Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Once upon a time, I wanted to start a school...

Once upon a time, I wanted to work from home (I still do), stay in education (I still do) and contribute to my family's budget (I still do).  So, I thought I'd start my own school.  I made notes.  The other day, Timehop delivered my notes back to me.

As the picture shows, I created this list in 2005.  What was happening in 2005?

I was in my 2nd year of teach self contained 5th grade in a rough low income school.  That year, I was our 5th grade team leader of 2 other 5th grade teachers.  One teacher had a similar teaching style as mine, the other was a traditional drill and kill teacher.  She was having 'success' and two of us were not - as evidenced by the large posted charts of scores on district benchmark tests.  At one point I had a 0% passing rate on the science test two administrations in a row.  

All 3 classrooms were crammed full.  I think I had 28 or 19 on the 1st day of school.  This was also the height of Texas's Student Success Initiative that held back 5th graders who did not pass 'the test'.  I had at least 3 (I think it was 5 but I can think of 3 names) repeaters and 1 student who had never passed but had been promoted via committee.  Of the remaining students, only 1 was NOT a bubble kid.  Here we were crammed into a room, trying to fill in gaps, learn in active ways and I did not look like any of my students.  

Many of my kids ran the show at home either because their parents worked at night or because their parents abdicated control to them.  Then they came to a crowded, noisy room and were 'bossed' around by a white women.  

I could write for days about those 2 years in 5th grade.  I'll sum it up by saying that I knew I wasn't getting it right for those kids.  I tried to compensate by loving them fiercely.  But I knew I was failing and I felt very little power to change things for either them or me. 

When people feel powerless, they begin to fantasize what would happen if they had the power they long for.  That's what my list was...a fantasy of how I could help those kids. 

Fast forward 9 years.  Now I'm back at middle school.  I left middle school to teach 5th grade against the advice of a trusted principal.  I now know that was part of the issue.  I'm not an elementary school teacher.  I work best with middle schoolers.  I am now a mom of an autistic son, a deep thinking son, and a dsylexic son.  I've read and learned so much more on the art and practice of teaching.  But, there's not much I'd change about my list.  I would, of course, add to it.  Overall, it's still how I'd like to work and how I'd like my boys to learn.  

The question that I've asked myself the past few days is - Why not? Why haven't you done this? Start a school!  

I'll be honest - fear.  Oh, I have a million reasons and excuses...
  • I don't understand a lot about the law and beauracacy of schools.  
  • I'm not administrator/principal certified.
  • I'm not in a position to walk away from my salary (or to be more specific, my health insurance).
  • My boys require a lot of time and energy.  I choose to channel my energy to them.  

These things are all true, they are all excuses and they all speak to my fear.  To be honest, I don't know what to do about my fears or my ideas.  All I know to do it to keep having ideas, keep wrestling with big and little ideas, keep reflecting, keep making changes to my own classrooms, keep being the momma I want to be and keep sharing.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

On being a tech specialist not obsessed with technology

There's no doubt about it, I'm a gadget girl.  I love my iPhone, my iPad, my Chromebook and my MacBook Pro.  I like finding new apps - mobile and web.  I really love teaching people something they didn't know before.  But, (you knew that was coming, right) I am not obsessed with technology.  I don't stand in days long lines to get the new release.  I wait patiently for my upgrade before getting a new phone. I usually wait until I my iPad is not longer supported before getting a new one.

Want to know what I AM obsessed with? Curriculum, standards, excellent teaching and what's best for kids.  When technology is a part of those things, that's awesome. But technology does make any of that stuff happen. Not by a long shot.

As a matter of fact, sometimes, technology can interfere with those things. Subbing in a drill and kill website isn't any better than a drill and kill worksheet. A flashy app may keep a kid interested a little longer but wouldn't ignite a passion for learning. 

Teachers do the hard and wonderful work of connecting with kids, insuring that they master the appropriate standards, help them when they don't and helping ignite passions. 

Teachers, don't buy the lie that using a certain machine or app will change your classroom. YOU + a machine or app + solid pedagogy CAN change your classroom. You are the professional. You keep up with research and best practices. You know the latest brain research. You know how to reach kids. Don't trade that power for something touted as a "game changer". 

You are the game changer. 

Stay current. Update your practices. You wouldn't see a doctor who doesn't keep up with medical research, right? But don't lose your mind. Remember - all good things in moderation. Don't go too far to either end of the spectrum. 

Where does all this leave me? Frankly, between a rock and a hard place. I try to share tips and tools that will make you a better teacher. I try to share the how and why a tool should be used.   It's how I serve. Sometimes the "game changers" and their flashy tools are louder. They seem to dominate the landscape. It can be discouraging. Not because they get more attention. But because teachers buy their lies. To be fair, I don't think that they think they are lying to teachers. I believe, and hope, they believe they are helping teachers. They may well be. But, when teachers feel inferior and pressured to go to extremes, they aren't helping kids. They are aren't helping teachers. 

As for me, I'll keep plugging away. Serving kids by helping their teachers to be better.

What about you, what should you do?  Seek a balanced approach.  Be discerning.  Don't buy the snake oil.  Keep doing what's best for kids (even when it's hard for adults).  And, as my friend Zach Snow says, Don't forget to be awesome! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Changing Education?

Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend and participate in a panel at Tech & Learning's Tech Forum Texas.  I had never attended this event before.  I was asked to participate in a panel on cultivating student wonder and voice.  I was proud to share some of the amazing things our students are doing.

At the end of the day, I heard another participant remark at how the fun the day was and how her content specific conferences were nothing like this.  This got me thinking...

I used to be a conference junkie.  I loved seeing friends, being around like minded people and LEARNING! I love to learning.  I love to think.  I love to try to solve the problems in education.  But I haven't really enjoyed conferences since EdCampAwesome in February.  This really has very little to do with the actual conference and more to do with my state of mind.  But, I will say the conferences didn't help me overcome my crankiness.

What I loved about yesterday's conference was that there was very little discussion of the latest and greatest technology tools outside the vendor area.  There was no sessions trying to convince us why the latest and greatest tool was 'transformational'.

The sessions were focused on how to improve education.  Technology is certainly a part of that discussion but technology is no the end all be all.  I know, that sounds crazy coming from a technology integrator on a technology blog but hang with me.

The chief complaint about education is that we continue to use the industrial, one size fits all model.  However, so many people are trying to improve education with a new one size fits all model. 

Pick one:

  • "One to one is the answer" 
  • "BYOD will change education" 
  • "This device is transforming learning" 
  • "Project Based Learning is the only way to go" 
  • "Augmented Reality is a game changer" 
  • "You have to have a maker space" 
  • "Insert your catch phrase here"


My growing disillusion with the Tech Conference has been these competing voices.  People shouting at the Emperor that his new clothes are beautiful and the only way to go.

I enjoyed spending the day yesterday with educators that are willing to tell the Emperor that he's naked.  Those who understand that the work of improving education is messy and hard.  They get that focusing on students is the necessary first step to changing education.

Students are different. What they need is different.  So it will be difficult for schools to accept one pitchman's solution and make meaningful change for their students.  They will have to be diligent to investigate all possible solutions and pick the combination of solutions that will work best for their students.

You're question might be "Aimee, will you stop sharing technology resources?" No I will not.  I love using technology in classrooms.  Effective technology integration is a vital part of transforming schools.  I want to continue to share those ideas with you.  I want to hear your ideas.  I want to think and write about the business of transforming schools.  I want to think big thoughts and feel big feelings.  I want you to do these things too.  Share your ideas with us.

Education should be about doing what's best for students and not what's easy for adults.  Let's get busy!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Round Rock Google Ninja Academy

I was thrilled to be able to attend and present at the 2nd annual Round Rock ISD Google Ninja Academy.

My first session was beginner's class - Getting Started with Drive.  We had a lot of great questions and discussion.  I really enjoyed it.  Here's the presentation from that session with links to student work within.





My second session was supposed to be Feedback Frenzy.  We were going to talk about giving great feedback to your students using the tools in Google Docs and 2 Chrome apps.  Unfortunately, I received a text at lunch that my little man was throwing up.  So, I switched into momma mode and headed home.  I apologize that I had to leave before my session but here's the presentation.  Please let me know if you have questions!





Thanks to the Round Rock ISD Instructional Technology and Professional Development staffs! This year's Ninja Academy was awesome!  Thanks for having me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tech Camp, Year 2

It's been 4 weeks since the first day of school.  The first week of school means Tech Camp! This was our second year to hold Tech Camp.  We have 4 grade levels in our middle school so Tech Camp starts on Tuesday with 5th grade.  Then 6th grade on Wednesday, 7th grade on Thursday, and 8th grade on Friday.

Last year, each grade level had the same lessons, except for the Digital Citizenship lessons.  I differentiated those right off the bat.  So, I had to write new lessons for 6th-8th grades for Google Accounts, Copyright, and Expectations.  I left the Terminology lesson the same.  At ISTE a speaker mentioned a study that showed that something like 53% of Americans think that HTML is a sexually transmitted disease (I wish I had a citation for this).  I told the kids I have them for 4 years. They are going know these words before they leave me!

My favorite new lesson is for 6th grade Copyright.   6th graders need to begin created Works Cited pages. So, we wanted to introduce citations.  Ta da da! Human Citations.  Each group received a book, magazine article, webpage, fill-in-the-blank pages, and punctuation.  The teacher posted a "How to create a citation" page on the board. Students worked together to find the information needed for each type of citation.  Then they lined up to make a Human Citation!!

Once again this year, Edmodo caused the most headaches during Tech Camp. Edmodo itself didn't cause any trouble at all, it was all user error.  We have the students join each of their classes.  So, I write their class codes on the schedule.  This takes forever! But it's worth it to buy the teachers time when they get ready to start Edmodo.  The other problem was that some 5th graders already had Edmodo accounts  from 3rd grade.  The problem was that no one remembered the passwords.  Thankfully, the 3rd grade teacher archived the classes.  I was able to unarchive her classes and reset their passwords.  I realized this Monday afternoon so I was able to take care of it before the 5th graders started Tech Camp on Tuesday.

Tuesday was, hands down, the most stressful day.  This is to be expected.  The 5th graders are new to the building and new to all the technology.  I missed a few kiddos on the Edmodo unarchive/reset.  And my new student's emails were a little wonky.  When I create new emails I assign the password we want them to have.  Out of nowhere, Google started asking (forcing) them to change their password the first time they logged in.  As a result, I had 5-10 students come into my session (I teach the portfolio session) to get fixed up.

The excellent improvement this year was that I now have Tech Aides.  3 8th graders who come to me 1st, 6th & 7th periods to help out.  They really helped out!  I was still up very late each night writing in Edmodo codes but I could have them do some housekeeping things each day.

In the weeks following Tech Camp, Edmodo issues continued to dominate my days.  I met with each 6th grader one day to make sure they typed in their school email correctly.  I had several 8th graders who didn't use their school email and couldn't get into Edmodo.  Several students changed their passwords then couldn't remember what they changed it to (which is why I ask them not to change the password I give them).  Some kids couldn't get in when it was time to work in Edmodo so they somehow created Teacher accounts.  I think I have handled all these issues and things are slowing down.  I've had a chance to reflect and do some math.  I give you: Tech Camp by the numbers.

If you're interested in hosting a Tech Camp, you can see all the lessons here.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lone Star TIA Conference

I'll be presenting about Tech Camp at Denton ISD's TIA (technology in action) conference this week.  I'm presenting the same session twice: Tuesday, July 22 at noon in room 266 and Wednesday, July 23 at 7 am in room 266.  Feel free to bring cupcakes (my birthday is Friday, it's a biggie) or coffee (we'll all need it at 7 am!)

You can find all the Digital Citizenship videos we used at Tech Camp here: http://stich.it/siMTM4MzU=

You can find all the resources from this Thinglink

Monday, July 7, 2014

How ISTE is like Disney World

While I was at ISTE, my nieces and nephews were at Universal Studios.  I was hanging out in the Blogger's Cafe one day when I received a text from them and that got me thinking...

How ISTE is like Disney World

Long lines - I talked about this a bit in my previous post, Highs and Lows.  The convention center just did not seem to flow very well.  There were lines to get onto the escalators then lines to get to the next set of escalators to the next level.  Disney has long lines too but at least you can buy a fast pass at Disney ;)

Water - In both situations you need to drink lots of water.  It was hot and humid in Atlanta.  It's hot and humid in Orlando.  My hotel was close enough to not be on the shuttle route but not close enough to get to the convention center without being drenched with sweat (sorry, that's gross).  As you might imagine, the convention center has to be very large to accommodate so many attendees. You'll need water to stay hydrated inside and outside the convention center.

A Plan - To get the most out of both ISTE and Disney, you a plan.  At ISTE decide which sessions you'd like to attend, figure out where they are and if you can get from one to another in enough time.  Some sessions, like Ignite talks, have long lines take these into account when planning your schedule.  It's helpful to have a back up session in mind as well.  At Disney, map out what rides and attractions you want to see.  Planning a Disney route will keep you from back tracking or walking too much.

Friends - Everything is better with friends.  At ISTE make sure to plan times to hang out with friends. The Blogger's Cafe is great for this.  You can hang out in the Welcome Center to make new friends.  Make specific plans to meet up with your PLN friends, otherwise you'll be on the plane home and realize you didn't get to meet some people face to face.  At Disney, no one wants to ride alone.

Characters - Both places have it's fair share of characters.  At both places you'll find people chasing after these characters.  You might think this is strange or it might be right up your alley.  Either way do what works for you.  Just remember, at ISTE everyone is a human being.  Some are real and some are not so real.  Sit and talk to them.  See if you connect with them. Can you learn from them? Do they want to learn from you.

Photos - Don't get so caught up in the fun and excitement that you forget to take pictures.  Once you get home, you'll want something to look back on and remember the fun times.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Highs and Lows

Spring was roller coaster of highs and lows.  Ryan started a new job that he loves - high.  I became ill - low.  We bought a house in an awesome neighborhood full of the boys' friends - really high.  I did not get a job that I had my heart set on - very, very low.

I'm hesitant to write about the job.  It was a job inside the district.  I don't want to be seen as a complainer.  I love the job I have and I know lots of people would love to have it.  I love my district.  I love the students and teachers I work with.  That's part of why not getting the job has been so hard for me.  I love the district, students and teachers so much and I wanted the opportunity to make a positive changes for them.

To be honest, not getting that job really messed me up (I believe that's the technical term).  The entire situation left me feeling rejected, disrespected and unvalued.  It's been a while and I'm still raw.  I'm about to cry thinking about it.  I know in my head that God works everything together for his purpose and that he has a plan.  But somehow my emotions and tear ducts have still not gotten the message.  I've stopped talking to my friends about it because I just keep saying the same things.  That's not me.  I've been rejected plenty of times. And I'm great at making a plan, attacking that plan and moving forward.  Not so this time.

So, I did not arrive at ISTE in the best frame of mind.  When I was thinking of how to describe my time at ISTE, I kept thinking "highs and lows".  I spent a lot of time feeling anxious and out of place. I didn't know as many people as I thought I would.  At TCEA, I could sit in the Blogger's Cafe and know all kinds of people.  At ISTE, sitting in the Blogger's Cafe meant strange faces.  Which should not have been a problem.  I should have been able to introduce myself and have an intelligent conversion.  I'm an intelligent person at a conference about my passion.  But I could not shake the anxiety.  I kept thinking, "I have nothing intelligent to say to anyone."  I spent more time in my hotel room during ISTE than I would have normally.  I did not want to be in large crowds.  I was most comfortable walking with my close friends.  Then the spotlight could be on them.  I often joked and called myself a groupie last week.  That's what I was comfortable doing.  (For more on anxiety, please see Nicholas Provenzano's awesome post of the subject.

The crowds, that's another thing.  Everywhere I went there were crowds.  Crowds to get on the escalator.  Lines to get in the bathroom.  After Ashley Judd's keynote, it took Rafranz and I 45 minutes to get out of that room. There was only 1 door out and 2 escalators up (the 3rd was busy coming down with no one on it).  The conference center just did not seem to flow very well.

ISTE also had some great highs.  My poster session, seeing friends, Rafranz's Ignite session and my favorite sessions I attended.  I had a great time at the DEN birthday party.  I got to have dinner with one of sorority sisters and her husband.  Most of my highs I talked about in yesterday's post, #ISTE2014 Highlights

During ISTE and immediately afterward, I would have told you that I wouldn't be traveling out of state to another ISTE.  Now that I've had time to think about it, I understand how my state of mind and anxiety damped my trip. I realize that I was exhausted before I even arrived.  During June I traveled to Austin for 3 days, worked at school for 4 days, moved, and road tripped with my family to Chicago.  I had one full day at home between Chicago and Atlanta.  And I spent that day unpacking, doing laundry and running errands so I could leave again.  I may try it again.  I wish I had spent some time in the exhibit hall.  I wish I had made a better effort to connect with some members of my PLN.

I will try again.  I love to learn. I love to serve teachers. I love to meet other passionate educators.  I can do all that ISTE.  See you in Philly!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

#ISTE2014 Highlights

Last week I was able to attend #ISTE14 in Atlanta.  The conference is HUGE! 16,000 educators gathered together to learn more about utilizing technology in education.  Here are some of my highlights and thoughts.

FRIENDS
The overwhelming highlight of ISTE was hanging out with my friends Rafranz, Carrie and Kristy.  I was also thrilled to meet many members of my PLN in person.  People like RodneyDave, Jaime V, Allison, Drew, Krissy and Jayme L.  I was thrilled to meet Jenn from Plickers (my go to 1 iPad classroom app).  Kevin Honeycutt tweeted a picture of a keyboard that he'd like to give away. I was able to meet him and take the keyboard home to Brennan (Zac is enjoying it as well).  I did not take enough pictures...

IGNITE
Ignite sessions are 5 minute/20 slide sessions where 7-8 presenters get to share their passion with you.  I was so proud that my friend Rafranz Davis spoke this year.  Her talk is below. I also enjoyed Nicholas Provenzano's session.


MY POSTER SESSION
On Monday, I did a poster session.  The topic was Tech Camp.  Poster sessions are like a science fair.  You set up your little booth and hope people stop by to visit.  I did not know what to expect as this was my first ISTE.  I was overwhelmed at the number of people who stopped by to talk to me.  As well as my awesome PLN who all came by, listened and applauded.  I spoke almost non-stop for my 2 hours.  About 350 people took business cards.  I was thrilled to share with so many people.  Here's a collage I made of my booth, my PLN and some pictures Carrie and Rafranz took of me.


SESSIONS
I was thrilled to attend a session on SAMR from it's creator Ruben Puentedura.  He connected SAMR and the TPACK framework.  His slides are here.

Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo conducted a high energy session called Untangling the Web.  Lots of great ideas! Here is an educlipper board with the resources from the session



I have some other thoughts about ISTE that I'll share tomorrow.  Stay tuned....

Saturday, June 28, 2014

#ISTE2014

I'm so excited to be at #ISTE2014.  My poster session on Tech Camp is Monday, June 30 from 1:15-3:15 outside the Murphy Ballroom, spot #21. Come see me! Below is the Thinglink I'll be using for my session. Click on the tags next to each topic to download the lessons


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya



I can name 5 books that impacted me deeply. They changed the way I looked at the world and myself - The Bible, Harriet the Spy, Start with Why, Freakonomics and Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now.  I was deeply saddened by the lost of Dr. Maya Angelou yesterday.  I struggled all day long thinking about how to externalize what I was feeling.

In 1996, I was commuting to my last semester of college from home.  I had moved back home that year to help with a family situation.  My semester was easy course wise because I had left all my electives to the end. I had an entire semester of electives.  But the drive was brutal.  An hour one way into the country.  I was preparing for graduate school.  Applying, interviewing and deciding.  I felt very at home at my university.  It was small and friendly.  I was involved in lots of things.  I was looking at graduate schools that were large, out of state and some out of the south.  Big changes.  I listened to a lot of books on tape that semester.

My momma gave me Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey now on cassette.  I listened and feel in love.  Maya read the book herself.  I loved listening to her talk.  Journey is a collection of her thoughts and lessons. It's not a sequential retelling of her life.  Her lessons spoke directly to my heart.  Her words changed me and molded me into who I was becoming (not who I am, I'm not finished).

As I struggled yesterday I wanted to share which words impacted me the most.  So, I went back through Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now.  Here are Dr. Angelou's words that shaped my heart...

On Style - "We should be aware of all we do and how we do all that we do.  Never try to take the manners of another as your own.  For the theft will be immediately evident and the thieve will appear as ridiculous as  robin with peacock feathers hastily stuck on it."

"Meet adverse situations with the intent and style to control it."

On Humor - "A woman should keep her sense of humor intact and at the ready.  She must see, even if only in secret, that she is the funniest, looniest woman in her world, which she should also see as the most absurd world of all time. "

On Life - "Human beings are more alike than they are unlike"

"We are created creative."

"Life loves the liver of it."

"Because of our routines we forget that life is an ongoing adventure."

"What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it.  If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  Don't complain." (this was advice from her grandmother)

On Direction - "Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising and the roads back uninviting, the we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road and into another direction.  If the new choice is also unacceptable, without embarrassment we must be ready to change that one as well."


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Addition by Subtraction

Through the next few months we'll all be planning for next year's students.  Many of us already know new things we want to try next year.  Or maybe there was a lesson or unit that didn't go well and you want to change it.  Perhaps your standards have changed and you need to teach new material.  And you may already be thinking...how am I going to do it all?

Here's a nickle's worth of free advice...

Practice Addition by Subtraction

And now you're thinking: What. In. The. World? Hear me out...

Often in education and VERY often in edtech, we chase the shiny.  What's the newest gadget? What's the latest app? What's everybody buzzing about? And then we cram it into our curriculum.

Not only does this crowd your curriculum, it leaves you crazed and cranky.  It also diminishes the impact of the technology.  Students begin seeing the technology as an add on instead of one of many tools at their disposal.  So, before you add one more thing, identify what you can subtract.

When I work with teachers, I like to work to transform a lesson they already do into a technology infused lesson.  I don't want to shoe horn in another project. There's just not enough time for that.

You have to get the most bang for your buck! Bundle your standards to see what you can teach together.  Students can demonstrate mastery of several standards at once.

As you decide to add something to your lesson plans, also decide what you will subtract.  I'm not talking about subtracting standards.  You still have to teach all your standards.  I mean don't have students create a Tackk of Egyptian culture AND build a pyramids.  And moving pet projects to purely at home projects, doesn't count as subtracting them.  Then you're just assigning them to parents.

When planning units, remember to Hit the Target!



How will you practice addition by subtraction?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

#TXGoo 14

I loved being at #TxGoo - Texas Google Summit today.  #TxGoo is always a great time to see members of my PLN and the Tech4Tex put on a great conference. This year Kyle Pace keynoted and brought his precious momma.  The food was great - huge BBQ sandwiches and Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Moooooving to Drive



Can You Hear Me Now?


One of my favorite things (and there are many) about #TxGoo is the Photo Booth.  These pics are of me and some of my favorite EdTech Women - Rafranz Davis (@rafranzdavis), Martha Lackey (@lackeymartha) and Kristy Vincent (@bigpurplehat)


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Failing Forward

Students must be allowed to experience failure

Failure is not an option.  

Educators often send mixed messages to students.  One of the most prevalent right now is about failure.  We say school must be a safe place to experience failure then turn around and require students to pass a standardized test in order to be promoted to the next grade level.

This time of year, failure is a top concern.

  • What students have failed THE TEST?
  • What students have failed to earn credit for their courses?
  • Have I failed my students as their teacher? 
Standardized testing is a part of our educational landscape.  Laws of the land dictate that they must pass.  And yet, many teachers want to provide opportunity for failure.  We want our students to make mistakes and learn to survive them.  

How do we mediate these two competing messages for our students?

Failing Forward - this is failure that moves you towards a goal instead of away from it.  We must teach students how to fail forward.  How can this failed attempt inform your next attempt?  

Be Honest - some failures have consequences.  Openly discuss those before, during and after the event.  Don't be Suzy Sunshine, 'everything's going to be alright!'.  Be positive but be honest. 

Fail to plan, plan to fail - work with students to develop a success plan before they begin.  If failure occurs, review what went wrong and develop a new plan.  

Share your failures - students think all their teachers were geeks in school.  If you struggled with an academic subject tell them about it.  But also tell them how you adapted or overcame.  Within reason, share what you struggle with now.  I struggle receiving feedback on my fiction writing.  I'm too invested in my characters and I don't receive feedback well.  I've shared that with my students.  They know I'm working on distancing myself so that I can receive feedback and improve my writing.  

Offer safe opportunities for failure and creative exploration - Genius Hour is a great time for this.  During Genius Hour (sometimes called 20% time) students get to explore something they are passionate about and create something related to their passion.  This is a great time for students to try new things.  And you get to coach them through the process.  Learn more about Genius Hour here.

Allow them to learn from failure - I hate NO REDO policies.  I don't need a kid to get a 65 on a multiplication quiz.  I need them to learn to multiply.  Redos can be overwhelming from a grading and recording keeping perspective.  You don't have to offer redos on everything but key or foundational concepts it is a must.  You can't build a house on a missing foundation. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

#EdTech Draft 2014

We are big football fans around the Bartis house.  I mean super-size-Texas big! We were supposed to have 2 baseball games tonight but a storm blew through this afternoon.  My boys are giddy to watch the NFL draft tonight.  And, truthfully, so am I.  In honor of the NFL draft, I present my #EdTech Draft.  I'm going to give you my 3 favorite tools in 3 different rounds.

Web-based Round
#1 - Google Apps for Education - Oh the things you can do! Email, word processing, spreadsheets, slides, drawings, forms!  And work collaboratively.  But, hands down my favorite thing about Google is the 'restore the revision' function that allows you to go back to previous (autosaved) drafts.  To find this function, click File - See Revision History - choose the revision you like - restore this revision.  This has made Mrs. Bartis a hero to many students.

#2 - Canva - Canva is a beautiful graphic design website.  I make most of the images I use on the blog with Canva.  It's very easy to use.  You can also sign up to receive design lessons via email.  Canva is free to use and has many great free images.  Premium images are only a dollar each.  When you finish your image you are free to download and use it.  Canva does not require branding on your images.  I added the 'made in Canva' to the image above.

#3 PicMonkey - Another wonderful free tool! You can quickly edit images without logging in.  If I make my Canva image too large, I upload it to PicMonkey, crop it then download it.  You can upgrade PicMonkey to a Royale account.  You get some awesome effects with a Royale account including zombie effects.

iPad apps
#1 - Penultimate - Penultimate is an notetaking app that allows you to write in your own handwriting. I love to make lists.  I have my calendar in Penultimate as well as several other notebooks of notes.  I have notebooks for my classes, sermon notes, and recurring meetings.  Along with my Adnoit JotPro stylus, I use Penultimate every day.

#2 - Book Creator - My students can make some awesome ebooks with Book Creator.  They can draw, add photos and even videos.  Book Creator also lets them narrate their book.  One of my favorite assignments this year was the Geometry Scrapbook.  Students found geometric shapes in the wild, took photos and created a picture book using Book Creator.

#3 - iFiles - a life saver when you share iPads!  Many apps let you export your product to iFiles.  You can then use WiFi sharing to see the files on your iPad on your desktop.  For the Geometry Scrapbooks, students exported to iFiles, I downloaded them to my iMac and burned them all to a DVD.  Super easy!

Cross Platform
#1 - Evernote - I love that I can get to my notes and Penultimate notes on my computer, iPhone or iPad.  I save all kinds of information in Evernote: passwords (encrypted of course), medical notes, and ideas for later.  You can type, speak or take photos in a note.  Lately, I've been taking pictures of information that comes home from school and putting it in Evernote.  I have a notebook for each boy.  Tomorrow when I need to know what time Sam will be back from Band competition, I'll open Sam's notebook and the picture of note from the band director will be there.  You can also read about how Sam's using Evernote here.

#2 - Comic Life - Comic Life is an iPad app and a downloadable computer program.  It's a bit on the expensive side but so far worth it.  My 5th graders use it all the time.  They recently created a timeline using Comic Life.  Students created 1 frame comic poster for each timeline entry.  They then pasted them on a large piece of butcher paper.

#3 - Remind 101 - My teachers, students and parents LOVE Remind 101.  You can send texts from their website or app. As a mom, Remind 101 helps me keep up to speed with my boys' school work.  I also use it for our numerous sports teams.  It's so easy to send a game change text from my phone.  Especially on the weekend of baseball tournaments.  Remind 101 is always improving and adding new features.  Currently, you can attach documents to texts.  And every text you send is backed up by Remind 101.  So you'll always know what you sent and when you sent it.

There are my #EdTech Draft pics! What are yours?


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Evernote & My 13 year old

This week an article about Evernote showed up in my Twitter feed multiple times.  12 Surprising Ways to Use Evernote by Michael Hyatt is great! I have been using Evernote as a website clipper for 3 years or more.  I upgraded to premium Evernote last year when I started using Penultimate for my calendar and all around note taking app.  After upgrading, I started using Evernote for things besides web clipping.  I've started storing information about my 3 boys as well as work information.  I use Evernote on my iPhone, iPad, MacBook, iMac and Chromebook (gracious I have a lot of devices). I heart Evernote.

My 13 year old, Sam, has always done well at school.  But this year had struggled in ELA class, specifically in spelling.  And his handwriting is awful.  More awful than regular 6th grade boy.  His ELA teacher asked me about dyslexia in September.  We watched and collected data.  We initiated testing in January.  The results were astounding (at least to me, I'm a geek).  Sam can not decode words longer than 5 letters.  But he has high comprehension scores.  He has trouble with math calculations but excels in math reasoning.  Besides pointing towards dyslexia, the test results also pointed to a short term memory issues.

My husband and I can concur.  Sambo forgets lots of things.  The Sunday before the meeting about his results, at 9 pm, he remembered he needed to take video footage from his phone and make an iMovie.  I ran him up one side and down the other for that one.  Then I felt bad the next day.  I knew we needed a plan for recording assignments and reminders.

Because of his bad handwriting and general dislike for handwriting I knew that an assignment notebook would not work. That's when I thought of Evernote!

I set up an Evernote account for Sam and loaded the app on his iPhone.  We created a notebook for each class, including electives. Then I thought, "he'll never remember to do this" so I set an alarm for 5 minutes before the end of each class period.  I also shared the notebooks with my account so I could help him check everything at the end of the day.  Finally, I emailed all Sam's teachers to let them know what he would be doing and how it was documented in his 504 plan.  They all responded enthusiastically.

So far so good on our Evernote system.  Sam can take pictures, type or record his notes.  His favorite thing to do is to take a picture and record a note.  "Finish this" with a picture is the most common note.  When he comes to my classroom at the end of the day, we review his notes.   Sam records notes of reminders and what they did in class. This helps me review the day with him in hopes of jumping information into his long term memory.

We need to start checking them at home too because we still forget.  It took us 3 days last week to get a milk jug to school for a theatre project.  I've tried adding notes with reminders for him but that's not been too successful but I don't think it's the system's flaw ;). For example, there was a note in his Honors Social Studies notebook "took notes".  I added a note with a reminder that said "ask teacher for a copy of the notes" as this is an accommodation of his 504 plan.  That afternoon, I asked, did you you get the notes? Nope.  He 'forgot'.  I think that time was a matter of not wanting to bother the teacher.  My hope is that adding notes will become an automatic part of his day and we can stop the alarm reminders.  I don't think we'll even talk about this until October, couple of months into the new school year.

Have you used Evernote with your class or individual students?  Tell us how in the comments!




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Technology Integration is Like Learning to Ski, Part 2 (aka - helping teachers integrate)

Over Spring Break, I attempted to learn to ski at an advanced age.  My experiences led to this post: Technology Integration is Like Learning to Ski, Part 1.  Go read it now.  I'll wait.  



In this post, I want to talk about how we (technology coaches) can make things easier for teachers.  

Before the trip, we are very excited and spend a lot of money to get ready - I understand that the buck has to stop somewhere.  Someone has to make the decisions.  However, we can make technology transitions easier for teachers by involving them in the decision making.  Before choosing a device, try piloting two devices.  Let the pilot teachers give feedback. Share their feedback with your school community when you announce the chosen device.  

We take lessons - please, please, please and I say again PLEASE! make sure teachers have plenty of time to 'play' with what they've learned at staff development.  When teachers have time to play, they figure out what questions to ask.  They become confident.  They get more excited about using the device in the classroom. They talk to other teachers and hatch new ideas.  

We go ahead and try it anyway - as a technology coach, this is where we can shine.  Follow up with teachers, find out when they'll be implementing their newly acquired knowledge.  Then show up.  in his classroom.  Tell him he's doing it right.  Help if things go wrong.  Don't help when things go wrong.  Let him figure some of it out on his own.  Be a good coach!

We get frustrated & We compare ourselves and get more frustrated - be there for the teacher.  Listen to her frustrations.  Solve problems that need to solved.  Ask questions.  Refute misconceptions.  Remind her how far she's come.  

We decide to stick with what we know - this is what we're trying to avoid.  This is what we'll be able to avoid with proper coaching.  

What do you think? How can we make technology integration easier for teachers?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Technology Integration Is Like Learning to Ski, part 1

Over Spring Break my family and I traveled to Keystone, CO to go skiing.  Rumor has it that I skied once upon a time with my Daddy.  I remember it vaguely.  I worked at a fried chicken place to earn half of the money for a ski trip my senior year of high school (yes, I had those parents. I love 'em).  I hurt myself the first run.  Three years ago we went to Keystone for Christmas.  My brother in law tried to teach me to ski again.  Finally, he looked at me and said "Are you going to do this or not?" Not.  This time Ryan wanted me to take a lesson. I did.  I skied a little for two days. Then Ryan and I went down Schoolmarm, a green/easy slope.  Suddenly, did I did not know what I was doing. I was not happy.  I hurt. There were tears. As I was hurling myself down the mountain, I thought...


Before the trip, we are very excited and spend a lot of money to get ready.  When getting ready to integrate technology we spend a lot of money on devices, network upgrades (hopefully) and accessories.  We spent weeks shopping and gathering stuff for our trip.  We looked good, we were ready to go.

We take lessons.  We have staff development where someone throws a million ideas at teachers.  Very often, teachers are not given time to play after learning a skill.  They leave training feeling overwhelmed.  After my lesson, I was tired.  I thought I knew what I was doing but I didn't practice much with my instructor because I was tired.  I wanted a hot bath.

We try it on our own.  Teachers get back to their rooms and try to remember what they just learned.  But they get confused about how to best integrate the newly learned technology to their standards.  They aren't sure how to get help.  The first day after my lesson my husband, sister in law, brother in law and nephew went back to the learning area.  They are all great skiers.  They said they wanted to ski with me.  I started down the mountain.  I could not make my body do what I knew it should do.

We go ahead and try it anyway.  Teachers forge ahead.  But they aren't confident.  As I tried to make it down that learning area slope, I was determined to get to the bottom, even if I was doing it wrong.

We get frustrated.   Something unexpected happens in the middle of the lesson and teachers aren't sure how to recover.  Many are afraid their break something.  Some give up at this point.  I was totally frustrated with myself.  I knew what to do but I couldn't pull it all together.

We compare ourselves and get more frustrated.  We see the 'tech savy' teachers integrating flawlessly.  Our students ask why we can't do XYZ like we do in Mrs. Smith's class.  I have a 5 year old niece who can ski blacks.  My sister in law can ski and talk and take videos with her phone - AT THE SAME TIME.

We decide to stick with what we know.  We scrape the technology lesson and go back to the old comfortable way of teaching.  After 3 half days, I returned my skis and called it quits.

What can we do to make this process easier for teachers?  Stay tuned for Part 2!


Monday, March 3, 2014

What, EXACTLY, are we doing here?


I am a technology specialist.  I absolutely love finding new ways for the teachers I serve to integrate technology.  It is my firm belief that technology is just one of several tools available to teachers.  Technology is not an end all be all.  Our state required standards are always the first step in building any lesson.  If the technology does not help our students demonstrate mastery of those standards, we have a problem.

In February, I attended TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) as I have for the past 5 years.  I love going to TCEA for many, many reasons.  Not the least of which is the people.  I have developed a wonderful network of educators.  I get to learn from these wonderful people everyday on Twitter but seeing them face to face takes the learning to a whole new level.

At TCEA, I kept hearing about programs that brings technology to teachers but also makes them jump through ridiculous hoops. I've been thinking on this for the past month.  I work hard to try to see things from other people's point of view, not be too judgmental and understand that different things work in different districts but I just kept thinking...

What, EXACTLY, are we doing here?

If we really believe what we say we believe, why aren't we making it super easy for teachers to get the help integrating technology?

If it's really about engaging students with standards driven technology rich lessons, why require teachers to spend extra time and energy just to ask for help?

Yes, resources are few. Tech Specialist have many schools to serve and not enough hours in the day.  But there has got to be a better way to go about things.

It's time to rethink what our purpose is as Technology Specialists.  We are often the 'gate keepers' of technology. Our attitude toward getting it out to students and teachers shapes how our teachers react to it.  If we require teachers to work so hard just to get our help, we perpetuate the idea that integrating technology is hard.

It's not hard. It's just different.  It requires patience and a willingness to fail forward.  It requires a new thought pattern.  It's constantly changing.  Our job is to keep up with those changes, sift through the deluge, vet sources and bring the best to our teachers and students.

So, today think about your processes.  How you can make it easier to get engaging, technology rich lessons to the students you serve? How can you make life easier for the teachers you serve?  Because that's what we should be doing here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spice Up Lessons with Augmented Reality

Educators across the country are using Augmented Reality to bring their lessons to life.  Augmented Reality (AR) provides an opportunity to digitally enhance the real world. Before we jump to the lesson creation, let’s go over the lingo.

Aurasma - a leading AR platform. This includes the Aurasma app and Aurasma Studio website.  The app is available in the iTunes App store and Google Play.
Aurasma Studio - an online site where you can build Auras.
Trigger Image - the image that you point the app at to see the digital content.
Overlay - this is the digital content that users see when they point the app at the Trigger Image. Usually overlays are images or videos.
Aura - auras are created when you join the Trigger Image and Overlay in Aurasma Studio.  
Channels - You create channels to organize your Auras. Users will need to follow your channel to see your Auras.

How do you create an Aura?
Set up an account on Aurasma Studio.
Determine your Trigger Image and Overlays. The best images are 480X600 pixels.  
Upload your Trigger Images and Overlays into Aurasma Studio.
Create your Aura in Aurasma Studio by joining the Trigger Image and Overlay.  
Assign your Aura to your Channel.

How do your students see the Aura you created?
First they need to download the Aurasma app.
Then they need to follow your channel. Use the magnifying glass in the app to search and follow your channel.  

My first lesson
I’m not going to lie to you, creating an AR lesson does require some front loaded work.  The benefits, though, are worth it. The first AR lesson I created was with our 5th grade Social Studies teacher. 5th grade Social Studies has a standard that requires students to know how to contact their elected representatives. Generally, this involves a boring web search for their addresses. So, we decided to spice it up with AR.

First we chose 6 elected officials, 2 local, 2 state and 2 national. I did an advance Google search to find images free to use and downloaded pictures of each official.  

I then created short iMovies for each person. The iMovies were just titles that gave the person’s name, a little about their work, where they work and how to contact them.  

Then I uploaded both to Aurasma Studio. I created a channel and then created the auras.  I set the overlay video to loop so the students would see it over and over.  They were recording the information on a worksheet so they needed ample time to get the information.  

We used five school iPads for the lesson. I knew that all the iPads had Aurasma but I had to go to each one and subscribe to my channel. Student could do this step but I knew the teacher was tight on time so I did it for them.  

I printed pictures of the 6 officials and we posted them in the computer lab and the teacher’s room. Groups of students moved from picture to picture watching the aura and recordinging information. They had record the person’s name, their office and address. They also had to determine if they were a local, state or national representative.
 


Advice
Everything I had heard about AR was about how wonderful it was.  The demonstrations I had seen were awesome.  And those things are true.  But creating the Auras was not an intuitive as I had expected. I started with the app, thinking I could create straight from there.  You can create Auras from the app if you have the Trigger Image and Overlay on that device.  I watched several tutorials from www.twoguysandsomeipads.com that were super helpful. But I still couldn’t make my Auras work. So I jumped on a Google Hangout with my friend, Andrea Keller. Andrea created an entire Christmas Tree with AR ornaments.  She told me about the correct size picture. I used PicMonkey to resize the images and started again.  Then it worked perfectly! Creating content can be time consuming as well. My videos were short, about 12 seconds, and took just a minute to create. If you have access to content for your Overlays, creating the Auras will be much quicker.

I am so glad I learned how to create Auras. Especially for this particular lesson. The students enjoyed learning the material in a new way and moving from picture to picture.  Now I’m ready to search for more ways to use AR in the classroom. Have you used AR in your class? Tell us how in the comments so we can learn from you!

This article first appeared on Getting Smart 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Just Can't Get Enough #TCEA14

I left #TCEA14 wanting more.  This is usually true but it was a painful realization this year.  I did not get to do enough...not enough sessions, not enough exhibit hall, not enough conversations.  Not enough anything!

Wednesday started with CAMP-SIG breakfast.  I had never attended a CAMP-SIG event before.  CAMP-SIG is a special interest group for campus technology specialists and classroom teachers.  I was a bit disappointed by the speaker but I met some great people.  Up next was the opening session with Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes.  I was really looking forward to this session because she has a new book about boys.  I am surrounded by boys so I need all the help I can get.  Again, I was disappointed and distracted by the use of Comic Sans on her slides.  Some of you will really understand this and the rest will think I'm a terrible snob.  But seriously, I could not take her serisoulsy after seeing those Comic Sans slides.  Which is awful because she had really good information when I did concentrate.

The highlight of Wednesday was the TEC-SIG luncheon.  I was able to sit at a table with some of my favorite people and laugh and enjoy most of lunch.  The speaker was Brad Fountain.  He was wonderful! The thing he said that really stuck with me is that we spend 80% of our time on launch and 20% on sustaining the initative and we need to flip that stat!  I spent the rest of the afternoon volunteering in the SIG booth. I was able to help 5 or 6 people sign up for special interest groups.

Thursday was half great sessions, half almost great sessions.  I'll stay positive and tell you about the 2 great sessions.  First up was Flipping with iTunes U.  Josh Woolbright is the athletic trainer at Muleshoe ISD.  He is awesome.  I tried to talk to him about getting on the Twitters.  I hope he'll be on soon.  You can find his presentation here on iTunes U.  Greg Garner spoke about creating school/classroom culture by changing the physical space.  He had create photos of examples from his school.  It really made me think about what a classroom/school should look like.

Friday Creating Student Legacy with Carrie Ross.  As usual, Carrie had great information and left me thinking about what I can do to help my students leave a legacy.  The closing keynote was John Quinones of ABC News.  He was, hands down, one of the best keynote speaker I've ever heard.  Once again, I was left thinking about my impact on my students and teachers.

I didn't present this year but I feel like I served effectively in the SIG booth by connecting educators to a group that will help them learn.  But I do feel like I needed one more day.  I think next year, I'll go down early for one of the academies.  I did get to spend some time visiting and thinking big with some members of my PLN but I didn't add to my PLN.  I have several "sorry we couldn't connect" tweets on Friday.

I don't regret volunteering in the SIG booth but I don't think I'll sign up for such a big block of time.  I feel like I really missed out on some time that I could have been connecting with my PLN.  And, looking back, I realize that I was getting sick so I wasn't on my A game.

TCEA is ALWAYS worth my time and money. This year was no exception.  It was just a bit different.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Legacy of Love

On Monday I will do something I've never done before, attend the funeral of a co-worker. Mrs. Cheryl Wharton passed away Thursday. Cheryl and I came to Sunnyvale at the same time.  She was an aide in the special education department.  Cheryl worked with special ed students her entire career, 22 in a previous district and 5 with us in Sunnyvale.  Cheryl was a funny lady. She ALWAYS participated in our spirit days and had a quick smile.

When we returned from Christmas break, Cheryl knew her time was short.  But she wanted to keep coming to work.  Because she loved her students.  She took ownership and responsibility for their education.  She loved her co-workers.  She loved her husband and daughter.  She loved her grandson fiercely.

Cheryl leaves behind a legacy of love.  

And that's my goal as well.  I want the students and teachers to know how much I love them.  To know how much I love doing my job for them.

Not all of us are touchy feely lovey dovey types. But you show your students you love them everyday in your own way.

When you stop what you're doing to really listen to them between classes.
When you ask about their outside activities.
When you show up to their outside activities.
When you call them on their crap in a loving way (this applies most in middle schools).
When you encourage their interests.
When you help them discover their passions.
When you share your passion with them.
When you make sure every kid can go on the field trip, even if it means paying yourself.
When you do this.
And a million other things you do every day without even thinking about it.

As we begin this month of love, let's consider our legacy of love.  And be purposeful about building it.

I am blessed to have known Cheryl Wharton and feel her legacy of love.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning the Hard Way

This weekend I learned something the hard way. Let me tell you the story...

Our story begins last Spring in early March.  I created a graphic for a presentation I was doing at CSTA (Community Schools Transformation Alliance - a group of local schools who come together to share ideas). I found the image on flikr and I cited the creator of the marker photo along the side of the photo at that time.  During Spring Break, I added the graphic to my blog, under the Staff Development tab.

I tweeted about new changes to my blog, including the new Staff Development tab. At that time, some people commented on how much the liked the graphic and retweeted it.  I didn't think much about it.  

Then, this weekend, I began to see my graphic on Twitter.  
                                                 

I was totally flattered as I respect and admire both Erin and Jayme.  The original message of the graphic had stayed intact. It was then that I realized my mistake.  I had not added my name or Creative Commons license to the finished product (the photo plus background plus words).  So, I wasn't receiving credit for the graphic that I created.

I'm very conflicted about this.  My first thought was "Wow! There's my picture! Lots of people are seeing it and agreeing with the sentiment!" Then I thought "But they don't know I created it!". Then "Who cares?" Then "I care! I spent time creating that, I want people to know I did it!" And on and on it went.  I don't want to make money off the picture.  I would have licensed it as free to use or share with attribution. I love sharing my work.

When I created the graphic, I did not know much about Creative Commons licensing.  I learned more about it along with my students this past fall when we discussed copyright and intellectual property.  Since the fall, I've put a Creative Commons license on my graphics.  And I suppose I can still go and add it to my marker graphic but, as my Papa Crow would have said "That cow's already out of the barn".

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that my WHY is helping or service.  I want to help as many teachers as I can.  In that way, I reach more students.  That's why it's important to me to have credit for my work.  If someone likes my graphic, they may find my blog or Twitter feed and I may be able to help them in some way.

Why bring it up? Because educators need to know about Creative Commons. We need to teach our students about it.  We need to model what we expect to see in the world. I believe that freely sharing ideas is important to a learning society. I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  And I tried to by citing the source of the picture. What I did not do was value my own work enough to add my name to it. To proudly proclaim, "I'm Aimee. I made this. I think it has value to my community."



Monday, January 13, 2014

Student Creation

What does it mean to create?


cre·ate

  [kree-eyt]  Show IPA
verb (used with object), cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing.
1.
to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is notmade by ordinary processes.
2.
to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.
3.
Theater to perform (a role) for the first time or in the first production of a play.
4.
to make by investing with new rank or by designating; constitute; appoint: to create a peer.
5.
to be the cause or occasion of; give rise to: The announcement created confusion.
From Dictionary.com

What do we mean when we say "student creation"?  If we follow the definition above, any time a student uses his or her imagination they are creating.  Right?

But do we really value that definition?  Do we value everything student create?

I'm guessing we'd all say yes we value everything students create.

But, sometimes, the EdTech world does not value everything students create.  Or, perhaps more accurately, we value them differently.

A student created movie is way more impressive then a short story by that same student.

When we talk about students using technology to create we tend to focus on apps and tools that help students create exciting or flashy products.

Is it because apps and tools that help students create less flashy products are old hat? Are we over them?

I know that I'm more biased to writing. I'm a writer.  I love to write. I write for fun. I don't have many students who like to write or consider writing fun.  Almost all of them think making a movie is fun.  And it is.  But someone has to write the script.  We need to make sure we value that type of student creation as well.

Think about the last 3 tools you recommended to a teacher or  used in your own class.  What type of products did these tools help you students create? Let's work to value all types of student products.  (and not just technology based products either but, that's a post for another day)

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let's talk about it in the comments!