“Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage.” By Amy Jo Martin

I love social media as a way to learn and grow as an educator. To me, it is eyes and ears into so many different educators classrooms, schools and districts. Recently I have been getting a lot of Facebook (FB) requests from educators. To me it is important to keep these worlds seperate as I believe that it is a key component for digital citizenship, especially as educators. This is what led me to make a seperate FB profile as an educator. I can accept other educators as friends to continue to learn and grow and not annoy my other friends when I post about education topics. 😉

Below are all me education social media links:

Facebook 

Twitter

Linkdein

*I have not done instagram at this time but I may on day.

 

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“I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently… That has resonance.” Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

AR, VR and MR which are know as ‘realities’ are fast tracking into education in many ways. Are you thinking, AR, VR, MR – oh mylanta?!? Let’s break it down so that together we can understand the differences and start thinking about how we can apply these realities into the classroom! AR, VR and MR provide new ways for teaching and learning to happen that engages all students!

AR = Augmented Reality

  • Overlay of objects in the world around you
  • Uses a phone or viewing device
  • Examples of AR in the real world: IKEA Place (lets you overlay IKEA furniture in your home to “see” it.) Snapchat lenses and Pokemon Go.

VR = Virtual Reality

  • Immersion into another world.
  • Often requires a headset (but not always)
  • Does not interact with the real world
  • Examples of VR in the real world: Playstation VR and DiscoveryNow (Education)

MR = Mixed Reality

  • Combines elements of both AR and VR, real-world and digital objects interact
  • This is still very new and I see it becoming more popular within the next few years as people get more comfortable with AR and VR.

This is a great video explaining the difference between VR and AR in less than two minutes.

I love this Thinglink of educational resources for AR and VR!

Read more about AR and VR:

How Reality Technology is Used in Education

What Is the Difference Between AR and VR? A Lesson in Altered Realities

25 resources for bringing AR and VR to the classroom

Why VR? 8 key reasons VR will transform education

AR vs VR in Education

The difference between AR, VR, MR, XR and how to tell them apart

I would love to hear how you incorporate AR, VR or MR in your classroom!

“Empowering those around you to be heard and valued makes the difference between a leader who simply instructs and one who inspires.” By Adena Friedman

All leaders want people who show initiative by taking on and completing tasks with little guidance. In order to do that leaders need to empower people which is not always easy when there are many initiatives to balance, lack of time and guiding employees  that are facing personal challenges. Below are tips and tricks I have learned and continuing to develop as I grow as a leader.

  1. Cultivate Open Communication: This can be done many ways and needs to be often referenced back to help employees continue to feel safe. One way to cultivate open communication is having an open door policy. Employees can come in anytime the door is open if they have a question or an idea. During this time, the leader needs to stop doing what they are working on and listen. This is not always easy as you as a leader also have items on your plate and to do items to be done but it is something that needs to be done. I know I am not the best at this but hoping that writing about it will help me practice what I preach! Another way to cultivate open communication to empower others is to building a community of authentic feedback. We do this as a team through reviewing all our work as a team so that many eyes are on it and we are always producing our best content. This does not happen over night and will make some employees uncomfortable but over time they will open up as they see that it is a safe learning environment. The other great part of this approach is that it nudges people to produce their best work because they know others will be looking at it with a different “eye.” Just like how students produce better work when they know they have an authentic audience verse just the teachers.
  2. Be Transparent: I feel that the more transparent you are, the easier change becomes and it empowers people with the right information . This doesn’t mean as a leader you don’t filter things to protect employees. For example, for me, I do not tell employees things until they are facts! There are often times many rumors floating around and I will address that with them because they are just that…rumors. If I know a change or changes are going to occur but the leaders above me have not made final decisions, then I do not tell them what could be, I tell them the facts, there are going to be some changes and they are not sure what they are. Another way I am transparent is by having an employee handbook for our department so that each person knows what is expected of them and there are no surprises. If I make a change to the handbook, it is something that we have discussed as a team.
  3. Show Appreciation:  Everyone likes to feel appreciated and for many that empowers them to want to do a good job for the team. I like to show appreciattion differently so they see that I truly care about each one of them (I may be bias but I do have the best team).  Sometimes it is through celebrations at our staff meetings, sometimes it is a thank you note on their desk while other times it is a favorite treat. I also like to do team appreciations such a making breakfast  or getting pizza for them or doing a fun activities such as bowling. It is important to note here something I have recently learned as well, you may feel you are doing a good job of showing apprciation but that does not always mean other on your team feel that way. It is important to try to find out how they view apprecition too.

As always, I would love your ideas and feedback because leadership is always something I am trying to improve my craft in.

“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” By Ralph Marston

Summer break is a time for educators to recharge themselves after an exhausting school year. Below are some ways for you to rest, renew and restore yourself that have helped me.

Rest: Take time off! Many teachers have a second job such as tutoring or summer school which is great but make sure you also take time for you. Go to the beach or on vacation.

Renew: Do something that you have never done before. It doesn’t have to be big but maybe it’s cooking a new dinner recipe or completing a new project. Extra points if you cross something off your bucket list.

Restore: Chose your own professional learning experience whether it be a book study, a face to face course or virtual. Improving your craft based on your needs will restore you and get you excited for the new year.

Please share ways that you recharge below in the comments.

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“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” By Coco Chanel

We know that effectively using student data to drive instruction for student learning is a best practice. We also know giving students ownership through empowering them to use their data is another best practice. So why are those same best practices not being applied to our adult learners?

Personalized Professional Learning is becoming a popular educational term but just like personalization for students it is a philosophy, it should be the way professional learning should be for todays educators. We need to be providing educators the autonomy to personalize their goals and use data that support their needs.

Over the past several years, I have modeled personalized professional learning for educators multiple ways to allows them to see what learning should look like in their classrooms as the same best practices apply.

Here are a few ways that educators can be empowered to use their data to drive their own learning:

  1. Pre-assessment: Create a pre-assessment for educators to take so that you can meet them where they are in their learning journey based on their skill level. For example if I am providing a professional learning experience on “How to Implement Morning Meeting” the professional learning session should look different for those that have never heard what morning meeting is verse those that have been implementing it.
  2. Self-Assessment: This is different then pre-assessment because this helps to gauge the learner of where they feel they are based on their comfort level verse skill level. For example I may provide a self-assessment that has multiple skills/topics on it and based on the data they can chose an area they would like to further explore.
  3. Action Research: Allow learners to chose what they need to work on based on their interest. Provide them an action research template to help guide them and provide check points for feedback and support.

Interested in more of my thoughts on professional learning? Check out some of my previous blog posts.

Professional Learning Through Micro-credentialing

Creating a Face to Face, Self-paced Professional Learning Experience

Reframing a Paradigm for Professional Learning: Part 1

Reframing a Paradigm for Professional Learning: Part 2

I would love to hear how you empower educators to use data to drive their own learning.; please comment below.

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” By E. L. Doctorow

Digital technologies are a great way to enable communication, collaboration and help teachers design authentic tasks for their students. Here are a few of my favorite apps that you can incorporate digital writing into the classroom.

iOs Apps: (Free)

WriteReader 

Day One Journal

Pages

Paid: MyScript Nebo 

Web-based:

G Suite

Evernote

Bookcreator

 

 

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin Williams

Change is hard even though it is the most consistent thing in life. To help manage complex change there are five elements you need in order to make it sustainable. These five elements help anyone from Central Office educators to Principals to Teacher Leaders.

change

  1. Vision: If you don’t have vision, you have confusion. Your team will not understand the direction you are going.
  2. Skills: If you don’t have skills, you will have anxiety. This can easily be solved be providing professional development to build skills. It is especially helpful if you utilize the talent you have on your team to help build up the team.
  3. Incentives: If you don’t have incentives, you get resistance. This is where a lot of leaders go wrong. You don’t have to buy gifts for extrinsic incentives as often a simple WHY the change needs to happen is incentive enough.
  4. Resources: If you don’t have resources you have frustration. Make sure you are giving enough time (that’s a resource) to be able to do the work for the change.
  5. Action Plan: If you don’t have a plan, you have a false start. Plans help teams focus and understand the end outcome. If you don’t have this, you don’t have a roadmap of where you want the change to go.

I have used the change management elements for multiple large projects and it works well. The one thing I would add is reflection. You need to make sure you are consistently reflecting on the process and how the change is going. You need to make tweaks as you move forward. The reflection should also not just be from you the leader but also from your stakeholders.

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