Why Teachers Need to Understand New Technology

Please watch this video of a baby, one year old, using both an ipad and a magazine….

and here’s the second video, showing the same baby is not confused by other forms of media…

And there are plenty of other videos on youTube including this one showing an infant using an ipad naturally and without instruction…

And here’s one with 6 year olds learning the 3 r’s using iOS devices:

What does all of this mean?

Clearly, students coming into school have had more exposure to technology and interactive media early on than ever before. This will effect their expectations of the learning environment, and we need to be prepared to teach these students- and we don’t have very long to adapt.

What About High School Students?

Now on the other extreme, a recent news item reported that a high school senior got in trouble for a tweet (twitter message) sent while on a field trip to see Gov. Sam Brownback in Kansas.
You can read more about the incident here and here where the item was picked up by CNN and other major news networks, including NPR, The Washington Post and more. I wrote a blog post about this over on my personal blog as well.

The long and short of this incident is that a simple message sent by a student can have bigger ramifications than that student can possibly understand when composing the 140 character message. As adults involved in education, I believe we have a responsibility to help teach our students good digital citizenship, and understand digital citizenship ourselves. What we say can have bigger consequences- this incident could impact this particular student’s college application process; it can impact her school record; the reaction made by the adults can impact their jobs and even electability. I stand behind this student’s right to free speech, and do not think anything she said warranted to response and reaction adults took to the tweet. The action was simple and silly- the over-reaction by others was more childish. But in the end, the important factor here is that we all have to begin to realize that the digital communication channels are changing the world of communication for good and for bad. It allows messages to be sent that may give voice to students and teach them to express their opinions and beliefs eloquently, or not. They can spread hate, lies, rumors, and more. It just does it a bit faster and more broadly than passing notes or calling friends on the phone after school. And because the ability for messages to be passed widely and instantly, we need to teach students more about responsibility at the same time. This is about more than bullying- it’s about helping our students develop a sense of digital responsibility that’s available to them now, even if we, the adults, are still coming to grips with it ourselves.

Time is running short. The world is changing before our eyes. We’re not fully prepared, and we know our kids aren’t fully prepared, either. But we can’t wait and hope this will go away, because the world is only going to move faster, not slower. And these kids are already sitting in your classrooms, and need your help in making good choices. What are you doing to help them learn these skills? What can we do together to help make this a reality?

Please leave your comments below on what you would like to see regarding digital citizenship and social media training.


The Ins & Outs of Google, Blogging, Digital Storytelling, & More – SimpleK12




There’s a great series of free online webinars on using Google in the classroom taking place Saturday, 11/12 starting at 9 AM.   The subjects change during the day and you can sign up for one or all of them, at your  discretion.  It’s really worth checking out.  You do have to register for the sessions in advance, so I’d encourage you to do so as soon as possible.  Here’s the agenda, along with a link to their page directly.

Simple k-12 also has a great series of free ebooks, on topics including interactive whiteboards, web tools and more- all free, and all worthwhile= go check them out!


Saturday, November 12th   
A Day of Learning with SimpleK12

Keynote: 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • Keynote Kickoff: Are You GaGa for Google?
    Watch a brief Day of Learning Orientation and learn some new, fun, and educational ways to take full advantage of Google applications.
  • Register Now: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/248024618

Session 1: 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • Flipping Your Classroom: It’s Easy with Khan Academy
    Do you wish you had more time for hands-on work, collaborative projects, or labs during class? Learn how to do all of that and more by flipping your classroom.
  • Register Now:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/256149370

Session 2: 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • Social Networking with Students and Parents: It’s Safer Than You Think
    Learn a number of reasons why you should create a social network site for school or classroom use, and look at an example of a safe social networking site.
  • Register Now:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/112455658

Session 3:  1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • Stories on the Go: Digital Storytelling with Mobile Devices
    Discover some free and very inexpensive applications that help learners showcase their learning by creating digital stories.
  • Register Now:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/273990242

Session 4:  2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • 20 Web Tools in 20 Minutes: Revitalize Lesson Plans and Motivate Students
    Whether you are looking for some ideas to help you present material to your students or for kids to demonstrate understanding of content, this webinar will provide you a variety of intriguing technologies.
  • Register Now:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/533714770

Session 5:  3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • Creating Global Citizens with Meaningful Blogging
    Do you want your students to be global citizens who are connected with other children around the world? If so, then student blogging is for you!
  • Register Now:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/129448466

Session 6:  4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (EST)sign up now button

  • Students Write More; You Grade Less!
    Learn how to use online discussions and group collaboration to support a variety of writing assignments and spend a fraction of the time grading.
  • Register Now:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/610337538


The Ins & Outs of Google, Blogging, Digital Storytelling, & More – SimpleK12.

Twitter in Education

Many teachers look at social media tools like Twitter and say things like:

This seems like a waste of time to me.

I’m already busy- what does this offer me that I can’t get elsewhere?

Why do people think this is so great?

What’s the value to me and my students?

Isn’t this just another distraction?

Where am I going to find the time?

I’ll be the first one to say that Twitter, for example, can be a blessing and a curse.  It can be a great way to share information and links, and it can be a great way to waste time as well- it’s all in how you use it, just like books can be used for learning or entertainment.

What Teachers Say about Twittter

Mrs. Pripp, a teacher from Wisconsin, made this video to show what she gets out of Twitter and why it’s become an important resource to her.  This is probably a much better description from the eyes of a teacher than I could provide, so if you are curious at all about Twitter in education, take a few minutes and check it out.


What About the Experts?

The Pearson Center for Policy and Learning in the UK posted this article on their website about using social media tools to support professional development. Their full report, entitled Tweeting for Teachers can be downloaded by clicking here.

Teachhub.com, run by the k-12 Teachers Alliance, published a great article about the 50 Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom. This list includes all sorts of ideas about how Twitter can be used to help engage students and parents, work as a research tool, and even act as a reminder service for assignments to help everyone stay on track. If you are intrigued about Twitter, this is a great resource to prompt ideas as well as show potential use as a teaching tool.

Twitter for Professional Development

Twitter has become a great way to engage with other professionals in the same field, in short messages, to share resources and ask questions. Some of the folks who help curate sites like Classroom 2.0 and Web 20 Education regularly host and participate in “Twitter chats” weekly online discussions about topics such as “how do we get parents more engaged in their child’s education” or “What is the best professional development resource you’ve seen?” to “Ideas for using my interactive white board”. The topics are always changing, but it’s great to connect to this virtual Staff room and share challenges and successes with other teachers.

Education “chats” on Twitter:  If you click on this link, you can find a list of dates and times that educators are gathering on Twitter to discuss topics.  You can even subscribe to this calendar in google calendar, tobe reminded of the time of any chat where you’d like to follow along or discuss issues important to you.

Give twitter a try. If you need help setting up an account, or figuring out who to “follow”, drop me an email at ldpodcast (at) gmail.com and I’ll send you a list of interesting education folks on Twitter, in order to give you a good start at listening in to compelling discussions.