Tag Archives: blog

Simple K-12: Changing Education through Technology

Click the icon to visit this great resource!

Once again, through Twitter, I have discovered one of those blogs that I just keep visiting over and over.  Each time, I find another quality post that is relevant, accurate, and useful.  I Ed. Tech is definitely a blog worth a subscription.

The blog is one element of the Simple K-12 website, and the motto,  Changing Education through Technology, is evident in every post.  Dedicated to ensuring teachers and school leaders are prepared for teaching and learning in the 21st century, the resources on this blog are current, innovative, and intuitive.  That’s exactly what educators need.  Blog posts are short, simple, and to the point.  Most provide a brief introduction followed by a list of resources with links to each and a short blurb about how to use the resource with students or colleagues.

By signing up for their E-mail list serv, anyone can get access to 11 Hidden Webtools for your Classroom.  This resource provides some excellent free, easy-to-use web resources with direct links.  Blog posts such as:  14 Reasons to Have a Blog, 5 Ways to Transition Classrooms into Web 2.0 Learning, and 6 Must-Have Teacher Tech Tools  are quick reads that can have a great impact on student engagement, student inquiry, and instructional delivery and design.

If you are looking for something specific, the blog uses a tag cloud, a search bar, lists of recent and popular posts, and offers archives listed by month.  Plus, you can subscribe via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS feed.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go, sign up today!


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21 Signs You’re a 21st Century Teacher

I can’t take credit for this blog post.  I found it, like many great educational finds, on Twitter.  This post came from the I Love Ed Tech website.

Here they are – the 21 signs you are a 21st century teacher.  How many define your practice?

1. You require your students to use a variety of sources for their research projects…and they cite blogs, podcasts, and interviews they’ve conducted via Skype.

2. Your students work on collaborative projects…with students in Australia.

3. You give weekly class updates to parents…via your blog.


4. Your students participate in class…by tweeting their questions and comments.

5. You ask your students to study and create reports on a controversial topic…and you grade their video submissions.

6. You prepare substitutes with detailed directions…via Podcasts.

7. You ask your students to do a character/historical person study…and they create mock social media profiles of their character.

8. Your students create a study guide…working together on a group wiki.

9. You share lesson plans with your teacher friends…from around the globe.

10. Your classroom budget is tight…but it doesn’t matter because there are so many free resources on the web you can use.

11. You realize the importance of professional development…and you read blogs, join online communities, and tweet for self development.

12. You take your students on a field trip to the Great Wall of China…and never leave your classroom.

13. Your students share stories of their summer vacation…through an online photo repository.

14. You visit the Louvre with your students…and don’t spend a dime.

15. You teach your students not to be bullies…or cyberbullies.

16. You make your students turn in their cell phones before class starts…because you plan on using them in class.

17. You require your students to summarize a recent chapter…and submit it to you via a text message.

18. You showcase your students’ original work…to the world.

19. You have your morning coffee…while checking your RSS feed.

20. You are reading this.

21. You tweet this page, blog about it, “like” it, or email it to someone else…

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Youth Voices: An Online Writing Community for Students

Youth Voices is a site for students to engage in authentic conversations about what matters to them.

What could be more exciting and motivating to a student to see his or her opinions posted online where other students can see them and respond?  Youth Voices is a site for conversations that invites “youth of all ages to voice their thoughts about their passions, to explain things they understand well, to wonder about things they have just begun to understand, and to share discussion posts with other young people using as many different genres and media as they can imagine!”

Youth Voices is a school-based social network, started by a group of National Writing Project teachers, who merged several earlier blogging projects. The goal is to connect students around the country through writing about their passions and reading and commenting on the work of others.  This project has provided a vehicle for the marriage of curriculum and digital literacies.

One of the best things about Youth Voices is that membership is free, and the authors invite you to join them. They welcome any teacher interested in having students publish online and participate in the give and take of a safe social network.

Click to Access the NYC Writing Project Home Page

Here is what the authors of this site have to say about Youth Voices:  “We are much more than a website or a social network. We are also a welcoming community of teachers who have been planning curriculum together for years. Many of us are active members in our local National Writing Project sites, and Youth Voices is managed by teachers in the New York City Writing Project. In addition, many of us count ourselves as members of the World Bridges community, and we meet regularly using Google+ Hangouts and Livestream on a weekly webcast/podcast, Teachers Teaching Teachers, which has been broadcast live every Wednesday evening over the EdTechTalk channel of the WorldBridges network since 2006.”

An excerpt from one student's article: My Army Past, Present, and Future

Involving students in “authentic conversations” is one of the passions that sparked the idea behind Youth Voices.  Teachers working with the project have learned that nurturing and guiding students to write and create well-crafted products is important, but it is just important to allow time for students to read other students’ posts and to write comments to them.  Developing global conversations around posts provides students an opportunity to see what is happening around the world and in the homes and lives of others.

The site offers several “channels” where students can post their reflections.  Current topics include:

Students can choose from various channels to post their work:

  • Art, Music, and Photography
  • Gaming and New Media
  • Literature and Inquiry
  • Local Knowledge/ Global Attitude

Click the photo to visit the National Writing Project website.

And…if you are looking for something specific, authors use tags to make their work easily searchable.  Youth Voices is a safe, academic social network for students to share their thoughts with the world.  Maybe it is the right platform for your students…

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”We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

It all began with one, age-old question: What would you say if you knew you were going to die and had a chance to sum up everything that was most important to you?


That question had been posed to the annual speaker of a lecture series at Carnegie Mellon University, where Randy Pausch was a computer sciences professor. Professors who retire at Carnegie Mellon are given the opportunity to prepare a “last lecture” to present to students, faculty, and friends who choose to hear. 

For Pausch, though, the question wasn’t hypothetical.   


Many of you have heard of Dr. Randy Pausch, the 47-year-old father of three young children who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just when he seemed to have it all – doctoral appointment at a major university, the girl of his dreams, and three beautiful children – all under the age of five. 


His lecture became an online viral video.  He made guest appearances on every major television news show and talk show.  He became a household name – at least in my house.


I found myself fascinated with this charismatic, handsome, and articulate young man.  He was a delight to watch on television and online.  He, you could tell, was a fantastic teacher. 



He believed in hands-on instruction, student-centered instruction, collaboration, high expectations, and living life to the fullest.




His book, The Last Lecture sold over 400,000 copies in its first printing – and that was in April, 2008. 


It is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating books I have ever read in that Pausch feels no pity for himself, he reflects on the most meaningful experiences and lessons of his life – including his childhood; his romance with his wife, Jai; his education; his role in the classroom; and his legacy for his children. 


When asked about his last lecture, Pausch replied, “I knew what I was doing that day, Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.”  And what a gift he gave them. 


Randy Pausch passed away on July 25, 2008.


And when he died, I cried as if I had known him my entire life.  I guess this was because daily I went to his blog to check up on his condition. 


Technology gave me an opportunity to peek into Pausch’s life and feel that I truly knew him.  But only part of that was technology; the other part was that this was just the kind of man Pausch was. 


It was as if he allowed us all to share he journey, and he made it comfortable for us.  Randy often referred to his cancer as the elephant in the room.


He quickly addressed it so he and those around him could concentrate on what was important – not that he was dying but that he was alive now, and his plan was to live every second to the fullest.


He was so open and honest and so very intuitive not only about himself and his own life but also about the human condition that it moved me.  As a teacher and as a parent, you owe it to yourself to read his book.  It is an easy read.  The chapters are short, and he is an amazing storyteller.

Check out his last lecture here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo  (If your time is limited, just watch the first three minutes…. You will get the idea of what kind of man Randy Pausch was.)




Randy Pausch has given me and many others a gift in allowing us to share his journey, his private thoughts, his struggles, and his passion for life. 


For Christmas this year, give yourself a really great gift – The Last Lecture.

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