Marzano’s Culture (Personal Learning Network)

Perhaps one of the most critical attributes for 21st learning and leading is an Institutional culture, or the shared values, beliefs ob_06cd7f_blog-bg-imageo2tijscultureand feelings of a learning community. We can have the best teachers, learners, curriculum, infrastructure and more, but without a clear alignment of what we all believe is important, and therefore make a priority, we may be less than successful. Generally, we all agree on student-centeredness, hands-on, learn by doing and other catch-phrases, but more importantly, has the institution identified ways to bring these attributes alive and encourage ownership. Empowering everyone in the community to feel like they are both part of the system and part of the solution can increase both student achievement as well as the intangible benefits of belonging, which sustains a community beyond graduation.
One way to build a healthy culture is through meaningful and relevant professional development (PD) opportunities, especially in the form of longitudinal professional/personal learning networks web-2-tools-300x220(PLN). Historically, PLNs were created within department and/or schools to share and connect educators with updated best practice teaching methods and perhaps action research. Today, there are many more ways to connect through the use of technology. There are social networks, such as Facebook, which can be integrated into a PLN; Twitter, microblogging, which educators can share and/or connect to world leaders in their specific discipline and simply follow or engage in sustained dialogue; YouTube video’s to either passively learn and/or create and share your own best practices; Skype for synchronous webinars or broadcasting your departmental ideas; and Diigo for curation of material. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has a great summary of how to integrate technology into your PLN on their website at


Marzano’s Contingent Rewards (Assessment/Evaluation)

executive compensation static showcase_cec3a334eb44791c2dca12534db944e1Contingent Rewards, or “swapping rewards for performance”, first requires accurate, appropriate assessment – or the gathering of behavioral data. Today’s instructional leader should appreciate formative and summative assessment in and beyond the classroom to support teacher growth and an increase student achievement. It is important that teachers understand formative (to form an understanding of what a student knows and use that to determine instructional needs) assessment is not for grading – it is for learning. Summative assessments are useful to determine what learning has taken place after instruction. Philosophically, if a summative assessment indicated that little or no learning took place, that should become a formative and new learning opportunities should be provided to assist in student mastery. Therefore, quality instruction includes both formative and summative assessment at the appropriate time and frequency.

Examples of resources which can assist in creating formative assessments, include Poll Everywhere (allows students to ETLL Poll_Everywhere Logoanonymously share their responses, which are then aggregated and displayed as a chart so educators can quickly determine percentage of students who responded correctly); Explain Everything screencast (allow students to record their voice and digital movements as they solve problems, producing an MP4 video file, which teachers can review); Coggle (mind mapping tool); ForAllRubrics (allows teachers to create and score rubrics on mobile device); and Wordle (allows students to represent their understanding through word frequency visuals).

Marzano’s Change Agent

Before we share the next 21st Century attribute, we would like to remind everyone that we (the authors) have been collaborating for over 15 years and believe that the differences in our background are a strength. You will notice that we try to provide a broad PK-24 perspective, Michelle focusing on PK-12 and Jace on Higher Ed. Therefore, in this blog, we attempt to blend our ideas, as you will see more evident in the following 21 (now 20) attributes of a 21st Century Educator/Scholar.

Screenshot 2015-03-11 11.59.32It seems that the only consistency in life is change. We can debate it, discuss how to address it and complain about it, but regardless, change will occur. Therefore, it seems the only true option is to consider how we manage change in a productive, positive manner.  One way is to create an environment for educators to change at their own pace, with multiple options so they can determine their own method of change. Empowerment is an effective change agent for successful transitions. There are many apps which can empower educators, aligns with the 21 Things for the 21st Century Administrator is Portable Mobile Administrator. The portafourability to use a portable device to take and share digital photos of the campus, record and send voice mails, draw diagrams (Paper 53) and save to the cloud are just a few examples. An extra bonus is that at the end of the year, a dynamic visual annual report can be efficiently produced by using these photos and documents. In addition, the power of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Google Now and Speaktoit Assistant allow educators to quickly access information, as they travel, hands free.

Marzano’s Affirmation

infographics-infographic-01-2015Affirmation as an instructional leadership responsibility refers to the necessity for routinely recognizing and celebrating the positive things that take place, and having the courage to admit and learn from the failures. An effective leader is trusted. Trust requires actions that match words, thus the importance of communicating candidly internally and externally. This will enable stakeholders to trust a leader even when situations prohibit full disclosure.

The use of data is one way to ensure a focus on student and achievement, and will provide results to celebrate or indicate areas that should be addressed. When leaders communicate using data to drive the conversations, it keeps the attention on students, and minimizes bias on particular programs, software, etc. Is it working becomes the focus, and if not, what needs to be changed?

Many resources are available to support data analysis and others to create visuals that allow for better communication of information. Google, Zoho and OpenOffice provide free spreadsheet apps and are intuitive to use. To visually present data from spreadsheets (or other sources), a wide range of free tools exist. Word clouds such as Wordle and Tagxedo can be used to show the relative importance of written data, and Tagxedo allows for that to be shown in a variety of shapes. Also, Infographics can be created with ease at Canva and Piktochart. Both are free, easy to use and allow for uploading your own graphics. To receive a daily infographic, sign up at, which is the source for the infographic on this post.

21st Century Educational Leaders

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The role of a leader in education has changed significantly over time from one of a manager to one as an instructional leader, perhaps more so at the Pre-K through 12 levels than in postsecondary education. This is likely due to the attention given to education and the previous lack of accountability for college and career readiness of a high school graduate, and recognition within the business community that even with all of the unemployed people we have in our country, we unable to fill all of our jobs with qualified and capable candidates. The role of the instructional leader must now include the embedded use of technology.
To that end, we will be sharing a series of 21 blog posts, derived from the 21 Things for the 21st Century Administrator  which aligned the 21 Responsibilities of the School Leader,  from Marzano’s book “School Leadership that Works: from Research to Reform” to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) for Administrators. We will state the topic, share the background and connect to one or more appropriate apps which can help address the topic.

The 21 Things for the 21st Century Administrator include: Assessment/Evaluation, Collaboration, Content Area Tools, Differentiated Instruction, Digital Citizenship, Digital Images, Face of Building, Instructional Leadership, Interactive Learning, Online Learning, PLN, Portable Mobile Administration, Research and Reference Tools, RSS/Staying Informed, School Improvement Tools, Screencasting, Staying Organized, Video Resources, Virtual Communication Tools, Visual Learning and Basics. 21st_YouTube_Logo

Marzano’s 21 Responsibilities of the School Leader include: Affirmation, Change Agent, Contingent Rewards, Communication, Culture, Discipline, Flexibility, Focus, Ideals/Beliefs, Input, Intellectual Stimulation, Involvement in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Knowledge of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Monitoring/Evaluating, Optimizer, Order, Outreach, Relationships, Resources, Situational Awareness, and Visibility.

Up next: Assessment/Evaluation and Affirmation!


non-profit-organizationsIt would seem the more tasks that we are trying to accomplish, especially at the same time, the more organization would be helpful. Educators know all too well, the necessity of organization and being able to access materials efficiently, and share broadly. There are many organizational applications, which can help us categorize, track, sort and query to access information quickly. Unfortunately, no one app does it all for us and none will perform the miracle of reading our minds and anticipating our needs. However, there are programs, which understand how teachers think and predict some of our methods for teaching. If we can find the time at the front end of a project and set up the app, and regularly input critical information, then when the stressful time of the term is upon us, we can reap our awards of identifying the right app and putting forth a bit of effort early.

The first free app that we will share, which can assist in our organization is called Edmodo. Edmodo is the worlds largest 140px-Edmodo_logo.svgsocial/educational network with over 50 million users who attempts to assist 21st century learners, and how they access and process information. Edmodo allows you to set up a course, enroll students and allow parents to view the course. You can organize your course material and make available when you choose. You can also create assessments, surveys and polls to determine student progress and understanding.

The second free organization app is Dragon Dictation, which 88873d5c20314c08d3dcecd19173b037allows you to speak into your device and the app dictates or translates your voice into text. This is a good way to organize ideas, plans and to do lists into one document, which can be shared, emailed, or posted on your course learning management site. Dragon is also a nice way to “write” material, when you are on the go, traveling from one place to another.

The final organization app that we will share on this post is Paper by Fiftythree, which is a uniquely nostalgic way to ejkrqa7nz1ulptitpnwvcombine technology and the tradition of writing and drawing. Fiftythree (which stands for the 53 cm on a standard size paper) is a quick way to make notes, or draw a diagram to represent your or learners thoughts. It can simply be used as a replacement for paper (which different than paper, can be quickly shared electronically) and/or by using the built-in tools, you can create colorful artworks. Fiftythree believes that “software has made some us less creative, and that good ideas can emerge from pencil and paper.

Online Presentation Apps

instructionalDesignCreating high quality, engaging and accessible presentations are critical for educators. Historically, we have used chalkboards, acetate overheads and Powerpoint. The basics for a good presentation has not changed. Good instructional design applies regardless of the presentation format. There are many instructional designs, which we can use to help guide our message. Focusing on how people attend and process information should be key elements in our preparation. In addition, there is a relatively new model for steps-730x345building conceptual-based presentations called Design Thinking (DT). DT typically includes five stages, Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation & Evolution.

One method to create and store your presentations in the cloud would be to use Google Slides, which is free and available through your Google Drive account. Google Slides has the advantage of storing your presentations at the same location where your other documents already live. The steps to create are menu driven and can be modified and shared with collaborators.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA second presentation app is Slideshare, the world’s largest community for sharing presentations with 60 million users each month. Slideshare has been around for about ten years and allows you to upload presentations, infographics, documents, video’s, PDFs and webinars.

The final presentation app is relatively new and called eMaze. eMaze has been referred to as the next generation presentation software. It is free, easy to use, cloud-based, multi-device accessible, provides 3D designs and perhaps most unique contains voice activation and language translation.