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!

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,

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

Why I don’t lecture

As a professor in the MAT@USC program, I occasionally get a question from a student that goes something like this:

“I enrolled in this program so that I could learn from the top-notch USC faculty. So why am I spending most of my time talking to my classmates instead of listening to YOU tell us what is important for us to learn?”
I appreciate it when a student asks this question, because I think it takes guts to speak up when you think a learning experience isn’t working for you, or isn’t being productive. I think it is an important question to ask. WHY, when I have a very expensive and hard-earned set of letters after my name, would I sit back and let my students teach each other? Why am I not bestowing this wisdom upon them? How are they getting their money’s worth out of a prestigious program from USC, when the professor isn’t the center of attention? Shouldn’t I be lecturing about Bandura and Piaget as so many of my academic predecessors have done? Lecturing is a time-honored tradition in academia, so why am I not honoring it?… Read More Why I don’t lecture