Posts Tagged ‘Digital’

today was a good day

Today was a good day for me.  I was fortunate to hear two great educators — Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker) and Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger) and while both of them had different points in their sessions, they both had a common focus, which should be our focus in everything we do in our schools.  We need to focus all our efforts so the students can benefit in their learning. We (the adults) have to improve ourselves and what we do in order to create an environment at our schools to where the students can benefit, which means learning and being prepared for life — today and after high school.

Most of our schools are not like it is in the real world, and we must do whatever we can to change this.  I’m talking about everything in our schools … from the actual school day and how it is divided up, to how we treat the other adults and how we treat the students, to how we use the everyday tools that we all now have, to how we learn, to everything. We need to open our eyes, out hearts, our minds, and begin to assess what we are doing NOW and evaluate that against where we need to be and decide what we need to do so that we can begin that move in the right direction.

I also attended a session today from Abi Adam (@aquatexas), Technology Specialist from Seminole ISD and Kevin McCasland, Principal of Seminole High School. This was something I was looking forward to since I first got the conference program and started mapping out my sessions.  This title of this session was Taking Paperless Beyond the Classroom, Effective workflow practices through the use of Google applications.  I know that there are a wealth of tools from Google that are FREE and that can help me be more efficient, and I want to learn more about them so we can be more effective at my school.

One specific topic within this session that I was particularly interested in was what time during the day they scheduled their mandatory tutorials and how they scheduled the students for this time. There are many different approaches and thoughts on this subject, and I am always looking at other schools and how they do it.  To me, this is one area from my school that I will tweak so that we can be more efficient and maximize the time that we can help our students be more successful.  This session goes together with one I attended yesterday with Lyndsae Benton, Principal from Crowley High School and Stefani Allen, Principal from North Crowley High School where they use what they call “Power Hour” to transform their campus culture and increase / improve their test scores and student achievement.

Today was a good day.  So was yesterday.  I, along with principals from all over the great state of Texas (and from other states too) are fortunate to be able to attend this conference to learn and grow.  Thank you @TASSP1 for a great summer workshop.

Click HERE for the link to resources that Eric Sheninger shared today

Click HERE for resources that Angela Maiers shared yesterday.  (This is a topic that I will come back to in another blog post)

I want to leave you with these words … this picture says it all !!!

never stop learning

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Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

To begin with … I am, and have been, a supporter of social media.  I have been on Twitter since June of 2012 when I went to the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals Summer Workshop in Austin and went to a session on using Twitter as a tool for personalized learning. I talked to my teachers about it and many of them have also joined in and use Twitter on a regular basis for their own learning and sharing.  I also use Instagram to share pictures and information, mainly because most of my students use it, and I wanted to be able to get information to them as well as show off the good things that are happening at our school.  I do see the value in social media !!

However, I have not ever been on Facebook even though I knew it was the most widely used form of social media. The superintendent at my previous school would not allow us to have a Facebook account for our school (he called it The Evil Empire), so I just didn’t worry about it for my school or for myself.

Facebook

I have been contemplating getting on Facebook for a while now, not really personally, but for my school.  I think we have done a fair job this year of reaching parents, but I knew it could be better.  I got with one of my teachers the other day and she talked me through creating a personal Facebook account so I could then create a Facebook page for our school. After doing this, I linked it with our school’s twitter account so now when I post on Facebook, it automatically posts on Twitter. That was one benefit … one post goes to two places, but the main benefit so far has been the ability to reach so many more people.  To be honest, I was really amazed and pleasantly surprised.  In just a few days of my school being on Facebook, we have tripled the amount of people who we reach and that are able to get information.  Now more people can see all the good things that are happening at our school.  It is important that we tell our stories of all the good things that are happening in our schools because many people never hear about the good … they only hear the bad … and if that’s all they hear, then that’s all they think is happening.  People thrive on the negative, but I want to spread the positive.

So with that, I am now officially personally on Facebook and I am a little shocked.  It amazes me not only the sheer number of people that are on Facebook but also how much time people are on it as well as the amount of information that gets posted.  I have used Twitter as a tool for my own learning and then occasionally I would share something that is just useless random information.  But with Facebook, I will have to get used to people putting every bit of their personal information out there for people to see and read about.  And I will have to caution myself to not do that as well.

Being on Facebook for these last few days has really opened my eyes even wider to the value of social media and the ability to reach so many people.  It also has reminded me to be wary of the pitfalls and that we should exercise some caution while connecting in the world of Facebook.

And to anybody who is my friend on Facebook, please be patient with me as I am still learning.

TASSP 3

 

This is my second post as a review of the sessions I attended while at this year’s TASSP Summer Workshop in Austin, Texas.  I was fortunate to, once again, be able to attend this outstanding opportunity for professional development as well as get the opportunity to network with other principals and administrators from across the state.

The second session I attended was from Don Jacobs, an elementary principal from Royce City.  The title to his session was Effective Digital Leadership — Moving Our Schools Forward.  You can follow him on twitter @Don Jacobs.

This session was an excellent opportunity to get some solid information that we can all use immediately.  Here’s a summary of my notes:

  • If you are looking for a timer, just search YouTube.
  • Instead of sending your staff email after email, create a blog and compile all information in a single post and send it once a week.  This will prevent something from getting deleted or lost from all the email that you send.  Pluse each post is archived so you can find all information very easily.
  • If you do a “Teacher of the Month”, use a Google Doc to have everyone vote.  This will automatically tally all votes. (and you can send the link in your weekly blog)
  • Use videos instead of a lengthy email when you really want to explain something.  Post to YouTube and send the link.  This way everyone can watch it over and over if needed.
  • In place of having a parent meeting, make a video and post to YouTube.  Send the link to the parents.
  • Use a video to send to faculty and staff (and you can also have students watch it too) to explain all of the beginning of the year “stuff”
  • When you post videos on YouTube, you can make to where access can only come from a shared link.  You can also make your videos private.
  • Social Media is a great way to communicate with parents.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and also by text message (Remind 101).  Feedback says that this is what parents and kids want.
  • For a school Facebook — create a Page NOT a PROFILE.  go to yoru settings and turn off the page visibility while you are making this.  Set your profanity filter to STRONG.  In Page moderation you can set the list of words that Facebook will block automatically.  You are able to delete and post that is inappropriate.
  • You are able to link Facebook and Twitter together so all you have to do is post to one and it will automatically post to the other.
  • You can also use Remind 101, a free text messaging service that has recently updated the app to where you can tweet the message directly from the app.  If your Twitter is linked to your Facebook to post automatically, then is essence you posted once and it went to three different avenues for communication to parents.
  • Parents generally use on or the other — Facebook and Twitter.
  • Use QR codes for daily announcements.  Post them outside of each teacher’s classrooms as well as various places around campus.  Note:  by doing this you eliminate making announcements over the intercom which means that there can be no last minute announcements.  Everyone must prepare ahead of time.  I got this idea from Victor Sauceda from Granbury High School.  We were sitting next to each other and talking about how to save time during the school day.  You can follow him on twitter @VictorSauceda.
  • Make sure to have a #hashtag for your school and use it every time you tweet.
  • Use edweb.net for free webinars for professional development.
  • Photo Apps that are good…1.  Pic Collage,    2.  Pic Stitch,    3.  Blurr — this one allows you to blur out any student’s face and still be able to post the photo.
  • Presentation / Story Telling apps:  Chatter pix, Haiku Deck — this is a simple way to put a presentation together, Store House, PowToon (www.powtoon.com) — this website allows you to create professional looking presentations with animated videos.
  • Save all your documents to cloud storage like Google Drive, Evernote, Box,  and Dropbox.
  • Kids are fearless when using technology.  Teachers and administrators need to be this way too.