Edu-Jargon: The Game

Mar 15, 2015 by

A few weeks ago I shared a small game I had developed for a conversation-based conference session. It was a riff on “Cards Against Humanity,” and utilized the Education Jargon Generator found on Science Geek to provide the kind of stereotypical edu-jargon that makes up most large conference session titles. The answer cards were all blank. I realize now that was a mistake. While I intended the game to be farcical, it was a bit too open ended; some people took to it immediately, while others were a bit lost. That was a mistake I’ve hopefully rectified with version 2.0 of the game, which I’ve now officially titled “Edu-Jargon.” The game now includes close to 45 “fill in the blank” edu-jargon conference session titles, and close to 50 answers taken from the more lighthearted side of teaching. In other words, the game is now a mash up of the more stiff...

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Why do You Share?

Feb 16, 2015 by

It’s no secret that I have a very high-minded approach about how educators who blog should conduct themselves; blogging is a reflective practice that allows the world small windows into our lives. If we open the curtains a bit, we can encourage others to learn from what we’ve observed, share experiences and resources, and create communities in which discourse and disagreement can live happily (relatively speaking) alongside positive cheer-leading. If we’re inviting the world to peer into our lives, we as educators need to understand, and find ways to appreciate, that we don’t all have the same methods, thoughts, and attitudes when it comes to working in a professional environment. Push back is a good thing; stepping back from back-patting to ask difficult questions (in respectful ways) is a good thing; it brings out the reality that learning (and growing) is an active, messy struggle. It emphasizes the reality that great...

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Technology Will NOT Revolutionize Education

Dec 5, 2014 by

If you’re involved with ed tech evangelism on any level (this includes large conference keynoters) the questions that Veristasium’s Derek Muller asks in this video must be shared! This video has had a lot of “air time” in education circles this past week. It’s been described as humorous, as thought provoking, even heretical in some circles. Regardless of how accurate you perceive the video’s main thesis to be (you could argue that some technology has revolutionized how we think about education), the basic sentiment is dead on. There exists a constant stream of new gadgets, gizmos, and learning platforms that tech evangelists claim to be the “silver bullet” that will solve all of our educational problems. We make claims about technology that on face value are sound, but when held up to greater scrutiny are patently ridiculous; how often have you seen “kids today learn different than the way we learned”...

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Planet Money’s Simple Explanation of Net Neutrality

Nov 11, 2014 by

Planet Money is an amazing podcast. If you aren’t listening, you should be. If you’re an economics, political science, or business teacher, it’s one of the richest pieces of media being produced today that breaks down complicated business and economic issues into easy to digest and engaging audio. If you’re a regular NPR listener, you’ve probably heard their pieces during longer news segments. If you’re an avid podcast listen, go subscribe… It really is great story telling capable of turning the dullest of subjects into engrossing stories; including how the story of two pasta factories can help you understand the basics of the entire Italian economy. Net Neutrality isn’t anything new; it’s been discussed and argued for more than a decade. In fact, the Planet Money team was able to easily explain the amazing power that the internet can afford even the smallest of innovators through an anecdote about...

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21 Things Every 21st Century Teacher Should Do And Keep Their Sanity!

Oct 22, 2014 by

Being a “21st Century” teacher is still very much in vogue these days, and I still hear the term “21st Century Skills” tossed about from time to time at conferences and workshops. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the phrase (it’s immensely better than it’s predecessor “digital natives”) as it speaks to the collaborative, creative, and communication skills that most educators should herald as the foundation of their instructional practice. “21st Century Skills” get a bad reputation though for being overly “techie”, and quite often people will go out of their way to shoe horn every single piece of media creation they can into a document extolling teachers to adopt more tech. To be honest, that reputation is sometimes earned, as I see teachers that I work with struggle to try all sorts of new gadgets, tech, apps, and sites without getting too deeply into any of them, and only retaining...

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Is Complaining a Part of Problem Solving?

Sep 30, 2014 by

I like to argue on Twitter; perhaps more so than is acceptable by many of the more positive individuals out there. Regardless of how often I find opportunities to argue a point in the 140-character space, I usually try to hold to a few tenets: Don’t be a jerk Be constructive in my criticism Ask questions Don’t be a jerk Try to understand the other person’s point of view I’m not always successful in adhering to these self-imposed guidelines, but I like to think that reminding myself of them makes me a bit more self-aware before engaging in verbal rhetoric. I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a “know-it-all” (those that know me will readily affirm this). I’m not proud of this failing, so I try to actively monitor my level of “jerkiness” in conversation. Other times, I just can’t help myself and try to find nuance,...

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