Making Change Happen: 21st Century Skills and Meaningful Integration into the Classroom

Technology keeps advancing, students keep changing, and the world we live in is vastly different than the one in which most of us seasoned educators completed our student teaching experiences. Yet in many ways, teacher preparation hasn’t reflected these changes. However, there are myriad excellent examples of students, teachers, and teacher educators engaging in truly 21st century teaching and learning. The challenge we face as a community of educators is being able to bring these innovative practices to all students, teachers, and teacher educators. It isn’t enough to simply tweet about technology-enhanced education to other educational technology converts. How do we engage in a broad, open, inclusive, and effective push for cutting edge yet sustainable and teaching and learning at both the k-12 and the postsecondary level?… Read More Making Change Happen: 21st Century Skills and Meaningful Integration into the Classroom

Innovation in EdTech: Getting it Done!

I recently had the privilege of spending a day just outside of DC, working with incredible educators from around the country, ASCD, and the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. Professors, teachers, administrators, deans, organizations, and policymakers came together for a summit on innovation in teacher preparation, with a focus on preparing preservice teachers to effectively use technology in their classrooms.

Heading into the day, I wasn’t sure what to expect; I feared a day of arguing about ideology, or coming up with pie in the sky ideas with no follow through.… Read More Innovation in EdTech: Getting it Done!

3 Ways to Support Student-Parents Online

I teach in a Master of Arts in Teaching program, using an online platform (a Moodle-based LMS developed for us by the fabulous 2U, and Adobe Connect). In this program, many of my students are also parents. Since they’re also attending live classes over a webcam from home, this means that often their children are in the house with them. Many professors in this setting take the approach of banning children, or in fact any potential distractions at all, from the classroom. My approach is a bit different. See, I’m a parent myself, and I believe that one of the big problems in our society is the disconnect between work life and family life; the idea that once you get to work you’re supposed to stop being a parent, but when you’re home with your family you should still be answering work email. I think this is a damaging and stressful thing for parents, whether they’re at work or in an academic program, or as often happens, both. So, instead, I choose to support my student parents in ways that not only improve their educational experience, but improve learning for other students and improve my experience as the instructor. It’s my small act of rebellion against the societal encroachment of work and academia on family life.… Read More 3 Ways to Support Student-Parents Online

Teaching Tech to Preservice Teachers

I recently ran across this brilliant blog posting as I was browsing Reddit, and I knew I needed to share it. The author shares a mock test as a way of illustrating the major gaps in how we teach preservice teachers about technology. The sins he describes are not at all exclusive to McGill University; all too often, education schools resist change, or misplace their focus when it comes to teaching about technology. He offers a set of recommendations for universities that I couldn’t agree with more, that includes things like teaching about net neutrality, basic hardware usage (I am REALLY tired of seeing professors at conferences who can’t hook up a projector), closed vs. open source software, and the cloud. The only thing I would add to this list is… Read More Teaching Tech to Preservice Teachers

Web 2.0 Tool Review: PowToon

I love to use little video clips or images to supplement my online class sessions; today’s class was on social constructivism and connectivism. I had no problem finding a video summarizing connectivism, but one that focused solely on social constructivism was, surprisingly, more difficult to find. Thankfully, the one I found on connectivism was really cool. The creator, Mike Penella (@MikePenella), had used something called PowToon, which I, of course, had to investigate (LOVE the bee analogy, by the way, Mike!).
Read More Web 2.0 Tool Review: PowToon