NAIS 2012 Observations

Things We’ve Learned at NAIS 2012

Collaboratively Written with Colleague Joni Kuckuck


This document includes information about NAIS conference activities — a collaboration between Marti and Joni that shares the information they’ve gathered and the experiences we had at the conference in Seattle. Not included in this document are 8-10 pages of notes from various presentations.

Technology Breakfast Notes – Wednesday morning

  • MS op system 8.0 is debuting in beta today. We saw a demo. Interesting aspects are the cloud connections and the speed. Designed for efficiency. The new system 8 will have the ability to use flash drives/data stick to connect any computer to cloud data.
  • K-12 workshop.com has a technical imaging workshop. This year it is held in Las Vegas, and the point is to help people make effective and efficient images on laptops.  Workshop is 1,499 all inclusive but NAIS members get a $500 discount. Sounds cool because of the issues we’ve had with imaging.
  • Several schools that I spoke with have actually been told by Apple that iPads are for consumption and MacBooks are for consumption and creation. These same schools are opting for MacBook Airs rather than for standard MacBooks.
  • Wi-di — a small box with an HDMI connection to a projection device seem to be solving a lot of problems in rooms that are fussy with wireless and desktop computers talking to projectors.  Also, they seem to stream short videos really well without choppiness.
  • Some schools are hiring digital learning ed tech people.
  • The ideas put forth whether laptops or iPads were a better option for a one-to-one program were interesting and gave pause for thought.


Parent Technology Education Workshop Presentation Proposal

  • Four people — so far — are meeting Thursday at lunch together to write up a proposal for next year that shares what we are doing to help parents learn more about parenting in the digital world. We all exchanged ideas yesterday afternoon, and plan to meet on Thursday, late afternoon, to do some more work together.  We will do more at EDCampIS on Saturday.

Google Docs on iPad — Other People are Noticing this Too

Error message keeps showing up when a person tries to edit on an iPad.  It doesn’t matter whether iPad is sys 4 or 5.  The error still occurs.  Grrrr.
Spoke with folks this afternoon that say that Google knows of the problem.

Pre-conference Workshop (Wednesday, Marti)

I signed up for this session, used my credit card, meant to check in with Kevin about it, and never quite connected with him. The workshop, Crisis! Attack on Three Fronts: NewsMedia, Social Media, and Parents was lead by Jane Hulbert, who works on retainer with many independent schools around crisis management and Meredyth Cole, an assistant head at Madeira. I was interested in this because I had heard about Jane’s media training and crisis work, and I was curious, given my work with parents on digital citizenship, about the communication skills the workshop leaders might discuss address and demonstrate. Part of the workshop included things to do when  and strategies to use when engaging with parents around touchy kids’ digital issues. Excellent descriptions of different media training sessions for various segments of the school that should occur when no crisis is in sight. Took several pages of notes.

One of the most compelling pieces of advice that was given at the conference was the importance of getting teachers’ cellphones out of the student/school loop, because of the risk of them receiving inappropriate material, via mobile communication from MS and HS students, once the kids have their teachers’ phone numbers.

Two similar, but slightly different conversation strategies were demonstrated in the workshop — bridging and transitioning.

NAIS Tweet-up (Wednesday night)

We attended the Tweet-up down at the Pike Place Market.  We were ready with phones charged, but it was really a get acquainted with people you know on Twitter.  Attendees included several school heads, a bunch of tech people, and various faculty members.

Had an excellent conversation with Jason Ramsden from the Ravenscroft School in NC.  He is really having a ball with his Google Chromebooks 1-1 program.  He invited us down to see them in action.  Joni had some chats about Khan.
(Joni) A lot of interest in Khan.  A focus on how it helps with differentiation and if we have found this piece to be successful.  All were as enthusiastic and hearing more about our success.

We (Joni and Marti) also talked with a lot of the people who will be attending the EdTech Camp (UnConference) all day on Saturday. Pre-registration is up to 80. She and I are staying for that and coming home after it’s over.  Topics so far include Khan Academy, online professional development, parent technology activities, and, of course iPads vs. laptops. This event is held at the Northwest School.
I (Joni) am eager to hear how others are using iPads in the classroom vs. laptops. Also hearing how others are using Khan in their weekly planning will be of interest.

At the Tweet-up we also met Jonathan Martin the head of St Gregory’s School in Tuscon, AZ.  Very impressive the way he has changed the conversation at his school.  The EdTech people have are less connected to grades and have become 21 Century Learning specialists — with some specialities — and the professional development is also focused on this area. Marti follows Jonathan on Twitter.

Interesting Bill Gates Keynote Speech Observation

We heard Bill Gates speak during the same week that my husband’s agency, the Center’s for Disease Control is celebration his vision and contribution to making India a polio-free country.  Hope he mentions this.

St Mark’s Los Angeles 1-1 iPad Workshop   (Thursday morning – Githa, Joni, Marti)

(Joni) Focus of 1-1 iPad use was on children grades 2-6, taking us through Apps and projects.
St. Mark’s find this program to be extremely successful and showed several exciting projects created by the children.  After successfully using iPads with our 6th graders in math, I am surprised we haven’t integrated them into other curricula areas and think they would be useful to students on a daily basis.  A 1-1 program at GDS seems to be overdue.

Hawken School – Leading People Through Change

The head of Hawken walked participants through each step he took to innovate and redo the curriculum at progressive Hawken. We should take a look at the extra-ordinary schedule changes they made. I took three pages of notes. Very relevant to changes and 21st century learning that may take place at any school and I think their schedule innovations at the high school may be something cool for GDS to study.

Parent-Technology Workshop Proposal for NAIS 2013

Marti and a tech colleague from a school in Massachusetts made up an outline for a parent tech workshop proposal for NAIS 2013, and chatted with Jeff Burnett from NAIS for a bit about mechanics and tips for a good proposal.  We think we might have five schools cooperating.

NAIS-ISTE Tech Leaders Gathering — 6:30 A.M. (!!) on Friday morning

The Roosevelt Hotel offered its lobby as a place where NAIS tech people can gather once we make stops at Starbucks or Cafe Ladro.. 14 people attended. Recruited more people for parent technology planning.  Also chatted with Paul Miller about the 21st Century Classroom activities at NAIS.

Holton Arms Blended Learning Workshop


Learned about the blended learning course for teachers offered by the Online School for Girls. Marti has been working hard to give the digital citizenship and media literacy activities a blended learning focus.  This workshop gave all sorts of good ideas, and I realize that I’m using blended learning as a part of my media literacy instruction in 5th grade.  The fun thing about my blended learning instruction in 5th grade is that it is including the parents.  I have lots more to think about for next year.

We also learned that the Online School for Girls has an online course for teachers that helps them learn how to incorporate blended learning strategies into their classrooms. Marti and I would both like to take this class over the summer.

John Hunter

A moving experience about good teaching and also about framing a story.  I am inspired to develop something — develop a story so to speak — my campaign to save paper at LMS.  In chatting with a colleague from NYC, who is focusing on building a new campus for Grace Church School, I got the idea of connecting out tremendous waste of paper to some type of support that we might be able to do with our project in Ethiopia.  For instance. of we could save 10,000 pieces of paper next year, what could we do do with the money saved for the people that GDS students connect with in Ethiopia (notebooks, good, other supplies?)

Dan Savage

Extraordinary. Would be a good speaker at GDS or as an event that we invite other members of the independent school community to hear.  It would be fun for Dan Savage to visit, but more for what he might see us doing than what he might encourage us to do.

Amy Chua

We almost skipped this, but luckily we didn’t. Both of us downloaded the book. IT is hard to listen to/read because sometimes she is so clueless.
At other times she is very clear about things parents to that waste valuable time and energy. Someone has to be the last presenter, but it’s too bad that so many people did not get to hear Chua speak. Susanna Jones, Head of Holton Arms, wrote this excellent post about Chua’s book.  

EdCampIS – Saturday all day at the Northwest School in Seattle

Since we were already going to be in the wonderful city of Seattle, Marti and I decided-to extend our stay an additional day at our own expense to attend EdCamp’s ‘Unconference’ at the Northwest School in Seattle.  What a great decision on our part.  Our day-long activities at Northwest — a school very much like GDS in terms of urban space use — made the already great conference experience even better.  About 75 people attended from all over the country.

Edcamp is unstructured. People sign up to share ideas and activities, and other people sign up to work with them to learn more about those topics. A small agenda awaited us when we arrived and then many of us, including Marti, added some topics.

I attended three sessions: iPad’s in the Classroom,flipped learning, and gender Identity and sexuality-all were terrific.  Once again, iPad vs. laptop discussion proved thought-provoking — seems more of an adult issue than a kid issue.  Also, sharing successfully used Apps, discussing the best use of these great little devices, and learning from peers involved making this a successful tool for learning and differentiation gave me a lot to think about and take back to the classroom.

The most exciting session was discussing with colleagues their experiences with implementing ‘flipped learning’.  In our group foreign Language and math teachers seemed to be the most enthusiastic flipped classroom boosters, and we discussed strategies for making this a successful learning practice.  I walked away excited at the new ideas I was presented with and am ready to implement some of these practices into my math classroom.  It was fun to be able to share my experiences with Khan Academy and explain how this partnership introduced me to flipped learning.  I was eager to share how Khan and flipped learning added a tremendous way to differentiate among the students without isolating, grouping, or even making the students aware that they were doing anything ‘different’ than their peers.

Marti attended the iPad session as well as a session on public-private educational partnerships where she shared her experiences teaching technology classes to 10 public school teachers in the GDS computer lab — a project she worked on with Wes Gibson.

Marti’s final activity at EdCamp was gathering together a group of 9 teachers from Seattle, Boston, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Illinois to discuss the possibility or organizing a workshop presentation that highlights the things that independent schools are doing with technology and media training for parents — to be submitted for NAIS 2013. They have an outline to start working with on Google Docs

We were extra-ordinarily impressed with the fact that the Northwest Middle and Upper School students clean their classrooms, the bathrooms and the common rooms twice a week.

We loved this unstructured, but very structured professional development time!

Things that Marti Wants to Do as a Result of NAIS

  • Continue working on plans for a service learning project around paper consumption at LMS.  Attend the service learning project event this summer here at GDS.
  • Consider expanding media literacy student training to 4th grade
  • Add some more 21st Century learning training tasks to Technology Tuesday presentations.
  • Encourage the school to have a 21st Century speed innovation session as a part of a professional development day next year.
  • Work on the NAIS parent technology training and support project.
  • Continue working  on iPad or 1/1 adoption at GDS [Here at GDS we have been so close so many times and then did not move ahead.]
  • Can we find some ways to add 21st Century learning language to the wonderful new faculty evaluation program?
  • Keep trying to set up a GDS low-frequency radio station to be set up at carpool to broadcast podcasts and other student-produced digital content.
  • Learn more about blended learning and use it.
  • I’d love to visit the Hawken School and learn more about the curricular changes thay have made.
  • Set up an UnConference for the DC area.


Things that Joni Wants to Do as a Result of NAIS

–Work with the English department on Pages, research and efficiency for use of iPads in the    Language Arts.  (Charles class began working today on researching, creating and saving documents using Pages; children will be giving us their feedback comparing iPad and laptop use.)

–A lot of discussion around girls and how we lose them in MS math.  Spoke of importance of female teachers for children entering middle school math as well as same sex learning.  Plan on grouping children in same sex groups in order to allow girls this time and see if there are observable difference.

–Use techniques learned from colleagues that have proved successful with flipped learning.  Will assign more pre-learning such as Khan videos and text book readings with notes for home work.  Plan on having children complete more of their written work in class in order to observe their process, progress and be able to review their daily work each evening.

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