realtime board 2

(click diagram to view live)

The tool I’m trying out for my resolution of this week’s question is RealTimeBoard. It provided me endless workspace and allowed me to embed videos and pictures easily.  The templates available were also nice to look through to get ideas for organizing my information.  The comment bubbles added a subtle option for providing more information.  One disadvantage is that there is not an embed code for your creation (at least not in the free version).    

All in all, the features in Skyward and SeeSaw answered my question, “What technology tools can I recommend to teachers to meet the TPEP CEL5D framework PCC3 (Professional Collaboration & Communication) goal?”  They both seem like great tools for assisting teachers in communicating with families, Skyward for intermediate-12th and SeeSaw for primary grades.  Not only are they two-way methods, but they allow for the on-going communication of learning goals and evidence of  instructional progress.  

As a coach, I will continue to promote these tools with teachers.  Teachers want to know that if they are investing their time to learn and use a tool, it needs to have enough features, be sensible in its navigation, and meet overall educational best practices.  While both tools might not reach distinguished for all three look-fors, they meet the criteria.  Both strongly met the National Board Emphasis on on-going two way communication and the CEL5D Evaluation Framework Professional Collaboration & Communication (PCC) component that I was seeking to evaluate in my question.  Both are also supported by ISTE Teacher Standard 3b, “Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation” and 3c, “Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.”

My RealTimeBoard pictured above shows the innovation through the comparison to the SAMR model.  Communication with families at a substitution level can be a typed newsletter.  For many years, I sent out a two-sided Publisher created newsletter to families.  The augmentation level has some level of improvement or innovation on the first.  Creating a template PowerPoint that I could individualize about instructional goals and progress was something I also did for years.  While it was innovative at its time, it really doesn’t meet the ideals of collaboration set forth in ISTE Teacher Standard 3, National Board professionalism, or the CEL5D Evaluation Framework PCC.  Moving up the SAMR framework, modification would come when the tool is web-based providing for anywhere access and also has two-way communication avenues.  That might be email, text, or even video conferencing options.  In my mind redefinition in school and home communication would take place when not only that was available, but the parent had live access to a portfolio of the student’s past and present work.  As I look at The Technology Integration Matrix from The Florida Center for Instructional Technology it speaks a lot to actively versus passively receiving information through technology.  While its focus is the teacher-to-student relationship, I think the same holds true for the teacher-to-family relationship.  Teachers (and schools) must strive to use non-passive technology to partner with families.

Before closing, I want to add a word of caution.  I think it is imperative that the need for communication and resetting of the student’s educational goals and progress toward those goals are not lost in the excitement over the ability to video conference and access student work in real time.  Access and connecting is extremely important, but the contents of that conversation is where the real value is found!

International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.). ISTE Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-teachers