Google is one of the most trusted brands internationally.
If you mention a search engine, Google is often the first answer. If you think about email, Gmail is the one most people use. But did you know that Google owns YouTube? And did you know there are so many great, simple tools that can work for your school district and in turn, your schools.
Google has developed potentially the greatest educational commodity in G Suite. Everything you need in one place: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and much more. In 2006, Google launched G Suite for Education (previously known as Google Apps for Education), ensuring that all staff and students could log in and utilize Google in one place rather than a large annual subscription for multiple licenses from other competitors. In addition, the launch of Google Classroom has proven a new level of commitment from Google to the educational community. Google strives to listen to educators, making informed decisions and regular software updates based on teacher feedback provided within G Suite apps such as Google Classroom. Bottom line - G Suite for Education is already an amazing solution for schools, and it is improving at a rapid rate to best meet the needs of teachers and students.
Ensuring all schools within your district are on the same page is incredibly important. If schools are using different software, this can cause an absolute headache for you overseeing and supporting the technology. Having G Suite within your schools enables everything to be on one platform and controlled within one administrative panel.
The technology adoption challenge is evident in our K-12 classrooms, often resulting from a lack of effective professional development (PD). Even if PD is offered to educators, it may, unfortunately, consist of “sit and get”, one-size-fits-all training that fails to address the unique needs of our adult learners. This hinders teachers’ ability and motivation to appropriately infuse technology into their practice. We often talk about personalizing learning for our students, and we believe this begins with personalizing professional learning for our teachers and leaders.
Ensure you get a headstart now and download our free PD Planning Template here!
Thursday 13th July 2019
MobileMind is thrilled to announce that we are teaming up with AppsEvents to provide schools and districts with the ultimate Google PD experience!
Both MobileMind and AppsEvents are official Google professional development partners focused solely on Google for EDU. Whether you’re looking for virtual Google training, onsite summits / bootcamps, or a combination of the two, we’ve got you covered!
Our comprehensive blended PD design will build excitement and skills at high-energy AppsEvents onsite experiences, as well as provide a seamless transition into sustained, personalized virtual PD with MobileMind’s modern professional learning hub.
With this new partnership, we will support educational leaders by offering a simple strategic training program grounded in best practices for professional development. Together, MobileMind and AppsEvents will increase meaningful Google adoption in schools and transform learning for students.
You can book a free PD Strategy Call here.
MobileMind has designed the most innovative personalized Google professional learning solution for schools. We are a team of passionate educators and technology leaders who are dedicated to transforming professional learning for educators.
Visit www.mobilemind.io for more information.
For more information, contact:
Tyce Miller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Successfully introducing G Suite for Education is one of the most progressive measures you can undertake, if it goes right. If not, you could be the educational pariah of your district.
Often districts and schools will buy into Google implementation because they know and believe in the impact G Suite can have across teaching and learning, as well as productivity. However, without proper implementation, how do you know schools are using it properly, if at all?
We get it; it’s a struggle to keep tabs without feeling like you’re policing the schools you oversee. We hear from districts all the time who are looking for a simple solution to monitor the progress of technology initiatives.
Look no further. Understanding the adoption of G Suite across your entire district is much simpler than you think - and you can start right away! We’ve collected some of the best tips to guide you in successfully introducing G Suite in your district successfully.
Create a professional development plan that helps ensure that your teachers are using G Suite to the best of their ability. (Cheat sheet - download our Professional Planner here)
Get teachers involved in the purchasing decisions in order to ensure you understand what they are looking for from a pedagogical point of view. This also enables you at a district level to teach educators about purchasing decisions.
Educate teachers on why they should use Chromebooks and/or G Suite, rather than how to use the product.
Why not get a head start and download MobileMind’s free Professional Development planner? Click here and you can get ahead of your neighbouring districts.
CoSN (Consortium of School Networking) is the premier North American professional association for school system technology aims.
We are pleased to announce CoSN has released their second report on driving innovation in the K12 market.
Want to know what this all means for you? Don’t worry we have put together the following simplified guide summarizing their findings along with our thoughts on what we think this means for the industry. If you'd like to read the full ‘Driving K-12 Innovations- Accelerators' report simply click here.
Accelerators are megatrends that drive the needs and skills expected of students and educators. Some disruptive shifts are moving rapidly (and some suddenly), while others are happening so gradually that their effects may not be felt for years.
Learners as Creators - The idea that students don’t have to wait to graduate to change the world is motivating schools to embrace real-world learning experiences that promote student-generated ideas and solutions.
Data-Driven Practices - Schools are increasingly leveraging data about the student experience, measuring engagement and skills acquisition to inform decisions about curriculum, hiring, technology investments and more.
Personalization - Just as the consumer sector has exploded with new ways to customize user experiences, products and recommendations, schools are finding ways to provide individualized learning pathways and promote student voice, choice and autonomy.
Design Thinking - Design thinking is a strategy for creatively exploring and ultimately formulating solutions to challenges based on empathy and iterative processes.
Building the Capacity of Human Leaders - When leaders take actions to strengthen the professional community of their schools, providing and incentivizing opportunities for leaders and educators to learn and master new skills. It opens the door to innovative practices and approaches that can further student engagement.
This accelerator recognizes that creativity is a valuable, essential competency in workplaces and communities today. Future-focused learning means learning by doing and making the application of knowledge and skills to solve real problems not just theoretically, but practically. As a result, creating engages students in active and meaningful learning.
Exploring the Opportunity
Sparking students’ creativity might not seem like a radical new idea. However, in traditional schooling, reliance on assessments and typical learning spaces don’t allow much time or space for this to be a central focus point of learning. However, educators are aware that students are often naturally curious and full of ideas and questions.
Key educational titans like Jean Piaget, Seymour Papert and Reggio Emilia regarded learning through a constructivist lens. Piaget believed educators have to make inventors and innovators - not conformists. He advocated fostering curiosity and providing experimental activities to help students build new knowledge from prior experience. Papert believed that ‘the ability to physically make, test, analyze, rethink, remake, and retest, as often as needed, allows for deep learning on the student’s terms.’ Emilia believed that constructivism through pedagogy in studio or workshop-style spaces enables artifacts to become tools for reflection.
The appearance of Makerspaces and the Maker movement in general is one trend that captures the spirit of this body of inquiry about student-focused experiences. Makerspaces are popping up all over the world, enabling children to create within these multi-purpose areas.
“Learners as creators really goes to the core of the mission of education: To develop independent, robust citizens of the future.”
Oystein Johannessen, Chief Executive, Somna Municipality, Norway
Imagining the Potential
Internationally, this model is proving to be vital.
In Singapore, improving student achievement has developed a reputation for didactic teaching, rote learning, and academic brilliance. It is now undergoing a silent revolution by combining students’ ability to ‘ace tests’ alongside becoming innovators and creators.
One such example is Woodgrove Primary School, which transformed their library into a Makerspace. Students are encouraged to let imaginations run wild after school by creating a variety of different materials - from 3D products to stop-motion films, digital art to building mechanical objects, coding to creating a game console. The school gives students regular innovation challenges - design tasks that stretch their problem-solving skills.
In El Salvador, DAI Maker Lab is supporting two Makerspaces where young people can build and demonstrate technical skills in 3D computer-aided design and digital manufacturing for rapid prototyping, among a range of other creative learning opportunities. With access to this technology and skills training, young people can turn their physical work products into credentials for employers. This is part of a wider innovative initiative called Bridges to Employment (Puentes para el Empleo).
In the U.S., Pittsburgh has a thriving Maker community. Remake Learning is a regional network of more than 350 organizations across early learning centers, schools, museums, libraries, after-school programs, community non-profit organisations, colleges, universities, edtech startups and major corporations. All of this enables young people are able to access Makerspaces across the region.
It’s important to understand that the maker mentality isn’t just about physical spaces. It’s fundamentally about integrating choice and autonomy into everyday learning activities, enabling students to actively demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a creative and innovative way.
This accelerator is growing in education at a fast, intense pace - and sometimes changing learning in an unplanned and surprising way. Fortunately, an emerging body of research and thought leadership can prepare education leaders can champion learners as creators, integrate creative learning into the core instructional program and channel students’ imaginations toward productive learning activities.
The CoSN Advisory Board members offer the following advice:
Take an expansive view of creativity
Integrate creative learning with the core instructional program
Develop meaningful literacies
Pay attention to rigor
Set challenging parameters to deepen learning
Personalization exemplifies pressure for schools to stay relevant in the midst of a seismic shift away from a one-size-fits-all to tailor-made interactions. Technology enables anything to be personalized, from playlists to social media to footwear and fashion. Products value bespoke experiences, which now seeps into education with students and parents increasingly expecting the same within their schools.
Exploring the Opportunity
Educators have long recognized that a one-size-fits-all schooling now does not work for many learners. With students entering schools at vastly different places on their learning journey, with varying degrees of needs, styles, interests and preferences, something new is needed.
This has been changing slowly over the last decade. This uniformed, structured model has been giving way to a more flexible, student-informed and student-focused instruction. Engaging and motivating students is becoming the starter point for a deeper level of learning.
The issue of offering personalization can be confusing. As it has become a buzzword, there is no one definition of what it actually means. For example, some definitions include:
In short, what is personalization if nobody can agree on a defined meaning?
Imagining the Potential
Personalized learning is akin to the kind of education expected for students with special needs or disabilities. Those that educators and parents already have developed an individualized education program (IEP). In short, personalized learning is about enabling every student and giving them a personalized/individual learning plan.
Technology is already assisting in this area. It can simplify and amplify personalized learning. Such tools already exist which is starting to scratch the surface.
As with any technology, schools must take into account the vast privacy and ethical concerns associated with capturing storing and sharing data. Further, it is vital for school leaders and practitioners to collaborate on the aspects being measured and to accurately capture a holistic picture of learner and engagement and needs.
An emerging body of research can help make learner profiles much more personalized. Adaptive learning systems may one day capture a range of cognitive, affective and behavioural personal traits.
Learner profiles empower educators to meet students where they are and tailor teaching and learning to leverage individual strengths. Digital resources also can help teachers adjust the pace and content of instruction for individual students.
How can educators craft systems where students can pursue learning as a thousand ways, one destination?
As Guy Levi, Chief Innovation Officer at the Centre for Educational Technology in Israel says; ‘The one destination needs clarification. It is not that they are all the same when they get to the end, but they do need to get to a mutual place. There is a need for some common denominators.’
Where can you start? The OECD wrote a paper called ‘The Future We Want’. It looks at the position on the future of education and skills that calls for personalized learning environments. Among the recommendations in the paper; Develop student agency, shrink the curriculum and move to competency-based education. The paper sets out a shared vision and design principles for changing curricula and education systems.
Don McLeod, founding director of the University Council for Educational Administration’s Center for the Advanced Study of Leadership in Education (CASTLE) identified, ‘four changes that are key to making the learning process relevant and personalized.’ These are;
Moving from factual recall to higher-level thinking
Moving from teacher control to student agency
Moving from traditional activities to authentic work
Moving from traditional resources to a technology-rich environment
The two accelerators featured in this report- learners as creators and personalization - present enormous opportunities to educators. Both accelerators put students at the center of learning.
To expand acceptance of these accelerators, we recommend initiating conversations with your stakeholders, considering how to leverage the accelerators and turn them into opportunities;
One aspect of the report we think is also valuable to mention is the final accelerator; ‘Building the Capacity of Human Leaders’.
When leaders take actions to strengthen the professional community of their schools, providing and incentivizing opportunities for leaders and educators to learn and master new skills, it opens the door to innovative practices and approaches that can further student engagement.
We believe that this is the key to opening the doors for innovative learning to take place. If it is not common practice to offer personalized learning opportunities or allow students to be creators of authentic and unique products to demonstrate learning, this will be a significant paradigm shift in your district.
Transformation cannot occur in your classrooms without first offering educators and leaders the opportunity to engage in modern professional learning that might challenge antiquated instructional practices. We must provide educators with access to learning that strengthens technological and pedagogical skills if we are to empower them to transform learning for our students. In addition, educators must comprehend the why behind new initiatives, which is even more vital than the how.
Change is difficult, and MobileMind is here to help transform learning with G Suite in your district! To get started, you can check out our planning tool, here, that will help you plan for meaningful professional learning for your educators!
We hope you’ve found our simplified breakdown of the CoSN ‘Driving Innovation Accelerators’ Report useful. Keep an eye out for our next blogs covering a breakdown of CoSN’s final reports due to be released later this year!
Click here to read our abridged guide to the CoSN report on ‘Driving Innovation Hurdles'
As a US or Canada - based K-12 district or independent school, if you are interested in buying Chromebooks and Chrome Education licenses in 2019, you may be eligible to receive FREE SERVICES along with your purchase.
As preferred Google partners any purchase for your district or independent school will enable you to get our entire platform for free!! We’re serious, this is no joke! Pay for your Chromebooks or Chrome licenses and that is it! Check out below to take advantage of this fantastic offer!
1. Complete your Chromebook & Chrome Education license purchase - Proof of purchase is required (via invoice)
2. Confirm your purchase by filling out this form and select the service that’s best for your organization - Choose your service offering based on the number of devices and licenses purchased
3. Hit the ground running - Get started with MobileMind to determine and implement the services that best fit your organization’s needs.
These services, delivered by MobileMind, are designed to help your school get the most out of Google for Education tools. See the below chart for examples of services you might receive based on the size of your purchase.
The MobileMind professional learning hub is personalized, practical, and convenient for educators. Learn more here!
*MobileMind will work with you to select service(s) that meet your school’s needs. Not all example services may be available at the time of selection and may be subject to availability and purchase level.
**Number of vouchers or licenses provided increases with the size of your purchase. Your Google for Education Partner will provide more details.
***The number of services available in a combination depends on the size of your purchase and school. Your Google for Education Partner will provide more details.
CoSN (Consortium of School Networking) is the premier North American professional association for school system technology aims.
We are very excited to announce that CoSN has just released the first of 3 reports which focus on the hurdles facing implementation and utilization of school system technology. Alongside these reports, CoSN will also be releasing a practical toolkit to inform strategic planning and smart technology integration into teaching and learning.
Want to know what this all means for you? Don’t worry we have put together the following simplified guide summarizing their findings along with our thoughts on what we think this means for the industry. If you’d like to read the full ‘Driving K-12 Innovations’ report simply click here.
The K-12 Advisory Board looked at the state of education and the biggest hurdles and obstructions facing education, in particular when it came to imposing new technology within schools and districts. The 5 key hurdles they found were;
The advisory board took these top 5 hurdles and looked at the ones that they felt were the most significant challenges currently impacting education. The two they found were ‘The Gap Between Technology and Pedagogy’ – buying for the sake of buying or buying to have an impact within the classroom – and ‘Technology and The Future of Work’ – how we ensure children are educated in the ever-evolving world of technology.
Below is a breakdown of the focused analysis of these two main hurdles impacting education:
The major question when determining whether to buy a new product is whether it considers the growing needs of the students and potential impact of student learning. Professional development that is grounded in pedagogy is also crucial. Continuing advances in technology create disconnects between the needs of the students and the skill sets of the teachers.
Searching and finding the next ‘cool’ thing can be interesting and exciting. However, focusing on the pedagogical needs of the students and then purchasing technology that meets those needs is a much better strategy.
Pro tip: Create a strategic plan which establishes a shared vision of curricular and pedagogical approaches.
Professional development is critical for bridging the gap between technology and pedagogy. Simply providing devices isn’t enough! Many schools struggle to integrate new technology successfully because teachers struggle to use it on a regular basis. As a result, it’s not only classroom teachers that need professional development. District leaders, principals, and other school leaders are equally in need of professional development. This PD needs to cover the ‘why to’ of using technology to support teaching and learning, not just the ‘how to’. Focusing only on the ‘how to’ will prevent teachers from appreciating the benefits of the technology and will result in teachers feeling that integrating technology is a chore.
Giving teachers opportunities to see the purpose of technology through exploring and reflecting upon the ‘why to’ is incredibly important. Deeper professional learning enables teachers to support student learning more effectively.
As technology advances and more schools adopt devices, PD becomes a more urgent challenge. A recent PwC (2018) study showed only 10% of US teachers feel confident teaching higher-level technology skills that meet the increasing workforce demand. 79% of respondents say they want more technology-related professional learning, and 81% said they want more funding and more ‘release time’ to attend PD workshops, build curriculum plans or course materials. Find out more read the PwC report here.
PwC also found that a large proportion of teachers are not making innovative use of technology. According to US teachers, the use of classroom technology is broken into two ways.
NOTE: It is also important to link creation with technology with higher order skills such as critical thinking, reflection and computational thinking.
Internationally, this is the same story. Another report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that “Professional development should target their overall school culture, providing time for professional practice, collaboration and identification of what works.” Find out more read the full report here.
The demand for STEM skills is rapidly increasing. As such, countries such as South Korea now emphasize “computational thinking, coding skills and creative expression through software” within its country-wide national curriculum. At the end of 2018, South Korea had trained 60,000 elementary teachers and 30,000 middle school teachers through a myriad of software education.
The major gap between technology and pedagogy results in wasted time and money, frustrated educators, and lost opportunities for students to develop new curiosities and skills for the digital age.
What if we could bridge this gap?
What if technology was purchased with the sole intention of improving pedagogical practices which benefited the students in developing their high end tech skills and benefited the teachers who are using it?
With foresight and preparation, educators can move students from passive to active learners who take charge of their own learning, collaborate, participate, inquire, discover, reason and create.
This hurdle is easily solvable! By merging PD with an intentional rollout plan, technology is more likely to have the desired impact.
However, this also needs to affect the district level. Leaders such as superintendents and chief technology officers need to fully understand teacher needs, as well as invite them to have say on strategic planning moving forward. Facilitating these conversations helps create an organizational culture that values professional development and continued growth.
Piloting new technologies and sharing results within a network of schools can help school districts and individual schools. Another option might be partnering with tech companies to inform their research and ensure these companies are providing products that clearly reflect and support pedagogy.
“It is so important that educators are supported by sound pedagogical practices within professional learning. Helping teachers to improve their craft by leveraging technology to improve the success of our students is crucial. As a district, we need to have all voices at the table when making technology purchase decisions. This is a vital step to ensure the technology and the pedagogy matches up within instruction.”
— Anna Baldwin, Director of eLearning and Integration, Anderson School District Five, SC
With the new technological advances, how does education stay ahead and work with these emerging technologies rather than get beaten by them?
The major challenge for educators is to anticipate and develop a skill set that will ensure they are ahead of the curve. Creating ample opportunities for students to engage with emerging technologies could stir their interest and excitement about designing future technology. Tying these tools to real-world and deep learning outcomes is, as a result, essential.
With the growth of technology, the skills needed to succeed often have less to do with computer programming and rather with ‘digital literacy’. Digital literacy is the ability to interpret, create and strategically use digital information. In a survey produced by McKinsey Global Institute (Read the full survey results here) more than 3000 business leaders in seven countries found that there is a ‘significant need for everyone to develop basic digital skills for the new age of automation.’ Basic digital literacy skills are the second fastest-growing set of 25 core workplace skills for the future, behind only advanced IT and programming skills.
“We’re missing a great opportunity if we don’t make the connection between the evolving role of robots and AI as a factor on the opportunities for future learners. We need to make a real-world connection for learners.”
Next generation technologies are already making their way into many industries, including education. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of these, with many learning management systems already built with AI in mind. Many products and services developed by non-profit groups and companies are quickly becoming available to educators. For example, some products harness AI by using aggregated data from students to understand how they solve math problems.
AI has the potential to personalize learning with perceptive, adaptive digital tutors and enliven learning experiences with mixed reality and augmented reality alongside virtual and artificial reality technologies. With technologies harnessing this power, educators will be able to design learning environments that mimic working environments and partner more easily with employers, providing students with authentic, virtual learning opportunities.
For teachers and administrators, next-gen technology could support pedagogy and assist with classroom management and rote tasks, offering granular insights into student learning and needs. This will ensure educators are expected to spend more time on their core work; teaching, learning, and in-person interactions with students.
Surmounting the Challenge
It will take time to fully grasp how next-generation technologies will change the future of work and education. For now, the Advisory Board recommends paying attention to developments in this arena and to start discussing how emerging technologies will impact;
The two hurdles highlighted above pose significant challenges to educators. It’s about starting the conversations now to determine opportunities these present – and how you can make a difference within your school or district.
The CoSN K-12 Innovation Advisory Board recommends starting conversations with your community to change the prospected outcomes for these hurdles. Why not give it a try:
We agree with the large majority of the report. There is a distinct lack of pedagogical thinking when purchasing technology within schools. We need to be asking important pedagogical questions and considering impact on student learning prior to making any purchasing decision.
At MobileMind, meaningful professional development is at the heart of everything we do. We believe that when districts are spending significant money on technology, they deserve high quality professional development to ensure schools are making the most of this investment.
As the report shows throughout, stakeholders need to understand the reasons why technology has been purchased and what the desired impact is on student learning. Teaching why to use the product will further enhance how teachers use the technology.
As the report suggests; a pro tip is to create a strategic professional development plan accompanies the rollout of the new technology.
We hope you’ve found our simplified breakdown of the CoSN ‘Driving Innovation Hurdles’ Report useful. Keep an eye out for our next blogs covering a breakdown of CoSN’s following two reports due to be released later this year!
In the meantime if you’re interested in kick-starting your technology innovation journey, why not download our free PD Planner here: https://mobilemind.io/5-steps-turn-school-districts-into-gsuite-experts/