Friday, December 20, 2013

No Teacher Left Behind


“There is no doubt that our students will one day have ubiquitous access to technology.  There IS reason to doubt that they will have ubiquitous access to a teacher capable of using technology to reinforce student learning” (Lawless and Pellegrino, 2007).

While I am inspired and in awe of the initiatives taking place in education today, the implications of the quote above keep me up at night.  Integrating technology is fantastic, but if there isn’t a teacher in the classroom with the proper beliefs and practices, then we are investing in very expensive paperweights.  Even worse, kids today “know better.”

When I was a student, the best I could hope for in my school day was a book, paper, and a pencil.  Today, kids have access to teachers who are eLearning rockstars.  These kids leave the rockstar teacher’s room, and head into a classroom with THE SAME TECHNOLOGY, but a teacher who just “doesn’t get it.”  When I observe these kids, they don’t just look bored - they appear sad.  They KNOW learning can be more engaging and effective, and this awareness makes the “doesn’t get it” teacher even less powerful.

In order to ensure that ALL students have access to a rockstar teacher, we must offer professional
Mike and Sully in the Scare Games
learning experiences to meet all teachers at their level of need. I have seen schools purchase a device for every student and declare, “We are 1:1!”  In reality, less than one third of their teachers are  integrating the technology effectively.  It reminds me of the scene in Monsters University where Mike and Sully are trying to race each other to get across the obstacle course first.  Although they are the first two finishers, it doesn’t count because the rules state that they will be judged on when the last person on their team crosses the finish line.

As a recovering administrator, I remember how impossible it seemed to get EVERY teacher on the same page - especially with technology integration.  While it is very difficult, with the proper methods and expectations it can be done.  Otherwise, how do we choose which student has the “rockstar” teacher and which student has the “doesn’t get it teacher?”  Which classroom should we put your child in?  The only way to ensure equal access and opportunities for all of our students is by making a strong commitment to providing as much professional learning as it takes to get all teachers across the finish line together.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#Hashtag - Your Day Has Come #notcool #overkill #killingtheEnglishlanguage

When tech-geeks take over the world, there are some "cool" things that we take too far.  Hashtags - your time has come.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hooray for Poo: Part 1

Dirty diapers are a major part of having a baby. It is amazing the lengths my wife and I will go to in order to attempt to NOT have to change our son’s diaper. The most clever tactics involve talking to our son and avoiding each other altogether.
“Oh, did you poopey? Daddy said he wants to change it, because he loves you.”
Now, what am I going to say?
“Nope, Daddy doesn’t want to change your diaper because he doesn’t love you.”
Of course in the midst of this verbal warfare we forget that our child is 7 months old and has no idea what we’re saying.
The point is that NO ONE is happy about having to change a diaper…until IT happens. Many of you have already guessed it: CONSTIPATION. It starts with a questioning expression on your baby’s face, followed by grunting and reddening of the face that makes you think he is about to turn into the hulk. There came a time when my son’s Herculean efforts would produce something so pitiful that even a rabbit would be ashamed. We went into panic mode.
I don’t know how much prune juice a baby can physically handle, but our son may have been close to a Guinness World Record. It turns out he loves the stuff. However, it caused no movement in the nether regions.
It came time to call the doctor. What is it about calling doctors? For me it’s the fact that I know they are going to just say, “Bring him in,” and I’ll be the father sitting in waiting room trying to keep my son plugged up as he tries to fill his diaper.
What the doctor suggested to me made me question his knowledge. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if it was legal. Yet, we were coming upon five poopie-less days and this was no time to question. He wanted to me to lay my son down in a warm bath and massage his…you know…with a rectal thermometer. My day only got worse from there.
I set up the bath and began undressing my son for the procedure-that-must-not-be-named. He was excited. Poor kid. He didn’t know what was coming. All he knew was that he was getting a bath in the middle of the day and that was a serious bonus! I carried him into the bathroom and held him up so he could see himself in the mirror. He loves seeing himself naked. It’s probably his favorite time of day. This day he was really excited, because he started peeing…on our toothbrushes.
I should have taken this as a warning, but I continued on. I laid him back into the tub and began the procedure. Did it work? Define work. Stuff happened. Nothing I want to talk about right now. The verdict was that we still had a long way to go.
I got him dressed. Sat him in front of a video (only once a day for thirty minutes-don’t yell at me) and cleaned up the mess. What I saw when I came back I will never forget. It was a sight that would have sent many people into cardiac arrest.
Maybe it was bath. Maybe it was the thermometer. Maybe it was the five gallons of prune juice he drank. All the matters is that my son had filed his diaper and most of our former living area with feces. 
I’ve never been prouder in my entire life...