Showing posts from August, 2015

Building Relationships in the New School Year: How #EdTech Can Help

In the northeast corner of the country, the school year starts this week! (I know this is a shock for my friends in the South and out on the West Coast who have been in school for a week or two.)

With that in mind, I wanted to strongly assert the principle that an educator's role is primarily to build meaningful relationships with students. Without those relationships, real honest learning cannot happen. I do believe, however, that technology can help build those relationships if used in a balanced and thoughtful way.

My recent post with Corwin Connect helps explain some examples. I'd be honored and grateful if you'd read and share.

The Professional, Personal, and Private Sides of Social Media

This week I had the honor of working with my colleague, Julie Cremin, to facilitate our school's in-house summer EdTech conference. It is meant to help inspire teachers at our school to set new goals for engagement and tech integration in their classrooms.

The thing is, although teachers know technology has the potential to change the way students learn, many do not know that it can change the way they develop as professional educators. Our teachers spend much of their time putting their students first, so Julie and I felt strongly that part of teacher EdTech training should be about the educators. After all, the students would benefit from their teachers' growth in the end, right?

Near the end of our 3 day conference, the final session I facilitated was about the power of building a PLN (Professional Learning Network) through social media. First I defined PLN for the teachers who joined the conversation.

The group of people a learner interacts with, formally or informally, and…

Four EdTech Teaching Trends

Thanks to the power of EdSurge, these 4 powerful teaching strategies -- made possible by some smart edtech tools -- are no longer a best-kept secret. I've seen some incredible change in student interest, engagement, and student-teacher relationships thanks to these ideas. Click the graphic below to read more!

The Educator's Guide to Social Media

As educators, we become accustomed to both operating as experts in solitude and collaborating with colleagues. In what is surely among the top collaborations of my career, I had the good fortune to talk and think and laugh and write with Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely and established technology journalist with CBS News, Huffington Post, San Jose Mercury News, and several others. He brought his expertise with the latest in privacy policy and the functional possibilities of the tools. I brought my experience from the classroom and how social media can connect students and teachers with the world outside their classroom like never before possible.

The result is this comprehensive guide:
Educators can feel confident that the guide covers everything from communication with parents, to posting images and videos, to online harassment, to building a professional network. It is all in this easily-accessible document that is free.

The guide was featured in the Huffington PostBeyond Pencils

Building Digital Citizenship Beyond an Event

I was honored to be invited to write a guest post for the DigCitSummit group and to work closely with David Ryan Polgar to develop a topic and pull it all together. After working hard to develop a digital citizenship curriculum at my new job, I had some reflections on the (very much ongoing) process and best practices. The result is an article that seeks to emphasize that digital citizenship is a new part of citizenship, and should not been seen as -- or taught as -- a separate category.

Although the realist in me knows that our society at large is not quite ready for this shift, I eagerly await the day when “digital citizenship” is not a special term. Instead, we will talk about citizenship in general. There will be a common understanding that our communications and contributions online should be measured and judged the same way our communications and contributions are in person. Similarly, just as educators talk about how teaching the whole child is more important than teaching conte…

Why is student data both exciting and daunting?

Student data privacy is an arena of education that is both daunting and exciting. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University recently published "Student Privacy: The Next Frontier." Professor Urs Gasser and Fellow Paulina Haduong, among others, undoubtedly put incredible research into this project. Their work included reading proposed policy, talking with experts in law, classroom practice, and policy writing, and much more.

Their report led me to start thinking about how the discussion needs to continue. It also needs to be balanced with all parties maintaining an open mind of both the benefits and risks of collecting and analyzing student data.

Why is student data daunting? In a reality where data breaches are regularly in the news (see Home Depot and Anthem) there is understandable concern from parents and educators about whether the personal information of our children could be compromised. Edtech companies collect and store information about our scho…

Finding Your Hustle #beyouEDU

Dr. Will seems to come up with monthly themes that force me to reflect on why I am an educator and how my daily actions can really help our teachers and children. This could mean I'm making an impact on a school, regional, or national scale. The point is not about size, but rather how deeply the impact is felt. Tonight I published an honest reflection on my excitement and fear surrounding my recent career change.

Please click the image above or click here to read the full post. I'm sure my story will continue to unfold, but the point is that if we all hustle all of our stories will unfold together. The beneficiaries will be our students.