Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

May 3, 2011

What are specific ways Administrators might create a positive culture for education in a school?

#Edchat 04 – 26 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thanks for this week’s summary go to Corey Sadlemyer (@SidewaysSchool) for a very insightful resume of the week’s chat. Being a school principal gives Corey a particular insight into this topic and I think you’ll agree that it has been very sensitively written. You can find out more about Corey and his school at the end of the post. Thank you again Corey.

To me, the most amazing thing about what’s happened in the last 24 or so months, is how micro-blogging has revolutionized how we are connected. I dropped in on a conversation and an hour later left with new perspective(s), new connections and a new challenge (writing this week’s summary).  This week’s conversation is highlighted by the themes below. Obviously we each have our own biases about this (mine is Trust and Relationship building) but to me the most surprising thing I took from this conversation was how highly people value staff recognition.  I do these things (positive notes, letters at the start of the year) but probably not nearly enough and I don’t think I would have had that level of appreciation without the PLN this week – so thank you!  

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Administrators that have had a successful history in the classroom
  • Involvement of parents and larger school community
  • Creating opportunities for positive student recognition
  • Creating opportunities for positive staff recognition
  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Relationship building
  • Vision
  • Use of data
  • Staff selection and retention
  • Shared leadership
  • Creating autonomy

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.
@EmergentMath When’s the last time your administrator called students into the office for POSITIVE behavior? What about calling home? #edchat
@birklearns Administrators need to value the collab. process by creating time for teachers to collab. on curric and instr during the day #edchat
@ShellTerrell Great question! RT @ThomsonScience: Should the rest of the school community take part in developing the vision? #Edchat
@jleung10 Best principal left handwritten notes 2 let teachers & students know she saw our good work even when we didn’t know she was looking. #edchat
@hadleyjf Admins need to be in the classrooms, observing and inspiring with good guidance. Positive feedback! #edchat
@sram_socrates RT @Le_Gugu: I think that first of all admins have to build relationships based on trust with their teams #edchat very well put
@Brian_ThomasTCI @sram_socrates I have just been blessed to work for gr8 administrators who were even better in class. It mattered so much! #edchat 
@fliegs @hadleyjf Most important thing to do, be in classrooms. Harder than it sounds. #edchat
@stumpteacher For me the most inspiring admin I have had is one that showed she cared. About my kids, my classroom, the school, and me. #edchat
@SidewaysSchool @ShellTerrell: I don’t think it is about getting my community to support “my vision”. It is about us developing a vision together #Edchat
@birklearns: Good administrators need to both acknowledge and confront. #edchat
@irasocol Be careful what you, as a leader, measure. Whatever that is will become the most important thing your school does #edchat
@davidwees Specific ways admin can create supportive culture: 1. Give teachers autonomy 2. Let everyone be part of decision making processes. #edchat
@jrichardson30 @cybraryman1 Be lead learners! Be “connected” and model how they are growing as professionals and learners. #edchat
@Becky_Ellis_ RT @davencvps67: asking questions, taking risks, failing forward and learning should be the constant #edchat <–very vulnerable for some
@cybraryman1 When is the last time you got a thank you or good letter from your administrator and vice versa? #edchat
@CTuckerEnglish Shared vision is crucial. Staff must feel they have shared vision w/admin to create buy in when things need to be changed #edchat
@web20education Administrators and school staff must collaborate with all the teachers for a better education and toghether they must help students #edchat
@mikekaechele Relationships create culture #edchat
@JoAnnJ68 @cybraryman1: someone who is passionate about teaching, supportive, listens, and knows they can’t do it alone. #edchat
I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:
@SidewaysSchool wonders: “Can division wide PD be effective for all staff members?”

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@Kiwi_Commons: The Contraband of Some Schools is The Disruptive Innovation of Others with BYOT (Bring Your Own Tech) http://cot.ag/gIHCDj  #edtech #edchat

@ERStrategies:  Shift resources from full-time only teachers to part-time, community providers & tech http://ow.ly/4oKoa  #cpchat #edchat

@juandoming:  The “New” Normal http://t.co/2RA5vcQ  #elearning #socialmedia #web20 #edtech #edchat #learning #technology #tech #tic

@jEllenCollins:  @jonbergmann One challenge in univ is working with spaces like this http://bit.ly/fbc7WZ  when we want to #flipclass Ideas? #edtech #edchat

@birklearns:  Admin and teachers need to be on the same team. No Us versus Them. http://goo.gl/d1aA4  Not productive. #edchat

@akamomteach:  American Teachers Do More Work for Less Pay Than Their International Peers http://su.pr/2pOf4v  I’m sooo surprised! #edchat #edreform

@InnovativeEdu:  But How Will Kids Know? – Learning with out Testing… http://t.co/XqMic3B  #edchat #edreform #ptchat

@ShellTerrell:  @jleung10 @ThomsonScience A great example of admin teaching is @Akevy613 he’s truly amazing! http://bit.ly/f6Hei6  #edchat

@akamomteach:  Off to Save the Day! http://t.co/uB85OBT//teachers as the real Superpersons #edchat #edreform

@sedson: John Merrow calls for a moratorium on educational jargon http://bit.ly/i8xtlZ  #edchat

@Teachhub:  What is your one-sentence teaching philosophy? Share with us! http://bit.ly/dI7chh  #teachertuesday #education #edchat

@eschoolnews: Is highered the next bubble? Can online education save the day? Check out today’s story. http://ow.ly/4Hi0r #edtech #edchat

@MarkMNW:  Common Core making kids think. http://nyti.ms/i2VFeO #mnwcougars #edchat

@HPTeachExchange: Try these webtools. Web 2.0 concept mapping (video). http://budurl.com/vemt #edtech #edchat

 @davidwees: Parents as Participants – One School’s Example by @chrkennedy http://bit.ly/frGMPl #edchat #BCed

@ThomsonScience: #edchat: How can we help admin create positive culture? Tell them when they do somethin… (cont) http://deck.ly/~YEA5i

@davidwees: New post: Transformation of education through communication (via http://wees.it/ns  #edchat #BCed

@juandoming:  When #Collaboration is Key http://bit.ly/evZFRO  #elearning #socialmedia #edtech #edchat #web20 #eltchat #educon #educachat #redessociales

@PennGSE:  Ohio law mandates #teacher pay tagged to performance http://bit.ly/hkjcow  #edreform #edchat

@Shellterrell:  If you are an administrator, consider joining the wonderful group Connected Principals http://bit.ly/dmjjoA  #cpchat #edchat

 @cybraryman1: I have a collection of adminblogs (from the great admin here on Twitter) on my Administrators page: http://tinyurl.com/yb37etj  #edchat

@davidwees http://bit.ly/hoIy7T “You have to treat your employees like customers” — Great read for for anyone in an admin role. #edchat

@Brian_ThomasTCI:  Speaking on admins and positive schools, don’t forget tomorrow is Admin Professionals Day! Gift idea here: http://bit.ly/fUHZ8l  #edchat

@flocabulary:  @21stPrincipal Do you think facebook can help with creating good cultures? (You might find this interesting: http://ow.ly/4HmrY)  #edchat

@TechCzech:  I highly recommend: “Understanding the Principalship: Metaphorical Themes” http://j.mp/fa0GqR  to #edchat Shows a complex mix of expectations

@Brian_ThomasTCI:  Open Letter to Admin http://justintarte.blogspot.com/2011/04/open-letter-to-administrators.html  Great post by @justintarte #edchat

@Parents_GortCS:  Connected Principals blog is a great resource for parents & teachers, too: http://ow.ly/4HmPA  #edchat @conprin

I’m @SidewaysSchool on Twitter and thanks for letting me write this week’s #Edchat summary. My real handle is Corey Sadlemyer, I’m a k-6 administrator in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.  My school focuses on Student-Centered Integrated Learning and I get to work with an incredible group of committed and passionate educators who follow this philosophy.  You can read more about us at www.riverheightsschool.ca

I’ve had the great privelege of teaching every grade (k-12).  I’ve taught 2 years of Special Education, 4 years of grade 5, and 5 years of mostly grade 7 (ss and ELA) and grade 12 Social Studies. As an administrator I still get to teach and am proud to teach my kindergarten daughter this year. You can check out my personal blog at http://bags17.blogspot.com
Writing the summary this week was very interesting, particularly going back through the transcript to more closely analyze what people said, moreso than I would in a standard twitter conversation.  I should probably write a blog entry about it, so if I get inspired I’ll send you all the link!

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

 Edchat: Join the Conversation

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!


April 28, 2011

Cutting to the Heart of Education Reform

#Edchat 04 – 19 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Our summary for this edchat is brought to us by Brian Thomas who is a regular edchatter and always adds very thought-provoking comments. This week was no different as he and other edchat participants laid out their wish-lists for spending on education and came up with many innovative and great ideas for where to get maximum value out of the money allocated to education. Needless to say these were a world away from where we find the money actually spent. Brian has done a great job pulling all these ideas together for this summary as I’m sure you will agree. Thank you Brian – see more about Brian in his short bio at the end of the post.

Hands down, the best on-demand source for PD I have found is Twitter and the countless thousands of teachers sharing and building a PLN.  It is my pleasure and honor to post my thoughts on the #edchat from the early Tuesday session on April 19th, 2011.  This was, as always is, a lively chat. Many thoughts centered on the cost of education.  Can education be streamlined? Do we need a shift in what we call school?  How can educators persuade the money-holders?

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  •  What “things” could be cut (i.e. paper, books)
  • Online content can be a replacement for the traditional textbook allocation.
  • Educator salaries as a piece of the funding issue.
  • The high cost in money and time of standardized tests.
  • How do we (educators) communicate our vision for changes in Ed funding and reform.


Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

@jonbergmann:  Now that we have gone to blended model, students get info online & don’t use textbooks = savings #edchat

@ericjuli:  Perhaps we need to consider increasing to ultimately decrease costs-setting up network infrastructure to decrease paper and texts #edchat

@inquirebook:   Students are increasingly more used to getting information from the Internet rather than books, anyway. #edchat

@QZLPatriotHawk:  My biggest wish is that fed & state leg. would open up funding streams. We can do more w/ less if we had choice how 2 spend it. #edchat

@schoolsEDU: I think it would be good to give teachers budget & challenge them to meet it or beat it – it could be a good case study / learning experience #edchat

@QZLPatriotHawk:  Are we talking nickles/dimes when discuss things other than salaries? Not to stir up a hornets’ nest but salaries are the big expense. #edchat

@lisalearner: at a recent board meeting, one parent made the case for cutting history class to save money. History class! #edchat

@tomwhitby: Professional Development costs can be reduced by thoughtful planning for individualized web-based training & PLN development.#Edchat

@weisburghm: I don’t see a way to avoid education supermarkets, I’m hoping we find ways to make them work well #edchat

@pepepacha: I have never, ever seen the cost breakdown for standardized testing (it’s a secret?) #edchat

@WeAreTeachers: Interesting idea! RT @lisalearner: What about 3 days in the classroom, two days online? What kind of effects would that have? #edchat

@Brian_ThomasTCI: We tell kids to be themselves, be individuals…then we line them up in rows and test the heck out of them. #edchat

@sram_socrates: How often do approved texts and resources change in the U.S.? How often does the curriculum change? #edchat

@inquirebook: I wish local businesses would apprentice high-school students, break down the school-work barrier more. #edchat

@southernbelle85: beginning school year after heat of summer, like Sept., would help and equal less energy for the air conditioner.

@Knackisms: Useless enterprise software is a major form of waste in education. Overpriced. Drain on productivity also costs money. #edchat

@bknrd5974: I’ve had students say their job is to get pregnant to collect welfare. Kids see nothing better in their future. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@juandoming: 50 Innovative Ways To Use i#Pads In #School http://t.co/MqQ0TI3  #elearning #socialmedia #web20 #technology #edtech #edchat

@jonbergmann:  semi-related #flipclass webinar yday recorded http://bit.ly/fDNpVz  Listen as student talks of NOT using textbook in #flipclass #edchat

@ncarroll24: Evolution of Classroom technology: http://bit.ly/fIwE4Q  Great look into the past! #edchat #elemchat #edtech #cpchat #4thchat #education

@ddeubel:  Following #edchat . Finally found a good way to follow it and others… http://bit.ly/ggosP2

@Brian_ThomasTCI:  We can eliminate and streamline, but things like field trips should not be cut. http://bit.ly/dOZEoX

9 online resources for students http://t.co/g0pj11M  #edtech #edchat

@darcymullin Watch http://bit.ly/9zKy78  video of flipclass to see how it is working now #edchat

@jonbergmann: For those interested in #flipclass we have summer conference http://bit.ly/hwvLuC  also will be offered via webinar #edchat

@MistyNorman12:  Check this video out-TEDxNYED-Will Richardson- 03/05/2011 http://t.co/JNqE7dZ  via @youtube. Students Don’t Need Test Prep. #ntchat #edchat

@bwasson:  @tomwhitby “The New York Lottery’s sole mission is to earn revenue for education.” http://is.gd/gNUZxn

cybraryman1:  @lisalearner My Flipped Classroom page: http://tinyurl.com/4qb6kx9  @jonbergmann is the expert! #edchat

@jonbergmann: @lisalearner More about #flipclass http://bit.ly/e42fFd  #edchat

@weisburghm: For effect on phys ed on education, read Spark: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Spark/John-J-Ratey/e/9780316113502  #edchat

@symphily: The Finland Phenomenon: A film about schools – http://bit.ly/gBTXYx  [ #edchat #educhat #BCed #edreform #education #elemchat ]

My name is Brian Thomas.  For twelve years I taught middle school social studies in the Lakota Local School District (Cincinnati, Ohio). For the past seven years, I have worked for the K-12 social studies provider TCI ( http://blog.teachtci.com ).


New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat



If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

March 10, 2011

Can We Align Project Based Learning to Meet the Expectations of Standards and High Stakes Testing?

 #Edchat 03-08–2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to Terry Elliot (@tellio) for this week’s #edchat summary. I think you’ll agree that Terry has gone an extra mile with this post categorising the tweets and giving a very interesting overview of how the chat went. As ever the discussion was fast and furious with lots of ideas, experiences and reservations shared. Thank you Terry. See Terry’s bio at the end of the post.

This is not the first time we have discussed Project Based Learning on #edchat. Nor is it the first time we have addressed the issue of assessment and all that that entails. The ‘old chestnut’ of standardised testing loomed large in the discussion as did the issue of accountability and how this is best measured to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all stakeholders, not just the purse-string holders. Most edchatters have long felt and continue to feel that the current system fails to provide the best deal for learners, teachers and  the adult world of the future that our students today will inhabit. Many educators are striving to understand what the goals of education actually are today and why we hang on to outdated methods, policies and strategies which only seem to push us ever backwards. PBL offers something creative, more flexible and more akin to the way the world operates today. Those teachers who have explored it had nothing but praise and those who hadn’t been given the chance were eager to try it. Is PBL the answer to 21st century assessment? Who knows, but the old ways certainly aren’t and until we try and test new ideas and concepts we will dig ourselves ever deeper into an old, outdated and frankly failing methodology! (Berni)

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  •  Making Project Based Learning (PBL) fit core standards and high stakes testing (HST) or vice versa.
  • Political realities of adopting PBL
  • The “real world” and PBL
  • The paradox of PBL– contrary to HST or only seemingly contrary.
  • The locus of control in PBL

 Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@CTuckerEnglish  One size fits all doesn’t work for edu, but we are still required to test students using this method. How valuable can results be? #edchat

@rliberni   RT @stumpteacher: It is all in the design. If PBL is designed properly it can align with standards. #edchat

@TonyEdTechTip   I think PBL is great when it is authentic and individual to what the child wants and needs this is opp of a standards based approach #edchat

@stumpteacher   Tests are the destination in most places. PBL is just one of many potential routes to get there. #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish   To effectively shift paradigm to move students from receivers of info to generators of info, PBL makes most sense. #edchat

@amyphs   RT @tomwhitby: We’re told to differentiate instruction for differentiated learning yet the assessments of that learning are all standardized tests. #Edchat

@MertonTech  PBL means that students need to take their specific talents and mold them to the task at hand. Testing doesn’t let the child adapt #edchat

@weisburghm many people would prefer an easy “wrong” answer to a more difficult “good” one #edchat imho

@cfanch   PBL when done correctly is a process not an end product. It includes testing and other forms of assessment. Inquiry is the key. #edchat

@MertonTech   Process is: Ed preps students to prep themselves for a job that supports their life. Test isn’t the end goal, never has been #edchat

@cfanch @Mellohmars (1) Look around you-projects are everywhere. That salt shaker – why are the holes that diameter? (2) You WILL work hard. #edchat

@ChrisVacek  Most admin tasks are already PBL tasks, they just don’t know it; show admins this, and they may support PBL in classrooms. #edchat

@QZLPatriotHawk  Students reported back to my calc. tcher that the ?s on the ACT they took didn’t relate back to PBL that they were doing. #edchat

@anderscj  2 align PBL with standards u 1st have 2 stop asking what activity meets this standard & ask what standards were met by that project #edchat

@anderscj   Flip the alignment process. Do alignment as a kind of checklist. Otherwise, PBL becomes just another form of prescriptive teaching.

@QZLPatriotHawk  @slaleman How about a charter college too with different entrance exams #edchat

@anderscj  Biggest mistake teachers make when trying to use PBL is planning the project. Kids need to own that process. #edchat

@mssanderson_ITS    RT @stumpteacher: In my experience too many teacher focus on the “P” rather than the “L” in PBL. #edchat Learning must be focus.

@leahmacvie @erinneo It kind of makes me wonder- should there be two parts to school- one for PBL/creativity/innovation and one for need-to-know?#edchat

@MertonTech @erinneo Creativity can totally be assessed, just not quantitatively. #edchat

@JoAnnJ68   RT @ericjuli: @erinneo The anti pbl camp wants to make this an either/or discussion. PBL done right is about balance #edchat

@after_school  PBL done right shouldn’t depend on teachers or school day alone; build the team to include community, artists, techies etc. #edchat

@QZLPatriotHawk  Hard to digest PBL at times as a parent of a 2nd grader “wht did u do today?” not given traditional response #edchat

@cybraryman1  @QZLPatriotHawk Yes, I would have PBL workshop for parents where they have a project to do. #edchat

@weisblatt  RT @cybraryman1: PBL: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” …bore me and I’ll tune you out. #edchat

@weisburghm  we stick teachers in class with too many students, restrictive curriculum, and a bad measurement system, & blame them for the result #edchat

An interesting exchange:

@leahmacvie    RT @cybraryman1: I worry that we are not really preparing our students for the real world. #edchat
@QZLPatriotHawk  @cybraryman1 what real world do u refer to…college, jobs, family, citizenship? #edchat
@erinneo        @cybraryman1 @rliberni I hold fast to the belief that schools ARE the real world. My world, yours and the students. 7 hrs/24 #edchat
@slaleman       this highlights need 4 doing away w 1 size fits allRT @ghewgley:The prblm is, What’s the Real World? college, blue coll, trade schl #edchat
@cybraryman1  @sedayyildirim It has to start in the classroom. I taught my students survival skills in the real world #edchat
@ghewgley   To me, PBL is more like real life (practicing). You practice skills, learn, and show what you know. Tests are the actual game-time. #edchat

A humorous and enlightening exchange:

@ericjuli    If I want to learn to drive a standard transmission-Should I read the book, get tested, or do I want to practice driving the car? #edchat
@fliegs   @ericjuli remind me not to lend you my car 🙂 #edchat

@bhsprincipal  RT @ericjuli: If I want to learn to drive a standard transmission-Should I read book, get tested, or practice driving the car? #edchat

@rliberni    RT @fliegs: @ericjuli remind me not to lend you my car 🙂 Lol! #edchat
@ericjuli    @erinneo I don’t think it’s always either/or. By blended is better than book only #edchat

An exchange on the issue of control:

@QZLPatriotHawk    PBL is tough for many because it means to be effective you have to give up control. educators hv hard time w/that #edchat
@erinneo     @QZLPatriotHawk Or the appearance of control. #edchat
@rliberni        RT @QZLPatriotHawk: @cybraryman1 some admin. have a hard time watching classrms that dont appear to be in control too #edchat
@tebotweets    RT @CTuckerEnglish: True! Teacher becomes facilitator instead of source of all knowledge RT @QZLPatriotHawk: PBL means you have to give up control. #edchat
@QZLPatriotHawk   @cybraryman1 some admin. have a hard time watching classrms that dont appear to be in control too #edchat
@leahmacvie      @QZLPatriotHawk Oh do they- some teachers just love being a sage on the stage. LET IT GO!!! Collaborate vs. dictate. #edchat
@rliberni   @QZLPatriotHawk good teachers have control even when things may look out of control #edchat
@QZLPatriotHawk   @rliberni that is why I used the word “appear”. Control is a mater of interpretation. Confident tcher don’t have to control #edchat

Question of the day:

@vickicobb   Why is it that the people who need to see these ideas are never present?

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

Can we open up our schools to innovation without disrupting them or is the time past for worrying about that?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

The Big Lies (Part Three):  http://bit.ly/gnk9Gq

@Stumpman PBL examples:  http://bit.ly/fJPmpe

The Twitter Academy:  http://tinyurl.com/45exgdx

An example of real PBL. Unplanned & interest-driven:  http://is.gd/KDID0h

@Weisburghm’s Bookmarks for pbl: http://bit.ly/fLgj3v

Classic use of PBL, standards,action research–Brian Crosby: http://tedxdenvered.com/blog/2010/07/14/presenter-brian-crosby/

Akron Inventors School: http://bit.ly/g8phO7

Great Video – Project Based Learning Explained: http://ow.ly/4acUR 

@cybraryman1  My Project Based Learning page: http://t.co/TgwFMEI

@ericjuli “Pathways to Prosperity” http://bit.ly/evMVs2  (great read on readiness and college)

Terry Elliott has been a composition and literature instructor at Western Kentucky University for the last six years.  Before that for ten years he taught Senior English (portfolio), Arts and Humanities (eighth and juniors), Drama, Media Studies, and Tech Leadership at Hart County High School, a rural school near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.  I was a tech coordinator there and am a tech liaison for the Western Kentucky University Writing Project.  I am the webmaster for the Kentucky Writing Project and have been immersed in providing tech PD statewide for Writing Project Fellows for the past four years.  I am married to Elaine Digges and we have three grown kids.  We operate a small sheep farm and have been homesteading here for the last thirty years.  And before you say it, yes, lambs are cute, but rams and ewes are–mostly– not.  Come help us shear in late May/early June and find out what sheep are really like.  I am currently in the Educational Leadership doctoral program at WKU where I am researching social capital in professional learning communities.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

December 14, 2010

School Policies: Helping or Hindering Student Learning?

#Edchat 12-7–2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This topic is one close to many teacher’s hearts and the participating edchatters were no different. Ideas of good practice , bad practice,  hopes and desires all came out in the discussion. To capture the essence of this we are very grateful to Josh Stumpenhorst (@stumpteacher). He has done an amazing job in getting to the heart of the discussion and drawing out all the different threads. Thank you Josh. See more about Josh in his bio at the end of the post.

This weeks #edchat topic was about how schools’ policies are often hindering student learning in large part due to their restrictive nature. Many people had strong views about bad policies that were being imposed in their schools. One of the big ones that kept coming back up was the amount of filtering that takes place over the Internet. Most understand the need for filtering due to liability and the need for some form of filtering due to government regulations. However, teachers would like a middle ground and to be trusted to make educationally sound decisions on behalf of their students. Another theme that came out of this conversation is that often times the decisions that are being made about policy are being made by those farthest from the classrooms. To help solve this problem teachers and students need to be more vocal and collaborate with administration at every opportunity. In addition, administration needs to be more aware of the needs of students which is often done by simply being amongst students in the classrooms. At the end of the day, it is easy to point a finger for bad policy, but that won’t change anything. We must all work together, students, parents, teachers, and administrators, to write policies that reflect the need of today’s learners.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
There were many themes that came out in the most recent #edchat conversation on 12/7/10. The central theme was how policies are hindering student learning and how to influence those policies to have a positive impact on student learning.

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@ShellTerrell: Schools need to rethink filtering. We should take these learning opportunities to teach Ss about digital citizenship
@cybraryman1: Policies should be set collaboratively (students, teachers, admin and parents)
@cybraryman1: Have to give parents hands-on workshops on how tech is being used in classrooms to get them on our side
@stumpteacher: Tough thing is that policies are written by those farthest from the students and classrooms
@jorech: Biggest hindrance to learning: a curriculum, atmosphere centered around achievement on high-stakes standardized tests
@shamsensei: Change can only be done if u know how to do it

@ileducprof:  Too many school administrators are only concerned with what occurs in their district. Missing out on collaboration opportunities.

@shamsensei:  DO not wait until you KNOW how to make change. Start now. Fail and try again. Do not wait.
@jgmac1106: 2 me it boils down two types of leadership models: Fear and Respect. Which one does your school use? Model? when it comes to filters
@smitha834: If teachers aren’t allowed 2 model social media use we are not letting students know how to properly use it to learn
@stumpteacher: Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Don’t give up and keep pushing for change! Student’s learning MUST to be the corner stone! 
@ShellTerrell: One way to change the bad policies is by having these conversations in our communities w/ staff, students, admin, & parents
@bjnichols: The best way to change policy is to show how it could work better. Set up pilots, models, etc. Provide visuals  
@milenagarg: we have a kid check statement that we try to run all policies through so that we do what is best for kids
@MZimmer557: I don’t know if it is all bad policies, it is just there are so many policies that get in way of quality teaching.
@shamsensei: has any1 asked d kids wat they want to change?
@cybraryman1: Ask not what your school can do for you–ask what you can do for your school’s students.
@fliegs: A Policy should not be created to police the less than 5% that would use something inappropriately
@ShellTerrell: Can each of us make a goal to try & collaborate with others to effectively change at least 1 ineffective policy in our schools?

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

How do we move our classrooms and students to be driven by learning and mastery instead of by testing and grades?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

cybraryman1:  My Cyber Citizenship page is an important beginning with students: http://bit.ly/5fDZ4f

datruss:  My daily-ink: Twitter EDU – Some simple advice to set yourself up for success… http://post.ly/1In03

jamesshelley:  Check out the animation from @SirKenRobinson speaking at @thersaorg – http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U

TheHelpGroup:  We had a big drive to join our Facebook pg, then realized everyone had to wait to join until they got home :\ http://on.fb.me/9v6Oe8

shamblesguru:  Playing with #Rockmelt : Social Media Browser built on Chrome http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/browsers/ #edchat #edtech #browser

missydow:  I love that a student shared this resource with me during a conversation about citing sources /giving credit. http://bit.ly/gzWKRa

datruss:  See http://bit.ly/aeVfuv  RT @ShellTerrell: Yes it is! RT @stumpteacher: Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission!

marketeducate:  #edchat Natl Ed Tech Plan calls for education transformation through technology. Already happening, isn’t it? http://bit.ly/dhiUEU

imaknight:  anyone familiar with Project Share (Texas) http://bit.ly/gaSXIW  #edtech #edchat

bhsprincipal:  New Post: Why We Use Tech in Our Class http://bit.ly/guItex  #edchat #edtech #bhschat

cybraryman1:  You have to periodically review your AUP (Acceptable Use Policies): http://bit.ly/9ViT9i

briankotts:  Korea and Finland top OECD’s latest PISA survey of education performance http://bit.ly/fvbRE3 /via @OECD_Edu  #edchat #eduswe #ukedchat

dcinc66:  Constance Steinkuehler examines the role of games and play as an integral part of learning. http://bit.ly/hiKmIB  #bif2010  #edchat

jonbergmann @alvintch Check our #revlearn and the flipped classroom. Works well with 1:1 http://bit.ly/bE6TCC

cybraryman1:  @ShellTerrell We really need a Twitter Academy to collaboratively show them how to really educate http://bit.ly/as9R0g  #twitacad #edchat

michellek107: It’s Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet via @web20classroom http://bit.ly/icCx9D  #policies #edchat

stumpteacher: We can’t be like John Mayer and wait on the world to change… http://bit.ly/e0dBbP  #edchat

web20education:  #edtech20 Web 2.0 #Resources for Educators #edtech20 #edchat http://goo.gl/fb/cneEb #uncategorized #bit #classroom

smitha834:  One thing that could help spur policy change is educators blogging both publicly and accurately #edchat http://ow.ly/3lnaV

baldy7:  posted last night. http://bit.ly/cbkhEO  What Do You Do. #edchat #cpchat

mizztcasa:  Giving African girls a chance to learn http://bit.ly/i01XpV  #edchat

TEDxUBC video #8 – Jeffrey Piontek -Teaching Jetson Children In Flintstone Schools http://t.co/rW5Hi2z  via @youtube #tedxubc #edchat #cpchat

brockgrubb:  Chris Rush (School of One) – to improve student outcomes, “assume anything can change” #bif2010 #edchat http://bit.ly/1SmCzT

web20education:  Here you can read more about eSafety #edtech20 http://teachlearnplayesafetyeducation.wall.fm/blogs/11  #edchat

eshwaranv: Blogged: Could you tell me something about it? http://bit.ly/e96tWX  #edchat #ntchat #elemchat #kinderchat #lrnchat

gret: Great post! “Know the Power of “Hello”” by @4thGrdTeach http://me.lt/4x0aF  #edchat

World4Children:  Disapp. 2 see only 1 educator @ #TEDWomen http://ow.ly/3lnsI  People concerned about #education need 2 join events like this! #edchat #cpchat

cybraryman1:  @Online4School My Educational Chats page with times and days: http://bit.ly/c6mAWB

royanlee: New Post: Why We Use Tech in Our Class http://bit.ly/guItex  #edchat #edtech

gmbondi: Let’s rename 21st Century Learning – call it Digital Dewey or Progressive Education http://bit.ly/dMEYcs   #edchat #cpchat #edtech

fliegs: Share Your Successes for Better Ed Reform http://goo.gl/fb/wJekv  -New Blog Entry #edchat #cpchat

Aminhotep:  Education reform begins in your classroom http://wp.me/tcfd  #edchat #educationreform

internet4classr:  Let students own the learning – http://tinyurl.com/28un686  (via @drmmtatom ) #ntchat #elemchat #edchat

MikeGwaltney:  An Education Policy Novice takes over the largest education system in the nation. Strange. http://nyti.ms/eEaUXG

MSTA:  We absolutely agree! RT @michellek107 It’s Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet via @web20classroom http://bit.ly/icCx9D  #edchat

joe_bower:  Student learning environment first, teacher’s work environment second. http://bit.ly/eXoN4N  #abed #edchat

tomwhitby: My Latest Post: To Be Better Teachers, We Need To Be Better Learners. http://bit.ly/hx697O  Pls  read & comment. #Edchat

lisalearner: blogpost: how to help your English learners get around Internet obstacles http://bit.ly/i9tYr5 #edchat #ellchat

iEARNUSA: @AsiaSocietyPGL PISA analysis on http://CNN.com http://bit.ly/fXXIuy  <= learn with, not just about, the world #iearn #edchat

EdEquality: Check out Michelle Rhee on NBC discussing her new organization: Students First. http://on.msnbc.com/fFwkYz  #edreform #edchat #edgap

Josh Stumpenhorst is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Science teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville, IL. I have been in this same position for eight years and have not plans on leaving the students! I have a passion for using technology and empowering my students through its use in my classes daily. Twitter has changed my life and I thank each and every member of my PLN and those that participate in #echat for the valuable things you have taught me. You can read my blog at stumpteacher and you can follow me on Twitter @stumpteacher.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

September 3, 2010

How do teachers, experts in education, gain a voice in the education reform movement that targets them as a problem?

#Edchat  8-31-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST  


Effecting Educational reform


Tuesday’s #edchat was something different to say the least! Firstly it was invaded by ‘tech Gremlins’ (as described by @esolcourses) with both moderators experiencing twitter and connection problems. (Thank you to all those edchatters who stepped in to rescue the situation!) At first two topics were making the rounds – but things finally settled down and in true PLN-collaborative-form #Edchat forged ahead.   The task of  writing the summary this week has been valiantly undertaken by Jarrod Drysdale (@knackisms). Although not a teacher, Jarrod works in the field of education and technology so he gives us a bit of a birds-eye view on this topic! Thank you Jarrod for stepping up to the plate to provide the summary of what was one of the strangest #edchats to date! See Jarrod’s bio at the end of the post.   

 While #edchat participants are frustrated with having a target painted upon their foreheads, they’re still motivated and excited to participate in education reform. Educators want to shift the conversation to the positive and work together with the community to make necessary changes. Educators desire respect and trust, and are willing to do the hard work. Conversations made clear that teachers need to get more involved with current events and focus upon the big picture rather than just the scope of their individual classrooms. In addition, educators need to better inform the public, including politicians and parents, of the challenges they face.  

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:    

  ●        Teachers need to stand up and communicate the reality of what is happening in schools.  

 ●        Change the story to focus on all the positive achievements by educators.  

 ●        Teachers need to get involved with local elections and the press.  

 ●        Trust is critical among teachers, administrators, and parents.  

 ●        Teachers face a lot of negativity in the press, communities, professional circles, and politics.  

 ●        Learning is the responsibility of students, families and educators together.  

 ●        It’s difficult to define what makes a teacher effective, but teachers are best equipped to evaluate their peers.  

 Here is a selection of some of the comments:    

  @MissCheska:  I think first and foremost to affect change is to encourage transparency in what’s going on in our own classrooms #edchat  

  @baldy7:   #edchat if educators/teachers want to have a voice, they need to stand up and be heard. Too much being done to them!  

  @cybraryman1:   Educators have to educate the policy makers and get more say in their decisions. #edchat  

  @blairteach:   Tchrs also need to take a leaf from the PR handbook & publicize the INCREDIBLE things going on in sch; counter-programming to bad. #edchat  

  @tracymercier:  Even if we are tenured, when you do say no, disagree/stand up you are ignored (just shut up & do it) #edchat  

  @baldy7:   #edchat education is perceived as a noble field, but one that “anyone” could do. we allow the perception to exist.  

  @ImagineLearning:   I am seeing a general thread that the school-home connection is an important step to this issue #edchat  

  @tomwhitby:  How can we get local communities on brd with tchrs not even knowing what to address?If we don’t get it, how can we expect others to? #Edchat  

  @PeacefulSchools:  Communication between schools and families can often be a great struggle. #Edchat  

  @TheDSCWay:  Teachers are easy to attack because they are the most visible and people know what they are supposed to be doing (or think they do) #edchat  

  @rgallwitz:  What makes a great teacher? Results or relationships? #edchat  

  @lisamireles:   #Edchat how about by changing the story? Talk about teachers as the solution not the problem…  

  @Smichael920:   #edchat the more parents r involved in their chdns ed, the more respect they have 4 tchrs. Mayb more politicians should spend time in sch!  

  @JasonFlom:   Think globally, Elect locally. Teachers need to be involved in their local elections. Call out misrepresentations by candidates. #edchat  

  @JasonFlom:   Teachers need to write letters to ed, op-ed pieces, and other bits of opinion to balance one-sided representation. #edchat  

  @TheDSCWay:   If you haven’t taught, it is hard to imagine all of the competing directions teachers are pulled in. It is a hard job! #edchat  

  @leaguelearn:   Public clings to tests ’cause that’s what they know & remember, need to see rigorous alt assess in person – student led portfolios #edchat  

  @michellek107:   As educators, & more spec, teachers, we need to encourage local media to come see what we are doing WELL! Beyond test scores. #edchat  

  @davidwees:   Politicians need to stop thinking of education as a short-term objective and more of a long term investment in our well-being. #edchat  

  @michellek107:   As a teacher, I MUST help my community understand that students’ edu needs are different than they were 5, 10, 50 yrs ago. #edchat  

  To follow the complete discussion see here    

  For the stats on #edchat participation see here    

  As ever, there were some great links shared:   

 @ImagineLearning: Newsweek gives case study of PLB helping the “Creativity Crisis” http://bit.ly/dj6W1F  

 @Parentella I interviewed @vickysaumell about using Project Based Learning: http://edition.tefl.net/guest/vicky-saumell/  

 CoCreatr:  @blairteach teachers can #innovate around pressures through developing “growth mindset” http://bit.ly/97XJFN  via @jorgebarba  

 briankotts:  Teachers, public sharply divided on key issues | BostonGlobe http://bit.ly/dzu1F3  

 leahmacvie:  I think the best way to assert your voice is to start a movement. Blog, tweet, gain followers. http://bit.ly/aoeO8Y  

 getschooled: One student drops out of high school every 26 seconds (1.2 million/yr). http://ow.ly/2xlF0  

 andycinek:   What will you say on day one? http://bit.ly/bF7aJG  #edchat #edcamp #ntcamp [Day one is critical, and this is great! ^CB]  

 joe_bower:  I am listening to Richard Byrne’s Reform Symposium presentation on Back Channeling. http://bit.ly/bUO9zU  #abed #edchat  

moehlert: #TED must watch! “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds” by Temple Grandin http://bit.ly/8XReoV  via @rkiker @dcinc66 #edchat   

ImagineLearning:  Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything West wing cilp starts at 40 sec http://bit.ly/aOEkoo   

davidwees:  @MissCheska Read this article I wrote about comparison between education and other fields of study. Much clearer. http://is.gd/eNDD6  #edchat   

SkippingRobyn:  We all want to help students succeed, but being a HS teacher can be tough work! Are you up for the challenge? http://ow.ly/2xpq4  #edchat   

CoCreatr:  @blairteach that is the point. Check Professor Carol Dweck’s research in the video http://bit.ly/97XJFN after #edchat 😉   

mikeoconnor1982:  Tips for Engaging Your Audience (be it students or adults) http://t.co/qbJqjvI   

fullonlearning:  http://tinyurl.com/2utphxf “If everyone could educate, we could educate everyone” #edchat #gtchat   

briankotts:  Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers | Newsweek http://bit.ly/apGE8h  #edchat   

cybraryman1:  My Education Reform page of links: http://bit.ly/diXT0v  #edchat   

web20classroom:   Cool Prezi On Problem Based Learning: http://bit.ly/9R3Ojc  #jccstech #edchat   

MatthiasHeil:  Children can learn from bad teachers! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10590460   

ImagineLearning:  research shows that kids who have 2, 3, 4 strong tchers in a row will eventually excl Newsweek #edchat http://bit.ly/btRz5c   

davidwees:   The death of the amateur mathematician. Why it is critical to invest in education. http://bit.ly/9Nmc5a   

Smichael920:  Short post on sharing good news w/children, govs & staff (Every) Photo (tells a) Story: http://wp.me/pvUIF-57  #edchat this helps us   

JoHart:  Other TZs post http://bit.ly/92XdGs  wth overview & rec link recent Edublogs Webinar “Your PLN what’s in it for all of us!” #edchat   

blairteach: Yeah, the long-term PD thing is tough. PLP was huge for this. http://bit.ly/aG6w0f   

smartinez:  Focus on results can make children do worse, study finds http://bit.ly/9IaEcA  #edreform #edparadox #edchat   

ToughLoveforXhttp://ilnk.me/41c8 Syllabus: My fav” (so far) 4. How Do We Know What We (Think We) Know? #edchat   

LesLinks: Plse read @ljconrads new blogpost… excellent call to arms for US ed system.. http://bit.ly/aVwqgT  #edchat #elemchat #gtchat #gifted #teach   

LesLinks:  It has been really interesting & exciting to be here will come again!! more info on #gtchat at http://www.ingeniosus.net/gtchat  #edchat   

ImagineLearning:  just used BlastFollow to follow everyone from today’s #edchat http://bit.ly/9ZEKpu   

blairteach:  I’ve been using http://youtu.be/nBJV56WUDng  to show that the way we always do something may not be the best way to do it. #edchat   

davidwees: New blog post: Every educator should experience being a bad student. http://bit.ly/9BfPGP   

Jarrod Drysdale is a professional designer living in Denver. He recently built and launched a new web application called Knack For Teachers, and is emphatically devoted to assisting educators via technology. Jarrod has worked on everything from movie websites to digital advertising to financial software, all for national companies and household brand names. He’s decided education is where it’s at. Four of Jarrod’s immediate family members are educators. He blogs actively at the Knack Blog   


New to Edchat?   

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!   

●        Edchat: Join the Conversation   

●        Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions   

More Edchat          

If you would like to join others in transforming the discussion into action, please feel free to join the Edchat group on the Educator PLN ningJerry Swiatek does an incredible job of posting each archived transcript on the Edchat wiki created by Steve Johnson. This way you can look back at your favorites!  Find previous summaries here on this blog – see edchat category on right sidebar. Follow other Edchatters and make sure you are on this Twitter list if you participate in Edchat! Read summaries of the 7pm EST/1 am CET Edchat discussions.  


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.  

What do you think? Leave a comment!

August 29, 2010

Has Inclusion Been Effective? How Can We Tell?


8-24-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST 


We are very gareful to Christopher Rogers (@MrR0g3rs) for this week’s #Edchat summary. It wasn’t the easiest of topics as not everyone involved in the discussion had had personal experience of this type of teaching. I think you’ll agree it’s a job well done! Thank you :-). Christopher is a regular and enthusiastic contributer to #edchat and passionate about education and the role that social media can play. See  his bio at the end of the post.

As inclusion programs are adopted around the world it is important for us as educators to pause and reflect upon their effectiveness. The effectiveness of inclusion programs depend greatly upon a wide range of different elements. Once again it is clear that strong school leadership is essential for success. An inclusion program must be consistent and pervasive across the district, which is an impossibility without strong school leadership. Inclusion must be just as much about philosophy as it is about pedagogy, again something only effective school leadership can create. Part of this philosophy must be an unwaivering commitment to differentiated professional development for educators so that they have the training they need to be effective. If inclusion programs are implemented haphazardly school districts risk not only robbing the inclusion student of a quality education, but all of the other students as well.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • There is some level of confusion about what inclusion actually is. Whether it is a matter of semantics, training or application, many of the people involved in this chat expressed confusion or disagreement about what inclusion means.
  • Like so many of the things we discuss, training and professional development were seen as of paramount importance. Some of the chat participants complained that they had not received proper training for a variety of reasons including lack of funds and lack of focus
  • For inclusion to be effective there has to be a pervasive policy that includes all school stakeholders.
  • We need to ensure that inclusion programs are not a detriment to other aspects of the class, including acceleration for gifted and talented students.

 Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 @Aaron_Eyler: Effective inclusion is when you can’t tell who the “Inclusion teacher” is…. or the “inclusion students”

 @Parentella: What about students who are excelling, but can’t go farther because teachers teach down to them? Is that inclusion?

 @MZimmer557: sometimes inclusion classrooms might not include a certified. teacher but a CIA. is that still quality inclusion when a CIA is not “certified?”

 @Aaron_Eyler: Inclusion needs to be looked at as a continuum. More support for both excelling and struggling learners.

@Spyder0902: Effective inclusion programs must include a common planning time and true/authentic collaboration between Gen and Sp Educators.

 @4thGrdTeach: On paper I fully support inclusion, but without proper programs/support can be detrimental to rest of class

 @cybraryman1: Teachers need a lot of training if they have inclusion in their classrooms. Can’t just put these students in mainstream without it.

 @ShellTerrell: Do most inclusion programs prepare teachers adequately for the diversity of their learners’ skills? 

 @rickweinberg: @tomwhitby I will be honest. As a parent, my wife has questioned if my daughter will feel different if she is in an inclusion class.

 @skipvia: This is another “shoehorn” solution–mandating inclusion without thinking about the overall structure of instruction.

 @baldy7: ok, but we need to remove the cold, clinical, terms in our work with kids. It is the first steps to changing the culture.

 @thenewtag: It isn’t right, but when inclusion is forced on teachers who don’t buy in, the kids lose – ALL of the kids lose.

@NSRiazat: My experience has shown that sometimes some pupils don’t buy into it….even though it is there to support.

 @malcolmbellamy: it is about finding every child’s potential: we can do real harm if we treat children as unable or believe that they are.

 @MissCheska: @smapplegate Good perspective on remediation; it seems to have negative connotation for students. How to turn around?

 @W3iGHTLESS: Inclusion = philosophy not action it doesn’t mean ALL or nothing- it means what is best for the stdt to get the most of his/her ed.

 @ImagineLearning: I’ve observed programs focus on students who R closest 2 passing standards. Students far behind or ahead get less attention. 

@olafelch: @shyj I don’t know. My point was really that genuine conviction is equally (or more) important than training.

 @ thenewtag: @michellek107 We’ agree re: what SHOULD Be required. But reality is it’s not, so as a parent, I want my kid w/tchr who WANTS my kid! 

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

 As ever, there were some great links shared:

malcolmbellamy: see Seymour Papert’s discussion about bored children being labelled S.N. http://vimeo.com/9106174

1TEACHER4edu: 14 ways to get to know your students #edchat #k12 https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_650dvtj3dgk

shamblesguru:  List of #edchat s on #shambles http://www.shambles.net/pages/learning/infolit/tagging  what’s missing? #ukedchat #ntedchat #edtech

FrankinPA:  @ShellTerrell Here’s a link describing the NEST program. #edchat http://ow.ly/2u4BE

eshwaranv:  An interesting article on inclusion in classroom: http://bit.ly/9NSlIl

courosa:  Resource for the #edchat ‘ers today – ‘In My Own Language’ http://is.gd/eB1Ix  Read the description, watch the entire vid.

diferitdaregal:  Related to inclusion of students with SEN I need more parteners for comenius from #Germany #Spain #U.K More http://bit.ly/aLrX6b  #edchat

graphskill:  The #edchat Daily is out – read this Twitter newspaper on http://paper.li/tag/edchat  (247 contributions today)

butwait:  @rhianna @hacool Have y’all seen @cybraryman1 ‘s awesome list of edu-related chats? It’s here: http://bit.ly/educhats  #smchat #edchat

@joe_bower:  The Answer Sheet – How ed reformers push the wrong theory of learning http://bit.ly/9U0uYh

cybraryman1:  My Assistive Technology page: http://bit.ly/cLsURs

cybraryman1:  Scaffolding page: http://bit.ly/cfuptl Differentiated Instruction: http://bit.ly/bOWv96

LesLinks:  Interesting news about Khan Academy and Bill Gates http://tinyurl.com/23bgnhu

malcolmbellamy:  for a really excellent example of a brilliant teacher in a truly integrated class see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olUn4Si22Sg

ImagineLearning:  @adihrespati here is a case study of one of our inclusion students using technology to close the gap http://bit.ly/dgkClj

DaleHolt:  is this your definition? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusion

DUMACORNELLUCIA:   Project ,, Different, but equal ” partenership and collaboration between SEN students around the world http://bit.ly/9uBoZE

CoachGinsburg:  A practical and EFFECTIVE approach toward differentiating: http://bit.ly/cWco85

DUMACORNELLUCIA:  Contact me luciane_twining@yahoo.com if you want to join a comenius project for SEN students http://bit.ly/9uBoZE

Intel Reader adds a Portable, Accessible Reading Tool to a High School Committed to Learning Disabled Kids http://bit.ly/cOaGyv

elanaleoni:  Hey all – I discovered a pretty in-depth discussion about inclusion: http://bit.ly/ah7gKw

CoachGinsburg:  Heterogeneous groups are great for meeting diverse needs–provided you strategically assign them. http://bit.ly/9Cyky6

diferitdaregal:  Comenius project ,, Different, but equal ” fight again discrimination of SEN students #senchat #edchat http://bit.ly/aLrX6b

web20education:  The pln community for project for teachers begin to grow you still can join free #edtech20 #edchat http://bit.ly/9y8HTO

PAitken:  Are the summer holidays detrimental to student achievement/learning? http://bit.ly/abRpgP

coopsjd:  What makes kids do good work? http://bit.ly/d2RbMi

DUMACORNELLUCIA: Facebook group for inclusion of SEN students http://bit.ly/9FLro9

(#edchat topics seem to be getting a bit more jargon-y. IYO does this inhibit participation/learning?)

Christopher Rogers is a Language Arts and Theatre teacher in Morrisville, NY. He is also the technology coordinator/integration specialist for his district. Since beginning his education blog, EdTechSwami a little over a year ago he has become very involved in the social media teacher’s movement happening all over the world. Find him on Twitter, @MrR0g3rs.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

August 20, 2010

Are Staff Meetings Salvageable?


8-17-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST 


Thank you to Pernille Ripp (@4thGrdTeach) for this week’s #Edchat summary. This week’s topic was one that crops up often in #edchat and one which we all like to moan about!! Pernille has done a great job in condensing and encapsulating everybody’s thoughts on this, at times tricky, relationship within education. See her bio at the end which is, I must say, very modest – Pernille is a great asset to edchat and her blog is well worth a read!!

Being an avid fan and participant of #edchat, I was thrilled at first when I was asked to write this week’s summary of our noon conversation on August 17th; How can administrators better structure school meetings to be more productive?  And then when I realized what the topic was my joy quickly turned to dread.  After all, this was one of the most non-informative #Edchat’s I had participated in this summer.  I mean, how many ways can we really change how administration schedules meetings?  Besides, why would they listen to our ideas?  And yet, this thought was exactly why this was a valid conversation to have, particularly as most of North America is getting ready to return to school.  So I thought back to my own experience; as a novice teacher I was always excited about staff meetings, after all, these were meeting where our successes would be shared, professional development would be highlighted and stimulating conversation would be had.  3 years into teaching and I have become one of the outwardly shoulder-shruggers, eye-rollers, paper-doodlers and all around none-to-thrilled about the whole administration meeting.  In fact,  if you ever want to please the staff at my school you let them know that this week’s staff meeting has been cancelled.  So when does this change in excitement occur?  When did I go from doe-eyed meeting enthusiast to uninspired tuner-outer? 

    Turns out that I am not the only one so jaded by staff meetings and the sort, fortunately, I am not the only one either that wishes it would change.  As #Edchat has proven before; there are many of us that want to change the world; one conversation at a time.  The lackluster appeal of staff meetings is not my principal’s fault; I wish it was.  Then I could blame him and feel better about my own attitude towards them.  It is a staff effort to kill a professional meeting.  To do it you must have certain ingredients in place such as whispered conversations, lack of agenda, limited follow through, and overall stressful teaching days.  I do not think that any staff sets out to arrive here, but once at this dead-end destination, those staff meetings can be hard to resuscitate.  My staff went through somewhat of a revival last year, in which, more people took responsibility for our meetings and protocol was set.  This was a huge step in the right direction and something many #Edchatters expressed a hope for.  Now instead of getting away with bringing work, we are expected to be attentive and focused.  Instead of having side conversations, we are asked to be quiet and raise our hands to participate in the topic at hand.  Agendas are no longer cloaked in secrecy but rather shared and open to suggestions.  Time is now honored and my principal no longer, and never did, expect us to stay beyond the 45 minutes.  And yet, we are not there yet.  Staff meetings are still not celebrated or heralded as learning opportunities but viewed as yet another responsibility in our already overwhelming days.  In fact, this was a recurring theme in our #Edchat.  Many participants asked for time limits to be set so that they knew exactly how long the meeting would last.  They also asked for a chance at professional development from this time, and not from outsiders, but a chance for staff within their building to share something they were doing or learning.  We often discuss how little time we have to share, why not take the time at these meetings?  Many suggested keeping announcements out of staff meetings and sending them out via email instead; an idea I wholeheartedly agree with.  I would rather read about the new changes at school, particularly when it is not open for discussion, rather than have someone drone on about the why’s and how’s of it all.  One fantastic idea, was to create a backchannel for the meeting, whether using Facebook or Twitter, but providing some sort of means to give a running commentary while the meeting happened, much like you see happen during Elluminate presentations.  This would also work as a tool to draw all staff members in and for everyone to feel valued and listened to.  Although, this would be ideal for me, I am from a school where I am one of the only ones on Twitter.  So to convince a whole staff to not only join Twitter, to use it, and then to use it during staff meetings can seem like a mountain of obstacles and yet it does happen in schools.  How though is still being debated.

    So are staff meetings headed the way of the fax machine?  We still need them once in a while but really do we have to meet face-to-face?  I would argue that staff meetings are vital to a school’s success.  It is an instant read of how engaged its staff is, as well as how the climate is.  There is nothing that can beat a room full of staff members engaged in a conversation.  Yet the format is clearly not a success in most schools.  Many people mentioned the negative attitudes that would be brought into meetings and seemed rather desperate to quiet them.  And I agree, nothing can harm the morale of a staff more than one person’s negative outbursts.  The same can be said for when select few dominate the conversation, rather than making it a full staff discussion.  Technology, though, does provide us with some tools to create better learning environments, as we see in our classrooms.  However, just like in our classrooms we must take ownership of the meetings and create the type of environment we would like to be taught in.  We ask our students to do this ,so why is it as adults that we do not hold ourselves accountable?  Whether it be a back channel, a protocol or simply renewed energy; keep in mind that you are the controller of a staff meeting as far as  that your energy for that meeting is replicated and mirrored by those sitting around you.  So although we may feel haggard after another full day of teaching, bring that love of teaching and learning into your staff meeting and do not let other’s stop you either.  One person can make a difference as we all know, and you are not alone in wanting a better environment for staff overall.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Keep housekeeping items out of staff meetings and email them instead.
  • Create a backchannel for staff to be involved in
  • Make it a forum of professional development
  • Give staff choices in what they participate in
  • Adopt a protocol for proper meeting behavior
  • Keep negative attitudes out of meetings
  • Set a time limit for how long someone can speak to ensure equal opportunity for joining the discussion

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@cpoole27:   Meetings could consist of admin/peers sharing in small groups what they have learned from their PLN and new ideas researched 
@miken_bu:   Start by only holding meetings when needed, not for info that can be given in other ways 
@Demerica:   Meetings should be differentiated and give teachers choices. Did this with PD time at my school this year with good results
@DeronDurflinger:   I think admin. meetings need to focus on learning instead of management stuff
@hblanton:   Don’t read things to staff members, give them the info ahead of time, then make the meeting a dialogue with specific goals. 
@cybraryman1:   Meetings & trainings should have a menu of choices for staff members after general staff announcements
@chris_reuter:   Most effective mtgs r when teachers/kids share what is going on and admin play a 2ndary role.
@TomWhitby:   Admins need to employ Tech to convey Management stuff in order to cocentrate on Learning issues for F2F Meetings.
@billgx:   A meeting consisting primarily of people tooting their own horn is usually not productive. #edchat 
@cybraryman1:   Meetings should follow the unconference structure where you can pick a session rather than being bored in general session #edchat 
@esolcourses:  lack of inclusion in the decision-making process can sometimes lead to disaffection 
@SuzanBrandt:   So excited that my administrators are referring to faculty meetings as “Learning Meetings”
@Nunavut_Teacher:   My principal gives teachers the opportunity at specific meetings to present on a topic they are passionate about. Love that.
@MissCheska:   Admin should set up standard that for every gripe there must be a solution offered, re: preventing gripes
@ColinTGraham:   Local schools must have faced or be facing similar issues/problems. Why not set up inter-school teams to discuss/ present/share?
@tomwhitby:   As in a class if you engage the participants of the Mtg they will pay attention.
@arosey:  Hard for some admin, but “control” of meeting must be given up. Let us talk and interact
@TomWhitby:   If a tchr entered a class w/o a plan to engage and teach the class, the Admin would be upset. Should we expect less of the admin? 
@patriciasmeyers:   Every voice must be respected in order for meetings to work 
@mritzius:  Meetings of larger groups should have a “Parliamentarian”, keeping the talk focused on topic and knocking people off soapboxes
@tomwhitby: Conducting a productive meeting should be a required skill of all admins. It needs to be modeled and taught. 


I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

  • Does homework have a true benefit to learning?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

web20classroom:  Awesome List From @cybraryman1 Of All Educational Chats on Twitter: http://bit.ly/cT3cyO

DeronDurflinger:  Sample of “faculty meeting” from my wiki http://bit.ly/ayD99m

hadleyjf:   “Tempering the Pull of the ‘Urgent” – Thoughts about multitasking and students: http://bit.ly/8GamLb

isteconnects:  New Post: A Brief Review of Course Management Tools for Educators http://bit.ly/9R1pE0

cybraryman1:  @DeronDurflinger Got to love Van Meter – THINK, LEAD and SERVE http://bit.ly/aCdHMx

ColinTGraham:  Since more and more schools seem to be turning into small businesses… http://bit.ly/bQK0YD  business meeting tips may help! #edchat

shamblesguru:  Screencast of #edchat happening live PART2 still unscripted, unrehearsed, unedited #shambles #edtech http://screenr.com/QR0

Nunavut_Teacher:  Keep the meeting on schedule. http://nextup.info/ #edchat

TwitClass:  @ImagineLearning Yes! @DeronDurflinger uses a wiki at #vanmeter http://bit.ly/ayD99m  #edchat

cybraryman1:  @heoj My Skype page: http://bit.ly/aQNA10  #edchat

nancyrubin:  Is the Backchannel the Future or the Present? http://t.co/q196uTg #edchat

cybraryman1:  Do I see Backchanneling in meetings in all schools in the future? Backchannel page: http://bit.ly/cv6H7t  #edchat

mritzius:  David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” and Seth Godin’s blog should be required reading for leaders of meetings #edchat

fisher1000:  @tomwhitby #edchat There’s a good book about that very thing here: http://tinyurl.com/2d96qek

cybraryman1:  Professional Development page (the good, the bad, the ugly!) http://bit.ly/bOj5Sv #edchat

RushaSams:  Book rec: School Leadership That Works by Marzano. #edchat

isteconnects:   New Post: A Brief Review of Course Management Tools for Educators http://bit.ly/9R1pE0 #iste #edchat

ColinTGraham: Interesting video produced by New Brunswick Dept of Ed http://youtu.be/EjJg9NfTXos  21st Century Education #ukedchat #edtech #edchat

esolcourses:  @PrimaryEdTech @thompseg: You can use Google Calendar to share events http://bit.ly/aEQe8  #elemchat #edtech #edchat #edcamp

web20education:  Next Gen project #edtech20 http://nextgenlearning.com/get-involved/ideas/30 #edchat #elearning

esolcourses:  Good article on how to cut the dead wood out of meetings – Meetings Google-style http://bit.ly/cDcY52  #edchat

marynabadenhors:  Quick read on running effective meetings http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/RunningMeetings.htm

graingered: #Edchat http://bit.ly/9pruU2  5th gr wiki, http://bit.ly/98DjVz  tech wiki

graingered:  @ShellTerrell http://mattievolunteers.wikispaces.com / 4 volunteers… membership request required #edchat

shamblesguru: #backchanneling at any meeting,not just ‘staff’, is liberating http://bit.ly/9NjL49  #edchat #edtech

kylepace:   A Framework For Teaching With Twitter…http://ow.ly/2qNXU

ShellTerrell:  Has #Edchat made an impact on your teaching or learning experience? Plz let us know http://bit.ly/aQ0RQd

Pernille Ripp (@4thGrdTeach) is a 4th grade teacher in Middleton, Wisconsin who is constantly amazed at the brilliance of her students.  Married to her soul mate who is a a closet-teacher, she continues her learning journey this year with the Global Read Aloud Project as well as breaking down classroom expectations and starting all over in a 4/5 class.  She has won no awards and been given no accolades other than the lightbulb moments her students share with her every day.  When inspiration hits she writes for her own blog, Blogging through the 4th Dimension and overall just loves her life.  

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

August 16, 2010

Will online or distance learning replace classroom learning?


8-10-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST 

Online, offline or both?

We are very grateful to Todd Hoffman (@ToddAHoffman) for this week’s guest summary. He is well-qualified to write about this topic with both his academic and work background. I am sure you will find it a well-rounded and insightful piece. Thank you Todd! (see bio at end of piece)

The weekly #edchat is an event I always make an effort to attend.  Those of you who regularly join in the chat know its value and have benefited from its existence.  So when I was approached to write this week’s summary to a topic very close to home for me I was thrilled.  I am a former classroom teacher who now works for an educational software company and recently finished my master’s degree online.  On top of that the company I work for is shifting its professional development model from in person to either a blended or online only solution.  These changes cause uneasy feelings in many well qualified employees and a fear that technology will replace human workers.  But can online or distance learning replace classroom learning?
As in government, change in education is like driving a barge- It’s not quick or easy.  People get set in their ways and resist change for fear it will replace them.  If technology is part of the change process the level of concern seems to heighten.  However, shying away from change can ultimately lead to ignorance and a lack of preparation for the world in which we live.  Educators have a goal of preparing students for the world of today and tomorrow, not the world of the 20th Century.  In the 21st Century our world has become more technologically adept and the desire for flexible work schedules is greater than ever.  All educators and parents want the best educational opportunities for their kids and in our world that requires some innovation.  While most edchatters seemed to agree that online learning is a valuable addition to classroom learning most agree that it will not be a replacement for more traditional learning.  The consensus seems to be a blended solution where online learning opportunities are combined with classroom learning.  Additionally, many edchatters commented on the secondary benefit to classroom learning of childcare.  Many edchatters stressed that online learning must become an integral part of the educational system to provide flexibility and extension to traditional classroom learning.  More people are working on online degrees today than ever before and the use of social media has spread to almost every industry.  A good opportunity for educators to better understand the value of online education is through developing a PLN on twitter.  Discussions such as #edchat help educators, parents, and students to discuss effective ways of integrating educational technology into the classroom.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  •          Schools operate as childcare so parents can work
  •          Students learn differently
  •          Online learning can provide flexibility to students and families
  •          Online learning can be structured
  •          Face to face learning is important for child development
  •          Good Online learning requires skill and preparation
  •          Blended Solutions can provide excellent learning opportunities

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 
With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@TechCzech: If schooling were about learning, distance learning might replace classroom. But K-12 schools have an important childcare function

@Parantella: I think we have to be willing to think outside the classroom while also remembering some students learn best F2F #edchat

@cfanch: I’ve taken online classes post grad and loved them but I just don’t see it happening any time soon for K-12 #edchat

 @drdouggreen: Parents can be more involved with online classes #edchat

@isteconnects: I teach at the college level and find the f2f invaluable. Kids are away from home for the 1st time. They need the guidance

@shellterrell: I don’t think online learning will replace face to face but I do see the potential in a blended structure! #Edchat

@cybraryman1: I favor the combination of learning in a classroom with the ability to access great online learning as well.

 @TheNerdyTeacher: #edchat – Independent Studies would work great online for students who want a class but it doesn’t fit their schedule.

 @melanie289: In my rural state, online learning is the only opportunity many of our students have to access advanced courses in h.s. #edchat

 @jksuter: Who would replace teachers as the parent’s free babysitters if school went totally online, 4 this reason alone it will never happen. #edchat

 @RMHS_AP: Online learning should be used to enhance the traditional classroom and to differentiate instruction, not replace f2f #edchat

@1katty: We are offering online alternatives to our high school students to broaden the diversity of our curriculum. #edchat

@bethanyvsmith: I think teaching online is not only harder, it requires twice as much prep time. You can’t “wing” online teaching #edchat

@courosa: Every educator should have opportunity 2 teach AND learn online. Much is learned about f2f practice from such experiences. #edchat

@Mamacita: hybrid classes are awesome for ALL TYPES OF STUDENTS: actual contact AND own pace. #edchat

@lemino: I think online shouldn’t be just an emergency solution, it should work side by side with class, or even in-class. #edchat

@billgx Most: recent studies appear to show positives for online learning. Gains seem to be highest w/ blended (F2F + online) #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 
For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

malcolmbellamy:  it is the quality of the f2f that counts see http://bit.ly/b4zndc

tony_valderrama:  No today’s topic, but interesting: 15 mind blowing facts of the internet: http://bit.ly/cr3qe0

jamesmaitland: #edchat I have just posted a video (5min) quick idea of a school social media communication system. http://bit.ly/d4V4Z2

NextGenLC:  Blended learning forum: http://ow.ly/2nBEf  Share thoughts, insights

briankotts:  College May Become Unaffordable for Most – variety of approaches include distance learning | NYTimes http://nyti.ms/cW4fQO

schoology:  Blending Online learning & F2F, check out the list of all these features: http://ht.ly/2nBF4 Brings the digital classroom alive!

ShellTerrell:  tony_valderrama: and a lot of learning in games, like World of Warcraft and others: http://bit.ly/9DaaCa

carlaarena:  @ShellTerrell just recorded some ideas for a friend on #blendedlearning last week http://bit.ly/bEEk3U

ryflinn:  I am still distracted trying to learn online on #edchat here is what is going on now http://tweetphoto.com/38079332

CatMoore: Why you want to use scenarios in your elearning http://bit.ly/82Eg7p

alexgfrancisco:  Online Pedagogy: Theories & Best Practices http://bit.ly/bC0iNX

Giegerich:  short video of technology in our school made spring of last year (not online learning per se) http://youtu.be/P2gqD2rayzA

ToughLoveforX:  @tellio Just one of many examples Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media http://ilnk.me/3b4d Just replace “student” for patient

anicap: @mzmacky past wiki projects http://bit.ly/aZLKwdhttp://bit.ly/bkVvychttp://bit.ly/c7SHSl  #edchat #IDEC

NextGenLC:  Blended learning forum: http://ow.ly/2nBEf  Share thoughts, insights

rgallwitz:  Teaching in the 21st Century ( http://bit.ly/bzGtvn ) This is why I dearly love the blended model. The Networked Student

vicmiclovich:  95,000 students enrolled at Tunisian Virtual University http://bit.ly/ap5L4A  via @etaalim #edchat #edtech (via @briankotts)

anicap: Look at this glogster “New classroom rules” for online learning. http://bit.ly/b1qKDx  My EFL sts like them a lot. Some more, too.

ukedchat:  #ukedchat special this week, “promoting parental engagement” Thurs 8-9pm BST. Details at http://bit.ly/dioccX hosted by @ianaddison

alexgfrancisco: Online Pedagogy: Theories & Best Practices http://bit.ly/bC0iNX

NCTI2:  Important in this discussion to remember stud w/ disabilities. online can be great way of differ instruct #edchat http://ow.ly/2nCAq

alexgfrancisco:  how to implement and customize course and specific guidelines on each learning activity #techtips #edchat http://bit.ly/aSV7d

web20education:  Free project in the clouds for teachers around the world #edtech20 and Gr8 beautiful tag clouds in education2.0 http://bit.ly/dkrCd6

alexgfrancisco:  Instructional Strategies Online http://bit.ly/97ObWV

alexgfrancisco:  The Lecture is Dead Long Live the e-Lecture http://bit.ly/aLv1Vr

Aminhotep:  Tips for teachers: What are you really teaching? Find the real message in your medium http://wp.me/ptcfd-30

briankotts:  Why Online Education Needs to Get Social http://bit.ly/9MNw4o via @mashable

ToughLoveforX:  @tomwhitby @DrAshCasey “Online teaching is in it’s infancy” [ My 2¢ rigorous evidenced based teaching also ] http://ilnk.me/3778

web20education:  Glossary to DEMYSTIFY the jargon of the online world”: A Glossary to DEMYSTIFY the jargon http://url4.eu/6p9QJ

ShellTerrell: Many of us can get a free online learning experience & compare by doing MIT Course, etc. http://bit.ly/duXKzL

OERCommons: @melanie289 There are experimental programs with Open Study to add interactivity to the MIT Courses #edchat: http://openstudy.com

OERCommons: Teachers have had success combining subjects that can be boring i.e. accounting w/ online world Second Life #edchat: http://bit.ly/6EteVw

cathig:  The best free online classes I’ve taken are at HP Learning Center. Pick one with Enroll. #edchat http://h30187.www3.hp.com/all_courses.jsp

MultiMartin:  RT new blog post – Using Twitter in the Primary Classroom (@ClassroomTweets) – http://bit.ly/bVIMuG

Todd Hoffman (@ToddAHoffman)

Bio Teacher turned Consultant working to find innovative solutions to issues in education.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!


August 8, 2010

Is there a Place for Smartphones as Mobile Learning Devices in Schools?


8-3-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST 

Make sure your smartphones are TURNED ON!!

Here is an amazing #edchat summary this week from Tara Benwell (@ESL-Library) which explores, very comprehensively, the feelings and opinions of last week’s edchatters on this thorny problem. The discussion was at times polarised and at times consensual and this is really captured in Tara’s summary. For more information on Tara and her work see the bio at the end of the post. 

 With ESLlibrary’s main tweeter on mat leave I was excited to jump in to #edchat on August 2nd to discuss smartphones as mobile learning devices. I was thrilled when Berni approached me about writing the summary for this edu chat since it is closely tied to my current work as an online educator and material writer. Having recently worked on the iPhone app “Learning English with The New York Times,” I’ve found myself wondering whether or not these types of learning resources are being used in class or primarily as self-access materials. With apps, writers and developers are heading into a whole new field and I’m feeling like a beginner again.  This edchat confirmed for me that it is crucial for writers, developers and publishers to participate in conversations with teachers (and students). You are telling us what you and your students need, why you need it, and whether or not we are building the tools and resources in ways that are actually going to save you time and keep your learners engaged. The fact that we can be part of this conversation together is so important and we thank you for inviting us in. 
 It wasn’t long ago that I was skeptical about mobile devices taking over the world. I had finally gotten used to the fact that TVs and computer monitors had to be big enough to take over my entire living room when the newsflash arrived that we NEEDED a netbook. Wait, no. Too big! Now we need an iPhone or at least an iTouch, plus we’ll need an iPad if we’re going to stay on top of this technology. It wasn’t until I got my hands on an actual iPhone that I began to understand why and how these devices could be so useful for students. At the Boston TESOL conference, teachers came by ESL-Library’s booth to inquire about the new language learning apps. Some of the teachers took out their iPhones and spent the $2.99 on the spot for the new Conversation Spanish app. Within moments they had a full course of Spanish in their phones (which they were thankful for as their bags were loaded down with textbooks). It’s obvious that apps are convenient for self-study, but what about in the classroom? According to the teachers at Tuesday’s edchat, apps are extremely useful in class. Teachers who have the privileged permission to use mobile devices in the classroom talked about using them for live polls, for digital story-telling, for texting, and teaching skills (such as mapping) in a more engaging way. But truthfully, as one teacher reminded us, there are many more teachers (mainly those who are not involved in edchat) who do not want mobile devices in the classroom than those who do. They have several concerns. Devices can cause distraction. They can be used for cheating (or finding sites that are non-educational). Many schools don’t have the funds or the wifi. Furthermore, teachers don’t have time to fit extra lessons or activities into their standards-based schedule, even if it would keep the kids from falling asleep in their textbooks. But alas, times are changing, and as another wise tweeter responded, calculators (once questioned for similar reasons) will soon be a thing of the past. As educators of today we mustn’t forget that the teens who are attached to their phones are our next generation of teachers. For many of us, myself included, they will be the teachers of our own children.   
One of the reasons why I believe that mobile devices are here to stay is that the youth in this world really do expect things to be quick and accessible. They want fast Internet and dinner on the table after homework, before soccer, but not when The Bachelor is on because they’re getting too many texts about it.  Despite my involvement in developing apps for English learners, I had assumed wrongly that most learners would use these apps for self-study, on-the-go sessions in between other priorities. Today’s discussion opened my eyes to the possibilities of students and teachers using mobile phones inside the classrooms. This knowledge will change how I think of the content and functionality for the next app that I help build. As one wise tweeter mentioned, these devices are already in their backpacks. Rather than coming up with new rules and punishments, it  is our duty as educators of the mobile generation to address the skeptics and find solutions to the concerns of using mobile devices in the classroom. I agree with @markbrumley who tweeted, “I think mobile devices in the classroom are inevitable. In 10 yrs this discussion will be silly! “ 

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:  

  • Admin is more interested in banning and punishing the use of mobile devices than exploring possibilities 
  • Mobile devices don’t have to be phones 
  • Real concerns include cost of devices, text plans, access to wifi, equal opportunity, finding quality apps with appropriate content 
  • Apps for certain subjects such as geography, language learning, math are extremely useful
  • Teachers use mobile devices for vocabulary review, polls, cameras, gps, mapping, dictionaries 
  • Question of who should own the devices used in class. Student or School?
  • Will mobile devices make life easier for cheaters?
  • Mobile devices as an inevitable tool in the future classroom (the new calculator debate)
  • Plenty of opportunities for keeping youth interested in education 
  • Mobile devices offer classroom management tools for teachers

Here is a selection of some of the comments:  

@MrROg#rs:  #edchat if admins r scared of phones, remove phone argument. say ipad, ipod, netbook other mobile tech
@SECottrell:   I was told “don’t hold your breath” re: the hopeless tech ban at my school. 3 demerits if I see the phone, 5 if it rings. 
@Ron_Peck:  @CrudBasher What if they can’t afford the cell service and don’t have one?  
@cybraryman1:   Need to first have a policy on use of Smartphones in classroom that is set by students, teachers, admin and parents. 
@cwilkeson:   our administration is so focused on punishing students who possess a smartphone, how can we turn them into learning tools? 
@cpoole27:   We make Our students “turn themselves off” when they come to school, they turn of their phones, their computers, their tech… 
@mrdfleming:   Maybe lots of people are from much richer areas – to me using smartphones in class is just another way to have uneven playing field 
@cpoole27 :  @olafelch they loved the instant feedback, the collaboration with other students, and the lack of pressure in discussing topics 
@CrudBasher:  Smart phones are basically computers, so yes I think every child should have a computer. 
@ColinTGraham:   Much of the discussion around smartphone use reminds me of the introduction of calculators to the maths class, 30 years ago 
@olafelsch:   @ColinTGraham Don’t see the link between smartphones and calculators. The access issue is key here. 
@Folmerica:  Camera function on most smartphones makes the so valuable as a student creation tool. 
@CrudBasher:   Once every child has a smartphone, classrms change from teacher-centric to student-centric. #revolution 
@Ron_Pech:   So how do we avoid students using the phones for socializing instead of instruction? 
@chrismayoh:   If school does not own the device is it more difficult to protect children and impose sanctions for improper use? 
@joe_bower :  @Ron_Peck we dont teach kids not to socialize but rather we teach them to learn by socializing. Like we are now. 
@joe_bower:   Why r tchrs horrified by prospect that kids socialize with technology. How popular would #edchat be if we didn’t socialize while lrning?
@tony_valdrerama:   Maybe we need to develop material (lesson plans, etc.) that include smart phones as a central part of the lesson, a needed tool 
@SECottrell:   Cheating is a character issue that won’t be solved by taking away effective tools 
@MatthiasHeil:  In order to keep cost at zero, there needs to be sufficient Wifi at schools!  (absolutely!)
@Folmerica:  I’m worried that the focus on this type of technology will widen the gap between the haves and the have nots. 
@CrudBasher:  Creating apps is getting easier and cheaper. It’ll be in the hands of teachers soon! 
@ryflinn:  #edchat my kinder students are like teachers they love to have the technology in their little fingers
@regparsons: Presenter at ISTE had a gr8 idea: Have kids make a list of all ways a smartphone can enhance learning. Can’t remember who? 
@ruddler: #edchat Cellphones can be useful. The problem is that the teachers that do not want them in school are louder than those that do.
@Ron_Peck: Bottom line we need to move this technology from the backpacks to the tables and integrate them into our lessons. 
@Mamacita: Why not allow students to use whichever method they want? Books, electronics. . . as long as they’re on the same “page.” heh 
@gbengel: Smartphones are a small window to the world for our students. It connects them, socializes them, teaches them, informs them 
@ESLlibrary: What about apps for homework? Surely there would be less resistance. 
@HPTeachExchange: PEW reserach shows smartphones very prevalent in low socio-economic areas. Small digital divide with mobile? 
@CrudBasher: @kalinagoenglish: #edchat With wireless video u can hook up phone to larger screen. Coming soon!


To follow the complete discussion see here  

For the stats on #edchat participation see here  

As ever, there were some great links shared: 

@ShellTerrell Forest Meet Digital Trees  

@chrismayoh iPod touch project  

@ColinTGraham Minorities Favor Phones in using Web 

@ConsultantsE  8yr olds using smart phones 

@muppetmasteruk MILK 

@rliberni  German Collection of Phone Usage in Classroom 

@drtimony Joo Joo 

@DJ345  Synching apps to several ipods 

@cybraryman1  Cellphones in the Classroom Resources 

@briankotts  The Future of Learning is Informal and Mobile 

@tony_valderrama An Example of Cellphones for teaching Math 

@briankotts Teens and their mobile phones 

@briankotts   Time to leave the lap top behind 

@jackiegerstein Taking IT Mobile Youth Mobile Phones and Social Change 

@SISQITMAN: http://learninginhand.com 

@ESLLibrary  Top 10 Interesting iPhone/iPod Touch apps for ELL 

@TwitClass Wiffiti 

@ShellTerrell  101 best Android Apps for Education 

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer who specializes in online materials for the ELT industry. She works part-time as a content developer and media consultant for Red River Press.com. Tara maintains ESL-Library’s blog, podcast, and newsletter and helps out with the mobile learning division, The English App. She is also the administrator of MyEC, where she creates monthly writing challenges for English learners and explores the challenges of teaching English in an e-community. 


New to Edchat

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts! 

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.  

What do you think? Leave a comment!

July 1, 2010

How can K12 & Higher Ed better work together to promote positive change in education?


6-29-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

K-12 through Higher Education one big happy Edu family!

Tuesday’s #edchat topic was a difficult one with a very wide scope. It was also a frustrating one with twitter problems causing all twitter clients to freeze and run slow. Despite the numerous problems we kept on with the discussion and our very intrepid guest blogger Tania Ash (@tcash) has produced an amazing summary for us. I think you will agree that it is a magnificent job! Thank you Tania. Tania is a great evangelist for the use of technology in education (you can read her bio at the end of her post).

Though part of one big education system, K12 and Higher Ed are sometimes viewed as two separate entities that may or may not be working hand in hand. For many students, the transition between K12 and Higher Ed is a difficult one. Students entering Higher Ed must deal with new learning environments and approaches, demanding curricula – many factors intersecting that can affect student performance. Though K12 and Higher ed share the common goal to produce competent, confident and productive members of society, there is a definite need for improvement in terms of the ways in which they work together to strive towards positive change.

Though this #edchat conversation was about K12 and Higher Ed working together to promote positive change, there was also related discussion about pedagogical practice in Higher Education. Many edchatters found fault with the more traditional, lecture styles used in Higher Education. Higher Ed teachers were perceived as being very specialized in their domain-specific subject matter, but edchatters called for professional development, collaboration and networking for teachers at all levels (including Higher Ed) to become better pedagogues. In a follow-up blog post, @readywriting, a college professor pointed out that college professors are under pressure to conduct research instead of improving teaching, and that, while university professors may need to work at becoming better teachers, they should also be given credit for being passionate and competent in their field.

As is usually the case for #edchat conversations, the hour ended all too quickly with many new ideas and questions to mull over. Thanks to @ShellTerrell and @rliberni for being outstanding moderators!

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • General agreement that there is a gap between K-12 and Higher Ed
  • There needs to be more dialogue and collaboration between K-12 and Higher Ed
  • Professional development and knowledge of sound pedagogical practice are necessary at all levels
  • Though it is important for teachers to be well versed in their domain content, they must also understand how to service all learners. This is true for teachers in K-12 as well as in Higher Ed.
  • Transition between K-12 and Higher Ed must be well supported
  • K-12 and Higher Ed are part of a same system working towards student achievement
Here is a selection of some of the comments:
With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.
@GaryBrannigan:  Communication is key among all levels of Ed.: grade to grade, level to level

@rliberni: I think one end of the progression that is edu should feed the other – it’s a cycle

@Todd_conaway:  Less blaming, more conversation, more integration of  long known K12  practices in Higher ed.
@cybraryman1: Schools need to know from higher ed how to better prepare students for their level of learning
@Parentella:  Perhaps start mtgs with transitional teachers 2 brainstorm ideas on smoothing out the transition
@Todd_conaway: What looks more like a “work” or “life” environment, a K12 classroom or a college classroom?
@Ron_Peck:  Higher ed and k12 need to be on the same page of what the positive change looks like.
@ShellTerrell: In most Higher Ed lecturing is still the main instructional practice! We need more prob solv & discovery

@lindseybp: Experience each other’s daily realities-do regular onsite visits combined w/online community 2 cont conversation. Share curriculum

@mhuskerfan: Higher ed and K-12 both need to shift teaching methodologies to more PBL, real life applications to meet our 21st Century Learners.
@ColinTGraham: Pastoral support is also important, since many Ss will be moving to an unfamiliar environ. at college. Should work w/ HS b4hand…
@cybraryman1: There should be joint meetings, workshops, edcamps to bring educators on all levels together
@zecool: Too many times, focus is on institution (Prim., HS, HE). Ultimately, should be only 1 focus: the student. It’s a learning continuum!
@vickyloras: K-12 should be a smooth transition to higher ed, no discrepancies and lack of connection should show at all
@K12Learn: Both K12 & Higher Ed need 2 explore integrating tech throughout- that is what this generation knows & uses &  it will continue …
@johnsquared1829: Could student teaching be expanded more? Like med school…different ‘levels’, lots more time; more one-on-one w/ pros
@tcash: Working together on joint projects – common objectives – might help open dialogue btwn Higher Ed & K-12
@Dramanique: I think college advisors should visit HS to discuss w/ counselors what stdts should b focusing on for future majors.
@Ron_Peck: Positive reform can happen and begin with better student teaching focus.
@cybraryman1 There should be learning exchanges & opportunities for lower level students with Higher Ed profs. Seen this with Science
@ColinTGraham Maybe the push for reform in Higher Ed needs to come from the students themselves by showing them other ways of learning in K12…

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

My request is somewhat unrelated to the topic at hand. I am currently working on a research project for a graduate course. My goal is to explore the potential of using Web 2.0 technologies to develop metacognition in learners, via the creation and use of an electronic portfolio and student-led conferences. Any relevant questions would be really great! For example:

  • How do we measure metacognition? Then, how do we help students develop metacognition and assess?
  • Should learning portfolios be lifelong portfolios that students can take with them wherever they go? What kind of tools can be used to create portfolios that are portable and can evolve with the learner?
  • What are the best ways to encourage students to reflect on, and take charge of, their own learning?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared:

Todd_conaway: @cybraryman1 working on it! http://bit.ly/5DYEQw
EdTechEvolution: Using the principles of ANDRAGOGY, not pedagogy, for ALL learners, including kids: http://bit.ly/V2cSv #iste10 #edchat #edtech
davidwees:  6 concrete things you can do to help with #edreform.  Please add to the list and share your ideas. http://bit.ly/c44iPK #edchat #iste10
ColinTGraham: Shameless plug! #mathchat Time: http://bit.ly/b8F4mk Discussion ideas: http://bit.ly/acK52S Twibbon: http://twb.ly/9oWRFo #edchat #ukedchat
wdesoto: #edchat Survey: “What Parents Want from Schools.” http://bit.ly/cGwW0s
edudemic: Brown University Goes Google http://goo.gl/fb/e1ucX #edchat
EdOptionsInc: RT @whatedsaid 10 ways to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning http://bit.ly/bfWxA8 #edchat
europeaantje: RT @edudemic: The Ultimate Guide To Giving Outstanding Presentations http://goo.gl/fb/Ep97P #edchat
ShellTerrell: @graingered many educators have begun projects & collaborating as result of #edchat you can join many here http://edupln.ning.com/
hoprea: Guest” blog post: Are you ready for real conversation?: http://wp.me/pC2OH-2T #education #edchat #tefl #elt
KARISTUBBS: RT @jdthomas7: QUIZ: Tech Savvy Teaching: How Do You Rank? | Edutopia – http://goo.gl/wx5O #edchat #edtech #iste10
Tech_Academy: 8 Social Media Tips for Higher Education According to Students http://budurl.com/sfta #smcedu #edchat #edtech #iste #elearning #education
alexgfrancisco: Teachers Helping Teachers: The PLN Road Map http://goo.gl/2iu5 #edchat #education #teachers #ntchat
jwrezz: RT @TeachPaperless: New Post: “You Have Seen the Future” http://ht.ly/24Sru #ISTE10 #edchat
alexgfrancisco: Dissecting the 21st Century Teacher http://goo.gl/JW91 #edchat #edtech #ntchat #teachers

My name is Tania Ash (@tcash). I am a 5th grade teacher in Rabat, Morocco. I love teaching in an international school because of the built-in diversity and the stimulating challenges inherent in being part of such a transient community. I facilitate a student-led ecoAction group that has successfully undertaken projects such as bringing paper and plastic recycling to our school community. I am also the lucky mom of a fantastic preschooler. In my spare time, I am a graduate student in educational technology, currently doing research on the potential of Web 2.0 tools to improve student learning. I rely on my PLN, especially the Twitter community, for my daily source of inspiration. I am honored to have been asked to create this guest post!

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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