Nice Try ClassDojo - But Go Back to the Drawing Board

Just checked out Class DoJo Seems to be another example of non-educators creating apps for education that seem like a good idea, but is wrought with problems. 

"ClassDojo works by setting up real-time feedback loops in the classroom, to recognize and reinforce specific, desirable behaviors, values and accomplishments. You can do this with just one click, and have real-time visual notifications appear on your smartboard, laptop or projector. All recognition is logged automatically, and student behavior records are automatically created and updated so you don't have to do any other data entry (unless you want to, of course!). ClassDojo automatically generates analytics, shareable character report cards and insight into your classroom that has never before been available."

While they emphasize the benefits of real-time visual feedback there is no ways students can see the online results if the teacher is using their SMART board, laptop, or projector to actually teach. 
They also highlight the benefit of being able to email or share the reports with students or parents. The problem is that most students will have a difficult time recalling what it is they did to acquire or lose points by the end of the day, let alone at the end of the week. 

Overall, I'm uncertain how they plan to make money or even why a teacher would try this out for free, but instead of being a negative Nelly I will make a couple of suggestions. 
  1. A widget that can be projected in a corner of your computer screen, may help to address the real time feedback issue. 
  2.  For the end of day/week reports to be meaningful, students need to be able to pair the feedback with what was taking place in the classroom at the time. A simple time log would not be enough (especially for students that can't tell time). Pairing the report log with the classroom schedule may help. Instead of a report that says a student was disruptive three times on Tuesday, being able to see that they were disruptive twice during reading, forgot their writing homework and but were helpful during science might reveal that their behaviour is being influenced by academic challenges. 
  3. For the app to be truly responsive and help students monitor their own behaviour there would also be an app on each students' mobile device, table, laptop that would privately notify the student when they were awarded or deducted points. Students could eventually award points to themselves as they become better at monitoring their own behaviour. 

Experimenting with Video Annotation

Despite being a relatively new concept, the backlash against the Flipped Classroom concept is growing each day. The main objections to flipping classroom instruction is that it simply replaces a passive classroom experience with a passive homework experience. What many opponents forget is that the ability to slow down, speed up or repeat the instructional video allows for a level of personalization that is not possible in the classroom. Flipped proponents suggest that getting the passive stuff out of the way can provide more time for engaging classroom activities.

What was often missing from the flipped scenario was an opportunity for students to readily engage with the video content. Using VideoANT may help to ensure that your flip doesn't flop by providing students with a means to interact with the video content and their peers.

VideoANT provides students with the ability to annotate online videos with comments or questions. Sharing these annotations with their peers can not only enhance their understanding of the content, but also provide clarification and answer the questions of their peers.

The ability it annotate online videos means that educators can tap into the vast supply of videos available on YouTube Edu and reduce the need to create all of the video content themselves. VideoANT can even be embedded into classroom websites or blogs making it easy to share the end result.

Embedded VideoANT example.

THINK: A Forum on the Future of Leadership

Becoming a SMART Leader

Just as the original SMART interactive whiteboard transformed educational technology by providing a new way for teachers to engage their students, the latest offerings by SMART Technologies has the potential to change how school leaders interact with their stakeholders as they become tech-enabled leaders.

In a departure from traditional leadership that is often closed, top-down, and rigid, SMART leaders focus on interactivity to ensure that their tech-enabled leadership actions are opencollaborative, or dynamic.

Open Leadership Action:
SMART's Notebook Express web application facilitates the sharing of interactive materials even if some recipients don't have a SMART board or SMART Notebook software. School leaders can now easily share presentations and information covered during with meeting with stakeholders even with they were unable to attend. Open leadership actions and the sharing of information can provide teachers and parents with the vital information that is necessary for them to actively support the education process. An informed parent is better able to become the engaged parent that is necessary to support individual student success.

Collaborative Leadership Actions:
In contract to unilateral control and top-down leadership, the multitouch capabilities of the latest 800 series SMART boards can bring a greater level of the interaction  to collaborative planning and brainstorming sessions.

The decision making process becomes a collaborative endeavour when school leaders use the SMART Response interactive response system to engage stakeholders by allowing them to provide input the school's decision making process. When used during staff or parent council meetings, school leaders can get quick and easy stakeholder feedback that can not only influence the final decision, but also the impact of the decision. Research has noted that stakeholder participation in the decision making process can enhance decision quality and eventual level of participant acceptance and satisfaction (Yukl, 2010).

Dynamic Leadership Actions:
Rather than a solitary act, school leadership has become a process more than the job of one person. Dynamic leadership acknowledges that school success is enhanced when leadership is distributed and a variety of formal and informal leaders contribute to school leadership.  SMART's Bridgit conferencing software can be used to facilitate dynamic leadership by allowing a variety of leaders to engage in vital leadership actions even if they can't be in the same room, school or city.  Outside experts, consultants and district leaders can be easily brought into a school to share their insight with staff or students without added transportation cost or time lost traveling to the school. Because Bridgit allows anyone to contribute to a meeting, by screen sharing or adding digital ink notes or instant text messages, this software can serve to support the distribution of leadership. Harnessing the potential of dynamic leadership can provide schools with ready access to knowledge and skills that only a collection of leaders can possess.

Stories About Growing (Tech-Enabled) Leaders

K12 Online Conference Presentation

Presenters: Zoe Branigan-Pipe, Dr. Camille Rutherford, Kyle Tuck
Presentation Description: Our story is about growing leaders in the Ed Tech Cohort at Brock University in Hamilton, Ontario. This story begins with planting the seeds of tech leadership by providing intensive hands-on educational technology training. Their growth was nurtured by helping them develop an online professional network and partnering them with Virtual Associate Teachers. As their technical and tech-social competencies grew, cohort participants also received instruction in pedagogical approaches that use technology to enhance teaching and learning, technical curriculum design and leadership theory. This training and support was essential so that they may become a future educational technology leaders and a ‘Forest of Leaders’ can take root. Throughout the presentation you will hear their voices and stories as they grow into 21st century teachers.