Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Language Matters. Stop "Forcing." Start "Inspiring."

Language matters. If we want to do what is best for young people and teachers we need to consider language.

Consider these questions: 
  • My daughter is falling behind in reading. How do I "force" her to read more?
  • How do I "make" my students understand that it's okay to not know something?
Or these statements:
  • We have to "force" teachers to use/do [new program of the day].
  • Fostering student voice means "forcing" them to be certain as they assert their ideas. 

No one likes to be "made" or "forced." Instead, show, inspire, support, encourage, discuss. Or...read a book about that which you are hoping to instill or achieve.  

You may be reading this and thinking that you and/or your peers/friends don't use such language, but you may be surprised. Be on the lookout for yourself and others and rethink, restate, and reconsider. You and the person you are talking to will be happy you did. 

What examples of you seen of these words being used?  Is this something you or someone you know might need to work on?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Few of My Fav #EdTech Things in 2014

Looking back at 2014 I've come up with a few edtech resources I have relied on most for teaching and learning. Check em out and share yours.

1) Google Apps
Never worry about accessing or backing up your work with Google Apps.Whether you’re creating a doc, slides, spreadsheet, Google Apps provide the best collaboration and sharing tool out there for your work.  Sync your drive and work whether you’re connected to the internet or not.  
Frequency: Daily

2) Social Media
Facebook, Google Communities, Yammer, Edmodo and Twitter are my go to platforms to connect with other innovative educators inside and outside my district. Favorite hastags are #BYOD #BYOTchat #StuVoice #TLChat #EdChat. Favorite groups are The Innovative Educator and Google Educator Groups.  
Frequency: Daily

Saturday, December 27, 2014

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.

Dec 7, 2014, 
Dec 14, 2014, 
Dec 21, 2014, 
Jun 13, 2013, 
Nov 26, 2014, 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Throw Back Thursday Launches in 2015

Happy holidays innovative educators. Since educators across this country and beyond are with their families, I'm keeping today's post light and letting you know that beginning in 2015, The Innovative Educator blog is launching "Thowback Thursday," which means I will share posts that mattered in the early days of this blog.  

To launch this, I share the very first post of "The Innovative Educator" blog.  What excites me more than the post, are the very first people to comment on the blog so please check that out.

Written: March 19, 2008.  

Topic: Why I was inspired to start a blog.

Who might be interested: Any educator considering starting their own blog.

Favorite excerpt: "Something I’ve learned from these experts is that if you want to be taken seriously, you have to have a digital footprint. It’s not enough to talk about the work you do, do the work you do, and spread the work you do. Even if it’s in one of the world’s largest school systems. To be taken seriously, you must become a more formal part of the conversation."

Reader question: What might inspire you to start or contribute a guest post to a blog.


The Innovative Educator takes its first step

I’ve spent as long as I can remember being an educator, student or both, passionate about authentic, meaningful, fun, and relevant schooling. In first grade my school informed my mother that I spent most days sleeping and they were concerned I had a learning disability, though in those days, I believe my teacher told my mom she thought I was “retarded.” Frantic my mother took me off to UCLA medical center for a battery of tests where they advised my mother and my school that I tested much higher than average in all tests and my issue was boredom and under stimulation.

Read the rest at http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2008/03/innovative-educator-takes-its-first.html 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Student-Friendly Social Media Guidelines Make a Great Bulletin Board

Innovative educator Samantha Stouber uses the NYCDOE student-friendly social media guidelines as part of her efforts to teach digital literacy to her students. The guidelines provide a roadmap for to use digital media effectively.  For parents and staff there are guides. For students, the guidelines are in infographic format. As a reminder, Stouber printed out the guidelines and infographic to create this great visually teen-pleasing bulletin board.  

Need some attractive reminders for your class? Visit the social media guidelines infographics and print them out for your classroom.

Here are some close up pictures of the board:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

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.

Dec 7, 2014, 
Nov 19, 2014, 
Jun 13, 2013, 
Nov 23, 2014, 
Nov 26, 2014, 
Aug 4, 2010, 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

10 Guidelines for #EdTech Companies + Social Media - It's All About Relationships

Social media has changed how vendors do business. It is no longer one way communication. Instead with social media, like never before, there is now two-way communication allowing companies to have conversations with their customers. Those who are doing so effectively. Those who are doing so effectively, grow customer loyalty and respect.  Those who are not doing it well, will be perceived as out-of-touch and will move further toward irrelevance. 
Those who serve our schools should be expected to engage with educators via social media. Simply providing products is no longer enough. Educators want to have relationships with the people behind the products. Some ed tech partners are doing a terrific job of this with robust online communities where the people behind the resource are there to support educators in relevant ways. What's more, educators are able to connect with others using their product.  

Here are some do's and don'ts when businesses do get in the business of using social media with educators. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Good news for #Students - Screentime Is Good For You!

The next time someone shares with you another piece of shock journalism with claims that research says if kids use tech they'll get fat and stupid, arm yourself with this piece (10 Points Where the Research Behind Banning Handheld Devices for Children Is Flawed) which debunks that research. If you don't feel like reading it, it says this: The research cited against technology use for youth focuses on passive television viewing or addiction to video games that are usually of violent nature. 

Of course video game addiction and passively intaking information for hours on end is bad for anyone. In those cases the problem is usually not the technology, but rather the lack of a responsible adult guiding these young people.

However, when young people have responsible parents and teachers in their lives, this does not describe what most young people do with technology. When responsible adults are involved in and understand the digital lives of young people, great things happen. Below is an arsenal of material that explains how today's youth are using technology effectively.  Pick a few of your favorites. Then share, and shift the conversation from lamenting about "kids today" to celebrating the wonderful things young people are doing when given proper support and access technology.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

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.

Oct 29, 2014, 
Oct 12, 2014, 
Nov 2, 2014, 
Oct 12, 2014, 
Jun 13, 2013, 
Oct 15, 2014, 
Oct 26, 2014, 
Nov 5, 2014, 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best Options for Purchasing a Domain

The best way to control your digital footprint is to purchase a domain for your site.  Doing so is cheap (only about $15 a year) and easy, but which site should you use?

Don’t drive yourself crazy.  Just pick one of the suggestions below and get on your way to taking control of the digital identity you want.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

One mistake presenters should never make and 8 strategies to avoid it

Whether workshops, panels, keynotes, or classes there is one mistake presenters should never make. It is a mistake I learned to never ever do from a wise lady early in my career. I've heeded this advice and seen the negative ramifications of those who do not. Ramifications such as a frustrated, unsatisfied, and anxious audience as well as less than favorable reviews and feedback. Additionally, when presenters, don't heed this advice, the chances of their audience incorporating what they've learned into their work, decreases.

Fortunately, if you remember this one piece of advice, your future presentations will be brighter and your audience will leave more satisfied.

The advice is…
Always make sure your audience members feel “they have everything they need to be successful.”

Presenters fail when they say things like:
  • "We have a lot to get through today."
  • "I am speaking quickly so we have time to cover everything."
  • "We're already behind schedule."
  • "In the interest of time..."
  • “I’m going to skip things so we can get out of here early.”
Or do things like:
  • Require participants to take down everything you say, because you haven't provided it to them. They're focused on the low level task of copying, instead of the higher level thinking of making meaning.
  • Not provide a detailed, timed agenda that could be turn-keyed.
  • Not tell up front and remind participants in the middle and end what goals are and that they are making strides in accomplishing the goals of the session.  

A great presenter helps those who join her feel they got "just what they needed" out of the experience. They feel at ease, accomplished, and satisfied.

Here are some ways to achieve this:
  1. Build in extra time at the beginning
    Start out by putting your audience at ease. Create a collegial atmosphere as folks arrive. Perhaps a simple do/now ice breaker where you ask participants to talk to the people around them and find out what they hoped to get out of the day. This gets minds flowing and allows for a relaxed start with a networked room.
  2. Plan for latecomers  
    Latecomers can throw off and delay a presentation. When you address the audience ask them to be the ones to fill in a latecomer should they sit next to them and let them know what to share.
  3. Provide ALL materials
    Speaking of what to share, keep it simple. Create a link where participants can access EVERYTHING you've shared. This way they don't worry about missing anything and you don't have to worry if they didn't get something down. I do this using a timed agenda. Here is a sample: http://tinyurl.com/NYCDOEEdmodoAgenda
  4. Ensure Materials Can Be Re-purposed Don't share materials only in PDF. Don't give access without copy ability. Provide materials to participants so that it is easy for them to make their own, customize, and bring back to their work. This is a wonderful gift for teachers (time!) and students (great new learning materials).
  5. Smart Name Tags
    You know that link I mentioned above? Don’t worry about saying it over and over or having to keep putting it back on the projector. Provide name tags or cards with all the information participants will need i.e. a link to the presentation, Twitter hashtag, how to connect to the internet, etc. This way, the answer to every question is “It’s on your name tag.”
  6. Sum up the learning
    At the end of your time share all the new things participants will be able to do as a result of your time together. This way you’re focusing on what they have learned. The audience is assured that they got what they came for out of your time together.
  7. Take backs
    Ask participants to share what they'll take back to their work. This reinforces their learning.  Some ways to do this could be via a Tweet, Text, post it, 140 characters outloud or using something like a 3-2-1 sheet where participants share 2 things to remember, 2 things, to talk about with someone else, and 1 thing you'll do before 30 days pass (HT to Ann Oro for this suggestion.).
  8. Use reassuring statements
    Let the audience you know you are right on track with statements like:
    • "After our time together you'll know exactly how to..."
    • "We are right on time."  
  9. Have two plans
    Have one plan if the class moves slowly. Have an additional plan if they move quickly. If they do, let them know that they were so on point they get bonus learning. If they move slowly, they’ll still know exactly what you told them they would learn.  

So what do you think? Have you experienced presenters who try to rush through information? Have any of these strategies worked for you? Are these strategies you would try when you present?