Friday, December 28, 2007

When Will They Grow Up?

Most parents would agree that we dream our own children will do more, and be more than we have been able to accomplish ourselves. The landscape for those future accomplishments is becoming more complex, as is life itself. Young adults are spending more time and money on post secondary education and are finding independent adulthood further away. Will Richardson has a thought provoking article in his blog, Emerging Adulthood on this very topic.

Local Teacher Going Green

We know that teachers affect the lives of students and sometimes those affects are not seen for years if ever. However, one local teacher has seen the affect her teaching has had on her students, their families and their pocket books. At a time when we are trying to focus on "Going Green" Donna Robinson has taught her students that helping save the environment is as easy as changing a lightbulb.

Monday, December 24, 2007

We need to talk

One of the sometimes less pleasant duties of being a leader is having difficult or challenging conversations with our colleagues. This article from Judy Ringer at Pegasus Communications provides a structure for having such a conversation that will help for a successful outcome, and hopefully avoid any deterioration into defensive, emotion-based dialogue.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Safety

A Web 2.0 Approach to Internet Safety

Are your students safe? Are your policies up to date?
In this paper, Shirley Hord describes the Joyce and Showers staff development model and relates it to a change model derived from school improvement studies. Noting the fit of the two models, Hord suggests successful strategies for a comprehensive approach to changing teachers' practices which include developing and articulating a vision, planning and providing resources, investing in training, monitoring progress, providing continuous assistance, and creating a context conducive to change. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Read at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Missed Systems Change 2007 ?

If you missed Systems Change Conference, 2007, view this highlight video of the keynote speakers: Neil Howe, Gary Marx, and Rick Melmer.

Systems Change 2007 - Highlight Video

Monday, December 10, 2007

Effective Leaders Facilitate Change

Hord, S. (1992). Facilitative leadership: The imperative for change. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.Read at
The text contains research that supports six categories of actions that are used by effective leaders to facilitate change. These include developing a culture of readiness for change, promoting the vision, providing the necessary resources, ensuring the availability of professional development, maintaining checks on progress, and providing the ongoing assistance necessary for change to occur smoothly.

ITunes U for You

I just returned from a meeting/training that explained a little more about ITunes U and how it can be used.
Basically, some of the major universities, including MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and others have put some or all of their course content online. In fact, some of the courses at Duke now require the purchase of an ipod, rather than a text book. These and others have used ITunes U as a one way to disseminate the information to everyone around the globe. This is an amazing resource. You can get to the ITunes U library and listen to many educational lectures or see presentations, video, slideshow w/audio, etc.
These resources don't cost anything, only to have ITunes downloaded on your computer.
The possiblilities of using these podcasts in the classroom are endless!

Check it out at
Official Announcement:


Quest Atlantis

Do you want a new way to teach lessons while utilizing technology? Then you should take time to check out Quest Atlantis. Quest Atlantis was developed by the Center for Research on Learning & Technology at Indiana University. The program takes students on quests through four different worlds: Ecology World, Culture World, Healthy World and Unity World. Each world comes complete with a teacher unit guide that is attached to McREL learning standards. Each unit has several lessons that have students work through various quests, classroom discussions and real world observations. Goals and benchmarking is also laid out at the beginning of each unit so that teachers and students know expectations and know if the expectations were met at the end of each unit. The various worlds deal with contemporary issues for example in Ecology World students focus on the interdependent relationship between people, plants and animals. Current global issues are addressed and students are asked to hypothesize and come up with possible solutions to problems facing the world today. With high quality graphics and varying worlds I believe that Quest Atlantis could be a great tool to engage students in learning with technology.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wikis in the Workplace

Wikis can be used in many ways. For example, you might want to read about how some innovative teachers are using wikis in the classroom. Wikis can also be used to quickly accomplish administrative type duties. Here at TIE, most of the staff use wikis to post recent work and presentations, so that our constituents can easily find our handouts and other information they may need. Sometimes when we present, we will have more people than we expected and rather than mailing or emailing our handouts when we return to our office, we can just give them our wiki address and they can get the information they need without waiting for us.

A few of us TIE staff members on the data team use an internal wiki space that we keep updated for team members to know which of the districts' charts and lists still need finished. It helps the team stay organized even though we are often on travel and don't have time to track each other down to talk about what pieces of work are finished.

Through the Power UP project, (Title IID) I have been given the opportunity to work with teachers to effectively integrate technology into their teaching. We use a wiki space to post all the information participants need. We have recorded sessions which are posted, in case a participant misses the session. We post information about effective technology integration, different "power sources", or tools that can be used to integrate, and the teachers will be using the wiki space to post their technology integrated units, so they can be shared, not only with us and each other, but with any teacher, any time, any place. Visit our Power up site, all created on a wiki to learn more.

Other examples of how wikis can be used:
- To keep track of schedules, lunches, calendars, other types of information.
-To keep track of changes in events
-To use with daily announcements (disctrict or school level)

Is your school a wiki user?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time to Think

How many times when implementing a policy, practice, or other strategy have you heard this, "We just don't have enough time." Well, here's something worth considering from an article on Knowledge Sharing:

"The concept of 'slack' refers to the availability of resources that go beyond the requirement for regular activities," notes Haas. "Slack time is the amount of time and attention the team members can commit to the project beyond the minimum required." Studies have found that "time famine" -- or a feeling of having too much to do and not enough time in which to do it -- can reduce team productivity.
Teams with insufficient slack time may download large quantities of documents from a database without checking their quality, skim the papers on their desk superficially -- missing important information -- or fail to solicit sufficiently diverse views by only consulting close colleagues who will return their phone calls promptly. These shortcuts can reduce the benefits of the knowledge inputs they obtain. In contrast, Haas points out, "slack time increases processing capability because team members have more time and attention available to allocate to knowledge-related as well as other task activities."

The key? Leaders (including teachers) often need to act as filters, determining which concepts are the most crtical for understanding and then providing the time for focused processing of those concepts. All too often we fall into the shotgun approach--throw all the research at them and hope some of it hits the target--or the coverage approach--we have to touch on every single detail about this topic, and the critical understandings are lost in the data stream.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New and Improved Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has revised their framework and added new documents to their website. I'm interested in your comments on these new documents:
  • Route 21, an extensive database on 21st century skills-related standards, assessments, curriculum, professional development and learning environments.
  • U.S. Students Need 21st Century Skills to Compete in a Global Economy, the results of a survey in which Americans express strong support for teaching more than basic skills.
  • Framework for 21st Century Learning, a revised, 3-dimensional graphic.

CASTLE for Technology Leadership

CASTLE claims to be the nation's only center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. Their website offers programs and resources focused on preparing technology-savvy school administrators. Although TIE has provided the leadership for several technology leadership initiatives administrators continue to request additional training and support, especially those in Classroom Connections pilot schools. The CASTLE website is not specific to one to one initiatives but administrators may find value in the Principal Blogging Project, the DDDM(data driven decisonmaking) Resources, PTLA(principal technology leadership assessment, or CASTLE conversations. What do you think?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Systems Change Conference Keynote: Neil Howe

Neil Howe, author on Generations and Millennials, provided a great keynote to kick off the Systems Change Conference in Chamberlain today. He spent some time talking the shifting changes of recent generations, but ended with some specifics for educators on dealing with millennials and GenX parents:
  • Millennials believe people their age can make positive impact on community. Leverage individual goodwill among parents and families--get "helicopter moms" on your side. Channel their energy, not straight-arm them (compared to Boomers, GenXer parents are more personally attached, protective, and directive of their children--more demanding as school consumers, seeking data and return-on-investment).
  • Develop more structured communities that help prevent students from falling through the cracks
  • This group of students want to team. They use the internet to "collectivize." Mobilize students as groups and teach team skills. Create strong service links to community. Focus on school engagement and connectedness; encourage students to lead and organize.
  • Replace realism with optimism--have students make personal progress plans. Integrate college-ready curriculum with school to work applied learning. Use contextual and project-based environments.
  • Emphasize a core or essential learning curriculum that every student is expected to master. Make
    sure that every task is achievable with directed effort--retool learning plans for continuous monitoring, assessment, and redirection.
  • Structure all learning around mastery goals by designing the curriculum to emphasize alignment everywhere. Closely articulate secondary work with post secondary.
  • Keep every student challenged and directed; emphasize achievement over effort or aptitude. Also, encourage teachers themselves to set an example of professional achievement and lifelong learning.
  • Integrate cutting edge networked technology--build ICT skills into the curriculum.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Taking schools to the next level of improvement

Noted researcher and scholar Richard Elmore of Harvard University suggests that we may need to help schools work smarter, not harder, in their school improvement efforts. Specifically, he suggests that when schools plateau in student achievement, redoubling effort and adding new strategies may not be as effective as allowing time for "consolidation" or refinement of existing teacher knowledge and skills. For the complete article:

Friday, November 2, 2007

Indian Ed for All

November 2007
A few people have asked me in the short time I've been here about Montana's
Indian Education for All. I thought steering our staff to Montana's OPI site would give insight to their burning questions about Indian Ed for All.

In 1999, Montana legislators passed HB 528 "Indian Ed for All" Recognition of American Indian cultural heritage and to be committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural heritage and education.

Every educational agency and all educational personnel will work cooperatively with Montana tribes or those tribes that are in close proximity, when providing instruction or when implementing an educational goal or adopting a rule related to the education of each Montana citizen, to include information specific to the cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indians, with particular emphasis on Montana Indian tribal groups and governments.

It is also the intent of this part, predicated on the belief that all school personnel should have an understanding and awareness of Indian tribes to help them relate effectively with Indian students and parents, that educational personnel provide means by which school personnel will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the American Indian people.

Documentation related to Indian Education for All can be found at the OPI website at:

Materials were put together for the Fort Peck Reservation and Rocky Boys Reservations that teachers were able to incorporate into their classrooms. It was a "canned lesson plan" that was centered around the calendar. The plan was that each month would feature a different theme that was selected by a local committee. To learn more about the curriculum created see

This is enough for now, I encourage you to visit Montana's Office of Public Instruction's website listed above. It's another resource you can add to your site.

Treasure Hunt:
What is the definition of American Indian?
Who was one of the featured calendar girls in the Full Circle curriculum?
What is sovereignty?
How many sovereign nations exist in Montana today?

Please reflect on your observations!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Formative assessment update

Formative assessment provides feedback to improve the quality of students’ work according to many researchers. A few necessary key attributes include : it should be corrective in nature, not merely stating that the student’s answer is either right or wrong; it should be prompt – as close to the time of the assignment as possible; it should be specific to the learning criteria established by the teacher, i.e. targets springing from standards and benchmarks; it should be of high quality; it should occur frequently. The Concept of Formative Assessment is clearly and succinctly described in an article by Carol Boston in the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation which can be found at There is a brief bibliography included in the article Dr. Boston references a toolkit that may be helpful to administrators addressing assessment issues in their schools. The toolkit is available from the Northwest Regional Education Lab at a very small cost.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Forgetful? Email junkie? This might help!

There is a service online called jott where you can call their number from anywhere and leave a message for yourself, or for a group of your friends or coworkers, and it will translate your voice message into text and email you or your group. So if you've ever found yourself needing to remember vital information, but without a pen handy, just use your trusty cell phone to send yourself an email instead! There are also some very neat options for blogging from your cell (I did this the old fashioned way by typing it in) or using your cell to Twitter. The online service is free, but phone charges will vary by your agreement.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, October 22, 2007

20th Century Left Behind

The cover story for October's eSchool news focused on the upcoming reauthorization of NCLB and the possibility that 21st century learning will be given greater emphasis. The current law's focus on technology in the form of Title IID funding, also know as the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT or E2T2) block grant has been on the chopping block on recent years. The current draft of the new NCLB legislation seeks to redirect this trend by updating how this funding is allocated. As South Dakota is a new partner with the 21st Century Learning Partnership, which is working with netTrekker to promote 21st Century Learning resources, we would appear to be well positioned to meet and benefit from these possible changes. Read the article for more information on this and other NCLB updates.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Is User Education Pointless?

TechnicallySpeaking@TIE: Is User Education Pointless?

Please click on the link directly above to view this blog posted on Technically Speaking@TIE.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

eSchool News Describes New NCLB Legislation

eSchool News online - House draft would overhaul ed-tech funding
Educational technology advocacy groups are applauding the release of another House proposal to renew the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that would direct funds toward training teachers in the use of technology and would help schools with low-income students buy computers and software, among other measures...The measure seeks to improve the current law's Title II, Part D, "Enhancing Education Through Technology" (EETT) block-grant program, which is the largest single source of federal funding for school technology, by improving support for disadvantaged schools and ensuring that teachers are equipped to use technology effectively. It focuses a larger percentage of funds on professional development, prioritizes funding for schools in need of improvement, and requires states to assess whether students have achieved technological literacy by the eighth grade.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

21st Century Skills: What administrators need to know

Be sure to check out this upcoming TIE workshop provided free to member schools. The registration deadline for 21st Century Skills: What administrators need to know is September 24th. Check out the workshop page to register for this online course.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Executive Wiki from Technology & Learning

David Warlick highlights ways wikis can be administrators' best friend through:
  • Community Collaboration
  • Democratizing Learning
  • Up-to-Date Content
  • Spreading the Word

Techlearning > > The Executive Wiki > June 15, 2007

Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tech Integration is Top Down

Scott McLeod, author of the blog Dangerously Irrelevant, makes this statement in his interview with ESchoolNews,

"Administrators are the ones that have the power to facilitate change. They
control the power of the budget. They assign personnel. They create vision. And yet
we’re not doing a lot of those things in the area of technology, because our
leadership doesn’t know how to be effective leaders in the area of
technology. They might be skilled leaders in other areas of education. But they’re
struggling when it comes to the tech stuff."

Dr. McLeod was recently named a Leader in Learning by the cable industry for his work in creating the CASTLE project for school technology leadership. This project provides resources such as online workshops and blogs targeted toward school leaders in order to help them promote effectively technology integration in their districts and schools.

You may also remember Scott from his work with Karl Fisch on the video "Did you know" as highlighted by Will Richardson at the TIE conference. The message is clear--leaders at all levels need to be thinking about technology in schools as means of preparing students for the 21st Century.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

NECC 2007 - Keynote

I highly recommend you take a moment to read about the NECC keynote which was extremely thought provoking. eSchoolNews offers both a written description and video segments:

Futurist Andrew Zolli urged educators to foster their students'
creativity. He also outlined the key trends that are shaping
education's future--including the need to redefine "intelligence."

eSchoolNews Keynote Description

eSchool News Keynote Video clips of Keynote

Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

NECC 2007 - Assessing Technology Skills: NETS

Assessing Students' and Teachers' Technology Skills: NETS as Benchmarks

Please click the link directly above to read this entry in the TIE Tech blog...

NECC 2007 - Visual Learning: An Accelerant

Visual Learning: An Accelerant

Please click on the link directly above to read this entry in TIE's Teach blog...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blogging Administrators

Reporting from NECC 2007:
Chris Lehman kicked off a Sunday blogging session. He is a progressive administrator at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Chris talked about blogging as reflective practice. He said if you don't have time to blog you are probably being reactive instead of reflective. Blogging is of course just one medium that can allow for this reflection. It is an ideal medium because it is transparent and allows leaders to share their thoughts with colleagues, parents and students. Check out Chris's blog at .

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do you stereotype the younger generation?

Here are highlights from an thought-provoking article about working with the younger generation of employees. This article gives great tips that can change your perspectives about myths that many employers have developed toward young workers. Much of this article can also be applied to educators working with students in a school setting:

Management Craft: Retaining Youth

Retaining Youth: You’ve hired them. Now how can you keep them around?

By Cam Marston

Things aren’t always what they seem. If I could give you one bit of advice on dealing with the latest generation of employees to come under your management, it would be to remember those words…things aren’t always what they seem.

If you are like most business leaders, you’ve no doubt noticed a trend in the way employees behave in recent years. Most likely you consider it a negative trend – too much entitlement, not enough loyalty, no work ethic, only interested in themselves, and on and on. But I challenge you to consider that perhaps these are not negative trends, just different ones. Things aren’t always what they seem.

Myth: Younger generations have no work ethic.

Myth: They don’t want to put in the hours to get ahead.
Myth: They have no respect for authority.
Myth: They don’t want to grow up.
Not all change is bad.

As we’ve discussed, the myths surrounding today’s young employees are not always what they seem. Attitudes toward work, life, loyalty and respect have all changed, but each is still considered valuable. In fact, some of the demands made by today’s youth are creating positive benefits for employees in every generation. Flexibilty and respect for the individual, as well as the organization, are good for everyone. Loyalty from younger employees, once earned, is long-lasting. The adjustments you make to accommodate the changing attitudes of today’s youth will be returned to you tenfold with decreased turnover, improved morale, and measurable business results.

And when the frustration mounts, just remember things aren’t always what they seem. Open your mind to the possibility that there is a benign, generational reason for the disconnect between what you want and what your employees are providing, and you may just find room to create a shared vision of success.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The One-to-One Tsunami

TechLearning Article: The One-to-One Tsunami

Read this posting from the TIE Tech blog by clicking on the title directly above...

A Rarity: Positive News About Student Use of MySpace

A Rarity: Positive News About Student Use of MySpace

Read this posting from the TIE Tech blog by clicking on the title directly above...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Are you preparing your students for their future?

Recently in my doctoral program, I came across this article posted by a colleague in one of my courses. As a K-12 educational leader, it made me ponder the questions: Are we doing all we can to prepare our students for the future? Are they learning the necessary skills from us that they need in order to perform and function in the world? Teaching and learning are changing, are we keeping up?

This article linked below describes one college who is now requiring all students to successfully complete at least one online course prior to graduation. Interesting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Governor Rounds Keynote

Governor Rounds opened his keynote with words of praise and recognition for all of the work to provide students in South Dakota with the best possible learning experiences, including the TIE conference as an opportunity for educators to interact with one another and with cutting edge innovations for effective technology integration.

In this year's Technology Counts report from Education Week, South Dakota received a grade of A for their support and use of technology. The objectives of the 2010 initiative are being met, with an emphasis on 21st C skills.

Technology can help teachers to make learning more engaging. Through the Classroom Connections program, laptops help to bridge the digital divide by providing all students with access. Students, teachers, parents, and community members are also coming together more often to interact with one another, and learn both from one another as well as with one another.

Today's educators in South Dakota are making a difference in the lives of students by preparing them for the global economy.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Will Richardson's keynote address on blogging and the use of blogs in education was a very enlighting address. When you take that in perspective of how students are ueing their computers and how we as educators try to block them from so many sites it helps one to realize that we need to change our approach. Students are using these tools and as educators it will be our challenge to mange this medium in an educational way rather than try to keep them from it.

It may take us a while to reach a comfort level with this but like all the other changes in education we will adapt and after such use becomes common practice we will wonder what took us so long to get there.

Supporting a G&V Curriculum with Curriculum Mapping

Tim Mitchell, Superintendent from Chamberlain School District, shared insights about how the Chamberlain school district is using mapping to obtain a guaranteed and viable curriculum. As they engage in this process, they are utilizing professional learning communities as a vehicle to reach their goals.

Mitchell started the work in his school with the three C's of community building:

  • confront the brutal facts
  • communication (effective)
  • collaboration

One of the sources Mitchell has used to build his own knowledge around professional learning communities is On Common Ground by Richard DuFour.

Mitchell shared some of the basic tenents related to Marzano's work around the idea of a guaranteed and viable curriculum. A curriculum is guaranteed when you can be assured that every student, regardless of teacher or subject area is guaranteed to come in contact with the curriculum the schools has deemed important. A curriculum is viable when it is appropriately sequenced and when there is an appropriate amount of time scheduled to cover the content and skills. Mitchell believes curriculum mapping is an appropriate vehicle to obtaining a guaranteed and viable curriculum. It offers a 21st Century approach to managing curriculum. The technology supports the development of an authentic record of what gets taught.

Mitchell highlighted information about how the unpacked standards are integrated into the TechPaths curriculum mapping software. This feature allows teachers to design curriculum from the standards, rather than entering units and then finding the standards that match after the fact. TechPaths holds monthly conference calls so that school leaders can be updated about new developments with the software.

In the Chamberlain district, everybody maps. School administrators, including Mitchell, model the process by mapping professional development activities for the district. Chamberlain utilizes a curriculum mapping teacher-leadership team to help guide the initiative. This group takes responsiblity for organizing the mapping activities, solves problems and provides mentoring support for other teachers. Curriculum mapping requires a significant amount of work and a sustained committment in order to collect that data that allows educational communities to utilize the data to inform instructional decisions.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

TIE Conference - Horsted Presentation

Welcome to TIE 2007. The keynote on Sunday, April 22 was Paul Horsted with photos of the Black Hills from the late 1800's and his own matching photos from today's view. I really enjoyed the presentation and found the process of aligning the shots fascinating. You can view his photos at:

I'm looking forward to the rest of the conference. Go TIE!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Make Mentoring Matter

The April issue of The Learning Principal focused on effective mentoring for school principals. While there is much research to demonstrate the value of mentoring programs for teachers, school leaders are often left in much the same "sink or swim" situation that is said to account for teacher attrition in the first three years. According to the authors, "Principal mentors can provide the rich set of job-embedded learning experiences that develop instructional leadership competencies." Too often mentoring for administrators has focused on tasks like observing a staff meeting which do little to help the aspiring leader understand "how to set the tone and culture for high performance and continuous school improvement." Mentors need to know how to be a good mentor, and the new principal needs a mentor who can help them get beyond the day to day management of a school to also focus on long term leadership.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The contrast between today's beautiful weather and the snowstorm that left many of the TIE/ESA staff members stranded in Mission just one month ago, got me thinking about the message I heard there about the importance of resiliency. As South Dakota travelers, we've learned to "bounce back" from a variety of weather-influenced situations. As teachers and educators, we support each other through changing political climates and financial outlooks. All of these have caused us to become pretty darn resilient, which was the focus of the keynote presentation. Here are some of the concepts from Dr. O. Raye Adkins that struck a chord for me.

  • Developing relationships is critical. The first step to developing relationships is establishing trust. This reminds me of the old saying in the workplace, "under promise and over deliver." Trust is built when others know that you will deliver on what you have told them, that you will go the extra mile, and that you are being up front with them.
  • Priorities are relative. It's easy to forget that what is most important to others may not be the same as it is for you. Garmston's norm of presuming positive intentions applies here--know that for whatever decision was made, someone involved was basing it on his or her priorities at that moment, with the intent of doing good. As Adkins story of the boy with the Nike shoes but no poster paper illustrated, sometimes keeping up appearances or demonstrating love with purchases takes precedence for a parent over school supplies.
  • Help students understand "the rules." One of the easiest ways to help others is to simply share your experiences and the knowledge you have developed so that others can benefit from them. And one of the least democratic things to do is hoard all of your information so that others do not have access to it. What this says about classrooms that are isolationist in their practices is fodder for another posting.
  • Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary. You can't navigate a society very well if you don't know the language. An episode of The Amazing Race illustrates this quite well. I'm very happy that the next TIE membership DVD featuring Jo Hartmann will be focused on vocabulary development.
  • H.I.S. High expectations, Insistance, and Support.
  • Be a flame fanner. Good teachers recognize the potential and encourage students to build on it. We need to do the same with adults and school systems.