teachers
  5. Consider the Complete Context

Know Your Tools:

Since David had already covered Twitter as a tool for building professional learning networks, I focused on other tools including Google alerts, Google Reader and its accompanying bundles, Zite and Flipboard for mobile devices, and Diigo as a way to share web-based resources easily. One of my bundles includes the RSS feeds for the various publications and blogs followed by the Horizon K-12 report. And thanks to the attendee who showed me Diigo Quick Note.  I had an account but had not seen the potential power in the tool as I’ve been using Evernote.  I’ll be experimenting.

Make Time:

This was quick: I just showed Covey’s important/urgent framework and reminded us all that we need to make Quadrant Two time: preparation and learning that is important even if it doesn’t seem urgent. I think that writing this blog each day has been really valuable Quadrant Two time for me and I recommended some kind of daily practice to them as well.

Read Critically:

Links to two research studies to show the wide range of what passes for research these days. I reminded them of Michael Fullan’s idea that practice drives theory:

I have come to the conclusion that practice drives theory. That is, focusing on improving practice uncovers the best specific ideas. What you learn along the way can be tested in the light of broader research, but practice – not research – should be the driver.

 Include Your Teachers:

This comes from Larry Cuban’s blog in a post from the summer:

Were teachers to become part of the decision-making process in determining access and use of new technologies would they eventually integrate these new technologies into classroom lessons? Yes, far more than occurs now.
Why? Because teachers would have thought through and learned connections between curriculum knowledge and skills and software applications, how lessons could be taught that use and not use the new devices and software, and a pool of expertise would have emerged among teachers that could be shared.

What seems great on paper doesn’t always turn out that way and it is easy to blame teachers since they are the connection between the technology and the classroom.  But what if it really was the technology, chosen for all sorts of reasons except its instructional use, that was to blame? Or the system of support? Or the type of professional development? Respect teacher knowledge, says Cuban, and use it to inform decisions.  Don’t DO technology to teachers.

Consider the Complete Context:

I ended with the TPACK model as a way to be sure technology decisions consider how technology can intersect with pedagogy and content and emphasized the need to focus on pedagogical change that integrates technology since technology integration driving pedagogical change is notoriously unsuccessful.