Technology Times

November 20, 2014

5 Twitter hashtags your should be following

Below, you’ll find five hashtags that offer engaging and thought-provoking tweets from educators across the planet.

To access the most recent tweets categorized under any of these hashtags, simply enter the hashtag in the Twitter search field, or click on it within any Tweet that contains it.






eschool news, November 14, 2014, Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura


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Six tips for classroom technology success

An industry advisory panel of educators shares strategies to help teachers – regardless of their tenure – implement education technology in the classroom,

1. Be sure to teach the concept that failure is an important and expected part of the process. What we learn from each failure or mistake is the important part and will lead to the next version, or improved iteration in the problem solving process.
– Beth Brubaker, grades 1-8 Project Specialist, North Idaho STEM Charter Academy

2. Remember that when lesson planning at home, you should also test any new website, app or tool on the school computers or tablets you’ll be using with students. It’s always a bummer to find out mid-lesson that the school’s filter has blocked the resource or that there are compatibility issues that must be fixed in order for it to work correctly.

– Breigh Rhodes, 2nd grade, Rollins Place Elementary School

3. Make sure to read the terms of service and privacy statement for apps and websites regarding the age of the user. Let parents know how the tool with be used in class and obtain their permission.

– Leanna Prater, District Technology Resource Teacher, Fayette County Public Schools

4. Provide daily opportunities for students to be creative with technology as a tool to support curriculum objectives in a variety of ways. Students will quickly learn to use the technology made available to them as they collaborate and work to research, explore, and produce a final product or project. Student engagement involving technology is most successful when students are given the opportunity to employ technology daily in a variety of ways and create projects that show their level of content mastery.

-Mary Meadows, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator, Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

5. Don’t solve problems for your students. Provide support, give hints, teach the basics, but try not to solve the problem for them. When I find myself operating the technology myself, I know I’m doing too much. I also tell the kids the same thing when I see them doing the work for other students, however good the intention.

-John Heffernan, Technology Coordinator, Williamsburg Elementary School

6. Cultivate a good (great) relationship with your technology staff. But remember, they exist to make technology work for you, not to tell you what technology is acceptable for you to use. This is a fine line to walk sometimes.

-Ian Chow-Miller, Teacher, Frontier Middle School, Graham, WA

eSchool News, November 11th, 2014
The LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) advises LEGO Education, the education division within the LEGO group

10 Ways to Create Engaging Classrooms

1. Sustainable education: Building a strong curriculum around social, economic, and environmental justice helps today’s students “unlock” their place on the planet and reach beyond their hometowns and communities.

“Schools that do sustainability really well have to move to a point where they talk about social and economic justice issues,” Dillon said. For more details, visit the Cloud Institute for Sustainability in Education.

2. Technology integration: “It’s really important that kids have time to use technology to truly dig deep into the things they’re passionate about,” Dillon said.

The amount of time kids have to explore their passions, with their device, beyond the school day, is highly impactful.

“Kids are learning all the time about things they’re passionate about. They’re not waiting for teachers to teach them. We are way past the idea that technology is all about ‘stuff’ and piling more things into schools. Technology integration gives kids a way to deal with [today’s] fire hose of information,” he said. Dillon recommended BrightBytes for more on this engagement strategy.

3. Project-based learning: “One of the high-engagement strategies is that kids are deeply involved in projects that, in the end, they have an authentic audience—kids have choice, kids have voice, and kids have an authentic audience,” Dillon said.

Time is often a challenge around project-based learning, and educators often wonder how to weave multiple units and essential learning objectives together, but it can be done, he said.

“If the project comes at the very end of a unit, it’s not project-based learning—it’s a project. [Project-based learning] is the project and the process throughout the unit.”

4. Seeing in systems: Systems training and systems learning, as well as the concept of design thinking, work well when it comes to engaging students and helps them realize the value in becoming problem solvers.

Creating a ‘fail forward’ culture encourages students to attempt to solve a problem and, if they fail, they come back with improved solutions.

Building students’ capacity to think in systems creates students who are “solutionists,” Dillon said.

“We want kids to create solutions. Ultimately, that’s what we want—kids thinking about how to solve the big hairy problems of the world. I think that’s really important, and I think that only comes through things like design and systems thinking.”

5. The power of story: Students build empathy when they know their peers’ stories. These stories strengthen student voice, and student voice is a key part of engagement.

“If kids have voice, they’re leaning into their learning,” Dillon said.

6. Citizen science: “When we get kids outside, when we get kids doing real work for real scientists, things come alive,” Dillon said.

Citizen science helps students feel like science is authentic, and it’s also a great way to collect data and help students grow accustomed to handling data.

7. Thin classroom walls: “We have to move past the classroom being the only place kids learn—we need to get kids outside in the community, and outside of the community, to learn,” Dillon said, pointing to Promise of Place as an example.

The image of a traditional classroom should be banished, he added, and instead, stakeholders should realize that classrooms in which kids create, collaborate, and think critically about real issues are the classrooms that will best prepare students for college and careers.

8. A place to make: Maker spaces are gaining popularity, and for good reason—they are engaging students with open-ended learning exploration and possibilities.

Dillon predicted that one day, students are likely to see a “make” option on devices, much like there today exits a “print” option. and offer helpful resources, he said.

9. Empathy: “Empathy is the proactive way of dealing with bullying in schools,” Dillon said. “How are you proactively, by design, thinking about teaching kids how to be empathetic? If we’re not building a school full of kids with empathy, we’re probably not doing our work.”

10. Expeditionary Learning: Expeditionary Learning moves students into an environment where they truly stop to see, and learn from, the environment around them. It resembles a community-oriented form of project-based learning and includes empathy, exploration, social learning, and more.

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
November 5th, 2014