Friday, July 24, 2015

Social Media in Education

An insightful piece on Social Media in Schools!

"7 Ways Social Media Has a Role in Education

3/20/2015 4:40:00 AM

By Lisa Nielsen

The Americas Society and Council of the Americas invited me to discuss the role of social media in education with experts and leaders dedicated to advancing and shaping the political, economic, social and cultural agendas of the Western Hemisphere. The purpose was to take what works in New York City and bring it to other education systems. To follow are some ideas I shared that global leaders can bring back to their countries.

Why embrace social media for students and staff?

If we want to run for office, run a business, or change how things are run where we work, live, or play we must be savvy in the use of social media. It is crucial for college, career, and life success. It can also save time at work for teachers. Here’s how.
1. The Stats - College, Career, and Citizenship Success
Look who’s watching:
* 1/4 of college admissions officers consider digital footprint
* 3/4 of human resource managers
* 1/3 of employers reject candidates based on something found in profiles

More stats and info at
2. Ensuring Students Are Well Googled
We need to be smart about ensuring we are preparing students to be well-Googled by the time they graduate high school. We must support them in creating an online presence that will lead help them get into that school, land that job, and attract the right people into their worlds for powerful global connections. Here are some ways to get started.
3. Social Credibility is the New Credentialing
Test scores and certifications worked well in the 20th century and are still used by some today, but in the 21st century, it is your online reputation that allows you to show what you know. This should begin in secondary school as expertise has no age requirement. An example of this is Armond McFadden who has a life long passion for mass transit as well as filming and photographing trains and busses. In middle school Armond began a video series about mass transit and started photographing various trains and busses. He became involved in several online communities to discuss mass transit and his work became well known. With social media, Armond was not a teenager, but a knowledgeable peer. His writing mattered. People listened. Read more about how Armond developed social credibility here.
"When I apply for part-time work or internships during college, I make sure employers know to look at my digital footprint which demonstrates that I have the skill set they want. I ensure my resume contains links to social media sites which looks fantastic for showing what I’m capable of and for giving employers background about me and my work." - Armond McFadden
4. Student Learning Networks
In the age of social media, the teacher is no longer the center of learning. The student is. One of the most important things an educator can do is support students in developing a powerful learning network. Being digitally literate and having social media savvy is what is needed to help students to connect with others who share their passions, talents, and interests. This requires understanding how social media works and how to find the right people to connect with safely and responsibly. It also requires an understanding of how to effectively use these tools to connect, collaborate, and grow learning. Want to know more? 15-year-old Alex Laubscher explains here.
5. Work More Effectively
Social media allows you to change the paradigm from “teacher” as expert to “group” as expert. Rather than asking around between classes or sending and tracking emails to multiple people who “may” know answers, you can ask a global community via social media.. This saves the asker time because there is a large audience and the traditional “askies” time because participants realize there is a whole community of knowledge out there. This reduces emails and increases the access to good answers and connections.
6. Connect with Experts via Twitter
You can find a world of experts on any topic if you have literacy in using Twitter also know as “Twitteracy.” Just know the right hashtags and how to find experts and you have the world’s best knowledge at your fingertips. It is better than any rolodex allowing you to connect anytime, anywhere, with the interested parties who are available now.
7. Release the Amazing Work of Students from the Classroom to the World
We hear stories in passing about the great work happening in schools, but usually it’s locked in a school or classroom or trapped on a laptop. Social media puts an end to that. First grade teacher Erin Shoening used Facebook to give families a window into her classroom. Second grade teacher Courtney Woods used Twitter to connect her students to a world of experts and outlets that helped to increase tourism in her community. Technology teacher Chris Casal brought positive attention to his school by showcasing an amazing parent community that came together to surprise students with something very special. Click here to find out what it was.

So, what do you think? Could some of these ideas be put into place where you work? Are there challenges or concerns that might get in the way? What are some ways you successfully incorporate social media into education where you work?

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer. "

Monday, July 20, 2015

True, It's not the kids; it's the system! And seeing that is step one in improving schools...

This W O N D E R F U L essay from the founder of Knewton found its way into my In Box. This is one of the clearest assessments of the situation teachers and students find themselves in currently that I've seen in ages. I wonder though, will Knewton powered solutions actually address the problems described here? Or will they be yet, more, 'reform' that actually props up the status quo? I have fingers crossed...

"We've all grown up with the factory model of education. It's come to seem totally normal. It's not normal at all." Read on for Jose's take on why (and how) our education system needs to change.
- The Knerds
It's Not the Kids; It's the System
by Jose Ferreira, Knewton founder and CEO
Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others.”

Until recently, the same could be said for the factory model of education. Imported from Europe and implemented at the urging of education reformer Horace Mann, the factory model puts kids into age-based classrooms and uses seat time to determine when they’re ready to move on to the next level.

In many ways, it’s an awful system, rigid, arbitrary, and impersonal. But it’s also responsible for almost every modern innovation we rely on today. Read more ›

Projects NOT Tests Reveal What Kids Actually Know!

Projects of this sort mean TECHNOLOGY, they simply can't be done practically without it... the Instructional Technologist as School Leader will continue to evolve as a crucial player in the success of Education....See the interesting item below from EdWeek

"N.Y.C. High School Strives for 'Authentic' Assessment

Tiffany Mungin, a graduating student from East Side Community High School, presents a long-term research project about U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War to David Vazquez, principal at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, left, and Ben Wides, a 12th grade history teacher at East Side Community High School in New York.
Tiffany Mungin, a graduating student from East Side Community High School, presents a long-term research project about U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War to David Vazquez, principal at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, left, and Ben Wides, a 12th grade history teacher at East Side Community High School in New York.
—Mark Abramson for Education Week
Tiffany Mungin spent many nervous weeks researching and writing her paper about the Vietnam War. Her high school graduation was on the line.
Unlike most New York state seniors, who vied for their diplomas by taking the state’s standardized tests, Ms. Mungin had to write a history research paper and an analytic essay in English/language arts. She also had to conduct an original science experiment and undertake an applied-mathematics project in order to graduate. The 18-year-old’s work would have to be evaluated by at least two teachers, and she would have to defend it in formal presentations ..."

Go to for the full article.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What Makes for Effective Teacher Professional Development?

Insightful piece from Forbes... read the full article at its source...

"The Eight Components Of Great Professional Development"

"Professional development is vital in any occupation, and nowhere more so than in teaching. But all too often it gets neglected or is more of a box-ticking exercise than any meaningful training.
But a new review has set out the eight core components that go into making continuing professional development (CPD) great – and their relevance goes way beyond teaching to provide a blueprint for training everywhere.

For many teachers, once they have completed their initial training, there is little or nothing by way of CPD. It is rarely compulsory, and what is available is often too limited to be of much use.
Some teachers can spend their entire careers without ever having updated their subject knowledge or adapted their teaching styles.

It was recognition of the effect of this gap that led to the creation of the Teacher Development Trust, a charity focused on raising awareness of the importance of professional development.

And this week, the trust published a report into what makes good CPD for teachers. Drawing on the results of studies conducted around the world, it sets out some of the principles that underpin effective development.

“We know that powerful professional development ultimately helps children succeed and teachers thrive,” David Weston, the trust’s chief executive, told an invited audience at the report’s launch at the House of Commons. “It is incredibly important that we respect our teachers and give them the development that our young people need.”

According to Steve Higgins, professor of education at Durham University and one of the report’s authors, the review of research aimed to fill a gap in our knowledge about teacher learning..."


Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Key to Successful Tech Integration May be to Give Up Control to Students

From SmartBlog... some  advice - Do you agree?    
Read the  full article at its source 

"Let it go
By Kristina Peters on June 30th, 2015     
What if educators listened to Frozen’s Queen Elsa a little more and “Let it Go”? Technology integration in the classrooms tends to stall when educators get in the way. Schools take steps to prevent this — professional development, educator resources, strategic rollout initiatives — and yet incorporating technology into the classroom remains a challenge for many sites. How do we change this?
Here are five ways you can foster true technology integration with your students:
  1. Allow students to play on their devices. We encourage them to play with math manipulatives or other resources before getting started with a lesson. Let’s do the same with technology.
  2. Give students time to play with a new app/tool when you introduce it. They want to take selfies and draw on their own faces when they first start to work with Skitch. They want to enter silly names when they play their first game of Kahoot. This is good; it allows them to get familiar and comfortable with the app.
  3. Implement a work timeline with a paper or digital calendar. This simple addition will give students a visual cue to remember key dates and serve as touchpoints for teachers to check in.
  4. Give students choice when they show their learning. Provide a rubric that outlines what they need to do in order to show mastery, but let students decide how. If you are just getting started, consider limiting the choice of apps or tools to a few. Let them show you their learning in a variety of ways.
  5. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use the app/tool. Students will figure it out and become the experts, and ultimately help their peers.
Don’t let technology integration stall because you aren’t ready, don’t feel comfortable or hate to lose the teacher-centered model. Let it go...."

Friday, July 3, 2015

Richardson on Effective Teaching for the Next Decade: Some Important "Ah Ha's"

Important article from SmartBlog on Education

5 new realities in education
By on July 1st, 2015 |      
The vast majority of us now work in environments where the ability to learn is more critical than what we know and where the most valuable currency is influence, not power. — Liz Wiseman, Rookie Smarts

The education landscape has shifted dramatically during the last 10 years. Tablets have replaced textbooks. Students use smartphones during class — for learning. Educators connect online to share best practices.

What does the next decade hold for education? What will become the future of schools? Educator and author Will Richardson took on the topic during his ISTE 2015 session, Tech in 10: Effective Teaching for the Next Decade.
“‘Knowledge’ isn’t the word any longer. ‘Skills’ is no longer the term. ‘Learning’ is the word,” Richardson said, noting that the jobs of tomorrow will require serial mastery. “If our kids don’t have the ability to learn, it really doesn’t matter how much knowledge we give them.”
“This is a very different world that our kids are stepping into,” he said. And educators may need to modernize their classrooms to prepare students for what they are about to meet with in the workplace.
Here’s a snapshot of five new realities in education that Richardson highlighted during his session:
  1. Access amplifies agency. Ninety-two percent of teens go online on a daily basis, and 75% of kids in the U.S. have access to a smartphone. When students have this kind of access, it amplifies their ability to learn, and they have more agency — more choice — in learning.
  2. Learners are designers of their own education. If students — or adults — want to learn something, they don’t often take a course. Instead, they go online and search “how do I…”
  3. Access, creation and sharing of information is uncontrollable. Kids are walking into uncontrolled online environments when they leave school. A better solution than controlling it would be to teach kids how to manage the uncontrolled environment.
  4. Courses are active compositions. Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Learners may compose as they go. It’s really about: What do I want to learn and how are you going to help me learn it?
  5. PD is the responsibility of the professional. If you don’t know how to use Twitter, and you want to learn how, go learn Twitter. Don’t wait for a Twitter workshop. Students are not waiting for workshops, and educators need to be able to learn — and model learning — in this proactive way.
“This isn’t just about learning,” Richardson said. “It’s about the future of work and wealth.” If kids are only able to do routine jobs that are well defined and go by explicit instruction they are not going to be prepared for the workforce because those kinds of jobs are going away.
The jobs of tomorrow will require flexibility, creativity and problem-solving, Richardson noted, leaving us to consider this question: “Are we giving kids opportunities in classrooms to learn continually, to adapt, to be persistent, to develop dispositions around which they can continue to learn?”