Week 11 Reflection

I found I love going through the process of finding out what is important to me and to ask and answer the hard hypothetical questions that come up in education.  That is way I really enjoyed reviewing technology policies, what is needed and how I can help. It made me verify what I already thought I believed and made me think about a few new issues. I find that if I haven’t thought about an issue deeply before I have to deal with it in my work, my decisions can be random. When I have truly thought about something deeply my path becomes laser focused which saves me time and some embarrassment.

The item that was a good wake up call for me  was to make sure that emerging technology is accessible to all students especially for special needs students.  I was bad at this when I was a teacher, but luckily I was flexibly and was able to make accommodations on short notice.  While technology can be an awesome and powerful tool, we must make sure it works for all students.

I do believe that Laurie is correct in her post that professional development and leadership are important when dealing with emerging technology.  This is important especially if some legislature mandates all students must learn coding.  That could become a mess without lots of training for teachers and would be very poor leadership.

I also love Melissa Griffin’s idea of creating a leadership team whose entire purpose is to look at and evaluate emerging technology.  That sound like a sound idea that could save lots of time and money.

By waclawskid

Week 11: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

My first thoughts on what polices will help my district prepare for future emerging technology is that you have to have a plan for piloting and trying new technology.  Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball that will help you see what emerging technology will actually get results in schools.  This type of policy has to provide some money and allow excited teachers to try and use this technology with their students.  It must also include a robust assessment process to see if you actually get results.  If it gets results, the technology committee must look at infrastructure and budgets to see if this could implemented in a larger scale. At some point a cost – benefit assessment will have to be done and a decision will have to made as to whether to go forward with the technology or not or not.

The Southern Regional Education Board believes that districts and states should support and foster initiatives that help assess emerging technologies for schools.  They believe that the work of piloting this is too much work for individual schools or teachers to deal with.  They feel that education needs to be more systematic with finding emerging technology than a shot in the dark approach.

In Tech & Learning’s article K-12 Blueprint suggest three areas that should be addressed in any technology plan.  They include:

  1. Is your plan focused on student learning?
  2. Does it promote responsible use of technology?
  3. Does it meet current state and federal regulations and standards?

One issue that needs to be discussed when thinking about policy on emerging technology is accessibility for everyone.  Auburn University’s “Policy on Equal Access to Emerging Technology” explains the process they must consider when implementing emerging technology.  It starts by asking these four questions:

  1. How does the use of the technology enhance the learning experience for the students?
  2. What benefits and opportunities are available to the students through the use of this technology?
  3. Has the developer of the technology considered accessibility?
  4. Will accommodations result in the same enhanced learning experience and/or benefits and opportunities as the new technology?

These four questions get to the heart of what needs to be dealt with when dealing with emerging technology.  Accessibility, especially for special needs children is an area that many teachers and administrators don’t think about until too late.  I believe this should be one of the first things to be dealt with.  If everyone in your class is enjoying Minecraft except for a child with impaired vision you may want to rethink what you are doing.  Of course, in the case of Minecraft you can make some simple accommodations and this student could still enjoy Minecraft. The point is that accessibility should be well thought out before you spend a ton of money or have already started a unit.  It really sucks for students to be left out in the classroom!

How can I help lead my district in creating these policies?  I believe I have done this in the past and will continue to do this in the future.  We pilot lots of products, technology and methods and try to use them with students.  When we have success we share it with the rest of the district.  We know that if you want to create change you have to show results.  Once you get results people can’t argue that we shouldn’t implement something.  If you don’t get results, you can’t create systematic change.  The hard part is being willing to get messy, trying new things and find out what works.


Emerging technologies: foster strategic decision-making that assesses emerging technologies and determines their relevance for education.  SREB. Retrieved on 7-26-16 at 2:11 pm.  Found at http://www.sreb.org/emerging-technologies.

Ensuring the quality of digital content for learning recommendations for k12 education. SETDA. Retrieved on 7-26-16 at 2:40 pm.  Found at http://www.setda.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Digital_brief_3.10.15c.pdf.

K-12 Blue Print: Policy & Leadership. Tech & Learning.  Retrieved on 7-26-16 at 2:14 pm.  Found at https://www.k12blueprint.com/toolkits/policy.

Policy on equal access to emerging technology. Auburn University. Retrieved on 7-26-16 at 2:20 pm.  Found at  https://sites.auburn.edu/admin/universitypolicies/policies/policyonequalaccesstoemergingtechnology.pdf.

Policy Direction 1: Student centered Learning. Alberta Learning.  Retrieved on 7-26-16 at 2:00 pm.  Found at https://education.alberta.ca/learning-with-technology/policy-direction-1/.

By waclawskid

Week 10 Review

I knew noting about wearable electronics so this week was very enlightening. I think the technology has lots of potential and I could see how people would love to experiment with it.  I do think you can learn some basics of electricity, circuits and science by use DIY electronics in your classroom.  I do think they have limited educational use.  I admit it would be fun and motivational to use them as a craft or in an art class.  I could see putting a couple hundred dollars towards this in the art budget, but only if our teacher gets excited about it. I don’t think this would be worth purchasing in the high school except for art right now as is it doesn’t fit any of our other curriculum’s very well and it wouldn’t be worth to cost.

Sara Lucas had a great idea of using this technology with dance teams.  that would definitely give you a step up in that area.  Sara K. also made a statement that made me think,  This technology could help students be more creative and think outside the box, especially in art.  I have to agree with that.  I like Gerald’s idea that we should add this to a Makerspace.  That is an idea that I will consider in the future.

I do think this is an emerging technology that is worth looking at in the future.  This is closest to some of the science fiction technology technology that everyone talks about being the future.  In the near future I could see DIY electronic tattoos and other body alterations.  In the future I could see wearable phones, tracking and skin smart phones.  This could be something that could be fun to watch develop.

By waclawskid

Week 10: How Are Electronics Viable Additions to “Crafting” for Today’s Young Person?

I think that wearable electronics are a perfect fit for today’s young person for fashion or crafting.  This fits with this generations comfort with technology and how it has seamlessly become a huge part of their life.  The only thing that could make it more perfect is the ability to control DIY electronics from your smart phone or tablet.  I am sure this is coming.

For those who don’t yet know what we are talking about there is new technology that is sometimes called DIY electronics that can be added to clothing, paintings, etc. Most of what this technology can do right now is allow your clothes to become multimedia.  You can control lights, add motion detectors and use a keyboard by touching your clothes and completing a circuit. They do this by creating special circuit controllers and either sowing in wire or using special conducting ink.  This means you can draw your circuits on your clothes, paper, canvas or a wall.

I am an older, geeky guy who doesn’t get excited about new trends, but this is really cool!  I would play with this stuff and I am not into fashion.  I can think of at least 1/4 of my school who would love to use DIY electronics and I know my art teacher would love to use this with her students.  I can imagine her producing and DIY electronic fashion show by November if I gave her the money to purchase this new technology.

If you are interested in designing circuit with clothing here is a link to the book, Soft circuits: Creating e-Fashion with DIY Electronics: https://www.amazon.com/Soft-Circuits-Fashion-Electronics-Foundation/dp/0262027844 .

I really like the wearable product Flora by adafruit.  There is a short video attached below.  This seems like a very flexible and adaptable  DIY electronic controller.  It can do many different process, including using it as a keyboard and can be plugged into a computer using a USB cord.  For a computer geek like me, this would be a good start.  The video below is a quick introduction to all the features the Flora provides.

While I think this technology is cool I don’t think DIY electronics will have a big impact on education right now. I do think this has the potential to be one of the few emerging technologies that could develop to have a huge impact with further development. In the future your could just buy a shirt with a smart phone attached to the sleeve or have it drawn on your skin. Only time will tell, but I will be watching.


Buechley, L.  How to “sketch” with electronics. Retrieved on 7-19-16 at 9:25 pm. Found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI.

Qi. J. Interactive light painting: pu gong ying tu (dandelion painting). Retrieved on 9-19-16 at 9:30 pm. Found at https://vimeo.com/40904471.

What is FLORA? Adafruit’s Arduino-Compatible Wearables Platform. Adafruit. Retrieved on 7-19-16 at 9:25 pm.  Found at https://www.adafruit.com/products/659.


Peppler, K. & Gresalfi, M. Soft circuits: Creating e-fashion with DIY electronics. Amazon.com.  Retrieved on 7-19-16 ay 9:33 pm.  Retrieved at https://www.amazon.com/Soft-Circuits-Fashion-Electronics-Foundation/dp/0262027844


By waclawskid

Week 9 Review

It has been a good week.  The first thing I realized is that it is very hard to plan using Twitter.  It may be that I don’t look at Twitter as offend as I should, but it was very clunky.  I thought our Twitter session went well, but it was almost overwhelming with all the posts.  I could only keep up with certain threads.  I like my personal view instead of the  view.  I really liked the function that showed who said what in order.  Otherwise I couldn’t read all the posts.  It was very enlightening.  I wonder if there is a better format for these sessions than twitter.

I appreciated Tricia’s Twitter post about students who have religious views that may not support technology.  That was really insightful and is something that some districts would have to take into account in their BYOD’s.  I know when I worked with Russian Old Believers in Razdolna we always had to work with our community to see what we could and couldn’t do with technology.

I also liked Daysha’s comments that a BYOD would be more effective with older grades.  I do think it would be easier working with the older grades, but I think it would still be effective in the younger grades, but it would take more planning and management on the teacher’s part.  The district and teacher would have to take this into account to make a BYOD policy work in this situation.

By waclawskid

Week Nine: Does Every School Need a “BYOD” Policy?

As a principal, this weeks essential question deals with an issue that high school principals have to grapple with every day.  The BYOD movement in general and how HHS dealt with this issue happened in an organic way with maybe a little nudge from us.  In other words, students were bringing them to school no matter what the rules said, parents wanted their kids to have their own laptops and smart phones at school and these devices where so convenient for teacher who actually utilized them they just became part of HHS culture.

Of course, at the HHS administration level we actually did not follow district policy and tried to promote their use.  We allowed students to bring their own devices, but students had to follow classroom rules.  If devises were used in at class that didn’t allow them or were misused, we would take them away and revoke their BYOD privileges.

We did this purposefully because of two reasons.  First, we knew these devices could be helpful in the classroom and would supplement our laptop carts and computer labs.  We didn’t have the money to purchase 400 laptops so each student could have their own device.  The teachers that were using them found them very useful.

The second and more practical reason was we didn’t want to wage a war we knew we couldn’t win and that would give us minimal benefits.  We could have put up metal detectors and had every student give up their smart phone before the entered school, but then we become a police state and set a negative tone.  We allowed our student the have the privilege and responsibility to bring their devices to class and use them when needed in a positive way.  This set a positive tone that we believed our students could handle having their own devices in school and this has helped create a positive school culture and environment.

The result of our school allowing personal devices was to force the district to change their policies.  The fact that  HSS had successfully allowed personal digital devices for over 6 years and the fact that student and parents at other school where demanding that these be allowed help make this change.  The district even upgraded our wireless network so all student could connect their devices to our internet.

Here is a video from the student’s perspective on being able to BYOD.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9mobocxdnc

In the article “4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program: by Peter Martini he states there are 4 things that can cripple a BYOD program.  They are:

  • Allowing consistent access to network and internet on BOYD’s
  • Making sure you have enough bandwidth to serve all the BOYD’s
  • Protecting against viruses from BYOD’s
  • Blocking access to restricted programs

In the article BYOD: The Challenges, How it Can Succeed in the Classroom by Rachel Quetti she gives some suggestions to make a BYOD program work. They include:

  • Being able to mage the devices (Suggests Airwatch)
  • Ensure safety by filtering content
  • Help teachers adjust to the new BYOD paradigm

In closing every district should have a BYOB policy, but how you get there will be different depending on your community and your school culture.


Chiasson, M. BYOD student perspective. Anglophone East School District. Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 2:00 pm.  Found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9mobocxdnc.

Quetti, R. (2015). BYOD: The Challenges, How it Can Succeed in the Classroom. K12 TD. Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 2:51 pm.  found at http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/byod_the_challenges_it_presents_and_how_you_can_overcome_themhttp://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/byod_the_challenges_it_presents_and_how_you_can_overcome_them

Martini, P.  4 Challenges that can cripple your school’s BYOD program. Teacher Tought.  Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 1:50 pm.  Found at http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/.

What is BYOD (bring your own device) and why should teachers care? educational Technology.  Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 2:30 pm.  Found at http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/tech-ed/what-is-byod-bring-your-own-device-and-why-should-teachers-care/

By waclawskid

Week 8 Reflection

Until this week I haven’t thought about teaching through gaming.  I think this is good idea and something to look into.  Anything that captures the imagination and motivates students is a good idea.

I would not be myself if I didn’t include a little realistic skepticism.  It is easy for teachers to be keeping students busy and completing projects and not getting desired outcomes.  I like to remind teachers about dinosaur syndrome.  It is fun to teach dinosaurs and if each grade has a month long unit, students are entertained, but student may not be learning anything.  The same principal hold in this situation.  If everyone is teaching using Minecraft they will need to be careful so student are actually learning the curriculum.

I appreciated Tricia Turley’s comment on my post that reminding me that we should make sure our students are thinking about others and be civic minded.  When students do this it is like doubling the learning.  It is good to be reminded about this.

I have come to the conclusion that this is another good tool for teachers, but everyone can’t do this or it will get old and students will not be motivated to use it.  I think you should find to teacher who is most excited by this and let them roll with it.


By waclawskid

Week 8: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?

I have had little experience with Minecraft except for my son using the i-phone version.  Even then, I was not interested in what he was doing in the least.   I have to admit I am impressed with everything you can do with Minecraft in the article “Ideas for Minecraft in the Classroom” by Andrew Miller.  Some of the educational examples he gives include: to tour real buildings, practice ratio and proportions, learn survival skills, improve  visualization and help with reading skills. The real tours and survival skills examples have really good graphics.  The graphics in an article about how to play Minecraft by Minecraftopia are very poor. It is good to know that the quality of the games vary depending on the world you are in.

The reason some people give on why teaching through Minecraft is effective are similar to reasons given for other emerging technologies.  They include:

  • Promote creativity
  • Increased motivation
  • Ability to express themselves
  • Fun
  • Builds self esteem by being successful
  • Problem solving

In the “Frequently Asked Questions” area of the Minecraft Education Edition website they actually give some different reasons on why to use Minecraft in education.  They include:

  • It provides opportunity to focus energy
  • It helps lead to increased brain plasticity
  • Improved spatial reasoning
  • Improved strategic planning
  • Improved working memory
  • Improved motor skills

Of course, my science geek children keep reminding me that correlation does equal causation and things can be statistically significant, but have no real meaning. The point of that sentence is that I don’t know how valid those claims are, but I appreciated that they referenced real research and they provided different reasons for using their product.

I admit that Minecraft will probably be effective in motivating students.  When I was teaching computer applications classes students were motivated to use creative programs and games.  Of course, in my day Hyperstudio and Oregon Trail was the big thing.  (I wonder if I will get bonus points for mentioning those old programs?)

To answer this weeks essential question I am going to suggest that students at my school try to make a 3D proportional copy of our school in Minecraft.  Our school isn’t huge in student numbers, but we have a big school that has a non-traditional design.  Students and parents who first enter our building can get lost.  The student who comes up with the design that comes closest to our actually building layout would have their creation posted where new students and visitors could use it to find their way in our building. Each year we could compete to improve on the last 3D model.

On a side note, I wonder if what education is trying to do with technology is to replace experiences and understanding that would normally come from parents and a normal upbringing.  Low social economic status, abusive and neglectful families and unsafe neighborhoods lead to stunted development.  These games seem to be targeted to helping these students catch up while allowing other students to excel.  I think this is a good proposition and a worthwhile pursuit.


Miller, A. Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved on 7-6-16 at 10:00 pm.  Found at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/minecraft-in-classroom-andrew-miller

Frequently Asked Questions. Minecraft. Retrieved on 7-5-16 at 10:02 pm. Found at http://education.minecraft.net/faq/.

Ossola., A. Teaching in the age of minecraft. Retieved on 7-5-16 at 10:00 pm.  Found at  http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/teaching-in-the-age-of-minecraft/385231/.

How to play minecraft. Minecraftopia. Retrieved on 7-5-16 at 10:00 pm.  Found at http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft.


By waclawskid

Week 7 Reflection

Even though most of my posts make me seem like the Grinch of technology I am actually a huge advocate of technology and have spent many years of my life promoting it.  The problem is I have been burned and have seen lots of good money wasted on useless technology.  I love technology, but I am careful when trying to implement it.

My biggest takeaway from week seven is that 3D printers have a way to go before they will really be useful.  Melissa Griffin made unassuming comment about the potential of 3D printers.  She wrote,  “Or kids can print their own paper and pencils and be ready for class!” This exemplifies what people get wrong with 3D printers.  You can print a plastic pencil, but you can’t print the lead and plastic might not be the best material for the job.  My son created a CO2 car on auto desk and then printed it out with a 3D printer.  It was really cool until he tried to use it.  The layers stated to come undone before he even tested it.

The printer is only as good as the materials it used to print. I would love to to have a concrete extruding 3d printer like the one that printed a castle. You can see the pictures and read the article here. http://www.totalkustom.com/3d-castle-completed.html.  Of course these are very expensive.

So the moral of the story is I am going to purchase a 3D printer for our CAD class and see what wonderful things these students decide to print.  I like the potential and I really think this will help promote creativity and problem solving.

By waclawskid