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

Talking EdTech

Technology isn’t going to become any less omnipresent in our lives; with the rate at which technology advances, we actually have no idea what type of world our current students will enter when they are ready to pursue careers and make big decisions. So how on earth do we prepare them for that? How can we even begin to teach students about technology or prepare teachers to teach technology when we don’t know what technology will look like even a few years from now?… Read More Talking EdTech

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!

The Quandary of the Female Professor

It’s that time again for a new term to begin. I’m meeting all of my master’s and doctoral students in these first couple of weeks, and I’m faced with the same dilemma I’ve faced since I began as a professor 6.5 years ago. Do I change my teaching style to deal with the inherent sexism and internalized oppression of my students?

This might seem like a dramatic claim. Most of my students are women, after all, so how can sexism be impacting my teaching? Unfortunately, it’s the sad truth. I’m a teaching professor, so the vast majority of my performance evaluation is based on student course evaluations. Those little bubbles that students fill in at the end of the course are significant…… Read More The Quandary of the Female Professor

We need to talk about online learning…

Inside Higher Ed published the results of their Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology today – a collaboration with Gallup. It details faculty opinions on many areas of technology, including online learning. Of course, as a distance professor, I was eager to see the results. And of course, they reflect the same old, tired attitudes about online learning.

So let me tell you a little story…… Read More We need to talk about online learning…

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

Dear failing student,

Dear failing student,
I’ve just discovered that you’re past the tipping point, and won’t pass my course. I will spend all day thinking about you. I’m so sad that your outcome in this course wasn’t positive. I take it personally when even one of my students doesn’t succeed, even though I probably shouldn’t. I know this is a big obstacle, because my course is required. I’m a gatekeeper for the degree and the credential, which you have your sights set upon.… Read More Dear failing student,

A Cheat Sheet for Looking Professional Online

Normally I post about much more serious things, but today I’m going to post about the fine art of being as comfortable as possible while still looking professional when you work online (aka: How to wear sweatpants and tshirts every day, but still look like you are fully dressed for battle at the drop of a hat.)

I may be shattering some illusions here, but here goes. I work exclusively from home, and I teach and have meetings from a webcam. I also have a toddler. So that means I’m not getting dressed in silk blouses, wool suits, and heels every day. I need to be applesauce and finger paint ready, and also meeting with the Dean ready at any moment. So, what’s a hardworking professor-mom to do?… Read More A Cheat Sheet for Looking Professional Online

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