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Showing posts from October, 2015

What Matters Most

The first email request came a few weeks ago, "mentors needed for students", it read. I thought, hmmm, I've heard this program is helpful, but I'm already up to my eyeballs serving on committees, and helping with initiatives around the district. I just don't think I have time to commit to a student mentee right now. 

The follow-up email came last week, "we are still in need of mentors for our program." I was about to delete the message when I notice one of Angela Maiers tweets hanging on another browser tab. I could hear her voice, "Be brave. Help someone else be brave. You matter. We all matter." Angela would be disappointed, and I would be hypocritical if I ignored this opportunity to make a difference. 

I responded to the email, "I'm in. You can count on me." I promptly received a reply of gratitude along with a request to invite my mentee, Robert, to share a pizza in the Principal's conference room during his lunch period. …

Connected Educators BINGO (#CE15)

Inspired by Brad Gustafson's ConnectEd Bingo, here is a challenge I created to help encourage connected, professional learning for our teachers during Connected Educators Month (#CE15). The goal is for teachers to complete enough connected learning activities to score a bingo. A few extrinsic motivators, such as t-shirts and cookies, are thrown in for competitive fun. Our principal has offered to buy lunch for any of our teachers who complete all of the activities on the game board by the end of our first semester. (WHAT)







Here are the intentional objectives of this professional learning format:(WHY)

Encourage relationship building through virtual, as well as, face-to-face interactionsDevelop a culture of connected learning and digital innovationGamified elements allow for personal learning, and funDigital submissions allow "practice" of workflow processes common in our 1:1 learning environment
The header letters on the "live" digital game board are each linked to…

What Great Educators Do Differently (#WGEDD) - Report, Review, and Reflection

The setting, suburban Chicago during a couple of crisp, clear, autumn days. Trinity International University was the picturesque gathering place for a few hundred passionate educators eager to connect, and learn with our thought-change leaders. It was the first, and judging from the immediate feedback, won't be the last What Great Educators Do Differently Conference. Why did I attend? First, several of the biggest names in my personal learning network were featured presenters. Second, my friend, Jeff Zoul, contacted me earlier in the summer saying, "Mark your calendar. This is going to be something special, and we would love for you to be a part of it." Jeff's got the best smile in the business. How could I say no?

Todd Whitaker - Opening Keynote / Session One - According to Todd, great leaders take responsibility for their school's climate and culture by removing monkeys from the backs of great teachers, and putting them where they belong, on the backs of people …

Three Commitments of the Participatory Learner

Whether it's freshmen orientation at my school, or facilitating a session-build at an EdCamp, I try to deliver consistent messages about the kinds of commitments supportive of participatory learning. Based upon my experiences, modern learning is best savored when emphasizing these three participatory steps; connect, capture, and contribute.



CONNECT - Socially networked learning is becoming the norm in this age of ubiquitous connectivity, and unlimited access to information via the Internet. Connecting with other learners is becoming a life skill. Connecting and learning with others increases relevancy and promotes economic viability. The foundation of collaborative problem solving is established through relationships ignited by connection. Mobile devices and social media provide an unlimited capacity to connect and learn with, and from, others.

CAPTURE - The capacity to capture and document our experiences has never been greater. Most of us carry a device with more computing power t…