Which of the Two C’s Are You?

In reviewing this week’s RSS I came across an article by Jeff Utecht entitled, “What Does it Mean to Disconnect?” I found his thoughts to be those that sparked reflection and perhaps action and asked myself “How much time do I spend consuming versus creating?”

As more and more information becomes available to us in real time, what choices do we make about what we receive? Do we engage in practices that allow for more input than output? Do we take what is given to us and use it to delve deeper into a topic and produce a product? What do we do with what we do (with our time and with the information gained within the time)?

As we continue in the world of technology innovation, the words written and sung by John Lennon begin to have new meaning, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” Technology has provided the opportunity for us to connect. How we do that, responsible nonetheless, is up to us. Will we use it to inspire and aspire? How do we use this innovation to enrich our teaching and learning practices? Do we take an approach that allows us to prepare for the future? An approach that is summarized perfectly in the article written by George Siemens, “The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill. As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.”

Reflect, Revise, & Reunite

Many know the lyrics to the song made famous by Diana Ross,

‘Do You Know
Where you’re going to?
Do you like the things?
That life is showing you
Where are you going to?
Do you know?’

How do we know how to address the learning needs of the 21st century learner if we don’t take the time to reflect upon what’s working? According to the Students at the Center project, “Student-centered approaches to learning respond to each student’s needs and interests, making use of new tools for doing so.” In reviewing the goals of the Students at the Center project, it is apparent that some reflection has taken place and goals have been set to address the following:

• Mind, Brain, and Education
• Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice
• Teachers at Work – Six Exemplars of Everyday Practice
• Literacy Practices for African-American Male Adolescents
• Latino/a and Black Students and Mathematics
• Curricular Opportunities in the Digital Age
• Personalization in Schools
• Assessing Learning
• Changing School District Practices

The efforts of this program and so many others like them echo the words penned by Deborah Meier, “There’s a radical – and wonderful – new idea here…that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal arks on the world.” Learning attainment based on engagement will mean a shift from teacher-to-student discourse to student-to-student problem solving as facilitated by the teacher.

Education today must revise its effort to reach and teach each student and reunite the craft and joy of teaching with student learning. Are you up for this rewarding challenge?

We Can Handle the Truth

In one of the first classes of course #5 a classmate shared the infographic of “The 50 things We No Longer Do Because of Tech Advancements.” Day-by-day, minute-by-minute and perhaps second-by-second we as educators must realize the truths that the way things were done yesterday are inadequate in meeting the needs of today’s learner.

I am grateful to work in an educational environment that exercises the growth versus fixed mind set. We collaborate to produce educational and creative experiences for our students that support knowledge attainment and growth. It is important to us that they become responsible learners, which encompasses digital citizenship. A component in meeting our student’s needs is done through our advisory program, which is designed to:

• Support the social, emotional, and educational needs of middle school students.
• Promote school wide student learning goals (these focus on communication skills, self-awareness skills, interpersonal skills, and cognitive skills).

In going one-to-one for the 2012 2013 school year, we looked for ways to support our students, teachers, and parents in helping students become productive and responsible digital citizens. At the beginning of the year we held a two-day digital citizen boot camp and are looking for ways to provide additional and deeper support in the future. To that end, I am collaborating with fellow middle school educators to create a program for 7th grade students that would support a spiral curriculum grade 6 – 8 digital citizenship program. So far the process has been energizing and rewarding and I look forward to implementing the product we create.


Technology is here to stay and we must support our students in how they learn today. And unlike the stance Colonel Jessup took in the movie, ‘A Few Good Men,’ we not only handle the truth but we work to best prepare students to thrive in this truth.

Applications & Multiple Intelligence – Final Project

One could describe the focus of this course “Instructional Design and Problem Solving with Technology” as an investigation of technology use and pedagogy that produce the greatest learning opportunities and advantages for students. It goes without saying that it was a reminder, rather a refresher, to this educator. As we reviewed pedagogy I could not help but reflect on my belief that all students have different strengths and weaknesses and to that end, intelligence.

In February of 2012 I had the distinct pleasure to hear in person a man and mind I greatly admire, Howard Gardner. During his speech he gave a metaphor, “The standard view of intelligence is described as one computer. If it works well you are smart at everything. If it works ok, you are good at some things and not at others. If it does not work you are dumb at everything. The problem with this thinking is: we are not computers.” Gardner went on to state something that as educators we should never forget or take for granted, “How we educate people always reflect the values that we have.” So, what are our values in regards to students and for the purpose of this course, teaching students with technology?

My final project for this course is an attempt to connect technology with Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Slide1and Bloom’s Taxonomy. I would like to go on record as saying that there are a plethora of applications that meet the criteria of both views and an open to other perspectives and ideas. I would also like to share one more quote from Dr. Gardner to ponder and put into practice as you continue the work of introducing technology into your teaching profession, “What is important is realizing how a person learns and what works for them as learner.”

“2, 4, 6, 8, Evaluate, Integrate, & Appreciate”

“To be or not to be…” a one-on-one educational institution is perhaps a question that is being asked in this age of technology. Some things to consider while answering this question are what are the benefits, how will it look, and how will it change teaching and learning?

Dr. Alan Kay’s thoughts over at Parallel Divergence as outlined in the post “23 Things About Classroom Laptops” offer food for thought for both digital natives and migrants of the World Wide Web. And yes the Office of Teaching and Learning captures it best, “Even with its distractions, let us not forget some of the numerous benefits of laptop and wireless technology and why they have become so common in universities.” So how to we proceed? The answer lies within evaluating which technology tool works to enhance your content and pedagogy, creating a vision for integration, and celebrating gains and lessons learned in the process.

As a person who provides academic support services, I have the distinct pleasure of assisting students and collaborating with teachers to achieve academic success through content and elective courses. This means I am able to take part in what a student has been assigned and assist them with the technology that either helps them attain the lesson and/or complete the assignment. Within one year I have explored countless apps with students because of their teacher’s willingness to embrace technology. One that I would like to highlight through three aspects of TPACK is Explain Everything.

Rich Kiker’s five nuggets of knowledge or officially named, “5 Strategies For 1 to 1 Classroom Management,” gives this great piece of advice, “Make the enduring understanding of digital citizenship a regular component in your classroom.”

A Happy Marriage

Robert Gagne’s, “Nine Events of Instruction,” brought me back down memory lane to the training I received at Hampton University. An education major was required to develop lesson plans that encompassed many of the events outlined by Gagne, for they were to provide a standard of excellence when teaching.

During those days technology was beginning to bud and when I reflect on what is available today, I know that education majors can create even more learning opportunities. A resource in creating these opportunities is through the use of the comprehensive Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) that provides framework for Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, and Social Science. My interpretation of the marriage of the Gagne and TIM:

In staying with the “Happy Marriage” theme, I would describe the happy couple as having TPACK love – a love that merges technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge.

An educational leader has the responsibility to create an atmosphere that promotes ‘this love’ which supports a student’s ability to think critically, analytically, and creatively. The educational environment for which ‘this love’ will blossom needs to facilitate a setting that allows educators to be creative in addressing the ever changing needs of the student and the learning styles they possess. The International Society for Technology in Education believes that there are essential conditions to leveraging technology for learners that include the educational leader:

• Planning and promoting a shared vision
• Empowering leaders
• Planning for implementation
• Providing consistent and adequate funding
• Practicing equitable access
• Providing skilled personnel
• Providing ongoing professional learning
• Providing technical support
• Planning and promoting a curriculum framework
• Planning and providing student-centered learning
• Assessing and evaluating the program
• Engaging the community in the process
• Providing support policies
• Engaging in the support of the world-at-large.

These components could be thought of as the vows taken by Gagne and TIM – vows that will enable learners to not merely survive but thrive in the world in which the live.