Do You Use a Backchannel in Your Classroom?

We’ve been experimenting using Today’s Meet as a backchannel for a lot of our professional development and support sessions at the National University National Board Leadership Center. Many teachers are finding it to be a great tool for student engagement and formative assessment in the classroom as well. Using a backchannel tool is a great way to bring technology into the classroom (something that Renewal candidates really need to incorporate…hint, hint).

Check out the post below for more information about backchannels and links to tools that you can begin using today:

The Backchannel: Giving Every Student a Voice in the Blended Mobile Classroom

Are you using a backchannel program in the classroom? If so, please share some example/strategies by posting a comment.

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Have You Considered Teaching Abroad?

Check out the article below on opportunities for teachers to work in international schools–GREAT for NBCTs who are anxious for travel!

K-12 Teachers Needed at Int’l Schools

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Do You BYOD?

This month, the NU National Board Leadership Center is hosting it’s annual NB Leadership Reception and Innovation Summit.  Digital learning will be a hot topic at the summit, and one of the aspects that will be explored is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).  While some districts have implemented 1:1 device initiatives, others are finding BYOD to be an alternative that can be effective, affordable, and efficient.  BYOD can help district avoid the issue of obsolescence, which  can happen quickly as digital devices continue to evolve.  However, other districts are concerned with equity issues due to the fact that many students simply do not have access to a device of their own, making a 1:1 situation through BYOD impossible.  While schools attempt to solve this by allowing BYOD and then supplementing this by providing devices for students who are unable to bring their own, in many cases, there are not enough of these devices to go around.

Even where a successful BYOD or combination policy has been implemented, there are still concerns about the impact of have students access digital devices.  How do you ensure students are using the smart phone for academic purposes rather than texting their friends?  How do you ensure genuine engagement?  What authentic learning tasks do these devices take the place of?  Is there true instructional value or is it just “bling”?

If you’re interested in learning more about BYOD and how you can implement it in the classroom, check out the links below:

The Pros and Cons of BYOD

Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”?

The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now)

Livebinders BYOD Resources for Teachers

Bring Your Own Device Toolkit

BYOD Tips for Students

Fairfax County Schools BYOD Agreement


We’ll be exploring the opportunities and challenges BYOD can present and some of the critical conversations that need to take place at our summit, but in the meantime, we’d love to have you share your own experience by taking our latest poll in the sidebar to the right.  Please take the poll and, if you’d like, post a comment sharing your own experience, including benefits, challenges and frustrations as we go through the “growing pains” of implementing technology in the classroom.

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5 Tips to Submit before May 16!

There are only a few days remaining before the May 16 deadline to have all files uploaded and submitted to NBPTS for scoring. This is an exciting and anxious few days as candidates across the nation work to upload and finally hit the “I’m ready” Submit button. Before you hit that button, I would like to offer a few Tips to Submit. I’ve started the conversation with FIVE – please feel free to add your own tips to help your fellow candidates

  1. Don’t wait until May 16 to upload documents and videos. So many candidates will wait until the last minute to submit and over load the system (some of you area already experiencing overloading of systems and needing to wait to upload)
  2. Upload ‘after hours’ when everyone else is asleep. During business hours the NBPTS system can become overloaded and delay or prevent easy uploads.
  3. Remember, you don’t have to upload and submit at the same time.   The system is designed to let your work live in the ePortfolio system and will automatically submit for you whatever is uploaded in ePortfolio (just in case you forget to hit the submit button – but please don’t!)
  4. Name your files CLEARLY! Be sure you are very clear yourself which files need to upload to which e-Portfolio entry and upload to the CORRECT link. If you upload an entry to the wrong link then you may be an Advanced Candidate in the next cycle – this happened to me when NBPTS used the box for submission and can still happen through the ePortfolio.
  5. If you have a question, ask NBPTS – they’ll answer! Call 1-800-22-TEACH for a relatively quick answer. In addition, ask your question through your NBPTS MyProfile account so you have your answer in WRITING directly from NBPTS.

NBCT mentors here at the NU-NBC Leadership Center are also available through Facebook, e-mail, and our protected on-line environment to answer questions as well. Please feel free to continue posting to us and each other. We’ve been in your same position just days before submitting…we’ve felt the same excitement and anxiousness involved in finally being ready (or not) to submit our final NBPTS Portfolio.

–Amanda Trimillos, NBCT

NU-NBC Program Ambassador

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What the New Assessment Data Will and Won’t Tell Us

The blog post below comes from the San Diego County Office of Education.  This is a hot topic both in California and nationally as we moved forward with Common-Core assessments. Read the post below or access HERE:

April 29, 2014
​When the results of new academic assessments become available in 2015, the way they look and what they tell us will be different from previous tests.

Not only are they new assessments, but they’re testing different skills and come with a newly revamped set of expectations based on the Common Core State Standards. Because of this, they won’t be comparable to previous statewide test results.

Though educators and parents won’t be able to measure progress by comparing the results with those from previous tests, the new assessments will provide more information much more quickly going forward. Parents and educators will be able to measure how much growth a student makes from year to year in real-world skills.

“This will help students and parents know if they are on track toward meeting the standards and being prepared for college and a career,” said Sally Bennett-Schmidt, assessment director for the San Diego County Office of Education..

With the new system, parents and educators will be able to easily compare student achievement between schools, districts and states to ensure that students are making progress.

The online assessments will feature a variety of different questions types as well as the typical multiple-choice ones. With performance tasks and more written responses, they will require a deeper understanding of key concepts and stronger problem-solving skills than previous tests did.

The increased rigor and emphasis on critical thinking is part of the Common Core standards created by state and education officials.

Students in grades 3 through 8 along with those in grade 11 will take the new online assessments in English language arts and mathematics.

The tests were created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a collaborative state-led group of educators, researchers, policymakers and community groups.

Local school districts have prepared for these new assessments in English language arts and mathematics by participating in a testing pilot, upgrading technology, and providing professional development for teachers and administrators.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that more than 40 states, including California, have voluntarily adopted.

The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school ready for college or the workforce.

For more information about the Common Core State Standards, visit San Diego Common Core Connection or

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