Wednesday, September 2, 2015

10 Tips + 10 Resources that Use Tech to Keep Wandering Children Safe

Guest post by Jacob Gutnicki

It seems there is a story almost on a daily basis about a missing child. This is not surprising as the National Crime Information Center statistics in 2014 show that there were 466,949 entries for missing children under the age of 18. These statistics, along with the following statistics on child danger, are unsettling:
  • Roughly half of children with an  (Autism Spectrum Disorder) ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment; a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings.
  • Two in three parents of elopers reported their missing children had a “close call” with a traffic injury.
  • 32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning.
  • Half of families with elopers report they had never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional.
autistic children tend to wander

The last bullet is particularly disconcerting as it means the parents who are most susceptible to this problem are the least prepared for dealing with the challenges of a wandering child. Fortunately, there are many technology-based resources that can help parents and schools who care for wandering children. With this in mind, I have prepared 10 resources followed by 10 tips that can support parents and schools keep wandering children safe.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Winner! The 3 #BackToSchool Supplies Necessary to Boost Learning

By Isiah Rosa.
Isiah is a rising junior high school student from Brooklyn, New York.
Isiah working at All Star Code

I am a student, coder, and an activist. As of the writing of this essay, I currently do not have a laptop to call my own. A.K.A “thanks for letting me use your laptop dad!.”  It is essential for me to have a Chromebook Flip, bag from Griffin, and Internet On The Go MiFi for school and outside projects.  Here is how these three supplies will boost my learning.  

The MiFi is probably the most amazing invention ever, because I have had many a time when I wanted to work on a project, and I just couldn’t because the public WiFi was a mess *cough* Starbucks *cough*, or it was the end of the month and I couldn’t afford to go over my data plan. Honestly, seven gigabytes is NOT enough.

Bags are the quintessential school supply. It is useful for my learning because it will be able to store all of my supplies (pens, pencils, books, binders, and a laptop among other things) to and from school.

The MiFi and bag mean nothing without the Chromebook Flip. Here is how this laptop/tablet will help me with my school work, activism, and coding.  

School work
With this new laptop, I could work on school projects and presentations using Google Slides, and write essays using Google Docs. Google Drive would become my sanctuary for schoolwork. The cloud is my best friend! No more notebooks! Save the trees!
I could use the Chromebook Flip to help build my network to organize and coordinate rallies and protests for movements using Facebook and Twitter. I could also use social media to keep in touch with fellow activists and network with others. This last winter my fellow classmates organized a schoolwide rally to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Our protest was big enough and loud enough that CNN caught wind of us and sent the chopper to track us. With the laptop I could network with friends outside of school and help organize even larger protests to keep these movements alive.
Now for the coding part. This summer I worked at All Star Code, a prep program which connects young men of color to the tech industry. At ASC (All Star Code), I learned programming languages such Python and Javascript, and used them to create games and websites. The project I’m currently working on is called NEX. NEX is a video game discovery service aimed to make shopping for video games like browsing the app store on a phone or tablet. With the laptop, I would be able to work on NEX anywhere and everywhere, which is something I would very much like to do.

The Chromebook Flip, bag from Griffin,  and Internet On The Go MiFi will help me pursue and grow the important work I am pursuing both inside of school and for outside of school projects.  Thank you for this opportunity and for considering my entry.

Editor’s Note:  This post was submitted in response to the contest: Your Chance to Win The Only 3 #BacktoSchool Supplies Necessary This Year.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog. 

This week, it seems educators are excited to learn about tips to keep in mind when using social media with students. There was also interest in finding out why it makes sense to use hashtags at your next event, whether back to school night, parent-teacher night, a fundraiser or science fair.  Next up was a piece that is a detour from what I usually cover here, but it points to the importance of relationships rather than punishment in building community.  And, if you were wondering what a teacher entrepreneur or teacher intrapreneur  is and/or how to become one yourself, read my post on that to find out how to hear from some talented educators who are doing just that.  

There's a few more posts to round out the top. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's Most Important When It Comes To Learning?

What's most important when it comes to learning? 

A good teacher?
A motivated student?
Class size? 

Of course each of those are important factors, but today there is something equally, if not more important. If teachers don't get on board, they will cease to be relevant. The most important factor for lifelong learning today is this:

Being connected.

Gone are the days where students entered the building, disconnect, and power down. Today's teachers must know how to empower themselves and their students to make the important connections they'll need for success both inside and outside of school. This means teachers understanding how to build global learning networks for themselves and supporting their students in doing the same. 

No idea how to get started? No worries. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

How I Became A Teacher Intrapeneur. 4 Ideas to Inspire #TEWeek Followers.

If you work in a school system chances are you have a job that you've seen implemented as a student. You teach a subject you were taught. You are a principal or administrator. You serve as a guidance counselor, etc.  But, lately, there is a new role available in the field of education. That is the role of an intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs work within an existing organization to take direct responsibility for turning an idea into a successful outcome often through assertive risk-taking and innovation. 

Put another way, intrapreneurs often see a need or something that is wrong  but rather than complain, they do something to make it right. This is something I've done throughout my career.

Here's how.

1) Direct A Learning Oasis
  • The problem: There was no place for students to discover and develop their passions and interests.
  • The solution: I took an outdated, dusty library and created a learning center in a school. I connected with a law firm to get thousands of dollars worth of books donated. I connected with a marketing firm to get computers and educational videos donated.  I worked with the local community to bring in programs like Junior Achievement.  I worked with a program called Power Lunch to connect students with mentors who would talk, read, and write with them during lunch time.  Prior to my coming to the school, the library stood dusty and unstaffed.  I laid out an exciting vision that the principal could connect with and want to bring to her school.  
2) Help Coaches Harness The Power of Technology
  • The problem: My district hired literacy and math coaches for every school. These coaches were carrying around huge binders of materials that also needed to be distributed to teachers, flip charts that needed to be shown and duplicated, and had a hard time meeting the demand for demonstrating best practices in delivering lessons and techniques such as conferring.  The need was figuring out a way to get materials to teachers and for coaches to meet the demand of providing demonstration lessons.  
  • The solution:  Technology would solve this issue for coaches.  I was hired to gather all the materials coaches need and digitize them. Gone were all the binders and papers. It was now neatly on every coaches laptop. Rather than having coaches run around demonstrating lessons and techniques, we taped the best educators doing those lessons and made those available to coaches to share with teachers.  I saw the need. Shared the idea with Central staff at a coaching session and not long after, I was hired for the job.  
3) Embrace Student Voice and Social Media
  • The problem: If we want students to engage responsibly online, educators must be in their worlds interacting and model appropriate behavior, but in some districts they were limiting online interactions or banning it altogether.  
  • The solution: I spoke out about the issue by commenting on a newspaper story on the issue. That became it's own headline story which led me to explain the importance of educators interacting with young people using the tools of their world. After the story came out I met with senior leadership at Central and explained that guidelines and policies around social media needed to include the voices of students and teachers and we needed to provide professional development and lessons that supported teachers in helping our students engage online in ways that would lead to academic and career success. The department hired me as the Director of Digital Literacy and Citizenship to do just that.  
4) Digital Engagement + Partnering with Companies for Learning
  • The problem: Teachers around the city were using the same resources but they weren't connecting with each nor were they connected to those providing the resources.  
  • The solution: I worked with companies like Google, Microsoft, and PBS to create online and face-to-face programs for educators across the district to connect.  For the first time teachers who were wild about various resources and programs could meet each other then stay connected in online communities. They were also trained so that they could support others in using the programs and products. At the end of the training they are certified and recognized for their work. This was a big need for companies and for our district. This has been my work for the past year as the Director of Digital Engagement and Professional Learning.  You can see more about the program in this video..  
A new cohort of Everfi Certified STEM Teachers
These are some of the ways I've achieved success as an intrapreneur in my career. What are some problems in your school or district? What type of work could you do to address them?  

You can hear my thoughts in the video below which was taped as part of  Steve Hargadon as part of his Teacher Entrepreneurship series. 

My advice for other teachers: "Start small, capture great stories, & 
then show people (don't just tell them) why your idea is great."

Public schedule and viewer links are at:

Tweet or follow the hashtag at #TEWeek

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Teacher Entrepreneurship - Learn What It's All About From The Experts

Have you heard of teacher entrepreneurship? Know what it is? If not, you want to find out? If so, want to hear from some teacher entrepreneurs? 

You're in luck. Steve Hargadon guides us through four evenings of interviews, live on Google Hangouts on Air / YouTube. Join to learn more about the world of teachers as agents of creation and change. 

Tune in to an amazing lineup that is broadcast for free this week, August 24 - 27 from 6 - 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Interviews last 15 minutes each. You can sign up here.and Tweet or follow at #TEWeek. Visit this link for the entire lineup.  

I'll be discussing how...
"Teacher entrepreneurship can mean establishing a unique, uncharted career path to best meet the needs of staff, students, and families."
I hope you'll tune in to listen and share your support on Monday, August 24th at 8:45 p.m. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog. Below you’ll see the top posts along with the number of page views. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

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