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Good (Digital) Citizenship

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This is part of the #EdublogsClub year-long challenge to blog every week.  This week's focus is on Digital Citizenship.

Digital Citizenship is a favorite topic of mine. As a high school administrator, this is a topic that comes up in multiple ways every single year.  As this year gets ready to launch, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to take stock of what we currently do and set a few goals for the coming year.
Opportunities to Teach Digital Citizenship At our school, our process for instilling good citizenship, digital or otherwise, is part of our DNA.  Several years ago when digital citizenship became a hot topic, we immediately turned to Common Sense Media's education page to augment a program we already had in place for instructing our students on plagiarism.  Over the last few years, we have worked to be sure all faculty know about Common Sense Media so that they can utilize the rich resources there as they build their own lessons that involve digital tools.
Meanwhil…

Taking Stock

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I had to take a break from the weekly #edublogsclub challenge in order to attend to some family matters while also wrapping up the school year.  It got a little nuts. And though I have never been particularly good about blogging in the past, I found that for the past few months, the need to blog was always there.  They say that it takes 21 days to form a habit and while I was not posting EVERY week, I was posting consistently so it would appear that I have moved closer to forming a habit than I realized.  And not being able to blog for a while really solidified that fact for me. Thus, it seems appropriate that my first post back should be an opportunity to take stock of the experience thus far and identify some goals for the rest of the blogging year.




What have I learned so far? Despite the fact that I have never had much confidence in my ability to blog, I have found that I no longer really care if I what I write is "good" or not.  The process of blogging has become meaning…

What's Your Number?

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I am responding to prompts a little out of order. This post is actually in response to the #EduBlogsClub prompt #15: Write a post that discusses “assessments."


If you are a connected educator, you will recognize assessment as a common topic; you can easily find one or two Twitter chats a month focusing on the topic of assessment in addition to numerous hashtags. I suppose it makes sense since as educators we are asked to assess our students regularly in order to ensure they are meeting the benchmarks agreed-upon for that grade level. I honestly have no issue with us determining how well students have mastered specific tasks.  After all, as adults, our employers expect a certain amount of productivity AND a certain level of accuracy in order to ensure our continued employment. Most of us are given annual reviews at the very least to identify strengths, accomplishments, and areas of growth. 

But here is where I begin to jump onto my soap box. Apologies in advance (or simply stop read…

Tell Me a Story...

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"This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and edtech enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week.  Oral histories are how society passes on cultural beliefs and experiences. In the modern day, blogging has become a surrogate for those histories. Stories interpret our experiences and help others learn about the worlds around them. They help us connect on an emotional level and create empathy." This week's task is to write a post that tells a story so here goes...
This week has been the much longed-for Spring Break at my school. That has given me time to catch up on emails and think about not only how the year is going but to reflect on it in comparison to years past. With just over a month left of school when we return next week, it's a good time to reflect. And what I have found myself thinking about is how many students I have had the privilege of working with over my years in education. After 25+ years, I have gotten to work with just a …

Pendulum Shifts

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This week's prompt for #EduBlogsClub is about pendulum shifts in education. I have been ruminating on this topic all week. And clearly many of my fellow bloggers are in the same boat as the posts have been coming in much slower in comparison to previous weeks. This week, I am sharing a few of my thoughts on the idea of 1:1 implementation in schools. I know that it has only been a nanosecond in time since 1:1 programs were implemented in schools, and that not every school is even there yet. However, the number of shifts that have already happened around this topic in education is fascinating to me and probably what drew me to it as a topic for reflection in the first place. 

The iPad was first released in 2010.  Schools began jumping on the iPad bandwagon within months. How wonderful to have all of the student work and text books contained on one light-weight device. No more heavy backpacks to lug around and students could learn anywhere--provided they have access to wifi. This was …

Embedding Some Google Goodness

For week 12 of the EduBlogs Challenge, we were asked to embed something into our post. I love the idea of embedding and it just seems to get easier and easier. (Follow the link to this week’s challenge to find tutorials on embedding if you have never done it before).
We try to make sure that our teachers know how to embed material into the lesson pages housed on our LMS because when you embed, you make sure that the students stay right where you want them to--engaged with the lesson.  The alternative--hyperlinking--is great in some scenarios (I like to use this method when preparing agendas and meeting notes), but if you want to be sure your students don’t wander down the rabbit hole, aka, get lost on the web, embedding is much more effective.  For blogging and for websites embedding is also really useful because again, you keep the reader where you want them: looking at your material. 
So for this week’s challenge, I am embedding a project that my son and I completed last summer on …

Student Feedback Dilemmas

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This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and edtech enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. 


After a few weeks off, I wanted to jump back in but this week's topic--student feedback--has me struggling.  Feedback is so very important to all of us.  We all crave feedback because we want to know what resonated with people and where to improve.  Our students crave feedback because they need affirmation that they "did it right", whatever that means. And here is my struggle. I want our students to crave the learning process.  I want them to accept the challenge to always improve.  A "good job", or "wow! that's really interesting" is only part of the process. They should then continue from that point and be asking questions like:
"What else can I do with this?"
"Where can I go from here?"
"What will my next step be?" 

Instead, they are usually satisfied with the former and move on to their next …

Safe Sharing in the Digital Age

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This week's prompt from #EduBlogs Club is related to Student Privacy. This has been an interesting topic to reflect on as both an educator and a parent. I work in a high school so I think we have approached the student privacy issue in a slightly more relaxed way than my son's school (he's in elementary school). And that feels appropriate to me.


Why we need to teach about digital safetyWe live in a digital age so what we are now teaching has had to expand to cover online safety simply because if we are really doing our job then we are preparing our students for their futures. And let's face it, our students live as much on line as they do off line. So my approach, and what I coach our teachers in, is to help students learn how to interact safely and positively online. If we shelter our students from all that is available digitally then we are doing them a disservice.  Not only are we not allowing them to learn and create in a space that is inhabited by pretty much any p…

Free, Free, Free!

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This week's (well, technically now that it is Tuesday, LAST week's prompt) for the #EdublogsClub challenge was to write about a free tool that you enjoy using. It has taken me all week to find time to really reflect on this because my absolute favorite, can't live without and can't work without (yes, they are two separate things--you'll see) tool is the Google Suite. I know several people have shared some of the obvious tools contained in the GSuite so I am going to put forth a few of the lesser known, under-appreciated tools found within the Google domain.  May I present for reflection Google Draw, Google Hangout, Google Calendar (and the cool Calendly site) and Google Keep.

Up first, Google Draw. I love the flexibility of Draw for creating colorful flow charts, having students design word maps, collaborate on infographics, create Venn Diagrams, or just present information in a more playful, optically inviting way. If you haven't tried Google Draw, I encourage…

Pictures vs. Words

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This week's #EduBlogger Club prompt is all about pictures.  I love this prompt because I spend a lot of time finding images to match my posts. I find that the posts I personally enjoy reading are the ones that include good images.  I also know from lots of reading, attending conferences, time in classrooms, and leading PD, that images are much more powerful than words. So I have spent much of the past week noticing images and thinking about how I use images as well as how I can better use them in the future. 

I enjoy using images and have actively worked to improve my use of them over the last few years. For example, part of my job as an administrator is to justify projects to our Board.  We educators know that there is never enough money in the "pie" to go around so I take my job very seriously when it comes to lobbying for funds for our teachers. For some requests, images can definitely help strengthen the argument.  One of my favorite examples for using images was when…

One of My Role Models

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Well, week three of the #EdublogsClub challenge has us reflecting on leadership. That is the topic tat drove me to blog in the first place.  And with the recent change of power in the United States, a very apropos topic.

Eleanor Roosevelt is a woman and leader that I have come to admire and respect.  As a history teacher, I always spent time in my classes asking students to look at events through the eyes of the people and through the eyes of those in charge.  Because there are always multiple ways to look at every situation, every turning point.

We would discuss the "what ifs" of history--Would Martin Luther have been as successful if Gutenberg hadn't invented the Printing Press when he did? Would the North American colonies have won their independence form Great Britain if George Washington had not been born? How would WWII have ended if the Allies had not developed the atomic bomb first?  These big questions have as much to do with circumstance as they do with leade…

New Year, New Challenges

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Well, with this new year comes the need to seek out some ways to support my desire to continue growing. As 2017 starts, I have many revamped goals--in other words, goals that I have set in the past but not been terribly good at completing.  That list includes blogging.  But this year, I have a new approach, and one that I think will allow for a greater level of success.

I started my blog a few years ago as a result of attending a CUE Rockstar camp session led by the amazing Jen Kloczko.  Over the last few years, I have seen my efforts wax and wane.  So, when I stumbled across the #edublogsclub challenge, I saw an opportunity to reinvigorate myself and commit to blogging again.  I even roped in a colleague and friend (@techbiobek).  As with all goals, there is a greater chance of success when there is accountability.

I have done blogging challenges before, such as the Connected Educator blogging challenge, and found them to be helpful and inspiring.  I trust that this will be no diffe…