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How can we manage?

You’re right technology is ruining students:

The students threw away their notebooks and started blogs. These blogs became, in essence, open notebooks in which students were willing to learn in public.

Students in one class put together a blog that was read by more than 8,000 people around the world. (How many people read your essays back in high school?) Commenters began showing a serious interest in what the kids were writing. A college professor from Boston wrote in to tell a 15-year-old boy that a college class was using his paper on ancient Rome as an example of good academic writing

How can we handle students who know that learning is an open-ended pursuit that involves more than just their classroom of students and teachers?

How can we manage their curiosity and ensure that it fits in nice, neat curriculum boxes?

How can we manage to plan next year’s curriculum, when a college professor may comment on their blogs and shift the direction of their interest?

How can we manage?

Because that’s what teaching is, right?

Classroom management.

Managing the classroom.

Student management.

Managing students.



Blogs I Like

It’s always hard for me to begin the conversation about blogging with people. When they ask me what I write about, I have to say, “I write a lot about education and just things that I read that I want to talk about.” It’s not a science. It’s not a formula. It’s just me and my random thoughts.

Come to think of it, it’s a lot like what you would hear if you were to come into my office and hear me talking to myself. When I read something or when I am in the process of thinking through a new idea, then I need to talk (type) through it.

So, I thought I would just list a couple of blogs that I like to read:


Digital IS: A collection of teachers who are trying to integrate Social Media and digital literacy into their classrooms not just because it is technology, but because it is good for students and their literacy development.

Sam Harrelson:  an innovative teacher who is changing the world for his school and his students and is willing to share his experiences openly.

Kevin’s Meandering Mind: a peak inside an innovative classroom who is implementing gaming into the classroom.

Principal’s Page: the real story of what it’s like to be an administrator


Pastor Chris Adams: blogging through the different studies of the Bible

The Wayfarer Blog: an inside look into the ins and outs of youth ministry and an honest take on ministry and how it impacts family life.


TechCrunch: the newest and latest in the tech world

Mashable: what is happening in the world and business of tech companies

So if you like to read and ramble, take a look and who knows maybe you find that you have something to say or work through afterwards!


No Quiet Time

A peak inside the life of a teacher:

The reality is that most of us who work in education definitely do not have quiet lives. Depending on the level you teach, you may have a group of students following you down the hallway at any given time. Being an educator is a great way to live life but we are surrounded by students and colleagues during every part of our day.

Most people outside of education do not know what it is like to look at the clock in the morning and hope that you get a chance to run to the bathroom before the bell rings, because if you don’t, you’re just not sure when you’ll make it there. But it’s ok, these are all the issues that come with being an educator and most of us accept it with a positive attitude because this is our chosen profession.

What if we could find professional development where we don’t have to leave the house? No worries about driving directions or meeting our colleagues on time. The biggest traffic issue is when too many people are on the computer at the same time. With all of our daily distractions we do have access to professional development within the comfort of our own homes, and that is through Twitter.

And still in the midst of being surrounded by students, colleagues and administrators demanding decisions and attention, there are educators who are seeking and searching to improve the way they interact in this noisy life.

Pretty amazing when you consider that most of us don’t stop thinking about ourselves throughout the course of a day!

Connecting via Social Media

As Sam Harrelson and I gear up for our presentation on Saturday on Connecting via Social Media, we have both been confronted with the question, “Where do we begin?”

Do we start with the professional benefits that we have both experienced via Social Media? Do we tout the way that connecting to other professionals from across the country has expanded our understanding of educational trends?

Or do we take a different route and talk about the personal benefits that we have found reading blogs that recount other people’s journeys toward self-awareness and fulfilled lives?

I guess we have two days to figure that out!

Come and see what we decide!


Critical Consumption

It’s important that we are growing students who are able to understand and transcend many different literacies at one time. The emphasis on helping students code isn’t necessarily about become programmers, but become fluent:

Again, no, the assumption is that there will be better understanding of what code is all about. The idea is not to turn everyone into a programmer but to give more people knowledge and understanding. Being able to produce code is a tool toward understanding with understanding being the goal.

Analyzing, reading and writing in code help students stretch and challenge themselves to learn more about the world around them rather than simply consumer everything they see without a critical eye.

Apps I use and why

Happy 1 year old Birthday, iPad!

I remember because I bought my iPad in April last year (when I actually got a tax refund…being a teacher without a classroom gets pretty expensive come April 17!).

I am surprised at how many of the apps I have been using since day 1 and use almost daily.

  • Evernote: There is no way that I could do through a day without it!
  • Tweetbot: Now I know that the Twitter app has improved and that it doesn’t crash like it used to, but Tweetbot has consistently added new touches and new tweaks that have made it smoother and easier to use.
  • iBooks and Kindle: simply the best two apps for e-reading in my opinion.
  • Dropbox: Basically, keeps my life together.

What I’ve let go of in the past year:

  •  Instagram: Sorry, you just got worse over the year.
  • Reeder: Sorry, Flipboard is just plain better.
  • Notetaker: Sorry, Simplenote and Notability do it better.

It’s always good to do an inventory of apps that you use and why. It doesn’t help your mobile experience if you are so dead set on the apps you got when you first bought your mobile device, that you aren’t willing to browse to see if there is one that does what you need better. Happy apping!


It doesn’t matter what I think

If school was like Twitter:

At first, this ideas sounded intriguing. We would get together in random chats, organizing our thoughts and sharing resources according to shared categories that grow organically. I’d have the permission to speak and to listen, engaging strangers at times and somehow making close friendships in the process. When things got too loud, I could move into a one-on-one mode, sharing small direct, personal messages back and forth.  There would be space for deep, conflict-ridden discussions and light-hearted humor.

And then:

I really enjoy Twitter, but I grow professionally from a pint or a cup of coffee or a long hike or a game of catch or a favorite novel or a perplexing historical monograph.

These are interesting thoughts, but I am struck by the fact that as much as teachers complain about politicians making top-down administrations, still we are quick to decide what school should be like.

If we were hold ourselves to same standard that we hold administrators to, we wouldn’t make grand statements about how we learn because honestly it doesn’t matter how we as teachers learn, it matters how students learn.

We have to come to the point where we, as teachers, as adults, stop telling students how to learn or how we learn and start listening to what our students are saying about how they learn. We have to come to the understanding that students may just learn differently than we do or did.

If we can’t get to that point, then we are just going to recreate the schooling experience that worked for us and if we do this, then we are preparing students for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.

It doesn’t matter how successful we were. If doesn’t matter what worked for us because public schooling can’t be about us anymore. It has to be student-centered if we have any hope of public schooling surviving for the next five years.

To inspire creation

I Elizabeth Hagan’s take here:

Beyond its effectiveness for outreach, I think the church has a lot to learn from Twitter as a newly minted word in our vocabulary.

First, say what we need to say and stop. The days of long typed memos addressed with a stamp on a letter in the mail are over. If we want to make connections with new colleagues or potential church members, we must speak concisely. It is easy to fall into the temptation — especially in religious life – to think the prettier the words, the better. The truth is people stop reading or listening if their attention is not fully engaged from the start to the finish.

When social media is used to rethink what you do and how you do it, it is working to its best technological intention: to inspire creation.