In the fast-paced field of education and educational technology, sometimes it feels like if we don’t keep up with the pack on the latest strategies and technologies, we’ll get left so far behind that we might never catch the leaders. In those moments, remember that just because a strategy has been around for a while, doesn’t mean it has lost its value or just won’t work.
My church did a VBS (Vacation Bible School) this year after taking a few summers off from hosting one. Our fearless leader, Robyn, an elementary principal, choose the kit, ROAR, from Group Publishing, and we began a quick 2 week preparation. Robyn and I are experienced at leading VBS, but we are also busy educators, … Continue reading The Disappearing Ink Doodle Pen of Education
I recently wrote an article for the ISTE Teacher Education Network with a focus on mindfulness. May is mental health month, and that fits so well for us educators. This is a CRAZY time of year to work in school districts. But as the school year begins to wind down for many across the nation, and even though the end of the year business is in full swing, now is the time we can try new things, dip our toes into teaching those soft skills or new technology, and continue building relationships with students.
Be limitless This is a mindset that I employ every day. Placing limits on anything, whether it’s yourself or your tech tool, is a great way to stifle creativity and growth. I make it a habit to approach everything with the idea that innovation is only a thought or two away. Tools or ideas don’t have to be new to be innovative, we just need to rethink how we use them.
It takes a certain kind of person to be innovative. Having the passion and conviction to follow through, to take the risk despite the critics and road blocks, is tough. The old saying, If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, still holds true today. It isn't easy to hear over and over again that you are doing it wrong. It won't work. You are making a mistake. The fact is though, if we never break from the status quo to try something out of the norm, we are left with sameness and miss out on amazingness.
As a my friend and preacher reminded me recently, to have compassion, you need to SEE & ACT. It isn't enough to just see the problem and then form committees, look for curriculum, and hold meetings. We must see AND act. A curriculum, no matter how good, will not reach those students who are in desperate need of some hope.
So it was an epic fail by all accounts. Yep. A Sunday School lesson designed for 5th and 6th graders, lead by yours truly, a high school teacher, did not stand a chance with the one 5th graders, 2 third graders, a 5 year old, and a 4 year old who were sitting in front of me. I thought it would be fine, since I'm used to modifying on the fly, but I didn't realize how differently those younger minds would react to what I wanted them to do.
A lot of focus today is spent on ways to connect educators so that they can broaden their professional learning network and reap all of the benefits that affords. But while we acknowledge the power in sharing what we do with other educators, we don’t always equate that in the same way when it comes to students.
I attended my first Innovation Institute conference in Springdale, Arkansas last summer, and I was fortunate enough to see George Couros deliver the opening keynote and then attend his session. There were a lot of takeaways from this conference, his keynote, and his session, but the one that really struck a chord was the idea of digital portfolios and a one platform system across grade levels and subject areas.
I am always looking for new ways students can enjoy learning and connect with their classmates. Combining Kahoot! with other learning models in my English class made a big difference!