College Readiness

I had that privilege to speak with the team from Schoolinks a few weeks ago about how my school structures our college readiness systems.

College

I wanted to share the podcast with you below, and also thank the people at Schoolinks for inviting me to join them. If you work at the secondary level and have not checked their site out – you should. It is one of the most simple (and powerful) college search platforms available to students.

Check out my podcast interview here.

While you’re at it… be sure to check out Raise.me (and prepare to have your mind blown).

Michael Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

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Michael Meechin is a high school principal, writer and speaker. Mike works with schools and districts by providing grassroots professional development, high impact speaking topics, and consulting services on education reform initiatives. For more information check out our Work, or Contact Us.

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#FETC 2015 Session Video Available

In January 2015 I had the pleasure of speaking and attending FETC 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The nice people at FETC were even so thoughtful to record my session, 60 Instructional Strategies in 60 Minutes. This is one of my favorite sessions to present; it is fast-paced and changes every time I give it.

You can check it out here: bit.ly/meechinfetc2015

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Enjoy!

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

For more information about having Mike speak at your school or district, click the “Book Mike” link under services.

Why You Mad Bro?

I speak often with educators about the incorporation of technology into their classrooms and curriculum. During these convos I often share tools as well. What always leaves me perplexed is when I share out a great technology and the response I get is; “Why are we teaching them the easy way out?”

My response: Why you mad bro?

As I get ready to tackle FETC 2015 this week – I am excited about the conversations and connections with tech-savvy and not-so-tech-savvy educators. I am also reminded about those that are not as accepting of the tools that are used by the digital natives that populate our schoolhouses around the nation.

So, I challenge you to open your mind. We cannot be mad that our students have access to technologies that are effective (and way cooler) at bringing information to their fingertips. Encourage our students to use these tools to engage in the work they do for you in your classroom.

I am reminded of a Seth Godin quote; “Open book – look it up. All the time.” Our students have access to information in ways that we did not. Now it is time to shift the way we teach to challenge students in ways that we were not.

If you are out at FETC 2015 – and I hope that you will be – stop by and say hello. I have two sessions and I will be sharing many great tools that you can put into practice the very next day.

Jan 23, 2015

Sixty In Sixty: 60 Instructional Technologies in 60 Minutes
10:00A | S310GH

Technology for Schoolwide Impact
01:00P | S310EF

Why you mad bro?

Hope to see you in Orlando.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

What We’re Doing With Remind101

I have the privilege of working with some amazing educators in my schoolhouse, and I wanted to share what we’re doing with Remind101.

Remind101 is a technology that allows educators to provide one way communication to students, parents, etc… via text message simply and efficiently.

My teachers began using Remind101 last school year in sporadic fashion. So, this year we focused on bringing Remind 101 school wide and ensuring that our teachers were taking advantage of this powerful communication tool. But, that wasn’t enough for us…

We felt that there were other areas that we could use Remind101 to communicate in several ways with our students and parents. We would like to outline a few ways that we are making Remind101 work for us @poincianahigh.

Remind101 Stakeholders via School Website

We have posted our Remind101 subscription code on our school’s website that allows stakeholders to subscribe to our feed. We publish important school information, announcements, and shout-outs on our Remind101. The feedback we have received has been great. Stakeholders really enjoy receiving the information via text message and we love the ability to be able to schedule reminders ahead of time.

State Assessment Review

EOC ReviewAs a school, we were looking to engage our students outside of the classroom to encourage them prep for state assessments. We also wanted them to use technology… enter Remind101. My Science Coach developed signs that outlined how students could Remind101 Biology End of Course Assessment practice right to their mobile device.

We posted signage throughout the school that outlined the quick how-to. After that my Science Coach would Remind101 practice questions to our students enrolled in the group. Students would have to come and explain the answer to us during lunch. Students ate it up – they were coming down and having higher level discussions about Biology during their lunch. The response was impactful for our students – we like that.

Attendance Intervention

Remind101 Wake UpLike most at-risk schools, we have attendance issues. We decided after reading about and idea on the Remind101 blog to use this technology as an intervention to address our attendance issues.

What we did was use data to identify our most at-risk attendance issues. We met with these students and enrolled them in our Remind101 wake-up program. We send out three reminders each morning, beginning at 5:45A, waking our attendance issues and hopefully encouraging them to get to school.

Our reminders are witty comments or inspirational quotes meant to motivate our students to get to school that day. We follow up our first Remind101 with two additional wake-ups each morning. We like the data that we are seeing in return. In our first semester using Remind101 for this purpose, we got an increase in attendance for 83% of students in our pilot cohort – we like that.

These are just some of the ways that we are using Remind101 @poincianahigh. I hope that this helps you to use this powerful technology in your school, with your students.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

FETC 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again. The Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) is right around the corner with it’s 2014 version.

I will be presenting again this year and could not be more eager to connect with fellow like-minded tech-saavy educators from around the country and the world. You will find me at the front of three sessions for FETC 2014; all of which you can find listed below. New friends, old friends… I look forward to connecting with you there.

My FETC 2014 Sessions

01.30.14 | Digital Assessment: Using Mobile Devices for Assessment
8:00 AM (Ticketed BYOD Workshop)

01.30.14 | 60 Instructional Technologies in 60 Minutes
10:00 AM (Get there early… this one was at capacity in 2013.)

01.30.14 | Blogging with a Purpose: A Different Approach to Assessment
1:00 PM (Common Core focus)

You can find full descriptions for each and every session offered at FETC 2014 at http://www.fetc.org.

Until then you can find me on the Twitter @mikemeechin.

See you in Orlando.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
mikemeechin (at) gmail.com
@mikemeechin

Blogging and the Common Core

Ah, the Common Core… that’s right – I said it.  They are here – whether we like it or not. Blogging is a great way to engage our students, but also address some key Common Core Standards at the same time. In fact, I feel like some of the anchor standards were written with student blogging in mind. Check them out…

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard 6

If we break this standard down – we can clearly see how blogging is a perfect fit for addressing this standard with your students. Blogging requires students to produce and publish writing. The days of students writing for one person, the teacher, are over. Common Core requires that students now publish their work – what better way than for students to blog? In addition to that, blogging encourages students to collaborate with one another as well. Moderated commenting can allow students to collaborate with one another safely. You could also have students write group blogs, where they collaborate on articles in pairs or small groups. If you are a teacher thinking about, or already implementing blogging in the classroom I would encourage you to check out the link below of all of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing. http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/CCRA/W If you are arguing for blogging with your students and it’s effectiveness… I would encourage you to use the Common Core Standards to begin a conversation with the powers that be. Mike Meechin mike.meechin (at) gmail.com @innovateed

Socrative and a Film Engage Assessment

Movies in the classroom… you know you’ve shown one before.

I was guilty of it too when I was in the classroom. As an administrator I do not necessarily want my teachers showing films to students – unless they relate to the standards of course. So when a film relates to the content and we want to use it to provide a visual for concepts already taught; how do we ensure that students stay engaged throughout? How do we ensure that students stay awake when the lights are off and engaged in the viewing process?

The answer is a tool that I used in the classroom; I called them film engage assessments. I used @Socrative as the driving force and delivery method. If you are not familiar with Socrative, check it out here.

Here is how it works.

As students watched a film in my class, we would use Socrative and I would run a teacher-paced quiz on my student’s devices. For this example we will use the film Glory as the example. The Socrative Share Code is: SOC-594065, if you want to run it in your Socrative teacher dashboard.

The engage assessment consists of ten open-ended short answer questions. Because this is a teacher-paced assessment, I would launch the questions as the students got to the scene they related to. Students would use their devices (Socrative runs on ANY web enabled device) to answer the question.

Socrative allows you to email or download a report of all student answers at the completion of the assessment. I would use the report to guide discussion at the conclusion of viewing.

Keep in mind that this strategy would work with and length of film – from short video clips to feature length films. It is an easy way to keep our students engaged while they view pieces of film in our classrooms.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
mike.meechin (at) gmail.com
@innovateed

Classroom Blogging Series: The Digital Footprint

I recently had the privilege to present to some amazing educators from around the world at FETC 2012. I had an amazing time connecting with other “game-changers” in this profession. I want to thank you for the great discussion in person and on the Twitter.

At FETC I was presented the IE PD workshop, Blogging with a Purpose. While we packed lots of info into our hour-long session, I was unable to get to the finer details with that time constraint. So, I am going to follow up with the Classroom Blogging Series – where I dive deeper into some of the details in blogging in the classroom.

The Digital Footprint

While attending FETC 2012, I found myself hearing echoes of edtech gurus calling for educators to have a digital presence. It really is so important – whether a classroom educator or administrator – to have a presence on the Internet; a place to provide some transparency to the happenings in your classroom or school. Do you currently leave a digital footprint?

For the sake of this post I am going to discuss two things. First, I will review the key points that I make in my Blogging with a Purpose workshop. I will follow that up with some additional options for educators in addition to the “Digital HUB” I will discuss first.

The Digital HUB

We educate students that are immersed in a digital environment. From the songs they listen to, to the way they communicate, to the content they digest – everything for them comes in a digital format. If we, as educators or school leaders believe that we do not need to educate in the digital – we are dead wrong.

Students need educators and schools to maintain a digital footprint – one that they can follow to continue the learning on their time.

Think of your “Digital HUB” as a place where your classroom is open not only to students, but parents and the community. Think about the transparency that you provide any stakeholder that is interested in seeing what you are doing with your students.

One very important point about creating the digital footprint is interaction. This digital presence has make student want – not force them – to interact with the content. You have to find the right mix of to bring students to your “HUB” to interact with the content. This interaction is how your students will become engaged. Without it you will not see students using it to engage in their learning.

I have two recommendations for creating these digital footprints. These two technologies are by no means the end all, but they are technologies that I have personally used. I will drop a Steve Jobs quote on you; “They just work.”

Google Sites

If you are a Googleite, like me, you may find that Google Sites is the place for you. You can visit my Google Site here, however, I am now out of the classroom and it has not been updated – but you can use it as a formatting guide.

Google Sites allows you to build a website. I has lots of options for you and is fairly easy to use for the tech savvy educator. I also like how well it integrates with other Google Apps for Education, such as Google Calendar and Google Docs. If these are technologies that you already use – then Google Sites is a great option.

Edmodo

At FETC this year, Edmodo was all the rage – and for good reason. I have used Edmodo for professional development purposes, and I can see how this could just connect with students. First, it looks, acts, and feels like Facebook. It is definitely a technology that most students are comfortable with, which means a small learning curve.

Edmodo allows for posting of materials, ease of communication to students (and parents if they have the access code), a more closed environment, and the ability to group students (i.e. periods, sections, etc…). I would encourage you to check Edmodo out and play around with it to learn its true potential. It is a technology that I will continue to use for professional development and also recommend to my teachers.

What If…

What if I am not a classroom educator, or I just am not ready for this. Well, there are other ways to go about creating a digital footprint.

Blogs

A blog is a great way to begin. It will allow you to publish content and your thoughts to the web. It allows you to begin with one-way communication (output) to students – and also publish some materials. You can continue the classroom discussion, and post announcements and such. The limitation is the engagement piece discussed earlier.

Now principals, this is your bread and butter. I am a believer that every principal should maintain a blog. It is a great way to communicate about your leadership, you school, and your students to all of the stakeholders in the community. If I were a principal it would be a top priority to publish to a blog and grow a readership – I think that this type of transparency is vital to school success in this day and age.

Two recommendations are WordPress and Blogger, both free.

Twitter

If you are still not sure about Twitter – the time is now. This may be one of the most revolutionary technologies to help transform education. The amount of professional material that is out there is infinite. You MUST, as an educator in 2012, be on Twitter. There are plenty of people blogging about it and you can find out a bit more here. This, however should be a non-negotiable for educators today.

You can find me on the Twitter @innovateed.

Bottom Line

Today’s students and school community need to have the option to receive content in a digital format. This can only be achieved when today’s educators and school leaders are leaving behind a digital footprint of what their students, classroom, and schools are doing – and where they are going.

In addition, these resources are free. With the budget crunches of today, these are powerful tools that need to be the focus for us to drive our curriculum. It is vital.

 

Be sure to visit Part I: The Details of the Classroom Blogging Series.

For more information about the Blogging with a Purpose PD workshop, please visit Innovate Education. All workshops can be fully customized to the clients needs.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
mike.meechin[at]gmail[dot]com
@innovateed

C’Mon Man

So I am prepping to give an instructional technology PD this week at my school. As a lead up I have been having conversations with colleagues about signing up – most have which I have left me perplexed.

You see; the vibe I get from many colleagues (not just at my school by the way) is one of: “we don’t need no stinkin’ technology”.

Which is a bummer – not just for me – but for their students as well. Our students, are now labeled digital natives by many in the profession, and are immersed more than we can imagine in technology in some shape or form. I would argue that my colleagues need this PD now, more than ever. There are many of us standing in front of a classroom thinking that the use of PowerPoint and an LCD projector make us technology gods to our students.

I would respond with a Monday Night Football-like “C’mon Man”!

There are certain key points that all educators need to understand about our students and technology.

1. They are immersed in technology.

Many of our students, especially at the middle and high school levels are immersed in technology. More students than we think have access to computers, the Internet, and a mobile device.

2. Mobile devices are more prevalent than we think.

Many of our students are carrying a mobile device. Many of those mobile devices have access to the Internet. Even students, such as free/reduced lunch students posses these devices in numbers we may not be aware of. Our students, when given the opportunity in the right environment, will use these devices responsibly.

3. They may not necessarily speak with the same technologies that we do.

Email – in education we know it, we love it. However, that is not how our students communicate. For them – it’s about text, Twitter, and Facebook. We need to be aware of this when we incorporate tech into our curriculum and also when we teach responsible use.

4. PowerPoint is not necessarily EdTech.

Stop it. It’s 2011.

We need technology in our curricula. It belongs there. I would argue that it is important that technology become ubiquitous within our schools. It is through the use of technology that our students now communicate.

So, here’s to hoping that my colleagues attend my training this week.

If you are looking for a great place to begin or expand your library of educational technologies – please check out the work of Richard Byrne at Free Tech for Teachers.

Archive: Tough Conversations… Have Them!

The Dangerously Irrelevant author, Scott McLeod called upon edubloggers to write for Leadership Day 2010. To be honest, I almost didn’t write this blog post because things have been so must throughout July, hence the lack of blog posts.

But, the ideas, concepts, and motivations of the thousands involved in the School 2.0 movement are too important to ignore. So – I write.

This past week I had the opportunity to get the ear of the superintendent of my school district. This is a very rare feat, as I work for a school district serving about 53,000 students. The topic of instructional technology came up, and I was encouraged.

We discussed the importance of what Chris Lehmann always speaks about… making technology like oxygen – invisible. I discussed with him the need to not just implement technology, but rather make it an everyday piece of what we “do”. Conversations entailed topics about our student’s use of technology – from cell phones to iPods to netbooks. I discussed that our students need access to the technologies that they are exposed to outside of school. (Something that our district blocks – Internet censorship from GoogleDocs to Facebook, no cell phones, etc…)

I discussed what I believe is our responsibility to educate these students on the technologies they use regularly. Student misuse these technologies because there is no room in the curriculum for us to teach and incorporate appropriate use of these tools. I make him aware that I believe it is vital to the success of creating the 21st C. citizen.

So, on Leadership Day 2010, I had a conversation with my leader. Just as Scott McLeod did, I encourage you to have these conversations with your leaders. The movement begins with us. Initiate change.

Happy Leadership Day 2010!

More to come.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
mike.meechin[at]gmail[dot]com
@innovateed