Wednesday, July 31, 2013

6 ways unschooling can inform practice for innovative educators

Guest post by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko | Writer and blogger at Radio Free School.
The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them. Henry David Thoreau

There is a whole world of learning that unfolds, starting with the spark of an interest.  For unschool educators, it is a matter of following the lead of the learner.


The learner focuses on what he wants to know about. From this node of knowledge, like an octopus sending out its many arms to the environs around, the learner links to ever more nodes—making connections and expanding his knowledge.


It’s the job of an educator to shine a light on the nodes so that the child can choose to look closer at or not.


Putting a spin on some familiar platitudes that are regularly associated with school, I offer six thoughts on how the unschooling method can inform and help us improve educational practices everywhere:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

5 Best Practices to Consider When Using Facebook with Students

This post was original featured on Smartblogs on Education

Innovative educators realize that to run for office, run a business, or change the way things are run where you work or play, being savvy with the use of social media is important. Now you are ready to take the plunge with your students to help them change their lives and the world for the better. Before you get started, consult with your school or district to find out their guidelines and policies and keep these best practices in mind.


  1. Friending Some educators do not realize that you don’t need to friend your students to interact with them online. You can create a page or group that your students can like or join without being one another’s friend or seeing one another’s feeds.  Connecting with students via groups and pages only is a great practice for educators concerned about keeping the lines of professional and personal distinctly separated.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

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.

Entry
Pageviews
Jul 10, 2013,
4481
Jul 3, 2013,
3567
Jun 30, 2013,
2561
Jul 21, 2013,
1608
Jul 7, 2013,
1565
Jul 18, 2013,
1491
Jul 14, 2013,
1354

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

3 great reasons to use Twitter in your school

Here's a simple Prezi that provides three great reasons to use Twitter in your school.

  1. Free text alerts to parents - Create a Twitter account for your school and have parents follow it on their phones for instant updates and alerts.
  2. Instant news ticker to celebrate success - A Tweeting principal can be a success catcher and share what he finds in school via Tweets that auto populate to the school website. Teachers and students deserve to be noticed and celebrated.  This is one free and easy way to do that.
  3. Twitter education chats - Chat with others about important education issues using appropriate hashtags.  Great way to learn and connect with ed leaders and those who share your passions.
For more information, check out this presentation which also features videos to give further insights.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stay connected to parents with Google Voice

Contact is key. Our constituencies want us to be accessible. However, 24/7 access isn’t always possible, nor should it be. Chris Casal, the technology teacher & tech coordinator at PS 10 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, uses his Google Voice number on a daily basis to keep the parent-teacher line of communication open & accessible as well as a point of contact available to all members of the PS 10 community.

Google Voice (GVoice) is a free service through Google. If you are a Google Apps school or just have a GMail account, you can get a GVoice phone number by visiting https://www.google.com/voice/?setup=1#setup. If you don’t have a GMail account you can create one for free at www.gmail.com.

Here’s how it works. Google Voice lets you select a standard phone number to tie to your email account. You can have that GVoice number call multiple phones, or none. In addition, the calls & voicemails can be forwarded to your GMail inbox, an app on your smartphone or tablet, and you can reply via those methods too. GVoice takes the actual phone out of the equation and makes the concept of the phone number accessible across all modern technology platforms.

How can this be useful in connecting and coordinating with parents?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The hottest posts that 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.
Entry
Pageviews
Jul 10, 2013,
3739
Jul 3, 2013,
3314
Jun 30, 2013,
2572
Jul 7, 2013,
1478
Jun 20, 2013,
1441
Jul 14, 2013,
1194

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cyberbullying Infographic

This infographic captures some important points around the topics of safety, privacy, and cyberbullying. Take a look. What do you think? Is there anything you would change? How do you think teens might react? Do you have any ideas for inspiring students to read this and/or classroom discussion?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

11 Innovative Strategies for Ensuring Device Equity

An abridged version of this article originally appeared at ED Tech: Focus on K-12.



School officials wondering what to do for students who lack their own notebook computers, smartphones or tablets can acquire extra devices with a little bit of ingenuity.


When I began teaching as a librarian in Harlem in the 1990s, my district was embarking on what was then considered an innovative program: putting a pod of four computers in ­every classroom. I still recall cringing as I heard some teachers say to ­students, "If you finish your work ­early, you can go 'play' on the computer." Back then, failing to recognize these devices' powerful learning potential was all too common.
Rubberball Productions/Getty Images
I loved having the opportunity through my job to expose children to a world of possibilities through books. Access to computers and the Internet took that to a whole new level, giving students instant feedback and interactivity while empowering them to become producers — rather than simply consumers — of information. I watched many of them discover creativity they didn't realize they had. Suddenly, they were using technology to draw, illustrate, write, connect and create professional-looking work that they couldn't wait to share with their families and the school community.

Many of my colleagues were amazed by the way students transformed when they came to my library. But all I was doing was providing the resources and guidance. Armed with that, our students took hold of their learning and went in directions we could not have imagined.


You may be wondering how the ­librarian at a cash-strapped, inner-city school could provide students with
such learning opportunities. Although we had four computers in each classroom and a lab for "drill-and-kill" standardized-test preparation, our school was technology poor.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What's hot on The Innovative Educator

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.

Entry
Pageviews
Jul 3, 2013,
2847
Jun 30, 2013,
2310
Jul 10, 2013,
1959
Jul 7, 2013,
1215

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bring Your Own Device #BYOD - 5 Lessons for Success

Guest post by Craig Crittendon

The Network Engineer’s Nightmare..

I knew it was going to be an interesting phone call (any call usually is before 8:00 in I.T.).    When the teacher asked why she couldn’t get to “insertwebsite.com” and her kids were arriving in 15 minutes for the first BYOD pilot class, I took my first deep breath of the morning…. The second call came about 8:25…  She was still trying to get students logged into their devices…  A technology specialist and a tech were trying to assist….  Some had limited connectivity to our wireless; others were trying to reach their carrier network, which didn’t have a good signal in that part of the building.  The app she was trying to get everyone on wasn’t working and wouldn’t pull up for everyone…


And that’s how the first couple of weeks went...

The teacher was frustrated and her students were behind schedule.  The principal was not pleased.  One month and a half into the program, they ordered 30 iPads, and the official BYOD pilot unofficially became a 1:1 iPad project.

What happened?  The teacher seemed prepared the week before.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Help #StuVoice think twice before they post online with this infoflyer

This infographic flyer captures some important points about posting online and asks students to think before they do.

Take a look. What do you think? Is there anything you would change? How do you think teens might react? Do you have any ideas for inspiring students to read this and/or classroom discussion?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The hottest posts that 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.


Entry
Pageviews
Jun 30, 2013,
2283
Jun 9, 2013,
1743
Jul 15, 2010,
1646
Jul 3, 2013,
1164
Jun 2, 2013,
911

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Student social media use. Advice from the experts

Here is a compilation of advice from experts around the use of social media for students.  What do you think? Would this resonate with students?  What lessons might you do around this? How might you entice them to read and discuss this topic?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Missed #ISTE13? Ok, but don't miss the @AdamBellow keynote!

If you weren't able to make ISTE, don't worry.  You can still catch Adam Bellow's rousing and inspiring closing keynote, "You're Invited to Change the World" right here. Go to the end of this post and start at 21:30.
One of the things I loved about this keynote is that he hits on what has inspired so many educators to join the teaching profession. Many of us grew up believing that we did indeed have the power to change the world. Yes, there were naysayers or people who shook their heads calling us dreamers, but we believed that we were joining a profession that could change the lives that changed the world. Adam reminds us that despite other distractions, we can and do have that power within us and invites us to go forward and embrace that goal.

Donning his snazzy Google Glasses, Adam hits on several important points.  These were among my favorites:
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