Friday, May 11, 2018

A Focus on Student Learning at CUE BOLD

By Adina Sullivan-Marlow, 
CUE Board Member & Educational Technology Coordinator for San Marcos Unified
CUE is all about technology, right?

CUE is really all about quality student learning and supporting educators to make that happen. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest devices and programs, but student learning is really at the heart of what we do. The CUE BOLD Symposium, one of CUE’s newest educator learning opportunities is the perfect example of that intention and purpose. BOLD stands for Blended and Online Lesson Design and this year’s symposium was held at Laguna Beach High School, overlooking the ocean, on May 5th-6th. It kicked off with one of SDCUE’s own educators, Lisha Brunache of San Marcos Unified, receiving the award for Online and Blended Teacher of the Year!

While technology is included in the sessions, they are really about lesson design and based on Madeline Hunter’s Model of Mastery Learning.You can learn more about the lesson plan model and what it really means (hint: maybe not what you were taught) in Jon Corippo’s recent CUE Blog post. Most sessions are 30 minutes long. Once that session is over, you can stay for the “After Party”, complete with flashing disco ball, to dive deeper into the content and get help personalizing it for your own classroom. Already got what you needed? You could also head off to learn something new in a different session. Want even more personalized learning? There are also Lesson Builder sessions where highly experienced educators will build a lesson right on-the-spot for your classroom needs.

One of the highlights of BOLD is called #BOLDClassrooms. Two classrooms receive full makeovers, so you can experience what a well-designed learning environment looks like and how the teaching and learning process changes. These classrooms aren’t just showrooms, they are designed in collaboration with the teachers who works in those classrooms and are based on the specific teacher/student needs and learning goals in mind.

Missed the CUE BOLD Symposium this year, check out session resources at SDCUE was well represented. Check out Laura Spencer’s “Crash Course in Design Thinking”, Jo-Ann Fox’s “The Maker-Movement Meets Literacy”, and Lisha Brunache’s “‘Our’ Online Google Classroom”.

I have the privilege of being a part of several conferences a year. I left the CUE BOLD Symposium with more practical, student learning-centered ideas and resources than anything I have been to in a long time. Check out this year’s resources for yourself then plan to go next year!

A Fond Farewell to an Ed Tech Pioneer, Darryl LaGace

Darryl LaGace   (June 26, 1963-December 9, 2017)

In December, the educational community lost one of its most visionary and passionate advocates for transforming teaching and learning through technology. 

On Saturday, December 9thDarryl LaGace passed away peacefully in his San Diego home surrounded by family and friends.  Retiring this past summer, Darryl was diagnosed in June with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease.

Raised in Lemon Grove, Darryl worked tirelessly as Director of Technology for LGSD, bringing Internet connectivity through microwave technology. With this framework in place, in 1997 Project LemonLINK was born – a project that linked every classroom to the Internet and put a computer device in the hands of every student. It was in this capacity that SDCUE President, Laura Spencer, met Darryl. She taught in the 1:1 Lemon Link program that utilized a thin client tablet and Cox internet to provide 24/7 access to educational materials. This opportunity for Laura opened doors to a career in educational technology.
Top Tech Exec shout out to Darryl

In 2008, Darryl moved to San Diego Unified bringing the knowledge and skills he had learned at  Lemon Grove to lead the district’s five-year i21 Initiative. Its innovative design transformed education for the second largest school district in California that included 7,000 classrooms and 130,000 students, setting the bar for technology projects across the nation. Many SDCUE members, including current SDCUE Treasurer Pam Rabin, benefitted from Darryl's vision in this role.

When Darryl joined Lightspeed Systems in 2012 as Executive VP Global Business Development, he used this opportunity to spread his vision of shaping the educational landscape worldwide by expanding products sold to over 55 countries.
On Thursday night, at the annual Top Tech Exec Awards, which Darryl previous won, he was remembered for his vision and perseverance to provide technology that better served humanity.

Smithsonian Award

Monday, April 30, 2018

The EduProtocol Field Guide: CUE 2018's Biggest Takeaway?

Every year in March, Edutech-y fangirls and fanboys (this author included) descend upon Palm Springs for the annual CUE conference hoping for an infusion of inspiration to dazzle their classrooms and students. Without fail, one or two buzz-worthy topics, ideas, or products emerge as the water cooler phenom of that particular conference. While Flipped Learning, Augmented Reality, and Desmos have all vied for the title of “most trendy” in past years, 2018 may have been the year of The EduProtocol Field Guide by Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern (honorable mention to #FlipgridFever). The Field Guide itself is just the beginning of what appears to be a whole movement including Conference sessions, twitter chats, book signings, interviews, and hashtags all of which contributed to a flurry of excitement around the new book, released by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

With so many big names associated with this new release it’s easy to see why the masses flocked to it like the Last Jedi Panel at the 2017 Comic Con. This skeptical author and tech fangirl, however, there real staying power behind the Alice Keeler Foreword, the Dave Burgess logo on the spine, and the inner circle of tech Avengers lending their ideas to these “Protocols” which claim to be “Student-Centered Lesson Frames for Infinite Learning Possibilities?”

Spoiler alert: There is.

As an instructional coach, much of my most important work is centered around the “how” of supporting meaningful instructional shifts. Teachers may quickly jump on board with a philosophy or well-meaning text, but implementation fails to see the light of day in the absence of meaningful “What does this look like in a real classroom?” strategies. Enter The EduProtocol Field Guide. Sandwiched between chunks of mic-drop-worthy real talk about how to engage and connect students to content as well as classroom culture, are delightful little Infinity Stones of classroom strategies that have the power to convince even the most reluctant hero to try them with their students. This book is practically daring anyone who reads it not to get excited about trying one of the strategies in their classrooms tomorrow.

While the Oscar for this book definitely goes to its 16 Protocols (a general framework for allowing students to explore content), the best supporting actor award may be meant for the Smart Start activities which take aim at cultivating a culture of joy and excitement around learning at the beginning of any school year. Serving in a 1:1 district where many of our students’ textbooks and content are now digital, a void similar to the one typically experienced at the end of a school year, appears to be forming at the beginning. Teachers may find themselves asking, “What am I supposed to do for 2 weeks with NO DEVICES?” The EduProtocol Field Guide has a masterful plan: Use that time to enlist the Smart Start activities which will provide a foundation for the rest of your school year. With catchy titles like “Frayer a Friend” and “Worst Preso EVER!”, the guide gives every teacher multiple tools to build expectations and foundations for an environment that puts students at the center of the learning and culture at the center of the classroom.

After a foray into starting the year with the Smart Start Protocols, teachers will find a gold mine of actual, fresh, inspiring strategies to serve as a blueprint for ongoing growth, exploration, and inspiration for their students. Protocols such as “The Iron Chef” and “The Great American Race” allow teachers to get students active and excited about learning in any content area, while managing to not come across as gimmicky or fleeting. Throughout the book, the authors drive home several key philosophies around successful teaching and learning which serve as potential mantras for anyone feeling trepidation about ditching their filing cabinet full of black-line masters for something a little more daring. Specifically, Hebern and Corippo explore the idea of “reps” both for teacher and student, suggesting that everything takes multiple scaffolded attempts and trials before mastery can be achieved.

The structure of the book keeps things light with asides and anecdotes from the trenches, while packing philosophy-shifting truth bombs such as “The Suck” which explores how we might be sabotaging our students with lengthy timelines, and “The Four C’s Throwdown” which provides side-by-side examples of flat lessons (that seemed like a good idea at the time) in direct contrast with rich, exciting, protocol-based activities. Additionally, the authors brilliantly anticipated the millions of voices of our primary colleagues suddenly crying out in terror, “But what about the littles?!” by adding an “Adapting for Littles” addendum to each strategy presented. Furthermore, after exploring each protocol in depth in a narrative fashion, the savvy authors include key points to remember as well as possible ideas for variations, all while encouraging teachers to bring their own flair, ideas, and beloved practices into the fold.

Instructional coaches are often charged with bridging the gap between the big ideas and the daily practices related to the art of teaching and learning. Sometimes, despite having an arsenal of strategies, it can be difficult to find the right balance of why and how in helping our teachers reach maximum impact with students. It can also be tricky to find EduInspiration that is attainable by our newest teachers, relevant to those who already have a great bag of strategies, but powerful enough to to reach those reluctant to shift. The EduProtocol Field Guide may be having a moment, but based on its clever format, balance of big ideas and real-world strategies, and powerful insights from the authors, it may be setting box office records for a long time to come.

What are your thoughts? Have you read The EduProtocol Field Guide? What did you think? Have you tried any protocols with your students? SDCUE wants to hear from you!

-Tiffani Brown, 1st Vice President, SDCUE