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Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Tweeting About

For another week, the post that continues to take the lead is one that ‎@iamDrWill refers to as a “beat down.” It responds to a story explaining why an uninformed school headmaster is wrong when he mistakenly attributes his school’s success to the fact that he banned laptops.
Next up @AngelaMaiers reminds us that students have voices and choices that we can finally honor now that testing season is over. Check it out to discover 20 lessons you can implement to get started.
For the first time at the top is a post that was also at the top of my Twitter feed. It gives tips on how to create a killer school website and shares mistakes to avoid.
Rounding out the top is about post explaining how to determine the life purpose of you and your students with a few simple questions. I tweeted my life’s purpose and asked others to share theirs as well.
You can check out each of the posts below. If you like what you read, share with a friend via social media, and if you are so inspired, leave a comment too.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

3 Largest Barriers to Learning for Students Today

Our nation spends a lot on educating its youth, yet it fails to allocate adequate resources to remove the three largest barriers to learning that innovative educators have to face day in and day out.  These three barriers are responsible for the inability of teachers to update their practice and cause today’s students to remain stuck in the past once they enter school doors.

These three barriers prohibit teachers from supporting students in doing real and relevant work.
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to Create a Killer School Website

I've shared how to write a killer Tweet, how to create a killer blog post, how to host a killer ed chat, and how to give a killer presentation. Today I will share how to create a killer school website.

You can start by knowing what your site should include. Here is a checklist for evaluating school websites from the free “School Website Planning Guide.”


It’s important to point out that these days, it’s no longer okay to ignore social media. You can’t have a killer school website unless you provide visitors with many opportunities to engage via your popular social media channels. Some additional elements you will find in a killer website are exceptional brand/design consistency, sliders containing the most current priorities, and featured videos.
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

For the second week, the top story is a post that responds to a story about an uninformed school headmaster who mistakenly attributes his school’s success to the fact that he banned laptops. Read this story to find out why he was wrong.  Next up is an oldie from 2011 makes its way to the top.  Read it to discover some incredible assistive technologies for students. After that is a post that debunks several myths about the negative effects of social media on our brains.  Making it to the top for the first time is a post that explains how we can liberate genius with 20 lessons.  The perfect post-testing season activity. Rounding out the top is about post explaining how to use LinkedIn to support college and career readiness. If any of these look of interest, check em out below and share with others.  

Entry
Pageviews
Apr 3, 2016, 
5414
Sep 5, 2011, 
4794
Mar 30, 2016, 
4044
Apr 17, 2016, 
3741
Mar 27, 2016, 
3023


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Testing Is Over: Time to Liberate Genius! #GeniusHour

Innovative educators and students alike understand that genius can’t be measured by a bubble test or a writing exercise that has no audience or purpose. Now that the standardized tests are over for the year, students no longer are confined to hours of reading and answering questions about stuff others find important. Out with the test prep and in with experience. Invite your students to get out of their chairs, break their silence and liberate their genius.

Not sure how to get started? No worries. Educator, author, and speaker, Angela Maiers has a book available called Liberating Genius.
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Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

The top story this week is a post that responds to a story about an uninformed school headmaster who mistakenly attributes his school’s success to the fact that he banned laptops. Read this story to find out why he was wrong.  After that is a post that debunks several myths about the negative effects of social media on our brains.  After that is an oldie from 2011 makes its way to the top.  Read it to discover some incredible assistive technologies for students. Rounding out the top is about post explaining how to use LinkedIn to support college and career readiness. If any of these look of interest, check em out below and share with others.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

5 Questions to Figure Out Life Purpose of You + Your Students in 5 Minutes

“What do you do?” If you’re an innovative educator, the answer, “Teacher” doesn’t come close to giving others insight into your work or life’s purpose. As educators we also need to start speaking about our work in a way that brings respect back to the profession. That calls for a more complex answer than “teacher.” Fortunately, movie producer Adam Leipzig tells us during this TED Talk how anyone can explain what they do by sharing their life’s purpose and he gives five questions to figure it out.  



Here are the five questions to figure out your life’s purpose.
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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Host A Killer Twitter #EdChat - 1 Tip for Success fr @Eileen_Lennon

I've covered how to write a killer Tweet, how to create a killer blog post, and how to give a killer presentation. I’ve also shared how to host a Twitter chat. Today I will tell you how to take that Twitter chat and make it a “killer” chat.   


That’s exactly what happened this week when #NYCSchoolsTech partnered with @CommonSenseEdu to host our very first Twitter chat. Tech teacher and all around nerd, @Eileen_Lennon was the moderator and she rocked the HOUSE with 1.2 million impressions. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the analytics below (or click this link if it's too hard to read) then scroll on down to read the one tip behind her success.

This is one tip (you can read others from @Eileen_Lennon here) is the one that all the cool moderator Tweeps will be using from here on out. This one tip will make you look like a rock star if you want to bring a chat to where you work.


The one tip is this...
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

For the second week, the post that helps you determine if you're an innovative educator is at the top. Just one question will help you figure out if you are and how to move more in that direction if you’re not. Next up is a post that responds to a story about an uninformed school headmaster who mistakenly attributes his school’s success to the fact that he banned laptops.  Tsk. Tsk. After that we have a post that shows how technology can help improve student writing.  There are a few more to round out the top. Check em out below.

Entry
Pageviews
Mar 13, 2016, 
4143
Apr 3, 2016, 
3888
Mar 16, 2016, 
2904
Mar 30, 2016, 
2656
Sep 5, 2011, 
2400
Mar 27, 2016, 
1938

I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does and you’re inspired I hope you’ll share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Twitter Makeover with Before + After Pictures!

A few months ago, I deconstructed the five elements of a killer Tweet which you can read about here. Here’s an update on how it’s going with some comparisons of Tweets and killer Tweets.  


Killer Tweet
Regular Tweet

4905 Impressions




627 Impressions
Killer Tweet is about 8 times more popular.
Killer Tweet
Regular Tweet
4757 Impressions


1157 Impressions
Killer Tweet is about 4 times more popular


Not every tweet will have these five elements of a killer tweet:


However shoot for one or two killer tweets a week.  That is what I did and I noticed a significant spike in my number of Tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions, and new followers.  


Here is a summary of my Twitter success before and after killer Tweeting:
Killer Tweet Summary
Regular Tweet Summary

So, what are you waiting for? Start killer Tweeting now.  Not sure what to Tweet about? Share this post.  If you do, I’ll be sure to like it!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Is #EdTech Really A Waste? 8 Lessons for The Uninformed

Do innovative educators have it all wrong? According to one head of school we do. In a post that is making its rounds in education circles, John Vallance, headmaster of Sydney Grammar School told “The Australian” that computers in schools are a “scandalous waste of money.”

Vallance is right.

Under his tutelage they are.

Like other arrogant Luddites in power, he is responsible for negligent technology spending because he is clueless about how to use it effectively ... and he never bothered learning.

Vallance is on the lowest rung (substitution) of the SAMR model. (If you don’t know about SAMR read this). Because he failed to understand how technology can “redefine” learning he wasted money and deprived students of quality learning.  

If you work with an out-of-touch administrator like Vallance, these are the concepts you can help them understand.  
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  1. Measurable results
Vallance blasts technology for not producing measurable results. He’s right. That’s because we use outdated assessments that don’t measure authentic learning but rather skills important in centuries gone by such as memorization, regurgitation, and writing and computation with audience or purpose. When we begin using updated assessments like authentic portfolios we can see meaningful and measurable learning improvements.  

For examples of authentic assessment you can read this.

2) Interactive whiteboards
Valance complains that interactive whiteboards are being jettisoned. Well, yeah.  Innovative educators know interactive whiteboards suck. They are a gimmick; a technology that centers the action at the front of the classroom, supporting that old outdated classroom practice. If Vallance had spent some time reading what innovative educators were writing about these devices he and others could have saved a bundle of scarce education cash.

If you don’t know why interactive whiteboards suck you can read this.

3) Face-to-face interaction
Vallance believes teaching is fundamentally a social activity. He says it’s about interaction ­between people, about discussion, about conversation. I agree. Where admins like Valance fall short is he never bothered learning how students are using technology to support authentic interaction, discussion, and conversation with others around the globe and developing powerful learning networks.

If you’re not sure about learning networks you can read this.

4) Debate, discuss, converse, question
Vallance said one of the most powerful tools in education is conversation. Computers in the classroom rob children of the chance to debate and discuss ideas with the teacher.

Huh? This educator is so out of touch, it boggles the mind.  Students have never had a greater opportunity to converse than they do today. In fact they love using technology to converse and discuss with REAL people.

He says children are robbed from the chance to debate and discuss with teachers.

What? It seems he’s never witnessed instruction in the classroom of an innovative educator who knows how to use technology to support students to debate and discuss not just with her, but with others around the world.  

5) Questioning
Vallance says technology is making it difficult for children to learn how to disagree, how not to toe the party line, because they can’t question things — the possibility of questioning things has been taken away from them.

More evidence that Vallance does not understand the true power of technology! In classrooms of innovative educators, students are reading relevant articles and commenting on them to an authentic audience with questions, discussion, and conversation.  Technology is the very tool that gives students an authentic platform to question and debate ideas.

Not sure how? Read about the social media guidelines created by students and teachers for students and teachers here.  

6) Social contexts
Vallance says “If you’re lucky enough to have a good teacher and a motivating group of classmates, it would seem a waste to introduce anything that’s going to be a distraction from the benefits that kind of social context will give you.’’

Here Vallance is displaying racism. He wants to shelter those at his school from those who come from another (ahem, lesser) “social context.” Of course it is not unusual for the business and political elite like those who send their kids to Vallance’s school not to want their children to interact with the 99%. What Vallance fails to care about is that outside his elite prep grammar school there are students for whom technology provides an opportunity for students to interact with those from other “social contexts.”

7) Technology costs
Vallance complains that “In the schools where they have laptops, they get stolen, they get dropped in the playground, they get broken, you have to hire extra staff to fix them, you’ve got to replace them every few years. They end up being massive lines in the budgets of schools which at the same time have leaky toilets and roofs and ramshackle buildings.”

Seems Vallance isn’t aware of how to put management techniques in place. Students shouldn’t be running around on the playground with devices. I find it hard to believe theft is an issue at his 1 percenter school. At the public schools in which I’m involved theft is rarely an issue. Protocols are in place to keep devices safe. As far as device cost and replacement, it seems Vallance isn’t aware of devices like Chromebooks, services like Neverware, and policies like BYOD. If he were, he’d understand how funds can be reallocated and actually save schools money.  

You can read about BYOD here. You can read how laptops and services like Neverware can save money here.    

8) Handwriting
Vallance is concerned that students won’t be writing by hand. He thinks that’s crazy and he thinks allowing children to lose that capacity to express themselves by writing is a very dangerous thing. What Valance doesn’t get is that in the 21st century we write digitally and that has transformative benefits. When we express ourselves using technology we have the opportunity to write for an authentic audience and connect with the world. How has this guy been using computers? Did he not realize what a powerful tool the internet has become for giving a voice to students?  

He claims that from what he’s witnessed, students find it much easier to write by hand, to put their ideas down on a piece of paper, than they do with a keyboard. Seems Vallance hasn’t been staying on top of the latest research about how technology has helped give a voice to students with writing difficulties using various assistive technologies, but that’s not a surprise. It doesn’t sound like he has students with special needs and even if he did, his elite group of students have parents who can hire tutors. But I doubt his claim is even true. I’ve been working with students and teachers for years using tech in the lower grades and kids thrive with a keyboard and it’s their preferred method of communicating outside of school as well.  

You can read more about benefits of digital writing here.

I applaud Vallance’s decision to step down next year. It’s time for him to move aside and make way for a more in touch leader. Rather than hide behind traditions, students need a leader who understands how teachers can use technology to engage and connect students and give them an audience and a voice.

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