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MobileMind HQ beta has launched!

MobileMind HQ beta has launched! Even more exciting, all of our new features are now available to our districts and schools at no extra cost!  You have 60 days to opt in and take advantage of this incredible offer.  We have free webinars scheduled (beginning Oct 8), Click here for more info on the webinars and individual sessions, or go ahead and schedule a free virtual individualized coaching session with our success team.

MobileMind HQ extends our current product offering to allow districts to leverage the power of MobileMind for internal creation, communication, and reporting. As a group of former teachers and administrators, we understand the number of trainings, compliance modules, and PD initiatives that are required throughout a given year. Our goal with MobileMind HQ is to provide a single home to manage and report on these wide-ranging activities while leveraging MobileMind’s innovative and intuitive technology for improved results. As part of MobileMind HQ you’ll be able to:

Create

  • Courses - Create your own courses with challenges for your educators /staff based on the needs of your school/district. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get you started.
  • Badges - Create your very own badges to award for completion of a set of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination. 
  • Learning Paths - Create your own learning paths to curate a list of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination.  Arrange them in any structure you wish for your educators and staff (Example: New Teacher Learning Path consisting of school policy courses you create, as well as some MobileMind Google training they will need to be successful.)

Review

  •  Review/Grade - Each course you create comes with a challenge that leverages multiple choice, text, URL, and image submissions. Anything beyond multiple choice (which are auto-graded) will appear on the organization's reviewer page for you and your team to evaluate.

Report

  • Enhanced reporting - In addition to enhancing our existing reports, we are introducing a Learning Path report and a Compliance report.  With this MobileMind hq compliance report, you will easily be able to see who has and has not completed learning paths, badges, or even individual courses.  (Example: If all new teachers must complete a New Teacher Learning Path, you will see at a glance who still needs to complete the training). Step by Step Instructions

Manage

  • Manage your teachers - Additionally, all district / school leaders will now have the ability to manage their own users and groups.  Step by Step Instructions 

As is normal for a beta product, we can’t guarantee a totally smooth ride. If you come across any issues, we’d love to hear about them. Please report any issues directly to the support team.

MobileMind in the NEWS: Electronic Education Report

Pandemic Highlights Connectivity and Preparedness

July 10, 2020: Volume 27, Number 14

The below is an exerpt from July 10, 2020: Volume 27, Number 14 of the Electronic Education Report.

Importance of PD

Tyce Miller, CEO at the personalized virtual professional development provider MobileMind (Atlanta), said many schools were not prepared for a distance learning environment because their teachers were not up to speed on how to leverage technology to teach remotely. The teachers need connection, equipment and the ability to use it effectively.

It is not just students who will need distance learning, according to Miller, teachers also will need anytime, anywhere professional learning assistance. Schools will need to be thoughtful and intentional with the goals they set for teachers, so they are not overwhelmed. Miller said teachers need to learn more than how to use a tool, they need to learn why the tool is necessary to how they instruct students.

Schools were thrust into survival mode when the pandemic hit, according to Miller, going into the new school year they need to advance to effective collaboration that engages students.

Noting any situation has a silver lining, Miller said what educators have experienced could propel them to the next level as they will not be able to go back to what they did before. For example, teachers who declined to use Google Classroom may now find it necessary. Leadership and culture will give some districts the edge; when the instructional departments and the IT departments are aligned, the results will be positive, Miller said.

The NEW MobileMind!

MobileMind is thrilled to announce the official launch of our new and improved personalized professional learning hub!  From distance learning to Google certifications, we have schools covered with the simplest and most effective professional learning solution for leaders, teachers, and staff!  We’ve already received some amazing feedback from those who are already learning in the new version of our platform, and we are excited to show you some highlights! 

With new streamlined onboarding upon logging in for the first time, learners tell us a little about themselves so we can point them in the right direction. 

We suggest a learning path to get our educators started, but learners are always welcome to explore on their own.

Another fresh feature is the personalized dashboard page, tailored for each learner!  The widgets on this page may change daily based on a learner’s achievements, progress, and feedback.  In addition, the dashboard provides learners with announcements from us or their leaders and updates from Google.  Learners can even submit a support ticket right form their dashboard, and our educator support team is waiting to help them as they progress through their micro-courses!

Our new filtering features make it easier than ever for learners to find what they are looking for.  From the Learn tab, educators can now search by Learning Paths, such as Distance Learning, Google Certification Level 1, or Special Education.  

Learners now have an at-a-glance view of which micro-courses must be completed in order to earn desired badges, which demonstrate competency of a particular skill or set of skills.

In the In Progress tab, courses are now separated by courses learners have begun, which courses need review, and which courses have been submitted and are awaiting feedback.

The Achievements tab displays all micro-courses completed, all badges earned, and all completed Learning Paths.

Learners will still see the challenge window appear when they launch a challenge, which contains the video and challenge instructions.  This box still follows learners as they complete their challenge, so the video and instructions are always at their fingertips.

After submitting a challenge, learners will even see a few suggestions for relevant courses so they can hop right into another micro-course to continue their learning!

Finally, leaders still have visibility into learner progress as educators engage with the MobileMind micro-courses.

We would love to give you a live tour of our platform and answer any questions you may have about our personalized learning solution.  Want to learn more?  Click here to schedule a call!

Six Challenge Summary

Hope this blog post finds you well! 🙂  We are back for a brief wrap-up our blog series on addressing the six challenges schools face when it comes to rolling out a successful technology PD initiative.  

Our team has spent the last several years developing and iterating to create an innovative, modern professional learning solution that addresses the challenges preventing successful technology PD for educators.  Let’s quickly review the challenges we’ve discussed…

  • Buy-in from educators - Are your educators and staff motivated and invested in their professional growth when it comes to technology?
  • Personalization - Does the PD that’s available offer learning that meets the unique needs and goals of each individual?
  • Sustainability - Is your technology PD providing ongoing, job-embedded learning opportunities that can be leveraged at anytime, anywhere?
  • Time - Does your training value teachers’ time, use time wisely, and keep teachers in the classroom during instructional hours? 
  • Logistics + Resources - Do you have the bandwidth and resources to efficiently plan effective professional development that meets the needs of all stakeholders?
  • Cost of PD - Is the training you provide cost effective, or are you finding yourself spending gobs of money on sit-and-get, single-session or one-day trainings?

I want to take this opportunity to ask you to reflect on our previous posts and the importance of solving these six challenges.  Are your current methods of professional development meeting your teachers’ needs, engaging them based on their individual goals and interests?  Do you have the resources, such as training personnel, to support all teachers and provide ample learning opportunities? What is holding you back from full technology adoption and seamless integration of Google and other tools?  Whichever challenges you might be facing as a leader or educator, we are here to help.  

Please reach out to us anytime (simply click here) to talk with our team about your unique challenges when it comes to implementing professional development… We’d love to hear from you!

Part 6: Cost

We are back once again to provide you tips on addressing the six challenges to a successful Google PD initiative.  Today we are discussing Challenge #6 - the often prohibitive costs of professional development. 

So, what’s the problem?  Well, the financial costs are often too much to offer sustainable face-to-face PD at scale, meaning that it’s difficult to provide ongoing, job-embedded training that includes and benefits everyone within an educational organization.  

Every district is different and is impacted by different costs, so like many things we’ve already discussed, this is not a one-size-fits-all issue. But, what we can do is invite you to think about both the known costs and “hidden” costs that may impact your particular scenario.  Our goal today is to highlight some of the more common cost elements of traditional PD and how we can overcome them when they prevent us from providing necessary professional development to every single teacher.

On the chart below, we share some cost scenarios that might apply to schools and districts when trying to plan PD for all teachers.  For instance, if you have to provide subs for your teachers when they are doing PD, you’re looking at an average cost of $100 per sub.  When leaders ask teachers engage in PD during off contract hours like summers, weekends, or after school, a conservatie cost for a stipend is around $25.00 per hour.  

If you are asking your teachers to get Google certified, then you or your teachers will have to spend $10 dollars for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam - and $25 for the Level 2 exam.

If you don’t have the resources to facilitate your own PD, and you need to hire a trainer on a one day contract, you are typically looking at $3,500 per day which may or may not include travel and expense costs.  You may even have to consider the costs of extraneous things such as gas, time, and food for the attendees at an event or training.

ALLOCATION OF SPEND

COSTS

subs

$100 Per Sub Avg

Off Contract Hour Stipends

$25 Per Hour Avg

Google Certification Vouchers

$10 - Cert 1 / $25 - Cert 2

One-Off Contract Trainers

$3,500-$4,000 Avg Daily Rate

Other Costs (Gas, Time, Food)

Vary by Schools & Districts

So, let’s say we have the need to internally train 100 teachers to prepare them for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam.  With 100 subs and the costs of certification vouchers you might spend around $11,000. With MobileMind subscriptions, your cost could be as low as half that for double the number of teachers to have *year-round access* to personalized Google professional development that is aligned to Google certifications.

scenario

traditional

mobilemind

100 Teachers trained by school resources internally for Google Cert Level 1

Subs & Vouchers

$11,000

As low as

½ the cost for double the number of teachers, for year round access

Next, we have a two-day Google Summer Summit where we’re going to train 100 teachers.  Factoring in a paid trainer, their travel and expense, facilities & food costs and potential stipends, you are looking at potentially spending above $15,000 for just two days of training.  The MobileMind cost in this case could be even lower than ½ the cost, but again providing Google PD to double the number of teachers with year-round access.

scenario

traditional

mobilemind

Two Day Google Summit for 100 teachers in the summer

Contractor, Facilities & Stipends

As much as $15,000 +

Lower than ½ the cost for double the number, for year round access 

We’re able to offer a more cost effective solution because we’ve developed a modern, innovative professional learning solution that is not beholden to the same legacy costs structures of traditional PD.  And with MobileMind, the vouchers required for taking Google certification exams are included at no additional cost, thus alleviating the financial burden that often exists with traditional face-to-face training. 

Allocation of spend

Costs

mobilemind

Subs

$100 Per Sub Avg

N/A

Off Contract Hour Stipends

$25 Per Hour Avg

N/A

Google Certification Vouchers

$10 - Cert 1 / $25 - Cert 2

N/A

One-Off Contract Trainers

$3,500-$4,000 Avg Daily Rate

N/A

Other Costs (Gas, Time, Food)

Varies by Schools & Districts

N/A

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post!  Stay tuned for our next post where we wrap up our “Six Challenges of PD” with a nice little bow in our final post of the series. 🙂

Part 5: Logistics + Resources

We are back once again to provide you tips on addressing the six challenges to a successful Google PD initiative. Today we are sharing what we’ve learned about challenge #5, logistics & limited resources.  

So, why logistics (a word more commonly heard in UPS commercials)?  🙂  

Well, since logistics involves a coordination of an operation involving many people and facilities, it makes sense when talking about traditional PD delivery, right? We have heard from countless instructional leaders that the task of training teachers spread out over many school buildings can be daunting. The combination of multiple physical locations and the distance between them increases the difficulty of facilitating sustainable training.

On top of this, in many schools and districts, there is typically a small number of dedicated resources for training.  This varies by district, but we see that the number of instructional resources relative to the number of teachers is very rarely a ratio that enables the easy facilitation of PD for technology like Google.  Finally, there is very little visibility that instructional leaders can tap into regarding how well teachers are doing after traditional PD offered. Do they need more help? Are they superstars who need a greater challenge?  Either way, teachers (like students!) need different levels and training and varied content that meets their skills level and learning goals, and instructional leaders need accurate visibility into teacher progress.   

As we’ve seen before in previous videos, MobileMind is cloud based, accessible by a Chrome Extension.  Anytime, Anywhere access to learning removes the physical barriers of training. And, while the value of face to face learning has undisputed merits, one off trainings are problematic when trying to provide  teachers up to date PD on rapidly changing technology like Google.  

At MobileMind we offer virtual personalized PD, so we can establish multiple schools or groups who can learn anytime and anywhere… during planning when they find 10 minutes or in their PJs at home... whenever works best for each individual teacher!  

What’s more is that district or school leaders have a birds eye view of teacher progress in MobileMind and how many teachers at each school are engaging in PD.  They can even drill down into any group to see how active each teacher is at a particular school have been in MobileMind.

Not only does this provide visibility for accountability, but leaders also can gain insights into training needs, teacher interest, struggling teachers, or previously unidentified teacher leaders. We can build up those teacher rockstars and begin to accelerate adoption and build internal capacity much more rapidly.

MobileMind’s cloud based, location management gives us the ability to facilitate sustainable and effective PD at scale, regardless of logistical challenges, while expanding the reach of instructional resources and providing actionable insights to assist teacher progress. Stay tuned for next week’s final tip on overcoming prohibitive costs of PD.  Until then! 🙂

6 Challenges of Traditional Professional Development

Although there is quite a bit of in-depth research regarding effective professional development (PD) and best practices for educators, studies suggest that typical PD neglects to adequately address the needs of these adult learners.  Research on adult learning supports the fact that there is a disconnect between research-based best practice and the traditional PD models found in schools. Unfortunately, it is rather challenging to meet the needs of all adult learners in typical face-to-face professional learning.  The good news is that, with a more modern, virtual approach to PD, we are able to tackle such challenges, offering innovative personalized solutions for teachers.

In studies of educators’ dissatisfaction with traditional professional development, as well as leaders’ struggles with planning for teacher training, there are several themes that repeatedly emerge in the findings.  Challenges with traditional PD for teachers include, but are not limited to, issues such as:

In our next several blog posts, we will address each of these challenges and discuss how we can leverage personalized learning in order to meet the needs of all educator-learners, regardless of role or previous experience with G Suite.

Key Findings to the CoSN ‘Driving Innovation Tech Enablers’ Report

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 third and final 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- Tech Enablers' report simply click here.
What is a Tech Enabler?

Tech enablers are supporting tools that facilitate more expansive opportunities and solutions in education.

Top 5 Tech Enablers
  1. Mobile Devices - Mobile devices connected to the internet enable access to knowledge and creative activities anytime, anywhere. Internationally, schools are using mobile devices to try and address digital equity issues - although mobile devices can also exacerbate gaps in learning opportunities.

  2. Blended Learning - A mix of face-to-face instruction and online learning reflects how people operate in the real world. Blended Learning can provide a much more personalized learning experience for students.

  3. Cloud Infrastructure - Shifting to cloud services makes teaching and learning resources more readily available in any location while also reducing costs.

  4. Extended Reality - Educators are beginning to use a mixture of augmented, mixed, and virtual reality to help students learn complex content whilst also giving them access to experiences that might otherwise be impossible (due to funding, geographical, or physical challenges).

  5. Analytics and Adaptive Technologies - Technologies that measure, analyze, predict, and customize student learning and other factors in student success could help educators individualize and adjust learning experiences for individual learners, build on student assets, and offer targeted support to address student needs.

Spotlighting Two Tech Enablers
Tech Enabler Number 1: Blended Learning

This tech enabler gets to the heart of driving K-12 innovation - shifting pedagogy and making digital leaps to transform learning experiences and prepare students to thrive in a digital world.

Exploring the Opportunity

While blended learning is nothing new, the current influx of more capable digital technologies means that it’s becoming ever more relevant. As this interest is amplified, heightened recognition internationally is highlighting that digital fluency is no longer a luxury in learning but an essential foundation for pursuing knowledge, collaborating, creating and solving problems.

As a result, more disciplined and nuanced approaches to blended learning have arisen over the past decade. According to Horn & Staker “Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns;

1 - at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace;

2 - at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;

3 - and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

The Christensen Institute launched the Blended Learning Universe in 2016. They identified seven common blended learning models.

  1. Station rotation - students rotating through learning stations on a fixed schedule, where at least one station is an online learning station

  2. Lab rotation - the online learning station occurs in a dedicated computer lab

  3. Individual rotation - students rotate through stations, but on individual schedules set by a teacher or software

  4. Flipped classroom - students learn at home via online coursework and lectures, and educators use class time for teacher-guided practice or projects

  5. A la carte - students take an online course or courses with online educators in addition to other face-to-face courses

  6. Enriched virtual - students complete the majority of coursework online at home or outside of school, but attend school for required face-to-face learning sessions with a teacher

  7. Flex - students move on fluid schedules among online learning activities according to their needs. Teachers provide support and instruction on a flexible, as-needed basis while students work through course curriculum and content

All of the above can be adopted individually or used within a combination, which enables educators to blend digital technologies into teaching and learning.

Imagining the Potential

Linking to previous reports, blended learning is ‘a bridge to personalization’ (Caitlin Tucker). But, as she points out, blended learning is not synonymous with personalized learning.

“Blended learning, particularly models supported by adaptive learning programs and tools, enables teachers to match the right student with the right content at the right time. It is a core component of a personalized learning model... These models place the student at the center of the learning process, harnessing the power of technology to create more engaging, efficient, and success-oriented learning environments.” 

Report by the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

Personalization is difficult to scale in the classroom without digital technologies. However, blended learning makes personalization possible when educators and students make regular use of timely, actionable information about student progress. Teachers can guide students to digital learning resources aligned to individual learning needs and preferences. 

“In blended learning… teachers often use time and space differently to give students more time for small group or individual work... which allows for the delivery of targeted intervention to and acceleration of specific students. Teachers are enabled and empowered to give on-on-one attention to the students who need it most.”

In Peru, this has been evident. Innova, set up by businessman Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor and IDEO, has become the largest private network nationwide, with plans to have 70 schools serving over 70,000 students by 2020. All schools rely on blended learning to inspire students with modern technologies and self discovery, splitting independent digital technologies with teacher-led collaborative sessions by 30-70 respectively. Innova takes a holistic approach to blended learning, making time for socializing, recreation and an innovation program for all students to focus on a social challenge. To support educators, themselves, Innova created the Teacher Resource Centre, with a catalog of 20,000 lesson plans from veteran teachers to inspire younger teachers.

“Blended learning can help to improve student voice, choice and engagement in learning. When used appropriately, it can also improve teacher efficiency while accelerating the learning process by personalizing instruction to meet the needs that individual students may have.”

 - Darren Draper, Director of Innovative Learning Alpine School District (UT)

Driving Innovation

In part, the popularity of blended learning represents a pullback from online-only coursework, which is best suited to highly motivated K-12 students with highly engaged parents. Too much screen time can be problematic for many students who need and want in-person teacher guidance. As a result, there is a major fear and risk of schools being out of balance with community expectations.

Blended learning should balance online learning with face-to-face social interaction with educators and peers. It is human contact that helps develop the fundamental skills of communication, collaboration and teamwork skills. These skills enable students to benefit from teacher guidance and support - even as they gain more choice and autonomy in the digital world. Blended learning programs should not neglect opportunities for students to develop these skills. 

“The personalized learning movement is often maligned by those who misconstrue the end goal to be the replacement of human connectivity with technology. On the contrary, personalized learning provides teachers with not only the models and tools to help create individual academic paths, but also the time and tools to connect with students on a deeper level.” 

- Tiffany Wycoff, author of Blended learning in Action and co-founder of LINC

Blended learning can help educators address a range of challenges and opportunities in student learning. In the US, districts and schools working with Digital Learning Collaborative are using blended learning programs to support a variety of educational goals, including;

  • Offering career and technical education
  • Addressing equity issues
  • Reducing dropout rates
  • Serving at-risk students
  • Providing world languages in a small district
  • Educating during extended emergencies

The Driving K-12 Innovation advisory board places particular emphasis on professional development to prepare leaders and teachers for pedagogical shifts. This also addresses a Top 5 hurdle: building the capacity of human leaders.

Tech Enabler Number 2: Analytics and Adaptive Technologies

This tech enabler recognizes powerful, behind-the-scenes technologies that are already making an impact on educational practices. Data analytics track student performance and other indicators of student success. Enabled by machine learning and AI, adaptive technologies learn as students learn, leveraging analytics to serve up tailored content that reinforces and propels learning. Although this is an emerging K-12 innovation, it is rapidly accelerating. The positive is that it could help educators overcome barriers and accelerate innovation. However, this particular tech enabler can cause tension between people and technology.

Exploring the Opportunity

Data analytics and adaptive technologies work in combination as tech enablers. Before technology arrived in education, school systems and educators already had plenty of data to digest, from student information and test scores to teacher gradebooks and observations to student work. Online learning platforms add volumes of data to the mix.

The added factor in this, however, is that with the introduction of software and algorithms, this removes the tedious process of sifting through mounds of data. These technologies can synthesize data from multiple systems and sources, discern meaningful patterns from broad sets of indicators, and communicate data findings with data visualization. Analytics technologies can generate data-based, actionable information for educators and students.

Adaptive technologies support both data analytics and personalized learning. They monitor and adjust to student learning in the moment serving up the next best lesson based on student engagement and success with discreet learning tasks. This can then help students immediately when they exhibit wobbly conceptual understandings, ensuring a smooth advance onto more challenging content as soon as they have met the learning objectives set.

Adaptive technologies can also feed newer kinds of data into data analytics systems. This log of data can enhance engagement, predicting learning performance and further monitors online collaboration.

Imagining the Potential

The biggest issue with data is the significant lag time between entering the summative data and the release of said data on student performance. Often this latter stage comes too late in the learning process to intervene and give children who need that additional support. This often has a massive impact on education.

Data analytics may offer a solution to this challenge. Analytics technologies provide more than a static, retrospective examination of a limited set of student indicators. A lot of increasingly sophisticated data analytics are using more data sets (including; longitudinal data sets, big data, machine learning and AI) to provide more timely information. Frequent, even real-time dynamic updates can make this data more relevant to educators daily practice. Thus creating a better balance between the weight of high stakes and formative assessment.

They can also give educators insights into what to expect in the future. Predictive analytics can help school system leaders “address multiple measures of progress on performance, from the student level to the teacher, school, district, system and state levels, through postsecondary performance, and into the workforce,” according to a report from the Southern Regional Education Board. “At the individual student level, failing to identify patterns in data will lead to missed opportunities to create personalized learning programs, or to intervene with at-risk students to ensure they complete high school or college. On a larger scale, that failure will result in misguided policies that invest precious resources in ineffective programs.”

Many companies and partnerships are trying to work together to harness the power of learning analytics, particularly data visualization. Based in India, The Learning Analytics Collaborative uses ‘visual data engines’ to support student reflection on learning; predict extra supports that students require; help teachers plan learning opportunities, improve current courses or develop new curricula; and make decision on efficiency and effectiveness measures. As a result, educators can use  analytics to actually address predicted outcomes.

Driving Innovation

The promise of data analytics is the ability to deeply understand student needs, progress and competencies in the moment which will fully inform educational practice. But there are headwinds to consider.

Data privacy is the key concern. Educators must think carefully about which data they will collect, what purpose the data will serve, who will have access to this data and safeguarding that data. Emerging technologies are starting to build in this area which are starting to alleviate these concerns.

Data quality is another issue with analytics as well. Experts use the succinct ‘garbage in, garbage out’ to emphasize how important it is to use valid, reliable, accurate and complete data.

The final key challenge with data analytic software is the human role. Technologies and algorithms cannot replace educators’ knowledge of their students, pedagogical expertise, or the guidance and support that only teachers can provide. Data analytics should empower teachers and students to make decisions. Adaptive technologies can be used to support personalized instruction and save time for personal interactions.

Conclusion

The two tech enablers spotlighted in this report are in different stages of adoption within the K-12 sector. Blended learning is gaining international recognition and is integrally connected to personalization, a key accelerator. Whereas, analytics and adaptive technologies are still very much in the early stages of K-12 adoption. This can be down to the reliance of human data entrance and an unreliance on rapidly evolving technologies.

Both tech enablers hold promise as mechanisms for providing more learner-centred, differentiated educational experiences that better prepare students for the digital world in which they live. Both present opportunities for educators to be more effective at engaging individual students while challenging educators to balance powerful (and useful) technologies with their own expertise and human touch.

The CoSN Advisory Board fundamentally believes these tech enablers address virtually all top hurdles and accelerators to innovation. They recommend initiating conversations with your community, considering how you can turn these tech enablers into solutions.

What we think

Although we regularly discuss topics such as blended learning, analytics, and personalization for our K-12 students, we do not always consider ways in which we can leverage such concepts to transform learning for our educators.  At MobileMind, we believe that infusing virtual learning for teachers and staff is a must if we are to provide quality, personalized professional development. We should be maximizing the benefits of modern learning models for educators just as we do for our students.  In addition, utilizing reporting data is essential in order for district leaders and instructional coaches to better support our adult learners in the K-12 space as they learn to adopt new technologies to transform learning for our students. Finally, we should be modelling modern strategies for our educators if we are expecting them to engage in an instructional shift. 

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 that will help you plan for meaningful professional learning for your educators! https://mmmarketing.onpressidium.com/5-steps-turn-school-districts-into-gsuite-experts/

We hope you’ve found our simplified breakdown of the CoSN ‘Driving Innovation Tech Enablers’ Report useful. Click below to view our blogs breaking down the previous two reports released by CoSN.

Click here to read our abridged guide to the CoSN report on ‘Driving Innovation Hurdles’

Click here to read our abridged guide to the CoSN report on 'Driving Innovation Accelerators'

In the meantime if you’re interested in kick-starting your technology innovation journey, download our free PD Planner here: https://mmmarketing.onpressidium.com/5-steps-turn-school-districts-into-gsuite-experts/

Press Release: Meet Our New Partner, AppsEvents

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.

                                                                         -Ends-

Editors’ notes:

About MobileMind: 

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: tyce@mmmarketing.onpressidium.com

Key Findings to the CoSN ‘Driving Innovation Accelerators’ Report

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.

What is an accelerator?

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.

Top 5 Accelerators
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Design Thinking - Design thinking is a strategy for creatively exploring and ultimately formulating solutions to challenges based on empathy and iterative processes.

  5. 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.

Spotlighting Two Accelerators

Accelerator Number 1: Learners as Creators

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.

Driving Innovation

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:

  1. Take an expansive view of creativity

  2. Integrate creative learning with the core instructional program

  3. Develop meaningful literacies

  4. Pay attention to rigor

  5. Set challenging parameters to deepen learning

  6. Broaden assessment

Accelerator Number 2: Personalization

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:

  • Personalization is ‘instruction that is paced to learning needs, tailored to learning preferences, and tailored to the specific interests of different learners. In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content, as well as the method and pace may all vary. Personalization, in turn, encompasses differentiation and individualization.
  • Personalized learning is learning that is focused on, demonstrated by and led with the learners, connected to students’ communities and cultures.
  • Personalized learning is a progressively student-driven model where students deeply engage in meaningful, authentic, and rigorous challenges to demonstrate desired outcomes.

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.

  • Student Information Systems/Management information systems
  • Formative, interim and summative assessment systems and results

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.

Driving Innovation

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;

  1. Moving from factual recall to higher-level thinking

  2. Moving from teacher control to student agency

  3. Moving from traditional activities to authentic work

  4. Moving from traditional resources to a technology-rich environment

Conclusion

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;

  • What would it take to provide students with innovative learning experiences?
  • How could you help students become agents of their own learning and creative learners?
  • How could you help teachers personalize learning for every student?
  • How would you have to change your education system, curriculum, instruction and assessments to embed creative and personalized learning into the student experience?
  • What changes might you need to make in your learning environments and spaces?
What we think

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'

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