Friday, July 1, 2016

Farewell to the Paperless Classroom

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I've always loved the idea of a paperless classroom; so much so that I created a Smore of tools to use to create a paperless classroom (granted this Smore is from July 2014 and needs updating). Then I read the article by Eric Patnoudes, titled "10 Things Every Educator Should Start Doing Today." The number one item on the list was to eliminate 'paperless classroom' from your vocabulary. Wait, what? Did he say ELIMINATE? 

Patnoudes suggested this, "Instead of paperless classroom, let's call it what it efficient classroom or any of its synonyms: organized, methodical, systematic, logical, orderly, businesslike, streamlined, productive, effective, cost-effective, labor-saving." So, I went back and looked at my Smore. The tools I was sharing were tools for distributing resources and materials digitally, collecting student work digitally, delivering digital content, read or annotate digital text, share web resources, digital formative assessments, gather feedback or data digitally, real-time discussions and online portfolios. I wasn't that off with my content, but the idea of "paperless" can send the wrong message to someone new at integrating technology in the classroom.

So as the new year rolls around, teachers what tools will you use to make your classroom more EFFICIENT? 
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
    • This is a powerful tool because it incorporates content delivery and collecting, real-time discussions, assessment, feedback, web tools for embedding and so much more. 
  • Formative Assessment Web Tools - see the Smore for ideas.
  • Digital Feedback Web Tools - see the Smore for ideas but add Recap to the list.
And I close with this from the article, "Paper will always have a place in education. It's great for everything from drawing out ideas, making diagrams, taking notes, doing math, doodling, sketch noting, making reminders, and most of all...INCREASING RETENTION AND COMPREHENSION, i.e. learning." 

10 Things Every Educator Should Start Doing Today: #1. (2016). Medium. Retrieved 1 July 2016, from

Thursday, June 23, 2016

#TBT: Three Things I Learned from the College Football National Championship Game

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In honor of #tbt (Throwback Thursday), I'm reposting my favorite post. I first made this post on the Carroll ISD Instructional Technology Blog. Football season is around the corner and teachers are preparing for the new school year and they both have the same goal - WIN. Win games. Win in the classroom. Win with students. Gear up teachers, students will be with you in two months. What will you do to be prepared, play to your strengths and keep going after you make mistakes?

What a crazy game! Who would've predicted Ohio State, with a 3rd string quarterback, to win the College Football National Championship. I DID!! I'm a big sports fan, but I haven't really followed the college football season and rankings. I would watch football when a game was on television, but I could not have told you who was ranked what or who should win. I think if Urban Meyer is the coach, then that team will evidently prevail as winners. As a rule, I do not bet against him. He knows how to win. After watching the championship game I started thinking on why they won, and I came up with three reasons. I believe as teachers we can learn from these three things.

There is no doubt that Ohio State was prepared for their opponent. When you are facing the Heisman trophy winner or when your first two quarterbacks are out injured, you better be prepared and have a great game plan. Same applies to teachers and technology. When using technology in the classroom, it is best to be prepared...prepared for when everything falls into place and prepared for when the bottom drops out. Technology can be scary. My hope is that, as scary as technology may be, that you would step out of your comfort zone and try. There is a great group of instructional technology specialists in this district who have been in the classroom and understand all that encompasses. Explore their expertise to help you start this new year integrating technology into your content. We offer co-planning, co-teaching, modeling a lesson, and even resource prep for teacher activities. We can help you be prepared.
Ohio State team led by their coach, Urban Meyer
Ohio State started this game with a guy who had only started in two games. How does a rookie quarterback win a national championship, you playing to their strengths, Ezekiel Elliot, sophomore running back. Every time I looked at the television I saw him running through a crowd of linemen. Ohio State used their strength with the run game to dominate Oregon. Same applies to teachers. We all have strengths. We all have things we do well. We are all part of a team. One of the best things we can do as a teacher is learning from others along with sharing our strengths with others. Of course, I'm going to talk about technology. I've come across many teachers who are integrating technology in their content and doing it successfully. Many have even said to me, "I'm not sure I can go back to the old way of teaching." Find those teachers on your campus. Plug into what they are doing and learn from them. Make time to collaborate with them and with others who may not be in your content area. It's the same in my group. Not all instructional technology specialists have the same strengths. That is what makes us a good team; we learn from each other.
Ezekiel Elliot #15
Turnovers after turnovers after turnovers. Did the world really think Ohio State would have a chance after the turnovers they kept making? I'm sure there were doubts. A big shoutout to Ohio State for staying focused and going strong after the many mistakes they made. (You know the next line...) SAME APPLIES TO TEACHING (and technology). Don't abandon technology just because the first integration did not go the way you expected. Try again AND then try again. When those mistakes happen, brainstorm with a teammate or instructional technology coach (I coached for 10 years, so it is hard for me to let that go) to help you evaluate the process, and see what improvement can be made. I can not count how many times I have failed in the classroom when trying to be innovative. It happens. Don't let that stop you from trying again.
Mistakes will be made
This year vow to be MESSY. We can make 2015 messy by...