Tag: digital leadership

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The best advantage is the ability to combine your human abilities with the best tools available.

In the world of chess, the best players in the world can no longer beat the best machines in the world.

However, a combination …

Read More Combine Your Skills With Technology

This post is sponsored in partnership with Metaverse.
I’ve been experimenting recently with the Metaverse app, and I think it’s a fantastic learning tool for teachers and students. Metaverse allows users to create augmented reality experiences without having to write any of their own code. The possibilities are literally endless for the types of creative projects you can develop.


So how does it work? The Metaverse Studio provides a drag and drop interface to build your experience. You simply select different components to add to your “storyboard” and then you link them together.

There are all sorts of components to work with. You can even embed your own videos or select videos from YouTube. 





After you create an experience in the studio, it can be shared in a variety of ways. You can use a link or QR code, send them through email, or even embed them in your website or Learning Management System.

To interact with the experience, the user will need the Metaverse App (Android/iOS). Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can tap the link or scan the code to get started. It’s really fun and easy.

Teachers and students are creating all sorts of amazing things with Metaverse. You could make a breakout game, create a trivia/review game, develop a scavenger hunt, interactive story, and much more.



One school even used Metaverse to create a tour of their school for incoming freshmen. And students were the ones who developed the experience for their peers.

Just recently, Metaverse added a new feature to allow teachers to see all of the projects their students are working on, in one place. It’s called Collections. 





While collections is a paid feature (Metaverse is otherwise FREE), this addition makes Metaverse even more powerful as a student creation station. 




So here’s what I love about Metaverse…

1. It develops creative thinking.

Students need more opportunities to use creativity in the classroom. Metaverse provides a platform with endless options for creativity. Students can demonstrate their learning in new and interesting ways. They can make their own game, scavenger hunt, or story to show what they’re learning.

2. It develops reasoning skills.

Metaverse has a “storyboard” format that requires lots of if/then logical thinking. To create an experience, students will be using basic thinking skills used in coding, only without the coding. Everything is drag and drop. My cognitive reasoning skills were getting a good workout as I experimented with the tool.

3. It motivates learners.

Metaverse is a fun way to learn. I showed it to my own kids and they were immediately interested in how it worked and all of the different components that could be linked together. It definitely has a coolness factor that many other education apps lack. Students could work on their project individually or in teams.

4. It helps learners apply what they know.

It’s been often said, “No one cares what you know, they only care what you can do with what you know.” Metaverse is a great way to have students do something with what they know. There will no doubt be deeper learning when students create something that demonstrates their learning.

5. It’s a great alternative to traditional paper/pencil assessment.

Metaverse projects are a great way to assess learning. The teacher could develop a rubric for the essential learning outcomes and how those will be assessed in the Metaverse experience. As students work on the projects, the teacher could provide ongoing feedback. And students could provide feedback to each other too.

Overall, Metaverse is a great way to shift instruction from learning as a delivery system to learning that is a discovery system. The opportunities for engagement and creativity using this tool are unlimited.



Question: Have you tried Metaverse yet with your students? If not, you should give it a try. Right now you can try out Collections for free for one month using the following code: ARforEDU. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 5 Reasons Metaverse is the Perfect Way to Bring AR to Your Classroom



A few months ago, I took a group of teachers to visit the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta. It was an amazing experience to see the school up close and learn along with educators from all across the country.



During the opening, Ron Clark shared that visiting the school is kind of like going to the grocery store. When you go, you don’t take home everything that is on the shelves. You pick out the things you need, the things you like, or the things you want. But you have lots of options.



Everyone is not going to fill their shopping cart with the same items at the grocery store. Likewise, not everything that happens at RCA will work for every teacher, every classroom, or every school.



However, there are some amazing selections for you to consider. And if you are passionate, creative, and inspired, you will see all sorts of ways you can bring pieces of RCA to your work. 



And if you’ve lost a little of your passion, creativity, or inspiration, you might just rekindle that too!



I think the same can be said for building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and connecting on Twitter. Not every idea you encounter on Twitter will go in your shopping cart. 



Some things might not work for you right now. You’ll pass over those. 



Some things might seem too big to fit in your cart right now. You can consider those again in the future.



You might only go shopping once a week at first. Later, you may want to stop in daily to see what’s new.



That’s what’s great about it. It’s completely up to you. And customized for you. With a little skill, you can get out of it what you need, whenever you need it.

Twitter is actually more like Amazon than your neighborhood grocery. Part of Amazon’s mission is to be a place where “people can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” 



Twitter is like that for educators. You can connect with people who are like-minded and get ideas and support for just about anything you want to accomplish as an educator.



And you can do it just about any time and any place that works for you.



It’s a total game-changer. 



Jeff Nelson adapted the following list from my satirical post about Twitter PD. I admit I had fun with the satire, but he put a positive spin on it. There are just so many reasons for educators to use this tool. It’s such a great way to grow and learn.






Who else thinks Twitter is a game-changer? How has it impacted your work as an educator? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Twitter Is Like Going to the Grocery Store



A few months ago, I took a group of teachers to visit the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta. It was an amazing experience to see the school up close and learn along with educators from all across the country.



During the opening, Ron Clark shared that visiting the school is kind of like going to the grocery store. When you go, you don’t take home everything that is on the shelves. You pick out the things you need, the things you like, or the things you want. But you have lots of options.



Everyone is not going to fill their shopping cart with the same items at the grocery store. Likewise, not everything that happens at RCA will work for every teacher, every classroom, or every school.



However, there are some amazing selections for you to consider. And if you are passionate, creative, and inspired, you will see all sorts of ways you can bring pieces of RCA to your work. 



And if you’ve lost a little of your passion, creativity, or inspiration, you might just rekindle that too!



I think the same can be said for building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and connecting on Twitter. Not every idea you encounter on Twitter will go in your shopping cart. 



Some things might not work for you right now. You’ll pass over those. 



Some things might seem too big to fit in your cart right now. You can consider those again in the future.



You might only go shopping once a week at first. Later, you may want to stop in daily to see what’s new.



That’s what’s great about it. It’s completely up to you. And customized for you. With a little skill, you can get out of it what you need, whenever you need it.

Twitter is actually more like Amazon than your neighborhood grocery. Part of Amazon’s mission is to be a place where “people can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” 



Twitter is like that for educators. You can connect with people who are like-minded and get ideas and support for just about anything you want to accomplish as an educator.



And you can do it just about any time and any place that works for you.



It’s a total game-changer. 



Jeff Nelson adapted the following list from my satirical post about Twitter PD. I admit I had fun with the satire, but he put a positive spin on it. There are just so many reasons for educators to use this tool. It’s such a great way to grow and learn.






Who else thinks Twitter is a game-changer? How has it impacted your work as an educator? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Twitter Is Like Going to the Grocery Store



A few months ago, I took a group of teachers to visit the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta. It was an amazing experience to see the school up close and learn along with educators from all across the country.



During the opening, Ron Clark shared that visiting the school is kind of like going to the grocery store. When you go, you don’t take home everything that is on the shelves. You pick out the things you need, the things you like, or the things you want. But you have lots of options.



Everyone is not going to fill their shopping cart with the same items at the grocery store. Likewise, not everything that happens at RCA will work for every teacher, every classroom, or every school.



However, there are some amazing selections for you to consider. And if you are passionate, creative, and inspired, you will see all sorts of ways you can bring pieces of RCA to your work. 



And if you’ve lost a little of your passion, creativity, or inspiration, you might just rekindle that too!



I think the same can be said for building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and connecting on Twitter. Not every idea you encounter on Twitter will go in your shopping cart. 



Some things might not work for you right now. You’ll pass over those. 



Some things might seem too big to fit in your cart right now. You can consider those again in the future.



You might only go shopping once a week at first. Later, you may want to stop in daily to see what’s new.



That’s what’s great about it. It’s completely up to you. And customized for you. With a little skill, you can get out of it what you need, whenever you need it.

Twitter is actually more like Amazon than your neighborhood grocery. Part of Amazon’s mission is to be a place where “people can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” 



Twitter is like that for educators. You can connect with people who are like-minded and get ideas and support for just about anything you want to accomplish as an educator.



And you can do it just about any time and any place that works for you.



It’s a total game-changer. 



Jeff Nelson adapted the following list from my satirical post about Twitter PD. I admit I had fun with the satire, but he put a positive spin on it. There are just so many reasons for educators to use this tool. It’s such a great way to grow and learn.






Who else thinks Twitter is a game-changer? How has it impacted your work as an educator? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Twitter Is Like Going to the Grocery Store





In writing my new book Future Driven, I shared many of the great things I see educators doing that are changing education for the better and helping to prepare students for the world they are facing. And we all know it’s a challenging, complex world out there. 



In spite of the immense challenges, I remain very hopeful for the future. And I believe educators are making a huge difference every day to help kids be ready to thrive. But of course, there is plenty more work to be done. In this post, I share a list of things that are themes from my book. If you share these ideals, you’re likely a future driven educator.



1. You are not satisfied with the status quo.



You want to take action now to help create a better future. You believe the choices you make today are helping to create a better tomorrow for you and your students. You want to make a difference and add value to others.






2. You believe in the power of building strong relationships.



You know everything rises and falls on the quality of relationships in your classroom in school. You seek to lift up others, bring people together, and connect in authentic, meaningful ways. And no matter how great you believe your relationships are, you are always striving to make them better.



3. Your methods are less important to you than your mission.



You are passionate about kids and learning. Your mission is bold and daring. You want to be a change maker. You want to make learning irresistible for kids. You don’t hang on to practices because they work best for you. You explore new practices because they might work best for kids.






4. You want your students to learn more than content.



You don’t just develop great lessons. You develop great experiences. You want students to think deeply and develop perseverance, empathy, creativity, and curiosity. You want learning to connect to students’ lives in authentic, meaningful ways.



5. You want your students to love learning more than they fear mistakes.



You are willing to take risks and learn from mistakes and you encourage your students to do the same. You know learning is messy. Mistakes are part of the process, and perfectionism is often the enemy of progress. 



6. You are mindful of changes in the world.




We are in an era of accelerating change. The world in a complex, uncertain place. You know it’s important for you to be aware of how these changes will impact your students’ futures. You chart the course for learning with the new realities of the world in mind. 



7. Your students know you believe in them.



When your students know you believe in them, it brings out the best in them. Your encouragement makes all the difference. The person who influences you the most is the person who believes in you. They will rise to your expectations. You see them for who they are becoming and not just who they are right now. You see a bright future for your students.






8. You have a long term perspective.



You do what’s best for your students in the long run. You see your work as an investment in a brighter future and a better tomorrow. Some people hold onto the past and the good ole days. Others are only concerned with the pressing matters of today. But you see out into what could be and want to help make it happen. 



9. You believe students should be more excited about learning tomorrow than they are today.



When students develop passion for learning, it doesn’t just impact the here and now. A passionate, skilled learner is able to handle just about anything life throws at them. 



10. You believe learning is for life and not just the next grade level.



Being a student is temporary, but learning is for life. We are just getting students ready for a test, or college, or a career. We are preparing them for anything they might face. 






11. You are always striving to grow and learn.



You aren’t waiting around for your school to ‘develop’ you. You take ownership for your own personal and professional growth. You want to keep getting better so your students can be better too. You know when teachers are growing, that’s the best school improvement plan ever.

12. You want to inspire your students to create a brighter future and a better world.



Your students aren’t just ready for the future, they are ready to make a difference in the future. Pursuing truth, justice, and equality are essentials for you. You are helping to create the future by inspiring your students to be world changers.



13. You believe your attitude sets the tone.



You model the attitude and mindset you want to see in others. You are positive even when things are tough. You give of yourself to others without expecting anything in return.






14. You want to connect with other educators.



We are each other’s best resources. We must be collectively awesome. You want to partner with others and work together to create better schools and unstoppable learning. Nothing’s more powerful than a group of committed educators who believe they can solve any problem together.



15. You see yourself as a leader.



When you see something that could be better or a need that could be met, you are willing to step forward and lead. You are the type of person others want to follow, not because you have a position or title, but because of the strength of your character.



16. You see yourself as a digital leader.



You know that our world is increasingly digital and that seismic shifts are happening as a result of technological innovation. You want your students to know how to leverage their skills using digital tools. You want to model digital learning.






17. You value better thinking, not just right answers.



You start with questions and look to push thinking deeper. You want your students to be adaptable learners and skilled critical thinkers. It’s not just about getting a right answer. It’s about learning to solve problems and create knowledge.



What else is important to you as a future driven educator? Your voice matters. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 17 Signs You’re a Future Driven Educator





In writing my new book Future Driven, I shared many of the great things I see educators doing that are changing education for the better and helping to prepare students for the world they are facing. And we all know it’s a challenging, complex world out there. 



In spite of the immense challenges, I remain very hopeful for the future. And I believe educators are making a huge difference every day to help kids be ready to thrive. But of course, there is plenty more work to be done. In this post, I share a list of things that are themes from my book. If you share these ideals, you’re likely a future driven educator.



1. You are not satisfied with the status quo.



You want to take action now to help create a better future. You believe the choices you make today are helping to create a better tomorrow for you and your students. You want to make a difference and add value to others.






2. You believe in the power of building strong relationships.



You know everything rises and falls on the quality of relationships in your classroom in school. You seek to lift up others, bring people together, and connect in authentic, meaningful ways. And no matter how great you believe your relationships are, you are always striving to make them better.



3. Your methods are less important to you than your mission.



You are passionate about kids and learning. Your mission is bold and daring. You want to be a change maker. You want to make learning irresistible for kids. You don’t hang on to practices because they work best for you. You explore new practices because they might work best for kids.






4. You want your students to learn more than content.



You don’t just develop great lessons. You develop great experiences. You want students to think deeply and develop perseverance, empathy, creativity, and curiosity. You want learning to connect to students’ lives in authentic, meaningful ways.



5. You want your students to love learning more than they fear mistakes.



You are willing to take risks and learn from mistakes and you encourage your students to do the same. You know learning is messy. Mistakes are part of the process, and perfectionism is often the enemy of progress. 



6. You are mindful of changes in the world.




We are in an era of accelerating change. The world in a complex, uncertain place. You know it’s important for you to be aware of how these changes will impact your students’ futures. You chart the course for learning with the new realities of the world in mind. 



7. Your students know you believe in them.



When your students know you believe in them, it brings out the best in them. Your encouragement makes all the difference. The person who influences you the most is the person who believes in you. They will rise to your expectations. You see them for who they are becoming and not just who they are right now. You see a bright future for your students.






8. You have a long term perspective.



You do what’s best for your students in the long run. You see your work as an investment in a brighter future and a better tomorrow. Some people hold onto the past and the good ole days. Others are only concerned with the pressing matters of today. But you see out into what could be and want to help make it happen. 



9. You believe students should be more excited about learning tomorrow than they are today.



When students develop passion for learning, it doesn’t just impact the here and now. A passionate, skilled learner is able to handle just about anything life throws at them. 



10. You believe learning is for life and not just the next grade level.



Being a student is temporary, but learning is for life. We are just getting students ready for a test, or college, or a career. We are preparing them for anything they might face. 






11. You are always striving to grow and learn.



You aren’t waiting around for your school to ‘develop’ you. You take ownership for your own personal and professional growth. You want to keep getting better so your students can be better too. You know when teachers are growing, that’s the best school improvement plan ever.

12. You want to inspire your students to create a brighter future and a better world.



Your students aren’t just ready for the future, they are ready to make a difference in the future. Pursuing truth, justice, and equality are essentials for you. You are helping to create the future by inspiring your students to be world changers.



13. You believe your attitude sets the tone.



You model the attitude and mindset you want to see in others. You are positive even when things are tough. You give of yourself to others without expecting anything in return.






14. You want to connect with other educators.



We are each other’s best resources. We must be collectively awesome. You want to partner with others and work together to create better schools and unstoppable learning. Nothing’s more powerful than a group of committed educators who believe they can solve any problem together.



15. You see yourself as a leader.



When you see something that could be better or a need that could be met, you are willing to step forward and lead. You are the type of person others want to follow, not because you have a position or title, but because of the strength of your character.



16. You see yourself as a digital leader.



You know that our world is increasingly digital and that seismic shifts are happening as a result of technological innovation. You want your students to know how to leverage their skills using digital tools. You want to model digital learning.






17. You value better thinking, not just right answers.



You start with questions and look to push thinking deeper. You want your students to be adaptable learners and skilled critical thinkers. It’s not just about getting a right answer. It’s about learning to solve problems and create knowledge.



What else is important to you as a future driven educator? Your voice matters. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 17 Signs You’re a Future Driven Educator

It was a true honour to write the foreword for Jennifer Casa-Todd’s book, “Social Leadia“. Although I have already read it, I wanted to go through it again through Kindle and highlight some of my favourite quotes.  It is an amazing book to really promote important conversations on not only “digital citizenship” in schools, but … [Read more…]

Read More Equity At the Highest Level #SocialLeadia



More and more classrooms are gaining access to digital technology. And that’s a good thing. In a world that is increasingly reliant on digital tools, students need to have opportunities to learn with access to technology. Schools are adding Chromebooks, iPads, and other devices more than ever. Some are simply inviting students to bring their own devices (BYOD). But either way, access to devices is only growing in schools.



But the availability to devices doesn’t automatically result in more learning or better experiences for students or teachers. In fact, the addition of devices presents new challenges for educators to consider. When our school added Chromebooks for every student, we quickly learned we would need to address some new challenges. These obstacles can derail learning in classrooms where the potential pitfalls aren’t addressed or avoided.

If you are an educator who is fortunate enough to have access to digital devices for all your students to use, be ready to take steps to teach the procedures and routines that will help create success for using these tools in learning. It’s important to establish and maintain boundaries. And it’s also important to never make assumptions about what your students may or may not know about using the devices.

1. You can’t assume students are tech savvy just because they are digital natives.

It’s true that students in today’s classrooms are digital natives. They’ve grown up around technology and tend to have some skills that are helpful in navigating the digital world. However, it’s a mistake to think they are proficient in using any tool you might throw at them. For the most part, kids have used technology for social media or entertainment. Using technology for learning, productivity, or creativity might be new to them. So, when you plan for using a new tool in class, plan to spend some time orienting students to how it works.

Or, if you prefer for students learn the tool on their own, provide time for them to experiment with the tool and share out their learning to others in the class. It can be a good idea for students to “teach themselves” a digital tool. New tools and apps are being developed all the time. It’s great practice for students to be able to adapt to new tools and work on the intuitive thinking and problem solving required for “clicking around” and figuring it out. You might want to provide them with a list of tasks they should be able to do with the new tool. And it’s great for the teacher to model what to do when getting stuck. The ability to research solutions via Google or YouTube search can be very helpful.

2. Don’t just teach digital citizenship, embed digital citizenship.

It’s never a good idea to hand students devices without also supporting safe, responsible use. Many schools create their own digital citizenship curriculum or buy one to use with their students. There are also some excellent digital citizenship resources available for free online, from Google or from Common Sense Media for instance. Try to anticipate the problems your students might encounter in using the digital devices in your classroom. Be proactive and have discussions up front with your students about what is appropriate to share, how to judge validity of resources, how to respect content ownership and fair use, and how to report something that is threatening.

While it is important to teach digital citizenship up front, it’s also very important for teachers to monitor student use of technology and use teachable moments to address situations that may arise as students utilize tech. Often the most valuable lessons occur as opportunities arise to discuss relevant issues in authentic context. Digital citizenship should not just be a scheduled lesson. It should be part of everything we do related to the use of technology in the classroom. It’s something educators must model and discuss regularly. Moreover, it’s part of the bigger issue of developing good citizenship in the broadest sense. How are we helping students contribute as positive, productive members of communities online and in physical space?

3. Plan to manage distractions.

One of the most common challenges of implementing devices in the classroom is dealing with the potential distraction technology can present. While technology open up a whole new world of possibilities for learning, it also opens a world of possibilities for diversion away from classroom learning priorities. This prospect is very frightening for many teachers. How will I make sure my students aren’t wasting class time? How can I make sure students are watching content that is not appropriate for school? Will the presence of a screen take away from learning instead of accelerating learning?

Keep in mind distractions are nothing new in the classroom. Keeping students attention has always been a chief concern for teachers. Even in a class without devices, students can find a plethora of things to occupy their attention besides learning. The key to alleviate boredom is to stimulate curiosity and plan engaging lessons. Device distractions are no match for an amazing lesson! At least I think it pays to think like that.

Some schools also choose to purchase classroom monitoring software that allows teachers to view and even take control of student devices. This type of system typically allows teachers to monitor an entire classroom from the teacher’s computer. You may not have this type of software available, and I actually prefer not to utilize it. It’s better for the teacher to be able to move around the room and interact with students rather than being tethered to a computer monitoring students like Big Brother.

Here are some solid tips for managing distractions with no software required.

-Clearly communicate times when students should and should not be on devices.

-Clarify when it is okay to use earbuds and when earbuds should not be used.

-Set up the classroom so you can easily move around and behind students using devices. You need to be able to easily view student screens.

-Require students to only have one browser tab open at a time. This prevents switching tabs when the teacher is not watching to games or media that might be distracting.

-When transitioning from devices to whole group instruction or another activity, wait until you have everyone’s attention before you move on.

-Give specific instructions about which apps or sites should be used during a particular activity. Hold students accountable to use these tools only unless they ask permission to access another site.

These considerations are an essential part of establishing a strong culture of learning in the digital classroom. Other issues will also arise like caring for devices, dealing with tech questions, managing battery life, etc. The most important thing is to work with students to establish classroom expectations and revisit them consistently. It works best when teachers can develop a shared responsibility with students for using devices responsibly and productively. Just like any other classroom behavior, it’s not enough to proclaim a rule and never discuss it again. Students will need reminders and guidance to be successful.

Ultimately, the opportunity to develop digital learning skills is invaluable to students. Students will need to be able to successfully use devices for learning and productivity for the rest of their lives. Although there are challenges with implementing technology in the classroom, with the right approach, teachers can help students become strong digital learners.



Question: What other tips would you share about creating a safe, positive, and productive culture for digital learning? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got to add. Together we are stronger!

Read More 3 Classroom Tips for Stronger Digital Learning



More and more classrooms are gaining access to digital technology. And that’s a good thing. In a world that is increasingly reliant on digital tools, students need to have opportunities to learn with access to technology. Schools are adding Chromebooks, iPads, and other devices more than ever. Some are simply inviting students to bring their own devices (BYOD). But either way, access to devices is only growing in schools.



But the availability to devices doesn’t automatically result in more learning or better experiences for students or teachers. In fact, the addition of devices presents new challenges for educators to consider. When our school added Chromebooks for every student, we quickly learned we would need to address some new challenges. These obstacles can derail learning in classrooms where the potential pitfalls aren’t addressed or avoided.

If you are an educator who is fortunate enough to have access to digital devices for all your students to use, be ready to take steps to teach the procedures and routines that will help create success for using these tools in learning. It’s important to establish and maintain boundaries. And it’s also important to never make assumptions about what your students may or may not know about using the devices.

1. You can’t assume students are tech savvy just because they are digital natives.

It’s true that students in today’s classrooms are digital natives. They’ve grown up around technology and tend to have some skills that are helpful in navigating the digital world. However, it’s a mistake to think they are proficient in using any tool you might throw at them. For the most part, kids have used technology for social media or entertainment. Using technology for learning, productivity, or creativity might be new to them. So, when you plan for using a new tool in class, plan to spend some time orienting students to how it works.

Or, if you prefer for students learn the tool on their own, provide time for them to experiment with the tool and share out their learning to others in the class. It can be a good idea for students to “teach themselves” a digital tool. New tools and apps are being developed all the time. It’s great practice for students to be able to adapt to new tools and work on the intuitive thinking and problem solving required for “clicking around” and figuring it out. You might want to provide them with a list of tasks they should be able to do with the new tool. And it’s great for the teacher to model what to do when getting stuck. The ability to research solutions via Google or YouTube search can be very helpful.

2. Don’t just teach digital citizenship, embed digital citizenship.

It’s never a good idea to hand students devices without also supporting safe, responsible use. Many schools create their own digital citizenship curriculum or buy one to use with their students. There are also some excellent digital citizenship resources available for free online, from Google or from Common Sense Media for instance. Try to anticipate the problems your students might encounter in using the digital devices in your classroom. Be proactive and have discussions up front with your students about what is appropriate to share, how to judge validity of resources, how to respect content ownership and fair use, and how to report something that is threatening.

While it is important to teach digital citizenship up front, it’s also very important for teachers to monitor student use of technology and use teachable moments to address situations that may arise as students utilize tech. Often the most valuable lessons occur as opportunities arise to discuss relevant issues in authentic context. Digital citizenship should not just be a scheduled lesson. It should be part of everything we do related to the use of technology in the classroom. It’s something educators must model and discuss regularly. Moreover, it’s part of the bigger issue of developing good citizenship in the broadest sense. How are we helping students contribute as positive, productive members of communities online and in physical space?

3. Plan to manage distractions.

One of the most common challenges of implementing devices in the classroom is dealing with the potential distraction technology can present. While technology open up a whole new world of possibilities for learning, it also opens a world of possibilities for diversion away from classroom learning priorities. This prospect is very frightening for many teachers. How will I make sure my students aren’t wasting class time? How can I make sure students are watching content that is not appropriate for school? Will the presence of a screen take away from learning instead of accelerating learning?

Keep in mind distractions are nothing new in the classroom. Keeping students attention has always been a chief concern for teachers. Even in a class without devices, students can find a plethora of things to occupy their attention besides learning. The key to alleviate boredom is to stimulate curiosity and plan engaging lessons. Device distractions are no match for an amazing lesson! At least I think it pays to think like that.

Some schools also choose to purchase classroom monitoring software that allows teachers to view and even take control of student devices. This type of system typically allows teachers to monitor an entire classroom from the teacher’s computer. You may not have this type of software available, and I actually prefer not to utilize it. It’s better for the teacher to be able to move around the room and interact with students rather than being tethered to a computer monitoring students like Big Brother.

Here are some solid tips for managing distractions with no software required.

-Clearly communicate times when students should and should not be on devices.

-Clarify when it is okay to use earbuds and when earbuds should not be used.

-Set up the classroom so you can easily move around and behind students using devices. You need to be able to easily view student screens.

-Require students to only have one browser tab open at a time. This prevents switching tabs when the teacher is not watching to games or media that might be distracting.

-When transitioning from devices to whole group instruction or another activity, wait until you have everyone’s attention before you move on.

-Give specific instructions about which apps or sites should be used during a particular activity. Hold students accountable to use these tools only unless they ask permission to access another site.

These considerations are an essential part of establishing a strong culture of learning in the digital classroom. Other issues will also arise like caring for devices, dealing with tech questions, managing battery life, etc. The most important thing is to work with students to establish classroom expectations and revisit them consistently. It works best when teachers can develop a shared responsibility with students for using devices responsibly and productively. Just like any other classroom behavior, it’s not enough to proclaim a rule and never discuss it again. Students will need reminders and guidance to be successful.

Ultimately, the opportunity to develop digital learning skills is invaluable to students. Students will need to be able to successfully use devices for learning and productivity for the rest of their lives. Although there are challenges with implementing technology in the classroom, with the right approach, teachers can help students become strong digital learners.



Question: What other tips would you share about creating a safe, positive, and productive culture for digital learning? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got to add. Together we are stronger!

Read More 3 Classroom Tips for Stronger Digital Learning



I gave an assignment to one of the graduate classes I teach to consider a technology purchase a school has made recently. Was there a good return on the investment? Was the total cost of ownership considered? Was there a clear purpose for obtaining the technology in the first place? Students then explore these questions by talking with a principal or other decision-maker about the process of acquiring the new technology in their school.



One of my students shared about how their school had purchased a software program to help with a broad array of learning objectives. I am paraphrasing below the response she shared from the school leader she interviewed.  

We don’t really spend much on technology. We purchased the software to help with mastery of content, but our data didn’t show it was effective. We bought it to increase student achievement across the curriculum. It was fun, engaging, and relevant for students, but we make our spending choices based on how it impacts our data. We are data-driven.

Now I certainly realize there are limited resources in every school, and honestly this software sounds like test-prep to me, and there are far more valuable, authentic ways to use technology in my view. But I was also puzzled by the idea that a method or strategy could increase engagement, be fun and relevant, and yet if it doesn’t show an measurable impact in data, it’s not valuable or worthwhile. That seems to be the line of thinking.



We’ve spent a significant amount of money in our district on Chromebooks as part of our digital learning initiative. And I’m thankful for the support of our district to provide this learning tool for students. But there have been questions raised about how we know this digital transformation is resulting in learning gains. What data proves that this is working?



And I can understand when a school is spending a lot of money, we want to see evidence that it’s money well-spent. But that evidence may not be quantifiable. I believe providing a Chromebook for students to use for learning is a necessary part of preparing students as learners for life in a world that is increasingly digital. But I don’t think it’s possible with any degree of validity or reliability to show direct links between this tool and a learning outcome.



What if we applied the same type of thinking to other aspects of school?



Can you show me that your school library has a measurable impact on student achievement?



Could you please show us that your textbook has a measurable impact on student achievement? 



What data can you present to demonstrate that music, art, career education, or athletics has a measurable impact on student achievement? 



We spend significantly on all of these in our district because we think they are incredibly important (the importance of the textbook might be up for debate). And we know they are important not because we have data measures that tell us so. But we do have plenty of evidence that demonstrates their impact. We know they are good for kids and good for learning.



When I hear the term data-driven, I admit it makes me cringe just a little. I always try to view learning through the lens of being a dad. I never want the complexity of my child’s learning reduced to a number. It is dehumanizing. Is it inevitable in the current system? Yes, it probably is. College entrance emphasizes the ACT score for instance. But I know there are many brilliant students who are not accurately represented as learners based on an ACT score.



Instead of data-driven, shouldn’t we first be student-driven. George Couros has written about this idea and shared it in his presentations. People are always more important than any metric or number. When we reduce a person’s abilities to a number we risk putting limits on their potential and capabilities. NBA superstar Stephen Curry didn’t allow the numbers to keep him from greatness. Coming out of college he was considered by scouts to be undersized with athleticism far below the NBA standard. He couldn’t run as fast or jump as high as the typical elite athletes in the league. From a data-driven perspective, at best he would be a marginal contributor on an NBA team. He would be a role player.



But what the NBA scouts didn’t account for was his commitment to excellence, his incredible work ethic, his passion and instincts for the game. He turned the numbers upside down. He used creativity and risk-taking to gain the upper hand on superior athletes. His success reminds me of this Jon Gordon quote:

The world will try to measure you by scores and numbers, but they’ll never be able to measure the power of your desire and size of your heart. 

When we are student-driven, we make decisions that recognize a student has potential far beyond what the numbers might indicate. We don’t make our decisions based on numbers alone. We make decisions based on good thinking that includes what we know about human potential and what students need to succeed in a complex, uncertain world.



So even if we can’t quantify the impact of a digital device, that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to learning. Our world is increasingly digital and being an effective learner means being an effective digital learner too. Being student-driven also means being future-driven, especially in today’s rapidly changing world. We are doing the right thing for our students when we do what’s best for them in the long run, not just to raise a score in the short term.



Later this summer, I’m releasing my new book, Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World? It will empower you to crush the status quo, create authentic learning, and unleash your passion to help students succeed in a time of unprecedented change. In hockey, the puck is traveling at speeds up to 100 mph. And that’s why players say you don’t skate where the puck is, you skate where it is going. The same is true for our students and schools. We must be student-driven and future-driven to create learning that will serve students well in our modern world. The puck is moving fast, and we have to help our students keep up.



In the coming weeks, I’ll share more details about my book release and give my blog readers an in-depth preview. I’ve poured all my energy, effort, and enthusiasm into this project, and I’m excited to share it with you. It truly is a passion-project. And I think you’ll love the message and want to add it to your professional library.



You might also want to check out this post from George Couros and this one from Lisa Westman both with strong ideas regarding being student-driven.



Question: What are your thoughts on being student-driven and future-driven? What role does data play? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Not Data-Driven But Student-Driven And Future-Driven



I gave an assignment to one of the graduate classes I teach to consider a technology purchase a school has made recently. Was there a good return on the investment? Was the total cost of ownership considered? Was there a clear purpose for obtaining the technology in the first place? Students then explore these questions by talking with a principal or other decision-maker about the process of acquiring the new technology in their school.



One of my students shared about how their school had purchased a software program to help with a broad array of learning objectives. I am paraphrasing below the response she shared from the school leader she interviewed.  

We don’t really spend much on technology. We purchased the software to help with mastery of content, but our data didn’t show it was effective. We bought it to increase student achievement across the curriculum. It was fun, engaging, and relevant for students, but we make our spending choices based on how it impacts our data. We are data-driven.

Now I certainly realize there are limited resources in every school, and honestly this software sounds like test-prep to me, and there are far more valuable, authentic ways to use technology in my view. But I was also puzzled by the idea that a method or strategy could increase engagement, be fun and relevant, and yet if it doesn’t show an measurable impact in data, it’s not valuable or worthwhile. That seems to be the line of thinking.



We’ve spent a significant amount of money in our district on Chromebooks as part of our digital learning initiative. And I’m thankful for the support of our district to provide this learning tool for students. But there have been questions raised about how we know this digital transformation is resulting in learning gains. What data proves that this is working?



And I can understand when a school is spending a lot of money, we want to see evidence that it’s money well-spent. But that evidence may not be quantifiable. I believe providing a Chromebook for students to use for learning is a necessary part of preparing students as learners for life in a world that is increasingly digital. But I don’t think it’s possible with any degree of validity or reliability to show direct links between this tool and a learning outcome.



What if we applied the same type of thinking to other aspects of school?



Can you show me that your school library has a measurable impact on student achievement?



Could you please show us that your textbook has a measurable impact on student achievement? 



What data can you present to demonstrate that music, art, career education, or athletics has a measurable impact on student achievement? 



We spend significantly on all of these in our district because we think they are incredibly important (the importance of the textbook might be up for debate). And we know they are important not because we have data measures that tell us so. But we do have plenty of evidence that demonstrates their impact. We know they are good for kids and good for learning.



When I hear the term data-driven, I admit it makes me cringe just a little. I always try to view learning through the lens of being a dad. I never want the complexity of my child’s learning reduced to a number. It is dehumanizing. Is it inevitable in the current system? Yes, it probably is. College entrance emphasizes the ACT score for instance. But I know there are many brilliant students who are not accurately represented as learners based on an ACT score.



Instead of data-driven, shouldn’t we first be student-driven. George Couros has written about this idea and shared it in his presentations. People are always more important than any metric or number. When we reduce a person’s abilities to a number we risk putting limits on their potential and capabilities. NBA superstar Stephen Curry didn’t allow the numbers to keep him from greatness. Coming out of college he was considered by scouts to be undersized with athleticism far below the NBA standard. He couldn’t run as fast or jump as high as the typical elite athletes in the league. From a data-driven perspective, at best he would be a marginal contributor on an NBA team. He would be a role player.



But what the NBA scouts didn’t account for was his commitment to excellence, his incredible work ethic, his passion and instincts for the game. He turned the numbers upside down. He used creativity and risk-taking to gain the upper hand on superior athletes. His success reminds me of this Jon Gordon quote:

The world will try to measure you by scores and numbers, but they’ll never be able to measure the power of your desire and size of your heart. 

When we are student-driven, we make decisions that recognize a student has potential far beyond what the numbers might indicate. We don’t make our decisions based on numbers alone. We make decisions based on good thinking that includes what we know about human potential and what students need to succeed in a complex, uncertain world.



So even if we can’t quantify the impact of a digital device, that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to learning. Our world is increasingly digital and being an effective learner means being an effective digital learner too. Being student-driven also means being future-driven, especially in today’s rapidly changing world. We are doing the right thing for our students when we do what’s best for them in the long run, not just to raise a score in the short term.



Later this summer, I’m releasing my new book, Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World? It will empower you to crush the status quo, create authentic learning, and unleash your passion to help students succeed in a time of unprecedented change. In hockey, the puck is traveling at speeds up to 100 mph. And that’s why players say you don’t skate where the puck is, you skate where it is going. The same is true for our students and schools. We must be student-driven and future-driven to create learning that will serve students well in our modern world. The puck is moving fast, and we have to help our students keep up.



In the coming weeks, I’ll share more details about my book release and give my blog readers an in-depth preview. I’ve poured all my energy, effort, and enthusiasm into this project, and I’m excited to share it with you. It truly is a passion-project. And I think you’ll love the message and want to add it to your professional library.



You might also want to check out this post from George Couros and this one from Lisa Westman both with strong ideas regarding being student-driven.



Question: What are your thoughts on being student-driven and future-driven? What role does data play? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Not Data-Driven But Student-Driven And Future-Driven



The use of technology in schools continues to rise each year. By 2019, spending for education technology is expected to be more than $55 billion. More and more schools are utilizing devices as part of routine, daily learning. 



And this shift is happening for good reason. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and students will need skills that involve using technology to create, connect, and learn. A recent article claimed that just having the word ‘digital’ listed on your resume improved your chances of landing the job.



As technology becomes even more pervasive in schools, the need for effective digital leadership will increase as well. Even now, I believe it’s impossible to be an effective leader unless you are also an effective digital leader. All educators need skills for using digital tools to support and transform learning.



But there are also a number of myths about digital leadership I want to dispel. There are often misunderstandings about what it means to be a digital leader.

1. Digital leaders are tech geeks.



You don’t have to be a technology geek to be an effective digital leader. It’s great if you have strong digital skills or love technology, but it’s more important to be an expert about learning. The most important thing is the willingness to learn more about technology. It’s great if you’re a tech geek, but it’s essential to be a learning geek. And, it’s critical to recognize the importance of technology to help you and your students leverage skills. 



Every digital leader should strive to learn more about using tech and strive to make that learning visible. I’m often considered a tech-forward principal, but I learn something new every day. It’s not as important to have all the technical knowledge as it is to model the mindset of a constant learner.



2. Digital leaders are always administrators.



It’s very important for administrators to be digital leaders, but they aren’t the only ones in the school who can do the job. We need leadership from every corner of the school. It takes collective leadership to really support the culture of digital learning that is needed in schools. Change is hard, and there are often leaders in the school besides the administrator who can help champion the cause of using technology for learning.



3. Digital leaders force everyone in their schools to use technology.



Effective digital leaders don’t look for technology to be used at every turn. They don’t force technology on people. Instead, they constantly model, teach, and inspire. They start with why it’s important to for students to use technology, and then they challenge people to grow. They don’t want technology being used just for the sake of technology. They want to see digital tools being used when it makes sense to use them and when it supports learning. They encourage teachers to use digital tools in ways that transform learning.



Every educator is at a different place with their skills and their mindset about technology. Digital leaders honor teachers as learners and support them wherever they are in their learning journey. Even when growth is slow, if the educator is growing, that is success.



4. Digital leaders love everything about technology.



Not true. Digital leaders can fully see the importance and relevance of technology and still not love everything about technology. Sometimes technology is a pain. It hovers somewhere between being a blessing and a burden. And there are some parts of technology we don’t have to embrace. No one likes it when technology doesn’t work. Devices can be a huge distraction. There are all sorts of dangers online. People get addicted to the internet. And the list goes on. Some of these challenges work directly against learning.



But clearly there are incredible benefits to technology too. Digital leaders work tirelessly to overcome the pitfalls of technology use to help make sure teachers and students have what they need to leverage these tools for productive use. There isn’t a single challenge I’ve seen that can’t be overcome with inspired leadership and careful planning.



5. Digital leaders spend the whole day tweeting.



Completely false. There’s no question that digital leaders tend to be connected leaders and one of the best ways to connect is through Twitter. In fact, Twitter has been one of the best tools for professional learning I’ve ever encountered, and it has been an invaluable resource in my own digital leadership, and in my leadership overall.



But effective digital leaders are busy each day supporting learning in their schools in hundreds of face to face interactions. Not everything that happens in a school is digital, nor should it be. Our goal in our school as we transitioned to a device for every learner was to improve the quality of our conversations at the same time. We want better learning with digital tools, while at the same time increasing the quantity and quality of discussions happening in classrooms.



Question: What other myths or misunderstandings do you see about digital leadership? What are the biggest challenges digital leaders face? I want to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 5 Myths of Digital Leadership



The use of technology in schools continues to rise each year. By 2019, spending for education technology is expected to be more than $55 billion. More and more schools are utilizing devices as part of routine, daily learning. 



And this shift is happening for good reason. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and students will need skills that involve using technology to create, connect, and learn. A recent article claimed that just having the word ‘digital’ listed on your resume improved your chances of landing the job.



As technology becomes even more pervasive in schools, the need for effective digital leadership will increase as well. Even now, I believe it’s impossible to be an effective leader unless you are also an effective digital leader. All educators need skills for using digital tools to support and transform learning.



But there are also a number of myths about digital leadership I want to dispel. There are often misunderstandings about what it means to be a digital leader.

1. Digital leaders are tech geeks.



You don’t have to be a technology geek to be an effective digital leader. It’s great if you have strong digital skills or love technology, but it’s more important to be an expert about learning. The most important thing is the willingness to learn more about technology. It’s great if you’re a tech geek, but it’s essential to be a learning geek. And, it’s critical to recognize the importance of technology to help you and your students leverage skills. 



Every digital leader should strive to learn more about using tech and strive to make that learning visible. I’m often considered a tech-forward principal, but I learn something new every day. It’s not as important to have all the technical knowledge as it is to model the mindset of a constant learner.



2. Digital leaders are always administrators.



It’s very important for administrators to be digital leaders, but they aren’t the only ones in the school who can do the job. We need leadership from every corner of the school. It takes collective leadership to really support the culture of digital learning that is needed in schools. Change is hard, and there are often leaders in the school besides the administrator who can help champion the cause of using technology for learning.



3. Digital leaders force everyone in their schools to use technology.



Effective digital leaders don’t look for technology to be used at every turn. They don’t force technology on people. Instead, they constantly model, teach, and inspire. They start with why it’s important to for students to use technology, and then they challenge people to grow. They don’t want technology being used just for the sake of technology. They want to see digital tools being used when it makes sense to use them and when it supports learning. They encourage teachers to use digital tools in ways that transform learning.



Every educator is at a different place with their skills and their mindset about technology. Digital leaders honor teachers as learners and support them wherever they are in their learning journey. Even when growth is slow, if the educator is growing, that is success.



4. Digital leaders love everything about technology.



Not true. Digital leaders can fully see the importance and relevance of technology and still not love everything about technology. Sometimes technology is a pain. It hovers somewhere between being a blessing and a burden. And there are some parts of technology we don’t have to embrace. No one likes it when technology doesn’t work. Devices can be a huge distraction. There are all sorts of dangers online. People get addicted to the internet. And the list goes on. Some of these challenges work directly against learning.



But clearly there are incredible benefits to technology too. Digital leaders work tirelessly to overcome the pitfalls of technology use to help make sure teachers and students have what they need to leverage these tools for productive use. There isn’t a single challenge I’ve seen that can’t be overcome with inspired leadership and careful planning.



5. Digital leaders spend the whole day tweeting.



Completely false. There’s no question that digital leaders tend to be connected leaders and one of the best ways to connect is through Twitter. In fact, Twitter has been one of the best tools for professional learning I’ve ever encountered, and it has been an invaluable resource in my own digital leadership, and in my leadership overall.



But effective digital leaders are busy each day supporting learning in their schools in hundreds of face to face interactions. Not everything that happens in a school is digital, nor should it be. Our goal in our school as we transitioned to a device for every learner was to improve the quality of our conversations at the same time. We want better learning with digital tools, while at the same time increasing the quantity and quality of discussions happening in classrooms.



Question: What other myths or misunderstandings do you see about digital leadership? What are the biggest challenges digital leaders face? I want to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 5 Myths of Digital Leadership



I’m guessing many students feel like school is a place where someone is always wanting something FROM them. 



Turn in your homework.



Stop talking.



Get busy. 



Walk in a straight line.



Follow instructions.



Pay attention.



Don’t forget.



All of the demands can really weigh heavily after a while. For some, I’m guessing school starts to feel like a huge burden. They don’t see the relevance. They feel like teachers are constantly wanting more FROM them, and they may not feel adequate to meet the expectations.



But maybe students don’t understand the why behind all the expectations and requests. Maybe they don’t realize that the best teachers, most teachers in fact, don’t really want something FROM students. They want good things FOR their students.



The expectations and demands are intended to help students succeed now and in the future. The demands aren’t because teachers want to make things easier for themselves or want to make things harder for their students. Teachers are successful when students are successful.



So I think we should spend more time and effort showing students what it is we want FOR them. And maybe we should spend a little less time talking about what we want FROM them.

Of course, expectations are part of life. And if students are going to be successful, there will be accountability. But they should always be reminded that the accountability we provide is because we care. It’s because we want good things FOR them.



Teachers who get the best FROM their students are the same teachers who show their students how much they care FOR them. 

Try reminding your students you want these things FOR them…



FOR them to be leaders.



FOR them to develop strong character.



FOR them to believe in themselves.



FOR them to never stop growing.



FOR them to be more excited about learning when they leave us than when they started.



FOR them to demonstrate empathy and concern for others.



FOR them to learn from their mistakes.



FOR them to make the world a better place.



FOR them to learn more about who they are.



FOR them to build on their unique strengths.



FOR them to have hope.



FOR them to develop a great attitude.



FOR them to be adaptable to change.



FOR them to reach their potential.



FOR them to realize their dreams.



FOR them to feel like they belong.



FOR them to have healthy relationships.



FOR them to never give up.



FOR them to be curious, creative, and compassionate.



Question: How can we help students see school as a place that wants good things FOR them and not just FROM them? I want to hear from you. Leave a message below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Do You Want Things FROM Your Students Or FOR Your Students?



I’m guessing many students feel like school is a place where someone is always wanting something FROM them. 



Turn in your homework.



Stop talking.



Get busy. 



Walk in a straight line.



Follow instructions.



Pay attention.



Don’t forget.



All of the demands can really weigh heavily after a while. For some, I’m guessing school starts to feel like a huge burden. They don’t see the relevance. They feel like teachers are constantly wanting more FROM them, and they may not feel adequate to meet the expectations.



But maybe students don’t understand the why behind all the expectations and requests. Maybe they don’t realize that the best teachers, most teachers in fact, don’t really want something FROM students. They want good things FOR their students.



The expectations and demands are intended to help students succeed now and in the future. The demands aren’t because teachers want to make things easier for themselves or want to make things harder for their students. Teachers are successful when students are successful.



So I think we should spend more time and effort showing students what it is we want FOR them. And maybe we should spend a little less time talking about what we want FROM them.

Of course, expectations are part of life. And if students are going to be successful, there will be accountability. But they should always be reminded that the accountability we provide is because we care. It’s because we want good things FOR them.



Teachers who get the best FROM their students are the same teachers who show their students how much they care FOR them. 

Try reminding your students you want these things FOR them…



FOR them to be leaders.



FOR them to develop strong character.



FOR them to believe in themselves.



FOR them to never stop growing.



FOR them to be more excited about learning when they leave us than when they started.



FOR them to demonstrate empathy and concern for others.



FOR them to learn from their mistakes.



FOR them to make the world a better place.



FOR them to learn more about who they are.



FOR them to build on their unique strengths.



FOR them to have hope.



FOR them to develop a great attitude.



FOR them to be adaptable to change.



FOR them to reach their potential.



FOR them to realize their dreams.



FOR them to feel like they belong.



FOR them to have healthy relationships.



FOR them to never give up.



FOR them to be curious, creative, and compassionate.



Question: How can we help students see school as a place that wants good things FOR them and not just FROM them? I want to hear from you. Leave a message below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Do You Want Things FROM Your Students Or FOR Your Students?

The post is inspired by a L2talk I did at the Learning2 Europe conference in Warsaw. “every storyteller has a bias – and so does every platform”- Andrew Postman “My…

Read More Puppets on a string.



We have a group at Bolivar High School known as the SWAT team. SWAT stands for Students Working to Advance Technology. The club started in 2015 to support our 1:1 program that was just getting off the ground. 



SWAT provides valuable support related to how we use technology in our school. For instance, they have presented how-to workshops for teachers during our annual PD day, the past two years. And they’ve been involved in parent open house to demonstrate ways technology is being used for learning in our school. They also help out in the library with issues students are having with their Chromebooks.






Most recently, the group offered tech support for senior citizens in our community every Thursday after school in February from 4-5:00pm. We publicized the opportunity in our local newspaper and on Facebook. It was a simple concept. We had some digital natives (our students) on hand to help the older crowd in our community with anything tech related we could help with.



The senior adults could bring their own device (most of them did) or the students used their Chromebooks to help with Facebook, Gmail, or whatever tool they wanted to learn.



We didn’t really know what to expect. It was our first time trying something like this. But it was a huge success. We had customers every single Thursday, and several of our guests came back week after week.








This activity was beneficial on several levels. 



1. It was helpful to the senior citizens we served.



Our students helped with Macs, PCs, iPads, Android devices, multiple smart phones, and a Kindle Fire. I don’t think there was a single question that our students didn’t handle effectively. In one case, it took about 45 minutes to research a solution, but in the end, they resolved the issue.



2. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with our community.



I think it’s great when students can go out into the community or we can bring the community in. In this case, we had quite a few people into our school building that might not normally stop by for a visit. 



3. It was a great learning experience for our students.



Our students had the opportunity to give back and lend a helping hand. They got to practice communication skills, empathy, patience, and problem solving. It gave them the opportunity to serve others.



4. Everyone seemed to love it. 



Our students enjoyed this experience so much, they asked me if we could keep doing it each week. For a variety of reasons, I made them take a break for the month of March. We’ll see after that. But I was proud they wanted to continue. And the senior citizens seemed to have a great time too. Some of them asked me if we could keep doing it, too! Okay, after reading that I feel like a scrooge for making them take a break. 🙂



Here’s a 2 minute video that includes some student voice about how they experienced this project…




Question: Is this something you might try with your students? What questions do you have about this activity? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More What Happened When We Launched Student-Led Senior Citizen Tech Support