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How to Avoid the “Flood of Tech Tools” Trap

In EdTech, Professional Development, Uncategorized by rafranzdavis2 Comments

I get excited sometimes when I learn about new tech tools. I actually spend the time playing with them to figure them out a bit. Then the reality sets in… I ask questions of myself which determine if this tool is necessary for my own use. I think about it from the lens of a teacher and student. What’s the purpose? Why would I choose this tool over “my reliables”? Does using this tool make task completion any simpler or does it add necessary functionality that I do not have access to now? What are the sharing options and how? …




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PD Reflection 3: Supporting and Building a Foundation for Technology Integration

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

There’s a saying that states, “what’s monitored is done” and in certain situations, that statement holds true. Today, I would like to build on to that statement and devise a new quote: “What’s monitored is done but what’s supported is done better.” Nothing good can become of a system with no foundation. In all things instructional, the foundation is integral to the learning process. It doesn’t matter what area of education that we speak, there has to be a strong foundation in place to support student learning. After spending the last week hearing from teachers, it became apparent that one …




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Obvious to You, New to Others

In Professional Development, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I consider myself decently connected. I tweet, chat, attend conferences and read blogs as well as news postings. It is my job to do so now. However, I did this proudly before it was my job. Every now and then I get to learn about some new amazing tool which is awesome. However, most of my time these days is about sharing “the obvious” and I couldn’t be happier to do so. Below are a few of the “obvious to me” tools that I share. I’ve learned to see their “amazingness” through the new eyes of our teachers. Obvious Tool …




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Professional Development Reflection 2: Encouraging Teacher Leaders

In Professional Development, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

One of the best unwritten parts of my job, aside from sharing classroom tech strategies, is empowering teachers to be leaders. Today, a teacher told me that she wanted my job. She had a passion for technology and dreamed of being in the position to help other teachers. I don’t think that I have ever been as excited as I was at that moment. I immediately asked her if she was sharing her work online, if she was on twitter and if she had ever taught sessions on her campus. When she responded that she did not think that she …




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Professinal Development Reflection Part 1: Breaking Free From the Dome

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

This past summer, I became obsessed with the show, Under the Dome. The idea of an entire town being secluded from the world intrigued me.  In a way, it reminded me of the secluded life that so many educators live by…unbeknownst to them. Prior to taking on my new role this year as a district instructional technology specialist, in “my own dome”, I believed that teachers had little to no excuse to NOT be aware of research concerning the growing climate of education. However, the teachers of the schools to which I serve have definitely opened my eyes to the …




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When the Planned Technology Does NOT Work

In Professional Development, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Yesterday I taught a session after school that failed to go off without a hitch. Luckily I was prepared to tap into my classroom experiences when similar situations occurred. As I poetically worked through issues and then tweeted about it, it became obvious that many other classroom teachers are faced with the same dilemmas. Are we preparing them to know what to do if the tech tool stops working? There are multiple reasons why the planned tech fails. In my classroom, with every tech component networked, if the network failed…the tech didn’t work. The network failed often. In the world …




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A Reflection on IWBs, Mobile Devices and Support…or lack of

In Professional Development, SmartBoard by rafranzdavis2 Comments

I read an article yesterday, written by taught.it developer Jason Orbaugh and posted by Edsurge, about the failure of interactive whiteboards. It was interesting and did make a few valid points. However, sprinkling a bit of misleading data into the equation along with ideas to begin with serving only those that will use the technology in lieu of those that will not, left a bit of an aftertaste regarding the vision behind the article. The comments that followed via twitter missed the entire mark and immediately began to sing shouts of “bye bye to smartboards” which I imagined to sound a …




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Where Has the Art of Teaching Gone?

In Professional Development, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

When I graduated college, I remember being so excited to create interesting learning experience for my students. As a remedial middle school math teacher, I was able to do that. There was no curriculum in place for my course so I had the freedom to engage my students “unscripted” and “unchallenged” by any other views. I chose relationships, manipulatives, technology, real world applications, art and even the occasional outdoors math class in lieu of the traditional structure that kids were accustomed to. To this day, that class is still my benchmark for engagement. When I transitioned to high school, I …




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Join Me Friday to Talk Mobile Learning and Autonomy in Reluctant Learners at RSCON4

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Friday at 1pm cst, I’ll be presenting an interactive online session via The Reform Symposium (#rscon4) My session, “Leveraging Mobile Devices to Develop Autonomy in Reluctant Learners“, is a look inside how we can empower students to be responsible for their own learning through the use of mobile technology. As a high school teacher, I learned early how mobile devices could encourage students to dig deeper beyond their prescribed content. Unfortunately, for most of my students, utilizing their devices often resulted in mandated confiscation and fees for retrieval. As a result, many learning opportunities were missed as students were denied …




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Technology Professional Development: Purposeful, Simple and Useful

In Professional Development by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my role as an instructional technology specialist. I’ve never been a fan of “canned” presentations or random disconnected courses. I believe wholeheartedly in listening to teachers and meeting their classroom needs when they need them. As a classroom teacher, required to attain a certain amount of hours, if I had to go to a class I wanted to be able to use what I learned. Here are a few clues as to why so many teachers leave sessions and leave the learning in the training room… They could not connect the new …