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.

June 27, 2014

Beyond the sinkhole: Score the next web tools

Filed under: edtech,edtech coaching,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 8:55 am

Web tools/apps that disappear unexpectedly can be a real challenge. Choosing their replacements can be a way to turn your frustration into something positive. Having done this scores of times, here is my advice for finding the best NEW, FREE, sink-proof replacements and grading them on a 100 point scale:scorecard

Look for FREE tools that are truly free, not free trials or free for exactly ONE project. Add 25 points for tools that allow at least 25 (or a class set) of truly FREE projects. For each additional class set, add 5 bonus points. If you are a secondary teacher with 150-200 students who are allowed to create their own accounts, award 25 points if students can create at least 10 projects per individual account.

Look for longevity. If the tool has been around without changing its terms for at least a year, it might last long enough for your kids to get several projects out of it. Allow up to 20 points for longevity.

Look for ways to keep offline copies. If the tool allows you to share via url and embed code, that’s great for allowing others to se it and for making kids care about the quality of their work because others will SEE it. If it also allows you to download an offline copy, add twenty five bonus points for the ability to KEEP the things your kids create even if the tools drops down a sinkhole.

Look for ways to direct students ONLY to the “create” area without stopping by public galleries filled with inappropriate to offensive projects made by bored 16 year olds at 3 am. SUBTRACT up to 10 points for readily accessible and potentially inappropriate galleries. If you teach elementary,  subtract up to 20 points.

Look for education-only features such as quick registration for students WITHOUT email, options to moderate student work, options to keep student work behind a password. These will allow you to stay within restrictive school policies without tricky workarounds or permissions. Add up to 10 points for teacher-friendly options.

Look for silent, how-to videos that are less than 2 minutes long. If they can demonstrate the tool in less than two minutes with only a silent screencast, even your least savvy student can handle it. More importantly, even the least savvy TEACH can handle it! Up to 10 points for a rock solid video demo and easy-to-understand interface.

Look for membership free , quick start tools. If you teach students younger than age 13 or in a school that prohibits students from creating accounts, add 10 points for membership-free use. If you have older students or freer school policies, add 1-5 points.

Look for tools that require kids to do more than a quick copy/paste and announce “I’m done!” For instance, look for tools that require them to write their own words (e.g. Fakebook) or tools where they must annotate and curate anything they collect (Diigo). Even better are tools that have them build something new from scratch, such as comic creators where they must add their own images, text, etc. to a blank set of frames. Add up to 10 points for higher level, original thinking required.

Look for tools that will allow you to adapt for different levels of students. These tools allow you to make a starter template for your students who need a little more scaffolding and also allow you to set a higher bar or greater freedom and expansiveness for your most able student. This expansiveness can include collaboration features for your kids to work with small groups or collaborate with others OUTSIDE your school. Add up to 10 points for adaptability.

Look for tools that are just plain cool. If you have never seen anything quite like it, add up to 5 points. (Sorry, virtual flash card and quiz makers, but you automatically lose out on these points!)

If you really want this process to be fun and to teach your students to be good digital consumers. have your class create their own point system to rate new tools. You could start with this one and let them add/subtract, multiply, or divide! You MIGHT want to seed the process with tools from the TeachersFirst Edge.

Happy hunting… and watch out for those sinkholes.

June 20, 2014

Down the sinkhole: Disappearing web tools/apps

Filed under: edtech,edtech coaching,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:58 am

potholeFree web tools and apps are like sinkholes. They drop to oblivion without any warning. This week I lost one of the core tools I planned to share in my presentation at ISTE 2014 NEXT week! (At least they posted a warning that they were going to close down.) Another sinkhole, now on to the next available path.

More resistant or reluctant teachers sometimes hear stories like mine and use the precariousness of free, creative tools as an excuse to never learn any of them. I think we should use the sinkholes as opportunities to look deep and discover buried treasures.

For every web tool/app that dies, there are at least three new ones that may even have better features. And some tools, when they sense their foundations are slipping, are able to reinforce the ground around them so they will last. A select few, such as Wikispaces, Dropbox, and Evernote, seem to have selected better ground in the first place. Longevity makes them at least appear beyond the risk of sinking. But teachers are not likely to ever have a full complement of free, sink-proof tools. So we as teachers should take the moment when a tool sinks to peer into the depths of the hole — and to other ground — for new possibilities.

As we built the TeachersFirst Edge, beginning back in 2006, we included a way to categorize tools by what they can do. That’s pretty tough, since new tools always add new “types” of products they can create or combinations of features. Yes, Timemapper makes timelines, but it also creates associated maps. So we tag it into both timelines and geo/maps. We try to be there for teachers who don’t have a lot of time to replace the sunken favorite tool, ready with another option.

When the next tool dies on you, what will you do?

To take out your exasperation, feel free to collect the names of all the tools you have lost to sinkholes – kind of like carving a set of notches on your techie teacher toolbelt. It might make for some funny discussion or party games with your savvy peers: “Remember Springpad? It sprung a leak!” (That’s the one I lost this week!)

But the immediacy of teaching means you will need to shift your directions a bit and turn the kids loose to find an alternative. I don’t recommend telling students below about 10th grade to “go explore for a tool,” only because less mature kids will waste a lot of time playing and less being critical consumers of what they need. Better to give them a list of possible new tools you have had a few moments to peer into… long enough to know these tools don’t have a public gallery of examples filled with naked women, neo-Nazis, or profanities. Alternatively, you can grab a tool or two from the TeachersFirst Edge and have them “tech it out.” Ultimately, have your kids keep a running list of the tools they have found successful and even of possible substitutes if one goes the way of the sinkhole. A graffiti wall, either electronic or actual, would be great for this.

Next time: Some criteria to watch for as you peer beyond the sink hole.

 

June 12, 2014

ISTE: To plan or not to plan, that is the question.

Filed under: edtech,iste14,musing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 2:35 pm

will-ISTEISTE fair, so overwhelmed am I
And wond’ring as Atlanta draws us nigh…

To plan or not to plan, that is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler in the ISTE world to suffer
The slings and elbows of filled BYOD’s and Spotlights
Or to link arms against a sea on escalators
And by ignoring, defy them. To wander, to plan
No more–and thus by wand’ring seek ideas
Anew, and feel the thousand techie sparks
That ISTE’s known to light. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To learn, to steep–
To tweet–perchance to blog: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that steeping, plan-less blog what loss may be?
Could I have shuffled off and thus erased
My purpose in this techie learned place?
So I must pause. There’s the respect
That makes me yearn for sages of edtech.
For who would snap the fears and thorns of few,
As well as ISTE’s gurus — perhaps you?
The pangs of program app I must delay,
For insolence of tasks yet due TODAY.
That patient merit of unplanned bliss,
Shall en route to ISTE overwhelm
This mere munchkin in face of such uncertainty.
To grunt and sweat and plan again,
For that the dread of something I could miss,
The session skipped, and by whose words
This traveller returns, erased by will,
And makes me rather bear those things I plan
Than fly to others that I know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Wins o’er the lure of serendipity.
I’ll plan and fav’ with iPad armed with app
And Evernote the sessions all the days
And steer the course of action. — Soft you now,
Oh fair edtechers! — in thy Twitter catchers
May all our ISTE be remember-ed.

For now, the plan is void, the app eschewed.
But in Atlanta, I will be prepared!

If you didn’t figure it out, this is adapted from the text at http://www.monologuearchive.com/s/shakespeare_001.html#2SjhFeODwUMci76R.99.

My apologies, Will.


 

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