Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ATLIS 2016 -- Atlanta, GA -- Day 4

Today is the final day of the

ATLIS 2016 National Conference in Atlanta*

The main item on today's agenda is visits to selected schools in the Atlanta area.  The choices were
  • Georgia Tech Invention Center
  • Epstein School
  • Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
  • The Westminster Schools
  • Trinity School of Atlanta
I was tempted by the Georgia Tech Invention Center but ended up deciding to go to Trinity.  My thinking was that, although it servers overall a younger age group, it was a better choice for me to visit a school rather than a university, however tempting Georgia Tech was.

We left the hotel around 8:30 a.m. on a bus and headed for Trinity.  We were met by Eugene Horn who is Trinity's IT Director.  Turns out he spent some years in Seattle so we had a little connection there.  I also had run into him at one of the sessions at the conference.

Trinity is quite a wonderful facility.  Their highest grade level is 6th.  They seem to have a vibrant technology department and the whole school was beautiful and very impressive.

We spent a fair amount of time in their recently redesigned and remodeled library and tech spaces including a maker space area.  We had a chance to chat with the primary teacher in the maker area, Kevin Howard, and Library Media Specialist, Rebekah Daniell.  They both seem to run very high quality programs.

Eugene was a great host and I came away from Trinity with vivid memories of their media studio, their open and full-of-light library, their very well organized and designed maker space, and just the beautiful condition of the whole school.  It's an amazing place!!!

I took a bunch of pictures which I hope to be able to add here at some point.  Here's one to whet the appetite:

*By the way, in the category of Preview of Coming Attractions, the ATLIS 2017 National Conference will take place in Los Angeles, CA, from April 23 - 26, 2017.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ATLIS 2016 -- Atlanta, GA -- Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of ATLIS 2016 in Atlanta Georgia!

After breakfast, the first sessions was:

PD Crossfit -- Get Your Teaching Skills in Shape One Hour at a Time -- On Demand!

  • Jackie Christensen from Blackbaud K12
  • Laura Flynn from Louisville High School

Laura was the primary presenter and her emphasis was trying to rebrand PD so that people might view participating in professional development in a manner that echoed physical fitness.  In other words, that it is an activity and endeavor that people "do" on a regular basis and maybe do PD in shorter more compact units.  She worked to package a number of topics in one-hour activities that were posted on her LMS (Blackbaud) and the design was such that people could jump into an activity as they wished.  It's also true that she tries to create her "crossfit" topics on a regular basis and push out an announcement of a new topic about every week or two.

It occurred to me that I could add a sort of PD area on my Tech/Learning Haiku site although it may be more effective to create a separate site dedicated to professional development and keep it separate from all the tech tips and help topics housed now in the Tech/Learning site.

In planning her PD "crossfits" she mimics a pattern you might use to design a physical crossfit workout:
  • Warm-up
  • Practice
  • Pulse Checking
  • Teamwork
  • Challenge Exercise
  • Cool Down
I'm going to see if I can design some topics in this sort of compact style and see if I get any takers.

Another fundamental belief of Laura's when conceptualizing professional development training she works to have her design goal that the unit should be designed for learning not technology.

Next session was:
Privacy and EdTech Software -- Building Consensus and Minimizing Risk

  • Bill Fitzgerald

Mr. Fitzgerald is part of CommonSense.Org (or Common Sense Media).  His blog is at:
His presentation will be available on his blog at some point soon.  I'll be able to include more details once the presentation is posted since, once he made that announcement, I decided not to take more notes.  A couple things he mentioned that I'll include now was an encouragement to do "phishing fire drills" (like the security presentation yesterday also advocated).  Also lobbied for schools to get their communities to try and get to the point where people used password managers and not unencrypted spreadsheets or post-its or such totally non-secure methods.

Mr. Fitzgerald is also a strong proponent of doing what it takes to get one's school culture to accept ramped up password security including enterprise adoption of a password manager (he uses OnePass and also felt that LastPass was worth investigating).

One big question he posed was:  Who -- or what process -- decides what educational software is used in the classroom?  Who researches the Terms/Conditions as part of that software?

Sort of random security literacy question that he posed:  do your faculty members know how to encrypt a flashdrive?

Following session 2 was the general session called:
A Look Into The Future:  A Conversation About The Future of Education

  • Brad Rathgeber -- Executive Director, Online School for Girls
  • Kawai Lai - VP, Education Technology and Learning Services, NAIS
  • Kevin Lewis -- Director of the Innovation Lab, First Data (Kevan said that First Data is a major player in the world of processing credit card use)

This was a general session devoted to a Q and A led by ATLIS Director Sarah Hanawald directed to the three folks listed above.

Some of the questions were chosen by Sarah and others came from tweets from the audience that were displayed on-screen during the conversation.

Afternoon "Deep Dive" I participated in was:
"Redesigning Professional Development: Come with a Question, Leave with a Plan"

  • Kali Baird
  • Ethan Delavan
  • Kathryn Ulmer

This was a very interactive session where we participants were immediately divided up into small groups of two and asked to perform a number of exercises including coming up with our own super-hero moniker.

Geographical sidenote:  Presenter Ethan is from Bush and participants Jeff Tillinghast (University Prep), Daisy Steele (Caitlin Gabel), and I (Lakeside School) were all participants from the Northwest!!  So, at least in this session, the West Coast was amply represented!!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

ATLIS 2016 -- Atlanta, GA -- Day 2

After yesterday's good start, today I'm embarking on my first full day of the 2016 ATLIS National Conference in Atlanta.

The day began with the Opening Keynote: Making the K-12 College Connection.  The speakers were from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

  • Amit Jariwala -- Director of Design and Innovation
  • Julie Linsey -- Associate Professor of CAD and Design

In addition to the professors, there were also two students who took part:

  • Lauren Murphy
  • Thomas Spencer

The main topic was the Invention Studio which is a space where all students are able to come and do maker-type projects with 3D printers, laser cutters, power tools, and much more.  I was impressed to learn that all students are welcome to use the facility.

After the keynote was a session titled:  The Worlds of Tech and Ed -- Bridging the Divide
Justin Culley was the presenter and his presentation was called "Relationship Building" -- an examination of the various issues and challenges of building effective and productive working relationships with the teachers one supports that will lead to greater integration of technology into their curricula.  A fairly significant amount of time was spent by table discussions where those of us at each table chatted about the importance of developing a level of trust between faculty members we support and ourselves.

The Evolution and Future of "SIS" -- Representatives of Veracross -- Presenters were Aaron Vogelsang and Rick Ellis
This was more of an overview of the ways in which an SIS system has evolved including the founding of Veracross and the movement to where now the main emphasis is web apps and cloud storage.

Demo of Veracross/Axiom -- Presenters were (again) Aaron Vogelsang and Rick Ellis.
This was a pretty much a sampler of how-to-use-Axiom with Aaron doing a series of demos; it was n't a hands-on practice session.  It was clear that Veracross CMS is a powerful tool and is capable of housing a great amount of data.  One point of Aaron's presentation was making the case that Veracross has a number of built-in tools that cover a wide range of data sorting and accessing tools for all the constituents of the school community.

Cyber Security: Now and Next -- Presenters were Jamie Britto and Daniel Hudkins
Jamie had an effective presentation about proactive steps that should be taken to help protect one's school from cyber attacks.  He put great emphasis on 2-step authentication (which he rolled out in a 30-month process that started with 9 administrators and then next level administrators and then the next level until he reached the "part time teachers and coaches".  He also sends out spoof phishing emails (maybe using a firm called SANS to do it) once a month.  Everyone is informed that this will happen but no one (not even Jamie) knows when one will arrive or what it will look like.

A point made by both Jamie and Daniel was the importance of examining the rentention policies of one's institution.  You can't lose data that you don't have.  They particularly encouraged careful thought about retention policies governing email and documents.

Daniel, from the Harker School, reported on their actual experience with a ransomware attack that took place at his school.  If nothing else, he put great emphasis on the importance of every school having a plan for when such an attack will happen.....not when.  Stats indicate to him that it's gonna happen to everyone someday.......  By the way, Mr. Hudkins at the Harker School notes that they've decided to pay for cyber insurance.  He doesn't necessarily recommend this move to everyone, but his school "went there".

Sunday, April 24, 2016

ATLIS 2016 -- Atlanta, GA -- Day 1

I'm in Atlanta staying at the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown Atlanta in order to attend

ATLIS 2016 National Conference:  Rising Above the Cloud

After registering earlier today, I attended my first session:

What's Next?  Transformative Trends in EdTech

Esin Sile, MindBridge Partners
Keith Gillette, MindBridge Partners
Scott Roy, Carney, Sandoe and Associates
The organizing principle for this session was roundtable discussion (there were three round tables with chairs in the conference meeting room).

The presenters offered survey results that asked respondents the relative importance they would assign to three trends:
  • Student Data Privacy -- Protecting Student Rights in an Interconnected World
  • 1-to-1 & BYOD -- Implementation Imperatives in Enabling Digital Learning
  • Maker Movement -- Opportunities for Integrative Instruction, Innovation, and Problem-Solving
Polling the people in the room, the organizers decided that we would divide into three groups (one at each table) and discuss and explore the Maker Movement topic for 20 minutes or so and then report back to the full group.  The presenters provided us with a series of questions to frame our discussion.

Our table had a lively discussion after which our volunteer note-taker represented our discussion back to the group.

In fact, this discussion lasted nearly an hour.  After the table groups shared their individual discussions, the presenters decided we would simultaneously discuss the other two topics at separate tables for about 20 minutes.

We finished the session with brief sharing from both the Student Data and 1-to-1/BYOD groups.

Those of us in the session were generally impressed by the set of questions that facilitators had formulated for each topic.  It seems like a good idea to document those questions here.

Trend #1: Student Data Privacy
Protecting student rights in an interconnected world

1. Do you have an established student data privacy policy at your institution? Who maintains it? How is it disseminated?
2. On what, if any, local, state and federal privacy standards is your student data privacy policy based?
3. What student data privacy best practices have you implemented in your institution?
4. How do you manage parental consent? Do you use any third-party tools to manage parental consent?
5. Do you allow faculty to create student accounts with outside vendors or do you manage that centrally?
6. If you allow faculty to create student accounts, how do you screen provider privacy policies?
7. When collecting assessment data to personalize student learning, what uses are acceptable and unacceptable? Who should have access to performance data tied to individual students?
8. How do you teach students and parents about the importance of protecting student identity and personal data online? Do you have a digital citizenship curriculum?
9. How do you manage student data privacy, password policies, data storage and encryption with cloud providers and third party vendors? Do you have established measures
such as policies, assessments, and training at your institutions?
10. At your school, is there a defined protocol for retiring accounts if a student leaves or graduates?

Trend #2: One-to-One and BYOD
Implementation imperatives in enabling digital learning

1. For what percentage of your student population have you implemented a 1:1 or BYOD program?
2. At what grade levels do you think a 1:1 student:device ratio is appropriate and why?
3. What device requirements have you set for your 1:1 or BYOD program and why?
4. If you allow it, how does your faculty manage variation in platform capabilities in lesson design and delivery?
5. What adoption resistance have you faced among your faculty & how have you addressed it?
6. What resistance have you faced among your parents and how have you addressed it?
7. What faculty professional development strategies have you found effective in supporting your program?
8. What percentage of your faculty use of technology fall into each of the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) levels?
9. By what metrics do you measure 1:1/BYOD program success?
10. What role have students played in your 1:1/BYOD program?
11. How do you address equity issues arising from families with different financial circumstances in a BYOD environment?
12. How do you manage application deployment and licensing for your students' devices?
13. What about a 1:M environment?

Trend #3:   Maker Movement
Opportunities for integrative instruction,  innovation, and problem-solving

1. How and why have you integrated the maker movement and related PBL, Design Thinking, & STEAM threads  into your curricula?
2. Have you established a 'maker space'? If so, what technology is available in it? How & why is it used?
3. Does your school have a dedicated faculty member spearheading maker movement initiatives?
4. What level of involvement does the curriculum director have in relation to your makerspace initiatives?
5. Is your maker movement affiliated with your robotics club(s) or do you share resources between the groups (lab, equipment, faculty)?
6. Are there formal opportunities (newsletters, open house, competitions) for showcasing student work in the areas of maker space?
7. What is the relationship between your library your maker space?
8. What resources do you use for educational and professional development to support your students and staff with maker initiatives?
9. How are you measuring the effectiveness/success of your maker space initiatives?
10. How is your maker space movement funded?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

To TV or not TV? Plus a billion other questions!!

Ever tried to shop for a new TV?  What an Alice in Wonderland of specs and screen sizes and refresh rates and screen resolutions and on and on and on and on.

How does anyone keep it all straight???

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ATLIS 2015 -- Day 1

ATLIS -- Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools

The first-ever ATLIS National Conference started today.  Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, CA (San Francisco Bay Area).

ATLIS came into being thanks to three co-founders
  • Gabe Lucas -- Director of Technology, Castilleja School
  • Kelsey Vrooman -- Director of Educational Technology, Urban School of San Francisco
  • Stuart Posin -- Director of Academic & Administrative Technology, Marlborough School

The conference began with introductions from Gabe, Kelsey, and Stuart and celebration of the fact that this first ATLIS get-together far exceeded the goals set by the founders for this first conference.

The keynote was by Keith Krueger who is the CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) which is described as "a nonprofit organization that serves as the voice for K-12 school system technology leaders in North America."

Keith's topic was:  Building and Growing as an Education Technology Leader

My next stop was a "deep dive workshop" also led by Mr. Krueger.  The topic was:  Privacy Issues in Independent School Education

Afternoon sessions included Culture, Environment and Meaning: Critical Issues for Maker Spaces at 1:00 p.m. followed by Making the Most of Local, Online, and Face-to-Face Learning at 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Please forgive!

Okay.  Okay.

So I essentially did disappear.  

Well -- no promises -- but now I r-e-a-l-l-y hope to be better about keeping up with posting here.

The intent is there.  Now I need to prove myself up to the challenge!!!

As they say......stay posted.