Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2014

Confessions of a Connection Addict

In route to Atlanta for ISTE 2014 , and I'm caught reflecting on Jennie Magiera's keynote address from earlier this week at Schoology NEXT . During her energizing presentation, she challenged us to write and share our own keynote addresses. "What are you passionate about? What is the greatest need in your school or classroom? Given the opportunity, what would you like to say?" After putting some genuine thought to these questions, my response is I am surprised, confused, and disappointed at the lack of " connectedness " of many of my educational brethren. What percentage of educators engage regularly with a personal learning network? I am not sure that I have an answer for that. Tom Whitby , co-founder of #EdChat , and Educator's PLN , is also one of my favorite bloggers. During a recent conversation, we agreed that truly connected educators are in the minority, and may number less than ten percent of the teaching workforce. An infor

Crystal Clear; Schoology NEXT

I'm heading home from an exciting, interesting, and rewarding conference, Schoology NEXT . I am also attempting the impossible, blogging my conference takeaways from 35,000 feet aboard Spirit Airlines flight 630 bound for Chicago. We were delayed getting out of Denver , so at least I've got time, Google Drive, and a temporary wi-fi connection, on my side. More importantly, the essential theme that percolated from the participants and presenters to the forefront of Schoology NEXT was " connect and learn ". That's a great place to start in education! First off, what a fantastic event! Kudos to Jen Robustelli and her team for organizing a conference for the ages! The organization and attention to detail helped make this a first-rate experience. Case in point, the name badges were the best I've ever seen!  Name and professional affiliation on the front, while the back contained a summary of the conference schedule along with wi-fi connecting directions. My

Did I Hear You Correctly?

The words people use, or don't use, can say a lot about their priorities. I am finding that one of the side-effects, or fringe benefits of connecting with other educators through social media is that I am becoming a better listener. Specifically, I am more in-tune to the words that educators are using to describe achievement and success in their school or classroom. I am also observing, with a critical eye, my own children as they move from one educational level to the next. What are they learning? Are they enthusiastic about school? What are they working on? Are they prepared for the next step? ISTE-2014  in Atlanta is right around the corner.  I am recalling the powerful experience that I had connecting with many influential educators at ISTE-2013 . The emphasis during last year's conference, in San Antonio, was on learning.  I am confident learning will remain at the forefront this conference season. I also hope that more educators will make the effort to become better

Father Learns Best

My sons, Jarrett and Trevor, and I spent a warm, breezy Father's Day out a my parents' farm in Lena, Illinois. More than just social visits with my parents, these are also opportunities for us to learn more about nature, agriculture, and life without traffic jams. While my mom breaks out beef sandwiches, pickles, and potato chips for lunch, my dad and I cover our usual discussion topics. What's the price of gas in Lake County? How are the Bears going to do this season? What did you think of the latest Sandford book? After looking at the sky, he checks area weather using an app on his iPad. "Those clouds don't look too good, but there's nothing on the radar", says dad. As sure as "death and higher taxes", mom will always have several varieties of potato chips on the lunch table, and my dad will attract "weather events" like ants to a picnic blanket. Before deciding to get into teaching, I studied geography and meteorology in the

Commencement and The Quest for Learning Treasure

"A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney " was one of my favorite segments on television. Much like Jerry Seinfeld, Rooney would close out   6o Minutes  by sharing his unique commentary, complaining really, with all of us. So, in the spirit of Andy and Jerry, I am taking a turn at sharing my thoughts, or complaints, regarding the timing and some of the common themes of this commencement season. During the past two weeks, I attended four commencement ceremonies, two for middle school, and two for high school. These celebrations amounted to roughly 8 hours of sitting and listening to a dozen speeches, nine songs, and the full names of 1853 graduates. Four hours stuck in traffic, six poorly written greeting cards, and a few hundred selfies later, I am still reflecting on the messages and meanings of these events. Where is the learning? As an educator, I am declaring what should be obvious, we are in the business of learning. Learning is what we are about, or at least it should