Teacher. Aministrator. Researcher. PhD Student. Technoloducator.


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10 posts tagged technology

I think a fair understanding of the teacher trade is that its members are collaborative by nature. There are also a ton of websites now dedicated to sharing our best stuff simply because we value education everywhere. One transitional hump to sharing online could be turning that desire into motivation, and Teachers pay Teachers might do just that. Are you unsure if others might want to use your lesson on a Russian formalist reading of chapter 4 of Catcher in the Rye? Post it to Teachers pay Teachers, and let your earnings serve as quantitative feedback. Then connect it to Common Core for submission to LearnZillion, or make a video of it for Teaching Channel. See what I did there? Have some thoughts about posting plans for profit?

TeachingChannel honestly has so much on it, that there is no proper overview that I can write up in a newsletter article. It just must be seen for itself. 
In their own words,
"Teaching Channel is a video showcase — on the Internet and TV — of innovative and effective teaching practices in America’s schools.
With the help of the Tch community, our mission is to revolutionize how teachers learn, connect, and inspire each other to improve the outcomes for all K-12 students across America.

In order to accomplish this mission, we have three simple goals, all of them reliant on input from teachers:

  • Build professional learning resources that teachers want
  • Deepen and improve opportunities for teacher learning
  • Elevate and celebrate teachers in our society

Our videos are produced by a unique team of professionals—a collaborative effort between video production experts, education advisors, and the classroom teachers themselves.

Our video library offers educators a wide range of subjects for grades K-12. The videos also include information on alignment with Common Core State Standards and ancillary material for teachers to use in their own classrooms.

Teaching Channel Presents, a weekly one-hour program featuring Tch videos, airs on PBS stations in nearly 75 million homes across the United States.”
Do you see something truly inspirational or interesting on Tch?

Just for Fun

Teaching can tend to take our lives over. When we aren’t grading and planning outside of school, we’re looking for professional development to improve our craft. I’m carving out some important me time in the next couple months, and I might try to get the hang of something I’ve always wanted to learn - web and application design and development. Treehouse compiled over 700 training videos and keeps you on track by awarding badges for your skill progression. Badges work for my Battlefield 3 addiction, so I’m feeling pretty confident about this better use of my time. There’s no question that the skill could come in handy as the line that separates education and technology becomes continuously blurry. It has a pretty hefty price tag, so I still need to determine its full worth.
Are you interested in trying this out? How about other methods for learning outside of school? What will you do over the break to keep yourself spry? What motivates you?

Do you have an online presence?

We place deserved concern on student awareness of internet dangers. We want them to feel safe and to recognize that the information they share online can have measurable impact beyond the computer screen, and we can only imagine how such presence will impact their futures. Beyond safety, we should be helping children understand how to market themselves, and use the immense power of the internet for their own good. What about applying these same ideas in our own lives? 
The internet can still be an unsteady, uncomfortable place for some teachers. For others, the internet has been something that we’ve grown up alongside, so the line between appropriate and reputation-killing can be a blurry one. Moving from getting rid of the bad to making our online presence a tool for our own success can be a broad leap, but this is something that may very well be a requirement for survival in coming years. 
First, get rid of the bad!
You have to make sure that you are in control of what can be seen about you, and that includes considering who can see you. If you have a personal social networking account that you use for friends, do not add students! Social networking is such a natural part of our lives, that you will likely post something that you will regret later. In active, face-to-face social circles, we can manage the way we interact with different groups based on the reactions we pick up on from those peers through experience: we can be professional with colleagues, firm yet caring with students, irresponsible and crazy with one group of friends, and intellectual with other groups. When we expose all of the aspects of our personalities in one location to be seen by many different social groups, without regulating ourselves through the use of visual cues, those inhibitors that alert us to compartmentalize our behavior are absent. When we’re making posts, uploading pictures, commenting with friends, etc., our audience receives a full compendium of behaviors that we might not otherwise wish to expose them to. One method for regulating those interactions is to know your network’s privacy settings and methods for organizing your friends into groups based on visibility. If this is the method you choose, be careful! Privacy settings and visibility features can change without you knowing, and you can never be entirely sure that these features are working effectively for long. Another possibility is to not add students at all, or to create a separate profile specifically for students.
What do you have visible to the public that you wouldn’t show kids in the classroom or during a break at school? A profile picture of you with alcohol? Comments about other teachers or negativity about any aspect of the sc
hool on your wall? Not only are you sending the wrong message to students, but you’re sending a message that might get in the way of you being hired at your next dream job.
Once you’ve cleaned house, and all of the things that can hurt your reputation are gone, let the internet work for you.

The online resume

Love it or hate it, LinkedIn has staying power. If you don’t have a full resume here that you update regularly, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Group membership

There are more educational communities than you can count. Don’t overreach, but find a place that makes you feel comfortable and confident where you can make occasional contributions.

Examples of practice

Many Learning Management Systems (see my other post about them) allow you to make aspects of your course publicly viewable. Practice discretion to make sure that you do not reveal information about your students, but let the world know about the highlights of your practice. Do you flip your classroom? Share your videos. Are you fantastic with bringing your physical classroom to life? Take pictures and share on a blog. Do you have a few lessons that you just know other teachers will love? Share them on one of the many lesson and resource-sharing websites out there! Let all the hard work you already do represent you online by essentially using the internet as your personal portfolio. 

Share your expertise

Creating and keeping up with a blog is an excellent way to gain presence, and it allows you to store all those Musts from above in a centralized location. Be cautious though: if you choose a blog that encourages discussions with other practitioners (a good one will) don’t get sucked into arguments that you wouldn’t want your boss (current or future) to see in a professional meeting. 

Here I am!

How can people find you on the internet? If you’re using your presence to market yourself, then you want to be found! Sites like give the world a central point for access to your online, professional outlets.
Your email signature is another great point of information - so please, I beg of you, clean it up…no 18-point comic sans in painful colors!

Do you already make the grade and have additional tips to share? Do you disagree with concerns about online presence?

Collaboration Tool

Did you know that the Prezi you love has a collaborative editing feature? Like many other online workspaces - MindmeisterLiveMinutes, and Vyew - Prezi allows users to simultaneously collaborate and edit presentations in real time. Now, PowerPoint is officially a relic by comparison. They also now have an education community and you can sign in with your teacher email to access more features for less money. Just make sure to avoid these Prezi mistakes.

Do you think you can use Prezi to help kids create together online? Am I too harsh on PowerPoint?


IBtv is a brand new resource, where schools and teachers can upload videos of the IB community in action. There are many inspiring and interesting stories to be captured and this site is dedicated to showcasing videos from around the world. If you have an IB related video that you think should be featured on IBtv, please get in touch! Don’t forget to let the rest of us know about it, too!IBTV

Teaching the Brain

I wanted to share a couple videos in this newsletter in which experts explore ideas about brain development. There are two names I’ve come across that may soon have a big impact on education, if they don’t already.
Nicholas Carr has arguably (emphasis on “arguably”) become the expert on our tech-savvy world’s impact on the human brain, most notably with his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and his recent book, The Shallows.
Here is Carr talking with Google’s Peter Norvig, Director of Research.

For an entertaining, shorter alternative, this is Carr on The Colbert Report, where Steven is able to articulate some reasonable counterarguments hidden by humor. 

Daniel Willingham is a professor at the University of Virginia, and his recent book, Why Don’t Students Like School?, analyzes brain function in the classroom. In this video (access the link by clicking this publicity photo), Willingham discusses the student brain and multitasking. 

How much should cognitive research influence our pedagogy? How do we achieve balance in teaching students to use technology? Is this the place for a Facebook joke? Too soon? Are kids stuck in the shallows of thought as a result of internet dependency, and if so, what do we do about it? Or, are these guys completely wrong? Comment below!
YouTube for Schools provides schools access to hundreds of thousands of free educational videos from YouTube EDU. These videos come from from well-known organizations like StanfordPBS and TED as well as from up-and-coming YouTube partners with millions of views, like Khan Academy, Steve Spangler Science and Numberphile. has hundreds of playlists of videos that align with common educational standards, organized by subject and grade. These playlists were created by teachers for teachers so you can spend more time teaching and less time searching.
If you need help signing up, just let me know.

How do we use videos in the classroom? How do we achieve balance in our use of videos or technology in general? Add to the discussion!

Global Engage

The Global Engage website supports members of the IB community, and particularly teachers, in engaging with our global world. You will find information, resources, ideas and opinions, links, and suggestions for action concerned with global issues - and reports of actions taken by the IB community. Check it out, and if you think you have found a great use for it in the classroom, share with us!


Mindmeister is a collaborative online mind mapping tool that can be used as a graphic organizer or collaborative brainstorming for students, or a platform for peer discussion among teachers. Collaboration on any mind map occurs in real-time. Color-coded effects will highlight changes by other users within seconds, and the integrated live chat will let you exchange thoughts with your peers directly. The history of a mind map is stored forever on MindMeister’s servers. You can infinitely undo all changes; revert to any particular prior revision and even playback the entire evolution of your mind map. MindMeister also works on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and any Android device. Try it out, and let us know what you think! Also, if you are hoping to find that bit of technology that can help in a specific arena, email a request. 

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