Category Archives: Course 5

Put a Cork in it!

So, last Fall I had the crazy idea to apply to be part of the 2013 class of the European group of Apple Distinguished Educators.

Why is that a crazy idea, you say?

I work at a school with NO Apple products, except those that we own personally and try to use.

Even crazier? I was selected to be a part of this amazing group.

Thought I’d share my application video for those of you who decide to take on this amazing opportunity in the future.

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Why did I apply for this program when my experience with Macs and Apple are so limited?

I want to work with the best, build my PLN to be the most amazing group of educators and people, and gather as much knowledge as I can to share with the teachers I work with every day.

So, I’ve already got the unbelievable #coetail network and adding the ADE community can only add to what I’m learning every day.

To those of you who read my blog, comment on it, follow me on Twitter- thank you. I learn so much from each of you. I can only hope to occasionally share a bit of wisdom in return.

And, I hope to meet some of you in Cork this summer at the ADE Institute!

The Prensky Perspective

Last month while at the ECIS Technology Conference, I had the pleasure of listening to Marc Prensky’s keynote presentation. While his slides could use a bit of an update, I found his words inspiring and took notes about some of his key points and statements.

  • Teachers need to make the digital classroom feel like the world.
  • Trying to engage the kids with stuff we make or do for them is impossible.
  • The most fundamental thing technology does for us is let people connect.
  • There are no best practices anymore in any fast moving field like education. There are only good practices that we can share everyday. We have to experiment because we don’t know what works in this context. Video is the best sharing tool for this.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by carriezimmer:

Right before leaving for the conference I had read his article,  “Our Brains Extended”,  in the March, 2013 issue of Educational Leadership. Many points from the article were highlighted in his keynote as well.

Prensky argues, “Reading continues to be important- no one argues against teaching or learning it- but today, reading is no longer the number one skill students need to take from school to succeed. Technology is.”

He continues on to say that many adults would not believe in this statement and that fact demonstrates how little adults understand the role of technology in our students’ lives.

His statement is a big one. And, I’m certain that many teachers and curriculum designers haven’t made the leap to think about the reality of his words and how it changes what we know and do.

Prensky also stipulates, “Technology has become foundational to both education and life. Educators should think of technology in the same way they’ve long viewed reading- as a key to thinking about and knowing about the world.”

He uses the article to propose true redefinition of curriculum, particularly at the elementary level. He focuses on three areas- Effective Thinking (creative and critical thinking), Effective Action (goal setting, planning, project management, and more), and Effective Relationships (emotional intelligence). The final area he calls Effective Accomplishment (what to do with what you’ve learned). You can read more details in the article, and I hope you will.

But, I’m intrigued. Are there schools already reaching toward a design like this? Are teachers and parents really ready to throw out the subject areas we’ve come to accept as core to education?

Perhaps there’s a Prensky school in the not-so-distant future.

I wouldn’t be surprised.


Article citation:

Educational Leadership
March 2013 | Volume 70 | Number 6
Technology-Rich Learning Pages 22-27


You know when your eyes go blurry from reading the fine print?

I’m seeing double (or triple) right now.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by katerha:

I’ve been reading the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of so many different websites lately, trying to develop a plan for the use of websites by our 13 and under students.

Every day I read about new websites, apps, or tools that have been developed and are making their way across social media. I read a post about this tool or that and go to the site and read the Terms of Service.

So many sites have language that strictly forbid the use of their site by those under 13.

Gone are the days when I blindly try out the latest site!

Here’s one for example from a site that allows you to upload photos and comment on different elements of them.

Anyone using warrants and promises that they are 13 years of age or older. does not intend to collect personally identifying information from anyone under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13 we ask that you do not use this web service.

As a technology educator, I model responsible use of computers and websites every day. It’s important to me to be able to stand behind what I’m saying to our students. Recently, a parent even requested that in our 6th grade Global Connections class we review the logistics of privacy, cookies, and terms of service with the students.

And all these thoughts have left me with a lot of questions to which there’s probably not one black and white answer.

So, I’m wondering…

What does your school or technology department say about the use of websites by your students under 13? How does this affect online usage in your classroom?



Continued Growth…

After reading the update about the format of Course 5, I knew I had to create a plan for myself. There won’t be assigned topics for posts, readings assigned or detailed requirements to show how you’ve been active in the class. You’re just left to figure it out- based on what you’ve learned, of course.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Martin_Heigan:

So a plan is necessary. Otherwise, I will do NOTHING! I will let one week slide curiously by, and suddenly it will be five weeks later and I’ll have no online presence to show for it.

Here are my goals. They are as simple as 1, 2, 3!

1 blog post every 1-2 weeks

2 tweets per week (This should ensure that I at least open TweetDeck, right?)

3 comments on other blogs

I hope you’ll help hold me accountable- at least most of the time!

Care to join in on my 1, 2, 3 plan? I’d love to have some company!