Friday, March 29, 2013

100 Twitter Tips and Resources for Educators

I found a great resource on TeachThought entitled, "100 Twitter Tips for Teachers" that I wanted to
share with you.

I'm always looking for Twitter resources to share with educators because so many people that I talk to seem to think Twitter is 140 characters or less of irrelevant thoughts that couldn't possibly benefit their instruction or learning.

Twitter is a fun social media site, but it has evolved into so much more. For me, Twitter is a great way to share ideas, to research, to build a professional network, and to gain exposure for the CareerTech Testing Center. You could also use Twitter to build coursework and I have thought for some time that Twitter could be used in the development of skills standards.

Please read "100 Twitter Tips for Teachers" and give serious thought to the uses for Twitter in education and try it for an extended time. If you already use Twitter, please look at this resource (categories listed below) and discover how you can enhance your Twitter strategy.

"100 Twitter Tips for Teachers" includes the following categories:
  • The Basics
  • Etiquette
  • Connecting
  • Classroon
  • Professional Life
  • Pro Tools
  • Who to Follow
  • Applications to Emulate

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Madness: Let the Testing Begin

My NCAA basketball tournament brackets have once again become my folly after only the first weekend of the tournament so I began to think of what "March Madness" really means for me in education... the beginning of the testing season.

I think there are many valid and useful reasons for testing so the "Madness" I refer to only means how busy we get during this time of year. To help you with your testing "Madness," I have created a list of twenty resources that will help you understand the reasons for testing, the testing process, test interpretation, and remediation.

I hope the list below will help you gain a better understanding of why we test and how important the process and the results are for your students and your program.

The CareerTech Testing Matrix (The Competency Test Process)

Understanding the “Depth” of Testing

Effectively Communicating the Measurement of Constructs to Stakeholders

Testing Integrity: Issues and Recommendations for Best Practices

Create a successful testing environment

Follow the recommended time for administering tests

Establish rapport with examinees

Limit test anxiety

Provide test security and eliminate cheating

Understanding the numbers I, II, III, IV

Interpreting test scores

The Pygmalion Effect: Are You Guilty?

Analyze individual tests scores across all levels - instructor, district, and state

Provide positive reinforcement and build upon an examinee’s relative strengths

Remediate an examinee’s relative weaknesses

Implement improvements across all levels

Reporting Test Results to Parents

10 Questions Every Parent and Student Should Ask About Testing

Study Tips and Skills

Read and learn “The Secret of Writing Multiple Choice Test Items”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Robert Sommers: New State Director for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

Robert Sommers

This week starts a new direction for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education as Robert Sommers of Middletown, Ohio begins his tenure as the new state director.

I have to admit that I like a recent Tweet of his, "CareerTech in Oklahoma is impressive. Great economic development tool and a relevance provider for students!" I also have to admit that I'm excited about the future of CTE in Oklahoma as a new state director typically creates change and, although uncomfortable at times for many of us, change affords us the opportunity to learn and to grow as individuals. That is really what this blog is about anyway... lifelong learning and creating new opportunities for each of you, for your students, your business and industry clients, and your stakeholders.

Please read below for more information on Robert Sommers:
Sommers recently served as chief executive officer/managing partner of Carpe Diem Learning Systems, the organization created to grow the high-performing, cost-effective Carpe Diem model nationally. This model uses digital content and teaching faculty to create a personalized blended learning education experience. Sommers was responsible for opening a Carpe Diem school in Indianapolis.

"We are extremely fortunate to have in Oklahoma's CareerTech System someone of Bob Sommers' vision and proven track record of improving student performance," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Career and Technology Education Board Chair Janet Barresi. "He has 15 years experience in supervision and leadership in Ohio's career-technical education and has collaborated with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the creation and passage of major educational reforms for improved student performance and cost effectiveness. His vision for the future of the Career and Technology System in our state is forward thinking and exciting. I look forward to working with him."

For nine years Sommers was CEO/superintendent of an Ohio career-technical district, Butler Technology and Career Development Schools, in Hamilton, Ohio. Under his leadership, the district doubled in size, became the highest performing career-technical district in Ohio and became known for creative educational programs including blended learning schools. The district served more than 26,000 high school through adult students and provided customized training to companies.

From 1986 to 2001, Sommers served in several capacities with the Ohio Department of Education. He served as an agricultural supervisor, state adviser for the FFA, assistant director of program evaluation services and associate director overseeing federal career-technical funding programs and the creation of a new Ohio career-technical funding system.

Sommers’ teaching experience included agricultural education in London, Ohio.

Sommers' work as director of Ohio’s Office of 21st Century Education included passage of reforms for increased school performance transparency, teacher evaluation, school choice and failing school transformation. His experience also includes serving as CEO of Cornerstone Charter Schools, where he led two K-8th-grade schools under management and two more schools under development. He designed the Cornerstone Health High School, a blended learning school that opened in fall 2012.

He earned a doctorate in educational administration and leadership from The Ohio State University, Columbus, where he also completed his master’s degree in agricultural education. Sommers received a bachelor of science degree in education at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and has received several education and business awards in Ohio. His service in leadership positions in numerous state and national organizations, including the chairman of the Performance Taskforce for the National Association of Career and Technical Education, is additional evidence of his commitment to his profession.

“I am excited about the opportunities before Oklahoma’s CareerTech System ,” Sommers said. “Oklahoma’s career and technology educators have led the country in creating innovative programs. I’m confident we will continue this tradition of innovation. I look forward to working with the board, the staff and the state’s career and technology educators in assuring every Oklahoman a quality career, every business a quality workforce and Oklahoma a great educational system."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Career Focus: After Military Service

I wanted to announce a new CIMC product that I'm very excited about entitled:  Career Focus: After Military Service.

This product was developed for veterans who are leaving the military and transitioning to a civilian career. This guide walks veterans through five steps in making this transition: Self-assessment, exploring career interests and options, filling a skills gap, finding and applying for a job, and managing the career transition.

CIMC is also offering the entire Career Focus: After Military Service publication as a free file for you to download.

Click here to download: Career Focus: After Military Service.
Please contact CIMC online, by phone (800.654.4502), or by fax (405.743.5154) to order the following Career Focus guides:

Career Focus is a new career exploration and preparation guide. This 32-page, full-color magazine combines essential guidance with web activities and "skill builder" opportunities to help prepare users for college and the workplace.There are three versions of Career Focus available.

The original Career Focus explores careers in all areas. Topics include career clusters and pathways; plans of study; personal selling points; online tools; college planning checklists; interview strategies; and keys to career success. Career Focus also provides workplace re-entry strategies for those who have been absent from the workplace for a number of reasons.

Career Focus: Health Careers provides career exploration and preparation for careers in the health care area, including careers in health care, unusual jobs in the field, and CareerTech Champions in this area. It is a concise guide to planned success for high school students and adults interested in the health care industry.

Filedrop: Use Your Phone as a Wi-Fi USB-Stick

I found an interesting app called Filedrop that allows users to send files between devices within one network. Users can launch Filedrop on two devices and then drag and drop files between them. The app works between any kind of device and between any kind of platform (Mac to Windows) and the theory behind the app is that is should be as easy as "passing a pen." Users can send files to any nearby devices, use their smart phone as a wireless USB stick, stream photos from their phone, or play music from their phone.

Currently, the only versions that are available are for computers, but Apple and Android apps are in development (you can sign up to receive notification when the Apps are available). I think this type of app can be important in the future because it allows users to share across different types of platforms. Potentially, a great resource with applications for both school and work.

Please watch the Filedrop video below for more information or click HERE:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ten Benefits of Quizzes and Tests in Educational Practice

John Kleeman
I found an interesting post by John Kleeman on the Questionmark Blog that I wanted to share with you. John is one of the few people that I've found that frequently provides information on the psychology of assessment and I'm thankful that he allows us to share his thoughts with you.

Here is John's post in its entirety:
I’d like to share ten benefits proposed by psychology experts Henry L. Roediger III, Adam L. Putnam and Megan A. Smith in a recent paper, “Ten Benefits of Testing and Their Applications to Educational Practice”.

Here is my summary and understanding:

1. Retrieval aids later retention. There is clear evidence from psychological experiments that practicing retrieval of something after learning it, for instance by taking a quiz or test, makes you more likely to retain it for the long term.

2. Testing identifies gaps in knowledge.

3. Testing causes students to learn more from the next study episode. Essentially it reduces forgetting which makes the next related study area more productive.

4. Testing produces better organization of knowledge by helping the brain organize material in clusters to allow better retrieval.

5. Testing improves transfer of knowledge to new contexts. There are several experiments referenced in the paper where tests and quizzes help transfer and application of knowledge.

6. Testing can facilitate retrieval of material that was not tested. Surprisingly there are circumstances where quizzes or tests, particularly if delayed, can help people retrieve/retain information that was related to that asked but not actually asked in the questions.

7. Testing improves metacognitive monitoring – by giving students scores or self-assessments, they can better predict their knowledge and be more confident about what they know and what they need to know.

8. Testing prevents interference from prior material when learning new material. If you have a test after learning one set of material before learning another set of material, it can make it less likely that the second session will.

9. Testing provides feedback to instructors and lets them know what is learned or what is not.

10. Frequent testing encourages students to study. Having frequent quizzes and tests motivates study and reduces procrastination.
You can see their paper “Ten Benefits of Testing and Their Applications to Educational Practice” in Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol 55. It’s also available for download on Professor Roediger’s publications page, in the list of papers from 2011, at

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New from CIMC: Career Focus - Health Careers Edition

Career Focus is a new career exploration and preparation guide focusing on Health Careers. This 32-page, full-color magazine combines essential guidance with web activities and "skill builder" opportunities to help prepare users for college and the workplace.

Topics include the Health career cluster and pathways; plans of study; personal selling points; online tools; college planning checklists; interview strategies; and keys to career success. Career Focus also provides workplace re-entry strategies for those who have been absent from the workplace for a number of reasons.

There is information on careers in Health Care, unusual jobs in the field, and CareerTech Champions in this area.  It is a concise guide to planned success for high school students and adults interested in the Health Care industry.

About CIMC:
CIMC develops quality, competency-based instructional products and services for career and technology education. High school programs, area technology centers, junior and community colleges, proprietary schools, and government agencies are users of CIMC products. Business and industry customers are also learning of the training and cost advantages of using CIMC instructional systems. Several industry groups and trade associations have participated in the development of their products and services.

You can reach CIMC online, by phone, or by fax:

• 800.654.4502

• 405.743.5154 (fax)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Before Google Reader Goes Away... Try Feedly

As many of you know, Google is shutting down its popular Google Reader on July 1, 2013. I can't say that I'm happy about this as I'm still a fan of RSS feeds, but Google believes its resources should be spent elsewhere as people are using Twitter and other forms of social media to gather their news.

There are several alternatives for Google Reader, but I'm currently trying the news aggregator Feedly. According to the Feedly blog, more than 500,000 Google Reader users have migrated to Feedly in the last 48 hours. To handle the increased demand, Feedly has increased their bandwidth 10x and added new servers. My migration from Google Reader to Feedly was seemless and you have the option of several operating systems; iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Safari.

The buzz about Feedly has been so great that their iOS app is now the top free app in Apple's App Store. You can also check out Feedly's Twitter account for information on features and software or try their blog or their uservoice forum.

Give Feedly a try and let us know your thoughts or share your review on an alternative aggregator!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Renee Citlau: CTE Educator and 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year

I had the pleasure last week of moderating a panel discussion that included the 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year (NOTY) and the other two finalists. I have attended all four NOTY award ceremonies and I must admit that it is truly amazing how these instructors continue to expand how students learn and for how they demonstrate what they know. These wonderful instructors are truly the "silver bullet" in education and no matter how much I like educational technology, there will never be an app that can replace them!

The press release from SREB is below, but I want to add a very important fact about the 2013 NOTY Award winner. Renee Citlau is a teacher in career and technical education (CTE) and her subject areas include, accounting, web page design, economics, and digital animation. Congratulations to Renee Citlau, Jennifer Curriin, and Michelle Licata!
Renee Citlau
2013 NOTY Award Winner
Renee Citlau of Anaheim, CA, an online teacher at Cypress High School and a lead online teacher for the Anaheim Union High School District, has been named the 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year, an honor awarded annually by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

The National Online Teacher of the Year (NOTY) award recognizes an outstanding educator for exceptional contributions to online K-12 education and dedication to enhancing and sharing best practices across the field.

Online learning “incorporates 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and creativity,” Citlau said. “Students from different demographic regions collaborate on projects despite geographic and cultural barriers that might otherwise keep them apart.

“I can use images, make word analogies, create a cartoon or animation, record a live lesson, or add audio to help them remember.” Almost daily, she said, “I get to witness students having ‘light bulb’ moments.”

The two additional NOTY finalists were Jennifer Currin, an online English teacher at North Carolina Virtual Public School, and Michelle Licata, a teacher and mentor for other online educators at Florida Virtual School. Citlau, Currin and Licata were recognized at an awards dinner during the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative K-20 Virtual Teaching and Learning Symposium in Atlanta, GA. This year's review committee, made up of five leaders in e-learning from across the nation, selected the finalists from nominations by their peers in online public schools in 19 states.

Renee Citlau is a Leading Edge Certification trainer and active member of Computer Using Educators (CUE), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). In 2012, she won the CUE and California Learning Resource Network Online Teacher of the Year Award. In 2008, she was Cypress High School's Teacher of the Year.

As the National Online Teacher of the Year, Citlau will represent the online learning field at several events and professional conferences, sharing her expertise and insight with audiences across the country, including iNACOL's Blended and Online School Symposium (October 27-30 in Orlando, FL).

“Online learning is growing rapidly because it gives students — the ‘Net Generation’ — access to the courses that provide opportunity, flexibility and convenience,” said Matlea Parker, program manager for the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative. “The use of Web 2.0 and social networking is changing how teachers must deliver instruction. One of the reasons the NOTY award was created was to provide a model of the best practices online teachers use to maximize their students’ learning experiences. Having amazingly effective teachers who are committed to quality — and to the success of their students — is essential.”

Susan Patrick, president and CEO of iNACOL, said, “Teachers working in online and blended learning environments are pioneering personalized education for their students. Renee Citlau exemplifies the very best of the professionalism, curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit that have led to the development of a new generation of teaching tools and methods that optimize and transform learning in these new school models.”

The National Online Teacher of the Year award is made possible by AT&T, Blackboard Collaborate, Florida Virtual School, the Pearson Foundation, SAS and VSCHOOLZ.
I have been a long-time proponent of the use of online learning in CTE and I can see the importance of its growth in drop out recovery, adult education, business and industry training, and other areas. I hope Renee's award will open open a few doors and expand the role of online learning in career and technical education.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The CareerTech Testing Center: Celebrating Nationwide Provision of High-Quality Tests

Jennifer Nuttle, Jennifer Lathem and Teena Friend accept the
Questionmark Gettings Results Award on behalf
of the CareerTech Testing Center
(Aaron Clamage Photo)

I must admit that I'm quite proud of receiving the Questionmark Getting Results Award considering the number of companies from around the world that use Questionmark Perception.

Here is last week's Questionmark post by Joan Phaup that highlights the event:
This week's Questionmark Users Conference was a celebration of many things – Questionmark’s 25th anniversary, new and future tools for making tests and other assessments more powerful and meaningful, tremendous progress on many fronts. It’s also a celebration of our customers’ achievements, which shone brightly during case study presentations, discussions and a session on best practices on secure testing in remote environments.

This year, we had the pleasure of presenting a Questionmark Getting Results Award to the CareerTech Testing Center at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education (ODCTE). The award cited the Testing Center’s provision of tests that help institutions throughout the United States satisfy compliance criteria for state and national educational initiatives and meet certification requirements for more than 60 occupations.

The CareerTech Testing Center creates and administers competency assessments that enable students in CareerTech programs to demonstrate their mastery of knowledge related to their chosen occupation. The center offers more than 100 exams covering a variety of occupational areas and delivers more than 95,000 assessments each year to proctored sites across Oklahoma and 25 other states.

The Testing Center develops exams with the help of subject matter experts and uses Questionmark Analytics extensively during the annual review process of all exams to maintain item quality and ensure that test items meet rigorous performance standards.

ODCTE has worked together with Questionmark to find efficient ways to distribute tests nationwide and has proven the value of leveraging test content. Through partnerships with industry organizations, professional associations and government agencies, the CareerTech Testing Center offers many institutions convenient, efficient and economical access to high-quality tests. Congratulations to everyone who works there!

Learn more about CareerTech Testing Center assessments here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Teacher of Thousands: Piyush Patel

Here is a TEDxOStateU video entitled "Teacher of Thousands: Piyush Patel."

Piyush Patel founded and runs a company that generates virtual training programs for creative professionals who produce films, video games, commercials and other projects. Located in Oklahoma City, PL Studios Inc.,  along with the Digital-Tutors division, works with clients including Disney, NASA, Nike, Dreamworks, Pixar, EA Sports and Mercedes-Benz.

Piyush Patel
In 2010, the company was recognized as an official honoree of the broadband category at the 14th annual Webby Awards and was listed as one of the 50 Most Usable Rich Internet Applications of the year by the 2009 O’Reilly’s Inside RIA.

Patel is an advisory board member for the Oklahoma Technology Council, a member of the AIGA Oklahoma board of directors, a member of the Oklahoma State Chamber board of directors and the former president for the Oklahoma Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization. He was a tenured professor at Northern Oklahoma College before founding PL Studios, Inc.

Patel has also been instrumental in helping the CareerTech Testing Center and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in the development of our skills standards (knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform related jobs within an industry) for Motion Graphics Artist, 3D Animator, and 3D Modeler. Digital-Tutors has provided their endorsement of these standards which serve as the foundation for competency-based instruction in these areas.

Congratulations to Piyush on a great TEDx talk and for having the idea to create an instructional concept that can change the lives of thousands from across the globe!
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