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Reflecting on a year with Everett Public Schools

This week marked the end of the our first year working with Everett Public School educators as they prepare to roll out their first round of 1:1 devices to students next school year. It has been a fantastic year learning alongside the roughly 250 educators. Each educator received 26 hours of training over four full day. The trainings covered a wide range of topics. I thought I would reflect on my own takeaways from these trainings.

SAMR Model of Integration

Yes…there are many integration models out there and I like them all. However, I find that the SAMR model seems to be easy for educators to understand. It is simple and I believe allows educators to see their own growth and reflect on how they are integrating technology into their classrooms.

Starting out with the SAMR model was a great way to frame and shape my thinking throughout the remainder of the sessions. Each time, I tried to think about how what we were learning about fit in the SAMR model and to think about if I was living in substitution and missing out on opportunities to go to a higher level. ~ Heather Paddock, Everett Educator

We spent time discussing over the four trainings how when planning a unit of study that you can redefine a unit much easier than you can redefine a single lesson. If we want to redefine the learning experiences for students than we need to think bigger than a single lesson or activity. We have to rethink everything from the approach we take to the outcomes we expect.

Digital Citizenship

Talking about Digital Citizenship is always a great topic with educators. The conversation around digital citizenship also kicks off our conversation about classroom management in a connected classroom. One of my favorite activities was helping Everett Educators create their own internal document on classroom management strategies in a connected classroom. Called the “1:1 Took Kit” it is loaded with great ideas that all the teachers can pull from when they need them next school year.

The protocols for sharing, learning and reflecting Power of images and visual note taking – brain remembers images Digital Citizenship – Applicable to all grade levels Creative Process Combination of activities (articles, collaboration, tech – blended learning!) ~ Everett Educator

We spent time talking about expectations for students that live in a connected world and if we are doing ourselves and our students a disservice by calling it “Digital Citizenship” rather than just “Citizenship today“. We are all now living in these two worlds (a physical one and digital one) and we need to come to a new understanding of what citizenship means in this new world we now live and students today are growing up in.

Putting Thought to Action

The one thing we hear from teachers more than any other is “if only I had more time“. As teachers we totally understand that there is never enough time to put our thoughts into action. To really dig deep and reflect on our units and try and find a way to redefine them with the new tools we have available.

The most useful element of the training was time to practice things learned during the trainings and to work with my team members to develop activities to use with our students, ~ Everett Educator

That is why we give time during our trainings to allow teachers to get into a unit plan and think about how it must change because of the tools and access students will have. If we are not willing, or have the time to put our thoughts into action than nothing changes. We give as much time as we can to allow teachers to do the work of putting their thoughts into action.

Consuming vs Creating with Technology

When school districts decide to go 1:1 the easy stuff (Substitution and Augmentation of the SAMR model) is to think about all the great access students now have to content, to resources, to videos, to other educators and other students. It is incredible for sure, however that is not the reason we want every student to have a laptop. It is part of the reason, but not the promise of what 1:1 is all about. To truly see what putting a laptop in the hand of every student can do we must allow them to create with it, we must create learning experiences that ask students to be creative.

I’ve learned how to use the technology we have available to us to really dig deep… we have learned how to create vs consume and how to redefine vs substitute. We’ve learned different resources available to us online and through apps. I have started doing Mystery Skypes due to these trainings. ~ Everett Educator

As I told one of the groups this week; We probably spend close to 90% of our time with technology consuming. Yet, the world belongs to those that create and we need to make sure in schools we are giving students ample opportunity to create not just consume material.

That wraps up year 1 of the training for these educators. Next year we will welcome another cohort of about 250 teachers into these trainings and at the same time continue to support these teachers in their schools as their students receive their laptops and we continue the journey of educating the future.

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