View Post

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 …

View Post

Because Writing Should be Powerful, Not Punishment

In Braeden, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

A few weeks ago, my nephew arrived home from school with a plan. He still needed to get about 15 points for his AR (Accelerated Reader) total in order to attend the school shopping trip where kids were able to cash in points for money. He was determined, and not because he was dying to go spend what would amount to about $10 in junk but because he could not bear the thought of being left behind to write. Yes, those that did not get the points required would be left behind on campus with a “two page” writing assignment about …

My Thoughts on Gaming and Learning from G4L15

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis1 Comment

Before traveling to New York for the Games for Learning Summit, I talked to my teenage son about his love of gaming and why he is so captivated by the game, Assassin’s Creed. My son looked at me and said… “Mom, I know that you have some influence in education…or at least you think you do. But, if you say or do anything that makes Ubisoft change Assassin’s Creed from what it is to some watered down game for schools, I will hold you personally responsible [insert smile]” My son loves this game because of it’s captivating graphics and brilliant …

Because Slavery Should Not Be Edtech Gamified #slavesimulation

In Teaching Strategies, Web Services by rafranzdavis3 Comments

It’s been four days now of complete and total commitment to bringing forth awareness about PBS affiliate, ThirteenNY‘s “game” on slaves escaping to freedom in which badges are awarded for risks along the way. This “game”, which received exceptional reviews AND AWARDS from teachers and media affiliates from all over the country, has been used in classrooms since at least 2012. Reviews like… (as posted to their website and linked) KOTAKU – They Made a Video Game About Slavery, And It’s Actually Good “It’s not only an engaging video game, it’s a harrowing, illuminating look at the realities of life as …

View Post

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” …

Sparking Wonder One Idea At a Time

In Braeden, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis1 Comment

For over a year, I thought that my nephew found a love for puppetry after watching the muppet movie which then led to a binge night of creation culminating in an epic facetime call with me. Last week, at TCEA, while listening to my nephew share his story during his session, I learned that his drive to create puppets started long before that. Two years ago, while Braeden was in 2nd grade, his teacher assigned a “recycling” project where kids were to take things found around the house to create something new. According to Braeden, he chose to make a puppet marionette (He …

View Post

The Geometry Project, aka When Your Mom is A Tech Specialist

In Ipad, Math, parenting, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis6 Comments

About a week ago, my son was assigned a geometry vocabulary project that required him to choose 30 words from a list and visually represent them. The instructions were as follows… “You are to find these images in the real world. You can personally take pictures, find them on the internet, or find the items in a magazine. You must manually or electronically mark the picture so that I can identify the geometric term in the picture. You will organize these items to present to me in some manner such as gluing the pictures to posterboard, create a “book” of …

Inside the Kid’s Homework: Writing Repetitive Math Facts

In Braeden, Math, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Every night Braeden will be required to write his multiplication facts three times each and since this is a strategy that has been repeated without question over the years, many will swear by its perceived effectiveness. Before presenting an opinion, let me remind you of a time long ago when teachers used “discipline sentences” to punish kids for things like talking in class. I remember writing “I will not talk in class” 100 time and I did it by writing all of the “I’s” followed by the “wills” and so on. We called this “columnizing” because we didn’t write whole sentences but columns of …

View Post

Math Talks with Braeden: Investigations Matter

In Braeden, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Today, I pulled into my parent’s driveway and was immediately met at my car by my nephew smiling ear to ear. He was so excited because he heard something that he did not agree with in school and rushed home to test his theory…(his words) Below is the conversation that we had. B: Guess what Auntie, my teacher wasn’t so perfect today! Me: What happened? B: Well today she was telling us about horizontal symmetry, vertical symmetry and diagonal symmetry and she said that an oval had diagonal symmetry and it doesn’t. Me: Really? How do you know? B: Well, …

View Post

Three Examples of Test Prep Gone Bad

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I don’t think that I have ever met an educator or student who loves high stakes testing. Regardless, many will return to school post-spring break with a date in mind…the day of the test. For months, struggling kids have been pulled from electives for reinforcement in efforts to help them pass because passing can be the difference between moving the the next grade or even graduating. That collective score can be the difference between a school remaining open or closed. I have friends working in schools that are at that level where the state takes over and it’s not fun. …