Silent Shout – A simple and meaningful tech project for your school

If you’re an occasional follower of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of YouTube and the many ways in which it can be used in school. Video and music enable great story telling and also help evoke emotions (especially positive ones) in your viewers. The following video was created by Kevin Bonnar, who teaches 2nd grade in my school district. All was filmed and edited on an iPad.

Why I like this project:

  1. It tells a positive story about the class/school. People are always telling stories about your school– you should too. If you were a parent of one of these students, what does this tell you about this class? If you were a family relocating to an area and were school shopping, how would this video make you feel about the culture of the school?
  2. This is a simple project, but looks fantastic. If you are a tech-lover like Kevin, but want to help others find success with tech, help them take this on.
  3. A project like this can be adapted to fit so many curricular areas in school.  
  4. Kids love to see themselves in photos and videos.  It’s fun, makes them feel important, and can increase their engagement in school.
If you do watch this video, please leave a comment at YouTube for Kevin and his students.  It feels great to receive a compliment, but so does giving one!!

Say MOOC one more time!

During a G+ Hangout tonight, Tyler Gayheart had me chuckling as he questioned/ranted about MOOCs. At one point he made reference to Samuel L Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character and what he’d say if he was fed up with hearing about MOOCs. That led to the following image from the memegenerator site.

While thinking I was quite original with this meme photo, I see that the remarkable Audrey Watters had posted the same idea a week ago. She’s incredible. Follow her. Add her to your RSS reader. Never take your eye from her work.

My path forward includes failure

Most of my focus as an educational leader is on what happens in our public schools. It is important for leaders like myself to notice the shift that Collins and Halverson (2009) describe; education and learning are taking place more frequently in spheres other than behind the walls of our public schools. Many students are moving to private schools, home school settings, online environments, and private learning centers (like Kaplan and Sylvan). Public education can stay relevant and effective by using the power of technology to customize what students learn (through assessment and instruction), and to also increase the engagement level learning. Technology can also be an aid to expanding learning because it is able to overcome traditional barriers such as time and location.

More than just remaining relevant, my path forward as a school leader is to enable, encourage, and provoke the type of deep and dynamic learning in my staff that I’d like to see for my students. For too long, educators (leaders and teachers) have been cautious in how we go about the task of educating students. We carefully plod along a scripted path, making small adjustments to plans that were thought to be ideal for generations of the past. We seem to keep trying to perfect a system that is no longer relevant, and this isn’t going to cut it anymore. I don’t think it is possible for us to tweak our way to greatness.

As leaders, we need to work to establish an environment of experimentation for teachers and students. We should set challenging outcome goals for ourselves and for our students, and then encourage and expect creative and innovative thinking to find solutions that will help meet those goals. We also need to change our fear of failure, because valuable learning lessons can come from that failure. Failure that comes from well-intended effort should be appreciated and praised. As Dave Guymon writes, “If you can’t fail, it doesn’t count.”

Collins, A. and Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking education in the age of technology: The digital revolution and schooling in America. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Techlandia Episode 15 – Quinceanera

In this episode, Jon Samuelson @ipadsammy, Alison Anderson @tedrosececi, and Curt Rees @curtrees share three apps: Switchcam, Write About This, and Debate Decider. Four Twitter users to add to you PLN, and the book The Third Teacher, the website Pic Monkey, and another #ipdx13 wrap up.

Links to all the resources mentioned in Techlandia Podcast 15 can be found at Learnist. There are apps, educators to follow on Twitter, and web tools to use with your classroom! Give it a listen and follow here: and here on Twitter: @techlandiacast

50 State Rap > Fifty Nifty

I remember memorizing and singing the Fifty Nifty United States song. This new 50 State rap is much cooler. I like this video, not because it would help kids be better fact memorizers, but more because of the creativity that went into the lyrics, music, and production. I don’t know if students made the video, but I could see how a teacher might share this video with their own students and then challenge them to make something similar to represent something they’ve learned.