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3 Ways To Combat Recipe Learning

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When I was a middle school science teacher I regularly assigned projects. At the time I thought that the projects would be a great way for me to understand what my students understood about particular concepts and topics. I had them make visual representations of atoms of the periodic table, reports outlining the effects of global warming on our community, and several others. Sure. Certainly not.

Doing More With The Classroom Makerspace

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When I was 6 or 7 years old I was at home on a boring rainy weekend. Being an inquisitive kid and generally looking for mischief I found some tools in a closet and decided something in my house needed taking a apart. I'd always wondered how a toaster actually made toast so it became the subject of my experiment. Galileo. Newton. Edison. And there are spaces in between. How can making help?

3 Untapped Social Media Resources For Students

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Last week I laid out 3 Untapped Social Media Resources for Teachers. This week we take a look at how to leverage social networks for students. My sister is a senior in high school. Whenever we spend time together I ask her about “what the kids are into these days?” She is right in the heart of the age range for kids who use social media the most (13-18 yrs old). That is their world. Enter Snapchat.

How TED Talks Make Tough Conversations Easy

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We've all been there. We are sitting in a group of peers or strangers ready to discuss a topic but no one wants to take the lead and get things going. You need that one focal point for everyone to rally around to get things moving. Videos and images are a great way to jumpstart creative thought and to get folks talking. The same is true in the classroom. That is why I love the TED Talks.

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5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Taking Control Of Your Professional Development

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Recently I was talking to a teacher friend of mine. He is what I would consider a very good teacher. He is engaging in the classroom, works very hard to meet the needs of all his students and regularly reflects on his teaching to understand his strengths and weaknesses. It's through that reflection that he is figuring out how to be better. He told me about an email he got from his district.

3 Ways To Encourage Creativity In Your Classroom This Year

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This post is in partnership with ACER. Over the next few months I will be writing and sharing many of the exciting classroom products they offer like tablets, desktops and more! A while back I was having a conversation with a colleague about creativity in learning. We debated back and forth about what creativity looked like and could you really teach creativity. But does that mean I am creative?

5 Resources To Make Your Next Presentation Pop

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Perhaps you are like me and have to sit through presentations often. Sometimes they are great. You can tell the presenter put a lot of thought into what they want to talk about and it feels like they really know their stuff. The slides they use are engaging and help reinforce the story that’s being told. But then there are those times that are the complete opposite. Best part they are all free!

Quick List STEM Resources For The Classroom

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This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Science Technology Engineering Math STEM. I had the honor of being both a Middle School Math and Science teacher. Those were some of my fondest times in the classroom, blowing things up (it happened once!) while at the same time being able to connect the math to the science we were doing. Heck, I even married a Math Teacher!).

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Join SETDA: Affiliate Memberships Now Accepted

SETDA's Affiliate program connects non-profit education membership organizations with state leaders. SETDA's mission is to build the capacity of education leaders to improve learning through technology policy & practice. Benefits include: SETDA conferences, webinars and news feeds.

Technology Resources For Early Childhood Learning

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I am the father of 2 daughters. Reaghan is 7 and Chesney is almost 3. As a Dad and an educator I am constantly looking for the best resources to provide for them at home to supplement the learning they are doing in their schools. Especially with Chesney. Every parent wants their child to have a jump start on learning and ensure they are prepared for a world of learning, especially with technology.

Why Open Education Resources Matter #GoOpen

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This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Imagine you need to run to the store to get the ingredients to make a cake. You get the mix, eggs, oil, everything you need to make this most awesome cake. When you get home you decide that cake isn't really what you want afterall. No, you want another dessert. Then a knock at the door. All open and all free. GoOpen !

Quick List of Classroom Blogging Resources

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I originally wrote this in 2013. Since then a few resources have changed and I've come across some different ones. Enjoy! Blogging is an important part of who I am as a professional. I can use this space to share resources with you, reflect on my own practice and try to figure out how to be a better educator. It is my public reflection on technology, leadership and learning. You write an essay.

A More Holistic Approach To Technology Planning

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When I was a Director of Instructional Technology I was deeply involved in the technology planning process from one end to the other. Regularly I had to sit through presentations of new products, listening with a skeptical ear while instructional promises were made. I'd also council administrators who felt that the next flashy thing they saw walk through their door, their school had to have. Great!

Evaluating Technology? Here's What To Look For.

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In my former life as a Director of Instructional Technology I worked with school leaders to make the best choices when it came to technology. We would spend great deals of time looking at funds and how they could best be used to make an impact on student learning. I believe many districts do that. I began looking at technology after the purchase. Who is using the technology? By the students?

Teaching Educator Digital Literacy With A Pinterest Party

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This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I will freely admit that Pinterest is one of those services that I haven't been a big user of. When it first appeared my wife took to it instantly. Now, she is a teacher but she didn't go in the hunt of resources for the classroom. As soon as we turned them loose to get started, multiple hands went into the air.

Think Before You Flip Your Classroom This Year

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For a while now I've been saying something provocative about Flipped Learning. It's the worst idea in the history of teaching." I own that. I've said it. I say it that way to get educators attention. Because I like to have a conversation about it. First a little knowledge leveling. It's an idea thats been around for a while and some teachers have said they've found success with it. Maybe not.

The 3 Things Digital Classrooms Really Need

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My first experience with technology in the classroom was the good ol' Apple IIe and endless hours playing Oregon Trail and Math Blaster. That evolved to an after school coding club in high school where I learned how to make a square and a flower using BASIC. And look at where learning is today. The classroom is becoming less about the physical space it occupies and more about the cloud.

Why Formative Assessments Matter

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Back in my first year, I was teaching a unit on the parts of the Periodic Table. The students needed to know where they could identify elements that were typically metals, non-metals, gases and be able to identify elements based on their Atomic number among other tasks. At the time, I believed I was doing exactly what my standards said I had to. Atomic number, Lanthanide Series, electrons. Simple!

4 Inexpensive (or Free) Google Apps That Help Students Collaborate

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This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Bringing technology into the classroom can feel like an uphill battle. But as we know, engaging with students on devices and platforms that they are already comfortable with creates a better, more natural learning environment. That number is only growing. All are supported on smartphones , tablets and Chromebooks.

Overcoming The Barriers To Creativity And Innovation

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It''s been a few weeks since I returned from Doha, Qatar and the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). If you aren''t familiar, this conference centers around scalable, actionable ideas for the future of education worldwide. It is, by far, my favorite conference I get to attend each year because of the level of conversations that are had there. But there is always a focus on actions.

Which Device Can Support Different Learning Styles?

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One of the strongest arguments for classroom technology is the ability it gives teachers to easily adapt curricula for different abilities and learning styles. Give students a choice in how they receive information—and how they interact with it—and their ability to absorb and recall educational material improves immensely. Neil Fleming’s VARK model groups student learning into four styles: 1.

Ideas For Providing Internet Access At Home

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This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. When I was an Instructional Technology Director one of the challenges I faced was working to ensure that students, no matter where they lived in my district, had access to the same tools and opportunities. Often, much time and decision making power is spent on the device chosen, rather than if it can be used at home.

Making The Most Of Social Media In The Classroom

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This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Social media often gets a bad wrap when spoken in the same breath as education and learning. Ask around and many folks might consider it to be a time suck or a place where very little learning happens and therefore has no place in the classroom. But they can be very useful in the classroom as well. She learned lots!)

Let's Build Something Together-Maker Spaces and 20% Time

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Maker Movement 20% Time Genius Hour The idea of students looking away from ridged content focus all throughout the school day and giving them back some time to explore and make is gaining a foothold in many classrooms. Educators are turning towards ideas like the Maker Movement and 20% Time to foster creativity and innovation in their classrooms and to get their kids thinking and doing more.

Thinking About Redefining Professional Development

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As a former Director of Instructional Technology my job was to provide technology embedded professional development (PD) to a district of 4000 teachers. Each day was filled with new and exciting challenges, trying to figure out how we could best help our teachers understand technology integration, while keeping our PD fresh and engaging. But what does all that mean? What else would you add?

Creating A Professional Learning Collection With @appoLearning

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Last time you read about this new site I had been checking out, appoLearning. I have really enjoyed getting to know this new platform and even create a collection myself. And I think for educators it can be a great way to organize sites, apps, videos and more so they are more easily shared with students, colleagues, even parents and the community. Curation is a super important topic to me.

8 Education Books For The Digital Age: The Connected Educator Series #CorwinCE

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From The Shameless Promotion Department, I am proud today that I become a published author. My book, The Relevant Educator ships today. Below is a post (thanks to the most awesome Mark Barnes) about the entire Connected Educator Series from Corwin. Enter Corwin Press and the Connected Educators Series. The first books in the series will be published in August and September.

Curating Content with @appoLearning

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Curation, as many of you know, is near and dear to my heart. Heck I even wrote a book on the subject!) And especially now, for teachers, its becoming increasingly important as more and more digital devices begin to enter the classroom. Finding the right apps, videos or other digital resources can be tough. And keeping it all organized can be even tougher. I was excited to learn about appoLearning.

Make Your Classroom Truly Global

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This post is sponsored by Samsung. All thoughts and opinions are my own. One of the great things about being a connected educator is the conversations that happen on a regular basis with colleagues and learners from across the globe. Being connected means that educators can think and learn, grow and reflect with not just those directly around us but also those in the far reaches of the globe.

Encouraging Authenticity In Learning

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In the last several years, a major shift in instruction began to happen. Instead of students having access to handheld technology (tablet, laptop, etc) only part of the school day, more and more students began to have access when they need it. Either 1:1 or BYOD or some combination of both is giving students the opportunity to discover learning or create new information in a variety of ways.

Embracing Formative Assessments This School Year

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For me, the beginning of the school year was the best time of year. I always enjoyed getting back into my classroom, setting things up and getting pumped for the journey ahead with my students. The beginning of the year was a good reset. I could reflect back on the previous year, examine what I had learned over the summer and plan for a better year coming up. Mainly, embracing formative assessment.

3 Untapped Social Media Resources Worth A Second Look

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In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information as adults and as educators, there are still many untapped resources to learn from and share with and grow, especially through social media. Being a connected educator doesn’t mean sticking to one favorite platform and having that singular lens to learn from. They just updated their social media data for 2016. Of All U.S Social Media

3 Things We Need To Remember For Every Professional Development

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I remember my first professional development as a teacher. I was fresh out of college. The PD centered around how to use clickers in the classroom. I saw great potential there. The idea that I could get realtime information back on my students, I saw as a great help to me. The PD itself was boring and useless. The presenter leading did little to engage us. He was not amused. After school is bad.

Why #Edcamp Is So Awesome

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending another Edcamp. This one makes 7 for me. EdcampElon was another event in a long like of teacher-driven professional development that can have a lasting impact on the learning of all who attend. Don''t know what an Edcamp is or looks like? My experience with Edcamp has been that of a participant and an organizer (EdcampNC!). But why?

Why Curation Matters

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I spend a great deal of time looking up stuff. Whether that stuff is blog posts to get a pulse on what is happening in the edusphere or researching new tools to share with teachers, I come across a wide variety of resources that I need to save, catalog and be able to come back to later. Curation is a large part of my day. But what is curation? Why is it important and how can you do it easily ?

Changing Our Views On Social Media For Learning

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Snapchat Facebook Instagram Vine Twitter What do you think about when you hear those words? Maybe you think about social media in general and how it’s continuing to grow. Or maybe you think about how those can be used as platforms to connect with others. Or maybe you think they are all a waste of time. What do you think kids think about when they hear the names of those apps? So that’s what I did.

Being Digital Isn't Just About Technology-#DLD15

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Digital has truly made our world smaller. From the desk in my classroom I can travel to far off places and talk to friends via Skype or share my thoughts through my blog or experience historic sites like never before. The digital tools we have available to us for both teaching and learning is (and will continue to have) dramatic effects on both. Educators, Schools and Districts around the U.S.

Fostering Creativity In The Learning Process

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Several months ago I was having a conversation with a colleague about creativity in learning. We debated back and forth about what creativity looked like and could you really teach creativity. All this stemmed from a comment I made about me not being creative. Sure, I’ve written books, I talk in front of teachers a lot and create professional development to deliver. I was lucky. photo credit: CRE@!V!TY