Sunday, April 26, 2015

So what?

Image Source:
Ever do something and then ask yourself, "So what?" So what was the value of this activity? Did it change me for the better? Did it improve me in some way? Did it help someone else? Did it transform the situation we find ourselves in?
"Just a friendly reminder that your Flickr Pro account has expired."
When the email from Flickr came in, I asked myself, "So what?" Unfortunately, with my photos scattered on multiple cloud services, the answer to the Flickr Pro account was...indifference.

How many times do you ask, "So what?" when you read or hear something...and does that prompt you to wonder, like it does me, is indifference an attitude to cultivate or a weed to be removed?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Stop the Pretending to #makeschooldifferent

In the meme, 5 Things We Have to Stop Pretending, Jeanne Reed points out the following:
What should we stop pretending is good in education? What are 5 things that I can help change to improve learning outcomes for students?

1. Coaching each student or staff member at their level not to a fictious middle level, #PBL, #differentiation, #noStaffLeftBehind
2. Reaching each student to become better digital citizens, #digitalCitizenship #global 
3. Encouraging kids to find their passion and don't give up, #joyOfLearning
4. Making time for collaboration, #teamwork
5. Embracing the chaos where students find a new gear that they never even knew they had, #makerEd, #kidsCanCode
Here is my list of 5 Things We Have to Stop Pretending in education to #makeschooldifferent:

We have to stop pretending that...
  1. Teachers can actually teach in ways described by the Classroom Learning Activity Rubric while preparing children for high stakes assessments. They can't, and their failure makes technology embedding all the more difficult. A quick review of what is expected:
    1. Active Learning: All students are authentically, and actively engaged in the learning process nearly all of the time, including the use of technology. 
    2. Authentic Assessment: Task is effectively matched to learning outcomes, audience has been defined and selected to match learning outcomes, and reflects real-world application of learning.
    3. Classroom Management: Teacher(s) is/are actively aware of what all students are doing, and interacting with students as they work (pushing their thinking). 
    4. Cooperative Learning: All students work inter-dependently, clearly focused on achieving joint expectations, taking the initiative to innovate on assignment.
    5. Differentiation: This takes place in the areas of content, process, and product.
    6. Technology: Learning activities are “remix”ed and designed in ways that would not be possible to accomplish without technology.     
  2. The Oasis of Teachers Twittering Transformatively is changing schools; it's not and we are wasting our efforts on proselytizing the power of social media to transform schools structures and systems. Instead, we need to focus on "old time" integration efforts that can, and let loose of Web 2.0 fads and useless app acquisition frenzies.
  3. Schools today are setup for collaboration, both for teachers and students. Although technology facilitates collaboration, collaboration remains an irrelevant add-on to high stakes testing. What hypocrisy that we preach collaboration but then require our children to solve problems alone on a test. We need to embrace collaboration as a way of learning together, working together for productivity and information problem-solving.
  4. The latest book on leadership, transformation, Web 2.0, grading practices will reform an education system. In truth, those timid, half-hearted reforms grasped at like straws in the midst of a barn whose doors are locked, with legislators setting it on a gas-powered fire so they can rebuild it in their own profit-driven false image will yield nothing.
  5. Curriculum leaders and technologists will magically collaborate to transform classrooms when item #1 on this list hasn't happened yet. 
Throw these 5 pretences at change away. Instead, embrace the power that lies within you to set yourself on fire...
Reflecting on this blog entry: This entry didn't come out as well as i'd hoped. The first part sounds quite bitter, and the second part is...uninspiring. Oh well.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Learning Event Today (04/25/2015) - Discovery Education Spring VirtCon2015

One hopes you are aware of the following event taking place TODAY:

Find out more online at

Texas Summer Google Conferences for Elem and Sec. Folks

Be sure to check out exciting summer's one more:

Klein ISD (Area 4) and TCEA are joining forces to host two Google events this summer ….one for Elementary – June 22 -23rd and one for Secondary - June 24 – 25th.  Sessions will be for the advanced and the beginner.  TCEA trainers will be presenting at both events as well as some very savvy classroom teachers.  Everyone is welcome but hurry as seating is limited.  Go to to register. 

If you are interested in presenting, please use the following link to submit a session…..if your session is accepted and you are a TCEA member, your registration is free.  Link to Google Session Submissions

Google Summer Events Schedule

Two Events –  1. Elementary K-5: June 22 – 23, 201(Beginneand Advanced Sessions)
 2.  Secondary 6–12: June 24 – 252015 (Beginneand Advanced Sessions)

Registration - $100.00/per membe(two day event)
$145.00/per non-membe(two day event)

•   TCEtrainers and Leateachers foconcurrensessions
•   Limiteseating – 500 Max foeach event
•   Coffee and pastry – Breakfas(included)
•   Box Sandwiches Lunc(included)
•   Door Prizes
•   Facility – Klein Multipurpose Center   Address:  7500 FM 2920, Spring, TX  77379
7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Attendee Check-ianBreakfast
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Welcome/Keynote
9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Session 1
10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Session 2
11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Session 3
11:50 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. LuncanDiscussion
1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Session 4
2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Session 5
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Daily Wrap

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Attendee Check-ianBreakfast
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Speaker
9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Session 1
10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Session 2
11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Session 3
11:50 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. LuncanDiscussion
1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Session 4
2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Session 5
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Closing, Door Prizesand Reflections

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Addicted to Learning

What a joy it is to learn something completely unexpected while standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for dinner to arrive at a restaurant, a few moments after waking up via my professional learning network (PLN). As this blog entry, GarROTE Learning, points out...

Our brains get more efficient as we do things. Our brain function improves as we learn something, then move onto the next. If we dwell on the same activity--say, how to use an online system like Moodle, Edmodo, Schoology, an iPad app--then our cortical energy decreases as our brain gets more efficient (Source: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Cognitive Potential). 
Social media certainly enables us to get a mental stimulation from sharing and learning something new. We're all social media junkies...that is to say, we're addicted to new things.

Although I'm long past the excitement that is generated from "Social media will save your life! Twitter...PLN tool of choice for millions can satisfy all your PD needs!" type presentations, I am glad that I've taken the steps to make my learning transparent.

As you might imagine, there are zillions of folks on various social media networks, sharing and engaging with others about what they are learning as they are learning it. My sharing efforts have gotten much simpler since I first crafted this design:

Now, the process is simple:

Sharing Mechanism
??? I set this up so long ago, I no longer remember!
ReadItLater’s Pocket
Twitter Favorites
Evernote Notebook

*All items shared to Twitter (original tweets, retweets, items shared via Twitter using are automatically routed to Facebook.

As you might imagine, Pocket and Twitter Favorites are my content curation efforts. For content curation, I also rely extensively on Flipboard App, which I use on my Android phone and iPad for casual reading. Most of my sharing there ends up in one of the following Flipboard eMagazines I manage:

View my Flipboard Magazine.
View my Flipboard Magazine.
View my Flipboard Magazine.

And, I also managed this publication which is for articles of interest at my workplace:
View my Flipboard Magazine.

Ideally, Flipboard would auto-publish to my Twitter feed the address of a magazine once I added a certain number of articles to it, but...that may yet be in its future! For now, I have to manually share the links to the Flipboard magazines.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

MyNotes: Results Coaching @doctordkwilson @diben

As I shared previously, I'm doing my best to get a better, deeper understanding of coaching as a way to blend technology into classroom learning, both for teachers and students. One of the approaches has focused on collegial coaching for technology integration, a term that I had not seen until I read Naturalizing Digital Immigrants: Collegial Coaching for Technology Integration book by Dr. Dawn Wilson and Dr. Kate Alaniz. You can catch up on my burgeoning understanding by following the "coaching" tag on this blog.

A part of my efforts also included asking, What would these coaching efforts look like in light of the collegial coaching model suggested by Dawn and Kate? To that end, I wrote this blog entry on Applying the EdTechCoach Model. I'm grateful for Kate's and Dawn's positive comments. Dawn even adjusted one of her assignments to her students at Houston Baptist University to obtain more vignettes.

However, in one district, others suggested that the Results Coaching model be used. This book (which I bought) was authored by Kathryn Kee, Karen Anderson, Vicky Dearing, Edna Harris, Frances Shuster. Further down in this blog entry, you can find my notes or take-aways from the book. Since I've only ready half the book, you won't find all the great stuff that is in the book. There are also great diagrams in this book, too.

There are some differences, which a colleague was kind enough to elaborate on. Here are his recommendations, which suggest to me that I probably need to revise the work a bit:

Big Ideas Recommended for Coaching Language:
  • When coaching, spend most time reflecting avoid "fix'n"
  • When coaching, focus on the coachee, so remain in second person "you" instead of first person "I."
  • Presume positive intent.  Questions should clearly presume the coachee has positive intent not imply the coachee isn't doing something.  
  • When coaching, use "value value potential" statements in place of general praise.
  • Look for questions that lend themselves to open ended answers instead of yes/no or a list. 

Looking at the Vignette:
  • Instead of saying "I like" try a value value potential statement.  "I like" places the focus on the "coach" and their judgement.  Value value potential statements offer specific feedback and explicitly acknowledge the value the person is adding.
  • Instead of saying "Have you thought about..." try to reflect back the thinking.  Jenn will likely be able to provide some super uber coaching stems to use instead.  The idea is that "have you thought about" is leading in a direction much more so than coaching language would suggest.  An alternative might look like "In what ways have you found technology enhances workshop?"  The first concept would be to presume positive intent.  The original question implies you haven't done it.  The second quest presume that you have done it and invite you to share the ways... 
  • Saying "May I share those with you" has the respect and honor of asking.  My understanding is that the coaching role would focus on asking the coachee to reflect.  In a slide today, Debbie described that as coaches we weren't there to do any "fix'n."  My understanding is that it is a bit of a dance.  A coach's primary role would to reflect thinking.  The coach does need expertise and there are appropriate times to add thoughts, but that would be very limited and when invited.
  • Goals provide an opportunity to quantify and measure progress -- something we are trying to implement in our district :).
  • Consider flipping the goals from learning how to just doing...  It is easier to measure and adds more "action" to your verb.  e.g. Students interact with each others writing online in ways that are safe instead of Students learn to interact...
  • My understanding of our coaching is to avoid praise like "You have done a wonderful job."  Instead try value value potential statements.  The gist is that you are specific about what is done and how that adds value.
  • At the top of page 5, some goals are recommended.  My understanding of coaching would look like a request from the coach to ask what that would look like then ask to state it as a goal.  If the coachee struggles, I saw Dave Ellis offer to alternate ideas with the coachee.  I'm not 100% clear if that is consistent with the Karen Anderson model we are using.

Sample suggestions for flipping the reflection questions:
  1. What parts of this experience did you find most helpful? (This statement shifts the focus to the positive)
  2. What could be improved to make the next session more helpful? 
  3. What do you see as the next steps to reach your goal?
  4. In what ways did students learn from this activity? (Presumes positive intent and invite a description instead of a list)
  5. In what ways did technology integration enhance learning?

Other general thoughts:
  • Consider some language up front like: "What parts of our [insert subject here] (e.g. literacy block, math model, etc) most lend themselves to integrating technology in order to accelerate student learning?"
So with that feedback in mind, I'm wondering how I would adjust my blog entry on Applying the EdTechCoach Model. What are your thoughts?

MyNotes on Results Coaching:
  1. Lessons Learned:
    1. coaching process needs to demonstrate respect
    2. connected teachers need to reflect on their goals and growth
    3. Quality thinking and processing takes time
    4. Brain research shows how human beings hearken back to what is most comfortable
    5. Once people experience the power of coaching, they unleash their potential for great change and success.
  2. “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” -Edith Wharton
  3. Insanity is defined as “Keep doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results.”
  4. RESULTS Model:
    1. “R” = Resolve to Change Results
    2. “E” = Establish Goal Clarity
    3. “S” = Seek integrity
    4. “U” = Unveil multiple pathways
    5. “L” = Leverage options
    6. “T” = Take action
    7. “S” = Seize success
  5. “When educators speak with clarity, possibility, and accountability, and when they interact with others in respectful and mutually satisfying ways, they empower themselves and their organizations to produce extraordinary results.” -Dennis SParks

Chapter 1  - Coach Leader Mindset
  1. The mindset of coach leader shifts reframes from responding “how we have always done it” with new possibilities never thought before.
  2. Coach leader mindset:
    1. Listening to understand with others’ point of view
    2. Listening to hold up standards-based expectations
    3. Language Shifts:
      1. To connect
      2. To respect
      3. To bring self-insight
      4. To encourage other’s assessment
      5. To ask questions that provide clarity and stimulate great thinking
    4. Believe in the “potential best” of every member of our staff. Either we must hire those who share our vision and goals, or when we begin, communicate at the start our beliefs or expectations so all staff members have an opportunity to choose if the workplace is aligned with the beliefs of the leader or system.
    5. If there is someone who does not adhere to the expectations or standards of our system, our coach mindset is not to demean or belittle but to offer workplaces more aligned with the individual’s beliefs and goals.
    6. “Knowing this is a staff who always puts what is best for our kids first--what targets do we want for this year that align with our beliefs?” [great question]
  3. Coaching offers a safe place to think, to reflect, to speak truthfully, to ask questions--about self and others. [great stuff...coaching is about safety]
  4. The greatest challenge in education is positive openness to change.
  5. When we think new thoughts, work through a problem, unravel a delicate issue, or process a new skill, we are creating a new wiring or map in the brain.
  6. Neuroscientists report the following:
    1. To truly be committed to a new course of action, people need to have thought through issues or situations for themselves.
    2. The act of having those moments of insight and epiphany give off a kind of energy needed for people to become motivated and willing to take action.
    3. From the energy burst that has been expended on the new motivation, a degree of inertia can be expected.
    4. Implementation dip, says Michael Fullan, is the small setback that often occurs when you begin implementing something new or a change in practice--the small setback in momentum during a change process.
    5. Coaching is the process that sustains the change during the implementation dip:
  7. Research proposes that one’s self-efficacy comes directly from one’s cognitive appraisal of difficulty, one’s abilities, and whether effort or struggle will yield success.
  8. Coaches adopt this set of skills:
    1. Create an environment and scaffolding for thinking in new ways
    2. Create environments where deep thinking is sought and valued
    3. Facilitates processes of dialogue for deep thinking and expanding one’s insights and experience from different points of view
    4. Presumes the best in thinking and doing in others
    5. Amplifies strengths and successes of others
    6. Communicates clarity of visions and goals and supports the success of all who take up the call
    7. Holds up the standards and expectations of the profession to guide solutions and decisions
    8. REspects other values, models, and assumptions as effects of experience and knowledge
    9. Believes in the best self that is within each of us
    10. Use language of appreciation, respect, possibility, and clear expectations ous and outcomes.
  9. Essential mindset of coach leader:
    1. support others taking action towards goals
    2. be a partner to plan, reflect, problem-solve, and make decisions
    3. be nonjudgmental while giving reflective feedback
    4. use highly effective skills of listening and speaking
    5. focus on the assumptions, perceptions, thinking and decision-making process
    6. mediate resources, clarify intentions, and identify multiple options for self-directed learning and optimum results
  10. Coach leaders non-negotiable beliefs:
    1. believe in another’s ability to grow and excel
    2. recognize that “Advice is Toxic!” and
    3. use intentional language that aligns with his trust and belief in others
    4. set aside or suspend unproductive behaviors
    5. see each person as whole and capable
    6. be a model of committed listening and speaking

  1. When our intention is clear, we know exactly what our target is:
    1. In one month, I will see evidence in my learning walks of differentiation being used in every classroom.
    2. Over the next 5 months, I will implement at least 3 strategies targeting trust building with resistant teachers.
  2. To refine intention or goal,make it more specific and measurable, accomplish the following:
    1. Begin with the end in mind.
    2. Hypertext - be clear about the words you use and what they mean
    3. “Which means?” - Deepend and clarify your own language and meaning toward your goal.
    4. “Physical Timeline”
    5. Write It
    6. Elicit input from others - “What do you think I mean by this goal?” or “What do you think I will accomplish if I meet this goal?”
  3. Two questions help address “Attention”
    1. How do I want to be?
    2. What do I want to pay attention to as I accomplish my intention and/or goal?
  4. we need to move from intention to examination of how we want to be or what we wish to pay attention to. “Ready--aim--fire!”
  5. “The best way to get a good idea is to have many ideas.” -Chinese fortune cookie
  6. Action involves processes that are aligned with our intention--what we want to do.
  7. Drop dead nonnegotiable for leaders is to clearly articulate the standards or expectations of the work of schools.
  8. The language of the coach leader is to simply convey or hold up the standards and expectations for the teacher...the standards are there because they are known to work for kids. Language needs to be clear, unwavering, and clearly demonstrates belief in the teacher to use best practice.
  9. If the culture depends on the principal to solve problems and make final decisions, what happens when he is absent? Does problem solving and progress come to a standstill until the leader can return?
  10. To counter this, David Rock suggests we create new wiring around the notion of helping people think better rather than telling them what do do.
  11. Replace “advice-giving” with “listening, paraphrasing, presuming positive intent, offering reflective feedback, using questions to mediate thinking of the other person so that they discover the answers that were always present but not recognized.”
  12. Agreements about coaching conversation:
    1. In the amount of time (10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc.), we have, what would be most helpful for us to accomplish?
    2. Given the amount of time that we have, what would you like to accomplish by the end of our conversation?
    3. What would be measures of success for this conversation?
    4. You have 3 big ideas you are considering. Which of the three would you like to work on first?
    5. Of the 3 big ideas you have mentioned, which holds the greatest promise for the results you want from this conversation?
    6. In the beginning, you wanted to develop a plan for differentiating your instruction. Now, you are focused on the details of differentiating for this particular lesson. Will the bigger plan for differentiation or the details of this lesson be more helpful to you?
  13. Simply reframing what someone offers as a complaint to a statement about their commitment opens the door for thinking and action from a different perspective.
  14. Sample language:
    1. When your goal is achieved, what will people be saying about your success?
    2. When this goal is fully implemented, describe what will be happening for students.
    3. At the end of this conversation, what will be a measure of success that we have accomplished what you want?
    4. Between now and the next time we talk, what actions will you take?
    5. How will you collect data to support progress toward the achievement of your goal?
    6. What is your next step?
    7. What small step will you take tomorrow?
    8. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being low, and 5 being high, how would you rate your progress toward your goal of making trust deposits with your teachers?
    9. Of all the ideas we have generated today, what is the most significant for you and why?
    10. What was of the greatest benefit in our conversation?
    11. What question asked today provoked your thinking the most?
  15. Language is powerful, produces fundamentally new forms of behavior, molding our sense of who we are, helping our understanding of how we think, work, play and influences the nature of our relationships.
  16. Language is the essential connector, and how we choose to use it will significantly impact the relationships and identities of those we lead.
  17. “Our use of language can disempower or empower, enable or disable, intensify resistant or increase commitment, and inspire passion and creativity or promote resignation and passivity” (Dennis Sparks)
  18. Trust is defined as “one’s willingness to be vulnerable to another based on the confidence that the other is benevolent, honest, open, reliable, and competent.” (Megan Tschannen-Moran)
  19. According to Dave Ellis’ Falling Awake, there are 5 effective responses to a request:
    1. Grant the request
    2. Deny the request
    3. Make a counter-offer
    4. Ask for clarification
    5. Postpone your response by asking for more time to consider the request before making the commitment
  20. Committed listening transforms relationships and deepens learning. Its skillful use requires practice and discipline.” (Dennis Sparks)
  21. CFR Committed Listening Tool
  22. Unproductive patterns of listening:
    1. judgment and criticism
    2. autobiographical listening - chiming in with our own personal experiences and hijacking the conversation
    3. inquisitive listening - becoming curious about something the speaker says that is not relevant to the issue at hand. Scrutinizing is also a part of this where one focuses on the minutiae and lose sight of larger issue
    4. solution listening - when we view ourselves as great problem solvers and give suggestions
  23. Barriers to Committed Listening
    1. Internal distractions - includes physical barriers, emotional reactions,
    2. External distractions
  24. Principles of paraphrasing
    1. Fully attend
    2. Listen with the intent to understand
    3. Capture the essence of the message in a paraphrase that is shorter than the original statement.
    4. Reflect the essence of voice tone and gestures
    5. Paraphrase before asking a question

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure