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Friday, May 31, 2013

Transformational IT Integrator: Theresa Allen @tdallen5 #edtech

Theresa Allen (@tdallen5)  is an amazing IT Integrator from Illinois. In the last three years, she's helped her school connect on a global basis from kindergarten through middle school.

She inspires me with how she works with teachers at her school and her ability to facilitate change in such a short amount of time.

"You can do this, I can help you, let's go." says Theresa. 

She shares her philosophy of IT integration at the end of the show. As I look at what I'm trying to do in IT Integration, I've got to be more like Theresa.

Theresa is a Flat Classroom certified teacher and will be with Julie Lindsay, me, Frank Guttler  in the Flat Classroom Live Event in Hawaii. She is an inspiring example of how much one good IT integrator matters in the life of thousands of students. IT Integrators can help teachers so much. Please follow Theresa, she's amazing

Listen to the show

Show Notes and Links:

Hello Little World Skypers (mentoring group for teachers): https://sites.google.com/site/skypershello/

Quest Atlantis (junior high): http://atlantisremixed.org/
Digiteen and DigiTween: www.digiteen.org
Kidlink: http://www.kidlink.org/
Flat Classroom K-2 "Building Bridges": http://www.flatclassroomproject.net/k-2-building-bridges.html
A Week in the Life: http://www.flatclassroomproject.net/a-week-in-the-life-project.html
Kerpoof: http://www.kerpoof.com/
Voicethread: http://voicethread.com/
Edmodo: http://www.edmodo.com/
Skype: http://www.skype.com/en/
Educator Virtual PD: http://educatorvirtualpd.wikispaces.com/
Theresa's Mentor Mob Playlist: http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/interactive-whiteboard-resources/sheppard-software-fun-free-online-learning-games-and-activities-for-kids
Diigo Lists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrO1xBL5tiU
Global Monster: http://www.smithclass.org/proj/Monsters/
The Writers Club: http://theglobalclassroomproject.wordpress.com/tag/writers-club/
Global Heroes: https://globalclassroom2011-12.wikispaces.com/Hero+Voicethread+Project
Crazy Crazes: http://theglobalclassroomproject.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/new-project-announcement-crazy-crazes-grades-4-7-june-2012-june-2013/
Student blogging challenge: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2013/03/03/so-the-10th-challenge-begins/
Flat Classroom Certified Teacher: http://fcpteacher.flatclassroomproject.org/

Full Bio:
Theresa Allen is the Technology Teacher and Coordinator for the Cathedral of St. Raymond School in Joliet, IL.  She is Flat Classroom certified and manages the Digiteen Project, a digital citizenship project for junior high and high school students.  She is a global educator, involving her students from Kindergarten to 8th grade in many global projects including Flat Classroom projects:  Building Bridges, A Week in the Life and Digiteen, and also projects from Kidlink (Global Monster Project, Draw/Describe), The Global Classroom Project (Edmodo Pen Pal Project, Crazy Crazes, Global Hero Project), Blogging Challenges (Student Blogging Challenge, Quadblogging, and The Writers Club), and virtual worlds in Quest Atlantis.  She presents about these projects face to face and virtually including topics about:  Building Your PLN and How to Utilize Technology in the One Computer Classroom.  Theresa is also a life-long learner, working towards a Masters in Technology Education and attending workshops throughout the year.  Recently Theresa was awarded the Joliet Area Great Teacher Award this March 2013, as well as Technology Teacher of the year in 2011.  She is passionate about connecting, communicating and collaborating with students and educators around the world.

To find out more about this podcast go to my Podcast page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the co-founder of Flat Classroom Projects, the company offers the Flat Classroom Certified Teacher course, K-2 project, and a Week in the Life projects. I'm president of the non-profit organization that manages Digiteen and am a leader of the Hawaii conference mentioned in the opening. Regardless, I only recommend products and items that I have personally used and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Developing a mindset to go from good to GREAT

Greatness (Photo credit: Sonel-SA)
Sometimes in order to be great, you've got to leave some good things behind.

You must choose
How you spend your time. If you're at the swimming pool, you can't go to Disney. You can't inhabit two spaces at the same time. You choose.

How you spend your money. If you spend $1,000 a month at Wal-mart buying tupperware and coffee cups, you can't save that money for a cruise. You have to choose.

Sometimes you have lots of good choices.
If you're one of those gutsy talented people out there - your problem isn't going to be "what do I do?" but "which do I do?"

You'll have to choose between good and great. 
Why be good if you can be great? Why do good things if you can do great things? Good just isn't good enough. You have a life to live. You can do stuff or you can do something really important and meaningful.

Will your legacy be heirlooms or "stuff"?

Thinking of the end of my life. Will they go through my closets and find stuff? Will they find heirlooms? Will my work mean anything to anyone else?

I want my life to be full of heirlooms. Treasured, beautiful things polished with care that help others.

When does great become just good?

Sometimes we do something great but when we've done it for the tenth or fifteenth time, it isn't great anymore. In fact, we wonder if it is even good.

Ruts are the enemy of greatness. Greatness blazes new trails, it doesn't get stuck in old ones.
I admit that I was scared to go to South Africa by myself with Microsoft
invited me to cover their Microsoft Innovative Educators
international conference. I went anyway and had one of
the most memorable experiences of my life!

Fear is a liar.

Fear is the enemy of greatness. Fear tells you that you'd better stay where you are. Where you are is safe. Where you are is known. Where you are is where you are and you can stay there and be comfortable.

But Fear is a liar. Fear won't remind you that in nature and life that every living thing is either growing or dying. There is no in between. Fear won't tell you that the human brain really enjoys doing new things. Fear will whisper lies into your ears at night when you wrestle with your dreams.

Fear will tell you that you'll look back and regret the decision. Fear will lie. It will tell you that you're not good enough and the opportunity isn't good enough for you at the same time.
Fear will lie to you. Great paths are often fraught with uncertainty.

Seek wisdom

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

I'm not talking about seeking sympathy here. Find those one or two people close to you who love you. Seek their advice. I have wise counselors and wise words in the Bible that advise every move. If I don't have any wise words from my counselors, I''ll sometimes wait until it is a bit more clear. Being bold doesn't mean being stupid. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

Don't look for happiness in people

Happiness can't be found in the eyes or arms of another. It is a grave mistake to think another person can complete you. It doesn't work that way. Love is fantastic, fun and wonderful. But after 20 years in a fantastic marriage to the man of my dreams, I've learned that love is a decision. I've learned that Kip won't make me happy. If I'm not happy, no one can make me happy.

Sometimes people considering going from good to great want to blame others. They mistakenly think if they can just sever this relationship and move to another one that they'll be happier. People don't make you happy.

That said, if there are negative people in your life that you can move away from, your soul will enjoy the fresh air.

Greatness doesn't mean good things will always happen.

The avoidance of pain and heartache is the goal of some. They think if they can just settle in the land of good that nothing bad will happen. Whatever path you choose, it will have good and bad. that is life. This is earth, not heaven, that is what it is called earth. Things stink here sometimes. Bad things happen to good people.

But since you know bad things (and good things) WILL happen. Not fulfilling your purpose while you're here, to me, is the worst thing that could happen. Settling for good will always keep you from your purpose. You are made for a reason and that reason is to be GREAT. Settling in the land of the good can keep you from great. You must choose this day whom you will serve and you can't serve everyone and serve up greatness.

Examine your life for the good and the great

Armed with my pen and journal, lists and logic fill pages as I seek to discern what is good and what is great in my own life.

Great doesn't happen by accident. It takes decisionmaking. Sacrifice. Wise advice. A face set like flint and an indefatigable heart.

As you spend this summer. Examine where you're heading. If you're facing north, you'll head north.

Don't stand in New York and head north and wonder why you don't end up in Hawaii.

Be intentional about your life, what you love, and how you LIVE.

Choose greatness but don't expect applause.
Choose greatness but realize that you'll be lucky to have the time to wipe the sweat off your brow.
Choose greatness but realize that you have to say "no" to some good things.
Choose greatness but be careful not to define greatness in the eyes of the fickle masses.
Choose greatness but know that great isn't often recognized until you're done. Enjoy the journey.
Choose greatness. It is what you were born to do.

Too many of us settle in the land of the good. We should pack our bags and move across the river and become great. It might not be as far away as you think.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 05/28/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

10 ways to End the School Year on an Up Note when You're Exhausted

Today is the last day of my 11th year of teaching. Today my oldest son graduates.
Sometimes the struggles of teaching just have to come out.
Hope you finish the school year well even though
you're exhausted. Here's how.
YOU ROCK! -- Vicki

Last night at 9 pm or so I had my head down on my desk in my classroom, upset because my computer kept crashing when I tried to render the graduation movie. Usually, I'm done far before now but the workload at school this year has been tough.

If I had one wish for myself, I'm guessing it would be that I could enjoy all of this more.

But then again, it would be kind of like enjoying a car wreck because that is what the end of school is like for me. Things come at you. You try to respond quickly. You try to adjust. You start skidding and spinning, and suddenly it all stops and you see you're OK.

I do love teaching. I do love being a Mom - my first calling. But it is so very evident to me why we are finite creatures, especially teachers. We just wear out.

But if I'm going to wear out, at least I'm not going to rust out. At least it is in a worthy cause. I think one of the hardest things about doing things for kids and their parents goes back to something I mentioned last week in my review of Jon Acuff's book, Start. Critics math.

Critics math is: 

1 criticism + 1,000 compliments = 1 criticism

At this point, I'm so very tired that when that movie plays tonight  and I get the inevitable comment here or there that aren't so positive - that is what I'll remember.

So, here is what I do to combat critics math when I'm as vulnerable as I am right now. And remember, tiredness and emotional exhaustion always makes you more vulnerable. You are a sitting duck as the hunters will say for every malcontent parent or student that heads your way.

Protect yourself, educator.

1 - Remember why you do it.

You're not doing these things for glory.

2 - Remember who you're doing it for.

Look at the students who you love and do it for them.

3 - Don't let a few unkind people ruin it for all those who are not that way

I had a few kids prank my room on Tuesday and waste my time this week. Honestly, I've never been pranked. It totally hurt my feelings.

It came at a time when I was so tired that I almost gave up doing the graduation movie. Kids don't think, especially when they're about to graduate. I had to pick myself up and remember all the kids who I love and I know they love me. Those who have been frustrated with me and are passive aggressive - they will have a life without me and that is fine. I loved them anyway and if it is their choice to go out that way - they'll be lesser people for it.

You can choose to see the joy and whistle through life.
I love whistling because I've never known an unhappy
person who did it. ;-)

4 - Don't expect to be thanked.

It is nice to be thanked. Sometimes it happens. When it does, I save the notes and such and put them in a folder called "at a girl." I read them when I have rough days. On my Facebook fanpage I have a picture of a dozen roses (shown below) sent to me by a student and his Mom. I want to remember that sometimes I do make a difference.

My worth as a teacher is not determined by how many say "thank you" at the end of the year. So many parents and kids are exhausted and there is likely a bit of "you'll always be there next year" in it as well. (Ever wonder why leaving teachers are showered by their students and parents - people know they have to thank them.)
These flowers were sent to me 2 years
a go by a student who found his love of
writing in blogging. The kids made
fun of him, but he found his niche in
the Digiteen project. I'll always
connect my classrooms because it
helps kids who don't fit in
get out of my small town virtually.

5 - Find your joy

I keep a joy journal. It is proven to be a permanent mood booster (more than winning the lottery - see 9 Fine Reasons to Keep a Journal).

At the end of every school year, I write down the best things that happened. I don't even write down the worst. The worst things that happen I chalk up to the cost of doing an important jobs. Important jobs always have a cost to the person who holds the job. You're never paid enough to be a fire fighter, policeman, or teacher (principal, janitor, IT staff) and quite a few other jobs as well.

This is your job. This is your life. If you're going to live a good one, it is up to you, my friend, to find your joy in your day and your profession. There are kids who loved you, I promise.

When I was in business, I knew I had a good month because I got a big fat bonus. That doesn't happen in teaching so I should sit down and make my own bonus. I should document and pay myself with the memories that will stick with me. I make my own joy by counting the blessings and great things that happen.
I love this pic I took of a bird just hatched over at the
family pond. This bird doesn't care that he has bad hair -
he is just glad to be alive. Sometimes I've got
to adopt that attitude and feel the breeze even
if my  hair gets mussed.

6- Let the rough end drag

My granny always said this and I quote it multiple times a week during the end of the school year. I could feel guilty about "Mount Laundry" in my room or that I haven't gone to buy milk and we ran out on Tuesday. But I'm not.

Right now, it is just about making it through - one more day. Tomorrow, I can start to jackhammer Mt. Laundry and go buy milk - today I just gotta make it.

7 - Don't take guilt trips

The other thing that gets me about the school year is that I can - in my tiredness - start taking a guilt trip.

Mom says "You can't go on a guilt trip unless you pack your own bags."

I didn't have enough time to do Lego Mindstorms this year and we didn't get in our last race. OK. I can say "you know what, we got to do a lot with them it is OK." or, I can start packing my bag and piling on the guilt.

When you see dog poop in the yard, do you go intentionally step in it? NO! For goodness sakes, no! It is nasty and you know it will stay with you a long time as strangers back away from you and go get in another checkout line at WalMart and little children wrinkle their nose.

Guilt trips make you repugnant. You've given all you have and now, my dear friends, THAT IS ENOUGH. Yes, that is worthy of a caps lock.

Celebrate the great journeys and if guilt trips come knocking - make notes about what to do better next year. Every year, I work and change things around to make them better for the next year. Put the biggest guilt trips as your indicator something should change next year. If it isn't something that really needs to change and it is tiredness talking then just don't go there. Move on.

No guilt unless you've done something unethical and if you have -- get help now. Liars make poor teachers because you teach with your life. For most of you, guilt is the tiredness talking.
I leave post it notes for myself when I'm
struggling with a co-worker.
Decide who you want to be because
doing the right thing is most often a
decision NOT a feeling or
something you WANT to do.

8 - Let go of grudges and forgive.

People are people. You've got some who are a pain in the neck and you are a pain in the neck to some people yourself. Like oil and water, some of us in schools just don't see eye to eye. We don't mix.

For me, I have to let it go. Bitterness and unforgiveness will ruin your summer. You'll think you're better and BAM! you'll be sitting by the pool and someone will say something and you're right back to arguing in your head with your nemesis. When you are bitter, you take your enemy with you everywhere you go.

Let it go. For me, as a Christian, I take it to God and ask Him to handle it. He always does by either showing me I was wrong or by helping the other person see it - usually it is a mix of both.

If you're perfect, go ahead and seethe. But guess what? You're no longer perfect if you're steeping your life in the bitter tea of fury. You're poison.

If it helps, write what they did one more time and burn it. Go talk to someone who will listen and not fan the flame. Take steps to help prevent a repeat next year (if you're at the same school.)

When my husband was a child and got mad at his Mom, he would beat his head against a wall until he had blue lumps. If you are bitter and begrudging you are just hitting your own head. It is just as ridiculous as baby Kip trying to get even with Mom by hurting himself.
In my house we make "summer posters" with our goals.
This was my poster from 4-5 years back.

9 - Plan things you'll enjoy

As a profession, we do 98% of the work  in 3/4 of the time each year. If you realize that some of those folks who are "feet up on desk-ers" and leave the moment school's out, you'll realize that some of us are way over the top - probably working 125%+ of the hours of other professions in 3/4 of the time each year. Cut yourself some slack.

It is very hard for me to do nothing. In fact, I would say it is probably impossible. But sometimes, I need to veg out and be mindless.

I love rafting. I love walks / runs and listening to books on tape. I love cooking (and eating) good food. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the mountains. (I also love to write. ;-) So, these are things I'll plan into my schedule.

Take time to write 10 things you LOVE and make sure 5 of them cost little or nothing.
Every summer we "collect" and explore waterfalls.
Here's my family - nephews, nieces, and Kip exploring one.

10 -Laugh

So I decided to be intentionally about laughing and made a flipboard magazine of the stuff that makes me laugh. Collect things that make you laugh so you can share and look at them when you want. Plus, studies have shown that when promotions happen, people who are funny get promoted over the stick in the mud. (See Forbes Magazine: Want to get promoted? Be Funny.)

Animals are some of the most hilarious companions
I know. These are the dogs running through the
pecan grove behind Mom's and Dad's house.
Love em - every one.

Good luck, my friends. I know I'm out quite a bit earlier than many of you and my friends down under in Australia are in mid-year. But take the time to end well, whenever the end comes.

You rock, educators. I care about you and this profession very much. Next to my babies in the classroom, the professionals who connect in the places I frequent are one of my greatest joys.

Now, off to school and on to graduation. The moment is here.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 05/24/2013

  • I'll be spending time to AJ Juliani, Steve Mogg and Rosie Esposito from Wissahikon school district. Here's a copy of their Graduation project required to graduate from their school. I think all schools should have graduation projects. There is information and manuals if you want to look into this for yourself. I saw this in Evansvlle High school as well. This can be part of your genius work. "As part of graduation from Wissahickon High School, every senior is required to complete a graduation project.  The projects include research, writing and an oral presentation to assure that students are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluation information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding.  This is culminating project in one or more areas of concentrated study under the guidance and direction of the high school faculty. "

    tags: education news graduation pbl

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Discover Great Common Core PD

guest post by Johnna Weller, Ed D.

guest post by Johnna Weller, Ed D.  
Note from Vicki: Johnna from Discovery Education,
wrote the recent post 15 Wrong Ways to implement Common Core.
Discovery is offering Common Core Academies this summer.
I've done work with Discovery and am a Den Star Educator and
Love their work, so I asked her to share about their Academies
this summer and what to expect. Having been part of
one of their STEM institutes, I know first hand what
an excellent job they do. I can personally attest to the
fact that their training is exciting, engaging, and hands on. As always
please review the disclosures at the bottom of this post.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about 15 Wrong Ways to Implement the Common Core.  Since then, I’ve been asked to list the “right” ways.  

Is there a Common Core "checklist?"

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a list of things that, if completed, would ensure that your classroom/school/district was “Common Core-ized”?

But, it’s not that simple.  As much we educators love checklists (I make them almost daily!), I don’t believe that there is checklist for implementing the Common Core. 

We must be critical thinkers as we plan Common Core Implementation

Just as the Common Core requires deep and critical thinking of students, so it is the same for the adults.  As we design, plan, learn, and reflect on instructional practices that will move our lessons toward Common Core, we must be deep and critical thinkers -- not simply list-checkers. 

Instruction that builds deep and critical thinking is vital for our students everywhere, even in places that have not adopted the Common Core.  No matter where we are -- it’s all about powerful instruction that develops powerful thinkers.

"Instruction that builds deep and critical thinking
is vital for our students everywhere,
even in places that have not adopted the Common Core."

The Cognitive Workout of Common Core Implementation

The complexity and rigor of designing complexity and rigor should not be minimized.  It’s a cognitive workout (“brain sweat,” as some people say). Educators must design instruction that intertwines the needs of their students with the standards, curriculum, and assessment.  They must continually monitor students’ learning to adjust their instruction.  It’s definitely complex.  Joyfully complex… but complex all the same!

So, it’s all about instruction -- the designing, planning, reflecting, monitoring, adjusting, and thinking that teachers do to nurture their leaners.  It’s not a list … it’s an ongoing process.

Discovery Common Core Academies

But, since we do love lists (and I haven’t made one yet today), I will share 3 ways how Discovery Education’s Professional Development can support teachers in their complex work.  

This summer in various locations across the U.S., Discovery is offering Common Core Academies

1. Are research-based: Professional development that integrates proven curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices from expert practitioners.
2. Are personalized:  Each academy addresses educator-identified needs related to the transition to more rigorous standards.
3. Are practical: Educators leave with practical strategies for immediate classroom application.

Whether you are just starting on the path down CCSS implementation and need an introduction to the CCSS standards or you are ready to dig deeper into the specifics of the standards, we’ll meet you where you are and help you take the next steps toward successful implementation of the CCSS in your classroom, school, or district.

There are four Common Core Academies to pick from:
·       Making the Common Core State Standards Make Common Sense in Your English Language Arts and Content Area Classroom

·       Moving Toward Greater Focus and Coherence in Your Classroom: Making Common Sense Out of the Math Common Core State Standards

·       Connecting Specialized Instruction to Common Core State Standards: An Academy for Teachers of Students with Special Needs

·       Not-So-Common Leadership Strategies for Successful Common Core Implementation

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I have used personally. 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.I reserve rights to edit and/or all editorial rights for what is published on this blog. If you don't fall into this category, please don't request a guest post.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 05/23/2013

  • Wesley Fryer is not only a great educator but a great man. Here he shares how he and other men went into the Cushing Oklahooma correction facility and helped dads record messages to their children for Father's day. What a great thing to do. Part of my own faith is the forgiveness that we can receive and as people we must forgive and encourage those who have made mistakes. If you don't make a mistake ignore this post, if you do, then consider bringing something like this to your area. Great work, Wes. I hope our PLN's share this message far and wide. "This is a 14 minute video reflection by Wesley Fryer, who volunteered with Redeeming the Family on May 15, 2013, at the Cimarron Correctional Facility (prison) in Cushing, Oklahoma. Oklahoma currently has 17 prisons, and Cimarron is one of three which is privately operated. Corrections Corporation of America has owned and operated this prison commercially since 1997. Last week Redeeming the Family volunteers assisted 50 incarcerated dads to record video messages of love for their children, which will be mailed to their children before Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16th."

    tags: education news prison families edu_news

  • You can help them think deeper but it takes time and sharpening the saw. Great article. "A common occurrence in classrooms is that the teacher, when he or she sees the students struggle mightily to "think out of the box" will precipitously step in and give the students the answers, or throw the deeper learning activity out all together, thinking that the students aren't ready for it. What these students and the teachers need is to be patient, practice and build those mental muscles over time. One thing that helps teachers and students is a better understanding the nature of the advanced thinking tools."

    tags: education news common core all_teachers bestpractices

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

End of Year Focus Groups: Kids Ask me to Share how to get more followers so here it is!

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Four Questions for End of Year Focus Groups with Students

Yesterday was focus groups in my class. I have the students answer four questions:

  1. What was your favorite thing we did this year?
  2. What was your least favorite thing we did?
  3. What was the most important thing you learned?
  4. What was something you wish we'd spent more time doing?

Voting for the Lesson for the Last Day of Class

Out of that conversation, I had all four classes echo that they wanted to know "how to get more followers on social media like you've done, 'Miss' Vicki." I let them vote on what I'd share the last day of school and that was it... a lesson they asked for but will not be graded. And while there is time for questions built in, it is largely a lecture - something I don't do much but sometimes should.

How to get More Followers (a 20 minute presentation)

So, I spent yesterday drafting up my notes w/ a mindmap and then during my morning work time at 5 am, I used Haiku deck on my ipad to zap up a cute, short presentation that will neatly fit in the 20 minute time slot I have with my students today. 

Plus, I hope I share clearly - followers aren't something you "get" they are something you earn from being helpful and it is very hard work. Not everyone wants to hear that.

So, I've embedded that presentation to share with you and hope it gives you some advice and tips for Twitter or any social media. (If you want to read more, read my Easy Guide for Gaining Followers and Being Followed on Twitter.)

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 05/22/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

5 Important Ingredients of Good Preservice Teacher Education

Eva Brown @ebrownorama
is a highered teacherpreneur
who helps her classroom matter
by connecting teachers
to others throughout the
(Listen to the interview.)
Eva Brown @ebrownorama is a teacher educator from Canada.

We recently sat down to record another episode of Every Classroom Matters and she gave me 5 very clear ingredients for excellent preservice teacher education. For those of you not familiar with the term "preservice" (it is called different things in different countries) - this means, Eva teachers people how to be teachers before they enter the classroom.

1. Create Flat Learning Experiences (also called Tandem Learning)

+Eva Brown  worked with +Barbara Morganfield  @blmteach to create a powerful learning experience for their students. They each had an expertise and a topic they were teaching. (Eva - ICT and Barbara - Discipline issues) Eva's students presented tools that would fit what Barbara's students were needing to use in their situations. Barbara's students provided feedback to Eva's students on what worked and didn't.

Teachers should graduate from college programs with ready-made connections between teachers in other parts of the world. This makes them more valuable to their schools and their students.

2. Connect with K-12 Classrooms

There is no excuse. With the proliferation of online K-12 projects, preservice teachers can interact with students before they start their student teaching. This is ideal because they can learn about online learning platforms at all levels. I love how she and some of my other highered friends +Leigh Zeitz and +Eric Brunsell  do this as well.

3. Encourage Teachers to Master the Tools they always have

Eva gives some of the most compelling reasons for mastering the tablet device I've heard. As she moves around working with teachers, she says that she needs to be "ready  to teach" all the time. She says if you can use the tablet and tools like Prezi and Haiku Deck then you can reduce the time to prepare and "get to the learning." Very compelling conversation about why she uses them as well.

4. Fit the Tools to the Task

If I handed you a hammer and asked you to cut down a tree, you'd laugh at me. Eva works hard to fit the tools to the task. It is fascinating to me that when Eva covers keyboarding, they use virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft.

She continually points out different tools that fit a specific purpose. Like a mechanic working on high end automobiles, we've got an increasing toolset and need to start selecting wisely from that set. Paper and pencil are the hammer we used to use for everything, not any more.

5. Always moving forward

She ends the show with such wise advice. I hope you'll listen to see what she says, but it comes down to this. Move forward.

In the south we say "when you're green you're growing, when you're ripe, you rot." It applies to crops and it applies to people.

Focus on your students as you prepare to end the school year. Today I'll run focus groups with my students as they give me feedback about what they learned, where they struggled, and what needs to be improved for next year. Over the summer, I tweak what we're doing. It is about my students and maximizing the all-to-short time we have together.

Eva is an example of a teacherpreneur at the college level who is pushing her students to be globally connected and social media savvy. I hope you'll dig into what she has to say because her classroom matters and yours does too. It is my dream that by featuring classrooms at all levels from around the world that it will foster conversations that need to happen about excellence in the classroom. I don't care where you teach, you are important. We can learn from each other as we work to be our best for our students.

LISTEN TO Eva Brown talk about how she teaches teachers with technology

Click here to listen:
Tactics and Tools: Teaching Teachers with Technology with Eva Brown

Eva Brown is a teacher educator at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She is a Flat Classroom Certified Teacher and a Microsoft Innovative Teacher.

Do you want to nominate someone to be on the show? 
Fill out the nomination form.
If you already nominated someone, once school gets out, I'll be looking through the nominations and reviewing their work. I do want to reach out to unsung heroes who might not be blogging or tweeting a lot but are doing great work. Thanks for taking time to nominate the rock star teachers among us, particularly those who are articulate and interesting.

Want to know more about Every Classroom matters and how to subscribe?
Read "The Every Classroom Matters Show and a tutorial on how to subscribe using iCatcher"

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 05/19/2013

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 05/17/2013

  • This is a tough one and I've had two or three this year who will call out - in a disruptive way. Sometimes it is when I'm speaking. I have one great class that causes me to struggle because of several who have a bit of a problem with knowing the appropriate time to engage (not in the middle of a question or when someone else is talking.) I encourage kids to have a pencil and paper or a tablet in  hand to jot down notes of what they want to say - sometimes they are afraid they'll forget. Other times, when it is class discussion, I use poker chips. Each student gets two. When they want to interject, they spend their chip. Every student must participate twice before anyone can have a third input. It is a daily grade and so easy to assess b/c everyone must give up their chips.  This article takes it much further and is a good one if you're struggling with this. "Namely, how do you deal with a student who, despite receiving consequence after consequence, continues to call out in class? Before we get to the solution, it’s important to note that there are times during a normal school day when you may want to allow your students to respond to you or their fellow classmates without raising their hand"

    tags: education news teaching all_teachers bestpractices

  • All of my students are required to create an efolio. Every year they update it, eventually producing a personal website to use for themselves for the future. Here are 8 apps that help you do this.

    tags: education news bestpractices efolio edu_news

  • Can you design a school to promote healthy eating? There are things every cafeteria can do (read to the end.) This is a big problem and something we need to address. Every school should have a fruit basket near the checkout. It is a no brainer, but do we? "Just walk into the cafeteria and you can see this is no ordinary elementary school. "One of the most striking differences is the openness of the eating space," said pediatrician Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, who also consulted on the project. Students can look into the area where the food is prepared, and they can look outside to a planned school garden, where vegetables will soon be planted."

    tags: education news lunchroom health obesity bestpractices administrator

  • Grading handwritten answers by students as a feature of a copier? Producing data analytics as a result. IF this works, it will not only sell more copiers, but also make handwritten work more of a commodity. Maybe if a computer can quickly grade the easy stuff, teachers can spend more time assessing project based learning and other work that computers cannot do. This won't help me much - except when I teach binary numbers and memory conversion which do require me to check work (I never do multiple choice.) I could see how math teachers would be thrilled. "Xerox later this year plans to roll out Ignite, a software and web-based service that turns the numerous copiers/scanners/printers it has in schools across the United States into paper-grading machines. Unlike such staples of the educational system as Scantron, which uses special forms where students choose an answer and fill in the corresponding bubble, Ignite will grade work where the answers are written in by the students, such as the numeric answer to a math problem. Ignite takes right and wrong answers and turns them into web-accessible data for teachers with reports that say whether a student or groups of students are consistently having more trouble with certain kinds of math problems. Those reports can be used by teachers to tailor what they're teaching — such as by identifying what group of students needs more help with a certain topic — or given to students so they know where they should focus their studying. It also opens the door to specific tests or homework assignments for specific students becoming more the norm, each tailored to academic strengths and weaknesses."

    tags: education news xerox assessment testing all_teachers

  • This is a discussion to have with all IT integrators. Many adopt the attitude of leaving the hibernating bear alone. After all, eventually, the resistant teacher will come out of the den ready to enjoy the springtime of learning? No. Not necessarily. But technological change is as much emotional and psychological as it is instruction. If you don't first have the teacher in the mood to learn, you'll be struggling. So, be careful of labeling the teacher as resistant in the first place and be willing to teach and encourage the teacher wherever he/she is. This is a nice article from Elena Aguilar. Check out part 2 after reading this one.

    tags: education news teaching it_support bestpractices all_teachers techintegrator

  • You'll notice new quick action buttons in Gmail as announced by Google on Wednesday. They want to make things more intuitive. Expect these changes to happen on a gradual basis but they are coming. Including the ability to RSVP more easily - a feature which I like as some stragglers still refuse to properly use Google Calendar or any online calendar at all. "When the situation calls for it, new quick action buttons will pop up in an email, letting you accomplish simple tasks without reaching for the keyboard. For event RSVPs, you can even mark your attendance from the main inbox view -- a preview with all the key details will pop up, letting you respond with a simple Yes, Maybe or No. "

    tags: education news google gmail edu_news edu_newapp

  • Instagram is something kids are using. Here are some tips for helping your child be safe on instagram. I totally agree about talking to your child about the photo map. If you haven't already, talk to them today about NOT using the feature which puts their photos on a map of where they were when they took it. Like that paint in your new bedroom? Photo map it? Boom. The lat and long of your daughter's bedroom. Just a bad idea. I do think instagram and other location based websites are going to get into hot water. Lat and long disclosing by kids should be approved by parents.

    tags: education news instagram edu_news

  • You can tweak your Google forms and insert images. Richard Byrne created a tutorial.

    tags: education news tutorial

  • You can make videos. You don't have to spend money or get too fancy. Digital storytelling is for every teacher. Take a look.

    tags: education news

  • Nice article to spread around to teachers as they hit post planning. From edutopia, it asks us to do what all of us teachers should constantly do: examine ourselves. Change is a way of life. I've got quite a few I'm pondering for myself as well.

    tags: education news all_teachers

  • While they left out wearable technology and learning analytics is combined into the LMS category, this is a quick list that you can forward to your board of directors or others who want to look at a few things about changing technology.

    tags: education news trends

  • Interesting list of apps. What apps are you using? 

    tags: education news apps eduapp

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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