Archive for Nick Sauers

Becoming a digital citizen

Recently, I led an ISTE webi­nar focused on dig­i­tal cit­i­zen­ship for a small group of edu­ca­tors.  My ses­sion didn’t focus on all of the bad things stu­dents and teach­ers can get into with tech­nol­ogy, but instead the ways they can use tech­nol­ogy to enhance their learn­ing and teach­ing expe­ri­ences.  I’m cer­tainly not insin­u­at­ing that schools should ignore teach­ing about those neg­a­tive aspects of tech­nol­ogy.  Stu­dents need to be aware of the impact that their online activ­i­ties can have.  How­ever, it does seem that much of our focus when dis­cussing dig­i­tal cit­i­zen­ship focuses on those neg­a­tive expe­ri­ences.  My pre­sen­ta­tion focused on the ways teach­ers and stu­dents are using tech­nol­ogy in pow­er­ful ways.  The exam­ples below were some of the ones that I shared, and you can get the full list here.

  •  Class­room blogs-These two exam­ples (exam­ple 1 & exam­ple 2) high­light how ele­men­tary class­room teach­ers cre­ated a blog and gave their stu­dents a wider audi­ence.  With the help of Quad blog­ging and edublogs, their class blog has had nearly 4,000 views from around the world!
  • Face­book–This exam­ple is a high school teacher who uses face­book as one way to con­nect with his stu­dents.  By the looks of the page, it is cer­tainly effective.
  • Diigo–This diigo group was cre­ated by a tech inte­gra­tion coach, and it is used as a way for teams to gather resources together.
  • Twit­ter–Twit­ter chats are a great way to share and gather valu­able resources and infor­ma­tion.  This kinder­garten chat is just one example.
  • Pod­casts–These were cre­ated by ele­men­tary stu­dents, and then merged together for one mas­ter class pod­cast.   They cer­tainly sound very professional!

When mak­ing deci­sions about the use of tech­nol­ogy in schools, edu­ca­tors need to bal­ance the pros and cons of dif­fer­ent types of tech­nol­ogy use.  Too often, deci­sions are made because of the pos­si­bil­ity of a small group of stu­dents behav­ing inap­pro­pri­ately.  Unfor­tu­nately, those deci­sions also limit the ben­e­fits that many other stu­dents would have had.

Nick Sauers

Iowa 1:1 Institute launched!

For the past cou­ple of months I’ve received numer­ous emails inquir­ing about the Iowa 1:1 Insti­tute. I’m extremely excited to offi­cially launch the 4th Annual Iowa 1:1 Insti­tute which will be held on April 4, 2013 at the Iowa Events Cen­ter in Des Moines.  The con­fer­ence has been a great suc­cess over the past three years because of all of the edu­ca­tors who have helped make it hap­pen.  Our Iowa 1:1 edu­ca­tors have not only pre­sented, but they have pro­vided resources and peo­ple to help make the con­fer­ence run smoothly.  Last year we had more pre­sen­ters sub­mit pre­sen­ta­tion pro­pos­als than ever before.  A team of Iowa edu­ca­tors eval­u­ated the pro­pos­als and selected those that they felt would be most ben­e­fi­cial to con­fer­ence atten­dees.  I believe that process dras­ti­cally strength­ened the pre­sen­ta­tions at the con­fer­ence, and we’ll use that for­mat once again. Although the num­ber of 1:1 schools in Iowa have grown dras­ti­cally, our pur­pose has remained the same.

  1. Help Iowa’s 1:1 dis­tricts learn from each other about inno­v­a­tive teach­ing, learn­ing, and admin­is­tra­tive prac­tices that are occur­ring in their districts;
  2. Build excite­ment and ‘buzz’ around 1:1 lap­top com­put­ing ini­tia­tives in the state; and
  3. Help oth­ers who are inter­ested in 1:1 com­put­ing learn more about how to get started and be successful.

If you’d like to attend, please click on one of the links below and reg­is­ter soon!  Each year we have had to turn away par­tic­i­pants because of lack of space.  We antic­i­pate very high num­bers again this year!

We hope you will be part of what has become the biggest, and we hope best, one-to-one con­fer­ence in the world!

Nick Sauers

Using social media professionally

This semes­ter I am teach­ing a class that is a lit­tle out of my nor­mal realm of work.  I’m teach­ing a lead­er­ship class in the Kine­si­ol­ogy Depart­ment here at the Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky.  Most of the stu­dents want to be col­lege coaches, rec coor­di­na­tors, ath­letic admin­is­tra­tors, or front office employ­ees in the sports world.  Although this class is a bit dif­fer­ent from much of my other cur­rent work, I was very excited to teach the course.  I’ve been very involved with ath­let­ics and sports orga­ni­za­tions in many dif­fer­ent roles through­out my life.  I also rec­og­nized that the meat and pota­toes of this course were cer­tainly lead­er­ship skills and sports were just the gravy that adds fla­vor to the conversation.

While “tweak­ing” the syl­labus of the for­mer instruc­tor, I care­fully con­sid­ered ways to enhance the course.  With that in mind, I decided to add a com­po­nent that focused on devel­op­ing per­sonal learn­ing net­works through the use of social media.  In our first class, stu­dents actu­ally cre­ated a “Low-Tech Social Net­work” by cre­at­ing avatars and tags on note cards.  They then had to make con­nec­tions with one another.  Unfor­tu­nately, my board was too small for the group that I had!

(Check out Gamestorm­ing for this activ­ity and many oth­ers that are great for work with groups.)


Last week our class dove more deeply into social media, and I was encour­aged to blog about my findings :)

Prior to class stu­dents read a series of arti­cles around the use of social media in sports orga­ni­za­tions.  They also par­tic­i­pated in a class dis­cus­sion board led by two mod­er­a­tors.  I was sur­prised by how much the dis­cus­sion threads focused on the student-athletes use of social media. Much of the con­ver­sa­tion focused on ways to edu­cate, fil­ter, mon­i­tor, or block stu­dents use of social media.  Although I found that con­ver­sa­tion fas­ci­nat­ing, I was more inter­ested in two other ways social media can be used in ath­let­ics.  I wanted them to become aware of ways that orga­ni­za­tions were using social media.  More impor­tantly, I wanted to help them rec­og­nize how they can use social media to stay con­nected and informed about their pro­fes­sion.  I think this is so impor­tant that one of their assign­ments for the semes­ter is to grow their social pres­ence.  My cri­te­ria are fairly lenient.  Some may choose to grow their net­work by con­nect­ing and inter­act­ing with oth­ers in their field.  Other stu­dents may just dip their toes in and use social media as a lis­ten­ing sta­tion where they can gain insight from insid­ers and oth­ers in their field.

Although there are sure to be indi­vid­u­als in this new infor­ma­tion rich inter­con­nected soci­ety who suc­ceed with­out such tools, they won’t be the norm.  Orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als who embrace social media will be able to con­nect in ways that are not pos­si­ble with­out the use of technology!

Nick Sauers

Pillars of a 1:1 program

I recently read a blog post that is cer­tainly worth read­ing.  Brett Clark’s post, 6 pil­lars of a 1:1 ini­tia­tive, is a good read for cur­rent and future 1:1 edu­ca­tors.  His list included:

  • Learn­ing initiative
  • Pro­fes­sional development
  • Infra­struc­ture
  • Dig­i­tal Citizenship
  • Choice
  • Time and patience

His list stresses many of the things that I talk about fre­quently. How­ever, his point about choice is one that I don’t talk about nearly as often.  I like the con­cept of stu­dent choice, and it is cer­tainly a pow­er­ful way to engage stu­dents in many edu­ca­tional activ­i­ties.  I also won­der what that looks like in a school set­ting.  How do teach­ers deal with it and sup­port stu­dents?  How about tech direc­tors?  I’m not opposed, but I get lost in the logis­tics.  I’d love to know more!

Nick Sauers

1:1 implementation

This week I will have the oppor­tu­nity to work with a school that has imple­mented a pilot 1:1 pro­gram while simul­ta­ne­ously focus­ing on imple­ment­ing inquiry based instruc­tion.   Last year I had the oppor­tu­nity to work with a group of their teach­ers as they planned to make this change to their learn­ing envi­ron­ment.   Accord­ing to early reports, things have gone suc­cess­fully thus far.

Their imple­men­ta­tion was dif­fer­ent than the ways that many schools imple­ment 1:1, but it is a model oth­ers should con­sider.  The change in their learn­ing envi­ron­ment focused on an instruc­tional change (inquiry based learn­ing).  A 1:1 pilot pro­gram was just one part of the plan that would sup­port teach­ers as they changed the ways that they taught.  Too often, 1:1 schools approach their imple­men­ta­tion with a far dif­fer­ent approach.  Some sim­ply set their goal as going 1:1, and fail to con­nect that goal to any learn­ing ini­tia­tive.  For those of you that have been read­ing this blog for any length of time, that last sen­tence should sound famil­iar.  I am extremely con­cerned about how often schools tran­si­tion to 1:1 with­out hav­ing a goal other than “tran­si­tion­ing to 1:1”.  In fact, I think this prob­lem is becom­ing worse as more and more schools imple­ment 1:1 at a very rapid pace.   There are a cou­ple of good ques­tion to ask your­self and your col­leagues.  How does 1:1 con­nect to other learn­ing ini­tia­tives in your school?  Is it some­thing sep­a­rate or is it a tool used to sup­port other plans in your dis­trict?  My hope is that more 1:1 schools are able to pro­vide answers to these ques­tions that indi­cate that 1:1 is con­nected to a change in the teach­ing and learn­ing in a school.

New Year’s Resolutions

It is that time of year again when many peo­ple make their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions.  Unfor­tu­nately, many of those res­o­lu­tions fail for a mul­ti­tude of rea­sons.  Two com­mon chal­lenges are that the goals are some­times unre­al­is­tic or there may be a lack of sup­port for the goals.  With those con­sid­er­a­tions in mind, I’ve cre­ated a list of pos­si­ble New Year’s res­o­lu­tions for edu­ca­tors along with pos­si­ble sup­port net­works for them. Change: Begin to replace out­dated or irrel­e­vant print mate­ri­als with more rig­or­ous online resources.

  • Sup­port:  Don’t throw out all of the resources you cur­rently have.  It may be bet­ter to tar­get just one course, or only por­tions of a course.
  • Sup­port:  Find another edu­ca­tor who teaches sim­i­lar con­tent and ask them to do the same thing and share resources with one another.

Change:  Cre­ate or expand your per­sonal learn­ing network.

  • Sup­port:  Sched­ule a 15 minute block once each week to build your network.
  • Sup­port:  Find some­one who has cre­ated a suc­cess­ful PLN to ask about rec­om­mended resources.  If you can find some­one with sim­i­lar inter­ests, that will be more helpful.

Change:  Imple­ment an online/virtual com­po­nent to a course that expands the learn­ing expe­ri­ence for stu­dents.  You could par­tially flip the class­room, bring in vir­tual guest speak­ers, or col­lab­o­rate with another class from a dif­fer­ent location.

  • Sup­port:  Chat with another teacher at your school or else­where who has imple­mented some of these items.
  • Sup­port:  Recruit stu­dents to help with the tech­ni­cal aspects of these items.
Change: Observe other teach­ers who are using tech­nol­ogy in inno­v­a­tive ways.
  • Sup­port:  Ask your admin­is­tra­tion for class cov­er­age so you can observe another class.  Although you couldn’t do this all of the time, most admin­is­tra­tors would be happy to do this a cou­ple of times.

Change (Admin­is­tra­tor Spe­cific): Pro­vide spe­cific feed­back to teach­ers around the ways they are using technology.

  • Sup­port:  Iden­tify an “expert” who can help you with your ini­tial walk-throughs.
  • Sup­port:  Iden­tify a sim­ple, easy to under­stand vocab­u­lary that you can use to pro­vide feed­back.  Berna­jean Porter’s Spec­trum is a favorite of mine!

It cer­tainly isn’t real­is­tic or healthy to try to imple­ment all of these changes at once.  How­ever, these items by them­selves are things that can be imple­mented with some effort and com­mit­ment.  Good luck and Happy New Year!

Nick Sauers

Thoughts for 1:1 teachers

Yes­ter­day morn­ing I had the oppor­tu­nity to work with a group of teach­ers at the Amer­i­can Embassy Schools in New Delhi who are cur­rently or will be imple­ment­ing a 1:1 pro­gram of some sort.  Unfor­tu­nately, I only had one hour and we didn’t get to have as deep of con­ver­sa­tion as I would have liked.  Dur­ing that time, I wanted to pro­vide teach­ers with some things to con­sider in their class­rooms, and I gave them three big ideas to consider.

Focus on HOW you are using tech­nol­ogy rather than just IF you are using tech­nol­ogy.
I cringe when I hear con­ver­sa­tions that focus on whether or not tech­nol­ogy is being used (at schools or at home). Some­times we equate tech­nol­ogy use, any tech­nol­ogy use, as an improve­ment to instruc­tion. As teach­ers and school lead­ers, the focus needs to shift to HOW tech­nol­ogy is being used.  Does it improve the learn­ing expe­ri­ence for students?

Con­sult the experts about ways to use tech­nol­ogy to enhance teach­ing and learn­ing.
We often think of tech inte­gra­tors, media direc­tors, and tech savvy teach­ers as our tech­nol­ogy experts in the school.  They cer­tainly are extremely valu­able resources. In addi­tion, I strongly encour­aged teach­ers to also iden­tify the experts that exist within their class­rooms.  All stu­dents cer­tainly are not tech­nol­ogy experts, but it is HIGHLY likely that there are a few in nearly every class. 

Cre­ate a pro­fes­sional net­work and stay informed on trends related to your topic.
Devel­op­ing net­works out­side of your school build­ing is one way to stay cur­rent on what­ever you teach.  Tech­nol­ogy should cer­tainly be a part of the con­ver­sa­tion with any group of edu­ca­tors who come together to dis­cuss edu­ca­tional top­ics.  Tech­nol­ogy is also the tool that will allow teach­ers to make those con­nec­tions even when they are not able to meet face-to-face on a reg­u­lar basis.

Although this list cer­tainly isn’t all inclu­sive, it hope­fully cap­tures a cou­ple of major points to con­sider for all 1:1 edu­ca­tors.  Keep­ing these ideas in mind when prepar­ing or work­ing in a 1:1 envi­ron­ment may bet­ter pre­pare teach­ers to use tech­nol­ogy as a real change vehicle.

Nick Sauers

Listening to students

After only one week at the Amer­i­can Embassy School (AES) in Delhi, I’ve had the oppor­tu­nity to gain some great insight into the school from the per­spec­tives of stu­dents, teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tion.  I’ve con­ducted some class­room walk-throughs and met with mul­ti­ple groups.  One meet­ing in par­tic­u­lar stands out in regards to the use of tech­nol­ogy at AES.  On Fri­day, I met with a stu­dent group and lis­tened to them dis­cuss their thoughts as they pre­pare for the tran­si­tion to 1:1.  Part of that dis­cus­sion was around the device that their school will choose.  The school is debat­ing whether to move to 1:1 with iPads or the Mac Air.  Inter­est­ingly, although most stu­dents (80%) already have some type of lap­top, the large major­ity of stu­dents indi­cated they would pre­fer mov­ing to 1:1 with the Air laptops. I was sur­prised by this find­ing from the stu­dent survey. The school is also meet­ing with each depart­ment to assess which device will bet­ter meet the needs of their depart­ment. Although the con­ver­sa­tion around the device is cer­tainly inter­est­ing, I found other parts of the student’s dis­cus­sion much more inter­est­ing.  In par­tic­u­lar, stu­dents high­lighted two extremely impor­tant points for all 1:1 edu­ca­tors.  I must also say that I was blown away by the way stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the dis­cus­sion.  Not only were they extremely artic­u­late, they also truly lis­tened to one another and were able to respect­fully debate with one another. 

The first major point stu­dents made was about the ways that com­put­ers were cur­rently being used.  They deliv­ered a mes­sage that I often try to deliver.  They described how tech­nol­ogy was often used in ways that didn’t really change what they were doing.  It helped them with their orga­ni­za­tion and may have increased their efficiency,  but it didn’t nec­es­sar­ily change the ways they learned.  That mes­sage aligns with the ways that I often see tech­nol­ogy used.  My chal­lenge to the admin­is­tra­tors at that meet­ing was to aggres­sively try to empower teach­ers to use the tech­nol­ogy in ways that will truly change the learn­ing expe­ri­ence of stu­dents.  Next week I’ll be work­ing with the entire admin­is­tra­tion team, and I hope to help them develop a walk-through tool that can assess the ways in which tech­nol­ogy is being used.

 The next major point stu­dents made was that they wanted to be able to per­son­al­ize their devices as much as pos­si­ble and make them their own. The stu­dents had ques­tions about the things they would be able to put on their devices as well as sum­mer use.  Obvi­ously, both of these issues present chal­lenges on school owned devices.  They do, how­ever, raise some ques­tions to con­sider.  Are there ways that stu­dents can keep their devices over extended breaks?  If not all stu­dents, can some stu­dents sub­mit “pro­pos­als” why they need their device?  Are there other ways that stu­dents can make the device more per­sonal so that they don’t need a sec­ond lap­top or desktop?

 When describ­ing the design process, my col­league ,John Nash, always high­lights the impor­tance of hear­ing from all stake­hold­ers.  AES fac­ulty were wise to meet with and lis­ten to their stu­dents.  The con­cerns, ques­tions, and opin­ions they shared should help the school as they tran­si­tion to 1:1. Sim­i­lar con­ver­sa­tions with stu­dent focus groups could also be valu­able for any 1:1 school.

*On a per­sonal note, I’m excited to say that I wrote this on my way to the Taj Mahal! It was more spec­tac­u­lar than I imagined!

Ed tech walk-throughs

For the next four weeks, I’ll be in Delhi, India work­ing along­side edu­ca­tors at the Amer­i­can Embassy School (AES) as part of their new vis­it­ing schol­ars pro­gram.  AES imple­mented a 1:1 pro­gram at their mid­dle school last year, and are cur­rently mak­ing plans for their high school 1:1 deploy­ment.  My work here will focus on ways that they can use tech­nol­ogy to strengthen an already very strong school.  One com­po­nent of that work will involve con­ver­sa­tions around a walk-through tool to use with teach­ers.  My work with school lead­ers as well as indi­vid­u­als involved with ed tech has revealed that there seem to be two major mind­sets around how to use walk-throughs to assess how tech­nol­ogy is being used in classrooms.

  • Camp 1-Technology is specif­i­cally assessed includ­ing the fre­quency and ways in which the tech­nol­ogy is being used.
  • Camp 2-Individuals who believe tech­nol­ogy should not be specif­i­cally mon­i­tored in the walk-through.  Instead, admin­is­tra­tors should just focus on effec­tive instruc­tion rec­og­niz­ing tech­nol­ogy is part of that model.

Throw­ing walk-throughs around tech­nol­ogy into two camps is cer­tainly over­sim­pli­fy­ing the sub­ject a bit.  How­ever, I do think this over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion high­lights much of the con­ver­sa­tion around what things to include on a walk-through in a tech­nol­ogy rich school.  So where should 1:1 schools or other tech-rich schools fall?  My strong belief is that “it depends”.  For schools that are new to 1:1, or are just mov­ing into a tech­nol­ogy rich envi­ron­ment, Camp 1 seems to make sense.  After invest­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands or even mil­lions of dol­lars in tech­nol­ogy, I would want to know two things immediately.

How fre­quently is the tech­nol­ogy being used?
How is the tech­nol­ogy being used?

  • How is the tech­nol­ogy impact­ing stu­dent learning?
  • How is the tech­nol­ogy impact­ing teaching?
Although those are pretty basic ques­tions, they can help paint a pic­ture of what is hap­pen­ing in class­rooms.  They can also pro­vide insight when plan­ning and devel­op­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment.  As schools become more com­fort­able with what is hap­pen­ing with tech­nol­ogy, the focus of their walk-throughs may cer­tainly change to what I referred to as Camp 2.  Their walk-through may become a bit more tra­di­tional in what they are look­ing at.  Rather than look­ing at the tools that are being used as well as the fre­quency of their use, these walk-throughs looks at the “big pic­ture” of what is hap­pen­ing in the class­room.  Tech­nol­ogy may become a bit of a foot­note on the walk-through.  How­ever, I would argue that most schools are not yet in a place to ignore how tech­nol­ogy is being used in class­rooms.  Con­tin­u­ing to assess the fre­quency and ways that tech­nol­ogy is used may pro­vide very valu­able for even more vet­eran 1:1 schools.
Although the data that is col­lected is cer­tainly impor­tant, the next step is much more cru­cial.  Schools must actu­ally DO SOMETHING once they have col­lected their data.  Cre­at­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment and learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties based on that data is essen­tial.  Walk-throughs may also pro­vide the oppor­tu­nity to pro­vide teach­ers with feed­back and allow them to reflect on their practice.



Tweens’ racist tweets…

I recently ran across a very inter­est­ing blog post titled How Should We Respond to Teens’ Racist Tweets.  Read­ing the post and the tweets rein­forced my belief on how poorly most schools are doing edu­cat­ing their stu­dents about dig­i­tal cit­i­zen­ship.  Although the sam­ple is rel­a­tively small, the tweets from the teens are dis­turb­ing.  I cer­tainly do real­ize that schools can’t be respon­si­ble for all of the actions of their stu­dents, but I also won­der how well the topic of dig­i­tal cit­i­zen­ship has been addressed with these stu­dents.  Of course, dig­i­tal cit­i­zen­ship is only part of the issue here.  The racist mes­sage the teens shared was cer­tainly the true prob­lem. That post along with the tweets may be great con­ver­sa­tion starters for your stu­dents around some very impor­tant topics!

One fear that I do have any time I read a post like this, is that tech­nol­ogy will be held respon­si­ble as the cause or dri­ving force behind this issue rather than the racist mes­sage the teens posted.  Is the medium, tech­nol­ogy, truly the cul­prit here, or is it sim­ply a new broad­cast­ing device?  Although I don’t believe tech­nol­ogy is the cul­prit, I do believe strongly that tech­nol­ogy adds a unique dimen­sion to this issue.  The audi­ence and pub­lic­ity of the mes­sage cer­tainly change things.  Schools need to focus on edu­cat­ing stu­dents about all of the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of their dig­i­tal foot­print.  Unfor­tu­nately, that focus is often on the neg­a­tive things such as this.  A com­mon mes­sage is, “Don’t post X, Y, or Z on (insert web 2.0 tool here)”.  That mes­sage cer­tainly needs to be shared with stu­dents, but it shouldn’t be the only mes­sage.  There should also be a focus on all of the pos­i­tive things stu­dents can accom­plish using social media.  Social media can also be used as a tool for pos­i­tive social change!  I worry that a post like the one men­tioned may encour­age peo­ple to dwell on only the neg­a­tive aspects.  Schools should not for­get to focus on the good, as well as the neg­a­tive, uses of social media!

Nick Sauers


Nick Sauers

order valium no prescription valium for sale order valium overnight buy soma buy soma without prescription buy soma without prescriptions cheap diazepam online diazepam online pharmacy buy diazepam rx order phentermine online phentermine online pharmacy cheap phentermine no prescription buy tramadol no rx buy tramadol no prescription purchase tramadol order xanax overnight buy xanax online without prescription order xanax online ativan no prescription buy ativan online without prescription ativan no rx buy klonopin overnight shipping klonopin online pharmacy cheap klonopin no prescription order provigil online overnight buy provigil no prescription buy provigil online mastercard overnight buy ambien online cheap buy ambien online without prescription ambien no prescription