It’s time for ISTE again, one of the world’s largest edtech conferences – this year in San Antonio, TX. With 4 days worth of events and tens of thousands of participants, it can be difficult to figure out what sessions to attend. If this is your indoctrination into the world of edtech, try playing ISTE BINGO to exposure yourself to a range of current pedagogical philosophies. If you are an ISTE veteran, shoot to cover the entire card over the course of the conference.
For the ultimate win, try and find a vendor with a tagline that scores a BINGO! There will be at least one on the floor:
I spend a good deal of time planning for transitions, as both a parent and educator. So when I recently received an unexpected opportunity to work on a long-term educational project with global impact, I started the arduous task of planning a graceful mid-year exit from the classroom.
I cleaned up all my curriculum maps. I documented my daily routines. I re-organized all of my server files. I shared permissions for all of my Google Apps for Edu data. I made screencasts of all iPad management processes. I worked with administrators to hire and train a middle school technology integration coordinator and a lower school technology specialist. I practiced my conversations with students prior to the announcement.
I thought I was in good shape until my last day of school. My final sessions with kids were tinged with sadness. Students asked all sorts of thoughtful questions about my future plans – ranging from when I would visit to my dog’s ability to accompany me to work at Google.
What I was completely unprepared for was students, faculty and administration leveraging the tools & skills we’d been exploring to give me a send off. I received a heart-warming and beautifully composed email from a student who had a history of mis-using the communication medium to make others feel bad. I received digital cards, digital collages, video goodbyes, HTML formatted farewell cards, and even a digitally sketched portrait. Students used a variety of digital media to capture the last day, including a high-5 tunnelled super send off!
Finally, as the recent collaboration (below) with a class in Los Angeles reminded me: just because I’ve left teaching full-time doesn’t mean I can’t continue to participate in education. I’m looking forward to working with students in the future and using technology as a form of self-expression and communication to enhance those experiences.
I’m lucky enough to spend Tuesdays to Thursdays working with an amazing group of students and faculty at The Westside School in Seattle. For 15 months now we’ve been growing a new middle school, and a 1:1 initiative is part of that model.
We are in a constant cycle of evaluation as we seek to understand the impacts of mobile learning, standards-based assessment, and mixed-age groupings on student academic achievement and character development.
Below are some edtech-focused numbers based on the first 3 months of this school year:
No matter if you teach with a formal delivery method, with an emergent curriculum, or move across this spectrum based on community and content requirements, students must be engaged to learn. Engagement comes from action; and action is identified with verbs.
To learn more, take a few minutes to read and watch this previous post, “Got Verbs?“.
Gaming and social networks are a global industry. Many systems allow participants to buy, sell, and trade in native currency that can be purchased with real-world money (Habbo Hotel credits, Facebook credits, Wii points, etc). How will real-world currency fluctuations affect virtual-world currencies?
Facebook has just released a video that elevates their advertising platform to the ultimate goal of technology: to connect us, give us a sense of belonging, and make us more human. What is the price we pay for this desire to find a tribe?
For years now, my first class has been a discussion on the definition of technology. We use this word everyday but many of us can only give examples, not a concise explanation. Technology is:
An object or invention created conciously by animal or human, changing the nature of something to make work more efficient or simplify life.
Digital identity & citizenship is an essential part of a relevant education, and of a connected life, in the 21st century. Here are the 5 best resources for learning about digital identity. These websites/documents are useful to parents and teachers interested in learning more about digital ethics, cyberbullying and netiquette:
Net Cetera is a U.S. government produced community outreach toolkit that defines and discusses the impact of common social media platforms with a focus on cyber-safety.
CommonSenseMedia provides curriculum, advice, policy and reviews for parents and teachers to understand the media available today and its potential to influence our behavior and/or beliefs. Their recent research study, Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, is an enlightening survey and analysis of U.S. parents (published October 2011).
Digital ID: 21st Century Citizenship is “a toolkit of reliable information, resources, and guidelines to help teachers/parents/students learn how to be upstanding digital citizens.” This resource is a collaboration managed by Natalie Bernasconi & Gail Desler.
A few days ago I was waiting for a mechanic to call back to let me know if he could attend to some scary-looking warning lights on my car dash, when I ran across this beautifully made interview short by Andrew David Watson entitled Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles.
In the film, narrator Adam Cramer lements:
The largest problem facing us is the deindustrialization of America. Our ‘can-do’ American spirit is being lost.
As a lover of the Maker movement and former TinkerLab founder, I had the need to push back against this perception. I began Googling around until I had identified the error message, removed my dashboard, and swapped out the part.
Even as most car manufacturers and gadget producers give us less ability to maintain and modify the products we produce, there are movements underfoot that resemble the world of “New Work” in Doctorow’s Makers. I hope we are moving back towards a culture of do-it-yourself and personally work to cultivate curiosity with my students. Here are some encouraging stories to support this claim:
Companies like Sparkfun are selling the excitement and gratification of assembling your own electronics.
After-school programs, like ReelGrrls & TAF, are providing instruction and materials to help youth create and communicate.
As a middle school teacher, my job is often to seed a set of boundaries in the hopes that students will encounter and then hack their way up/over/around them. Sometimes this is a student who, frustrated by iMovie’s single-title limitation, discovers that exporting and then reimporting projects allows her to create layers of words over a clip. On another occasion, a student misses a self-imposed project deadline and uploads an impassioned YouTube apology complete with live puppy (with really sad puppy eyes) requesting an extension.
What do you believe? Is Cramer right that “our children don’t know the difference between a flathead screwdriver and a Phillips” or do you align with Muren’s philosophies?