Monthly Archives: August 2012

Vision for 2012-2013 Technology in Schools

My goal this year is to train teachers to immerse our students in a 21st Century Classroom where they will create, think critically, collaborate, and communicate through student projects that are real-world relevant based on Common Core standards-driven curriculum.

Here are some great apps for 21st Century Skills and Literacies. which are powerful apps if used in meaningful ways.

I read an interesting article last night which asks the question, “Are Students Really Motivated by Technology?” and the answer is no, not really, after the newness has worn off.  Read this article and comment about what you think about students’ motivation and technology.

The real motivator for students is content and how well we as teachers design our lessons. Is the content relevant and interesting? Is there a problem that I can help solve by learning this? Am I able to socialize with other people while working?

Motivate your students this year by providing real world experiences and by designing learning experiences that let your students create, collaborate, think critically and communicate with others.

Give your students choices and when you lead professional development or work with other teachers, give them choice and voice. It is powerful if you as a student or as a teacher feel like you are being heard. Edmodo is one way that we can learn from other teachers by joining Professional Learning Communities, students can learn from one another by sharing ideas via Edmodo, and teachers and students can communicate with each other and provide valuable feedback about projects, classwork, homework, and assessments.

Here is another article that talks about choice and voice, which I train about often.

Have a wonderful 2012-2013 school year!

I Used to Think, But Now I Think……

After teaching a graduate class to veteran teachers for the past few years, I’ve found that many teachers are not comfortable planning lessons based on the curriculum standards. They find it very hard to think outside of the box or think creatively when planning lessons and designing learning opportunities. I’m not sure if this is due to the emphasis on standardized testing and teacher accountability based on test scores or if it is due to the lack of trust from principals when teachers incorporate project based learning in their classroom.  I have seen teachers only want to use the examples that are written on the portal or units that have been taught in the past, instead of studying the standards and focusing on learning goals and creating their own lessons.

Understanding by design  is where we should begin. Please take time to read this article about teaching technology to teachers. The focus is not on the technology, but on the learning goals.  My focus when I lead professional development is to teach Common Core and Standards Based Curriculum by engaging students using interactive strategies that involve technology and non-technology based activities. Think of the learning goal when planning lessons and use technology if it is appropriate. Technology is one of the tools teachers and students will use to master the content and demonstrate their knowledge.  Be creative and focus on your students this year as your plan your lessons.

“I used to think that teachers needed help learning the newest Web 2.0 tools, but now I think they need to know how to use a simple tool to teach vocabulary, main idea, summarizing, character analysis, story structure, writing strategies, research techniques.”

“I used to think that teachers needed help creating interactive flipcharts, but now I think they need to know how to seamlessly plan their day so that their lessons are integrated and flow based on their learning goals.”