Saturday, February 25, 2012

Teachers and Change

After watching a recent keynote given by the amazing and talented @stumpteacher ( video here if you want to watch ) and this video by another Twitter legend in my PLN @mrmacnology I am burning to write a post about Teachers and Change.

@stumpteacher makes some great points in his keynote and one thing he brought up was a book by Daniel Pink called Drive.  I am currently reading it and most of my burning is coming from this with the assistance of inspiration from legends like @stumpteacher and @mrmacnology !

As I have been reading the book Drive by Daniel Pink I keep turning to my wife @jcatlett1 and telling her the different stories from the book about motivation and what motivates kids!  We do it all wrong!  And in @stumpteacher 's keynote he talked about how many of us teach like we were taught.  He mentioned when he started teaching that he taught like he was taught and now he is changing!  WE MUST CHANGE!  In all my years as a teacher, principal, coach, and now technology trainer I have never understood where some teachers came from and why they were so resistant to change and connecting with kids.  It is all about connecting with kids.  Bottom line.  If you do not connect with kids on their level they will not work for you and in my opinion they will not respect you!

I loved the dodgeball game analogy used by @stumpteacher in his keynote!  This is so true!  This teacher blasts a kid in the face (by accident I'm sure) and the kids think he is AWESOME!  It happens in dodgeball, kids know that!  They also know if you are purposely throwing at their face or if it was an accident because THEY RESPECT YOU!  I am by no means suggesting that hurting the kid or his feelings in front of the others was the intention in order to have kids think your awesome, but I am suggesting that you GET IN THE GAME!!  You might find that kids will really like that and you might gain some of their respect!

I have played many a dodgeball game, basketball games, football games at recess, or anything, even cards or checkers with kids.  The fact is that I was CONNECTING with kids on their level and they thought I was "COOL".  This is not stated because I am interested in them thinking I'm cool, but it is because I want to gain their respect so we can work together to improve their whole person as a student and who they will become later in life.  This is my concern.

Some teachers are stuck in a rut.  Some teachers are teaching like they were taught.  Our system has us so concerned about standardized tests and not the kids.  It bothers me to think some teachers might try changing if they knew they could or did not feel like they can't based on having to keep up with curriculum and preparing for standardized tests.  There is no question CHANGE is hard for people, but in my educational journey from teacher to principal,  back to teacher, and now to instructional technology teacher, all of these CHANGES have been good for me as an educator and have taught me different things and have kept me motivated to be a learner and an educator.

I wish there was a magic wand I could wave to get teachers to see what I see.  To see what legends like @stumpteacher & @mrmacnology see in education and connecting with kids.  It honestly is not that hard.  In the meantime, I will keep reading Daniel Pink and being inspired by other amazing educators like Josh and Jeremy.  (Thanks goes to Twitter for finding these guys & their videos they shared, that evil Social Media, wink)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Digital Bucket Filling

I just read the book “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tim Rath and Donald Clifton. It is a great little inspirational book that essentially explains how positive interactions increase positive emotions. The authors use the metaphor of a dipper and bucket to explain this process. The idea is to fill buckets of everyone you meet and not to dip from other people’s buckets.

As I was reading the book, I was thinking about how Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs are all fantastic bucket filling mediums for all of us. These social media tools provide a platform for instant, personal, and meaningful validation.

Twitter fills my bucket regularly. It is such a great feeling to share an idea and have that idea re-tweeted with others in my personal learning network (PLN), whose opinion I value. According to How Full is Your Bucket, “the frequency of small positive acts is critical.”(1) Twitter is an environment full of frequent, 140 characters worth of positivity!

Twitter makes it super easy to share blog posts! I can’t think of a better feeling than to jump on your blog and see a comment. In a world of high stakes tests and assessment, blog comments reel me back to what really impacts a person. It is the comment! Knowing someone took the time to read and respond to something that you wrote is meaningful, inspiring, personal, and fills a bucket.

Facebook does the same thing. Friend Me! Having friends fills buckets! According to , Facebook has 500 million active users and 250 million of these users them login every day? Why? Because it fill their buckets! A “like” or a comment on a status update is like having your own personal cheerleader right there with you! The good feelings from the praise in a comment or seeing 10 “likes “ feels like hot chocolate on a cold day. It spurs us to continue post, to comment, and to like other people’s updates. Positive fuels positive!

According to How Full is Your Bucket “the majority of us don’t give or receive anywhere near the amount of praise that we should.”(2) So let’s fill 'er up! Tweet, re-tweet, re-pin, comment, favorite, and get those buckets filled up today!

How do Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs fill your bucket? Leave us a comment and let us know?

-Ann Feldmann

Works Cited

1. Rath, Tom, and Donald O. Clifton. How Full Is Your Bucket?: Positive Strategies for Work and Life. New York: Gallup, 2004. Print. pg.55.

2. Rath, Tom, and Donald O. Clifton. How Full Is Your Bucket?: Positive Strategies for Work and Life. New York: Gallup, 2004. Print. pg.31.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creating Digital Books with Kids

My son has the assignment to write a book about a star, planet, or solar system. Great! I thought! This will give us the opportunity to experiment with several different types of ebook creation tools. We started with an App called Scribble Press. I absolutely love this app because it is so easy to use and allows users to create their own artwork in the app. It provides a variety of templates for users or allows you to create a book from scratch. Once you create a book you can share it to your scribble press account online. The advantage to this is that you have a place to put all of your books. The disadvantage is that you will then have to share the link from the scribble press website for a teacher to view your book. Obviously, if the teacher doesn’t have an account or isn’t knowledgeable about it, it might be challenging to share the book. Also, if a student isn’t comfortable with their own artwork he or she might not like the outcome of their book. It has a lot of tools, but even my own drawings looked a little messy.

Next we played with This one is cool because you can create, share, and even sell (if you so choose) your books you create directly on their site. My son found this one to be a frustrating way to create a book because while you write your book it looks more like a blog post than a book. Each page has a blank space in which to type similar to what you might find on blogger. He had difficulty imaging how his book would turn out and it seemed a little counter intuitive to the whole creative aspect of writing a book. Needless to say he didn’t complete this book on epubbud. However, I did like that he could easily import images from the web.

Our next application we used is ibooks Author! I am so excited about this one, because the format is easy to follow and looks similar to what my son is used to - Pages. What's cool about ibooks Author is that you can email it to your teacher and she can read it directly in ibooks on her ipad. When she gets the email she just holds her finger down on the icon that she receives and opens it in ibooks. If she doesn’t have an ipad or an iphone she can open it from her mail in her ibooks Author app on her computer! I think of all three of these applications, ibooks author is by far the easiest and funnest one to use. If a students wants to use his or her own artwork then scribble press is the way to go, but if you’ve got a savvy Internet user then ibooks Author is the way to go. You can also publish this ibook to itunes using itunes producer, (an easy download). Very cool Apple as always!!! Can’t wait for his next assignment to write a book!