Tag: edtech

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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

In March of 2015, I wrote the post, “3 Important Shifts in Education“, and focused on moving these three conversations: “Digital Citizenship” to “Digital Empathy”  “Student Voice” to “Student Leadership” “Growth Mindset” to “Innovator’s Mindset” The focus of the original post was not moving on from the former to the latter, but building upon and … [Read more…]

Read More 3 Conversation Shifts in Education



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



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



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

Just some random thoughts… Right now, there are many plans in schools or districts on “effective technology integration”.  What is great about these plans is that they are now really focusing on professional learning for all staff to bring them up to speed, and provide a comfort level on the use of technology.  What I … [Read more…]

Read More It Is Time to Move Away from the Idea of “Tech Leads”?



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



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





When we were planning for 1:1 at Bolivar High School, we had numerous community meetings and invited feedback and questions from our stakeholders. One of the questions that was raised went something like this, “How can you be sure student achievement will increase as a result of every kid having a device?”



And that’s a very good question, at least on the surface. It would seem reasonable that if a school is going to spend thousands of dollars on devices, there should be a direct correlation, even causation, in the research to demonstrate a positive effect on measurable learning outcomes. 



That question comes up again from time to time. Our middle school is now also working toward implementing their own version of 1:1.



The research on the impact of 1:1 programs is mixed. Some studies point to flat achievement or even declining achievement, especially with low-income and minority students. Other studies, like Project Red for instance, have found that schools implementing a 1:1 student-computer ratio along with key implementation factors outperform other schools.



But I’m a bit skeptical of studies on either side of this issue. It is very difficult to isolate any single factor or group of factors to show direct impact on measurable student achievement outcomes. There are so many moving parts in what students learn and to what extent they learn it.



I do believe that technology implemented properly CAN have a positive impact on student achievement. But I would also argue that there are many, many reasons to go digital in schools besides student achievement. And I mean student achievement in the narrowest sense. Everything we do is related to student achievement in my view, but researchers and bureaucrats usually examine this factor through a narrow lens of standardized test results.



Since I believe so strongly in the benefits of technology for students, I asked my PLN for feedback on what they believe are the most important reasons to go digital beyond strictly academic outcomes. I summarize the ideas below, and you can also check out their responses in the Twitter Moment embedded below.



15 Reasons #EdTech is Valuable Beyond Student Achievement



1. Essential to learning in a modern world.



Technology is just as essential to learning in today’s world as the school library. To be an effective learner in today’s world means you’re going to be using digital tools to learn.



2. Encourages lifelong learning.



Our school’s motto is Learning for Life. We believe in the importance of developing skills that will translate to life. If we want our students to be lifelong learners, they need to understand the role of technology in that.



3. Connects students and schools with the outside world.



These tweets from Ellen Deem and Kevin Foley summarize it nicely. Technology allows us to bring the world into our school, and take our school into the world.

@deem_ellen @DavidGeurin Technology has taken the world into my small school.It has also brought my small school to the world @TheSTEAMakers

— Kevin Foley (@FoleyKev) February 25, 2017



4. Reflects how work gets done outside of schools.



Almost every career, project, or activity will involve technology in some way. Having stronger skills related to technology brings value to most every area of life.



5. Allows for practicing digital citizenship.



How can we expect students to make good decisions and develop into responsible digital creators and consumers if we don’t give opportunities for practice in school?



6. Important for teaching digital literacy.



Students need to understand digital literacy as part of overall information literacy. It’s not enough to be able to read and write. You need to know how the digitally connected world works.



7. Important for practicing the 4 C’s.



If we are serious about teaching communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, technology is a great vehicle to explore those skills.



8. Kids like it.



I love this response from Melinda Miller. If we are serious about kids becoming independent learners, then learning needs to be exciting and fun.

@DavidGeurin kids like it!

— Melinda Miller (@mmiller7571) February 25, 2017

9. Improves communication.



We gain opportunities to communicate and connect within and outside our school through the use of email, social media, shared documents, etc. 



10. Improves student engagement



Technology can play an important role in increasing student engagement and creating more student-centered learning opportunities.



11. Provides an authentic audience for student work outside the school.



Student work shouldn’t be destined to finish in a trash can. It can be saved forever and shared with the world using digital tools.



12. Allows new ways to differentiate learning.



Technology is great for meeting individual learning needs. 



13. It can personalize learning.



Technology can create opportunities for students to pursue passions, make choices, and have their voice heard.



14. It creates efficiency.



With technology, we can use less paper, save time, and overcome the limitations of when and where we learn.



15. It supports curiosity.

Students have questions. A connected device provides the means to search for answers. Someone made the comment that tech has made us less curious. I don’t necessarily think that’s true.



Question: What are your thoughts on ways #EdTech impacts learning beyond student achievement? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. 



Also, be sure to check out all the tweets from my PLN in response to this topic. Thanks everyone for contributing!

Beyond Student Achievement

Read More 15 Reasons #EdTech Is Valuable Beyond Student Achievement





When we were planning for 1:1 at Bolivar High School, we had numerous community meetings and invited feedback and questions from our stakeholders. One of the questions that was raised went something like this, “How can you be sure student achievement will increase as a result of every kid having a device?”



And that’s a very good question, at least on the surface. It would seem reasonable that if a school is going to spend thousands of dollars on devices, there should be a direct correlation, even causation, in the research to demonstrate a positive effect on measurable learning outcomes. 



That question comes up again from time to time. Our middle school is now also working toward implementing their own version of 1:1.



The research on the impact of 1:1 programs is mixed. Some studies point to flat achievement or even declining achievement, especially with low-income and minority students. Other studies, like Project Red for instance, have found that schools implementing a 1:1 student-computer ratio along with key implementation factors outperform other schools.



But I’m a bit skeptical of studies on either side of this issue. It is very difficult to isolate any single factor or group of factors to show direct impact on measurable student achievement outcomes. There are so many moving parts in what students learn and to what extent they learn it.



I do believe that technology implemented properly CAN have a positive impact on student achievement. But I would also argue that there are many, many reasons to go digital in schools besides student achievement. And I mean student achievement in the narrowest sense. Everything we do is related to student achievement in my view, but researchers and bureaucrats usually examine this factor through a narrow lens of standardized test results.



Since I believe so strongly in the benefits of technology for students, I asked my PLN for feedback on what they believe are the most important reasons to go digital beyond strictly academic outcomes. I summarize the ideas below, and you can also check out their responses in the Twitter Moment embedded below.



15 Reasons #EdTech is Valuable Beyond Student Achievement



1. Essential to learning in a modern world.



Technology is just as essential to learning in today’s world as the school library. To be an effective learner in today’s world means you’re going to be using digital tools to learn.



2. Encourages lifelong learning.



Our school’s motto is Learning for Life. We believe in the importance of developing skills that will translate to life. If we want our students to be lifelong learners, they need to understand the role of technology in that.



3. Connects students and schools with the outside world.



These tweets from Ellen Deem and Kevin Foley summarize it nicely. Technology allows us to bring the world into our school, and take our school into the world.

@deem_ellen @DavidGeurin Technology has taken the world into my small school.It has also brought my small school to the world @TheSTEAMakers

— Kevin Foley (@FoleyKev) February 25, 2017



4. Reflects how work gets done outside of schools.



Almost every career, project, or activity will involve technology in some way. Having stronger skills related to technology brings value to most every area of life.



5. Allows for practicing digital citizenship.



How can we expect students to make good decisions and develop into responsible digital creators and consumers if we don’t give opportunities for practice in school?



6. Important for teaching digital literacy.



Students need to understand digital literacy as part of overall information literacy. It’s not enough to be able to read and write. You need to know how the digitally connected world works.



7. Important for practicing the 4 C’s.



If we are serious about teaching communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, technology is a great vehicle to explore those skills.



8. Kids like it.



I love this response from Melinda Miller. If we are serious about kids becoming independent learners, then learning needs to be exciting and fun.

@DavidGeurin kids like it!

— Melinda Miller (@mmiller7571) February 25, 2017

9. Improves communication.



We gain opportunities to communicate and connect within and outside our school through the use of email, social media, shared documents, etc. 



10. Improves student engagement



Technology can play an important role in increasing student engagement and creating more student-centered learning opportunities.



11. Provides an authentic audience for student work outside the school.



Student work shouldn’t be destined to finish in a trash can. It can be saved forever and shared with the world using digital tools.



12. Allows new ways to differentiate learning.



Technology is great for meeting individual learning needs. 



13. It can personalize learning.



Technology can create opportunities for students to pursue passions, make choices, and have their voice heard.



14. It creates efficiency.



With technology, we can use less paper, save time, and overcome the limitations of when and where we learn.



15. It supports curiosity.

Students have questions. A connected device provides the means to search for answers. Someone made the comment that tech has made us less curious. I don’t necessarily think that’s true.



Question: What are your thoughts on ways #EdTech impacts learning beyond student achievement? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. 



Also, be sure to check out all the tweets from my PLN in response to this topic. Thanks everyone for contributing!

Beyond Student Achievement

Read More 15 Reasons #EdTech Is Valuable Beyond Student Achievement





I use my iPhone to do most of my connecting through social media. I guess that trend is common since mobile device use is up while use of laptops/desktops is down worldwide. This chart illustrates how that trend is expected to continue.




Retrieved: http://digiday.com/media/mobile-overtaking-desktops-around-world-5-charts/





Social media has been transformational in my work as an educator. The connections I’ve made and the ideas I’ve encountered have pushed me to grow and learn in ways I never could’ve imagined.



But I also don’t want social media to take over my life. I work very hard to maximize my productivity and get the most out of my online work without compromising other important areas of my life.



These are 11 apps I’ve used that I’ve found most beneficial to managing my social media life. They aren’t in any particular order, and they serve a variety of purposes.



1. Twitter-I use the Twitter app to read tweets and post to multiple accounts (school and personal/professional). I sometimes even participate in Twitter chats using my iPhone. 



2. Buffer-This app is fantastic for scheduling tweets and managing multiple social media accounts. I like to read and share relevant content to my followers. I’ve found Buffer is the best way to do this. One of the things I like about it is the ability to follow RSS feeds within the app. It brings some of my favorite content right into the app so I can review and share.



3. Facebook Pages-I help manage content for our high school page, and I also have a Facebook fan page for my blog. I can take care of both accounts through this app’s interface. It works great!



4. Nuzzel-I use Nuzzel to read the hottest stories from my Twitter feed. Basically, it ranks articles that have been shared the most by my friends. I always find content here I want to share with others. It also works with Facebook. You just have to connect your accounts to the app.



5. Evernote-Anything I don’t want to forget goes in Evernote. It’s a great app for taking notes and staying organized. I keep a list of possible blog topics here also so I always have something to think and write about.



6. Juice-This app is another way I get content to read and share. It analyzes my Twitter and then generates new articles to read every 24 hours. I don’t think very many people know about this one, but I really like it.



7. Flipboard-I use Flipboard semi-regularly, but it often frustrates me. It’s supposed to aggregate relevant links and stories based on my interests. It’s algorithm is supposed to learn my preferences and habits. The problem is I don’t find helpful content there as often as I’d like. Am I doing something wrong? 



8. Vanillapen-This app is great for making quick and easy quote images. I like to share inspiring images or quotes and this makes it a breeze.



9. Pexels-You might share this app with your students too. It’s a great online platform for finding Creative Commons licensed photos to use in projects and presentations. You don’t want to violate copyright laws by choosing any photo from a Google search. The photos on this site are free and there are new pics added daily. 



10. Canva-I use Canva to create images for blog posts or to share on social media. Some of the graphics and images are fee based, but I use it often and rarely pay for anything.



11. TweetDeck-This tool is my favorite way to participate in Twitter chats. The simple column view allows users to monitor multiple accounts or hashtags all at once. For a chat, I typically have a column for the hashtag and one for my notifications so I know when someone has mentioned or tweeted at me.



I always enjoying new apps and have really benefited from the ones I’ve shared in this post. Having the right app is like finding the right tool in my shop. It makes every project turn out better!



Question: What are your favorite apps right now? I’m curious what works well for you. You can leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 11 Apps That Help Me Manage My Social Media Life





I use my iPhone to do most of my connecting through social media. I guess that trend is common since mobile device use is up while use of laptops/desktops is down worldwide. This chart illustrates how that trend is expected to continue.




Retrieved: http://digiday.com/media/mobile-overtaking-desktops-around-world-5-charts/





Social media has been transformational in my work as an educator. The connections I’ve made and the ideas I’ve encountered have pushed me to grow and learn in ways I never could’ve imagined.



But I also don’t want social media to take over my life. I work very hard to maximize my productivity and get the most out of my online work without compromising other important areas of my life.



These are 11 apps I’ve used that I’ve found most beneficial to managing my social media life. They aren’t in any particular order, and they serve a variety of purposes.



1. Twitter-I use the Twitter app to read tweets and post to multiple accounts (school and personal/professional). I sometimes even participate in Twitter chats using my iPhone. 



2. Buffer-This app is fantastic for scheduling tweets and managing multiple social media accounts. I like to read and share relevant content to my followers. I’ve found Buffer is the best way to do this. One of the things I like about it is the ability to follow RSS feeds within the app. It brings some of my favorite content right into the app so I can review and share.



3. Facebook Pages-I help manage content for our high school page, and I also have a Facebook fan page for my blog. I can take care of both accounts through this app’s interface. It works great!



4. Nuzzel-I use Nuzzel to read the hottest stories from my Twitter feed. Basically, it ranks articles that have been shared the most by my friends. I always find content here I want to share with others. It also works with Facebook. You just have to connect your accounts to the app.



5. Evernote-Anything I don’t want to forget goes in Evernote. It’s a great app for taking notes and staying organized. I keep a list of possible blog topics here also so I always have something to think and write about.



6. Juice-This app is another way I get content to read and share. It analyzes my Twitter and then generates new articles to read every 24 hours. I don’t think very many people know about this one, but I really like it.



7. Flipboard-I use Flipboard semi-regularly, but it often frustrates me. It’s supposed to aggregate relevant links and stories based on my interests. It’s algorithm is supposed to learn my preferences and habits. The problem is I don’t find helpful content there as often as I’d like. Am I doing something wrong? 



8. Vanillapen-This app is great for making quick and easy quote images. I like to share inspiring images or quotes and this makes it a breeze.



9. Pexels-You might share this app with your students too. It’s a great online platform for finding Creative Commons licensed photos to use in projects and presentations. You don’t want to violate copyright laws by choosing any photo from a Google search. The photos on this site are free and there are new pics added daily. 



10. Canva-I use Canva to create images for blog posts or to share on social media. Some of the graphics and images are fee based, but I use it often and rarely pay for anything.



11. TweetDeck-This tool is my favorite way to participate in Twitter chats. The simple column view allows users to monitor multiple accounts or hashtags all at once. For a chat, I typically have a column for the hashtag and one for my notifications so I know when someone has mentioned or tweeted at me.



I always enjoying new apps and have really benefited from the ones I’ve shared in this post. Having the right app is like finding the right tool in my shop. It makes every project turn out better!



Question: What are your favorite apps right now? I’m curious what works well for you. You can leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 11 Apps That Help Me Manage My Social Media Life

Technology is playing a bigger role in classrooms and schools in this country and around the world. Here are a few thoughts to keep technology in perspective. Share them with your team and discuss how to best implement technology in your learning culture. I hope these ideas help guide you to more effective use of digital tools with your students. 

1. Your learning goals should drive your tech goals, and not the other way around.



Just because you have access to iPads, Chromebooks, or some other device in your classroom doesn’t mean they must be the center of learning in your classroom. Not every lesson can be made better with technology. Allow your goals for learning to lead you to the most powerful ways for tech to further support those learning goals. Keep your students at the center of learning, not a device.








2. It’s not enough to think tech is important for students. You must be willing to learn it yourself.



To deny that tech will be important to students’ futures seems unthinkable. But it’s not enough to recognize students will need tech to be successful. Your students also need to see you as a willing learner of technology. They need to see you as a learner period. And it’s a shame if you aren’t leveraging your skills as a teacher because you aren’t willing to learn technology. All of your teacher skills are priceless, but they can be even more relevant and powerful if you know how to effectively use technology for learning, too.



3. Tech can make kids want to learn more, but more importantly, it creates opportunities for more learning.



Lots of kids like to use technology. But using tech because it is engaging isn’t as important as using it because your students are engaged. If your students are curious and motivated learners, they will have questions that need answers. They will want to create and share new knowledge. You know your students. You inspire them as learners and that relationship will ultimately lead to more learning. Technology can then create unlimited opportunities to create, learn, and share.








4. Being an effective learner in the modern world also means you are an effective digital learner.



Readers of my blog know I believe adaptable learners will own the future. The ability to learn, to be creative, to see possibilities, to make something new, will be a huge advantage for future success. But in today’s hyper-connected, digital world, being an effective learner also means you are effective in using digital tools for learning, solving problems, and creating knowledge. 



5. If you change the technology but don’t change your lesson, nothing really changes.



Adding technology to the same old lessons doesn’t automatically make them better lessons. Work to create a better lesson first—one that is meaningful and authentic and causes deeper thinking and greater understandingthen consider how technology can make it even better. Technology won’t improve learning if that worksheet is now in digital format. It won’t inspire learning if students are just looking up answers online instead of in the textbook. Your lesson design is always more important than your digital tool.








6. For students who don’t know how to use social media appropriately and effectively, who knows what opportunities they might miss?



If you want to be successful, do what successful people do. And some of the most successful people in our world are using social media and blogging as a platform to network, share their message, and improve their work. How many kids have the chance to practice these skills in school? As digital footprints replace traditional resumes, will your students have anything to show for their work? Even worse, will their digital record disqualify them to employers?



7. Google doesn’t have answers; it has information.



Learning and inquiry involves more than searching for right answers. Students make meaning of information through good thinking. The most interesting questions don’t have one right answer and require students to think in ways that lead to understanding. Access to a web-connected device is a powerful tool for learning. It creates agency, empowers learning, and puts students in the driver’s seat, but only if we allow it, support it, and facilitate it.








8. Tech should make us more human, not less.



It’s not hard to see ways technology is both a blessing and a burden. So we need to be thoughtful about how we use technology for good and limit the negatives. We’ve heard a lot about how social skills are deteriorating as a result of attachment to mobile tech and addiction to device notifications and so forth. But technology can help us connect, do more good, and be more human, not less. In the classroom, technology should lead to more conversations, not less. Students are going to use technology. We need to help them use it in ways that are healthy and productive.



9. Anyone who wants to be a leader needs to be a digital leader too.



We are past the days where leaders could just count on the tech department or that one teacher to take the lead on technology. Every person who aspires to lead should expect to be a digital leader too. Leaders don’t have to have better digital skills than anyone else, but they do need to model the use of technology and constantly be willing to learn. Working to stay informed, learning new tools, and being future-driven are critical to digital leadership. And every leader should strive to be a digital leader too.



Question: What essential #EdTech idea would you add to this list? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 9 Essential #EdTech Ideas to Share With Your Team

Technology is playing a bigger role in classrooms and schools in this country and around the world. Here are a few thoughts to keep technology in perspective. Share them with your team and discuss how to best implement technology in your learning culture. I hope these ideas help guide you to more effective use of digital tools with your students. 

1. Your learning goals should drive your tech goals, and not the other way around.



Just because you have access to iPads, Chromebooks, or some other device in your classroom doesn’t mean they must be the center of learning in your classroom. Not every lesson can be made better with technology. Allow your goals for learning to lead you to the most powerful ways for tech to further support those learning goals. Keep your students at the center of learning, not a device.








2. It’s not enough to think tech is important for students. You must be willing to learn it yourself.



To deny that tech will be important to students’ futures seems unthinkable. But it’s not enough to recognize students will need tech to be successful. Your students also need to see you as a willing learner of technology. They need to see you as a learner period. And it’s a shame if you aren’t leveraging your skills as a teacher because you aren’t willing to learn technology. All of your teacher skills are priceless, but they can be even more relevant and powerful if you know how to effectively use technology for learning, too.



3. Tech can make kids want to learn more, but more importantly, it creates opportunities for more learning.



Lots of kids like to use technology. But using tech because it is engaging isn’t as important as using it because your students are engaged. If your students are curious and motivated learners, they will have questions that need answers. They will want to create and share new knowledge. You know your students. You inspire them as learners and that relationship will ultimately lead to more learning. Technology can then create unlimited opportunities to create, learn, and share.








4. Being an effective learner in the modern world also means you are an effective digital learner.



Readers of my blog know I believe adaptable learners will own the future. The ability to learn, to be creative, to see possibilities, to make something new, will be a huge advantage for future success. But in today’s hyper-connected, digital world, being an effective learner also means you are effective in using digital tools for learning, solving problems, and creating knowledge. 



5. If you change the technology but don’t change your lesson, nothing really changes.



Adding technology to the same old lessons doesn’t automatically make them better lessons. Work to create a better lesson first—one that is meaningful and authentic and causes deeper thinking and greater understandingthen consider how technology can make it even better. Technology won’t improve learning if that worksheet is now in digital format. It won’t inspire learning if students are just looking up answers online instead of in the textbook. Your lesson design is always more important than your digital tool.








6. For students who don’t know how to use social media appropriately and effectively, who knows what opportunities they might miss?



If you want to be successful, do what successful people do. And some of the most successful people in our world are using social media and blogging as a platform to network, share their message, and improve their work. How many kids have the chance to practice these skills in school? As digital footprints replace traditional resumes, will your students have anything to show for their work? Even worse, will their digital record disqualify them to employers?



7. Google doesn’t have answers; it has information.



Learning and inquiry involves more than searching for right answers. Students make meaning of information through good thinking. The most interesting questions don’t have one right answer and require students to think in ways that lead to understanding. Access to a web-connected device is a powerful tool for learning. It creates agency, empowers learning, and puts students in the driver’s seat, but only if we allow it, support it, and facilitate it.








8. Tech should make us more human, not less.



It’s not hard to see ways technology is both a blessing and a burden. So we need to be thoughtful about how we use technology for good and limit the negatives. We’ve heard a lot about how social skills are deteriorating as a result of attachment to mobile tech and addiction to device notifications and so forth. But technology can help us connect, do more good, and be more human, not less. In the classroom, technology should lead to more conversations, not less. Students are going to use technology. We need to help them use it in ways that are healthy and productive.



9. Anyone who wants to be a leader needs to be a digital leader too.



We are past the days where leaders could just count on the tech department or that one teacher to take the lead on technology. Every person who aspires to lead should expect to be a digital leader too. Leaders don’t have to have better digital skills than anyone else, but they do need to model the use of technology and constantly be willing to learn. Working to stay informed, learning new tools, and being future-driven are critical to digital leadership. And every leader should strive to be a digital leader too.



Question: What essential #EdTech idea would you add to this list? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 9 Essential #EdTech Ideas to Share With Your Team