Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Hottest Posts That Everyone is Reading

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

Jun 24, 2012, 3 comments                                5,642 Pageviews
How an innovative educator became interested in cell phones ...
Jun 29, 2012, 1 comment                                 2168 Pageviews
Jun 26, 2012, 2 comments                                2077 Pageviews
Two Rules of Instructional Coaching
Jun 28, 2012                                                       1975 Pageviews
How Self-Directed Learners Earn a Living Without a...
Jun 17, 2012, 11 comments                              1835 Pageviews
Meeting the faces behind the minds I love at ISTE
Jun 27, 2012, 1 comment                                  1606 Pageviews

Friday, June 29, 2012

How an innovative educator became interested in mobile devices for learning

In September 2005 the decision to ban cell phones in New York City public schools was enacted. At the time policy makers saw cell phones as nothing more than a distraction and tool for academic dishonesty while parents viewed these devices as a lifeline to their children.

The “No Cell Phones” rule was strictly enforced with the help of the New York City Police Department, which was enlisted to conduct random sweeps, complete with metal detectors, and to confiscate technology from kids, many of whom were reduced to tears. There were educators on both sides of the issue.  Some were relieved by the policy but others not only trusted their students to behave responsibly, but also understood that cell phones could serve as powerful learning tools.  My friend and thought-leader, Marc Prensky was outspoken on the issue, explaining in his presentations and writing, “What Can You Learn from A Cell Phone? Almost Anything!”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meeting the faces behind the minds I love on Twitter at ISTE

At the recent International Society for Technology Educator’s (ISTE) Tweetup I had the opportunity to meet with the faces behind the minds I interact with throughout the year. With smiles and hugs abound, those in attendance didn’t miss a beat in picking up conversations face-to-face that had begun online.

Those that use social media for learning understand the power of connections and attachments made possible by the platform. Unfortunately many of us work in schools and districts that have administrators and policy makers ignorant about use these platforms, making rules, policies, and guidelines that keep students stuck in the past.

Their conversations are familiar...
Our kids need to learn to speak eye to eye, not thumb to thumb.
Our kids don’t know how to talk to each other anymore.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Come hear me at ISTE today to discuss literacy magic with mobile devices

Join me today at ISTE Live where I'll be moving at lightening speed to show some ways we can use mobile learning devices to enrich literacy. 

We all know the benefits of a literacy-rich environment. How can we engage today's learners by incorporating the devices young people have into that environment? In this session we'll look at what can happen if we allowed student devices to come out of hiding and into the classroom. More and more teachers across the globe are discovering fun and exciting ways to engage learners by using student-owned devices to enrich learning in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

4 ways a new reality is augmenting education

Guest Post by Brendan OKeefe 

I remember being excited by the cool uses of Augmented Reality (AR) in Minority Report and wishing real gesture based computing was here now. I remember the first time I built something using AR tools thinking that this something had changed forever. Being an innovative educator, what excited me most was how this could be used as a tool to engage learners.

It’s been many years since the release of Minority Report and now it seems that finally, there is a shift happening and it’s going to bring some exciting new possibilities to your web browser in the next 18 months or so. You can see a sneak peek here in The Awesome Web.

There are many ways to use augmented reality in your teaching. Here are my top 4 suggestions for winning with the use of augmented reality in your school, community or library.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ISTE SIGs help innovative educators find their people

I flew to the International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE) conference in San Diego with an art teacher from Vermont named Lisa. This was her first ISTE conference and she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My advice was to “find your people” and see what they suggest. If you’ve never been to a conference, how do you do that?

If you’re an innovative educator, one way is through special interest groups.  ISTE’s special interest groups (SIGs) are a great way to find others who share your interests and it’s free for members. There are dozens of groups with thousands of members each from around the world.  You can see for yourself below.

Joining a special interest group connects you year-round to professional development opportunities, resources, listserves, podcasts, discussion forums, webinars, face-to-face forums and events at ISTE and elsewhere and more! SIGs also come together to find like-minded people to do things like write books or create podcasts.  

Each special interest group has a few great ways to connect.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Friendly Guide to Deploying iPads at Your School

Guest post by Steve Kinney. Cross posted at 

There is a lot to like about the iPad when it comes to using them in the classroom. It’s light and fast. It turns on instantly. The battery lasts all day. Best of all, it’s about half the price of a MacBook. Let’s face it, price matters when you’re buying at scale.

For personal use, the iPad is a breeze to set up. Turn it on, connect to a wireless network, enter your Apple ID, and you’re ready to go. If you’re already a resident of the Apple ecosystem, your apps are waiting for you in on a “Purchased” list in the App Store and backups of your other devices are available via iCloud for download to your current device. If you’re a new convert, getting started and downloading apps is a relatively painless experience.
There is also a lot to like about iOS. It’s a lean, mean operating system. It’s use of sandboxing keeps it relatively clutter free. iOS doesn’t do a lot, but it’s pretty good at what it does do.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Hottest Posts that Everybody's Reading

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

Jun 20, 2012, 2 comments            2330 Pageviews
Jun 14, 2012, 4 comments            2153 Pageviews
Jun 13, 2012, 15 comments          2003 Pageviews
Jun 19, 2012                               1921 Pageviews
Jul 15, 2010, 21 comments           1448 Pageviews
Jun 17, 2012, 6 comments            1426 Pageviews

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6 Steps to Helping Students Become Career Ready Via Internships & Apprenticeships

Student at The MET
Schools that honor passion-driven learning often support young people through intern & apprenticeships. This is a core part of learning at Big Picture Schools where at The MET, their flagship school, this manifests itself as every student spending two days out of the building and in the world. 

When people hear this they often wonder how on earth a school could find such opportunities for EVERY student. The secret is they don't. They empower the students to find and often create their own opportunity.

Here's what I learned from speaking to students and staff at 
The MET about how they do it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Criminalizing & profiting off students is wrong

Little has changed here in NYC since the Mayor decided we'd treat students like criminals, have em go through metal detectors and force em to give up their digital devices upon entering school. 

Since then I have written more than 100 articles, taught classes, and a written book about the benefits of harnessing the power of cell phones for learning. This especially made sense when the cell phone-banning city  I work in was distributing the devices to thousands of students as part of an incentive program that won the Cannes Lion Titanium Award

Unfortunately, even after the writing, teaching, and distributing of devices, kids are still banned from using their personal learning devices. 

A couple years ago Will Richardson explained the important lessons this teaches kids.
  1. It teaches them that they don’t deserve to be empowered with technology the same way adults are.
  2. Tools that adults use all the time in their everyday lives to communicate are not relevant to their own communication needs.
  3. They can’t be trusted (or taught, for that matter) to use phones appropriately in school.
Not only are we teaching kids these misguided lessons, but as recently reported in the NY Post & Huffington Post, they must pay an outside company to store them. These companies are making millions every year off our kids.  

So, I suggest this.

Rather than create a system of fear and compliance, why not lift the ban, empower students to use the devices responsibly and support teachers in incorporating the use of mobile devices for learning?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stay connected this summer by becoming a connected educator

Just because the school year ends doesn't mean the learning stops among innovative educators. Instead they stay connected. What does that look like? Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach does a terrific job of explaining  in the below infographic ways we can stay connect in the summer and across the school year.  How will you stay connected this summer and beyond?

Infographic showing a day in the life of a connected educator - teachers using social media
Read the original post on the Powerful Learning Practices blog at this link.

As I read through a day in Susan's life, I could very much relate as I use all those wonderful tools and resources each week.  What about you?  Which of these tools do you use, not use or wonder about?  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Innovative Educators Can Get Recognized as Expert Evaluators in Tech & Learning Magazine

Tech & Learning has an opportunity for teachers to be recognized as expert evaluators of products that might be of interest to other innovative educators. Qualified candidates (if you’re reading this blog, that’s you!) will be selected to evaluate products for its annual Awards of Excellence. 

This will be a piece of cake for innovative educators who are already using many of these products. This is an opportunity to share what you know about the products you love (or do not love) by evaluating at least five products by October 1. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How Self-Directed Learners Earn a Living Without a College Degree

Guest post by Blake Boles, author of Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree. This post is excerpted from the chapter “Financial Security Without College, Part Two”

How do self-directed learners actually make their livings? Can they earn a decent amount of money? Who has taken this path successfully?

There are a number of stories about self-directed learners who skipped or dropped out of college. The following story is one that succinctly illustrates the answers to these questions.Ben Hayes, a lifelong unschooler from New York City, spent much of his youth playing games of all types—video games, computer games, board games, and card games. At age 13, he got an internship at Gamelab, a NYC-based game design company. After Ben spent three years building his skills and demonstrating his value, Gamelab hired the 16-year-old as a full-fledged designer and started paying him a steady income.

At the same time, Ben was intensively playing Magic: The Gathering (a card game), working his way up through the tournament system. He soon became one of the top-ranked Magic players, a position that allowed him to explore the world as he traveled to international competitions.

When he turned 17, it seemed logical to Ben to give college a shot. He applied to Parsons, a design school, and was awarded a merit-based scholarship, but after one semester, the choice seemed wrong. Ben transferred to another NYC-based college for a semester, but his classes continued to leave him unsatisfied. He decided to go back to focusing on what he loved, building and playing games. Ben is now 21 and works as the lead designer for Playmatics, a computer gaming startup.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Hottest Posts That Everyone's Talking About This Week

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see the top weekly posts along with the number of pageviews.

This week "bring your own device" and being a focused Twitter follower made it to the top.

I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired, share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Jun 13, 2012, 11 comments                      2722 Pageviews
Jun 3, 2012, 2 comments                          2597 Pageviews
Jun 5, 2012, 3 comments                          2555 Pageviews
Jun 7, 2012, 4 comments                          1,928 Pageviews
Jun 10, 2012                                                1714 Pageviews
Dec 14, 2009, 16 comments                      989 Pageviews

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Students Empower Each Other & Teachers to Learn with Tech as Funding Runs Dry

Photo credit: Mike Sheehan Photography
The Manhattan Office of Educational Technology held an innovation celebration to showcase the work of students who partnered with teachers for learning with technology.  At the event student presenters demonstrated for visiting adults and peers ways in which they were using technology to innovate learning.

Some students shared how they are empowered to analyze their own data to drive their learning, others shared how they use student response systems to grow their abilities in mental math, some showed how they used iPads to better understand and discuss stories they were reading, and another class showed how they came together to publish their own book about their learning using iBooks.  The event also featured a panel where students explained to teachers and peers the importance of being empowered to use the technology tools they love for learning.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unfollowing everyone but my very favorites on Twitter

Have you ever just wanted to reset your entire Twitter account to "following no one" and rebuild who you follow so you can have the best incoming feed ever? 

I did. 

I recently unfollowed EVERYONE on Twitter. I wanted to be discerning about who ends up in my Twitter stream so that I would have more focused and meaningful interactions. As a result, I now have a low quantity, but high quality feed. I know there are numerous ways to filter, sort and follow other Tweeters i.e. HootSuit, TweetDeck, but when it comes to Twitter, I like to keep it simple.  

This means I only user Twitter to follow Twitter and I look at three things: 
1) @Connect: To see what conversations I've been tagged in.
2) Home: To see what my selected Tweeps are up to.
3) #Discover: To feed or hashtags of interest on Twitter.  

That's it.

When you unfollow thousands of people, how do you go about figuring out who to follow? Well, I instantly thought of the top 25 people who influence and interact with me which makes up those in the list below, then I added from there where I've settled comfortably at about 170 people that I follow. My goal is to stay under 200. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

5 ideas for helping students fund their dreams

There is perhaps nothing more important in the work of a teacher than to help students achieve real-world success.  Unfortunately, many public school teacher's hands are tied because mandates give students no choice and they are forced to sentence their students to days filled with drill, kill, and bubble fill under fluorescent lights and behind closed doors where they're denied such basic freedoms.  Fortunately, by June, much of test prep, test, and field tests are behind them and teachers can help prepare their students for some meaningful learning as they escape into the summer months.  

Blake Boles who coordinates teen adventure trips has some great advice for teens who are interested in funding their dreams.  Doing this is perhaps one of the best ways to teach students math (business, finance), writing, communications, digital literacy, entrepreneurship, social literacy, independence, and empowerment.  

Boles recommends teens use IndieGoGo, which lets anyone start a project. Over the past year he's used IndieGoGo to raise $2,370 to build the Zero Tuition College social network and $9,200 to publish his new book, Better Than College.

He provides five ideas for teens who want to fund their dreams. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Are teachers keeping students prisoners of their past?

For today’s youth life outside of school is a fast-paced, connected environment where students have the freedom to learn in the spaces and with the tools they love. Once inside school walls however, in many cases digital devices are banned, collaborating is viewed as cheating, and students are often prohibited from accessing the very sites that are necessary for real-world success. 

I will be speaking to the panel of students listed below to address this topic at the upcoming #140edu conference which is only $1.40 for educators! Apply here. These tech-savvy young people are devoted to education reform and they all are aware that technology plays an important role in this.

My question to the innovative educators, parents, and students reading this is what questions should I ask the students to get great answers? I have some ideas, but I'm interested in incorporating your thoughts too. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

cn u txtspk?

For more information about connecting with your text speaking students, check out Teaching Generation Text

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Hottest Posts That Everyone's Talking About This Week!

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see the top weekly posts along with the number of pageviews. This week bring your own device was big news followed by parents telling Pearson what they think of standardized tests.

I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired, share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Jun 3, 2012, 2 comments         3,597 Pageviews
Jun 7, 2012, 3 comments         3,395 Pageviews
Jun 5, 2012, 3 comments         2,631 Pageviews
May 30, 2012, 9 comments     1991 Pageviews
Jun 6, 2012, 16 comments       1686 Pageviews

Friday, June 8, 2012

Celebrating Women Educators & Philosophers Via Crowdsourcing

Guest post from David Loitz | Cross posted on The Cooperative Catalyst

The majority of teachers in this country are women, their impact on the history of education is vast, but only a few are covered in textbooks on education or talked about among the major thinkers in the history of education. Their wisdom, experience and action research in and out of the classroom has helped shape the history of education.

Until the 1970′s most books about education were written by men. When Vivian Gussin Paley, an early educator at the Lab School, wrote her first book, White Teacher, her work as an author/scholar was dismissed and chastised. Her fellow teachers and academics didn’t believe that it was the teacher’s place to study the lives of children she taught.

Action research is now taught in teachers colleges, but we still often forget to celebrate the work of women educators, for example, quotes by John Dewey show up daily on social media, but Helen Parkhurst, his contemporary and a pioneer in Progressive Education who created “the Dalton Plan”, is often forgotten.

We have some of the best voices in education at the Cooperative Catalyst and I thought it would be great to celebrate some of the women educators that inspire us, and celebrate some of the texts we look to and shape our own teaching, thinking and writing. I would like your help in creating a primer of women education philosophers and educators and/or wiki for students and new teachers.

We should be able to crowdsource more than 100 women educators and/or philosophers.  I am putting together a paragraph or two on each of them, along with annotations of some of their best work. Please help me by finding a woman you were inspired by and would like to write about. You can contribute at this link.

Here is the list so far ordered alphabetically by first name.
Adora Svitak
Alice Miller
Annetee Lareau
Barbara Brodhagen
bell hooks
Betty Jones
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Carol Dweck
Carol Gilligan
Caroline Pratt
Catherine Marshall
Chris Athey 
Deborah  Meier
Diane Levin 
Diane Ravitch
Edith Abbott
Eleanor Ruth Duckworth
Elise Boulding
Ellen Key
Gayle Moller 
Grace Llewellyn
Helen Parkhurst.
Jane Roland-Martin
Jane Vella
Jean Anyon
Jill Ostrow
Joan Almon
Kirsten Olson
Linda Darling-Hammond
Linda Levstik
Lisa Delpit
Lisa Michelle Nielsen
Lucy Calkins
Lucy Sprague Mitchell
Margaret Donaldson 
Margaret McMillan 
Margaret Wheatley
Maria Montessori
Maricela Oliva
Marilyn Katzenmeyer
Mary Leue
Mary Pipher
Mary Wollstonecraft 
Maxine Greene
Maya Angelou
Michelle Fine
Monika Hardy
Nancy Atwell
Nancy Sizer
Nel Noddings
Olivia Gude
Paula White
Gloria Ladson-Billings
Rachael Kessler
Rachel McMillan
Rebeca Wild
Riane Eisler
Ruby Payne
Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot
Sophia Blanche Lyon Fahs
Sue Palmer
Susan Fleming 
Susan Issacs
Susan Ohanian
Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
Sylvia Ashton-Warner
Vea Vecchi
Virginia Lynn Fry
Vivian Gussin Paley
Zoe Weil
If you want to write about any of these women, you can contribute to this work at this link.