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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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Today We Started our Student Hackathon

In School growth by rafranzdavis1 Comment

I’ve never hosted or planned a hackathon before this one. At the same token, our kids have never done one. Yet and still, we jumped into this space of uncertainty with minimal expectations beyond inspiring our students to design and build what they felt could have impact on their learning community. The ideas that they had were a mixture of inspiring, empathetic and often ambitious in scope. There was frustration and joy, smiles and boredom…a few water bottle throwing challenges and learning…especially since “kids are gonna kid” and imperfection is a part of the process. Our teams consisted of 3-4 …

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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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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 …

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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 …

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The Burden of Guilt and Growth

In personal by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I would give anything to be focused on technology upgrades in my school district, professional learning badging systems or the student hackathon that starts in 10 days. Part of me feels guilty that I am unapologetically not focused on work. (No emails until Monday) I feel like trauma has been a daily occurrence but I even feel guilty for feeling this because my loved ones are safe. I’m not burying my son or brother. I didn’t lose a loved one last night like many Dallas area law enforcement families did, including a family that I know. For a moment this …

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Another Night, Another Shooting

In Blogging by rafranzdavis3 Comments

The other day my son told me that he dreamed of being shot by the police. It wakes him up at night. This is the world that he lives in…the one that all of our sons and daughters are growing up in. It’s 2:45am and less than a day of learning of Alton Sterling, my son gets to learn about a new name…Philando Castile. I’ve been talking to my son about “the rules” for years now and even more so as he is learning to drive. I’m a spiritual woman so I pray  and am encouraged by those who also …

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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 …