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SXSWEDU, A Brief Reflection Before the Show

In personal, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis1 Comment

My first sxswedu was years ago. I was speaking in the google room, not on program, but on behalf of an app developer…a developer who only knew me from my constant tweets about their product. It was the first time that I presented at any conference bigger than a regional and the first time that I was ever face to face with the non-school side of edtech. Oh my gosh, everyone wanted to pitch me their product!  The significant part to this story is that like many teachers who wished to attend conferences, even with the event ticket covered by …




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Why Seeing Hidden Figures is Important

In personal by rafranzdavis4 Comments

As a student in school, I didn’t have a Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan or Mary Jackson to look up to. Heck, I never even heard their names until college when we were privileged to learn from the great Dr. Evelyn Boyd Granville, mathematician and former IBM programmer who actually created programs written for NASA through their contract with IBM. She was the one that told us about these women but even then, it didn’t quite sink in as to the magnitude of their work and the sacrifices made to pave the way for all of us. Still, that was college and thinking back …




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Clarity, Purpose and Happiness in Hamilton

In parenting, personal by rafranzdavis1 Comment

There was a moment yesterday when the deep funk(Post Trump Stress) that I’ve been drowning in shifted. Minutes after leaving an online meeting with a few friends, I sat down to write what I can only describe as the most morbidly piece of depressive words that I’ve ever put in black and white. I knew that I was struggling as my withdrawal from 90% of online connectivity was enough proof but I had no idea just how bad it was until I started reading back my own thoughts. [clicks Move to Trash] So, I retreated to my happy place…blasting the Hamilton …




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In Search of Hope

In personal by rafranzdavis0 Comments

“Even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr I’m struggling. For months, the sound bytes of politics have plagued my heart and spirit with so much doubt that experiencing kindness is more shocking than expected. …and I hate it I’ve watched clips, heard audio and read some of the most vitriolic chatter amongst people who have yet to understand the cultural progress of our country and all of it’s “melting pot” glory. I regret watching …




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Why I’m Not Cautiously Quiet, Lesson From My Father

In personal by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Earlier in my career, I made the transition from middle school math teacher to high school geometry teacher. This was especially significant in a school district where I was not only the first black math teacher in my school ever but definitely the first one in high school teaching a core content area who was not also a coach. My next door neighbor at the time, a well respected business ed black teacher, pulled me aside to offer the best possible advice meant to guarantee my survival. “When you get to that high school, don’t let them know that you …




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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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The Burden of Guilt and Growth

In personal by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I would give anything to be focused on technology upgrades in my school district, professional learning badging systems or the student hackathon that starts in 10 days. Part of me feels guilty that I am unapologetically not focused on work. (No emails until Monday) I feel like trauma has been a daily occurrence but I even feel guilty for feeling this because my loved ones are safe. I’m not burying my son or brother. I didn’t lose a loved one last night like many Dallas area law enforcement families did, including a family that I know. For a moment this …




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Shortpost: A Few Lingering Thoughts from TEDSummit

In personal by rafranzdavis0 Comments

1. In education, we tend to learn in silos and it was eye opening as we dealt with global topics from multiple lenses and experiences. This should happen more. For a more accessible experience, see Educon in Philly, which is centered entirely on education. 2. I’ve watched TED videos and had tons of discussions about those thought-provoking ideas shared. If you only ever watch videos and never engage in follow up discussions with people, you’re missing out. 3. TED offers all of their content online free but see previous statement. The power of this week was in the people, discussions, …




Thank You Mr. Guidry, Band Director #ThankATeacher

In personal, Uncategorized by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Well before the official “instrument tryout” day, my mom sent my dad to look for my first flute. It was a used $50 pawn shop find, my ticket to beginner band class. During tryouts, my mom was told that I could not play the flute. They said that I had a tear drop upper lip, making clear sound virtually impossible. It didn’t matter as my mom stood her ground and insisted that regardless of what they said, I was playing the flute…so I did. My start as a flautist was terrible as I was literally the worst or 2nd worst, …




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Marketing or Growth: What Does It Mean to Be An Innovative Educator?

In personal, Professional Development, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

If you want to see corporate marketing at its best and worst, look no further than edtech created “educator honors”. These technology based programs that label and badge teachers as “ambassador”, “innovative”, “distinguished” or “certified” are considered “honors” within the education field as entry into these “elite” programs often represents a teacher who is not only doing brilliant work for kids and communities but also contributing to education both nationally and even globally through the sharing of that work. (As expressed in documentation created to promote the program) In addition, with professional development opportunities often incredibly lacking in districts, these programs …