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Showing posts from November, 2017

The "Good Kid": Compliant or Engaged?

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It's interesting when I hear teachers describe a student as "a good kid". I was that good kid in school. And, unfortunately, I definitely described some of my former students that way earlier in my career.

But what do we mean when we say "good kid"?
A good kid completes school work without many complaints. A good kid never breaks school rules. A good kid studies hard and carries out assignments to the best of her/his ability. A good kid is quiet when appropriate and participates when appropriate in class.
So, when we say that a student is a "good kid" we are actually describing someone who is compliant. A teacher with compliant students is able to get through each school day rather smoothly. But, from the student perspective, is using the path of least resistance actually the best way to learn?


Instead, we should encourage our children to be engaged at school. The Glossary of Education Reform explains student engagement in this way:

Inquisitive, Inter…

Getting Real About the Teen Depression-Cyberbullying Connection

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A couple of months ago I wrote a response to a psychologist's theory that smart phones are responsible for the increase in teen depression and anxiety. The overemphasis on screen technology as a root cause for the increase of major depressive episodes among teens and young adults is not new. The most popular articles about this topic found online, like this recent one from Time, will continue to confirm that screens are the problem because it is an easy answer and soothes adults who are not sure how to manage the tech use of the adolescents and teens in their lives. There is not doubt, the stories of individual teens they tell in those articles are touching and concerning.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the true causes of teen depression are:

biological chemistryhormonesinherited traitsearly childhood traumalearned patterns of negative thinking
Surely some of the learned patterns of negative thinking can stem from some interactions students have online, especially cyberbullying. Wh…

Are curriculum specialists in edtech denial?

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As an educator who has built my career during the 21st Century, I've found that my fellow education professionals often classify themselves in one of two categories:
Specialize in curriculum (often in one specific subject area)Specialize in technology (either as part of IT or integration) This is a mistake.

Curriculum is the what, education technology (aka edtech) is the how. They have to be developed together in order for a student's learning experience to be engaging, effective, and relevant.


Edtech Defined Recently I was asked to define edtech. Here is how I responded:
"Education technology – or edtech – is the study and practice of effective teaching and learning processes and strategies that incorporate devices, apps, programs, and media. Edtech can be used in traditional classrooms, at home, and as part of learning in almost any setting."
My definition encompasses more than devices and apps. Because we put the word "education" in front of "technolog…

Breaking my Blogging Dry Spell

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The people I live and work closely with know that I've been neglecting this blog for nearly 2 months. But there's more to it than that. Because I haven't been writing, I haven't been processing my professional thoughts and experiences in the same way. For years this blog has been the place I go to sort out and express my professional thinking, and I'm back.


How it happened Just after my last post, there was a sudden change that happened at my school. What the change was does not matter in this context, but it did turn my understanding of my place and my role there upside down for a while. It took a lot of mental energy for me to develop new understandings and I was honestly a bit unsure of myself during that time. I was afraid to share here.

A realization Now I realize that I should have blogged about a lot of that. Like many education bloggers, the topics of my posts are often inspired by experiences that I have every day at school. I do not write specifically abo…