15 EdTech Women Making an Impact!

WOW! (2)

March is known as Women’s History Month and this year the theme honors Trailblazers whose passion has influenced their respective field of work. This month I plan to highlight groups of Edtech Women each Friday that are leading the way in our field, celebrating their passion, innovations, and work. These women are helping to lead the way in creating a change in the field of education that is best for kids around the world. You can read last Friday’s post here.

marisa

Marisa Dahl, Instructional Tech Consultant

kayeKaye Henrickson, Instructional Services Director at CESA #4 in Western Wisconsin

  • “If I can help move the needle, even a little bit, to support others in existing as safe, positive, and self-directed learners, I can land on that as a success.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, Edpuzzle, Fitbit
  • Advice: Even small steps forward in your learning are steps forward. Honor that and keep moving.
  • Connect with Kaye: Twitter @kayehenrickson LinkedIn, FB, Pinterest, Instagram: Kaye Henrickson

ShanaShana White, Local School Technology Coordinator

  • “I purposefully disrupt the status quo and work daily to provide and support innovative and engaging opportunities for my students and teachers.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, GSuite, DiscoveryEd
  • Advice: Mediocrity is easy and comfortable. Great is uncomfortable, hard, but beautiful. Dare and challenge yourself to be great for kids.
  • Connect with Shana: Twitter @ShanaVWhite Blog www.shanavwhite.com Email shanavidalwhite@gmail.com

christineChristine Boyer, 5th Grade Teacher & Makerspace Curator

  • “Connectedness: bringing teachers, students and community together because learning can not just happen within the walls of the classroom.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Make Writing by Angela Stockman (e-book), Evernote for record keeping, Explain Everything for documenting
  • Advice: Teach from the heart – get to know your students well and teach to their hearts.
  • Connect with Christine: Twitter @5Boyer  Email cboyer@scarsdaleschools.org

kaylaKayla Delzer, 3rd Grade Teacher and International Keynote Speaker

  • If it’s right for kids, it’s right.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw, Epic! Books for Kids App, Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Advice: One thing I’ve really embraced over the last few years is to dive into unfamiliar or new things head on. Don’t wait for the perfect time or a new school year to get started. My comfort level is less important than doing what’s best for kids. Best practice starts now.
  • Connect with Kayla: Twitter @TopDogTeaching @topdogteaching on SM, topdogteaching.com

JodieJodie Deinhammer, Teacher

  • “Challenging kids to think differently.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Numbers, iMovie, Flipgrid
  • Advice: Set the bar high because kids are capable of more than is typically expected of them.
  • Connect with Jodie: Twitter @jdeinhammer and  jdeinhammer@coppellisd.com

cariCari Teske, Tech Integrationist

  • “To share my passion of learning with others so that it ripples for eternity.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Expeditions, Breakout EDU, Seesaw
  • Advice: Students always remember how you made them feel.
  • Connect with Cari: Twitter @cariteske, Email cteske@aea267.k12.ia.us

MindyMindy Cairney, Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood AEA

  • “My driving force is to help education evolve into an empowering experience for students and teachers.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw, CoSpaces, and all things Virtual Reality
  • Advice: Find something that brings fire into your soul. Walk away from things that don’t.
  • Connect with Mindy: Twitter @TeamCairney Email mcairney@gwaea.org

hadleyHadley Ferguson, Executive Director, Edcamp Foundation

  • “It’s always about creating the learning spaces for that spark of understanding, the light in the eyes moments, whether for students or adults.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Slack, Google Calendar, Wunderlist
  • Advice: Never stop learning; keep personal growth as one of your goals! It will make you a better educator!
  • Connect with Hadley: Twitter @hadleyjf Email hadley@edcamp.org

mickieMickie Mueller, Educational Technology Facilitator

  • “Always keep learning, always keep stretching, always keep growing.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Classroom, Canva, Seesaw
  • Advice: You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone to truly grow. As educators, we must always be willing to learn and try new things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Build a PLN of trusted friends and confidants, those people who will support you and more importantly challenge you.
  • Connect with Mickie: Twitter @Mickie_Mueller

MichelleMichelle Baldwin, Lead Teacher, Anastasis Academy

  • “My passion is inspiring kids to follow their curiosity, and that mostly requires me to simply get out of their way.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, One Tab, Seesaw
  • Advice: Getting to truly know your students – their interests, how they think they learn, what they’re curious about, etc. – should always be your top priority. Everything else is secondary to that. WHO we teach is far more important that WHAT we teach.
  • Connect with Michelle: Twitter @michellek107  

AmberAmber Teamann, proud principal of Whitt Elementary in Wylie, Tx

  • “My passion as an educator is to inspire a love of learning in all I come in contact with, empowering each and every person to be the very best version of themself they can be.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Adobe Spark, Voxer, Facebook Groups for learning
  • Advice: Share, share, share. Connections are one of the easiest, free ways to grow and learn. Your PLN can become some of your best friends and truly make you a better educator. Everyone needs a spark every now and then…YOU could be just what someone needs as a catalyst for change! You also need to market your work for more opportunities. Visit The 970 Marketing company to give you the best marketing tips.
  • Connect with Amber: Twitter@8Amber8  Website www.amberteamann.com

KaseyBell1WebSQKasey Bell, Digital Learning Consultant

  • “I am passionate about doing what’s best for kids and leveraging digital tools (and everything else at our disposal) to improve student learning.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: NYT VR, Google Keep, Story Wars
  • Advice: Question everything that is done in schools! Education is slow to change, and it’s in need a big change. We have to question the reasons we do everything so we can rethink education.
  • Connect with Kasey: Twitter @ShakeUpLearning Website/Blog www.ShakeUpLearning.com

MeenooMeenoo Rami, Manager Minecraft Education at Microsoft

  • “The throughline to all that I’ve done is to help connect to educators to one and another so they can leverage students’ inquiries and interest to power learning.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Minecraft Education Edition
  • Advice: You don’t  have to go at it alone, there are many, including me, who would love to support you on your journey as an educator.
  • Connect with Meenoo: Twitter @meenoorami or at meenoorami.org

rusulRusul Alrubail, Executive Director of the Writing Project

  • “I’ve made it my life’s mission to help students see that their voice matters.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: The Writing Project, Teaching Tolerance, Educolor
  • Advice: Be yourself! It is your true and authentic self that allows people to see you as a person and connect with you as an individual.
  • Connect with Rusul: Twitter @RusulAlrubail

Fake News Should Die… Or Should It?

halden

This blog post is part of the CM Rubin World Global Search for Education which poses a question each month to leading educators for reflection and sharing. This month’s question is “how do we fight the fake news epidemic?”

 

Recently, Fake News has been getting a bad reputation, I’m hoping this post changes that!

Over half of Americans get their news from just one social media site – Facebook and 45% of US adults say government politicians and elected officials bear a great deal of responsibility for preventing made-up stories from gaining attention (Pew Research Center,  December 15, 2016). These statistics alarm me. Not the first one highlighting where people find information, but the second claim in which many feel the responsibility of identifying and stopping the spread of fake information resides with the government.

It is essential for educators to develop healthy skepticism within each child; critical discerners of information that are able to evaluate, analyze, and apply information that they encounter throughout their lifetime, no matter the mode.

Information is doubling every 12 days, containing fake news, half-truths, alternate facts, and reliable information; and while there are many resources (my list here) and blog posts written that offer apps, website, fact-checkers, and lessons plans for educators to utilize, we must not overlook the charge of education in our pursuit of combating fake news –  to develop independent, critical thinkers.

_________________________________________________________________

A conversation I had with my 7th grade son and his friends this morning:

Me: What do you know about fake news?

Son: What do you mean?

Son’s friend: Didn’t you see President Trump on the news yesterday talking about news sources…

After a brief discussion on politics

Me: So what should we do with people or news sources that report and spread fake news?

Son: Fine them, make them pay…

Son’s friend: They should get jail time.

All the boys: Yes, jail time and not be allowed to report fake news. The government needs to shut those people down…

Me: So the government should police the internet, news sources, social media, conversations and get rid of all of the fake news?

Deep Thought

Son’s friend: Well that means I could be thrown in jail… or we could end up like North Korea…

BINGO!

_________________________________________________________________

Fake news is not a bad thing. In fact, it provides teachable moments for educators across the globe. It begs us to consider who or what determines information as fake? And How can we support kids in their pursuit of understanding? The discernment of information and the application to construct one’s own understanding should be practiced and refined in every classroom across the country. With that being said, the importance of what should be done with fake information and the people or corporations that report this news as truth is a piece of the conversation that is missed.

 

  • What exactly is fake news?
  • Would killing off fake news truly help people?
  • Does allowing others to determine what information you have access to leave you with only factual and correct information?
  • Who should police the internet?
  • What role should the government play in determining access to information?
  • Does killing off fake news equal censorship?
  • Is censorship needed?
  • Can censorship be both good and bad?
  • Can censorship and freedom of speech coexist?

Resources, websites, fact-checkers are nice. They support an individual’s pursuit of knowledge. We use them as adults and we should definitely model and share them with students.

But

DO NOT forget the second part of the conversation, one in which students understand the value of fake news in the age of information. The conversation that includes the tough discussions on freedom of speech, critical thinking, approaching information with healthy skepticism, and censorship.

Special thanks to Shawn McCusker and Steven Anderson for sharing information freely!

Technoliteracies: Sharing the Top Digital Resources to Support Student Readers and Writers

technoliteracies

Last year, my best friend Erin Olson and I started an Instagram account to share our love of literacy and technology. Technoloiteracies was born as a place where we could share the best resources, apps, and technology to support student readers and writers.

Instagram is a perfect platform to share resources and connect with other educators. Instagram is an example of microblogging; the sharing of short and frequent posts which made it ideal for us. Erin and I typically share resources a couple times a week. The resources and apps we share span the grades (K-12), cross platforms and devices, and focus on all things literacy. So if you are on Instagram, check us out!

 

Technoliteracies Top 9 Posts of 2016

img_4583

 

  1. Hypothes.isOpen annotation on the web. Hypothes.is allows users to highlight and annotate web pages. Converse over the world’s knowledge and share to public, group, or keep private! Also available as a Chrome extension. Great to support student thinking, research & curation.
  2. Pics4Learning Pics4Learning is a perfect resource to share with students and educators. Here, you will find images to use in all things for school and it’s safe search helps to keep it appropriate for all learners. From multimedia creations to digital portfolios, these copyright-friendly images are perfect and support student understanding in terms of image use and citations. As a bonus, you can also add to the growing collection by uploading your own images to share.
  3. PrismaPrisma is an incredible photo editing app which transforms images into works of art based on the styles of famous artists and periods. Share with students for use in multimedia projects and great for digital storytelling.
  4. 100 Word Challenge – 100 Word Challenge is an online resource which provides a weekly creative writing challenge for kids under 16. Prompts are posted and the community of writers made up of students and educators post and comment on student writing. Anyone can join and share their succinct writing to a global audience. Great to get students writing for real.
  5. Elink.io – Check out elink.io as a perfect tool to collect, curate, & share webpages. Perfect for newsletters sharing student creations or webpages of resources to launch kids into a new unit. Simple, easy, and free. Also available as a chrome extension.
  6. ThingLink – ThingLink provides users with an interactive and engaging platform, great for inquiry. Multiple student and teacher uses by linking and sharing content. Now, ThingLink offers a 360 picture view. Checkout out Thinglink.com for interactive images and videos! Easily create a collection of resources for students.
  7. Bubbl.us – Check out bubbl.us. A brainstorming tool perfect for students to organize thoughts and make their thinking visible. Color code topics, modify and move bubbles with a click, and share with peers for collaborative work.
  8. Dipity – An interactive timeline that has unfortunately shut down. Try TimeToast as an alternative.
  9. Read The World – Readtheworld.org is a site that helps you diversify your literature selections. It is an archived hand-picked book site which is divided by country, region, and state. Each title has a brief summary, quotes, length, and brief author bio.

img_4586

 

Erin and I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2017!

 

Blogging in the Classroom: Teacher Roles

blogging-in-the-classroomBlogging is a powerful way for students to share their voice on a public platform. Depending on the purpose, blog posts demonstrate student understanding, allow for a virtual space to share ideas or thinking, and acts as an interactive mode to question, create and share. While I believe blogging is useful across the curriculum and applicable to multiple grade levels, I do believe that there are teacher and student roles or responsibilities that are essential to establish when embarking on blogging in the classroom.

In February I wrote a post on Blogging in the Classroom: Student Roles which shared my own personal experience of having my students blog, as well as the student roles to consider when adding blogging to your classroom. This post will highlight the Teacher Roles that are important to consider when having students blog.

Teacher Roles

  1. Model, Be a Writer! – You are the best writer in the room. To have students be successful at blogging the teacher must see themselves as a blogger too. Modeling writing skills by sharing your own work takes the mystery out of the process. Post regularly, fine-tune your own craft and share. Providing students with “mentor examples” of digital writing and bloggers provides students with people’s work to emulate. Modeling also provides an opportunity to create a positive, online presence; as well as address digital citizenship areas that frequently surface when writing for a public audience.
  2. Explicit & Scaffolded Instruction – Like traditional unimodal writing, blogging requires a mastery of skills and strategies that students do not naturally have in their toolbox. Direct instruction through mini-lessons and then application in their own writing helps set students up for success. Not only should content be a focus of learning, but the structure, format, and design elements need to be explicitly taught to our young bloggers. Start with length, visuals, and typography as a way to communicate their message effectively.
  3. Read & Respond – As the teacher, it is important to read and respond to student blog posts. To alleviate the volume of posts I would have to read in my own classroom I would divide the class in half and read and respond to half of the students each week. Students were to read and respond to peers in our blogging community (made up of 4 classrooms around the country) twice a week. Teaching students how to respond on a digital platform was another area that demanded explicit teaching. The driver in their response was to connect personally to at least one thing in a post and to comment in a way that moved the writer forward.
  4. Assess – Finally, assessment of blog posts. While you can use some or all of the posts as a type of summative assessment I would frequently use the students’ posts as formative assessment. This type of formative assessment would help drive my instruction. It was clear what the students grasped as well as what needed further reteaching. When assessing blog posts, it is important to consider both content and product. Aesthetics, voice, design elements are important to bloggers and were all part of the feedback I would provide to students.

A classroom full of bloggers is a daunting and exciting symphony to orchestrate. Depending on the purpose for blogging, teachers can view their roles and responsibilities as ones that are helping develop digital writers now and whenever they write in the future. Interaction with a public audience helps to make writing engaging and relevance and it is through the intentional instruction by the teacher that our youngest bloggers can find success!

10 Tenets of a Student-Centered Writing Classroom

 

shfarnsworth-1

Today my work consisted of supporting educators on how to teach writing. Upon reflection, we realized that very few of us remember being specifically taught how to teach writing. Sure, we learned a lot about content, genres, and types of writing; but not one person raised their hand when I asked if they had an undergrad program that explicitly taught them how to teach writing. Empowering kids through writing is my passion, and I am driven to change the writing landscape that is found in many schools!

As a teacher of writing, I believe there are 10 Tenets of a Student-Centered Writing Classroom

  1. Teach the Writer, not the Writing – Focus on the learning, not the end product.
  2. Write in Front of your Students – Dispel the notion that writing is magic. Let young writers see and hear your process as you write in front of them.
  3. State the Why – Explain why Good Writers use specific skills, strategies, and resources when they write.
  4. Focus on Transferable Skills and Strategies – Answer and remind young writers how the skill or strategy can be used today and whenever they write. 
  5. Student Choice – Transfer ownership by letting students choose what they write about. Is it really about the content or is the content the vehicle in which demonstration occurs? Learning to Write, not Writing to Learn.
  6. Student Voice – Developing voice takes practice. Have students write often and in various genres. 
  7. Write for Real – An authentic audience and writing purpose engages young writers, provides relevance to writing, and allows them to share their story with the world.
  8. Surround Writers with Exemplars– Collect and share examples of writers and writings that students can gain inspiration from or that challenge them to apply a similar technique in their own writing.
  9. Differentiate – Pull small groups of writers or confer one to one with students based on needs and goals. While whole class instruction is efficient, small groups or one to one learning is more effective.
  10. Never Forget the Share – Honor the hard work young writers do through the share at the end of the class. Sharing promotes a safe community, builds relationships, and can target a teaching point!