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Friday, June 10, 2016

"I have an iPad for my classroom, now what?"

I really enjoyed the 2016 Middle Tennessee Educational Technology Association ITA for Teachers conference on Thursday, June 9th on the beautiful MTSU campus. 

The wonderful teachers who attended and the organization's Ben Barret made the conference highly successful.  The structure of rotating the attendees through the session leaders was unique and allowed for a better organized method of grouping. 

As promised, click here, to download the power point from yesterday's conference.  Plus, here is a supplemental white paper with great information on using iPad as a learning tool in the classroom. 

If you have any questions or which to share how you have been success in using iPads as learning tools in your class, please add  a comment below or email me directly 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cyber, Cyber, Let's Be Wiser....

The following materials were presented in the recent Parent University Conference entitled "Cyber, Cyber, Let's Be Wiser!"

Please feel free to send an email and help with spreading the word to parents and students for Cyber Safety. Education on how to navigate the waters of the internet safely and with privacy is important for the safety and well being of all children.

The resources are noted below and free to distribute with proper attributes.  

PowerPoint Slides    References & Resources 

Social Networking Tips for Parents   (Spanish)    Tech Tips     Protect Kids Online   (Spanish)        

Internet Safety Contract       Video Link for Real Life Story            NetSmartz.Org - Parents


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cyber Security and the Start of School

With school beginning, now is a good time to remind our children about cyber-security and being good citizens in the digital world they will be sharing.

Many school districts are funding 1:1 devices for every student in their school. This may mean that your child will be bringing home a chrome book, net book or tablet to use which is issued by the school. These devices usually replace the paper-bound textbooks and may or may not have internet access. If they have internet access please take the time to talk with you child about internet security, cyber-bullying, and keeping your (and their) privacy secure.

When in doubt about cyber-bullying or internet safety and security - ask. Ask your child's teacher for a copy of what the school is teaching about internet and digital safety. If they don't know, ask the administration. Schools are subject to the Children's Internet Protection Act CIPA . They have two certification requirements: 1) their Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors; and 2) as required by the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, they must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. Ask for how they are meeting these requirements.

Here three great ways to keep the school devices safe while at home:

1) Read the Acceptable Use Policy when it comes home. As a parent you will need to read, sign and return the document stating that you understand the penalties of misuse. Read it carefully and if you don't understand any of the policies, ask the teacher. If you don't feel you got a sufficient answer, ask the administration for clarification (in writing is always good at this level).

2) Explain to your child about using a school issued device. Anything stored, transmitted from, or download that is not allowable (including copyrighted material) may be subject to removal, loss of use, or depending on the severity school discipline.
3) Ask to see and review the device frequently. Remember, this group of students will be among the first to use a digital device from early grades on in their education. If we ask them to share how they are using it, to "teach" us about the technology, we will be learning and looking to see if they are being good digital citizens.

Remember, if you don't know what an "app" is or does; or the terminology of cyber threats, take the time to learn. Technology is doubling every 18 months, so it's okay to ask for help.

For more on digital citizens and cyber-safety visit the following sites: - FBI's website (relaunching in September) for teachers, parents and guardians providing information and reporting tips for cyber threats. - videos, guidelines and resources for the whole family on how to be safe online. - Internet safety for just for teens (includes games, interactive videos, etc.) School district's responsibility in providing educational resources for internet safety.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Parent University is a great idea!

The Metro Nashville Public Schools started their school year the first week of August. Included in the beginning of school was a Saturday called "Parent University."

Picture representing Parent University

Parent University is just what it means. It is a celebration for parents to meet school district personnel, make relationships, learn from presenters on a variety of subjects - from Cyber-bullying to developing online portfolios, to navigating the difficult departments and personnel of a "central office."

Allowing the parents throughout the district access to ask questions, provide information, and help with materials and ideas for their children is a great way to build positive relationships at the beginning of the school year.   Some how, when you meet a school official at a Parent University setting one has a conversation that is relaxed and informational as opposed to meeting a parent frustrated and trying to find resources for their children.

It is a community wide efforts, with social resources, government resources, along with business and educational services all in one location and all with one purpose - to assist and equip parents to help children be even more successful.

Check out the Parent University website for ideas for your community.

Reflecting and Renewing...Simple Organization

The beginning of school brings the smell of new book bags, fresh markers, highlighters, packs of paper and clean unused binders or folders. As we gather materials for the beginning of a new school year we should also pause and reflect on how we processed and organized our papers and supplies in previous years.

Do we really need all of those pens and markers on day one? Should we just get what we need and then replenish as we move through the year. Storage is always a premium in the classroom and in your backpack. Plus, if you store them at home, will you remember the safe place where you put the extras?

What is important to carry from class to class or from school to home? We know we need some method of note tacking and assignment tracking, but do we really need a spiral notebook for each class? Why not one notebook for all classes and use post-it tabs and post it notes to accentuate important ideas and materials that would be on a test. This way you carry one notebook or comp book and take all the notes for the classes. As you study and research you have everything in one place and not running the risk of forgetting the notebook that you really need when you get to the library and realize it's at the dorm or the apartment or worse, the trunk of you car -- have you seen things survive there?

Thinking about organization and reflecting on how you used things in previous educational journeys has allowed me to have one main, bound, composition book; then a small take-out box with colored pencils, post-its, and highlighters to make the book interactive. Try it. It's working for me.

Friday, June 19, 2015

#SELConference 2015 - Nashville

Today has been exhilarating, enlightening, emotional and just plain fun! Boy am I tired - in a good way!

Susie and I spent the day at the 2015 SEL Conference in Nashville presented by Alignment Nashville and other great sponsors. A keynote by the intense Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade started us off,  followed by over 50 different options for break-out sessions.

We had the privilege to present "Eight Ways to Change Climate, Develop Culture, & Build Community" to a group of nearly 50 enthusiastic attendees.We enjoyed the building of community, sharing our cultures and learning how to document and understand the climate within our schools and classrooms.

For those who attended our sessions and for anyone else who would like to have the materials and references we curated for session, I have placed links HERE for the presentation and HERE for the handout materials and resources. Please note the resources page in the handout has additional materials and references for your post-sessions experience.   As always, please feel free to engage in dialog with us. We look forward to exchanging ideas, successes, as well as constructive methods and strategies to continue the experience we have had today!

We have thoroughly enjoyed our day, made many new relationships and have expanded our knowledge of learning to have and share "audacious hope!" Thank you!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Calendar, New Year, So What?

This week I have been inundated with processes and procedures in resetting priorities. It has been through every media outlet and mechanism possible. I get it. There is a new number at the end of the date field. It is a new calendar (who has paper calendars?) and resolutions are supposed (really? who says?) to be made.

Even though the statistics vary as to how many of us will keep resolutions and thus either give up, fail, or forget; we are enticed to try. But why?

Can change(s) occur that quickly? Have you ever watched anyone push an elephant?  Only when the is mass and acceleration that exceeds the force you are trying to move can the elephant be moved.  (Even if the elephant doesn't want to move).  So why should I care about making changes or resolutions if I haven't thought carefully about whether the probability of success is even there?

I can declare "I will read more," but if I don't carve out the time or I don't substitute another activity for reading, then I haven't really considered all that will need to change before I can even remotely be successful at reading more.

Usually change occurs when a "force" is applied. Underline force. This is Newton's second law. Where F(orce) = M(ass) times (A)acceleration. I just believe there isn't enough force occurring in the mere changing of one digit at the end of the date to make the significant change the rest of the world seems to think I need to make.

The amount of force needed for change has to be greater than the amount of change wanted. Either I work out to get strong and be able to push more weight than I can now, or I search for a way to entice the elephant to want to move, either way, if I want acceleration on my goals, resolutions or changes, I will need to increase one or more of the attributes of mass or acceleration in order to increase the amount of force needed.

So instead of looking for new resolutions, new goals, new.... perhaps I need to start looking at the forces already working in my life.  If I wish to change my life's direction, what are the forces causing me to move in the direction I'm moving now and how can I redirect or refocus those forces? What force is causing me to not read sufficiently now? Am I too tired when I get home? How do I change that?

I must examine the processes and forces, list them, mind map them, look at their effects on what I believe to hold dear. I need to educate myself on what are those forces of change. Are they for certainty, purpose, or control? Have they been there and I'm just comfortable with them? Are they positive forces guiding me through my journey and thus I should possibly increase them?

Only when I do the work to see those forces of change at work in my life and learn what pieces of the Newton's equation to change or if to change it at all, can I begin to see any change become as easy as turning over the page on the calender.