Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aaron Slutsky to become a Google Certified Teacher

We are pleased to announce that Google has selected Aaron Slutsky as an attendee at the next Google Teacher Academy, to be held in Seattle, Washington on July 28, 2011.  Aaron is currently the Director of Technology for McDowell County Schools and serves on the NCTIES board of directors.

Aaron was also invited to be part of the inaugural class at the first YouTube Teacher's Studio.  Applications for the YouTube Teacher's Studio were only open to the 50 attending Google Teacher Academy and just 15 were invited to attend.  This workshop will occur the day before the Google Teacher.  Google believes that this program has the potential to spark a transformation in the way teachers connect with students, both in the classroom and outside.

I am very excited to attend both the Google Teacher Academy and the YouTube Teacher's Studio.  I hope to share what I learn at the 2012 NCTIES Conference. ~Aaron Slutsky

The Google Teacher Academy is a free professional development experience designed to help K-12 educational leaders get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google's products and technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, and receive resources to share with colleagues. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local regions and beyond.

Google Certified Teachers are exceptional K-12 educators with a passion for using innovative tools to improve teaching and learning, as well as creative leaders and ambassadors for change. They are recognized experts and widely admired for their commitment to high expectations for students, life-long learning and collaboration.

The Google Certified Teacher program was launched in 2006 with the first Academy held at Google headquarters in Mountain View. The program has since held several academies around the globe, expanding the ranks of Google Certified Teachers. The Google Teacher Academy is produced by Google, in collaboration with CUE and WestEd, both educational non-profit organizations.

You can follow Aaron on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/aslutsky or circle him on Google + http://gplus.to/aslutsky

You can follow NCTIES on twitter at http://twitter.com/ncties

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011 Amended By-laws and Constitution

On behalf of our NCTIES board members, we have been working to review and make changes to our current bylaws. At our summer retreat, we passed a motion to send our proposed amended bylaws and constitution to our membership for a vote.

Current bylaws are in black
Deletions are represented with a strike through
Proposed changes are in red
(Click here to see our proposed amended bylaws and constitution)

Reason for amending the NCTIES Constitution and By-laws is...
to ensure representation for all areas of our state.

The NCTIES board currently has one regional director from each of the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Instructional Technology regions defined in 2006 plus two at-large directors. In 2011, the NCDPI Instructional Technology division redefined state regions. Over the years, NCTIES has aligned our regions to match changes made by NCDPI in the instructional regions. The proposed change to our by-laws will more closely align the NCTIES board to the NC State Board of Education (NCSBE) education districts. Future changes to the NCTIES board will be made as there are changes made to the NCSBE education districts.

Reason for amending the "Standing and Other Committees" in the NCTIES By-Laws is...
to the align NCTIES awards with ISTE awards listed below:
SIGMS - Media Specialist Technology Innovation Award
ISTE Outstanding Teacher
ISTE Outstanding Leader
Making IT Happen

As required by our bylaws, all proposed bylaws and constitution amendments are scheduled for a 30 day posting period (July 16 - August 16) , after which they will be put to a vote (August 16 - 19) by our membership via a separate e-mail that will be sent August 16.


NCTIES Board Members

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Mooresville Technology Revolution

Three years ago, the Mooresville Graded School District began providing laptops to every student in grades 4-12. This made MGSD one of the only entirely digital districts in the US. John Tulenko and producer Audrey Baker of Learning Matters explored their work on a segment that aired on the PBS NewsHour for April 8, 2011.

Additionally, Mooresville's Superintendent, Dr. Mark Edwards, and their CTO, Dr. Scott Smith, were interviewed by the SAS Institute on the importance of creating a data-driven culture.

The interviews can be viewed here.

Dr. Scott Smith is on the Board of Directors for NCTIES.

Is your district doing something great? Please share it with NCTIES.

Friday, March 11, 2011

NCTIES 2011 - Sharing Our Learning

If your like me, NCTIES is one of the highlights of my year. Seeing old friends, learning new tools and sharing ideas is so much fun, but it goes by so quickly and I always feel that I missed out on some great sessions!

This year we wanted to continue our NCTIES conference experience with a sharing session webinar. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, March 16 @ 7:30pm. During this webinar we invite you to share the favorite things that YOU learned at the 2011 NCTIES Conference.

If you missed the conference we would love to have you join us to learn from other teachers who attended!

To access the Elluminate session, simply GO directly to this url:

First time Elluminate user? Follow these friendly directions to set up:

We look forward to seeing you Wednesday night!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good Ideas or Why You Should Be Excited about NCTIES 2011

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I have recently and frequently quoted social science author Steven Johnson. It’s no secret I’ve been reading his latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From; The Natural History of Innovation. As I read through Johnson’s book I’ve been intrigued in his attempt to identify the circumstances and physical environments that foster great ideas. After all, I am in education where we ALWAYS look for better ideas, better methods, better ways to engage – good ideas.
As I read and found a phrase or section that particularly struck me, I “tweeted” it out of force of habit because I found value in the anecdotes and research. I thought others would too.
We work in cultures of PLCs (professional learning communities) and attend LTMs (learning team meetings), often by district and administrative requirement, and get evaluated by a walk through the classroom. The question then becomes what we do with that kind of professional culture. How do we mold it? What do we contribute?
Do we dread the scheduled merger; simply go out of requirement, or do we do create something constructive that helps us achieve better ideas to teach students not just to prepare for a test, but for life.
As somebody who attends six or more LTMs a week I read Johnson’s book wanting to learn how to foster an environment that truly leads to innovation and celebrates and values the vast talents of my colleagues.
I looked back over my archived tweets inspired by Johnson’s book, and it became crystal clear why I am excited about the NCTIES 2011 conference, and why you should be too. Here are a few of the most profound things I found in Johnson’s book and how they explain my excitement, which I hope becomes contagious.
Johnson explores seven patterns to innovations and I won’t go into them, but the first he entitled “The Adjacent Possible.” When dedicated professionals come together and share it creates the adjacent possible because we all come with different perspectives, different strengths, and being willing to share that opens doors to new ideas. I tweeted:

"It’s not so much a question of thinking outside the box as it is thinking through multiple boxes."

NCTIES offers those who choose to take a hard look at what others are doing and have genuine discussions to get the most out of the experience the conference offers. This also struck me while thinking about environments that encourage innovation and good ideas. While they become commingled (which is a good according to the book) as we go from session to session they do provide opportunity to connect to new ideas later (something Johnson calls the “slow hunch”).

"It's not that the network itself is smart; it's that the individuals get smarter because they are connected to the network"

These are words by which I live. If I really think anything I’ve been able to accomplish has been because of the people with whom I have chosen to share, network, and collaborate. Without my network of friends and colleagues I dare say I would have accomplished close to nothing. I owe many thanks to many people, some I have met personally, and others only through my personal learning network.

“The most creative individuals had broad social networks that extended outside their organization and included people from diverse fields of expertise.” And
"Encouragement does not necessarily lead to creativity. Collisions do - collisions that happen when different fields of expertise converge in shared intellectual space."

I encourage NCTIES to continue to strive not only to bring in technology educators and keynote speakers from our own profession, but also from other vocations so we get a clear view of what we need to do, where we need to go, and what we need to do to be innovative educators. Without those opportunities we cannot create the collisions in that shared intellectual space.
The final tidbit that Johnson left me was:

"Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore."

We talk a lot about giving students opportunities to fail, learn from failure, and that school should be the “safe” place for them to experience failure. We must offer ourselves those same opportunities. If being right keeps us in place and being wrong forces us to explore, then we should continue to explore. What better place to explore than at the NCTIES annual conference?
All of what the NCTIES conference offers gives every open mind a chance to think through multiple boxes, connect to a broad and diverse network of individuals and have those productive “collisions” in an intellectual space. Johnson says are all components of an environment that fosters innovation and “good” ideas.
The litmus test will be whether we leave the NCTIES conference energized (as I always do) and take that back to our schools, our LTMs (required or not) a genuine encouragement to our colleagues to share ideas, play to their strengths, and attempt to create an environment of innovation. I strive for that daily. See you in Raleigh!
Sam Walker is the Technology Facilitator at Kimmel Farm Elementary School in Winston-Salem, NC and the 2010 NCTIES Instructional Technology Educator of the Year. - Photo provided by Cayusa via flicker and a creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.