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Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Gullible Population Is a National Security Issue



A Global Search for Education Reflection

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

The hair on my arm prickled up like porcupine quills, but there was no breeze. It was a discussion about a digital literacy issue at the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar that caused this response. Suddenly, information literacy became real — and urgent.

Information Literacy russian ads

A Note from Vicki: This post is in response to Cathy Rubin’s Global Search for education where she asks about the literacy skills required for a new world. The ads shown are publicly available here from the US Congress.

While this blog is based on verifiable data, some readers may be unhappy with my interpretation. In the spirit of academic discourse, I encourage those readers to use my ideas as a starting point for discussion rather than viewing the blog as a gesture of provocation.

Please note:

1) Information literacy skills are not new
2) There is a sinister side to information literacy that has largely been ignored in education – these ads are inflammatory and were intended to be by those nefarious organizations who created them and do not represent my own views
and
3) While some may wish to argue whether the Russian government “meddled” in US elections in favor of one candidate or another, the bottom line is that the public was easily meddle-able. The illegitimate, fictional organizations and profiles creating this content were never outed or recognized as such by anyone, neither Facebook who let them spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the ads nor the people who reshared their content and never stopped to ask whose content they were sharing figured out these were false.

We must give pause to understand how citizens can become savvy purveyors of accurate information so that hoaxes like not friending Jayden K Smith and the  countless missing children Facebook posts that travel unhindered for years after children have been found can cease. Social media has not shown an ability to “self correct” perhaps because by its very nature, the responses can only be positive and thus, there is no self-correcting mechanism built into its algorithm.

For the curious, one requirement for attending the Army War College National Security Seminar is “non-attribution.” This means I can say, “I learned this at the War College.” I cannot, however, quote any individual. For what I want to discuss here, I don’t need to quote anyone. The facts themselves are powerful enough. When I dug into them, this information is publicly available although not being widely discussed.

I challenge you to look for yourself and open conversations about where we failed as a public on social media and why we didn’t realize the fires were being stoked by those with anti-US sentiments. Now is the time for all of us to become savvy investigators. Let’s dig in.

We were discussing the recent release of over 3,500 Facebook and Instagram ads of the nearly “80,000 posts on Facebook that 126 million people may have seen.” (David Sanger – The Perfect Weapon, location 4240)

These aren’t regular Facebook and Instagram ads. They were ones created by organizations that the US Congress says have been tied to the Russian government starting in 2015.

Now, whether or not you agree with the conclusions of candidate favoritism, as we dig in, I think we can certainly agree these ads are designed to sow discord.

For those upset about a foreign entity meddling in U.S. elections, take a look at David Sanger’s new book The Perfect Weapon, released June 18. He asserts that the Chinese hacked the both the Obama and McCain campaigns in the 2008 election cycle. (location 520) Cyber-terrorism is the new area of warfare that few discuss but many fear. But now, Sanger talks about what some in the military call “weaponized social media”,

“Such “dialed down” cyberweapons are now used by nations every day, not to destroy an adversary but rather to frustrate it, slow it, undermine its institutions, and leave its citizens angry or confused. And the weapons are almost always employed just below the threshold that would lead to retaliation.” (emphasis mine)

For purposes of this conversation, however, let’s focus on the discord. As Americans, we are the angry and confused citizens – mostly angry at one another and confused at the divisiveness everywhere we look. Where is the country that disagrees and works together for a common solution?

Simply put, we had a non-U.S. entity posing as U.S. citizens and organizations. Disturbingly, a seemingly non-fact-checking American public became a discord-causing propaganda machine for Russian-affiliated organizations. Far too many Americans completely fell for it.

Some of you still don’t believe it. So, let’s dig in.

A Few of the Ads Traced Back to Russian Organizations

For example, the information released by Congress seems to show that the Russians were eager to fund discord, putting money into everything from anti-police brutality ads, Black Lives Matter messages, pro- and anti-immigration calls to action, and agitating against and for the removal of Confederate monuments.

Perhaps this strategy can best be seen in the February 2016 controversy over Beyonce’s support of Black Lives Matter. Shortly after her Super Bowl appearance, two such advertisements created by the Internet Agency were run on Instagram (as shown below from the Wired Article on this topic).

One ad announces an anti-Beyonce protest rally, and the other a pro-Beyonce protest rally. The date, time, and location shown are the SAME for both. The accounts and organizations promoting these events depicted themselves as Americans. The goal here was to sow chaos at NFL headquarters over this topic.

beyonce Russia ads

These ads were released by the US Congress as being traced back to Russian origin, although they were liked and reshared by many Americans on social media. Source: Wired

When talking about the 3,500+ ads, Wired Magazine says,

“What made these ads so deceptive is they rarely looked like traditional political ads. Often, they don’t mention a candidate or the election at all. Instead, theytear at the parts of the American social fabric that are already worn thin, stoking outrage about police brutality or the removal of Confederate statues.”

Fictitious Events, Real People Showing Up

So, a non-U.S. organization was creating fictitious events for both sides of an issue in the same location.

Why did real U.S. citizens show up, then?

Perhaps it is because we’re really upset (on both sides) by many of these topics. No one stopped to research who “mericanfury” or “sincerely_black”, the entities that posted these ads shown above, actually were.

In another example, who has taken the time to consider that much controversy over immigration may have been stoked by the perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into mobilizing and angering supporters and opponents of U.S. immigration policies?

Below are some of the ads that you may have seen on social media that were released as being traced back to Russian origin. Facebook has not notified us that we’ve seen this content and if they did, who can un-see and unlearn false information, specially when it plays to our previously held bias.

Anti and Pro-Immigration Ads of Russian Origin (reshared widely)

Anti-Confederate Statue Ads using a Black Lives Matter-seeming Name (but of Russian Origin)

black-lives-matter

A Confederate Monument Supporting Ad (of Russian Origin)

general-robert-e-lee

So, how does all this fit with information literacy?

As we discussed this topic at the War College, many of us agreed that information literacy is a massive national security issue. 

A gullible public is a danger to its country. If those citizens blindly share unvetted information, intentionally ignore the facts, refuse to correct themselves when they realize they are mistaken, and report things as truth because they “hate” the other side, well, that country is in trouble.

Who stopped to ask who was planning the rallies? Or did people just say, “I wish I’d thought of that,” and pass it on?

Who stopped to understand the organizations that appeared to be sponsoring the ads?

And can people step away from their hatred for “the other side” long enough to lock arms with their fellow citizens and unite as a country? I’m not so sure that the word “united” in our name, the United States of America, is exactly true right now.

As I was sharing these concerns at this week’s ISTE Conference in Chicago, an educator told me that she had adopted a philosophy she’d learned from her college professor. He told his students that if he was doing his job, they wouldn’t know which political party he supported, but they would discuss both sides of an issue with civility, respect, and open-mindedness.

Whether a teacher hides their political affiliation or not, are they able to respect and promote civil discourse on topics of national interest? And if teachers cannot, how can the general public?

The National Security Literacies that Should Concern Every Country

The new literacies that we need are actually, in some cases, what we should already be teaching:

  • We must be literate on how to conduct civil discourse.
  • We must be literate on how to verify information BEFORE sharing it.
  • We must be literate (and humble) enough to correct ourselves when we realize a mistake AFTER we’ve shared something that is untrue.

An undeceivable populace is a shield of protection in the grey-zone warfare that’s emerging in cyberspace.

However, a gullible, illiterate public is not only a vulnerability, but a country that’s divided enough is no longer civil when disagreement becomes civil war.

Information literacy is no longer just a nice-to-have literacy. It’s required for stability and civil discourse within any modern country. We don’t have to agree about everything with our fellow citizens, but we should learn how to disagree, and we should realize that our common enemy can easily make us enemies of one another and let us do their dirty work. 

I recall an old quote from Batman, the Dark Night

“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

And with this “weaponized social media” unwitting citizens are being deceived each day to spread discord, disunity, and disinformation. We’ve become our own match.

I am very worried. As I try to bring up these issues, I get attacked from “both sides.” I don’t know what else to do but blog about it. Blogging is the best way I know for appealing to people with a wakeup call for awareness and literacy before we’re destroyed by our own ignorance. I refuse to become partisan on this issue but admit that I am decidedly pro-American in my writing of this article.

Abraham Lincoln said in his Lyceum address,

“”Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.””

What good is our military if they surround a house and the children are in the house chasing each other with hatchets?

“We must all, indeed, hang together, or, most assuredly, we will all hang separately,” said Benjamin Franklin.

I hope that this spurs a conversation about how we can hang together in learning, seeking the truth, and promoting civil discourse while celebrating the freedoms that we so cherish.

I hope that you’ll look NOT take what I’ve said at face value. Look at the ads yourselves and have discussions about what an undeceivable un-meddle-able social media public looks like.

There are many ways to teach this topic, but I think perhaps, first, we all need to educate ourselves.

Social media is social but it’s also serious.

 


Additional Readings

The first and best book is David Sanger’s new book The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age,  it covers far more than just this issue, but will help the reader understand the extent of cyberwarfare.

Esin, J. O. (2017). System Overview of Cyber-Technology in a Digitally Connected Global Society. AuthorHouse.

Gleason, B., & von Gillern, S. (2018). Digital Citizenship with Social Media: Participatory Practices of Teaching and Learning in Secondary Education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 21(1), 200-212.

Hügel, S., Kreowski, H. J., & Meyer-Ebrecht, D. (2017). Cyberwar and Cyberpeace. Handbook of Cyber-Development, Cyber-Democracy, and Cyber-Defense, 1-25.

Singer, P. W., & Friedman, A. (2013). Cybersecurity. New York: Oxford University Press.

The post A Gullible Population Is a National Security Issue appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/gullible-population-national-security-issue/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Friday, June 15, 2018

WHY KIDS CAN’T STOP MOVING: THE NEUROSCIENCE BEHIND A STUDENT’S NEED TO MOVE



Suzanne Cresswell in the Top 10-Minute Teacher Show of 2018 (so far)

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Students have reasons for how they behave, particularly if they have learning differences and learn in unique ways. Occupational and physical therapist, Suzanne Cresswell, helps us understand children and why some of them just can’t stop moving. We’re counting them down! This is the #1 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

 

Sponsor: Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.


The #1 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post WHY KIDS CAN’T STOP MOVING: THE NEUROSCIENCE BEHIND A STUDENT’S NEED TO MOVE appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e335/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Free Virtual Mentorship for Emerging Leaders #AspiringLeaders



Jodie Pierpoint in the #2 Episode of 2018

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Emerging administrator leaders and administrators are participating in an emerging leadership virtual mentorship program created by Jodie Pierpoint and many volunteers. Learn about this program, how you can join in, and how you can become a better mentor. We’re counting them down! This is the #2 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

334 Jodie Pierpoint virtual mentorship emerging leaders

334 Jodie Pierpoint virtual mentorship emerging leaders

Sponsor: Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.


The #2 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post Free Virtual Mentorship for Emerging Leaders #AspiringLeaders appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e334/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

5 Free Tech Tools to Try in Your Social Studies Lessons (#3 Episode of Season 3)



Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers, was a history teacher. It shows. In today’s show, he talks about top free tech tools to try in social studies lessons. This is one to share with your history department. We’re counting them down! This is the #3 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

333 richard byrne tech lessons social studies (1)

Sponsor: Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately.

Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.


The #3 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post 5 Free Tech Tools to Try in Your Social Studies Lessons (#3 Episode of Season 3) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e333/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

5 Ideas for Writing with Technology (#4 episode of Season 3)



Jacqui Murray in the #4 episode of the year so far

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Jacqui Murray shares how we can encourage an improvement in writing using technology. These creative ways will help you think about how to help children, particularly those who struggle with handwriting and typing. We’re counting them down! This is the #4 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

Sponsor: Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.


The #4 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post 5 Ideas for Writing with Technology (#4 episode of Season 3) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e332/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, June 11, 2018

5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Help with Classroom Management



The #5 Show of Season 3 with Mike Roberts

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

We need more strategies than fist to five or thumbs up thumbs down. Teacher Mike Roberts give five strategies that can help us with formative assessment AND classroom management. We’re counting them down! This is the #5 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

Sponsor: Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.


The #5 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post 5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Help with Classroom Management appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e331/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

IT Coaches Leading Change in the Classroom



Deb Ramm on episode 329 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Instructional Technology Coaches can be helpful advisors for teachers if they learn strategies of encouragement and empowerment. Deb Ramm helps us learn the techniques to help powerful improvement happen in classrooms.

it coaches leading change in the classroom
Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online PD courses for K-12 teachers. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout for 20% off any course.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

IT Coaches Leading Change in the Classroom

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e329
Date: June 7, 2018

Vicki: So today we’re talking with Deb Ramm from Rhode Island about leading change.

Now, Deb, you work with implementing lighthouse classrooms, but you’ve also recently moved into instructional technology.

What kind of things did you have to do to shift from classroom teacher to instructional technology leader? How did that work for you?

Ramm: I think the change happened pretty organically. Being in a classroom for the past twenty years teaching the same grade gave me the comfort to really explore a lot of the ed-tech tools and have the liberty to really explore that with my students and then just start to share that with colleagues.

I think becoming a leader was one of the things that I worked at probably through doing a lot of the external pieces like being a ??? Fellow. We have this amazing fellowship in Rhode Island with the Highlander Institute that really works to develop leaders.

Working with that group, I really found my tribe, and I really worked to explore and expand myself in a leadership role and helping other teachers in other districts build their own blended-learning capacities. So I think I developed myself as a leader through some of my external pieces.

Vicki: But how do you keep your classroom focused? I’m sure you’ve seen it, sometimes, when people leave the classroom, they forget what it really feels like to be in the classroom. It’s hard to be relevant teachers in that way.

Ramm: For sure. In the past couple of years, I’ve been in my brand-new role. I think one amazing thing that I’ve started to work on with teachers since I’ve left the classroom is to really help manage complex change and to also help them to build their growth mindset around really just working for this change.

Really, we’re changing the landscape of education in our classrooms, and so we’re moving from being teachers in a classroom to really moving toward that blended environment – what does it look like?

I think helping teachers to understand the vision and helping them to develop their skills and their competence and providing them with some incentives and resources along with an action plan really helps to build in how they can manage that change and also how I can remain relevant in their classroom.

For them, what I do much of the time is to really model lessons for them or to work directly with their students and even offer them some kind of embedded supports within their classroom.

That helps me to see at a consistent level what they’re doing in their classrooms and then how I can support them in that work so that I’m constantly having a leg into what’s happening in the classrooms on a daily basis.

Vicki: Now do you find that you need conversations around these? When you do a model lesson, are you going to spend time ahead of time talking to the teacher about what they’re trying to do? Is there a time when you hand over the lesson to them? How does that work?

Ramm: Yes, it’s a very scaffolded approach.

I really do build classroom cohort so that we meet outside of the classroom as groups where we can really collaborate together and plan together.

Then there’s a lot of time where I can sit with each individual teacher and really build a more personalized coaching experience for them, so that I can kind of elevate what they’re doing in the classroom and celebrate what’s happening with their students and then just really challenge them to the next level so that they can see what’s working really well and then consider that problem of practice and how they can kind of push themselves up from that point forward using blended learning and personalization within their own classrooms.

Vicki: Deb, have you ever made a mistake in trying to help someone change and thought, “That was a disaster, I’m never going to do that again?” What was it?

Ramm: Yeah, and I think that’s the really great learning piece of all of this. I think there’s no one-size-fits-all for the teachers that we work with.

I think really appreciating them for who they are and what they have to offer and helping them to see that they do have something to offer regardless of their desire to change.

I think that teachers are pretty amazing people, and we are resilient as a group, but I think when teachers are trying something new, we constantly see ourselves as being that sage on the stage and reaching out for help and trying to get support from other people is sometimes an awkward thing.

I think letting my own guard down and kind of letting people know that I don’t have all the answers, either, and let’s learn this together, and kind of build this together. I think that’s really important.

I think there’s much to be said about a nod and a smile when you’re working with someone, to really just be a listener and hear how they’re doing something in the classroom and really engage them in developing and searching out their problem of practice so that, when they’re exploring a solution, it becomes something that they’re buying into and not something that I’ve just sold them. I think that’s a really important piece.

Vicki: What do you think about this statement, agree or disagree: “The greatest software for innovation in the world is the human brain.”

Ramm: Completely agree. Nothing can happen without real thoughtful consideration of everything that we do.

I think a lot of teachers nowadays, when they’re thinking about using technology in their classrooms, will consider that technology as the end-all and be-all. Quite honestly, as much as I’m helping people to bring blended into their classrooms, there are just certain times where using a computer and pulling in that technology is not the best way.

I think that’s the most empowering piece, to show teachers how technology can make something better, and when doing something with paper and pencil, or just a regular book, or a board game is just the most empowering way to do it.

I think, when people see that there really, truly is a blend, an empowerment, of how we can utilize our resources – that’s when they’re going to make that change: when they see it working for them and know that it’s not everything that you’re pushing for and you’re celebrating what they’re doing on a daily basis regardless of where it’s going in the classroom.

Vicki: So, Deb, I’ve given you a statement that I think and you agreed with it. Why don’t you give me one that you believe about helping teachers change?

Ramm: Oh, boy. I think, when we’re helping teachers to change, I think the most empowering thing we can do to them, and I know I’ve said it, is simply help them to find their tribe.

I know when I first was an early adopter of bringing technology into my classroom I really felt alone. I felt as if I was a silo.

When you’re practicing something and you’re all alone and doing that, it is very hard to find people to share your ideas with so that they can question you in a valuable way and spur you on when you need to be uplifted.

We all know that using technology, we’re going to have lots of instances where we fail. For some people, failing is really a let-down. For others, and the science-minded person in me says, “Failing is that first attempt in learning. We really need to see failure as just a way to find the good in something, switch the bad, and tweak it a little bit.

I think when you find your tribe, when you find the group of people that are going to celebrate the things in you that have challenged yourself with, when you find that group of people who’s willing to support you and give you some of that helpful hints or little suggestions, that’s how you’re going to excel.

So I say to people, “Come out of your silo, find the people that you can work with and that can push you on, and find the people that are going to elevate and celebrate what you’re doing in and out of the classroom, because doing it alone is never going to push you or anything else forward. In order to scale and replicate this, you need to share it and share it with people who are like-minded and can be your thought partners in this.”

Vicki: Oh, we need thought-partners. What a great way to finish up a Thought Leader Thursday, just to challenge all of us: do you have a thought partner, and how do you exchange ideas? How do you discuss ideas, and are you willing to change and level up? Thanks, Deb!

Ramm: Thanks so much!

Contact us about the show: https://ift.tt/1jailTy

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Debra Turchetti-Ramm is a 1992 graduate of Rhode Island College. She had been a fourth grade teacher for the Johnston Public School System in Rhode Island since 1997, though now serves as the JPS Instructional Technology Coordinator. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who has done a significant amount of professional development in the areas of science, math, and technology. She is President of the RI Association for Supervision, Curriculum Development and also serves as their Communications Coordinator.

In 2014, she became a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science and was recently recognized as a National PAEMST Finalist for Science. She created a STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program for her fourth grade students, has presented at RI Science Teachers Association, and attended several summer institutes including the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, the American Geoscience Institute, and the Honeywell Space Academy.

In 2015 Deb was selected as a PBS Lead Digital Innovator and in 2018 she was selected as a PBS All Star. She has been both a participant and trainer for Rhode Island Teachers and Technology Initiative since 1998. Deb transformed her classroom into a blended learning environment using her class website as a launchpad, as well as laptops and iPads with her students daily. Her work with students enabled her classroom to be recognized as a Blended Learning Lighthouse Classroom, which provided personalized instruction for her students. She has presented digital storytelling and creation workshops highlighting the work of her students (often with her students) at various local forums, including the Learning First Alliance, RI Department of Education’s Innovation Powered by Technology, and the Highlander’s Blended Learning Conferences. She continues to share her technology expertise at local and national conference.

In 2016, Debra was Johnston’s District Teacher of the Year, and was a finalist for state Teacher of the Year for Rhode Island. Her new role as Instructional Technology Coordinator has her working with K-12 teachers to support the blended learning initiative within the district. Her primary focus is establishing Lighthouse Classrooms to increase the quality of teaching and learning for kindergarten through grade five classrooms. Her work was recently acknowledged in a Getting Smart podcast entitled “Network Effects Fuels Personalized Learning in Rhode Island.”

Debra is a founding member of EdUnderground, a hands-on laboratory where teachers can discover, explore, create and experiment with technology integration strategies, blended learning models, and other innovative tactics using hardware platforms and software programs to support the diverse needs of students. She is a Fuse RI Fellow, working to collaborate with the state’s districts to assess readiness, analyze data, and help disseminate best blended learning practices based on each district’s specific needs. She continues to provide support for the state’s educators as a Coach/Consultant for Highlander Institute.

Deb has appeared as a guest on the Meet Education Project Podcast and in a segment for PBS RI Classrooms. She is an advocate for personalization through blended learning, has opened her doors as a lighthouse classroom and continues to showcase JPS teachers and students as lighthouse classrooms for districts throughout the state. You can follow Deb on Twitter @Deb_Ramm.

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Current

https://www.paemst.org/finalist_profile/4537

https://riascd.weebly.com/

Blog: http://jpsinstructionaltechnology.weebly.com/

Twitter: @Deb_Ramm

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

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