Slow Down….Catch Your Breath

Feb 21, 2015 by

How do you take the time to slow down, and catch your breath in the middle of a busy school year? Do you carve out your own “creative time?” Do you blog? Do you relax by the fire with a mug of something warm and a good book? Do you follow a sports team religiously? Do you take time to play outside with your kids every day? I create short digital vignettes. Small moments of life captured through images and videos that often don’t have much value to others, but bring me a sense of calm. I have DS106 to thank for that. Recently, I’ve been using the slow motion capture on my phone a lot (yes, cheesy, pedantic and literal of me, I know). It forces me to step back and try to find something peaceful, calm, and serene to focus on for a few moments each day. I don’t...

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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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Breaking Down Silos

Nov 19, 2014 by

I had the opportunity to moderate the #michED chat this evening, around the community selected topic of “breaking down silos.” We live most of our educational lives in silos; grade levels, content areas, middle school, high school, “smart kid”, “dumb kid.” Society encourages us to think of complex relationships and organizations, like schools, as simple silos. It’s not the worst thing in the world; it provides new teachers with uniformity and the ability to focus on just a few small goals at the start of one of the most trying careers anyone can imagine taking on. But there comes a time when we all need to break out of our silos in order to grow, and develop new ideas. I shared a simple, but encouraging, article from Edutopia about “Shattering Silos” by Ainissa Rameriz before the chat started. I know it breaks conventional “Twitter Chat” protocol to ask everyone to...

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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…..now. 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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How to Start Blogging Like You Mean It

Oct 14, 2014 by

This morning the Connected Educators Blog posted a quick guide for “How to Start Blogging“. It was well intentioned, meant to give people some quick tips for starting your own blog, and gave just about the same exact advice that I give individuals. It just got the order of the steps wrong. In most “intro to blogging” workshops I see the typical routine as described in the aforementioned post. Pick a blogging platform and setup your space Decide or define what to write about Share and enjoy That order works most of the time. It’s easy for most tech facilitators to start with the technology platform and then work on the finer points of setting up your blogging “house” given the toolset of WordPress, Blogger, or some other blog hosting service. Instructional technologists come from all areas of education, so it’s easier for us to start with a common...

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