Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Edublog Award Nominations

This is the first time that I've nominated my fellow educators and tools for the Edublog Awards, but it offers a chance for me to say thank you. I have learned an endless amount of new ideas and techniques for teaching and leading from these resources. 

Now, it's your turn! Click here for instructions on how to nominate your favorite edublogs. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Ten Technology Tips for Administrators from a Tech Trendy Teacher

August is Connected Educator Month and today is Leadership Day 2012, where educational bloggers write about the importance of school technology leadership.

In my experience, most school leaders are not the technology leaders of the school. More experienced principals and district-level administrators did not grow up with technology and are unfamiliar with hardware and applications that can produce a more effective and efficient educational environment.

Educational leaders must make an effort to become versed in technological innovations that may impact student learning. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has developed guidelines for how administrators can become technology leaders in their schools. The National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A) outline five areas that will encourage the use of digital technology throughout the school culture.

In addition, I've listed my top ten technology tips for school administrators from the perspective of a tech trendy teacher.

  1. Utilize technology to increase effectiveness and efficiency of the school as an organization. How can technology decrease the amount of time that teachers are in faculty meeting or  professional development that may not apply to an entire faculty? Explore applications, like Google docs and Twitter, that can maximize teacher time. The gift of time is an amazing way to build trust and value teachers.
  2. Model technology for students, parents, and teachers. Just as principals expect teachers to model skills for their students, school leaders should show the utilization of technology in their job. How can a principal ask students to become digital, global citizens, when they do not rely on technology themselves?
  3. Learn to speak the language of social media. Students and their families use social media to connect and communicate. School leaders must tap into this resource for information proliferation and stakeholder collaboration. 
  4. Provide hardware and resources. For students to become digital citizens in our global society, they must utilize current technology. Many of my elementary school students have operated computers that are older than they are. School leaders must make it a priority to provide the relevant technology tools for students and teachers.  
  5. Differentiate professional development. Each teacher has different needs for professional development and learns at varying speeds and in different ways. Just as we differentiate for our students, professional development for teachers should be differentiated. Personal learning networks (PLNs) are a great technological tool for learning that allow teachers to determine their interests and needs in the most relevant manner.
  6. Give teachers time to explore. Author Annie Dillard said, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we live our lives." If teachers aren't given the opportunity to investigate technology, they are not going to utilize technology in the classroom. Give learning goals or let teachers determine their course during this time. Exploration is an incredibly valuable method of professional development.
  7. Trust teachers as professionals. Teachers should be trusted to do what is best for students. If a teacher believes that the best way to reach his students is through Edmodo, he should be given that freedom. Let teachers utilize the technology that they have discovered through exploration and celebrate mistakes as learning experiences.
  8. Challenge the faculty. When spending time in classrooms, notice how technology could impact a lesson or student interaction. Push the faculty to utilize technology tools, while offering support when needed. Develop ambitious technology goals with your teachers that will ensure student success in a technological world. 
  9. Ensure digital safety. With the increased use of technology in a school, comes additional possibilities for trouble in the digital playground. Incidence involving predators, cyberbullying, and access to personal information are problems that administrators must address through teacher, student, and parent education.
  10. Dream of possibilities. What is an area that needs improvement in your school organization? Could you perform teacher observations in a better way? How do you stay current in professional publications? Technology is a tool that can make a school organization, as well as the administration, faculty, students, and stakeholders, more effective and efficient. Whatever you can dream for your school, technology can take you there.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I've always had a problem with patience. The problem is that I don't have any. I know, I know. I'm working on it. The proverb, "Good things come to those who wait," has been promoted to instill the value of patience, but I believe more in the value of hard work as espoused by Abraham Lincoln, "Good things come to those who wait, but only the things leftover by those who hustle." 

I guess that's where I have issues in the process to finding an assistant principal position. I've been diligent and dedicated in learning about educational leadership and I expect to be able to put all that I've learned to good use in an administrative job. So far, all I've gotten is waiting. Waiting for a job posting, waiting for an interview, waiting for a callback, waiting for an offer. I hate waiting. I understand that I'll end up where I'm supposed to be, but that doesn't make the waiting any easier. 

I'm not the only one that hates waiting. Waiting has been a theme in countless songs throughout the years. The Kinks sang about the hopelessness in waiting in their song, "Tired of Waiting for You." I can particularly relate to the line, "But you keep-a me waiting, all of the time, what can I do?" When waiting, there's nothing that I can do to improve the desired outcome. I can't study any more or work any harder than I already have. That's frustrating.

In "The Waiting," Tom Petty professes, "The waiting is the hardest part." That's completely true. Again, I think waiting is so difficult, because I have no control. Once I've followed hiring protocol, there is nothing more for me to do, but wait and wait.

I mostly relate to the feelings of John Mayer in "Waiting on the World to Change." I've got a lot to offer if just given the chance for a younger generation of leaders to share their knowledge and innovations. "One day our generation is gonna rule the population, so we keep on waiting. Waiting for the world to change."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

E-Portfolios for Prospective Assistant Principals

Many products and ideas have bled from the business world into education. The first videoconference took place at the World's Fair in 1964 and began to flourish in corporations through the 1990s. Today, students and teachers regularly Skype with experts from around the world. Last year, our art teacher took a yearlong sabatical to work with a communications contractor in Iraq. After learning about her situation, our students developed questions and conducted multiple Skype sessions with her. These sessions provided insight into the Iraqi conflict and culture for our students. Another example is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, which was first written to help people solve personal and professional problems. Now, schools across the nation are utilzing his practices with students to improve character. The Leader in Me outlines steps for children to become more creative, responsible, and tolerant. Schools can even become Lighthouse Schools, which exemplify the common language and culture of leadership.

Portfolios have been utilized in schools as a valid tool for student assessment and have also served as a snapshot of skills and abilities for jobseekers. But in today's technologically-based world, where cutting edge expertise is valued, e-portfolios have been utilized as a way to evaluate student performance, as well as a way for jobseekers to promote themselves to prospective employers. E-portoflios have been widely popular in the business world, but in education, this method of self-promotion is just beginning to flourish.

Part of the culminating assessments for my educational leadership program was a portfolio containing artifacts from my classes, as well as my residency activities. The portfolio was a 2" binder that contained page after page of writing, charts, and presentation handouts. It's organized by standard, but if a principal was looking through my portfolio, it might be difficult to find evidence of how I can organize a master schedule or develop a school budget.

I thought that an e-portfolio might be a good way to showcase my skills and abilities in school leadership. In my e-portfolio, which I developed on wikispaces, I included my mission statement, leadership platform, supervisory beliefs, and resume, as well as work samples from my classes, residency, and teaching career. Now, I can send a principal a link to my e-portfolio instead of just emailing or faxing my resume. I'm hoping that my e-portfolio will inspire a principal to ask me for an interview! It has definitely prepared me for an interview by offering a chance to self-evaluate my skills.

Check out my e-portfolio! What do you think?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Interview for Assistant Principal Opening

One of the final components of my degree program in educational leadership is a mock interview with two practicing principals for a job as an assistant principal. As candidates, we are also required to compile a portfolio of our work completed during our courses and residency, which demonstrates each of the 8 Alabama Standards for Instructional Leaders, to use during the interview. In addition to the mock interview, I'm preparing to interview for assistant principal openings in the coming school year.

While doing my homework for the interviews, I did an obligatory Google search of tips for assistant principal interviews. Here are some of the best resources that I found.

The thought that I need to remember during this stressful time of applications, interviews, and callbacks is that I'll end up where I'm supposed to be. I've learned valuable lessons at each school that I've taught in. I may not have particularly enjoyed being at that school at that time, but when I look back on my professional history, I wouldn't change anything about where I've spent my time. Things always work out for the best! Music is a great reminder, so here's the Kooks performing their song "Always Where I Need to Be."