Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Watch 140edu live today and come tomorrow!

Starting today at 9:00 AM EDT, #140edu will be broadcast LIVE.

The event can be seen on UStream over at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/state-of-now-s-140eduOur conference will be broadcast from until 6:00 PM EDT today.

Review the #140edu schedule over at: http://140edu.com/schedule

#140edu broadcast will continue tomorrow (August 1, 2012) starting at 9:00 AM

Monday, July 30, 2012

5 steps to building social media presence from scratch

Gone are the days when imparting knowledge was the primary work of a teacher. Today’s teachers need to be able to support their students in knowing how to effectively connect, communicate, collaborate, cooperate, and create. This means that to prepare today’s youth for success in the world, educators must become savvy users of social media. Opting out of online worlds which students can use to change the world, is no longer an acceptable option for teachers.  

But getting started can be scary.

The video below features my interview with Author Learning Center where I share ideas for how authors, and really anyone, can begin to build their social media presence.  Below the video are the ideas spelled out with a focus on education for innovative educators who are interested in developing a robust online presence and start connecting with others who share their ideas.

5 steps to building social media presence from scratch

Sunday, July 29, 2012

BYOD in the 21st Century - Video Quickie

Editor's note:  I just love this video about the advantages and limitations of BYOD.  It's a great conversation starter for schools or districts who are considering this.  

Guest post by by Cross posted at r.u.a.ware

The Innovative Educator has often addressed the BYOD/T issue and has clearly presented the advantages and limitations of this concept for education both in her blog and by linking to various other authors; even linking to some authors that do not share her point of view. Her “7 Myths About BYOD Debunked” in THE Journal is one of the articles that should be on the top of educators’ reading list on the matter. 

Marc-Andr√© Lalande*, pedagogical consultant for the RECIT Provincial Service (that’s in Quebec, Canada), presents the BYOD concept and some of the pros and cons in “BYOD in the 21st Century”: a humorous 8-minute “South Trek” spoof Pedagogical Quickie. This clip should prove useful for educators who wish to start a conversation in their school or center on the subject. In Lisa Nielsen’s style, the limitations of the concept are not ignored, but rather explained and ideas for solutions are shared.

The rift between everyday life and the traditional school model - with its lectures, rigid schedules and standardized testing - is greater and greater everyday that BYOD initiatives are pushed back to “the future”. Access to information has changed in our day-to-day activities... BYOD, along with a change in pedagogical practices, could help schools catch up to the present.

Other videos, including “To Tweet Or Not To Tweet”, are available on Marc-Andr√©’s YouTube channel and are aimed at dealing with educational issues ranging from content creation to professional development.
Read more articles about BYOD published on The Innovative Educator blog here

* Pronounced pretty much like “Marc and Ray    Lah-Land” ;o)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The hottest posts that everyone'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.

Jul 15, 2010, 23 comments               1980
Jul 22, 2012, 1 comment                   1776
Aug 24, 2010, 50 comments            1602
Jul 24, 2012, 6 comments                 1496
Jul 26, 2012, 0 comments                  1368
Jul 18, 2012                                          1330
Jul 23, 2012, 6 comments                 1066
Jul 25, 2012, 1 comment                   974
Jun 24, 2012, 3 comments                858

Friday, July 27, 2012

Facebook finally considers opening up to the under 13 crowd

If you know kids under 13 you might also know that many of them have Facebook accounts and for good reasons like connecting with family and friends, sharing pictures, playing games, and finding others with similar interests.  For innovative educators the under 13 rule has been frustrating as Facebook can be used powerfully in middle school where you may have some pre-teens.  

Well, now Facebook is developing technology that would allow pre teens to use the site under parental supervision and I'm hoping that this could eventually be extended to educators as well.  Facebook is looking into connecting children's accounts to their parents' and using controls that would allow parents to decide whom their kids can "friend" and what applications they can use. 

Check out this video from the Wall Street Journal to learn more.

With Facebook's move to allow preteens access, schools will need to consider how to best support educators that want to integrate this into meaningful learning opportunities for students.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

10 BYOT / BYOD Back to School Basics

Windows Phone 8
Gone are the days where students sit neatly in rows all prepared with the same back to school supplies ready to consume instruction. As the 2012/13 school year approaches, one thing is clear. One-size-fits-all is out and personalization is in. This doesn’t only apply to the classroom instruction, it also applies to the mobile devices your students choose to use for learning. Today student choice = personalization. The teacher sets the learning goals, but students choose their own tools or learning.

In 2012/13 Blackberries are old school adult devices. iPhones, Androids, and Microsoft’s new Windows 8 devices are what the cool kids are using in school. Below are the BYOT / BYOD back-to-school basics that will help ensure your students' personal learning devices are geared up for the upcoming school year.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Innovative educators use infographics to engage learners

If you’re an innovative educator who knows your students sometimes find traditional teaching methods like textbooks and tests to be a bore, consider infographics.

These great tools are making their way into more and more classrooms. Take for example the following infographic. It shows that while there are some exceptions, overall, countries that have high levels of English speaking citizens tend to have a better Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This type of infographic is a great way to ignite student’s curiosity and contemplate questions like:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3 reasons students are banned from BYOT / BYOD

In New York City the mayor has banned students from using the technology they own and love for learning in school. This decision is not left to teachers, parents, school boards, or administrators. It is a mayoral mandate that despite protests, is closed for discussion.

Here is why the chancellor and mayor do not give students the freedom to choose the tools that work best for learning:
1) Since 2006 the mayor has vigorously defended the ban on student owned digital devices in school calling them unnecessary and disruptive distractions that interfere with learning.

2) In light of the recent scandal at Stuyvesant High School, the NYC school chancellor explained that we must ban students from using their own technology because people are always trying to think of new ways to do things like get answers to questions. He says, that’s cheating and it’s not acceptable.

3) The mayor's latest rationale for banning student tech in schools is kids might use them to watch pornography. “You have a big liability with pornography. The city would get sued right away.” And, in fact, it is our systems lawyers who are making policies and guidelines for students and teachers.

School policies and guidelines look very different when those in charge spend time working, or at least consulting, with those who know how to empower students to learn about that which is meaningful to them with the tools they love and/or own. When that happens policies can shift focus from doing what is easiest, to doing what is best for students.

Monday, July 23, 2012

5 majors to discuss with teens thinking about college

While the new common core standards call for all students to be college and career ready, the narrowed, one-size-fits-all initiative gives little attention to customizing coursework to a student’s unique talents, interests or abilities. As a result, like me, many young people are left with a diploma in one hand, and the other hand scratching their head, unsure of exactly what course of study they want to pursue. The end result can be a hefty investment in tuition, housing, and books in a major that’s just not right for them.

The high school years are the right time to begin having conversations about what might be the best field of study to pursue. If that field includes college, these are five majors to consider that might lead to fulfilling careers. Discuss these with teens early so they can begin focusing their high school experience toward activities, studies, internships, and/or work that will help them make the most of college and life.

1) Economics - Economics and other business degrees are among the highest-paying degrees available at college. While the coursework can be challenging, the results are worthwhile. Economics degrees can lead to jobs in business, other financial fields and academia.
2) Health sciences- Health-related degrees can lead to the lucrative field of health sciences. While others jobs are affected by economic factors, health care remains in demand regardless of economic conditions; people do not stop getting sick during a recession. Degrees in health sciences can lead to careers in areas such as doctors, physician’s assistants, and nurses. Such careers allow one to help others and lead to high levels of job satisfaction. With Baby Boomers at retirement age, this is a field in high demand.
3) Communication Studies- Communication degrees prepare students to enter fields like advertising and public relations. Starting salaries are reasonable, the work is fast-paced and exciting, and there is tremendous room for growth for those with talent. This degree also prepares studentts for running their own business once they gain some real-world experience.
4) Education - Teaching degrees do not always lead to the highest-paying jobs, but the field is rewarding and those who pursue it are responsible for educating the future. Additionally, with experience and additional study, the work can lead to fairly lucrative jobs in administration. Educators who find an environment that fits their style find the rewards of teaching lead to high job satisfaction rates.
5) Information Technology - As high school principal Chris Lehmann points out, “Technology is like oxygen, ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible. This is a field that will continue to boom for decades. With an IT degree, some experience and certifications, students can make six-figure incomes in a relatively short period of time. Further, the field continues to change and redefine itself, which leads to new opportunities throughout one's career.

These five majors are some areas that are likely to lead to employment opportunities.  Of course this is only a start.  If these are not areas of interest for the young people you are involved with, dig deeper, review college catalogs and trade publications and talk with people in various fields to investigate which opportunities are most likely to lead to success. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Study Confirms Teaching Generation Text Ideas

In "Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning" we cite a number of studies regarding the prevalence of cell phones and the trend toward kids getting phones at younger ages.  In fact, we encouraged our publisher to label the book for grades 5-12, when they had originally used 7-12.   A new independent study conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs confirms what we were already seeing in regard to cell phones.  Most notably:

Kids start receiving mobile phones in grade school

  • Kids receive their first mobile phone, on average, at age 12.1.
  • Of the kids who have a mobile phone, 34% have a smartphone.

Mobile phones are a kid's go-to device
  • If kids had to choose one technology device for the rest of their lives, the majority say they would choose a mobile phone above all else — computer, television, tablet.
  • 75% of kids think their friends are addicted to phones.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The hottest posts that everyone'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.

Jul 15, 2012, 11 comments  3406 views                                             
Jul 17, 2012, 3 comments    3128   views
Jul 18, 2012   2772  views
Jul 8, 2012, 13 comments    2055  views
Aug 24, 2010, 50 comments        1908 views
Jun 24, 2012, 3 comments   1346   views
Jul 15, 2010, 22 comments   1257                                               

Friday, July 20, 2012

TED-Ed: Great delivery & creation tool, falls short on global collaboration

Chris Anderson addressed an audience of innovative educators at this year’s Building Learning Communities conference to discuss the launch of the TED-Ed platform. He shared that the great power of technology was its ability to facilitate amplification, specialization, and collaboration. TED-Ed knocks the ball out of the park on two of the three.

An extension of TED’s commitment to sharing ideas worth spreading, TED-Ed’s commitment is to creating lessons worth sharing. This in turn amplifies the lessons by the best teachers to students across the globe.  Below is an example of a video which this lesson was created around.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What will you do the first five days of school?

"We can lose the value of a whole year if we do not get the first five days of school right." - Greg Whitby @gregwhitby Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta
What do you do during the first five days of school to ensure the year is off to a great start? That is what attendees of this year’s Building Learning Communities conference are sharing, discussing, and rethinking face to face and via the Values Exchange Community.

Alan November gets the conversation rolling on the First Five Days Theme Board with these nuggets:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't miss the Google 4 ur library webinar - July 18!

Check out 50 Ways Google Can Impact Your School Library Program tomorrow as part of  edWeb.net's Using Emerging Tech to Improve Your School Library Program. This interactive workshop will feature award winning Librarian Michelle Luhtala take participants through a Smackdown of 50 Google resources in 60 minutes. Participants will be invited to contribute and comment throughout. 

Thanks to Follett Software's continued sponsorship, Emerging Tech webinars are not only free of charge, but attendees receive certificates of participation whether they participate in real time or asynchronously. All 24 Emerging Tech webinars are archived on the community homepage.

Google in the Library
Explore 50 ways in which Google can impact your school library program - from Google Apps to Google Scholar. Find ways to search smarter, think harder, teach better, be more productive, and embed a plethora of 21st century learning skills into your library program, and its administration.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 11AM EDT – Session 25 
Register at this link.. 

Check out the hottest resources presented by innovative educators at the EdCampBLC Smackdown

edcampblcEducators discovered innovative teaching and learning resources at this year’s EdCampBLC (Building Learning Communities) Smackdown. A Smackdown features a “show and tell” sharing of favorite resources that innovative educators have found to be of great use.  A stopwatch is used to time group presentations lasting up to 2 minutes.
My favorite resource was ThingLink which makes your images interactive by creating hot buttons (of text, video, audio, other sites, etc.) on the photos. It is great for use with timelines, science diagrams, famous pieces of art, maps, historical scenes, and much more.

Here is the ThingLink created by Tracy Skolaski at #EdCampBLC

I also really liked World Mapper which lets you generate discussion and build global perspective with world datasets represented by “warping” the map - great for analytics and conversation starters. 

Below are some of the other resources that were shared with innovative educators.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

19 bold (not old) ideas for change

At ISTE 2012 Will Richardson did an ignite session (5 minutes / 20 slides) where he shared 20 bold ideas for change. The presentation was powerful and fast.  In case you blinked or sneezed, below the video are his ideas with commentary intertwined from us both. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Hottest Posts that Everyone'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.This week 5 reasons to allow students to use their cells packs a wallop! 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.

Jul 8, 2012, 11 comments                                  5,976 Pageviews

Jul 9, 2012, 2 comments                                    2939 Pageviews
Jun 24, 2012, 2 comments                                2618 Pageviews
Jul 11, 2012                                                          2340 Pageviews

Friday, July 13, 2012

Neither cell phones nor students are the cause of the Stuyvesant cheating scandal

Chancellor Dennis Walcott explained that cheating is a major reason that cell phones are strictly prohibited in city schools. Well, with that rational we should also be banning pencils, paper, and rubberbands. Rather than focus on inanimate objects, why not focus on the real issue at hand?

The entire testing structure is bogus and bad for kids. Students spend an entire year in schools with teachers who can and should be able to assess them using authentic measures by doing meaningful work that matters and can be worthy of the world. Assessment should not be separate from the learning that takes place in school.  

Testing also teaches kids some pretty terrible things that are a detriment to success in life such as...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Common Core State Standards - The precursor to testing the crap out of kids

Educators are becoming more and more familiar with and learning about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  What they might not realize is that CCSS is really code for constantly testing the crap out of kids. As a result the publishers and politicians who designed them reap the rewards. Politicians have pretty charts and numbers they can use as talking points and publishers like Pearson rake in enormous profits

Meanwhile these same politicians and publishers have been yapping about how the new standards and assessments will be so much different and better.  Some had visions 
dancing in their heads of standards that were customized to student who would choose their own way to demonstrate mastery.  

Then poof!

Reality hits. The dreams shot down. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meet the greatest future of ed thought leaders for only $1.40!

Only someone like Jeff Pulver could bring together the most brilliant future of education visionaries in one intimate gathering. Not only does he bring them together, but he is also inviting educators far and wide to come see, hear, question, and even talk with them and it only costs $1.40!!!

This conference provides a unique opportunity for educators to come together in a relatively intimate setting to listen to a day packed with the visionaries that are usually reserved for the stages at conferences internationally that require you to fork over some big bucks.  

At the 140edu you have the chance to listen to numerous speakers give you their best 14.0 minutes of what education can and should be. Speakers leave time for questions and you can catch your favorites before or after their talk in the schmooze room where you can also help yourself to coffee and snacks.

The conference is being hosted by these guys:
Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) - Principal of the Science Leadership Academy
Jeff Keni Pulver (@jeffpulver) - founder #140conf
It is the goal of our hosts to take a hard look at the State of Education NOW and provide a platform for educators, parents, students, administrators, school boards, together with anyone and everyone with a vested interest in the state of education a chance to be heard and ideas shared and explored.

Some of the talks you’ll hear:

How to make dropping out of school work for you.
Both times I dropped out of high school, and when I dropped out of college, it was because school was interfering with my learning. I was living in New York City, the home of industry, finance, multiple ethnic groups, dozens of museums, a variety of parks, and millions of interesting people, in short, a huge classroom available to the highly curious me. Now, thanks to the internet, Skype and other technology, the world is now a huge classroom available to anyone with a way to access it. It raises the question of whether school is still necessary and, if so, do students really need 12 years of it?
-Deven Black (@devenkblack) - Middle school teacher-librarian/media specialist in NYC. If you expect simple answers to complicated questions you are in the wrong place.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Four Key Performance Indicators in Praise of Homeschooling

An article recently came out that takes on the National Education Associations anti-homeschooling position revealing 4 performance indicators that demonstrate the value of homeschooling. If you weren't aware, The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. They say, when home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress.

Not only is it disturbing that the NEA supports intruding in the lives of families when it comes to what is best for their children, the facts are that home educated students do better than those in public schools. 

The article points to the following four performance indicators along with links to sources for each one.
  • Key Performance Indicator #1: Academics
  • Key Performance Indicator #2: Socialization
  • Key Performance Indicator #3: Finances
  • Key Performance Indicator #4: Values

You can read about each performance indicator in the original article here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Educators Examine Flipped Classrooms

I was recently interviewed by NPR about why I'm not flipping over the flipped classroom.  Here is the story.  
Credit James Sarmiento / Flickr
Educators from all over Idaho meet in Boise Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about creating 21st century classrooms. One of the themes of theEduStat conference is flipping education.
Greg Greene is principal of a high school in suburban Detroit. A few years ago he banned lectures in classrooms. Instead teachers assign online videos that students watch on their own. In class teachers work with individuals or small groups. Greene is considered a pioneer in the flipped classroom, homework in class, class work at home. He’ll tell Idaho teachers about it at the state department of Ed’s EduStat conference. Greene says the flipped classroom solves the education dilemma of teachers vs. technology.
“We have been struggling trying to figure out how the teacher and technology survive together," he says. "In a flipped classroom the teacher is helping guide students down that path of success.”
Greene says in this system technology frees teachers to work closely with students. It’s a model that’s growing nationally. Some Idaho schools are experimenting with it, including in Star and Gooding. But one education author and blogger Lisa Nielsen hasn’t flipped for flipped classrooms.
“It sounds like it’s an innovative idea but it’s just talking about doing the same old boring, tired pedagogy in a slightly different way," she says.
Nielsen says technology could transform the education system but flipped classrooms are built around lectures and homework. Those are things she thinks don’t belong in 21st century education. Objections like those on Nielsen’s blog aren’t on the agenda at the statewide conference in Boise, but two of the speakers will be touting the benefits of the flipped model.