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Edtech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity and We’re Tired

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis7 Comments

I could talk all day about my new obsession with the NY Times T Brand Studios and what digital storytelling should be in schools. I get giddy when sharing how hearing Megan Smith talk about inclusive computational thinking beyond drag & drop coding helped me to frame our district’s work in making “makered” accessible to all. I’m obsessed with raspberry pi, arduino, makey makey…etc and more importantly providing these tools for kids to invent their heart’s desires . Heck, we held a series of invention camps for our students this summer and I would love to share how others can and …

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Reflecting on A Summer of Making and Hacking the Classroom with Students

In EdTech, Professional Growth, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

“One of these days, when we are older and doing this same work but as mentors to other kids, they’ll ask us how long we’ve been engineering things and because of this week, we’ll be able to say to them…I’ve been doing this since childhood. Do you have any idea what you’ve done for us and how powerful this is?” – Student  Back in January, when I “optimistically wrote” on my PiCademy USA application that I wanted to do PiCamps for kids, giving them all their own raspberry pi device with accessories, I honestly had no clue if it could …

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Hacking Thought

In EdTech, Professional Growth, School growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Tomorrow is the final day of our hackathon and even as I sit here basking in the memories of seeing kids laugh through struggle while learning, I can’t help thinking how this entire event started from a single thought… Why not our kids? I feel like I’ve learned more in a few days than I have in my entire existence in education. Kids have a way of doing that to you. Today, during interviews, I heard kids speak about who they wanted to be in the world and how they felt that technology could support that.  Story after story was …

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#EdtechBlackout To My POCEdtech Community

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis4 Comments

There was a time in my life when I used to wait with nervous anticipation for conference proposal letters to appear in my inbox. I cried the first time that I was accepted by ISTE because I could not believe that I would finally be able to attend and that people would actually come to my session to hear what I had to say. These days are different though. I no longer wait and to be honest, I don’t even know when proposals are due anymore. I rarely submit my own sessions and if I do, it is a panel …

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Critical Thinking in Academia and Calling a Spade a Spade

In EdTech, personal, Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I started my career in education as a middle school math remediation teacher, a job created for me as a December college graduate. I had no curriculum, templates or rules but was instead told to develop my own. This was a perfect start for me as a graduate from a program that empowered us to be creators of experiences instead of taking on the robotic like lens that many first year teachers were forced to do. When I moved to High School as a Geometry teacher, all of that creativity seemed to change when I was handed a binder and told to …

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No, Kids…You Can’t Eat a Raspberry Pi and Other Lessons from Camp

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

“I really thought we were going to have pie this week.” – middle school student “I love this much more than I thought I would!” – 3rd grader “Wait, we really get to keep this? All of this? And never give it back?” – middle school student “Can we get one and build and learn too?” – high school student volunteer First, I have to admit that when I expressed a desire to teach kids how to “tinker” with a raspberry pi back in January, I had no idea how this would come to be, especially when my dream was …

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Hidden Messages of Women in Edtech: Thoughts on Being Visually Appealing

In EdTech, personal by rafranzdavis19 Comments

Years ago, I struggled with self-image. I struggled so bad that I made excuses as to why I could not go to public events or speak in front of people, other than my students. I was afraid that people would not think that I was “worthy” enough to listen to because I did not look the part. I needed to lose weight and I knew that when people saw me…that’s what they saw. It’s been years since those days and thankfully I no longer feel prisoner to my own self-doubt. As a matter of fact, I would probably consider the last year of …

Dear Twitter Marketing: An Open Letter

In EdTech by rafranzdavis1 Comment

I’m writing you this letter because I think that you should be much more intentional about connecting with the education community. To be honest with you, for a platform that fundamentally enables users to share stories, you are missing out on some of the most amazing stories involving twitter. I know that you are fully aware of the impact that you are having on education. You see the stats and you may even be aware of the educational hashtags that scroll amongst the billions of tweets per second but I wonder if you truly “get it”…how deeply your platform has …

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Storytelling with Adobe Slate and My Dad

In EdTech by rafranzdavis2 Comments

I’ve been an Adobe Voice user and have used it countless times with students. However, there was a piece missing for students who needed a platform to liven up projects or ideas that required much more text. A few weeks ago, I was able to get a peek inside Adobe Slate and I’ve been anticipating its release since. Simultaneously, my father…with his ipad…has been thinking about publishing his family history based on his research. Today, Adobe Slate released and I put it to the test with my dad who at 63 years young is a complete tech novice who has never used …

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It’s Not About The Tech, Unless It Is

In EdTech, Equity by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Over the past week I have been looking a bit more deeply into the Future Ready Summit coalition partners in order to learn more about how each one contributes to the #FutureReady initiative. One of those is Digital Promise, an independent, bipartisan nonprofit, authorized by Congress in 2008 as the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies. Earlier today, I came across a blog post written by Krista Moroder called, Words Matter: Let’s Talk About Learning, Not Technology. In it, Krista reflected on a moment from her training experience in which she came to understand the power …