View Post

What I Learned from First Graders and Other Ideas

In Professional Development, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I am always in awe of how my baby nephew navigates the world through his growing lens of curiosity. He has this fearlessness about him that demands certain freedoms most often held back from toddlers. I can’t think of a single time where we have denied him the right to try something new as our place in Braeden’s world taught us better. Creativity can’t be cultivated in children with so much adult control. This is especially true of his exposure to technology…an area where a few have been critical of our choices in “screen time” even when they have no idea how …




View Post

Social Marketing EDU and the Art of Learning While Doing

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I am absolutely convinced that the internet exists for people like me. You know…the kind of people that when asked to do something will base whether or not they can do it on the availability of online instructions. I am 100% THAT person and so far, it hasn’t failed me yet. It almost did though. The other day, I was given my superintendent’s request for our district convocation surrounding integrating a social media experience for our staff. Her request seemed simple enough… Display tweets on the big screen with high quality visible images. Create a twitter leaderboard of original tweets so …




View Post

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 …




View Post

Do We Need Hashtags Just to Implement Best Practices or Nahh?

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis3 Comments

Someone sent me a “hyperdoc” the other day. I’ve been staring at it since trying to figure out what makes it a “hyperdoc” vs a normal google doc. You know…a normal document where you build in spaces (tables or shapes) within the document to organize ideas, share information, ask questions and often leaving room for more questions…student centered and inquiry focused. There’s even a book about them and not to take away from its authors work and her sharing how she has used google apps effectively and brilliantly in her classroom, have we really reached the point where we look …




View Post

Race, Voice and Non-Diverse Spaces

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis3 Comments

It bothers me when a private conversation with many fellow POC in edtech veers to this end of the conversational spectrum… Person A, “Look at this list, #Presenterssowhite” Person B, “I can’t with them right now.” Person C, “They didn’t even bother trying.” Person D, “Well, you know…we still have to prove ourselves.” Person A, “Well, you know we have to work twice as hard” Last week, I was at the “super diverse but still lacking black attendees” space that is TED. I’m not going to lie. It was amazing and for a minute, I allowed myself to go to …




View Post

Makercamps, Hackathons and Equity: From Vision to Reality with Support from Microsoft

In Professional Development, Professional Growth, School growth by rafranzdavis2 Comments

About six months ago, my superintendent presented me with the challenge of a lifetime. She asked that I dig into my creative hat and provide some form of innovative summer learning experience for our students. I may have researched and polled students for months before even expressing the first iteration of ideas…which have gone through a cycle of “rethinking” about ten times. Then, I met the Pantherbots, our Lufkin High School First Robotics team and everything changed. I watched them work alongside mentors for months, building and programming a robot from basically a box of scraps. I watched them create parts …




View Post

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 …




View Post

Inside Our Digital Learning Implementation Phase 2

In Equity, Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

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 …




View Post

The Inequities of Curiosity, Creativity and Innovation

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Year after year, local communities are losing their schools because of test scores…not just test scores but lack of so many pieces that contribute to such a fate. For example, I just read that New Orleans has officially become an all charter community full of TFA teachers because their schools were beyond low performing. What’s left out of that story is that their schools were also more than likely underfunded and full of under-developed teachers who were teaching kids with gaps growing more and more by the year. On the other hand, I know of several schools in Texas, full of …




View Post

Confessions of a Digital Leader: Planning Personalized PD

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

As someone who is new to the role of planning an entire school district’s professional development plan, let me first start by saying that this is not as simple of a task as it sounds. It is a huge responsibility…one that cannot be orchestrated on a whim. Think of it like being a kid with the key to the candy store…only it’s not about you eating the candy but about everyone else. It’s not a free for all, but then again it can be. A few months ago, I was handed feedback from within our district. For the most part, …