2019… Its a Wrap: Documenting OF, FOR, and AS learning!

On Monday, I will be sharing with the school board my goals and accomplishments for the 2018-19 school year.  I have had a good year.  Actually, may just be one of the best years of my entire 23-year career!  Below is the presentation that I will be sharing that demonstrates some fairly significant milestones for 2019.

Jen Hegna – 2019 Goals <—- Click this to expand presentation With hyperlinked artifacts

At the same time, I am currently reading a book by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Janet Hail called A Guide to Documenting Learning: Making thinking visible, meaningful, shareable, and amplified.  With our Profile of a Graduate (PoG) rollout next year,  ePortfolios is one of the core principals to meet our district’s PoG. (see below)  While we have had K-12 ePortfolio’s for several years, the implementation has not been as good as I had hoped.  Next year, we are implementing a new ePortfolio system for grades 6-12 (WordPress).   One of my goals for 2019-20 is to Revisit and refine ePortfolio’s 6-12, provide training,  and make standard practice.   I felt it was time to look for resources that could help improve the system/process and I do believe this book is a keeper!

Core Principals to meet our HS Profile of a Graduate

BHS – Core Principles to meet the District’s Profile of a Graduate


To apply some of what I am reading, I am going to use my Goal Work (evidence of learning) with the process of documenting OF, FOR, and AS learning to better make my thinking and learning visible.

Iceberg pIcture

Simply documenting the evidence of learning is what is seen. However, there is power in the thinking and the process that led to that evidence or what will happen because of that learning evidence. How do we make the invisible visible?

Documenting OF learning:  Focuses on the product and attempts to answer these following questions: (p. 6)

  • What did the learner do?
  • What was the result of learning?

My Goal Work – Document OF Learning:
Within my evidence of learning (preso), I have 8 goals listed.  For each of those goals, I have created a slide that documents the evidence of meeting those goals.  Its been a busy but good year of learning!  As you go through the presentation, you will see the results of my work that includes statistics (data), websites, documents, infographics, presentations, and videos.  While you might assume there was depth in thinking and learning when creating each artifact – without the context of what I did, why I did it, it only scratches the surface of my learning.  The authors share that at this level- it feels like busy work.  <—– Hint this is incredibly important for the rollout of next year.  We have reflection built into our ePortfolio – but this little tidbit might help with buy-in. Will be critical for training!

Taxonomy of Reflection

A Taxonomy of Reflection by Peter Pappas

Documenting FOR Learning: Focuses on the interpretation of learning -(p.8)
“This type of learning asks learners to interpret, reflect on, and connect artifacts along a learning journey this type of documentation makes visible that which the learners are not even aware of and provides time to interact with and examine artifacts to make connections and discover trends.”

  • How is what I am learning now related to something I have previously learned
  • How will this learning influence and inform future learning?
  • Why do I accept this artifact as evidence of my learning process and progress?
  • How could someone else learn from my experience – both failures and my successes?
  • What would I need to do to best capture my learning today and at the end of the year related to ____ for me to see and hear evidence of my growth over time?

My Goal Work – Document FOR Learning:

We have a very exciting vision of education in Byron that is going to provide our students with experiences I wish I would have had, my kids could have had (they all have graduated) but maybe, just maybe, my grandkids WILL  have.  The arrows are aligning to that vision and systemic changes are being formed.  This is big.  Aligning arrows.  Having a strategic plan, and then requiring buildings/departments to create goals to meet those priorities seems simple right? It’s not that simple.  Just having a strategic plan on the wall without creating action plans to meet your vision will most likely leave you with pockets of innovation. Where some students get to have the experiences your strategic plan desires. But what about ALL students?  And having the Technology Plan goals in the District Operation Plan? BINGO.

Over this past year, I have been working to improve my communication skills – specifically around our district’s branding/storytelling.  I have produced a boatload of content this year.  Writing grants, press releases, graphics, videos, marketing materials, websites, presentations all highlighted in my goal presentation.  I can Canva like a boss! But I also have been working with tools like Final Cut Pro, Illustrator, Photoshop, ect.  I’d like to get better at Illustrator and the Adobe Production tools.  I would like to get to advanced levels of Final Cut Pro.    I have some video ideas in the works and will continue to challenge myself!  My final reflection about communication?  Clarity.   Going down the path of implementing our Profile of a Graduate is complex – will need a variety of materials to explain the process.  I tried this with our BHS PoG plan.  However, this still is fairly complex for the general public and will require more materials – like video – to help with the key messages.

For the first time ever, I will be presenting my goals to the board.  Yes, that makes us accountable!  However, I  also intended on publishing my goal work online. I appreciate getting feedback and learning from others and feel I can also contribute to the learning of others.  Well, audience certainly matters – even for tech directors – and I wanted to demonstrate some of the branding skills within my goal presentation.

Document AS Learning: focuses on the learning process and attempts to answer the following questions: (p. 11)

  • What is worthy of being looked for and captured during this learning opportunity?
  • What media platforms and tools will provide the maximum effect for capturing, reflecting on, curating, sharing, and amplifying my personal learning or the evidence of other’s learning?
  • How can my/our thinking be best-conveyed visibly and audibly when considering the audiences who will be experiencing my shared and amplified learning?
The Metacognition Cycle - via John Spencer

The Metacognition Cycle – via John Spencer – http://www.spencerauthor.com/metacognition/


My Goal Work – Document AS Learning:
As I shared, I have a goal next year around ePortfolios.  I want to revamp the rollout/training with our new blog system  Right now, I am learning about documenting learning to meet that goal for NEXT year.   As I was reading the text, I kept on thinking about my current goals, and how I could apply this thinking to my own work.  As I shared earlier – I knew I was going to publicly post my goals, why not knock out 2 birds with one post!  🙂   Because I need feedback on my thinking, I chose my blog to help amplify my learning.  I will be publicly tweeting this out, tagging a few of my friends, tagging the authors of this book, and utilizing the hashtag #document4learning to find others who may be reading this book as well.  Eventually, this thinking is going to be moved into some sort of PD – Target August!.


So there you have it!  Its been a great year but there is still so much work to do.  I believe this post demonstrates my understanding of documenting of, for, and as learning.  If not, please reach out to me! All in all, this has been a great exercise in thinking and I need to pause, think, publish more often. Hmmm. Maybe podcast?

Looking forward to 2020!


Tolisano, Silvia Rosenthal., and Janet A. Hale. A Guide to Documenting Learning: Making Thinking Visible, Meaningful, Shareable, and Amplified. Corwin, 2018.

Reflections of Deeper Learning PD

This reflection will serve as an artifact to meet my goals this year to improve my leadership presence and deepen my understanding of today’s educational environment.

A little backgroundJohn Dewey Reflection Quote

As shared in an earlier post, our district-wide PD efforts this year have been focused on deeper learning.  Deeper learning first and foremost aligns to priorities 1 -4 of our district’s strategic plan.  It also aligns to the Marzano Framework and PLC work educators have focused on in the past 3 years. (determining critical ELOs, creating common assessment, and scale work).

Our district goal was to implement a K-12 ePortfolio system that captures deeper learning.  (Official goal – 100% of all teachers will CREATE or REDESIGN and IMPLEMENT at least 3 lesson plans per year that inspire learners to achieve at high levels as measured by student ePortfolio artifacts.)  This work also aligns with Marzano Framework Domain 1 Element 12 and 22.  

Our process over the year

We began our process in August (Day 1) introducing the district deeper learning protocol (DLP), that was inspired the Trudacot work of Scott Mcleod and Julie Graber.  Staff were provided time to design or re-design lessons that met at least 1 of the facets of the DLP.  As a district, we collected their personal action plans and would meet again in October. Staff were to collect student artifacts and share their work with others.  Here is a snapshot example of our October day.
On March 17 we had our last PD day.  It comprised of a celebration of sharing of their last redesign lesson, ePortfolio Artifacts, a Teachmeet session led by Byron Educators, and finally a crowdsourced slideshow of our staff’s next Big Ideas!  This is a great document to showcase what our staff learned and how they would apply their learning in future lessons!

Reflections from the March PD day

Overall.  It was a great morning.  Celebrating our educators’ work by focusing on student artifacts was very powerful.  Many educators shared (in our feedback survey) how impressed they were with what other teachers were doing. Then to move to the Teachmeet also proved to be beneficial.  We need more opportunities for our educators to learn from one another.  Making the invisible – visible (student artifacts, teachers sharing) is proving to have an influence on our educators – especially when you review the IDEAs that were generated after the sessions.

PD Design.  If we believe deeper learning can benefit students – we should model deeper learning strategies in PD.  From the Deeper Learning protocol, I believe we modeled learner agency, embedded opportunities for collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking (in the form of reflection) and relevance both in the topic and audience.

The role of ePortfolios. Since our move to a k-12 ePortfolio system (SeeSaw for grades K-5 and Google Sites for 6-12) the making of teaching and learning visible is very powerful.  Rolling out the ePortoflios has not been perfect. While we have had a few hiccups (will explain in future post), I feel it has been successful – especially for year 1. We certainly have work to do to improve implementation (as results from our survey) BUT I do believe that it is tools like ePortfolios that will help us capture the power of the deeper learning, student growth, and being college – career – life ready.

Modeling Failure. I had plenty opportunities to model failure that day.  When I arrived at 6:45am , I was welcomed with a “The Wifi is down”.  Ugh.  Having a pd day (dependent on technology) and the district wifi is down is never a good sign.   But the show must go on!  I turned on my mobile hotspot, and turned the keys over to the techs (to work with the engineer to solve the problem).  During the presentation, I was interrupted several times (by calendar notifications, phone call from our enginner, ect).  The final near fatal fail – was tripping over the projector cart power cable and watching the cart weeble and wobble nearly tipping the projector and my laptop over. Could it get any worse? I was almost afraid to ask!  Luckily the wifi was back up before the teachmeet session, (VM server issue) and the technology fails disappeared. Thank you Matt and Matt!

Prizes. While prizes are viewed as extrinsic… they do make the desire to participate a little more fun!  We gave away 1 BreakoutEDU kit and 2 wireless keyboard/track pads. LIVE Drawings for prizes were based on participating in the IDEA activity.  (used flippity.net and Google Forms)

Artifacts from the day!  I always appreciate photo’s and videos that capture the learning process. Next time, I would like to interview a few folks about this experience as it is happening.



My trip to #One91: Reflections of Classroom/School Design

Last Friday, I was fortunate to participate in Google’s ExploreEDU event, held at Burnsville High School in Burnsville MN.  Part of the agenda,  that day, was to take a tour of Burnsville’s new facility.  This was a big draw for me.  I had heard about their career pathways and their newly designed learning spaces… and decided to take the opportunity to see it with my very own eyes!

Career Center

The career center is an integral part of the Career Pathway program.  Whether they are learning about careers/colleges/ or going on Google Expeditions (career AND college) the space is used independently and with classes.  Understanding the students interests and passions are essential to student success within the program.


Typical Classroom

Check out this snapshot of a Burnsville classroom.  No more sage on the stage.  Teachers can either stream content to all 6 TVs or students can collaborate with each other using their group TV.  The furniture in classrooms is very flexible and powered. They have floor to ceiling windows and many of the teachers were using the glass to write notes.  It’s also very easy to observe learning activies this way.  Beside every TV was a whiteboard (NOT SMART BOARD) for further STUDENT collaboration/notes/ideation.  Just a side note – Burnsville recently went 1:1 with Chromebooks.  One point of feedback I heard – was the pickup for the devices was 10 minutes long.  Impressive!

Flexible Spaces outside of classrooms

I will be honest, the space outside of the classrooms was pretty cool too.  I really liked that moon shaped sofa, with standing desks or tall stools behind it.  Again, there is an ability to connect to a large TV screen to and give presentations. Check out the cool furniture and use of space!  (Self directed space – that seemed to give students plenty of autonomy)


Certified Nursing Assistant Classroom/Lab

Here is a classroom that is used to certify nursing assistants.  It combines the classroom with the “hospital” lab.  Students going down this route would also have to have 20+ hours of clinicals at a local nursing home before receiving their CNA certification.


Cafeteria/Kitchen/Culinary Lab

The Cafeteria/Kitchen area had a very upscale feel to it.  Check out the digital signage in the kitchen as well as the large commons area.  I am guestimating 15-20 TVs.  This space is also used by students in the culinary arts pathway and students get to use the professional kitchen as a lab area.


And finally, I was very impressed with the CNC/PLTW/Engineering area.  Between the labs, classroom space, and flexible space inside the classroom space – it was amazing!  The students had access to industry standard equipment.  In the last video, we actually stopped by to speak to some students who just helped the local credit union re-brand their company.  How awesome!  I also learned that the credit union was also going to be setting up shop in the high school.

Final Reflections

Within the pathway program the district is being very progressive in trying to continually provide students with:

  • College credit
  • Industry level certifications
  • Student internships
  • Business partnerships (some of these partnerships also provide grant $)

Example of Pathways

One of the roadblocks ( I have heard in the past) is that sometimes these pathways “LOCK” students into a particular path.  That is not the case in Burnsville.  For instance, let’s say that a student has an interest in a health career.  Then, after going through the CNA class, the student decides they really do not like the nursing experience.  Students could select other options like  business administration in health.  See the latest indeed.com job search for the Mayo Clinic as there are so many health careers that are beyond nurses, doctors, ect.  I like this flexibilty. I also assume, they can hop over to another pathway all together!

The big picture to remember- is that Burnsville students are going to have a more real world – authentic learning experiences in high school, BEFORE they decide to go to college or step into a career.  I can not tell you how important this is especially when you consider the success rate of college students, the amount of student debt students may have upon graduating.  (See my past blog post about the parents perspective of innovation)  If students decide to go the career route – they will already have some serious resume experiences and certifications that will give them a “one up” on the competition.

This was incredibly inspiring – as someone who works in education and as a parent! Way to go Burnsville – for paving the way for the future of High Schools in MN!

Innovation: A tech director’s perspective

As I shared, in my previous post, innovation is one of my passions and I want to strengthen and improve my understanding of it to help our district  create a culture of innovation.   It just so happens, a new MOOC (#OSSEMOOC) was beginning this month  around George Couros’s Book – The Innovator’s Mindset.  I had lurked previous, MOOCs before – but never was an active participant AND have yet to see a MOOC through.   So, here is my shot, to elevate further develop my learning through new opportunities.

Image Credit – Bigthink.com

Innovation = First Different, Then Better.

What does innovation mean to you? What does Innovation look like, sound like in your role? 

As a technology director for 20 years, change is a constant in my job.  I think about innovation often.    While you don’t need technology to be innovative, technology certainly can be a catalyst for innovation.  My inbox (email/phone) is continually bombarded with vendors trying to sell me their latest and greatest.  Sell me things that could “Revolutionize Education”.   I will admit, I do love shiny things – and even I wind up getting immersed and excited about the NEW – but I also need to remember to ask – Is it Better?

As I am writing this, I am reflecting on our PD roll-out of 1:1 iPads 3 years ago.   We focused on the SAMR model of integration.  Focused first on the S – Substitution with the hopes within 3 years, the grades would be at the M/R – or transformation. Our  thinking then – was to get our staff “comfortable” with what they already knew. And now, as I reflect on it – I am not sure it was the right decision.  Presentations, word processing and workflow was a significant portion of the initial training.  While we focused on the new of the ipad.  We unfortunately did not focus as much on the better.  Sure it was better that every student had a device – as they wouldn’t need computer labs, had the internet at their fingertips… but our initial training should have focused on the better – specifically BETTER of harnessing the functionality of the iPad to support a deeper purpose…. A student – centered education.  I want to mention I own this failure, as I certainly could have steered us down a better path of PD.  But I know more about iPads, more about GOOD pedagogy, and more about PD than I did back then.

Since this rollout several years ago – PD has improved and I continually try to innovate within the system.   We have had Edcamps, created a DLC position,  created a personalized gamified PD program, and worked with a local highered institute to create the Innovative Instructional Leadership program.  I believe our PD programs should be an incubator of ideas/innovation (around student centered learning)  VS sit and get one-sized fits all death by powerpoint PD.  Don’t get me wrong, large group PD can be good – especially when modeling excellent pedagogy practices.  (Something I want to get better at!)   But, there also needs to be follow up.  PLEASE – no more 1 and done PD.

Image Credit – Unknown.

Many times when an idea doesn’t work (the first time) schools will drop it.  Many times schools will not put forth adequate resources and time for ideas/innovation/action to become better. Measurements need to be determined and evaluated.  While it’s good to have measures – sometimes we don’t know how to measure truly innovative ideas/actions without living it for awhile.  And be ready…. many times Traditional measures  won’t be able to measure innovation.   I also believe reflection and reiteration is just as important as the putting an innovative idea into action.  No matter if you are a student, a teacher, a principal or even a “veteran” tech director – failure should be permitted and opportunities to revise – given.

So what does innovation mean to me? Because of my role in the district, both information and instructional technology – I believe that student-centered thinking and innovation (as in the definition of innovation) should be at the forefront of what I do.    Do I like these new tools/concepts because they are shiny or do they make things better?  They need to have both.   BUT, sometimes the “better” is not so clear and I have to be open to ideas that don’t necessarily seem to be student centered at first.  Have we given sites like Vine and Snapchat a fair shake?  Teachers throwing out grades?   I am always appreciative of divergent educators and will always leave MY DOOR open to new pilots in tackling these innovations  and will work to the Nth degree to help remove roadblocks vs being the roadblock (which unfortunately is the view of many folks in my position).

And finally, I have been participating in the Voxer Group for this Mooc.  One question was raised – Does innovation decrease the further up the ladder one  goes?  IE – From Teacher, to Principal, to Superintendent?  Absolutely NOT.  If anything – the further you move up the ladder – the MORE we should be innovating AND being very transparent of these innovations, actions, reflections, and reiterations….. It is my belief that transparent modeling might just be some of the best PD in a pursuing a culture of innovation.


My Growth Plan: Goal 1 – Evaluation of iPads in Instruction

Goal vs Wish

Image Credit – http://www.prettydesigns.com/25-inspirational-success-quotes/

I have decided to blog about my professional growth goals and plans for the 2015-16 school year.   This will be a series of posts over the next week or so.  it’s important for me to be completely transparent  on what I am working on and what I hope to accomplish this year.   I know all of my ideas will not work.  Some may fail miserably. Others will be successful!  I need to have a place for my ideas and thoughts to go back to reference and reflect on. I am going to use this space as an opportunity to talk about things that work, things that do not work and professional successes and struggles.  We can all certainly learn from each other! And because this blog is public there is also opportunity for others to provide me feedback.  While I might be able to take all feedback into consideration – I do appreciate it – especially feedback that makes me think!

All of the items within these posts are highlighted in our district’s Technology Plan that was approved this past June (2015).  While technology plans are no longer a requirement for MN Schools receiving erate – I happen to actually like our plan.  It is Board approved, aligned to our strategic plan, and will assist my department on keeping focus of goals and action plans.

Below are a few more goals I will be working on this year!
  • Goal 2 – Create, implement and monitor a personalized model of pd that align to strategic plan and district initiatives
  • Goal 3 -Plan/create/monitor Makerspace learning environments in our K-12 media centers
  • Goal 4 – Technology planning for new PK-2 building – Byron Primary School
  • Goal 5 – What do I want to be when I grow up: My own professional growth needs to be a better technology leader

Goal 1: Evaluate the effectiveness of technology in our schools/classrooms including 1:1 classrooms

This is year 3 of our 1:1 iPad  initiative.  (I am wondering when I can get rid of the words 1:1 iPad initiative? Maybe when we are full 1:1 and its just how we do business in our schools??)  When we started our journey, we created a 4 year plan with dreams of considerable transformation in our classrooms.  Some classrooms have really moved the needle.  Our “pockets of innovation” have grown considerably.  Yet these are only the classrooms I know about.

I have been evaluating my surveys.  They are mediocre at best.  I have some great questions while others are not so great. We all should know by now, that a shiny new tool isn’t what improves/transforms instruction. While I do have some links to pedagogy in the  survey – there is GAPING holes where improvements can be made.    I know changing the questions is not usually good practice, especially for longterm goals, but if I am not receiving good data – its not effective anyways.

I know more today than I did yesterday.
How did I come to this conclusion?  Over the last couple of years I have grown professionally in the area of understanding what good instruction looks like in the digital age.  There are reasons for this:

  1. I have a seat at the cabinet level and we have many conversations about instruction. Some  discussions with the full group, others small group or 1 on 1.
  2. I have been able to see good instruction with (and without) devices in action.  I love to be invited into classrooms to observe learning and am fortunate I get an occasional invite from teachers to be witness to this!
  3. Because this is an area I want to grow, this year I have done “walk-abouts” with principals.  The dialog I have with principals afterwards is very rich in helping with understanding (more to come later)
  4. I have done my own self-directed learning  in this area too.  I am reading books about it, discussing with colleagues, peers, and coaches,  joining twitter chats about topics, subscribing to blogs and periscopes (my new fav) and voxer chats.
  5. I am trying to get better at modeling what I have learned.
  6. I try to talk/share more about learning than I do about the device or digital learning.

SO, I have some work to do and need to create a plan to rework surveys and communicate results.  Of course, the input we receive from our surveys are invaluable and will help with future action plans.    We need to compare where we were and where we are today with our implementation/progress. This is a difficult task because it could continue to evolve as we learn about these new environments. I do have some reservations because right now, this is still putting iPads and digital learning as “separate”.  One day, I have dreams where this is not separate – instead part of our overall strategic planning surveys.   But I do understand the need to provide data to show we are making progress.   Below is a proposed timeline to get this goal completed with the end result being reported to school board by January board meeting

  • Evaluate/Redesign Surveys for Parents, Students, Teachers – Drafts complete by 11/30
  • Chat with building principals and create survey timelines (for parents, students, teachers) 12/2
  • Complete Surveys by 12/15
  • Data Analysis complete by 12/22
  • Develop presentation and potential new action plans (include visible samples of classroom transformation)
  • Present to the board in January –  1/19
Move the needle

Move the Needle towards success Image Credit – http://www.tribridge.com/knowledge-center/tribridge/posts/p2/2013/06/11/crm-moving-the-needle-in-healthcare

Beyond the evaluation – thoughts on change leadership

It is important that we need to continue to evaluate whether or not we are making progress towards the goals we set out to accomplish with the integration of these devices/environments- (or lets face it any transformational change we intend to make in or organizations)  As I reflect on the original goals of our program, we certainly were going down the right path towards the vision of our district!

Goals from original plan in 2013

  • Improve the efficiency and efficacy of classroom instruction
  • Prepare thoughtful, collaborative, and creative students who problem solve and think critically about global issues
  • Develop customized, individualized content to meet each student’s unique learning needs
  • Increase student engagement
  • Utilize innovative strategies for the delivery of rigorous and relevant curricula

But we must face facts.  Just putting ipads in the hands of our students will not make our goals come to life!  Our original plan had a great year 1 plan.  While there is always area for improvement, we did very well on the preparation of  implementation.  We had supports in place to continually revisit and support our teachers.

Where I fell short was continuing to make connections to this initiative with other district initiatives and state mandates. This is no easy task.  I am sure there are many districts that feel “over – initiated”. Year 2 was a struggle.  State mandates had taken up all district PD time. Because teachers had so much to learn about our new evaluation process I made the decision to “take a back seat” with digital learning for at least the 1st semester.  Not a wise decision and now unfortunately 1:1 iPads /digital learning was viewed as “one more thing to do”.  I had plenty of opportunities to intervene but I did not have the confidence I have today about the process. Why the confidence today?  See I know more today than I did yesterday above.

Lesson learned.

So here it is – Year 3 and time for my wakeup call.  (see graphic below) We are trying some things this year that appear to be working.  (at least that is what the data is telling us).  I will plan on sharing those ideas in the next post –  Goal 2 – Create, implement and monitor a personalized model of pd that align to strategic plan and district initiatives


Transformational Change - Beware of pitfalls


Linking my goals to national competencies and district plans. What am I missing?

MARZANO District Leadership Competency

Data driven progress monitoring – The district leader ensures data are analyzed, interpreted, and used to regularly monitor the progress toward district, school, and individual student goals

COSN Competencies

Data Management – Manage the establishment and maintenance of systems and tools for gathering, mining, integrating, and reporting data in usable and meaningful ways to produce an information culture in which data management is critical to strategic planning

Strategic Planning – Have a high-level view across the school system and work with instructional and technical teams to identify steps needed to transform the technology vision into a long-range plan, complete with specific goals, objectives, and action plans.

Byron Strategic Plan: Maintain excellence in resource management

Byron Technology Plan: Harness the power of technology to support, enhance, and amplify student centered learning.

Lets get crazy! Reflections from Kevin Honeycutt’s Keynote!

On the Wednesday of MEA weekend,  we were very fortunate, through our local collaborative – Zumbro Education District, to have Kevin Honeycutt (@kevinhoneycutt) come to SE MN and present to several school districts.  It has been a couple of days since that presentation, and I felt compelled to take some time to reflect on the day!

Honeycutt totally reaffirmed everything I believe in the potential of “school”.    Sometimes work in EDU can make things so cloudy, confusing.  Sometimes things that shouldn’t matter get in the way of things that should.  Sometimes things seem so complex, so unattainable, you even begin to doubt yourself.  It’s hard to put into words what the keynote provided me.  I needed it.  It helped me reconnect with My Why.  

 The notes, tweets (#zedrocks2015), pics (selfies) etc do not do this keynote justice.  Kevin shared many stories of how he inspired his students to rise above problems and challenges.   Stories where he was able to connect with students and engage them through use of authentic and relevant learning experiences.  His title”Tools and Tactics in the 21st Century” may have led one to think workshop was going to be about technology (unfortunately still  viewed as extra in many schools) but instead this was about students and learning and the endless opportunities we have to connect with them and inspire them!   And what was exciting? Our entire staff was there!  If anyone left that room – uninspired – they need to seriously have an edu “soul selfie” reality check.  I heard so much feedback from staff ready to put themselves “out there” for the sake of our kids. All kids.  The energy in the room was awesome. I was so engaged, hours seemed like minutes.

 I have been at the TIES conference (MN Tech Conference) with a small group of teachers through similar keynotes.  Simon Sinek, Sir Ken Robinson, Tony Wagner, Yong Zhao.  This was just as inspiring as all of those talks – with a couple of exceptions:

  1. These stories came directly from the classroom – Kevin’s classroom.  He shared stories of self perseverance and grit both personally, professionally as an educator.  Because of this, and his belief in ALL students, he made an incredible impact on kids… his students.   What he shared is obtainable.  Where there is a will, there is a way!
  2. Everyone (my teachers and administrators) was in the room! HOORAY!  Thanks ZED!

Take aways for me –

  1. We can’t afford to have “secret geniuses” in our classrooms. We have so much talent. So much talent that we can learn from right in the walls of our schools.  I sincerely believe, in every room, every teacher has talent they can bring to the table!  Yet some teachers are fearful of sharing.  Many times fearful of sharing with their own peers, their own teams. Many times the “crazy ones” (Kevin referred to – see video below) are left to quietly innovate in their classrooms.  Why? I honestly think it’s a mindset issue.  Instead of feeling threatened by the success of others – Shouldnt we be inspired to learn from one another?  And to the educators who feel they have no one to turn to, lets talk about helping you create your personal learning network (PLN).  There is a whole lot of crazies out there just waiting to support you and celebrate your work!  (Including this crazy  – @jenhegna

    Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

    Growth vs. Fixed Mindset Image Credit – http://carriekepple.com/2015/04/24/growth-mindset-vs-fixed-mindset-which-do-you-have/

  2. Administrators and Teachers need to spread (and be supported/encouraged) their messages and stories of what is working with kids. On top of that –  add the student voice to these successes and people will listen. We need to get our parents talking, our communities talking  because  politicians don’t get it and because they are policy makers they drastically need to be educated! Spreading these message of great teaching – has never been easier.  Within minutes – anyone of us can publish a story.   Anyone can start a movement!
  3. The last take away was “we need to bend to system to fit our kids, not bend kids to fit our system”.  There is a lot of depth  in that quote.  What are the passions and talents of our kids?  How can we connect those to curriculum?  There should not be a one shot one way of showing what kids know.  Our kids have incredible talents and passions (that we can hopefully cultivate to talents).  Let’s make learning real and relevant for them.  Killer App of the 21st century? Learning to Love to Learn!


 Are you ready to get a little crazy? 


PD, Online Learning, and Growth Mindset

This week will mark the end of yet another 8 week e-Classroom course and 6 more Byron educators will officially be e-Certified.  I developed and have been facilitating this for nearly 4 years and am constantly tweaking and fixing the course (via Moodle).  The smallest of improvements  can have great impact for future participants.  One of the things I LOVE about online learning, is that I have a record of discussions, reflections, and feedback.  This is critical – not for the participants – but for myself, my facilitation, and my course.

eCertification Framework

Establishing your eClassroom – Framework

Because of the way I have crafted the eClassroom course, it has provide extra time to focus on very personalized feedback.   Last year, I stumbled on Dwecks Mindset book.  It has changed my life.  I was determine to put extra time and effort to  focus on growth mindset techniques in all of my responses.   Generally reflections in Mod 1 indicated frustrations, doubt, and fear.   This is very natural and module 1 generally requires significant facilitation.   I will not lie.  I have seen some very VERY significant growth in participants this time around.  Not just growth in skill and technology but growth in mindset. From “I dont think this is for me and my classroom” to “I am ready to do this”!

I always provide opportunity for my teachers to give me feedback after each module and in an end of course survey.   The narrative provided this time around were great and the comments reflected my work in facilitation.

End of course feedback

End of Course Feedback from October-December 2014 cohort.


Improvements needed – my reflections

1. Somewhere in Module 1 or 2, I need to create a video about Moodle Design.  I would hope this would eliminate the amount of adjusting/clean up participants would have to do in Mod 4.  OR – better yet, maybe when I create their sandbox course – I only allow 2 or 3 topics. That way, they will try to keep unit materials under 1 topic.

2. Our district recently adopted the Marzano Framework for teaching.   This course is very aligned to Domain 1, 2, and 3.  I need to take some time and align the course to the framework, as well as ISTE and INACOL standards.  I would like to try utilize outcomes in Moodle.  If I could do standards based feedback/grading via Moodle – that would even be better. Word is @moodleshare may have figured this out!

Moodleshare Tweet

3. I would like to add a few scales to my activities to help with clarity in assessing the learning artifacts.  It is always important that my participants get opportunities to improve them.  I really like the Moodle rubrics.  Will I use those – or just a simple scale?

4. Give choice in reflections.  Either allow participants to reflect with me 1:1 (Moodle activity) or allow them an option to create a blog and reflect to their own audience – submit link to me.   I noticed one of my participants reflection improved significantly when the reflection went to our course discussion board in Mod 6.  Makes me think  – audience matters for some! I remember when I was in my masters courses and I loved LOVED blogging vs. private reflections.

5. Pay special focus with teachers in the as they are developing their units.  As they begin creating tasks and resources – its important that I provide feedback on whether or not the resources and tasks are age appropriate.  I would love to do cohorts of teachers in similar grade levels.

6. Consider either a module in copyright/fair use  or adding an activity in Mod 2/3.

7. Add more relevant research in hybrid learning.  When I first created – it was focused on online learning, I then readjusted to include flipped classroom.  I believe “Blend/hybrid” is the best solution and need to find research to support it.

Is there such a thing as the “perfect” course?  I doubt it.  But I will do my best to conquer and build it!  In the mean time, I am satisfied with the completion rate of Byron teachers (who voluntarily sign up) and the feedback they provide me to improve this course!

certification rate

eClassroom certification rate as of December 2014