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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 …




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Thoughts on Being a Mother, Aunt and Educator

In parenting, personal by rafranzdavis2 Comments

In a matter of hours, I’ll be back in my work space…planning, organizing, listening and teaching. For the past two weeks though, I didn’t think of any of those things. Instead, I used my break to play games, sing loudly, dance terribly, smile until my face hurt and have conversations with the children in my life. I was on a break…a real one. It wasn’t that I decided to just “be on break”. Instead, I decided to be in the moment…a goal that I plan to make real every chance that I get regardless of where I am. “Being in …




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What’s Race Got To Do With It?

In personal, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Following the Spring Valley High assault news yesterday, I searched for student perspective from students at that school. As expected, there was a ton of discussion about the young lady being violently wrestled and tossed across the room. What I didn’t expect to see was their passionate pleas that people quit making this incident about race. They were completely adamant that the officer responsible wasn’t racist but an equal opportunity violent man who once did the same thing to a pregnant girl who happened to be white. According to them, he tossed all kids with reckless abandon. They said, and I …




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Confessions of A Digital Leader: Sometimes I Prefer Life Unplugged

In personal by rafranzdavis2 Comments

  It’s been one week since we moved away from our home town. It was a place with its own set of issues but my entire family still lives there and to be completely away is tough. We have texting, social media, FaceTime, Google hangouts, Skype and pretty much every means of connecting possible. However, nothing beats the rush of emotions that I feel as I hold my tiny niece in my arms…her finger surrounding mine.  She’s in the hospital again…long sigh. Technology can’t replace the giggles from tickling my 1 year old nephew after chasing him around the house. Seeing …




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Dear Edtech, You Still Have A Race Problem

In personal, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis3 Comments

When “diversity in edtech” is mentioned, the conversation almost always materializes as one about women. We talk about it often and there are plenty of initiatives created to “change the ratio”. I get it. There is a disparity and we certainly need it. However, when it comes to race…people will barely even admit that there is a problem. Let me rephrase that. We refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem. We still have non-diverse “thought groups” speaking on panels in rooms full of decision makers…also non-diverse. Have we really gotten so comfortable with our silos that all white rooms aren’t …




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The Audacity of Growth

In personal, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Earlier today, one of my former principals shared this quote… “When a seed is planted, the creative urge is to grow. It never stops trying… The audacious hope of rooted things…” From the novel “Ruby” by Cynthia Bond.   The beauty of this quote is in its direct relationship to the art and science of being a learner. If we get education right, we will in essence be creating a culture of growth just like a seed…all types of seeds that grow in their own way…their own purpose. Over the course of my career, I have had many great mentors, experiences …




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Privacy, Trust and Voice

In Equity, personal by rafranzdavis

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 …




You Don’t Know Grit!

In Equity, personal by rafranzdavis4 Comments

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 …




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Slave Simulation, An Edtech Game for Classrooms

In personal, Teaching Strategies, Web Services by rafranzdavis24 Comments

Yesterday, I was shocked to open my email from Common Sense Media’s Graphite to find a recommendation and review for the game, Mission US: Flight to Freedom as a recommended piece of technology to “celebrate black history month and beyond” (It has since been removed).  Flight to Freedom is a role playing game in which users step into the character of Lucy, a 14 year old slave, as she attempts to run away to the north to escape slavery. Flight to Freedom is a simulation of slavery meant to give students an interactive look into history. It features everything the “edtech” …




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Embracing Your Possibilities, Dare to Dream

In personal, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis3 Comments

Years ago, one of my students asked me a question that sent me on the weekend reflection that would forever change my life. He asked, “Hey Miss, other than teaching, what were your dreams? What is the one thing that you always wanted to do but didn’t?” Until that moment, I never considered any other dreams aside from being in the classroom. I take that back. I did consider other dreams but once I became a teacher, it was as if I stopped dreaming. I “settled” into the life that chose me and decided to work to become the best teacher …