#MakeSchoolDifferent

During some recent Twitter travels I stumbled onto a blog post by Tom Whitby, called We Have To Stop Pretending… #MakeSchoolDifferent. I found another from the Open Teaching Blog put together by University of Oklahoma called, We Have To Stop Pretending…. Both of these posts have a common thread, and that is to #MakeSchoolDifferent. This all began with a simple post from Scott Mcleod, entitled, We Have To Stop Pretending. After reading these posts, I felt inspired to share my own thoughts. To anyone reading this, let’s keep this going!

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending that…

  • Academic rigor can only occur in a traditional classroom setting.
  • Grades aren’t punitive and detrimental to student growth.
  • Test scores and grades directly correlate to how intelligent you are.
  • The “real” world and “real” work only begins after you graduate from school.
  • That all students need go to college in order to be successful.

Connected Educator Month

October is Connected Educator Month. I have put together some resources about being a connected educator for teachers to explore. Click here for Connected Educator Resources.

Check out some older posts that I have written about being a Connected Educator.

Connected Educator Month Post 1 – Overview

Connected Educator Month Post 2 – Edutopia Connected Educator Resources

Connected Educator Month Post 3 – Connected Educators to follow

Connected Educator Month Post 4 – Twitter Chats

Tech Tuesday 2.18.14 – Some things to do over February Break

This post was originally published 4.02.13. I made a few slight updates. Enjoy!

Have some extra time over break? Yeah right. Well, just in case you do, here are some ideas.

Review our Tech Tuesday blog posts:

Watch a TED Talk or two:

Think of ways to change 20%  of what you do in the classroom using concepts from PD Day:

Watch this video: Did You Know? Shift Happens 2013 – 2014 / Higher Education

Have a great Break!

EdCamp Home 2.0 – Wow!

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EdCamp Home badge created by Kevin Ashworth.

I am a huge fan of the EdCamp model for professional development. I was able to attend EdCamp Philly last year with three colleagues and it was an amazing experience. For those of you that don’t know, EdCamp is an unconference or open space style conference for educators. Unconference style conferences are unique because the content is driven by the participants. There are no pre-planned sessions.

I first heard about EdCamp Home from Markette Pierce, whom I know from Twitter. EdCamp Home is an online version of the conference, meaning all of the attendees would participate from home. It was held on January 4, 2014. Each attendee registered and was then invited to a private Google+ Community. The day before the conference, attendees generated topic ideas. There were two sessions. During each session multiple topics were being discussed in different Google Hangouts. There were a total of 47 different sessions at EdCamp Home. It seemed a little crazy, and it was. It was crazy awesome.

The first session I attended was the “EdTech Coaches Meetup.” We had fun connecting and sharing ideas about how we work with teachers. All the notes from that session can be found here (thanks to Markette for creating the document). Here are the videos from all of the different topics held during session 1: EdCamp Home Session 1.

The second session I attended was called “Helping Teachers Build a PLN.” (I am passionate about this topic and even presented on it at NYSCATE with colleague Amy Oliverihere is a link to our presentation.) There were so many good practical ideas shared in this session. Here are the videos from all of the topics held during session 2: EdCamp Home Session 2.

Here are some links from EdCamp Home 2.0:

  • Snagit – an awesome Google Chrome extension and app for annotating any image you can take a picture of on your computer.

  • Atlas Learning – Too hard to explain but cool, click the link.

  • Lucid Press – Awesome templates that link to Google Docs, available in the Chrome Web Store.

  • Haiku Deck – A new innovative app and online presentation creation tool.

  • PLN Yourself – Great personal learning network resources.

For more ideas check out the EdCamp Home Slam!

You can also catch up on the entire Twitter conversation via the TweetChat link#edcampHome

Experiencing EdCamp Home 2.0 has given me some new ideas for delivery of professional development with the faculty at my school. I was part of the organizing committee that introduced the unconference style of professional development to our faculty for our Professional Day last Spring. It was a huge success. If the EdCamp Home 2.0 organizers can create a robust online environment for collaboration on such a large scale, why can’t I create something similar on a much smaller scale with the faculty at Allendale Columbia School? Why not create Google Hangout PD sessions for faculty? The sessions could be based on faculty interest. Expert guests could attend the hangouts to chat with our faculty in small groups. Would you as a teacher attend a scheduled PD Hangout in the evening? I can’t wait to give this a try.

Kudos to the organizers Karl Lindgren-Steicher, Kelly Kermode, Shawn White and David Theriault, for putting together an amazing event. I can’t wait for EdCamp Home 3.0!

Tech Tuesday 10.22.13 – Connected Educators Month – Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are a great way for educators to stay current in a specific content area, or about educational topics in general.

THE Journal was the first magazine to cover education technology. In September, Susan Bearden wrote an article called, 13 Great Twitter Chats Every Educator Should Check Out. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter and or Twitter chats, this is a great place to start.

Cybrary Man, Jerry Blumengarten, has a great site with resources for educators. Here is a link to his page for Educational Chats on Twitter.

Below are some direct links to Twitter Chats. You can use a tool like Twubs to filter a specific chat or hashtag like #edchat. You do NOT need to have a Twitter account to access the conversation. You do need an account if you wish to participate.

Education – EdChat

Math – MathChat

English – EngChat

Educational Technology – EdTechChat

Kindergarten/Early Childhood – KinderChat

Elementary Education – ElemChat

Tech Tuesday – 10.01.13 – Connected Educators Month (CEM)

Sorry, I am publishing this a day early.

October 2013 is Connected Educators Month. It’s a chance for us to start connecting with other educators around the world!

Below are some great places to start if you haven’t already. If you already consider yourself “connected”, make sure you spread the word about how being connected has helped you as an educator!

If you aren’t sure what it means to be a “Connected Educator”, watch this short video for an overview.

CEM – Connected Educators Month – Resources

Pinterest In My PLN

Illustrated by Peter Grundy From Scholastic Instructor

I would consider myself to be a heavy user of social media maybe even excessive at times. I have written a blog post about using it as a PD (professional development) tool and presented on the topic of connected educators. I actively use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. I used Google Reader, now Feedly (a post for a different day) to keep track of blogs I follow. I use a variety of different apps, Zite, FlipBoard, Feedly, Pocket, WordPress, Evernote, HootSuite, and Summly to keep track of my content.

Notice I didn’t mention Pinterest? Pinterest just didn’t seem to fit into my workflow. I didn’t understand at all how I could jam one more social network into a very busy, sometimes messy flow of information. Colleague, Amy Oliveri, a member of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and high end social media user has been bugging me for at least a year to start using Pinterest. I just didn’t get it. How do pictures of somebody else’s stuff help me? I was somewhat hesitant given the concerns related to image copyright. I want to be an example of appropriate use of copyright and the web (another post for a different day).

Finally, something clicked. Amy and I manage social media for Allendale Columbia School and she sent me a post from Brendan Scheinder’s blog about using Pinterest as virtual viewbook. Amy insisted that we start doing this and she would manage the entire page (click here to see what she has done so far). So, I decided to give Pinterest another look for professional use. I had to be missing something.

I now understand how Pinterest fits in my workflow. I have started using Pinterest as a place to store important information. I don’t use Delicious anymore. I “pin” everything I want to keep, articles, blog posts, inforgaphics, TED Talks, education sites…I keep adding boards as new ideas pop into my head. It’s also an amazing place to find information. There is so much information available from top resources like Edudemic, Edutopia, Richard Byrne, Eric Sheninger…there are too many to list. Unlike Twitter, Pinterest is easy to browse and search. Everything displays in a nice organized format.

As with all social media, you can’t force it on people. I remember back when I first realized how powerful Twitter could be as PD tool, and how wrong I was about it’s use. Pinterest too has it’s place in your PLN.

To read more about Pinterest in education, check out our Tech Tuesday blog post titled, What is Pinterest?

Tech Tuesday 2.12.13

This is the first edition of a weekly newsletter (with a mirrored blog post). This newsletter will provide you with technology tips and tricks. This will be guided by you so please comment and give us feedback.

This week we are focusing on social media. As of November we have taken over the social media coverage of events on campus. It’s important to us to include everyone. We think that what you’re doing in your classroom is special! We want to show you off to parents, grandparents, prospective families, and community members! Here’s how we can continue to do this!

  • If you have information you would like to share, email connect@allendalecolumbia.org provide us with
    • a written summary (3-5 sentences)
    • several hi-resolution photos (no more than 10) or a short video
  • If you are sharing on Twitter, use the handle @ACSRochester and we will retweet.
  • If you have an interesting lesson, event, or exciting classroom happening that you need quality photos taken at, email connect@allendalecolumbia.org one week in advance and we will do our best to attend. Keep in mind, we select events from “This Week” to cover on a weekly basis.

Next weeks newsletter topic: Are you a blogger? Why use wordpress.com?

Amy Oliveri Receives Early Career Award in Art Education

On February 1st, 2013, Allendale Columbia Middle School Art Teacher, Amy Oliveri, was awarded with the Early Career Award by the RIT School of Art for her excellence in teaching.


This is short video of Amy working on a self portrait using colored pencils.

When I was first introduced to Amy, she was described as being techy. And she was! We hit it off right away. However, Amy is far more than just a techy, art teacher. She is an excellent planner, facilitator, teacher and artist. I have seen her teach and interact with students. There is a tremendous amount of mutual respect in her classroom. Her students are engaged and well behaved. Students ask questions and work to push themselves to impress her. Amy is the type of teacher that expects her students to work hard and do well. From my perspective as a colleague, I feel the same way when I work with her.  I want whatever I am working on to be that much better because I know she has such high expectations. I know that I have learned far more from her than she has learned from me. Amy is in her third year at AC and she has an incredibly bright future. The Allendale Columbia School students, faculty and community are very lucky to have Mrs. Oliveri as a teacher, friend and mentor!

To get a better understanding of Amy’s passion for art and education, please check out her social media links.