Archives For Technology

mobile-handKids today live in an extremely connected world and they crave the instant gratification that can come with that level of connectivity.  They think so differently than generations of children before them.  They shift gears and thoughts before any adult can even blink an eye.  And this can lead to carelessness.  They post without thinking and that could come back to haunt them later.

Lisa Nielson suggests one reason to allow smartphones because we should be educating students with the tools they will use when they get to their professional life.  The idea of allowing cell phones in class on the premise that kids will be using smartphones in real life doesn’t work for me.  It’s one thing to argue on the basis of connectivity, collaboration, access to Blackboard, etc., but to suggest that we have an obligation to help students become proficient in their smartphone use is just silly in my honest opinion. Continue Reading…


Flipped learning is awesome, especially when there are awesome tools like PowToon available.  I really loved it and could go on, but you should check out my review on

In the meantime, enjoy some math!

Going Off the Deep End

July 14, 2014 — 2 Comments

Going whole hog, go big or stay home, jump in with both feet – there are dozens of idioms to describe what I did on July 2.  I tweeted…

I have to add a little disclaimer here.  Continue Reading…

one sizeDigital native?  Digital immigrant?  Are these things even real?  Depends on who you ask.  I do think some people take to technology more quickly than others.  If they didn’t, why would marketers have coined the term early adopters?  But are these labels enough to understand the ever-evolving world of tech, and more importantly, how can they, if at all, help us understand how this rollercoaster of buttons and apps applies, or should apply to education?

Speak Up is this great initiative to gain insight into student brains by Project Tomorrow, a non-profit that is “dedicated to the empowerment of student voices in education.”   Their annual report is full of facts and figures related to when, how, why, and where kids are using, or want to be using, technology in their learning.  So how does Speak Up get into these students’ thoughts?  Wait for it…THEY ASK THEM!  Such a novel idea, really.  They outline their findings in The New Digital Learning Playbook:  Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations. Continue Reading…

The end result is a lot more promising that giving a mouse a cookie, as Laura Numeroff did.  Just look at the kids Scott McLeod talks about in his presentation, Extracurricular empowerment, at TEDxDesMoines.

I was fascinated by Martha’s story.  Maybe it was because McLeod spent so much time talking about Martha.  Maybe it’s because I have a connection to all things British with my husband and his family all being from Britain.  Maybe it was because she was using her social media skills to exact social change and provide charity.

Before writing today, I thought on watching again, especially the beginning, to learn more about some of the other kids he mentioned:  one with Pokemon videos earning a six figure salary, one who created an online magazine with a friend.  I can’t even remember their names. Continue Reading…

Just a quick post…I was reading one of my new favorite blogs (te@chthought) just now and came across this awesome post full of tips for teaching with apps.  Aptly named 25 Tips for Teaching With Apps, this post has some great advice for responsibly and appropriately incorporating apps and their associated lessons into the learning space.

All really sound advice, but that wasn’t the coolest part.  There was this link in the post to this site called Edshelf.  Edshelf is like this clearing house (they call themselves a discovery engine) for all these really potentially cool apps and websites for education. This is TOTALLY the sort of thing us new teachers-to-be need to help us sift through what is good stuff and what isn’t.  I mean, check this out:


It works a little like Pinterest.  You can make collections by dragging and dropping icons into little boards.  You can make notes.  You can comment/rate apps.  You can see what other educators have had to say about apps.  I’m totally geeking out here!  Anyway, if you haven’t found this already – definitely check it out.  It’s free to create an account.  Edshelf.  It’s kinda awesome.

Sign Me Up!

May 25, 2014 — 5 Comments

So is technology bad for kids?  Are video games evil?  Do these things deter from kids’ abilities to learn?  No way!  According to Dr. John Gee, video games are just a set of problems you have to solve to move on.  Isn’t that the basis for learning in general?  We learn one thing, we build on it, and then we are able to move on to the next thing.  Gee thinks learning in the gaming environment is very complex.  He used his own gaming experiences as example.  I believe him.  I play video games with my kids.  Not overly complicated ones – I don’t have the patience to learn all the complexities involved with those.  (But give me a Lego video game and we are on!)

Just as in a video game, if you don’t learn/complete one section you don’t go on to the next level, learning systems are the same.  A well-designed, successful learning system cannot be completed without guaranteed learning.  You don’t move forward without learning.

So many parents get wound up about video games and the amount of time kids are playing them.  We hear concerns about kids being overly competitive.  We hear about fears of gaming addiction.  Dr. Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication addresses the use of the term addiction in relation to gaming.  He considers it a cultural policing term and we need to be careful when we use it.   He offers the question, “Why is it when a kid stays up all night to finish a book he is driven, but the kid who stays up all night to beat a video game is an addict?”  It would seem that this term is sort of a double standard in that adults use it in reference to something they don’t like, or is not a priority to them, without taking into account what value kids place on gaming. Continue Reading…

PBS is awesome.  This is a truth I have known my entire life.  I grew up watching fabulous programming like Sesame Street, Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact.  Later, when I deigned to hang out with my parents, it was brilliant British comedies like Are You Being Served, Keeping Up Appearances, and Waiting for God.  And now I am a parent myself, and when my kids were little tykes, guess what they watched?  Yep.  PBS.  Sesame Street is still around, surround by more great content (except Caillou – Caillou is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me).  So the idea that Digital Media* New Learners of the 21st Century was amazing was not really a surprise.

The assignment here was to share my reaction to one of the programs highlighted in this video, and I will get to that eventually.  But what I really found more interesting and useful was the wonderful insight from experts that was interspersed in the vignettes. So much so that I was inclined to go view each of the in-depth interviews with those people to hear more of what they had to say.  And THAT is really where the awesome content in this video is.

The other day I was scanning Facebook and came across this:

tech bikes

It’s totally how it worked for me.  Yes, we had phones – landlines, mind you – but we didn’t really use them.  We went out and banged on doors to see if our friends were home.  Clearly I lived in a different world than today’s kids. Continue Reading…