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Braeden the Puppet Maker, Artist, Writer and Now Performer

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting and missed a ton of calls from my nephew. He finally sent this message… “I called to see if you could cut one of the songs or basically all of them because we only have 3 minutes & I need the music so I will know how much to I have for each scene. Call me I need to start scripting.” After viewing the three youtube links that he sent, I replied with this… “If you ever need to download a file from youtube to convert to mp3 clipconverter.cc to then combine multiple …

Learning About Digital Equity from Students

Throughout the year, I have had opportunities to work directly in classrooms on digital learning initiatives. Each of those moments seemed to inform a new reality that we needed to face from 5th graders not having the foundational skills needed to simply use a computer beyond online testing tools or kids not having access to any form of learning in a connected world. Then…there was the realization that our wifi access needed a major boost on every campus because as a district that fully supports BYOD, making sure that every person could connect at least one device should be a priority. …

Inside Our Digital Learning Implementation Phase 2

In my school district, our professional and digital learning department is barely around 7 months old. Since school began we’ve been somewhere in the middle of identifying, addressing, creating and revising problems as well as solutions. In addition, we’ve taken full advantage of eager leadership, teacher excitement, “edtech buzz initiatives”, and any opened door that allowed a conversation regarding how students can be active participants in their own learning. This has truly been a remarkable journey and with all that we still have planned…it seems as if we are only just beginning! To give some background, our district is a …

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Conversations with my Son: Moving, Fresh Starts and Robotics

As a student, there is something incredibly powerful when you know that your teachers and administrators truly care. That’s what my son felt about his new school before he ever stepped foot in the building. I remember that as we were driving to the campus, we were in a deep discussion and upon pulling to the corner to turn, we both fell silent. In front of the school were hundreds and hundreds of signs, all bearing the names of students. There was a sign for each student along with the name of their future college, trade school or military branch. We …

Privacy, Trust and Voice

For the past few hours, I’ve thought, rethought, written and erased…over and over again. In between going back and forth, I got to experience the vile realities of twitter trolls…people creating accounts for the sole purpose of saying the most unreal, racist, sexist, body shaming…things to me. Clearly, speaking out against the “media interpretation” of awesome teaching ruffled some feathers. And yet, I am still stuck at… How do I best convey why #IWishmyteacherknew is not just a “bad thing” but a “Oh heck no” thing…. First let me say that I am an advocate for student voice. I believe …

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You Don’t Know Grit!

There’s a really huge myth that kids come to class with zero experience in the grit area…that somehow “struggle in school work” is supposed to magically teach that. By definition, grit is about courage, resolve and strength of character in the face of obstacles. In real life, those obstacles can be hindering and impossible sometimes to just “do”…because of grit. Some kids thrive and some struggle beyond school. With boys, especially black boys…those obstacles can be crippling, especially in a world that immediately judges them unfairly because they have those obstacles to begin with and not by how they rise above …

It’s Not About The Tech, Unless It Is

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 …

Diving into Tech with My #EdtechDad

For the past few years, I’ve shared many social media postings about my #edtechdad, who earned that name because of his adoration of tech company branded t-shirts. He has never actually used any of the products that he freely advertises around town but that doesn’t stop him from talking about them. As a matter of fact, until a month ago…aside from his former employee entry computer, my father has never been on an internet enabled device himself. Back in February, after engaging in an online mission to disrupt the Slave Simulation game, created by Mission US, I started researching the slave …

Let’s Have Edu Gamathons, Not Just Gamification

This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to serve as a teacher mentor for the Austin Education Game Jam, hosted by Globoloria, Atlassian HipChat and Skillpoint Alliance. This “Gamathon” event challenged development teams to create high-quality, commercially viable video games that were content focused while also empowering learning through more meaningful and engaging experiences. From a spectator standpoint, it was interesting to see teams, with most having only met that day, thinking about what gaming in education could be and then making plans to create that experience. Each group, bringing their own experiences as student learners and entertainment content creators, took great care …

Access, Opportunity and #Internet4Schools

The day that my dad brought home a set of encyclopedias was an important family event. He called all of us into the front room as he unpacked each book one by one. To my parents, providing this access to knowledge was critical and I distinctly remember my dad telling us that within those books was the key to our future. He certainly believed it anyway. My parents did the best that they could to make sure that we had access to as many opportunities as possible so paying what had to be a small fortune at the time in order to support …