Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Education Technology Strategies - Day Two

Educational Technology Strategies Conference - Toronto

Simon Pugh-Jones
Writhlington School, (UK)

David Crellin
Creative Director for the Mendip Studio School
Writhlington School, UK


Participate - was a 3 million pound, 3 year project - 2005
    - looked at creating sensing systems that would measure air quality in Bath, UK
    - integrated with Google maps
    - developed kit - 'logger' with integrated GPS

Health Environment Action Network
    - 40 cities around US being monitored
    - again presents information with Google Maps

AZ Teaching Trust
    - Sept 2008 for a year
    - 10 primary schools investigate their environment in Bath, UK

WiFi Arduino IOT Devices
    - wifi datalogging, to make technology platform independent
    - no installation, saves a lot of time fussing with the equipment
    - always-on data collection; web interface to data

Distance - Bid with Intel to Technology Strategyu Board - IoT demonstrator
    - school as platform, community data, shared experiences - $800K
    - worked with 8 schools across the country; participatory design activities
    - platform: Xively
    - control opf greenhouses using data from Africa and Asia

Peterborough - Smart City
    - want to measure the weather across the city - started with weather stations in schools
    - also added high quality rain gauges cooperating with Envrionmental Department (city saved money)
    - eg. showing C)2 levels in a classroom in the UK (finding 4K ppm - concentration is impacted!)

Robo Tug
    - working with Intel to generate some IoT kits for schools
    - robots having remote tugs of war


The students get it much more than I do - the challenge is to let go and let the students be the experts

The Writhlington School Orchid project
    - "slow is good, good is fast" - been going since 1991
    - started as students growing orchids, largest 'orchid from see' project in the UK
    - requires "high knowledge, high skill" - growing from seed requires special procedures (scientists)
    - Aaron is told "you are in charge of catius" - he doesn't know about it first, he is just told, and learns
    - the teams that work on this become scientists, they become botanists
    - students: provide real solutions for real projects
    - also requires cash - so we go around the country selling orchids students have raised)

We have done school expeditions to 17 tropical places ('expeditions') - costs about 20K pounds, about what we raise in a year
    - students also raised some of the their own money
    - another project with Muttart conservatory in Edmonton
    - expeditions are in the early phase, we're still learning things
    - since 2004 the expeditions more about my students running workshops with students in local environments
    - the work they do is forest identification of species (photos from Rwanda)

The technology (we never went out to say 'we want to do things with technology' - instead it solves problems)
    - eg. datalogging for the 'hovering properties of hummingbirds' project;
    - also, datalogging for investigation of microhabitats
    - we put in dataloggin into the curriculum wherever we can
    - building two megalabs at the school; one a genetics lab, another a microporpagation lab
    - IoT and real data on a website is so much better than going to a greenhouse for a week
    - biobox - replicating real-time rain forest in a box
    - the great thing about real technology projects is that there are so many hassles and problems along the way
    - and there are many roles - web designer, business, engineering

School projects from the audience:
    - in-school Dragon's Den
    - higher-needs school, started a coat swap, which is now city-wide (coats everywhere for three days)
    - schoolyard project - greenhouse project to prove they can build a greenhouse in northern Canada and eat healthy all year long
    (you don't need to think of the solutions and how to do it, because the kids do that)
    - future idea: in-tree sensors next to orchids that can be followed on the internet
    - another future idea: connecting the kids in Rwanda to their own forest with electronics, etc

David - where next for the IOST
    - different kids adopt different roles - not all kids like orchids, but may be really interested in electronics
    - smart schools
    - inspirational teaching has to be at the core of all this
    - "students of today are the innovators of tomorrow" (Simon: "... innovators of today")

Q: are we looking at ways to ... my grade 12 students last year built five apps ....  could be marketable today
- if we have students are experts and knowledgeable - are we looking at a way to make the transition in our schools?
- right now, if students sold the app the school would say they own the money - could we pay students to incent the students
A: it's all done in the team - the money raised by the team is used by the team for things like trips
- another group wrote a book, which sold well, that project looked at royalties
- in general it's now accepted in the UK that when people generate ideas they get to keep ownership of them
- but you have to have a very clear plan particularly of how you deal with great success

Honourable Liz Sandals
Minister of Education
Ontario Ministry of Education

This is a paraphrase summary, not direct quotes (though often words are used)

(Ministry of Ontario vision video)

What we all have in common is that we're committed to the well-being of our students

About a year ago our government began renewing the vision of education in Ontario schools. We had a range of stakeholders outside the system, a lot of students involved, but there was a high degree of consensus. So the Achieving Excellents has four major objectives:
- achieving excellence
- ensuring equity
- promoting well-being
- competence

We've also been partnering with the Council of Directors of Educations (CODE - 'superintendants') - this boosts what we know about technology and enabling innovations.

The challenge now is how do we take those innovations and find those things that are working best and spread them not just to lead schools, but all across the system and in every school and in every board - the challenge is to get the great innovations more generally in use. Need a sustainable transformation that's relevant and meets local needs.

We certainly know that we need to learn from our stakeholders.

We also know that we need to work more closely with businesses, with research institutions, agencies - there are many relationships out there, often local relationships, we need to draw from to enhance what we're doing with technology. When we were talking to students, we heard the students really want to participate in experiential learning. They want to feel connected to the real world. How do we build on this?

So, there's going to be lots of exploration. Some things will be directive - we continue to work on math, for example. We've appointed four advisors who will be helping to guide us. They will review emerging trends and research. They will work on incorporating research into making our vision a reality.

When we look at education, it isn't really just about education. We're also looking at the future of the economy. They will be key to our future prosperity. We are competing with the rest of the world based on the skills and the knowledge of our workers.

So, one thing we've been able to do over the last 4 years is to increase our high school graduation rate - it's up to 83% since 2013 (but I want to say a few things about how we calculate that - we assigned an Ontario education number to every student in schools, and it follows them through the system - we are literatlly looking at who comes into the door and where they are 5 years later - if they move to Alberta they are shown as not having graduated, if they enter a high needs program, they are shown as not having graduated.) From 68%.

We created the child care modernization act - they have to give the students a number when they enter child care. That means we can track kids from the time they nter a licensed care system all the way therough to university in Ontario.So we can find how their PSE experiences relate to their elementary and secondary experiences.

One reason we were able to raise the HS grad rate is that we introduced more ways students could access experiential learning. If they have co-op experience, they get a red seal on their diploma if they graduate from specialist high schools labour - includes mining, ICT, manufacturing, etc. These programs are very community-oriented. This is a great example of experiential learning.

Not everyone can participate in this. So another way of doing this is to bring tech into the classroom, so they can get real-world experience in the classroom. We haven't thought though this as carefully as we have the outward-bound experiences. In this case, we're often supporting students who are otherwise struggling.

One of the things we've done recently is to create a $150M tech fund over 3 years, to invest in tablets, software, cameras, etc., and also training, so we don't just acquire hardware and apps.  But we know that these new techs are engaging students in new ways, particularly when we partner with the right learning task. We also find these technologies are giving students with special needs a new voice, and to connect with their teachers and classmates.

So, we see this huge growth in technology. I was at the College of Business and Economic in Guelph, talking about entrepreneurship. One cluster of students were trying to start a business, a board that you can play around with to help you create new technology to support science learning in a variety of different applications. I said, it's great you have these ideas, connect it to the curriculum and you can sell it to teachers and librarians.

We've also got partnerships with TVO and KFO and their website, which has programming that follows the curriculum. Have a look at what they are creating. It's always connected to curriculum so you don't have to worry about whether it's appropriate. Eg. homework help line.

When we talk to parents and students, they want 21st century learning - critical skills, collaboration skills, communication skills. When we look at their future, we know they won't geet a job with the plant that sets them for life - we know many of them will have to start their own businesses. We depend on technology to expand students' view of the world and an independent critical thinking mindset.

Another of our goals is well-being. As we get involved in technology we want to ensure our studetns are ethical and socially-responsible citizens. We have to talk about safe and ethical internet use.

A couple of things going on in boards around the province:

- a board in Keewatin using Skype to communicate with students in remote communities in other parts of the world.
- in Belleville - Saganaska demonstration school - use sims to solve problems and learn scientific skills, like heat transfer

Q: UK - coding in curriculum; hour of code in US - is Ontario looking at coding?
A: my background is math and computer science, so this is a hot button with me. Mostly when we talk about tech we talk about how to use tech that someone else created. We don't talk about coding in the first place. A problem is we don't have enough teachers qualified to teach computer science, especially in small high schools. When we look at students who go into STEM, there's a drop off. I'm not sure the solution is to do an hour of code. But we need to pay attention to STEM students. Especially women.

Q: Ontario student ID - anything at the federal level that would integrate information exchange between the provinces? At the Canadian level?
A: Education in Canada is a provincial responsibilities. So we have CMEC - Council of Ministers of Education in Canada. I'm not aware of any such discussion around tracking. The discussion is more around common curriculum initiatives. Talked about aboriginal education, international students - nothing on the bookkeeping techie sort of thing.

Q: 21st century skills - when might the ministry provision boards of education with new measures so we can assess students on these?
A: there's an active discussion going on right now about that - how do we measure communication, collaboration, critical thinking? Teachers often comment, but it's usually a personal opinion thing. I don't know when we'll have an answer.

Q: ed tech startup entrepreneurship in education. Do you see innovation hubs emerging in K12 - are you looking to encourage this?
A: I mentioned high skills majors, one is focused on this. It's not as widely offered as the others. I think it will evolve and I think it will grow. I was at Guelph - youth job strategy, a lot went to match students with first job, but there was some money set aside for innovation. In Guelph I was announcing a grant to the business school doing this.

Jim Bennett
Manager Information Technology
Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board Office, (SK)

Implement a Cross-functional Department using Agile Methodology and Scrum to Improve Efficiencies

From the IT perspective, the landscape looks more like looming crisis than idyllic beach
- but by implementing agile processes we can address this

'Scrum' is one of several agile frameworks - they are ways of organizing yourself, ways of managing the workload, and ways of adapting to changes. Ways of being less formal in our approach, shift directions, and be more flexible. It came out of Japan, a wholistic approach to manufacturing. 6 core tenets. The term 'scrum' coined in early 90s - Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland. You get a "group of guys that really know what they're doing", they pick their own tasks.

Here's the top-level view:
- the organization sets the priorities
- teams self-organize to determine the best way to deliver
- work is organized into 2 to 4 week cycles, called sprints
- after each sprint anyone can see real working solutions
- it's a highly transparent process so there are no surprises

Applicable to school division - not just software development teamss

Three major pillars: roles, ceremonies, artifacts

- product owner - who takes deliverables, sets orders of priorities
- scrum master - like a project leader
- team members

Ceremonies - very important, every one of these
- sprint planning session - when the product owner comes forward and says I have all this work, teams selects 2-week bit from the pile
    - when they look at these stories, they estimate how big a job they think it is
    - they talk back and forth and talk out all the little bits that make up a story - 15-minutes - 12 hours granularity
- sprint review
    - everybody can see what was done - no powerpoints, though you can show what was created on a screen
    - people who did the work explain a bit
- sprint retrospective
    - a team-focused activity, based on continuous improvement model
    - teams sits without outside influence and taalks about it
- daily scrum meeting
    - 15 minute stand-up meeting

    - product backlog (project backlog) - all the stuff you have to do
    - sprint backlog - the stuff that needs to be done
    - burn-down chart - graph showing how much work is remaining in that sprint

    - having the characteristics of speed and coordination
    - the ability to react quickly and appropriately to change

Agile & Lean
    - in Saskatchewan, a strong push for all departments to adopt 'lean'
    - 'Lean' is focused on eliminating waste - wasted steps, wasted materials
    - agile and lean are totally linked

Benefits of Agile:
    - clairity, focus, aligns work to organization goals, productivity, communications, no surprises

(Example of F-35 as being built by scrum - not the best example!)

Scrum in Educational IT - EduScrum
    - how can a manufacturing process work in our IT department?
    - think of it just as a process, a framework - build your teams
    - scrum at the GSCS
        - started by the book - Agile Software Development with Scrum
        - but it's like a recipe, you can make changes as you need to (we started adjusting after 5 sprints or so)

In Scrum....
    - the first thing you want to do is build a team:
        - by discipline - eg., programmers
        - or cross-functional teams
            - teams often give themselves names
    - then the working agreement
        - how will they meet, how will they communicate
        - eg. "during the meeting lids are closed", "we'll always be on time" (team decides penalties)
    - create a definition of 'done'
        - sw team can have very granular detail about what counts as 'done',
        - eg. 'passed all the tests', docs complete, end user has accepted

Take all of the work that you need to and build it into stories - "user stories"
    - as an end user, I want something so I can accomplish some kind of goal
    - "As a student I want to see my grades online so I can see how I'm doing wihtout waiting"
        - enables acceptance criteria
        - you don't have to be technical, it's up to the team to figure out the tech
    - Epics - contain many stories

Managing Backlog
    - used to use sticky notes on whiteboard - move them around, reprioritize
    - now nice tools to do this

Sprint planning:
    - not traditional program manager at the front assigning tasks
    - team-centric, stories are brought in and discussed
        - 'planning poker' - "is it bigger than a breadbox" - tough to estimate time it takes ahead of time
        - compare with previous estimates - start with '8' - next project, is it bigger than the '8' etc
        - after a few times, this becomes a really accurate estimate and you learn how many story points you can pack into a sprint
            - our team finds it can do maybe 110 story points in a sprint
    - the work begins...
        - storyboard - on the left, story cards, on the right to-do cards, work in progress, and done
            - once the notes have moved across the board then the story is done

VersionOne - the online software we use (so we no linger have the backlog board)
    (bit of a software demo going over the tasks)

Sprint standup meeting
    - no detailed discussion at all - it's only for 'what I did yesterday', 'what I'm doing today', 'what is standing in my way'
    - these meetings are open to the world, but only scrum members can talk

    - what will we stop doing?
    - what will we continue doing?
    - what will we start doing?

Scrum at the GSCS
    - disruptive, but working
    - initial backlog was 10 years, now down to 2 years
    - note: people can't just come and say "drop what you're doing I need this now"
    -Team Structure
        - started with one team, the programmers
        - then we created a team for the system administrators
         - third team for the network administrators
        - after about a year, the three teams merged into one

    - Work process
        - started with 4-week sprint, went down to 2
    - Challenges
        - getting users used to the idea of user stories, getting user engagement
        - defelcting outside influences
        - balance 'break-fix' tickets, vs time to apply to stories
        - changing admin mindset, so now it's more driven from the bottom up
        - getting team members used to the idea of saying "no"
Steve Denning Forbes article

Jon Butcher
Administrative Coordinator & Physics Teacher
St. Andrews College

Building on Existing Platforms

School went full laptop in 2002, pen-enabled tablet in 2008 (St. Andrews College - university prep school)
- 2nd screen BYOD
- rolled out dual projectprs in most of our classrooms recently

MS OneNote - our 'killer app' - teachers have built their textbooks in OneNote
    - pen-friendly - which is huge
    - network sync, off-network use
    - paperless: marking, etc
    - integrates with TurnItIn
        - we weren't using it - we discovered a hard drive with every single assignemnt ever distributed by a teacher
    - FirstClass -
    - Edsby - built by people who built FirstClass - it's definitely the application of choice right now
        - eg. student page - I can see all his activities - attendance, assignments, project reports, etc
        - at the end of every day, teachers enter what they did in class, what the homework was
            - really important because we're a big sports school

Exploring - pioneering
    - connectivity - Diigo, PLNs, (Edsby, twitter, etc)
    - collaborative spaces - where they can meet with shared screen etc

Meeting Policy Objectives
    - all academic leadership positions held by actual teachers
    - policy is team and committee based
    - ITI committee
    - Tech related policies:
        - daybooks, online marks, etc
    - pioneer model - explorers, pioneers, settlers, urbanites
        - we all had elements of each of those things

Measuring return on investment
    - really hard to nail down, education is so wholistic
    - instructional strategies are enhanced by technologies

Developing Cost-Effective Solutions
    - fail often fail cheaply

Core beliefs
    - where tech is the best way to teach, we should do that, if not, we shouldn't
    - the teacher is the best person to judge
    - support model - teachers have 3 minutes worth of tolerance - if if doesn't work in 3 minutes, it's garbage
    - usability ranks higher than security!
    - teachers cannot be expected to troubleshoot
    - plan for the worst case scenario

    - single device is better than BYOD alone
        - higher cost but significantly higher gain

Shawn Lehman
Supervising Principal of Pathways for Student Success
Limestone District School Board

    - 61 schools, mostly small schools, 20K students
    - moving away from a break and fix model
    - support for learning around technology investment

    - role of the educator and education has changed dramatically
        - how has tech changed this? we're not always able to say exactly how
        - learning stance: needs to be open
        - student voice: is expected and accepted within our context
        - good pedagogy: including connected learning and connected learners

    - George Couros - learning can take place anywhere
    - creating a culture of yes
    - fixed mindset vs growth mindset
        - soa - service-level agreement - urgent - fixed in 3 days; others - fixed within a week

    - airwatch & a whiteboard

Joel Handler
Director of Technology
Hillsborough Board of Education, New Jersey

How to Implement the Best Device to Achieve Learning Goals

Looking at 1:1 technology - looked at 4-year time frame, looking for results, adjust on the fly
2011-2014 from small pilot to full 1:1 with Nexus 7 tablets (Chromebooks) grades 1-4

You all have devices - you're checking email, working - that's just the norm

The educator used to be the 'sage on the stage' - but today students have access to all the knowledge in the world
Tech - we wanted a culture where tech was just the norm, not to get excited about....

Some of our rooms, you walk in, you think it's startup culture - organized chaos

District technology goals:
- asynchronous learning (so you don't have to learn algebra at 7:30 in the morning, even if that's when it's scheduled)
- globalizing the curriculum (these four walls no longer really confine us any more)
- creation, collaboration, and publication of digital content

- summary of how it was built up over four years
    - ubiquitous wireless
    - projectors / sound field systems in every class (we used to only put it in if teachers really wanted it)
    - explore 1:1 technologies

Lessons Learned
    - the training and support capacity is needed - what you put in will break, and if support isn't there teachers will leave it
    - need tech integration specialists, tech coaches (teachers with a 1 yr assignment)
    - turnkey training system
        - training last day before summer? no
        - InService? No, they are being inundated - it's not what they need today

Assessments and analysis
    4636 students assessed
    - nothing earth-shattering - no major increases or decreases in assessments... but
        - these assessments aren't about our new way of learning, they focus on old regurgitation
        - also research says it takes several years for 1:1 to show academic changes
    - but we have seen academic improvement in our lowest skills students
    - staff survey - benefits to students:
        - students present ideas more effectively
        - it's easier to demonstrate learning
        - they integrate from multiple sources better
    - student survey from pilot study
        - 70% believe they learn faster
        - 60-75% think they learn it well enough to teach others
    - excitement levels increased, increased organizational skills
    - we implement only with Google login (so it's the same user name and password)

Stephen Baker
B.Sc.,B.Ed., OCT, Principal, Founder and CEO
Virtual High School, Bayfield (Ontario)

Began in 1995 - in 2000 broke with the school board
But without the school board in 2002, could not grant credit - only had 34 students
2003 - became an accredited private school (they wanted a fire report - I got the KW fire department to come and inspect my computer)
2006 - 419 students
2010 - moveed from the house basement - to another house basement -
    Paul W. Bennett - "Virtual High School survived despite all odds"
2014 - 6400 students - they have to pay, we're for-profit online - what do we do?

- we look after their individual needs
    - adults - appreciate asynchronous learning - 18 months to complete a course
    - time zones - 17 percent outside Ontario, 7 outside Canada
    - we're always open

- courses
    - we very closely adhere to the ministry curriculum guidelines
    - backwards design - no textbooks - all content online
    - reference: Ministry document 'Growing Success', 2010
        - 'triangulation' ('as', 'for', 'of') -- we redesigned all our courses
        - where are your OSR's (Ontario Student Record) - they told us what we had to do to maintain them
        - improve transparency - reliance on rubrics
        - we *begin* from the rubrics when we design our course
    - major issue: plagiarism - we have to convince people students can't cheat
        - academic integrity is a big part of my day - we look at a series of red flags

- we're really a broker - all we do is connect students and teachers, and provide the curriculum that brings the two together
    - 124 teachers around Ontario, and as long as they respond to students in time, etc., and as long as parents are happy, I'm happy
    - we do a lot of coaching of our teachers
    - most students come to fill one or two courses
    - alleviates fear - the online interactions are largely anonymous - it's very unbiased
    - there's no competition for the teacher's attention

- Looking at the future -
    - American system
    - adaptive - looking at D2L LEAP - responding to how the student performs
        - table of paths through course with D2L system - gathering 'keys'
        - we had to get around their previous and next buttons (we used an iFrame)
Q: you have to create OSRs - you ahve to keep them
A: we have banks of filing cabinets :) In many cases they come to us with an OSR

Jan Courtin
Superintendent of Education
Peel District School Board

Hazel Mason
Superintendent of Education
Peel District School Board

21st Century Teaching and Learning


We're past talking about technology, and are asking what different it makes in the classroom for teaching and for kids. If all it's doing is making our students more engaged, it's too expensive.

We're looking at traditional learning - "we're looking to blow it up." When you start to look at what some of the things people are talking about, none of it has anything to do with Lord of the Flies or Hamlet and whether he was pathetic and whether he was tragic.

Moral imperative: why is this important? Why do we see it as a moral imperative? We have to do our very best for students every day. That means preparing them for the world they're going to inherit (not just preparing them for the next grade). There are many things for them to tackle and solve. Also, what technology has blown up the idea of information for us. Knowledge is like buying a car - drive it off the lot and it's out of date.

We are no longer in a place where we want to work as solo individuals. We need lots of cooks coming together.

Video: Apple - iPad in Business - Profiles - PepsiCo

The Golden Circle - from the inside out...
    Change: from why to how to what
    Teachers are very risk-inherent (they don't have big investment portfolios because it's not safe)

21st century pedagogy means getting rid of the classroom hierarchy  - it means the teachers have to take a back seat
 - still a role in safeguarding quality
    - we move away from the single story of an event, and give students the opportunity to hear from multiple voices

math math math math - is kicking the butt of Ontario pedagogy

Some plans to date to support our numeracy focus
    - SAMR pilot project
    - how do we move tech from substitutional to redefinition (transformational)?
    - how do we move teachers through that?
    - if we are going to be collaborative we have to share the work
        - 21st century steering committee - keeps growing
        - holding our very first Google camp on ....(something) - done every summer - last year on gamification


2012 - Will Richardson - we were just hanging our heads, he was so fired up
- we sent principles to west Van to see what they were doing
- we went to Troy Michigan to see the 'flipped school'
    - it was $5M in debt, huge suspension rate, etc. - after flip - attendance strong, whole culture started to shift
- Pilot projects to train teachers in flipping
- in April we ran 'speed dating' PD with these new experts
- when we went totally BYOD we no longer had to apologize for using Apple products

- we did this - and noticed it was flooded with elementary teachers - where were secondary folks
- got a list of names of people to talk about what we should be doing
    - first half was a bitch session - it was a bit ugly
    - then we got constructuve - that day was so good we gave them another day
    - they now form the core of the 21st century steering committee

We work with Apple - they're open to innovation
Kyle Pearce - Apple Distinguished Educator
    - works with Windsor school board - used iPads to teach class
    - 87% of math students reach level 3/4 in math
    - did PD days with Kyle on Saturdays - and gave an iPad to participating tecahers
    (never do one-off PD - it never works)

    - started from a red flag - applied math - grade 9 especially - 35% of students at level 1 or 2 grade 6 EQAO scores
    - iTunes for math - get away from the text book
    - when they know work will go live, it is very motivating for teachers
    - Audrey Burnss - head of iBooks Canada - asked if we'd go to secondary

Theory of Action Science Inquiry
    - support teachers with iPads, engage teachers as scientists
    - Apple Distinguished Educator - teacher rounds, group debrief
    - science coordinator, instructional coaches, Apple reps

We want more people in Peel to become Apple Distinguished Educators
    - we have 50 people show up to heard about it - it's a rigorous program
    - we also have a large number becoming Google certified, a large number becoming Microsoft certified
        - it makes a difference to teachers when they get professional development from a teacher
        - we want people in Peel so we have a built-in resource

Leaders vs Those Who Lead
    - you have to have a strong belief or a fire in your belly
    - we follow those who lead not for them but for ourselves
        - MLK - I have a dream.... not I have a plan
    - we don't believe in 1:1 necessarily, because we believe collaboration is huge
    - we want teachers to be part of the creation, not just going from page 1-35


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