approx read time: 2 min.
So much happened in the second half of 2017, I thought I'd catch up in this first post of 2018 and let you all know what I've been up to. It's been a busy fall as I settle into my new role as an an independent consultant. Getting a business up and running is something new for me and I'm happy to report that things are falling into place. So... what have I been up to you may ask? Well the real question is, what haven't I been up to?
First, training and presentations! I had the pleasure of working with John Sowash of Sowash Ventures to provide Google training for a few schools to start the year. I tagged along with him to Chandler Park Academy to get the middle school staff up to speed on Chromebooks. Then it was off to Rochester, NY for a day with the elementary staff at Manchester-Shortsville.
I also presented at Bay Arenac ISD's back to school PD on Google mapping tools (check out my maps in g-drive!), VR in the classroom, non-boring lectures and formative assessment tools. Mi Google was my next stop, with a session targeted to ELA teachers. Their favorites? symbaloo.edu, newsela, and read&write; all great resources for any content area. Finally keynoting the MANS second annual tech gathering with a great session on empathy and tech integration.
Second, Internet safety and digital citizenship. I've been working with the team at Protect Young Eyes visiting schools and churches from Grand Rapids, MI to Dallas, TX sharing an their incredible Internet safety message to kids k-12 and parents. It's been amazing! I'm also pleased to have been the lead curriculum designer for PYE's newest project, Virtue in Media, a faith-based k-8 digital citizenship curriculum.
Last but not least, Aquinas College, College of Ed Field Supervisor. I'm just starting my second semester as a student teacher field supervisor. It's such a privilege to work so closely with pre-service teachers. It's so valuable to see teaching through their eyes and to visit so many classrooms and schools throughout the Grand Rapids area. Not sure who's learning more, them or me! I've also been invited to present in their seminars on design thinking, tech integration, and Understanding by Design.
To top it all off, I've got a couple of proposals out for work this spring and next fall. I'm getting ready to present at the GVSU Math in Action Conference as well as MACUL and I've moved a few books from the 'to read' to the 'read that' list. The one that's made the biggest impression on me is Mathematical Mindsets. Look for a complete review in my next post.
So... here we go 2018 seatbelts fastened! It's going to be a wild ride... :)
(reading time 4 minutes) Author: Carol Glanville
I love the dictionary tool in Google. As an arm-chair linguist, I’m fascinated by the etymology of even simple words. Take the term distract. The archaic use is to perplex & bewilder. And today it still carries a negative connotation in actual meaning. ‘Bother, disturb, divert, side-track’ There’s definitely something subversive about a distraction. Current research shows that recovering from a distraction can take 20-30 minutes. That’s a lot of lost time. And especially soul-crushing when you (or your students) would way rather be enjoying the warm evenings and lake-worthy weekends that late May / early June bring our way.
So, allow me to share a post from last year at just about this time. With a few updates.
Finish Strong (May 13, 2016)
There’s always tomorrow…until there isn’t. It’s the end of the school year folks and that means crunch time; for students and teachers. Unfortunately, as the days get warmer and sunnier, it becomes that much harder to stay motivated and focused. And as the seniors dance out the door a month earlier than the rest…it’s even worse!
So this week I’m offering a couple of tried and true tech tips that to help you stay focused, on task, and true to your priorities. That means increased productivity, which doesn’t mean more time working, rather more work done in the same time (or less!)
*”A Life of Productivity – Practical ways to get more done.” 2014. 13 May. 2016 <http://alifeofproductivity.com/
Notifications: If you’re like me, your device(s) buzz, ding and blink incessantly! And although I may not feel compelled to read or respond to every notification that appears, the mere knowledge that it’s there or the glance away to read the lead text can cost up to 25 minutes of focused work.
So, whenever you’re working on a priority task, silence all notifications. There’s really no need to know about something until you can act on it anyway, and you can’t get to it any sooner if you’re losing 25 minutes every time you get tapped. Another benefit? You’ll feel more in control; no longer at the beck and call of every email, ‘like’, tweet and text.
*2017 update: Love it!! But it does take some re-training. It’s hard to resist tools that are so well-designed to disturb. I also felt guilty at first, which has weakened to mildly guilty at times over the last year. But what I’ve gained makes it worth the effort. I’m more respectful and attentive to those around me, I engage more purposefully in even the most mundane tasks. (I actually taste food when I eat without scrolling through FB or the latest news headlines!) Also? As soon as I recognize that I’m letting distraction set in, I recognize what’s really going on, that it’s time for a break. I bring myself to a stopping point and intentionally switch things up. So I no longer spend hours watching TV or on the computer, but really doing nothing.
Reminders: Disruptive notifications don’t just appear on your device. Many times they’re hiding in your own head, way down deep and silently work their way to the surface. Ever find yourself relaxing with a book, bingeing on netflix, or grading projects and suddenly you have no idea what happened to the last 10 minutes? Or a student name abruptly reminds you of a forgotten email? It’s nice to know your subconscious has got your back, but don’t let it derail you.
Start a list in your reminder app. As soon as you notice your mind wandering, make a note of what’s there. This allows you to let go of whatever it is without worrying it will be forgotten or buried and to focus on the original activity.
I have two lists. I check my work list every morning to prioritize my day. And I check my personal list before I head home so I can stop for milk and plan my evening.
*2017 Update: I like this one too, but have to admit this one didn’t stick as well. I”m really not much of a list maker so it wasn’t a natural inclination. However, whenever I feel like things are getting overwhelming, I head back to it.
Implement: These tips are equally valuable for students. At this age,their pre-frontal cortex (which controls impulsive activity) is somewhat under-developed. Invite them to a shared experience of testing these tips out. Take 5 minutes to explain each one, then check in each day to see if it’s working and what suggestions they have. They may not all try it at first, but the repetition and discussion will draw them in.
*2017 Update: I have shared these ideas with many people. It seems the biggest obstacle is, as usual, ourselves. It’s your time. However, it is a static, finite asset. Honor those around you (and yourself!) by making the most of every moment. Even your distractions can be planned to the point that you welcome them!
(reading time 3.3 minutes) Author: Carol Glanville
Regardless of which camp you live in (Apple, Google, Windows) one has to admit, Google has done a fantastic job of making technology accessible across the various ‘digital divides’; particularly the socioeconomic. Via Google and all its component parts, students, teachers, and even school districts have access to a plethora of tools that support creative, collaborative learning, increased productivity and budget constraints. And they’re responsive. Google updates happen so regularly, you hardly even notice it. And they don’t kowtow to the faint of heart. There are plenty of ways to stay up-to-date on Google happenings, but there’s no build-up of anticipation or fear-mongering around changes. Google respects all users. Google doesn’t treat you as helpless. They treat you as a relatively intelligent person capable of taking the next step without the ‘tech guy’ pushing the buttons for you after hours.
Of course, with all the tools at your disposal and constant updates in response to user feedback, knowing how you can get the most out of Google can be daunting. Never fear, the Internet knows all and tells all. So, here are a few go-tos to help you get the most out of the Google tool(s) of your choice.
Google Teacher Tribe (aka GTT) Podcast, @gteachertribe or Google Plus community. GTT has all the answers. Join the community to get real-time answers to your real-time questions.
Alice Keeler | @alicekeeler: Veteran classroom teacher, Ms. Keeler has been helping educators get the most out of Google for years. But she’s not just about listing tricks & tips. The support she provides comes from a ‘how to enhance learning’ perspective. So when she posts something, it’s about the how and the why.
Google Classroom | Classroom Disrupt: Are you a hand’s on learner who benefits learns best from a live teacher? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you. The Diocese of Grand Rapids will host a session of John Sowash’s Classroom Disrupt this summer. This two-day workshop takes place July 24-5 at Cathedral Square. Follow this link for complete details & registration.
Google Certification Academy: Another hand’s on session hosted by St Stephen’s June 26-7. This is an update of a perennial favorite the diocese hosted in 2014. Both trainings are appropriate for any educator using Google tools on any platform (iPad, Chromebook, Windows)
(reading time 2.5 min.) Author: Carol Glanville
This week has been a flurry of activity as we put the finishing touches on our inaugural spring student showcase. This year, we’re showcasing work from the 1st year of our design thinking in the classroom initiative, aka. innovatED.
A bit of history. Last spring we started exploring how we might bring the design thinking (aka human-centered design process) to our schools. We discovered that Xavier University in Cincinnati has an undergrad degree program in exactly that. So, we connected with them and created a customized 4-day workshop where staff from five or our schools, St Thomas, All Saints Academy, St Pat’s Parnell, West Catholic and Catholic Central participated as teams of teachers to learn all about it. We also explored coding, computational thinking, simple design software, 3-d printing and much more. We all left excited about the possibilities and many of us, without any experience in such things, were emboldened to discover how simple it really was! For more information on that program check out this posting from my blog archive: Innovate with Empathy.
Over the course of this year, we’ve continued to support each other, sharing our successes, failures and learnings along the way. The culmination of that work will be on display this coming Thursday, April 27 at Aquinas College. Teachers, students and administrators will be on hand to demonstrate and discuss how we’ve implemented this process and how it is related to future curriculum planning.
We’ve also made some exciting new connections throughout this experience. We’ve been invited to host sessions related to this work at the annual MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) conference, the iie (Institute for Innovation in Education) gathering at U of M, and Aquinas College School of Education. We’ve also made some valuable new connections partnering with local industry experts to demonstrate the connection from school to life; Kendall College of Art & Design, IDEO/Steelcase, Spectrum Hospitals Architecture and West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, and the design team at Mercy Health Innovation Hub In addition, by participating in West Michigan Design Week events, we’ve connected with Wolverine World Wide and a local Stanford d.school consultant.
This exciting work has helped us broaden our reach and stands to benefit our schools not only in terms of the skills we teach our students but in ever-growing access to real-world application of learning and partnerships that can enhance our educational programming.
Please join us at the showcase to explore and celebrate the innovative teaching, learning and administrative practices of our journey thus far. As an added benefit, you’ll also have the opportunity to see the Documentary Screenagers; Growing up in the Digital Age. We showed this film last fall to a sell-out crowd of 300. It was very well-received and this showcase event provides the perfect venue for screening it again for those who missed the first go-round.
The event is free. The showcase is open-house style with no ticket needed. However, you do need to reserve seat(s) for the film. Follow this link for complete event details.
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MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) hosts their annual conference next week in Detroit. A number of Diocese of Grand Rapids teachers and administrators will be in attendance as casual observers, presenters and award winners. MACUL’s mission is “ignites learning through meaningful collaboration and innovation.”
With 5000+ attending (including teachers, admin, support staff, coaches, school board members, and state education leaders) and over 300 sessions the MACUL annual conference is one of the largest, and well-recognized state ed tech conferences in the nation. MACUL draws speakers of international acclaim, such as George Couros, Jaime Casap, and Kathy Shrock.
This year, as in years past, our own Office of Catholic Schools will be represented among the rock-stars of ed tech by a range of educators and administrators. Our presenters include Asst Supt. Jill Annable partnering with Josh Aldrich (English – CC) and Brett Lynch (Math – WC) to share work they’ve done around using metacognitive strategies to improve student growth. Director of Ed Tech (me, Carol Glanville) will join with Abby Giroux (ASA – Principal/science teacher) to lead a session on integrating design thinking in the classroom. And Pam Thomson (Tech Director/teacher St Stephens, Level 1 Google certified educator) will be guiding educators on how to best use Google for ed tools for effective instruction and content management.
Catholic schools are further represented by the Diocese of Lansing presenting strategies for recruiting reluctant teachers to engage with technology. (Renee Hornby) And the Archdiocese of Detroit; tried and true tricks for teaching the modern student (Maria Gonzalez). Larry Baker (Mercy High School Farmington Hills) leads three sessions; best practice for administrators, becoming an Apple teacher and creating dynamic student tech teams. We’ve partnered with Mr. Baker in the development of our own tech team program at Catholic Central — born out of a previous MACUL conference.
But, I’ve saved the best for last. MACUL also presents annual awards at the conference. This year, Angie Dressander (St Stephens) was selected from 100s of applicants to receive the Technology-Using Teacher Award. The application process involves letters of recommendation, evidence of practice as well as a personal narrative. This is a great honor for Angie, St Stephens, and the Diocese. We’re proud to be actively supporting teaching and learning that is regarded as the best in the state. Congrats Angie and all our presenters past and present who embody our vision to be an “alliance of Catholic schools expanding outstanding Catholic educational ministry.”
Digital Learning Day 2017 is officially in the books. Each year, the Alliance for Excellent Education sponsors DLDay as a celebration of “any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience.”
West Catholic and Catholic Central high schools have participated in DLDay for the last two years. We use this day as an opportunity for students to recognize staff for their excellence in the integration of technology to enhance learning. We survey the entire student body a few weeks prior and on DL Day, the students award teachers who meet or exceed their expectations in digital learning. Each school records the day using Storify. For a round-up of activities at each school follow their link. West Catholic | Catholic Central
reading time 3.5 minutes
As we close out our Catholic Schools Week celebrations, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the relationship of technology to Catholic church over time. So, hop into the way-back machine with me and set the controls for c. 560 AD. Welcome to Seville, Spain where we encounter Isidore of Seville. Later canonized (by JPII) St Isidore, produced a 20 volume body of work known as the Etymologies, or Origins. The print version of the Internet for the Middle Ages, the Etymologies was translated and widely published for over 1000 years and was considered to be the resource for all knowledge great and small of the time. The next time you take a foray into the wide world of Google, pause a moment to pray for the intercession of St Isidore, the patron saint of the Internet, in your digital quest for knowledge.
Next stop, the mid 20th c. Enter Fr Roberto Busa, S.J. Fr Busa is credited (among other intellectual accomplishments) as being the catalyst for creating hyperlinks and searchable online text. Engaged in work to build a reference catalog of all of Thomas of Aquinas’ written works, he met with Thomas J Watson (founder of IBM) in 1949 and gave him this design challenge: Create a computerized way to search text by word. His innovative request was the genesis of the ‘hypertext’ function invented by Ted Nelson in 1965. (National Catholic Register, 2017) Fr Busa died in 2011, but you can interact with his tech legacy to this day on a multilingual public Facebook group. His innovations also led to the development of Digital Humanities in higher education; a field gaining in popularity and importance with the continuing evolution of data analysis. There’s even a Busa Prize awarded to leaders in the field of humanities computing.
A few year later, the Vatican saw fit to address the growing sphere of the influence of social media. Vatican 2 documents published in 1963 include a special Decree on the Media of Social Communications aka, the Inter Mirifica. This two-page document answers two driving questions. “The first question has to do with “information,” as it is called, or the search for and reporting of the news.” (Intermirifica 1.5) “The second question deals with the relationship between the rights, as they are called, of art and the norms of morality.”(Intermirifica 1.6) As you skim the Inter Mirifica, it will draw you in with its shockingly relevant guidelines for dealing with news and media today. In fact, it’s difficult to comprehend that it was indeed written in 1963.
Of course, all innovation carries with it some risk. In combining so many classical works, St Isidore preserved a large part of history. But because his work alone was so highly regarded and widely copied, some of those original texts were lost. The Inter Mirifica starts with this caveat, “The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God. The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss.” (Inter Mirifica I.2)
Jumping now to the 21st century, and the ubiquitous nature of technology, it is truly a gift from God to have voices like Sr Carolyn Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF to provide guidance. Sr. Carolyn maintains a blog and Twitter account under the pseudonym of ‘Cyberpilgrim.’ In late 2016 she published a three-part series on Digital Discipleship.
In Part 1 she calls us to action with this statement: “We are now called to integrate the apostolic opportunityof the digital world, so that we may use it effectively in our everyday efforts to incarnate the Gospel message.” She goes on to connect the concept of intentional discipleship with evangelization and how the Internet can be used to serve that purpose.
In Part 2 she describes why and how to use Facebook effectively. She suggests a balance of posts between ‘other’ (work, fun, family, etc.) and faith. (i.e. 70/30, 60/40, 50/50) Your faith ministry can be as simple as a photo from a parish activity or a re-post from a Catholic site such as bustedhalo which I discovered while researching this post. Their #dailyjolt is a welcome addition to my Twitter feed.
Part 3 of Digital Discipleship advises how to get started with various social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, Linked-In and more. In this section, you’ll also find links to teen-focused accounts on these platforms and suggestions for finding your own faith-based content.
The Office of Catholic Schools’ mission states that we are “an alliance of Catholic schools where Christ illuminates learning and life.” It’s clear that over the history of the church, technology has been a tool used to do just that. I invite you to take up the mantle and continue the tradition of embracing innovation as a means for expanding Catholic educational ministry. Following are a few tips to get started.
With the break in semesters, it’s as good a time as any to take a break from blogging and offer you a chance to review any posts you may have missed or wanted to review as you get a fresh start mid-year. So go ahead, check out the archives. Share your favorite post with a friend, or tweet it to your peeps. Refer to the tags at the end of each entry for search terms or just try your luck in archive roulette!
Psst… wanna know the secret to engagement?
Carol Glanville, M.Ed.
educator, presenter, strategist, coach, design thinker