Edtech

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Digital Literacy

EdTech in schools at its heart is about Digital Literacy. Being digitally literate is something that effects all elements of the education fields. We need to work toward Digitally Literate students, teachers, parents, schools, EdTech companies, classrooms, and much more. In this vlog, I talk about work I am doing around Digital Literacy in schools and how we can view being Digitally Literate across all elements of EdTech.

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Crafting Your Action Plan – Leveraging Technology in Our Schools – FETC 2019

Crafting Your Action Plan Leveraging Technology in Our Schools - FETC 2019
 Crafting Your Action Plan Leveraging Technology in Our Schools - FETC 2019

As part of The Blueprint for Technology in Education Summit at FETC 2019, we presented a workshop creating an action plan for Educational Technology. In this workshop, we outlined key elements of EdTech strategy and worked with attendees on creating their own action plans.

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Advancing a Global Blueprint for Technology in Education – FETC 2019

Advancing a Global Blueprint for Technology in Education - FETC 2019

As part of The Blueprint for Technology in Education Summit at FETC 2019, we presented this overview of The Blueprint. It focused on the history of the Blueprint, areas of the Blueprint, and next steps in bringing it to life.

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The Blueprint for Technology in Education

The Blueprint for Technology in Education is an initative to map our all the touchpoints of technology (academic, operational, data, etc.) in a school or school district. It will be used as a common resource for schools to self-assess their technology, to strategically plan, and to better connect with vendors by having a shared understanding of how technology is used. In the run up to FETC 2019, this vlog describes the Blueprint and discusses what we talk about in Orlando at the conference.

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by Matt Harris, Ed.D. Matt Harris, Ed.D. No Comments

The Blueprint for Technology in Education

The Blueprint for Technology in Education is an initative to map our all the touchpoints of technology (academic, operational, data, etc.) in a school or school district. It will be used as a common resource for schools to self-assess their technology, to strategically plan, and to better connect with vendors by having a shared understanding of how technology is used. In the run up to FETC 2019, this vlog describes the Blueprint and discusses what we talk about in Orlando at the conference.

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The Three Levels of EdTech

There are three levels of educational technology in schools. These interdependent levels – Access, Teaching, and Learning – are critical for lasting EdTech success for learning. In this vlog post, I discuss the details of these three levels and talk about how schools can leverage these various to improve learning and impact of technology.

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Integrating Digital Citizenship – International Technology Magazine

Integrating Digital Citizenship - International Teacher Magazine
Integrating Digital Citizenship - International Teacher Magazine

I had the pleasure of writing another article for International Teacher Magazine by Consilium Education. My article, Integrating Digital Citizenship, talks about the work I do in schools around integrating Digital Citizenship and 21st Century Learning skills into curriculum. Most Digital Citizenship programs are done as add-ons to learning or part of a Tech or counseling program. With the award winning system I developed, Digital Citizenship is embedded into all grades, subjects, and lessons. 

Click here to learn more about my Digital Citizenship programs

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5 Key Elements of an EdTech Portfolio for Educators

5 Key Elements of EdTech Portfolios

5 Key Elements of an EdTech Portfolio for Educators

Having worked in school leadership involved with teacher recruitment, I can say we have an issue with differentiating teachers. When looking at candidates, we have to trust resumes and references reinforced with interviews and gut feelings to make our hiring decision. Despite what you may think, school leaders have few avenues to verify skills, trainings, or abilities beyond what is provided by the candidate. In short, candidates have difficulty proving their skills and employers find it difficult to validating their claims.

5 Key Elements of EdTech Portfolios

There is one area where educators can document their skills and distinguish themselves from others: Educational Technology.

But why focus on EdTech skills? Unlike other pedagogic knowledge or curricular competencies that are non-standardized, EdTech is global. The use of technology to enhance learning works in every school regardless of the operating system they use or the communications system them employ. A school may run the A-Levels when an educator has only worked with the DP. However, the skills used to collaborate with students using Google Drive are the same as those for Office 365.

Further, schools are implementing EdTech more and more each year. In a large portion of international schools, technology usage for learning and communications is a core competency for educators. Schools are seeing the need for developing computational thinking in students, a greater focus on personalized learning, and the balance between student created materials with consumed information. School boards are using EdTech as a measure of their competitiveness and as a recruitment tool. Also, the EdTech market is one of the fastest growing in the world. It is no longer a case of “can educators use technology,” but “how they use it.”

So, how do educators differentiate themselves in their use of EdTech? By creating a portfolio of EdTech skills and accomplishments. Here are the four key elements of a strong EdTech portfolio:

Certifications

Several EdTech companies have certification programs for their products. They vary in depth and quality, but all of them demonstrate functional knowledge of tools and services found in schools. The better ones start with tools knowledge then show how to use them in learning and assessment. Most certifications are free or low cost and come with completion certificates that can be included in a portfolio. Examples of these might be the Microsoft Certified Educator or the Apple Teacher. Educators who hold these certificates show their technical knowledge as well as their commitment to professional development and growth.

EdTech Portfolio - CertificationsRecognitions

Beyond certifications, recognitions are available from EdTech companies and educational organizations. These recognitions evaluate an educator’s skills with technology and offer training, but they also recognize achievement in using EdTech for learning. Many include membership in worldwide professional learning networks at no cost. Examples would include the Seesaw Ambassador Program, Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified Educator, and CUE Rockstar. These recognitions demonstrate educators have access to resources and learning networks that can aid colleagues and improve the reputation of the school.

Online Presence

However, certificates and recognitions are tied to products or organizations. A strong EdTech portfolio should include contributions to the overall EdTech community. Educators should show they stay current being active in professional learning networks, reading publications, and engaging in social media. Yet, to truly demonstrate competencies, educators need to contribute and have online presence. They should maintain a Twitter account highlighting their work and the work of others. They should write articles or blog posts describing their successes. And most importantly they should be easily searchable. The most organized educators will keep a blog or website with links to all their materials and networks.

Collection of Learning ActivitiesEdTech Portfolios - Learning Activities

Finally, an excellent EdTech portfolio should demonstrate actual learning activities and the products of learning. Educators should outline what technology they used, how it was used, what lessons were taught, and what learners created through their experience. Notice, I didn’t say “students.” A well-rounded portfolio will show student learning and professional development activities the educator led or helped plan. When showcasing work, educators should include materials and activities rather than planning documents or assessment data. Educators can upload presentations, pictures, videos, or completed work to the same website used to develop online presence. With these examples, a school will get a real sense of the educator’s capacity to use technology for learning and by extension their approach to the classroom.

Fresh content

And one last point: An EdTech portfolio is a fluid entity that should be kept up to date just as an educator would with their personnel records or a CV. Educators should add new posts, new learning activities, fresh tweets, and up-to-date certifications and recognitions on a regular basis. Another simple way to freshen up a portfolio is to choose a new Weebly or WordPress template that will change the colors and backgrounds with no loss of content and minimal work. If an educator fails to update his/her portfolio, it becomes stale and causes more harm than good.

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