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

Coding Instead of Cursive

There’s a great deal of debate in the education world about the death of cursive writing instruction. Cursive lovers bemoan the excision of cursive from the curriculum, and are horrified at the thought that someday, these children will grow up and not be able to read their grandparents’ letters (nevermind that their grandparents are now Tweeting, Instagramming, and Snapchatting).

But what do they really need cursive for? Important documents are no longer written in cursive. When applying for most jobs, no one will ever see your handwriting until you’re hired, and even then they may never see it. Signatures are generally written in cursive, but it’s generally a stylized, bastardized version of cursive. So why are we clawing at cursive in a vain attempt to keep it in the curriculum?… Read More Coding Instead of Cursive

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…

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