July, 2010

Top 10 Roadblocks to Change

A Principal's Reflections

Yesterday I was granted an opportunity to deliver a keynote at the NYSCATE Leadership Summit in Troy, NY. The topic of my talk was, "Leadership in the Digital Age."

#LeadershipDay10-Some Questions To Ask.

The Web20Classroom

It is that time of year again. Scott McLeod over at Dangerously Irrelevant has challenged all Edu-Bloggers to write posts today on Leadership in Education. I took part in my first Leadership Day last year and it was a lot of fun both writing the post and reading all the other posts as well.

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Back to School Food for Thought (AKA Anytime Resources for Tech Integration and Your Digital Footprint)


I don''t know when the new school year or term starts for you, but in our little corner of the planet known as Texas , most public K-12 schools start up in late August. The closer that start date gets, the more we educators start thinking of plans and goals for the new year.

A Laptop for All Teachers

Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners

A laptop for all teachers is certainly a cool tool. In our school district we have adopted a technology plan and declared our committment to 21st Century Learning. In order to provide every teacher with a cost-efficient laptop, we made the switch from Mac to PC.

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.

Continuing with FIVES


So we get that the F in FIVES, the criteria I have suggested to evaluate good tech resources for use in therapy, is for "free or almost free." No discussion needed. In my next few posts for ADVANCE , I will be discussing the other letters, though. Click on over and check out the I.

More Trending

My Quick List of iPad Apps

A Principal's Reflections

Yesterday after receiving my iPad I quickly reached out to my PLN for some suggestions on which apps to download.

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I Wonder If This Social Media Thing Will Ever Catch On?

The Web20Classroom

'Last weekend I finished up a week of speaking and leading professional development by attending NTCamp in Philadelphia.The purpose was to try and give new teachers a jump start on their year by talking about issues that they might face in their first years and to give them ideas on how to make it and stay in the profession. There were sessions about assessment, technology, professional development and others. There was a great group of new teachers there and they all have bright futures ahead. What I really enjoyed was there were so many people there that I knew because of social media. Members of my PLN (Personal Learning Network), PLC (Professional Learning Community), colleagues, whatever you want to call them, (I call them all friends) were there sharing their learning with not only the new teachers, but with me as well. Some of these friends of mine I have met before. Some I never had. But at a Tweetup on Friday night I had a "moment." I was sitting at the head of a very long table. Along both sides of this table were people I mainly know from Twitter. There were teachers, technology integrators, administrators, professors, and others but all were truly amazing educators. I looked down the table and thought to myself, how did I get here? How did I get to surround myself with this group of educators from all over the country? How is it that I get to talk to (either virtually or face-to-face) with some of the most forward-thinking and progressive educators in this one room on a random day in July? Social Media. 2 years ago I was just a district instructional technologist in a very small district in rural NC. I had heard about Twitter, Ning, and Web 2.0 but was just beginning to think about how I could use them with teachers. Fast forward 24 months and I have been fortunate enough to be on the stage in Los Angeles, New York City, Denver and tons of other places talking about how social media is what we need to make positive change in education. Everyday I get to interact with and learn from the best and the brightest around the world. All possible because of social media. On #edchat last night we discussed the myths surrounding social media and how to debunk them so more districts and educators will see it has place in the classroom for both student learning and professional development. Many of us know the myths. Social Media is dangerous, it is a time suck, you can''t learn while being social. Blah, blah, blah. It seems the same arguments against social media are the same ones for lots of other tools we have tried to use in education. The fact is the less we educate students and parents about the proper use of social media the more dangerous it becomes. Schools and districts have to realize that students are going home and using Facebook and Twitter and getting on all types of social networks to talk about music, cars, poetry, and sports. So if we realize students, for the most part are using social networks for their own personal learning (and play) why not begin to realize their potential for learning in the classroom? Instead, we block their use, say they are evil and don''t teach kids how to use them appropriately. And then we are surprise to read stories about companies that are not hiring kids because of what they have on their Facebook page. The fact is social media breaks down barriers. I can remember in my 6th grade English class we had pen pals. I wrote to a kid my same age in Germany twice a month for the school year. We talked about all kinds of things. It was a valuable experience to lean how to write a proper letter but also to learn about another kid and another culture. And those are still valuable lessons. It is just that the pencil and paper, in the case of the pen pal have been replaced by Skype and Ning and other platforms. Classrooms are no long bound by the four walls. There is this huge digital classroom (called The World!) out there that we can easily connect to. Learning potential expands exponentially when we plug in and give kids the opportunities to use social media and digital tools in class. The same happens with teachers. When teachers plug in to this global learning collaborative the learning possibilities are endless. Look at just this coming weekend. I have the honor of giving the Conference Closing Keynote for the 2010 Reform Symposium. This is an amazing, completely online conference organized through social media with presentations from my friends from all over the world on a huge range of topics. I seriously doubt this type of event would have be possible or have the same impact had it not been for social media. A free, 3 day, worldwide conference that you can attend in your pjs from the comfort of home. And there are still people out there that want to tell me social media has no place in education. Look, social media is just a tool, just like all the other things I talk about and blog about. And because it is a tool it should be used as such. It has time and a place for use. But, to exclude it on the basis of irrational fears is beyond me. If we involve our parents and our community to teach the appropriate use of it and show our educators its power, we really can change education into a mighty force for the benefit of our students. What do you think? How has social media changed the way you approach education? What about in your school. Is social media embraced or shunned? What are you thinking? Leave me some comments below. Social Media'

Current Real-Life Examples for Discussing Copyright Ethics


I promise I am not trying to turn into a copyright guru as a couple of my more recent posts might imply, but within the space of a couple of hours this morning two different real-life situations came to my attention which put human skin on the copyright debate.

iNudge -- Everyone Can Create Music Just for Fun

mauilibrarian2 in Olinda

iNudge , a basic online music synthesizer, looks like it would be a lot of fun for kids and kids-at-heart to try! You can combine 8 different patterns to create music, including frogster, avatar, and rhode bass.

Custom eLearning: What to Consider as an L&D Manager

A custom eLearning project is an exciting opportunity, but any L&D Manager will also tell you it can be challenging. Inno-versity shares 5 points to consider before kicking off your project. These concepts are critical to addressing the most common pain points which, IF addressed, will ensure success.

Happy 4th! And Canada Day.


'We all have trouble describing what fireworks do, and are limited to comments like: "OOOOOOOOOOOOOh" or "I like how that one did the squiggly thingie" The Firework Display Designer from i-Board Interactive (I have no idea why it is under the category of Religious Education) gives us (and our students, of course) a way to simply customize and describe a fireworks display to celebrate the holiday. You can make choices of color, "bang," speed, timing and tilt, thus working on important concepts and descriptive skills along the way. Check it out and have a blast this 4th! Computers are certainly safer than real fireworks. Thanks to InTec InSights for pointing out this resource. audio cognitive impairment concepts description emotions holidays language arts news operating systems schema syntax'

New Toy: iPod Touch

The Electric Educator

On Wednesday my wife and I will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary. I received an early anniversary gift from my wonderful wife, an iPod touch to replace the iPod nano that I recently lost. I''ve spent the last few days enjoying my new gadget.

Why a Blog?

A Principal's Reflections

As I reflect on my continuous evolution as an educational leader I am constantly amazed at how things have changed over the course of a year and a half. It was in March of 2009 that I decided to give this thing Twitter a try. At the time I was skeptical about whether my time was going to be well spent posting updates in 140 characters and whether or not people would actually care or be interested in what I was doing.

Final Reflections From Denver And #ISTE10

The Web20Classroom

I came home from Denver and ISTE10 on Thursday afternoon and I really needed this long to decompress and reflect on my experiences. This was my first time to the conference and I knew it was going to be amazing before I even got there.

Teachers’ Guide to Plagiarism

This article provides teachers with a step-by-step guide on how to handle plagiarism in the classroom: it examines the definition of the term "plagiarism" and its types with examples, describes common reasons students plagiarize, and provides tips for teachers to detect and prevent plagiarism among students.

Meeting and Encouraging Teacher Learners Where They Are (Or, Hands off the Mouse!)


When you work with adult learners, especially adult learners who are teachers, it’s easy to forget that even though they are adults, they are also our students.

The Old Spice Guy, Heated Librarians, & Fresno

The Daring Librarian

This short response from a Fresno Library Tweet the @oldspice guy seems to have made all the librarians go WILD this week - some even saying he should be the keynote for the next ALA or AASL conference. Hmmm I think they got Almost TOO excited.

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Click on over.


to the Mindwing blog to see my post about using Character Mapping to build social thinking skills with your groups of students.

Playing Games with Google Maps

The Electric Educator

Many of Google''s products have a "Labs" option that allows you to try out experimental features before they are released to the general public. Google Labs is highly volatile-- features are added and removed without warning. Most of Google''s products, Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, Docs, Maps, have a labs feature. Visiting labs can reveal some exciting new additions and give you a head start on tools and features that may become the default in the near future.

Key Elements for Successful eLearning Projects

Discover how this rapid development process creates engaging, custom learning solutions on a timeline that works for you, why a strong learning culture is important, and how to showcase your Return on Learning (ROL) using data to tell the story.

Good vs Great Teachers: My Ravitch Response

A Principal's Reflections

Earlier today I read an article published in the Washington Post by Diane Ravitch entitled " Ravitch on Teachers and Her Critics ". For the most part I agree with her views on No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and in many other areas. However, I was very taken aback by this statement that she made referencing 21st Century Skills, " And, to the extent that it is about pushing more technology into the schools, it is pointless, as technology will never take the place of good teachers."

Thoughts On School Leaders And Technology Integration.

The Web20Classroom

Earlier this week I had the honor of delivering a Keynote Address for the NYSCATE Summer Leadership Summit in Albany, New York. Others involved in the conference were Tom Whitby and Eric Sheninger , both of which gave awesome talks, and the National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling from Iowa. I got to meet lots of great people and have some pretty awesome conversations. My keynote centered around technology integration and school leaders.

Are Forums obsolete?

Connecting 2 the World

Tony Karrer posted a query for suggestions of how a financial institution can replicate an online forum which they had previously been successful in creating. This was my comment: Part of the problem in financial institutions today (as opposed to two years ago) is that they are under the scrutiny of regulators. I have been an employee in an atmosphere of high government regulation (I was an internal auditor) and learned never to put anything in writing that I was not absolutely sure of.

Sweet Search 2Day & School TV Studios

The Daring Librarian

Learning Something Every Day! Mark Moran of Finding Dulcinea told me in Denver about this AWEsome new site that Sweet Search created and was launching for schools but it wasn''t ready yet for me to tell you, dear reader.until NOW!

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The Ultimate 12 Step Guide For Choosing The Perfect Learning Management System

Picking the wrong LMS can cost you. Don’t settle for a disconnected, hard-to-use, expensive system that doesn’t meet your needs. Follow these 12 steps crafted by Lambda Solutions' LMS experts, and find your perfect eLearning solution!

Summer Schedule!


I hope all of you are enjoying your summer. As I write, Boston and pretty much all of the Northeast are in the midst of a heatwave. Not a fan, but I guess you have to expect this in July! Summer can be a time to reflect, or just relax into a deserving doze. Your choice.

How to Find your Web Persona

The Electric Educator

I discovered an interesting and provocative tool from MIT researcher Aaron Zinman , which was shared by fellow ed. tech blogger Lisa Thumann. The tool is called " Personas " and is designed to "show how the internet sees you," mistakes, inaccuracies, and all. It couldn''t be much simpler. Type your full name in the box and Personas will scour the web for references to you and attempt to place the results into broad categories such as books, education, family, art, etc.

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More iPad Apps

A Principal's Reflections

In my last post I wrote about some iPad apps that I thought were must adds for administrators and educators alike. Since then I have received some great suggestions from my PLN and had the chance to check out other apps that I have found a use for as a High School Principal.

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The Value Of Getting Away From It All.

The Web20Classroom

Last week I was on vacation. Before I left I vowed to my wife and my family I would completely unplug. After my wife picked herself off the floor because she was laughing so much she said I couldn''t do it. Even on Twitter, there were bets going around that I would "show up" at some point and send a tweet. I vacationed on the North Carolina Outer Banks, some of the most beautiful country around.

Leveraging Learner Variability to Elevate Equity in EdTech

Speaker: Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer & Executive Director, Learner Variability Project

In this webinar, Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise, will share his insights into the modern boom in neuroscience and learning sciences research. You'll discover how much more we know now about how students learn - and how we can use that knowledge to create EdTech-enabled classrooms that can meet the diverse needs of all students.