September 18, 2014

Hold the Gravy: An opportunity

Filed under: about me,SFL,TeachersFirst — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:15 am

Almost nine years ago, I allowed myself to consider the unthinkable. I allowed someone to “pitch” the idea of my taking a new job. I had left teaching once – years before when I moved across a state line and thought I would never go back. Within a few months, I was organizing all the kids’ activities at the neighborhood pool. It was silly not to get paid for what I was drawn to do. So I dove into another state’s bureaucracy and conquered the certification dragon. For nearly 20 years thereafter, I thrived, moving onto new and different teaching challenges every 8 years or so, but ALWAYS a teacher.

One of the things we teachers don’t do so well is to consider change as a real possibility. The cycles, routines, and pendulums of August to June, new kids to old kids, new school goals to forgotten buzzwords, and on and on hypnotizes us into gravy-like sameness. We pour on the gravy and never consider a whole new menu.

In 2006 I made a move that changed my life as a teacher. Yes, I am still a teacher, but I am also a teacher of teachers and a voice for many who never speak up. As the person who directs the Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst, I advocate for what teachers need, listen to them, and most of all SHARE with them. I have met more people in the last eight and a half years than I ever imagined, many of them only virtually — but genuinely. I have grown, learned, learned, and grown. I learn something new EVERY day. I have been able to spread my creative teaching wings farther than the bald eagles who fly past my house each winter morning.

Now I share with you an opportunity to grow and learn. I hope you will read it, consider it carefully, and pass it on to every adventurous Thinking Teacher you know.

 

 

September 12, 2014

5 phases of technology loss

Filed under: edtech,edtech coaching,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:04 am

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 3.43.14 PMOne of the most frustrating times for any teacher is when the technology breaks down just as you finally got your students prepped and ready to accomplish a task. You were finally able to sign out the laptop cart or ipad cluster. You finally had the kids ready to roll, and  –boom– the site went down, the Internet crashed, the batteries died, or your chosen tool changed to pay-for service in the last 48 hours!

Then we go through five phases of technology loss:

1. Chaos: The time between the first student calling out, “It doesn’t work!” or “File not found!” or “I’m getting a spinny wheel!” or “It’s asking me for my credit card!” and when we regain enough class attention to ask what happened — and hear only one answer at a time.

2. Realization: The moment when we realize that this is not a temporary glitch or human error. The task at hand is dead, gone, notgunnahappentoday.

3. Improv: What we do/say to maintain some sort of facade of meaningful activity, usually getting out a book or handout. We may have enough improv experience and lesson plan recall to come up with a think-pair-share on the fly, “Talk to your neighbor and generate a list of the most important ideas you were going to include in your (fill in the name of the project here).”

4. Venting: What we do in the teachers’ room over lunch as we retell the nightmare story and vow never to try that activity again— at least not until we can get the laptops for another day.

5. Shuffling: What we do in our lesson plans to try to jam the activity in again before it becomes meaningless.

In a dream world, we could simply flipflop tomorrow’s plan with today’s at phase 3 (with no loss of time to phases 1 and 2), sign up for the laptops/ipads for tomorrow, and do the activity then. We would find an alternative for the no-longer-free tool (check on TeachersFirst!), rewrite any directions accordingly, and miraculously accomplish both tomorrow’s and today’s objectives (HA!).

But wait. There are school pictures during this period tomorrow. Start over at phase 4.

The one phase we never reach is Payback Time. This is the phase of technology loss where we somehow regain the time that has disappeared.

As an edtech coach, Payback Time is the one goodie I wish I could give out. I do my darnedest to ease the pain, but I cannot add minutes back into your class time after the day goes awry. The best I can do is to show you ways to steal a few minutes here and there over the next week  by leveraging tools well and letting the kids solve some of the problems themselves.  But I know that time will never add up to what was lost. Maybe some chocolate will help?

 

September 5, 2014

The technology dilemma: Connected mud?

Filed under: edtech,education,Teaching and Learning — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:06 am

I had a short exhange with a mom this week about her school district’s major technology initiative. I pointed out that by the time her young son is in kindergarten, there will be class sets of Android tablets available for use in every K-2 classroom in her suburban district. Her response:

Don’t they get to play in dirt anymore?mud

 Reflexively, I responded that I hoped the teachers were going to have significant professional development to make effective use of the devices and not simply use them as the electronic equivalent to “seatwork,” aka “drill and kill.” But I had to stop and reflect about why I automatically respond to technology initiatives as a positive sign of a forward-thinking (and well funded) school district.

In a serendipitously related meeting with middle school MySciLife teachers, we were discussing how to integrate the online, social learning of MySciLife with hands-on science labs:

Where do labs fit? Which should come first? How do we balance the available time?

These questions are really the same, and they distill down to one omnipresent issue as technology pushes its way into classrooms, with or without the welcome of the adult stakeholders:

How can teachers and parents envision the interplay of technology-facilitated learning, hands-on experiences, and other types of learning? 

or, flipping to a skeptical voice…

Do kids really need this technology stuff in (insert grade or subject here)?

As we hear over and over, it’s not about the technology. It’s about learning, and learning happens in many, many ways. Our kiddos need multimodal approaches. Even the young parents of today remember singing out poems about prepositions, standing up and moving to remember a sequence of algebra steps, touching spelling words in the sand, drawing a mind map, and learning in many, many ways. Kids need lots of ways to learn, including dirt.

The tablets just happen to be one type of hands-on dirt. With them, kids can take a picture and write about it. Why not draw a picture with crayons and write about that? I agree. Do both. With the tablets, kids can share with a broader audience, such as posting on a blog or sharing a comic they create. Can’t they do that on paper and post it in the hallway? Sure, but Great Grandma in Vermont won’t see it. They can be real “authors” who connect and collaborate with others in classrooms far away. OK, I get it, but do they NEED that kind of connection? I believe today’s kids need to be digital authors. It is as much an everyday medium as the mud they splash in at the bus stop.

I believe they need digital mud, too.  Go back to the young mom I spoke with. Her phone is in her hand all the time. Anytime she is curious, she Googles. Needs a recipe… Google. Wants an idea for a rainy Saturday with her son… online story hour schedule at the library. We all know the cliches…. this is a “digital native,” blah blah blah.

So where does the dirt come in? Digital learning is another kind of hands-on, messy learning.  It is our job to balance it so every child — our children, our students — experiences the mess and mud of learning in the science lab, in the outdoors, on our tablets, with crayons and paper (gasp!), and in collaboration with those we can connect to only digitally. Think of it as connected mud.

 

 

August 29, 2014

A labor of love: My(insertadjectivehere)Life

Filed under: about me,deep thoughts,Digital media and learning competition,edtech,myscilife — Candace Hackett Shively @ 8:26 am

MSL logoSince April, I have been involved in a project that has stretched my thinking, my imagination, and — at times– my patience. After over three years of looking, The Source for Learning (SFL), the non-profit parent company where I work and direct TeachersFirst, has found a developer to help us create a customized platform for MySciLife®. Perhaps I should offer some background…

You remember MySciLife, the project I led to finalist status in the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition 2010? I have occasionally written about it here. Three of us (Ollie Dreon, Louise Maine, and I) cooked up the idea one wintry afternoon in an online meeting. We hustled to become finalists. Then we did not get funded.  Since 2010,  SFL has managed sufficient funding to launch MySciLife, and we are now beginning our third year of a research pilot with teachers and students across the U.S.. For the first two years, we used a well-accepted, safe social learning platform as the “home” for MySciLife. This “home,” however, was a candidate for a full Property Brothers makeover to really suit our needs. Unfortunately, the platform was NOT designed for the kind of student roles (we call them “identities”) and interschool interactions that happen in MySciLife. Our tech-savvy teachers and their clever students were troopers at devising work-arounds to accomplish MySciLife tasks. The research came back showing that MySciLife works – and kids LOVE it.

The gist of MySciLife is that students LIVE as a science concept, creating their identities in a safe, social learning environment using status updates, interactions, and a full range of digital media within the MySciLife platform. MySciLife is personal, dynamic science learning, interaction, and assessment. Imagine living your life as a cell…(think Facebook).

We shared about MySciLife at ISTE 2013, thanks to our curriculum experts, MySciLife creative collaborators, teachers, a student, and a parent. Later that summer I ran across a relatively new tool called Mashplant Studio, the third or fourth tool I had encountered that showed promise to possibly be adapted for MySciLife. After MONTHS of discussion and negotiation… we had a deal.

Fast forward to spring and summer, 2014. Code writers are building the new platform as I write this. We have used a very messy version of it (dubbed MyMashedUpLife) for our summer Boot Camp and have 23 teachers AND their middle school science students from across the U.S. starting the school year in MySciLife right now.  We are literally laying the track in front of the train to make all the features work THIS school year instead of waiting until 2015-16.

So what have I/we learned so far? (This may have to be part 1 of many…)

  • Teachers need time for Boot Camp style PD and even more time to absorb and collaborate when they are radically changing the way they teach.
  • Students need far less time!
  • Developers/code folks re-order lists to their view of what comes first. Users have a different view, and ed tech coaches yet another. Add the visual designer, and you have cacophony!
  • No level of list making can keep track of a project perfectly.
  • Bugs reproduce.
  • Online meetings only work after you get to know the “sound” of your collaborators’ true feelings.
  • Timelines sound great, but imagination and innovation resist such limits.
  • More details and to-do items rear their ugly heads between 3 and 4 a.m. than at any other time of day or night.
  • Creating a new learning “space” is just like lesson planning. You will never get it “just right.”

Stay tuned for further updates in My(insertadjectivehere)Life. Happy Labor Day!

 

August 22, 2014

Breaking the Edtech Ice: #2techtruths

Filed under: about me,creativity,edtech coaching,learning — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:10 am

liarTwo Truths and a Lie. You may have played it as an icebreaker during a professional development session or even a party. It is a terrific “Getting to know you” activity for the first day of school with middle or high schoolers. In thinking about it, I decided to offer My Two TECH Truths and a Lie as a way for ed tech coaches and teachers to break the ice this back to school season. It’s simple. Offer up two TECH truths and a lie about yourself. Share them on a wiki, blog post, or Twitter post — with #2techtruths as a hashtag. Choose your sharing method depending on the learning tool(s) you are trying to introduce. Or allow teachers to choose their OWN tool and figure out how to share it with the rest of the group. For the simplest version, try using  chat tool like Todaysmeet for people to share. Imagine trying this on the first day in a BYOD classroom or workshop for soon-to-be-BYOD teachers!

Have everyone in the session to do the same. Then have everyone browse, read, comment, discuss, or tweet back their guesses as to which is each person’s LIE. You will not only teach social learning, you will build trust among a cohort of learners, including yourself. Isn’t that what learning with technology is supposed to be all about?

Here are my Two Tech Truths and Lie:

A. I once co-wrote a text-based, “adventure” style game called Ice Cream Mountain to play on Apple IIc.

B. I once shared a porn site on the projection screen in a teacher inservice session.

C. I once shared resources for teaching gifted with the US DOE.

Guesses? Tweet @cshively with hashtag #2techtruths or comment here.

August 15, 2014

Ain’t Misbehavin’: What teachers really do during inservice

Filed under: about me,musing,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:10 am

doodleI recently ran across both a post and an article that made me think about how teachers act during inservice sessions. I have decided that in many cases, what you see us doing ain’t misbehavin’ even though it often looks like it.  Mark Anderson’s ICTEvangelist  blog shares a guest post from Rachel Jones on the 10 Things all teachers do – even though they might not admit it. I enjoyed reading the UK equivalents of education jargon [see translations in brackets] and laughed out loud knowingly at item 4:

 

4 – All teachers – all of them – exhibit signs of what would be called behaviour management issues in very long INSET [translation for US teachers] days. I have seen some teachers looking very official taking ‘notes’ with their iPads when in fact they were tinkering on Pinterest or playing Minecraft. I like the irony that you can see everyone from PGCE  [translation for US teachers] students to SLT [speech and language therapists?] exhibiting signs that some would find ‘inadequate’ yet as professionals they are listening. Teachers can multitask. Fact.

Yup. Been there, done that. Until fairly recently, I was one of those “exhibiting signs that some would find ‘inadequate.’” Usually I was guilty of doing meaningful team planning with colleagues from other buildings while listening with one ear to the latest and greatest in behavior management plans or some other paperwork wonder. Did I master the paperwork? Sure. Was I misbehaving? Yes. Did I accomplish two tasks in one inservice session? You betcha. Even worse, I doodled.

Enter the best article I have read about thinking, focus, and memory in a long time. When I look at the notebooks I have from grad school, the notes I have from VERY meaningful and useful collaboration meetings, or even phone calls with my boss (whom I respect and love working for), I see doodles. One of the things I miss when I use Evernote is doodling in the margins (maybe they’d consider that for an upcoming version?). Doodling IS thinking, sorting, and connecting thoughts. It ain’t misbehavin’ ! The Wall Street Journal says so! Research says so!

Maybe we should have an inservice on Doodling. It’s a thought.

 

August 8, 2014

BYOOD, Part 2: Getting started with Mission Possible

Filed under: edtech,iPads,Teaching and Learning — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:20 am

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.15.30 PM
Last week I posted about Beginning the Year On Our Devices, or BYOOD. Finding simple tools to accomplish this list of tasks can seem a bit intimidating if you have never taught (or learned) in a BYOD or 1:1 classroom:

  1. Find, read, and sign the school or class AUP.
  2. Find the Who am I?  tool suggestions on the class web page.
  3. Create a Who Am I? of stickies, images, or simple text notes.
  4. Bookmark your own Who Am I? board.
  5. Share the link to your Who Am I? board so classmates can see it– without knowing who made it!
  6. Correctly match at least five Who Am I boards to the classmates who made them.
  7. Save your matches in a note, word processing file, or other text FILE.
  8. Send your match file to the class OR teacher.

So here are ideas for each task:

STARTER FOR ALL STUDENTS, have them OPEN your class web page on their devices. With the very young, you can open it for them. If you need to, make a shortened url to minimize student typing errors. Have them Create a BOOKMARK or SHORTCUT to that page ON the device. With young students, walk around the room and do it for them  by using “Send to >> Home screen (iPad)” or by dragging the icon next to the address in their web browser onto the desktop to become a shortcut.  Have them try this same skill while you watch. Then delete the duplicate from the home screen or desktop since you will have made TWO of the same thing.

1A. For OLDER students, make a Google Doc of your AUP. Set sharing to “anyone with the link”  can “view.” Copy the LINK to the doc. Put that link on your class web page with the following instructions:

Go to this document [make these words a link to the AUP doc]. Read it carefully or have someone read it to you. When you are certain you understand it and all the consequences of the policies,  Write an email or MESSAGE to your teacher at [teacheremailaddress@school.org] indicating “I have read and agree to the Acceptable Use Policy as accessed [insert todays date] from this url [paste doc link here].

1B. For younger students, make a Google Doc of your AUP. Set sharing to “anyone with the link”  can “view.” Copy the LINK to the doc. Put that link on your class web page with the following instructions (not completely paperless, but…):

For homework tonight go to this document [make these words a link to the AUP doc]. Read it carefully together with your mom or dad and talk about it together. When you are certain you understand it and all the consequences of the policies,  print out a copy that you both can sign and bring it in to school tomorrow.

2. Who Am I directions (put on your class web page):

Create a sticky note board that tells some things about you but keeps your identity a secret. Include what you LIKE BEST about  school/this subject and  at least one idea about how you might use what you learn this year. Add anything you want to say about yourself and your interests, as long as you do not give away who you are! Be as creative as you wish.

2A. On your class web page for OLDER students, copy/paste the links below for reviewed tools  to use for “Who Am I?”:

Lino (and  a “how to” Lino)-  a Device Agnostic Tool!

Mural.ly

Padlet - a Device Agnostic Tool!

2B. On your class web page for younger students, make a link to Lino, and provide the information to LOG INTO a WHOLE CLASS account you have set up in advance. Make a Lino together on your projector or interactive whiteboard — with a STUDENT operating the tools — so students see how to create notes. Have them save their LINOs with a “secret” name.

3. Allow time for students to create their boards. Allow them to help each other with tech challenges and how-tos, such as installing an app version of a tool. With very young students, let them make just ONE sticky note with creative spelling!

4. Have students help each other figure out how to create BOOKMARK to their Who Am I board. Hint: if you helped younger students bookmark the class web page, at least some of them will remember how you did it!

5. Show students how to select and COPY the url to their Who AM I board (or let them figure it out if they are grades 4+). Have them SEND it to YOU or paste it onto a class wiki page. They can SEND via email, iMessage, a Google form for homework turn-in links— prepared by you ahead of time, or even a contact me link on your class web page. (Think ahead: How will you have them “turn in” links to their completed work throughout the year? Have them learn that method NOW!)

Steps 6-8 are good solve-it-yourself tasks for grades 7+ or those who are more savvy. If your students are not there yet, stop after step 5 and share the links YOURSELF on the class web page for them to discuss and “match” in small groups tomorrow.

If this sounds like a LOT… ask your ed tech coach or savvy colleague for help or work with together a colleague to create the teacher web page instructions, etc. You CAN do it — and so can your kids!! You do NOT need to personally know how to do everything on every device. Learn together. Your kids will learn more about learning by watching you learn than by listening to any directions!

July 29, 2014

BYOOD: Mission Possible for the start of school

Filed under: edtech,edtech coaching,iPads,Teaching and Learning — Candace Hackett Shively @ 8:40 am

IMG_0772BYOD (or 1:1) should really be BYOOD this time of year.

BYOOD=Beginning the Year ON Our Devices

I have thought a lot about how the first day of school can look in a BYOD (or 1:1) program. I firmly believe a BYOD (or 1:1) class should  Simplify: A handful and a bushel basket. But how do you get started? Avoid the temptation to say, “I can’t do it all at once. I’ll start with the devices on (insert date here) or tell the kids to leave them home until next week. Beginning the year on our devices establishes class rules, routines, and interactions just as you have always done on the first day.  If your school has not helped you envision your BYOD/1:1 with the kind of pragmatic, in-the-trenches ideas that teachers need, here is an idea to make the first day (or two) much more than the usual, boring, talking head teacher routine, punctuated by book-covering and PowerPoint.

We know that every BYOD/1:1 student and teacher needs to be able to (minimal list):

  • Understand and agree to the school Acceptable Use Policy for BYOD/1:1
  • Operate his/her own device (power up, open and navigate the Internet, open and close apps or programs, type, tap, drag, etc.)
  • Check battery levels and charge if needed
  • ACCESS and OPEN a link shared via class web page, Diigo, Symbaloo, or some other central link sharing. Tip: If you plan to use your web page or wiki as a hub to share assignments and work,  this should be the first link they access!
  • Create, create, create…
  • Collaborate with other students using tools from the class bushel basket.
  • Bookmark or save a link to an online project — and FIND it again quickly
  • Share a link with teacher and classmates
  • Save a file or project
  • Send a file (image, video, etc.) to a class sharing space and/or the teacher
  • (Middle school and up) Keep an organized set of project links and/or files as an ongoing “me portfolio.”

So how might we accomplish this list as part of the “getting to know you” and “class rules and expectations”?

Why not “gamify” the first day or two with a BYOOD Mission Possible list (online, of course). The kids can access and work through the Mission on their own or in collaboration. Give the Mission an incentive at the end. The “prize” can be a badge, a homework coupon, status as a tech helper, or a more teen-appropriate award such as 5 minutes of (school appropriate, creative) app time. DO NOT walk them through how-to step by step! Have kids figure out how to ACCESS  and accomplish the Mission list (ask 3 before me?). It will sound like chaos, but you and they will accomplish a very possible BYOOD mission.

Here is a simple list of the tasks you will want to include, so you can think about them.

Mission Possible: A BYOOD (Beginning the Year On Our Devices) List

  • Find, read, and sign the AUP.
  • Find the Who am I?  suggestions on the class web page.
  • Create a Who Am I? of stickies, images, or simple text notes.
  • Bookmark your own Who Am I? board.
  • Share the link to your Who Am I? board so classmates can see it– without knowing who made it!
  • Correctly match at least five Who Am I boards to the classmates who made them.
  • Save your matches in a note, word processing file, or other text FILE.
  • Send your match file to the class OR teacher.

In Part II next week I will share some possible tools to accomplish these with younger and older students. Feel free to make suggestions! Ed Tech coaches, you can start making your Mission Possible templates now to share with your teachers.

 

 

July 17, 2014

Do you think better barefoot?

Filed under: about me,creativity,deep thoughts,iste14,musing,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:30 am

There is a moment during July when the teaching idea valve reopens. To me it seems to be barefeettriggered by something totally innocent: the feel of cool tile on bare feet, the rush beneath the surface of the water as I push off the pool wall, the sound of a favorite song playing as I sing along in a convertible, the lightning bugs after the fireworks end. At first the valve seems a bit creaky, crying out for WD40 on the brain, but soon enough it lets ideas flow freely again.

As the school year drew to a close, the valve had pretty much seized up. Stuck. I was stuck. Even eight years after leaving the annual school year cycle and moving to a year-round, continuous job, my brain still thinks like a teacher. I talk and “live” among teachers every day, and I need the annual renewal of July. It isn’t so much taking a “vacation.” It is allowing myself to go barefoot in my brain. It is letting myself play with ideas instead of packaging them.

No amount of effort I make can force that moment to come. A fabulous experience like the ISTE conference is so manic it overwhelms. I have learned to “save up” everything I gather at ISTE like pretty shells from the beach. I know I must wait to sort them all out and organize them later… and THEN decide what to DO with them.

I note the feel of cool tile under my bare feet as I write this, and I wonder whether we ever give students a chance to notice what makes their ideas flow. Sadly, many of us don’t figure it out until we are decades beyond school age. I wonder what would happen if each if us spent just one class  period per year talking with our kids about things like the Creative Routines of accomplished writers, artists, and thinkers. What if we asked them to pay attention to what makes their ideas flow… and to ask questions like, “Do I think better barefoot?”

 

 

July 3, 2014

Flashes Foretell the ISTE Cloudburst

Filed under: deep thoughts,gifted,ISTE Ed Tech Coaches Network,iste14 — Candace Hackett Shively @ 2:10 pm

ISTE bagMost of us who went to ISTE 2014 in Atlanta have already blogged or sent copious clever tweets about it. We have collected, shared, and digitally packed our ISTE takeaways into a turquoise-tinted ISTE Cloud. Already precipitating from that cloud are favorite gems, sprinkling or pouring down on constituents back home. A long holiday weekend (in the U.S.) may pose a temporary interruption to the ISTE precipitation cycle,  but the ISTE Cloud remains pregnant and ready to burst open again upon the next inservice, staff meeting, or chat.

Since my home ground is everywhere that Thinking Teachers live and work, my ISTE Cloud will rain down over the next few months in many digital spaces from TeachersFirst. But for now I must share a few impressions that struck me at ISTE. These are not the downpour of thoughts and skills, tools and tasks, entire new angles and approaches to learning that are incubating in my ISTE Cloud. These are flash impressions, the lightning that foreshadows a coming storm. I saw each lightning bolt flash before me only briefly, but knew each had more power than anything I could produce on my own — and I can only attempt to explain.

A school board president and tech director from a rural Idaho school district stand outside the Bloggers’ Cafe as I hear the board president ask his tech director, ” So how could I use a blog?” The conversation that ensues (as I pipe in) spans from a 60-something business owner into a world he begins to envision: sharing his business, seeing his grandkids’ pictures and writing about school board issues so the community can understand and converse. Then he asks, ” And how do teachers and kids use blogs?” From the world he knows to the world of school to the world beyond as he SEES it for the first time. He came to ISTE, and he will go home a different leader.  My flash: Not every leader or every school or every teacher has the tech or PD we at ISTE assume they do. I wonder: How can we each turn our ISTE Cloud into PD and learning philanthropy? 

Six twenty-something teachers from a Georgia high school stand in a clump in the GWCC lobby on the first day of ISTE, teachers representing their departments at the same high school: math, science, history, English, etc. They stop me because I have badge ribbons, so surely I know where to go and how to get started. They have the ISTE app, but their eyes are those of a new ninth grader on the first day of school: giddy,  laughing, a little terrified, ready to rock and roll, but already lost without the schedule they know they have here somewhere. My flash: A first ISTE is like first year teaching. Everyone needs a mentor!

Late afternoon in a windowless room of tables nearly full.  About 150 ed tech coaches — with at least 40 different job titles — gulp down collaboration with peers from all over the U.S. and a few other countries. They exchange problems/solutions, Twitter handles, “kryptonite,” and verbal/Google Drawing pictures of what their coaching looks like. The sound of the room is beyond hum or buzz. It is a the sound of water tumbling powerfully at the base of the waterfall, ready to rush forward. My flash: The Ed Tech Coaches Network has all the energy we could ever need. Let it spill forth! We’ll just manage the flood control.

Mid-morning in the subdued light beneath a busy escalator, eight stations of Superhero Ed Tech Coaches are doing far more than “Saving the Day.” At the newbie coaches demo area, there isn’t even standing room left. The other stations are 3-4 rows deep. My flash: The ed tech coaching waters are deep, and the superheroes will allow no one to drown. 

Two hundred teachers look up at us from perfect rows of convention-center-latched chairs. They lean into their devices or hold them up to scan QR codes on the screen as they listen, chat back, and multitask with our enthusiastic endorsement. I glance beside me at my colleague and once-mentoree as she explains about dozens of ways to differentiate and meet the needs of gifted kiddos using great, free tools. Heads nod, and occasional Ooos escape. I chime in with my portion of the presentation as she chats back to the questions and comments on Todaysmeet. My flash: Not everyone has forgotten about the gifted kids in today’s test-driven world after all, but we have a whole new generation of teachers who may never have been given permission to think about them.  

May your July 4th bring you both independence and incubation time so you can share in the outpourings from ISTE 2014 over the months to come, whether you were there or not!

I will be posting a bit less often during July as I ease my schedule a bit to enjoy summer fun. Weekly madness resumes in August.