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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 …

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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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Edtech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity and We’re Tired

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis7 Comments

I could talk all day about my new obsession with the NY Times T Brand Studios and what digital storytelling should be in schools. I get giddy when sharing how hearing Megan Smith talk about inclusive computational thinking beyond drag & drop coding helped me to frame our district’s work in making “makered” accessible to all. I’m obsessed with raspberry pi, arduino, makey makey…etc and more importantly providing these tools for kids to invent their heart’s desires . Heck, we held a series of invention camps for our students this summer and I would love to share how others can and …

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Understanding the Business, Politics and Art of School Edtech Leadership

In Professional Growth, School growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I am convinced that people who work “in edtech” but outside of schools have zero clue as to how schools run. It becomes even more apparent as my phone rings at the oddest, yet calculated times…beginning of the day, around “lunch”…end of the day. My caller ID almost always bears the name of some edtech company or rep and I cringe each and every time. To keep it real, I also choose not to answer because the “cold call” is such a blatant disrespect of not only my time but all of us that work in schools. Do you seriously think that …

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Reflecting on A Summer of Making and Hacking the Classroom with Students

In EdTech, Professional Growth, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

“One of these days, when we are older and doing this same work but as mentors to other kids, they’ll ask us how long we’ve been engineering things and because of this week, we’ll be able to say to them…I’ve been doing this since childhood. Do you have any idea what you’ve done for us and how powerful this is?” – Student  Back in January, when I “optimistically wrote” on my PiCademy USA application that I wanted to do PiCamps for kids, giving them all their own raspberry pi device with accessories, I honestly had no clue if it could …

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Hacking Thought

In EdTech, Professional Growth, School growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Tomorrow is the final day of our hackathon and even as I sit here basking in the memories of seeing kids laugh through struggle while learning, I can’t help thinking how this entire event started from a single thought… Why not our kids? I feel like I’ve learned more in a few days than I have in my entire existence in education. Kids have a way of doing that to you. Today, during interviews, I heard kids speak about who they wanted to be in the world and how they felt that technology could support that.  Story after story was …

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#EdtechBlackout To My POCEdtech Community

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis4 Comments

There was a time in my life when I used to wait with nervous anticipation for conference proposal letters to appear in my inbox. I cried the first time that I was accepted by ISTE because I could not believe that I would finally be able to attend and that people would actually come to my session to hear what I had to say. These days are different though. I no longer wait and to be honest, I don’t even know when proposals are due anymore. I rarely submit my own sessions and if I do, it is a panel …

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Authenticity and Co-Opting Voices of Color without Permission

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Yesterday, I along with a few of my Educolor/POCEdtech colleagues received an email from MJ of  Edsurge asking for our opinion about their plans to publish a libguide, basically story with resources, about the most recent shootings and wait for it…black oppression. I can see this as a topic of great need since they cross published a brilliant medium post by Mandela Schumacher-Hodge describing how her white boss talked about race at work and to her/their credit, perhaps they took it to heart. We were asked, “Should we really be putting out another libguide? What should we be doing? What needs to be pushed/published/collected?” My …

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Looking at the World with Eyes Wide Open

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis3 Comments

I have no idea how to go back to normal. Let me rephrase that…I don’t want to. I equate this feeling to many…many years ago after visiting New Tech High and learning about PBL. …finding José Vilson, Melinda Anderson, Sabrina Stephens, Audrey Watters, Chris Lehmann, Diana Laufenberg, Zac Chase Xian Barrett …people who have challenged me to not only talk but act…see what most don’t and use words to stimulate action I thought that I was pretty “woke”, but I realized how much of the world that I have ignored and issues that I dealt with more passively than I should …

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Exposure, Experiences and Speed Dating Ideas with TED

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis5 Comments

For my entire academic career, aside from Educon, I have only attended events meant for educators only, which until now was perfectly normal. It was the way that we have always done it…which as we all know, is the destroyer of progress. “Idea dating” isn’t new to most of us in education, especially if we are on social media. Someone shares something…a brilliant glimpse into their classroom, a lesson, initiative, project…a moment that has reinvigorated their school. We do this always and because we understand that we are better because of what we share and try in our own environments, it …