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Showing posts from March, 2015

Personalized Learning Starts with People

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Research into how children, and really all humans, learn should inform our instructional design.  Educators should also take care when building assessments to ensure that they measure the learning that was intended from the beginning.  Personalized learning means that educators tailor the experience of the student to fit her needs instead of pushing her to fit into the traditional structures and sequences of industrial institutions.  Ideally, every student would have access to a program of learning that allows her to experience what she needs in order to hit learning goals.



Many organizations are helping to offer this experience.  Last week I was invited by one of them, Redbird Advanced Learning, to a symposium at Stanford University for a discussion on how to make learning more personal for every child.  Redbird believes the best solution is a combination of digital curriculum, blended learning, and professional development to train educators.  Their product and approach is based on …

Supporting Technology Integration with a Student-Driven Help Desk

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In perhaps the article I'm most proud to be a part of to date, my Rockets Help Desk founding students and I co-write about our journey from idea to pilot to school-committee-approved course.  Read, share, and let us know if we can help you start your own movement.

We were even the top story in the EdSurge Instruct Newsletter this week and were mentioned during the live streamed panel at the Redbird Learning Personalized Learning Symposium at Stanford University today.




Teachers Should Use #stuvoice for Professional Improvement

This morning Alfie Kohn  posted this Tweet:

Courses should be created WITH students, not just for them. If a course doesn't vary considerably from yr to yr, something's wrong
— Alfie Kohn (@alfiekohn) March 24, 2015 It made me think about how some teachers put real effort into revising their lessons year to year, while others might pull out the same readings and questions no matter whether they really helped students learn or not.  Do I revise and improve my class activities enough each year?  My 10th grade Civil War infographics lesson is one example.  Last year I wrote a how-to guide for helping students create infographics as proof if their learning.  I was lucky enough that it was noticed and picked up by EdSurge as part of their Fifty States Project.  Now that I've gone through the process again this year with my students and I've improved the experience a bit, there are some important lessons learned.

1. Clarify the Goal Last year my students' biggest compla…

OPINION: Ed Tech is not a silver bullet

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Author's Note: This op-ed was originally published at Wicked Local.

All too often, educators hear lofty promises about the potential for emerging technologies to improve teaching and learning. Companies make bold claims that software will save teachers time and improve student outcomes. The teacher response is often skeptical. One Chicago teacher, Michael Beyer, suggested that even if software works, he’d argue against using it. Of course, there are no silver bullets. Students and classrooms are different. School needs and infrastructures vary. While it’s obvious that technology alone is not going to revolutionize education, we are often presented with a false choice between adopting emerging technologies and investing in great teachers. Tech savvy teachers are often frustrated by a national discourse that seems to ignore what is actually happening in today’s classrooms. Education is far from experiencing the massive disruption that we often hear about in other sector…

The Dr. Will Show: Exploring Student Helpdesk Teams

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I was honored to be have a chat with Dr. Will Deyamport, III last night about my students' growing pilot program, Rockets Help Desk.  We talked about the benefits of implementing student tech teams, both for students and for the broader school community.  Click here to see the full post on his blog and watch the video interview below.

Everyone Wins: Kids & Pros in the Cloud

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As part of the student-driven pilot program we've been building this year, Rockets Help Desk, I've worked to connect my students with technology professionals from all over the country.  Up until now this was done primarily via video chats. Little did I know, we had a technology leader right in our back yard.

Thanks to some connections I made at the Blue Ribbon National Conference in December 2014, I found out that NaviSite's flagship facility is only two towns away from our school.  Thanks to people from both Blue Ribbon and NaviSite, 17 of my tech-enthusiast students were able to get an insider's look at cloud storage, security, and strategy from the pros.  Here's a peek at the Andover, Massachusetts facility we visited.  Click to watch.


Inside NaviSite's Andover, MA Data Center from NaviSite on Vimeo.


First, the students were brought to a professional board room with professional presentation technology. They felt special and respected by leaders in the indus…