Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tivy Tech's Eddie Mathews Accepts Full-Time Teacher Role

Less than two weeks before the 2013-14 school year started I was asked if I would consider teaching full-time at Tivy High School. This came about due to special circumstances and the need for another CTE teacher became necessary. Since I was already scheduled to teach Computer Maintenance and Computer Technician classes in the morning, I decided I could also teach Graphic Design and Digital and Interactive Media in the afternoon.

So, as of last week, I am now a full-time technology teacher. While I will miss working directly with teachers, helping them with their technology needs and projects, I am really enjoying working with high school students in the classroom, guiding them with their learning and career paths.

In the meantime, Tivy Tech posts may be fewer than the past. I need to consider if I need to close it down or start another blog to reflect my current ISD roles.  Readers, thanks for all of your support!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tech Trends in Education Presentation

Before school started, the technology department of Kerrville ISD offered several teacher training sessions. I was asked to lead two sessions on "Technology Trends in Education" (one for high school and one for middle school teachers).

Click below to view the slides in PDF format. I plan to add a PowerPoint version later after I narrate the slides so they make more sense for those who did not attend.

Tech Trends in Education (PDF of slides)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

NMC Horizon Report - 2013 K-12 Edition

In an effort to stay in touch with the latest in educational technology I read many research-based reports during the year. One of them that I find helpful is the Horizon Report. Below is the fifth in the series.

The New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), with the support of HP, produced the NMC Horizon Report > 2013 K-12 Edition. This fifth edition in the annual K-12 series of the NMC Horizon Project examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within the environment of pre-college education. Six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving educators, school administrators, and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

> Download the Full Report PDF
> Download the Preview PDF
> Download the Short List PDF

4 Minute Video Summary of the Report

Website for more information:

Horizon Project Wiki:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Six Big Tech Trends in Education

Repost of an article by Katrina Schwartz, MindShift

Big data, open content, mobile learning, and digital printing are the big themes represented in this year’s NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition. The report is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking, and the International Society for Technology in Education, pulling together an international group of experts to discuss trends and measure how mainstream emerging ed-tech approaches have become.
As with all of its reports, the group makes near, middle, and long-term projections for technology trends, as well as broader observations about the direction of the field and its challenges. What’s striking in this year’s report is that many of the projections for the K-12 space match those made in February in the NMC Horizons Report on Higher Education.

Here are the big takeaways.

The presence of the Internet in students’ lives outside of school, and especially on mobile devices, is allowing for more online and blended learning models in classrooms. That trend is supported by an increasing tolerance and even excitement among teachers for mobile devices as learning tools. As the cost of devices continues to come down, they proliferate in classrooms and can be powerful learning tools.
Print and digital textbooks are getting some serious competition from open-source content, which has captured the imagination of educators who are finding valuable content outside the prescribed realm of textbooks.
At the same time, educators feel less isolated and more inspired by relationships with colleagues fostered through social media. Some are even discovering new joy in their profession with increased access to lesson ideas and new teaching practices.

The big challenges for better using education technology are similar to ones that have long existed. There isn’t enough professional development to help educators feel comfortable using new strategies and it often isn’t part of a school’s culture. Resistance to trying new approaches remains prevalent and the status quo continues to exert a powerful inertia on the system, preventing a broader use of good ideas.
Traditional models of schooling are experiencing more competition than ever before with charter schools, for-profit operators, online learning and MOOCs pushing for change. Similarly, traditional teaching that relies on lectures and tests is being challenged by blended models of instruction.
There’s a large demand for personalized learning, but the technology tools don’t yet support the goals of those who want to use it — a big gap still exists between overall vision and available tools. Meanwhile, even as teachers are shifting to more formative assessments taken continually throughout the school year, assessment policies have not always shifted to match this change. But educators think there’s potential for digital tools to help collect formative assessment data unobtrusively.

In the next year, the NMC Horizon Report for K-12 predicts that the expectation for constant connectivity will push schools towards cloud-based computing. This trend can already be seen as schools farm out parts of their infrastructure to the cloud, but new devices like Google’s Chromebook designed to sync with the cloud are further pushing adoption.
Mobile learning has been a hot topic for several years, but it has not reached the 20 percent penetration level that NMC uses to designate a tactic mainstream. This could be its year. Some educators surveyed said they jumped on the idea of using smartphones in class right away, while others said they were more wary of the potential distractions and disruption the devices could cause. Still, the educational app market for mobile devices has exploded and shows no signs of slowing down, indicating that as the tools get better and better mobile learning will become common place.

The mid-level predictions, set for two to three years from now, line up most closely with trends in higher education. Both reports — K12 and Higher Education — noted the power and increasing prevalence of learning analytics, the practice of analyzing real time data from digital learning platforms and using that information to shape teaching strategies for individual students.
Student-data can now be used to tailor curricula and to suggest resources for students akin to the algorithms businesses use to market products to consumers. Similarly, in higher education learning analytics are being used to tailor the advising process. Perhaps even more significantly, the MOOCs that challenge the higher education paradigm rely heavily on learning analytics to direct, grade, and guide learners.
The second projection notes the rise in high-quality open content available to students around the world. Started by MIT more than ten years ago, this movement has grown rapidly and garnered excitement, especially as a way to equalize access to education. It also gives students much more choice in the learning they consume. Open-content in the form of MOOCs are already disrupting the higher education space, but this report indicates K-12 is not far behind.

3D printing has captured the imagination of people at all ages, especially as movements towards design learning take off in K-12 schools. The report notes that digital printing machines cost much less now, and that within five years it would be possible for schools to own one. Teachers can use these them to explain design concepts and to prototype building projects.
The only really new prediction in the report is for virtual and remote labs to provide students access to scientific experiences even as school districts cut back on physical lab spaces in schools. The report notes that virtual labs would allow students more time and space to practice techniques and make mistakes. Also, “in virtual and remote environments, an experiment can be conducted numerous times with greater efficiency and precision.” Some schools are already using these remote labs to save money. Still, this prediction begs the question, what could be lost if students no longer practice the physical act of science?

Monday, June 3, 2013

In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library?

Repost of an article by Holly Korbey at Mind/Shift

"A recent Pew Internet study on parents, reading and libraries supports Oliver’s sentiment, showing the library’s traditional purpose – providing free reading material – is also its most popular: the main reason most parents (87 percent) go to libraries is to get books for their kids."

"But will that be changing? While no one would disagree that libraries should promote literacy, it’s hard to deny that the tech revolution is changing both how people consume books and the ways libraries present their offerings to parents and children: in some libraries, a student can download an ebook online, use a phone app to locate reference material, make stuff in designated 'maker spaces,'  take DIY classes, or have a meeting at a community multi-use space."

Click here to read the article,

Friday, May 24, 2013

20 Web 2.0 Sites Not Requiring Student Email

A huge factor for schools in dealing with students and working online is CIPA/COPPA compliance. This is to ensure student safety as well as monitor and filter their online behavior. As Web 2.0 becomes more popular and educational technology online sites replace desktop software, this has become more of an issue. A lot of subscription-based or ed tech sites require a student email address to create an account which can become a BIG issue when dealing with CIPA compliance, because a majority of students to not have a school email account. Here are 20 Web 2.0 sites that do not require a student email address to create an account. This list is in alphabetical order.
  1. 19 Pencils - An excellent site for finding educational resources, creating online quizzes, and bookmarking sites for students.  Teachers create student accounts for access.
  2. Aviary Education -  Great suite of tools such as image and audio editors, where a teacher creates student accounts and class ID for logging in.
  3. BeeClip - A wonderful site for creating digital scrapbooks; teachers create student accounts.
  4. Diigo Educator - Nice site for social bookmarking and annotating sites; teachers create or imports student accounts.
  5. Flocabulary - A neat site where students learn through educational hip-hop videos.  Teachers create one unique username and password for the class.
  6. GlogsterEDU - An innovative site for creating interactive digital posters; teachers create student accounts.
  7. GoAnimatae for Schools - A great site for making animated videos; teachers create student accounts.
  8. Little Bird Tales - A wonderful site for digital storytelling where teachers create student accounts or imports them.
  9. MentorMob University - An innovative site for creating learning playlists ideal for guided learning. Teachers create students accounts.
  10. MusicShake Edu - A great way for students to create digital music online.  A teacher can create or import student accounts.
  11. PhotoPeach Class Premium - A nice site for creating digital slideshows/presentations; teachers create student accounts.
  12. Pixton for Schools - A terrific site for creating online comics for digital storytelling; teachers create a class code for logging in.
  13. SideVibe - A wonderful site for turning web content into online lessons; teachers create student accounts.
  14. SpellingCity - A great site for teaching/learning Vocabulary & Spelling; teachers can create or import student accounts with a premium membership.
  15. Storybird - A nice site for digital storytelling where a parent can create a student account.
  16. StoryJumper - A fantastic site for digital storytelling; teachers create a class and student accounts.
  17. ToonDooSpaces - Nice site for creating online comics for digital storytelling; teachers create student accounts.
  18. VoiceThread - One of the most popular web 2.0 sites for interactive digital storytelling; teachers create student accounts.
  19. Yacapaca - A nice site for teachers for creating online quizzes and lessons where they create an activation code for logging in.
  20.  Zimmer Twins - A cool site for creating animated movies for digital storytelling; teachers create student accounts.
Repost of an article by David Kapuler on the Digital Learning Environments webpage

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why Social Media Matters in K-12 Schools

In their book Why Social Media Matters: School Communication in the Digital Age, Kitty Porterfield and Meg Carnes make a strong case for school leaders engaging in the use of social media as a means of communication. As they so clearly point out,

"School leaders must be able to communicate with all their stakeholders, from the staff members in their buildings to the parents and other stakeholders in their communities."

In times past, school leaders could do that through published newsletters and similar communication channels. In the 21st century, our stakeholders expect a more interactive form of communication, often that form is social media.

In their book, Porterfield and Carnes, provide a list of 10 current realities of social media that no matter how hard district leaders try to block, filter, or policy our way through, these realities are ours and we can't change them.  Here are six of those realities about social media that school leaders ignore at their own and their school or district's peril.

1. "Social media is a new way to build relationships." Social media is the new way to get out and connect and build those relationships. Shaking hands has given way to Tweeting. Conversations at community meetings has made its way to Facebook. Our new reality is that our parents are increasingly expecting to engage in educator-parent relationships through social media.

2. "Communication is no longer about you; it's about your customers." The old days of sending out newsletters meant you were able to tell your story and that's it. Modern communication through social media means that what you speak about is about the people you serve, not you or your organization. Social media is about engaging your customers in conversation about you and your school or district.

3. "If you don't tell your story, someone else will." The truth is, you, your school, or your district is going to have a web presence or digital footprint whether you want one or not. If your district decides to change the school calendar, implement some new dress code, or start school earlier, there are people on the web talking about it. If you don't engage in social media, they are the only ones talking about it. Use social media to tell your story and give them an opportunity to respond. Then, let them know you're listening.

4. "Your reputation is at stake." You and your school or district has an online reputation no matter how hard you've tried to filter, block, and avoid social media. If you aren't there to establish your reputation, there are those who will gladly do it for you. Ignore social media at the risk of your school or organization's reputation.

5. "You don't have to do it all at once." Contrary to conventional wisdom, school leaders are perfectly fine wading into social media waters by using just one or two tools to begin with. Try out Twitter first. Learn all about its benefits and limitations before trying to set up a school Facebook page. There's no reason you can't start small with engaging in social media as a communication tool.

6. "It's here to stay." Finally, school leaders need to stop waiting for social media to go away. While the tools may change, interactive communication using the Web will be around. It doesn't matter how much we filter, block, or avoid it, social media is a part of our culture, and 21st century school leaders know how to use its strengths to engage stakeholders.

In the 20th century, school leaders could be satisfied with sending home newsletters celebrating the stories of their schools. In the 21st century, those newsletters look archaic and harken back to a time when talking at people was perfectly fine. In our current era, our stakeholders expect to engage in two-way conversations about what's happening in our schools and school districts. Social media is a big part of our current communication reality and school leaders who minimize or avoid it are not engaging in 21st century leadership.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Changes Ahead! Significant Metatrends for the Next 10 Years

Keeping up with societal and cultural trends has been important to me for over 25 years. Acknowledging trends (regardless if I like them or not) has not only provided me with valuable insights about the world around me but has informed and validated my work in significant ways. Now that I work in K-12 education, I pay attention to trends more than ever, especially as it relates to the teaching-learning process. Below is an excerpt from A Communiqué from the Horizon Project Retreat, January 2012 (NMC Horizon Project publication) which was posted as an article on the Campus Technology site. I encourage you to read it and consider how K-12 education might change as these trends continue to shape human activity:

Most Significant Metatrends for the Next 10 Years

1. The world of work is increasingly global and increasingly collaborative. As more and more companies move to the global marketplace, it is common for work teams to span continents and time zones. Not only are teams geographically diverse, they are also culturally diverse.

2. People expect to work, learn, socialize, and play whenever and wherever they want to. Increasingly, people own more than one device, using a computer, smartphone, tablet, and e-reader. People now expect a seamless experience across all their devices.

3. The Internet is becoming a global mobile network--and already is at its edges. mobiThinking reports there are now more than 6 billion active cell phone accounts. 1.2 billion have mobile broadband as well, and 85 percent of new devices can access the mobile Web.

4. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based and delivered over utility networks, facilitating the rapid growth of online videos and rich media. Our current expectation is that the network has almost infinite capacity and is nearly free of cost. One hour of video footage is uploaded every second to YouTube; over 250 million photos are sent to Facebook every day.

5. Openness--concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information--is moving from a trend to a value for much of the world. As authoritative sources lose their importance, there is need for more curation and other forms of validation to generate meaning in information and media.

6. Legal notions of ownership and privacy lag behind the practices common in society. In an age where so much of our information, records, and digital content are in the cloud, and often clouds in other legal jurisdictions, the very concept of ownership is blurry.

7. Real challenges of access, efficiency, and scale are redefining what we mean by quality and success. Access to learning in any form is a challenge in too many parts of the world, and efficiency in learning systems and institutions is increasingly an expectation of governments--but the need for solutions that scale often trumps them both. Innovations in these areas are increasingly coming from unexpected parts of the world, including India, China, and central Africa.

8. The Internet is constantly challenging us to rethink learning and education, while refining our notion of literacy. Institutions must consider the unique value that each adds to a world in which information is everywhere. In such a world, sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information and media are paramount.

9. There is a rise in informal learning as individual needs are redefining schools, universities, and training. Traditional authority is increasingly being challenged, not only politically and socially, but also in academia--and worldwide. As a result, credibility, validity, and control are all notions that are no longer givens when so much learning takes place outside school systems.

10. Business models across the education ecosystem are changing. Libraries are deeply reimagining their missions; colleges and universities are struggling to reduce costs across the board. The educational ecosystem is shifting, and nowhere more so than in the world of publishing, where efforts to reimagine the book are having profound success, with implications that will touch every aspect of the learning enterprise.

Do you have any thoughts here? If so, please share them. We are in this together!

Friday, February 15, 2013

TCEA 2013 was great!

I love going to the TCEA conference! In case you don't know much about TCEA, it stands for Texas Computer Education Association. The TCEA conference is held in Austin every February. Last week was my third year to attend and the three days and two nights is worth the time away from our ISD.

Below are some things that our group experiences at the TCEA conference:
  • learn about emerging technologies and how it is impacting K-12 education
  • attend classes to learn how others are using instructional technology in the classroom
  • network with other teachers, technologists, tech coordinators, and tech directors
  • visit with hundreds of vendors at the massive Exhibit
If you ever get a chance to attend a TCEA conference in future, consider going!  To learn more about TCEA and some of the member benefits, visit their website: www.tcea.org