Who is Ethan Young?

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The other day after a common planning session, one of my colleagues shared this video of a student. You may see him an an ordinary pupil, but he speaks for the millennial masses under the Common Core standards reform. With an open mind, please check out this video and share your thoughts.

Is this an examplar of what Einstein deeply feared?

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“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Albert Einstein

I do believe that we have arrived to the confirmation of Mr. Einstein’s famous quote. If you don’t believe me, please check out this video and I’ll let you make the determination to see how far fetched it is from reality…

The Quantitative Self Movement

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20131124-203750.jpgMath is everywhere… Believe it or not, Some people are obsessed with numbers with a reason. Let me briefly share my reason to consume myself with personal data from my electronic devices.

Unfortunately, my family background has many medical issues such as cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. With being cognizant of these issue, I am more conscience and proactive in managing my numbers such as blood pressure, heart rate, and weight. Both of my parents did not live to see seventy. So as a personal mission, this is my motivation to live and eat healthy. Motivation to get my hind parts off the couch or out of the bed and hit the pavement/gym towards meeting my fitness goals.

I am not alone with tracking data to meet personal objectives. There is a movement called the quantitative self where individuals use electronic devices to monitor their own data and get meaning out of it. The devices that I am currently using are Nike Plus Nano, FitBit Force and the Withings digital scale/body analyzer. This is by no means a substitute of a real doctor. However, what I am doing allows me to be self informed and aware of my biological performance. So when I go to the doctor, I can have an intelligent, informed conversation about my health.

Before I go, let me recommend a really cool website by Microsoft called HealthVault that allows you to curate your health vitals and make goals which is only the beginning of this quantitative self movement.

21st Century Educator = Hyperconnected Educator?

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As connected educator month closed in October, I thought I would share a few of myhyperconnected thoughts. At this time, an educator can get away with just using their email for communication and a land-line phone to contact parents and community partners. As the technical expectations of the 21st century educator expands, should one look into other avenues to demonstrate their worthiness to be deemed as distinguished.

Is it expected for a distinguished educator to be hyperconnected? I don’t believe it’s essential but an important element. To go beyond and impact classrooms outside of your own, having a PLC, usage of social media and vid/podcasts for communication with parents and the community, being a hyperconnected nerd may be a requirement to demonstrate the mastery of your craft.

 What does it mean to be hyperconnected? If you are reading this blog post from two laptops and/or your app on your phone at the same time, you are technically hyperconnected. Hyperconnectivity is just a buzzword for being overly connected to the Internet. Just like everything else, too much of anything is not good for anyone.

IMHO, keeping it simple with technology should be enough as an educator to meet the demands of being considered a 21st century educator. I know of a teacher (for the record, I am not mentioning any names) that fears technology. Are they still a 21st century educator? Yes, but they are cased in a 20th century mindset. This mindset will be the discussion of future posts.

Compete or Complete?

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I am currently in training to run a half-marathon in December. Somewbusiness-Competitionhere in my training I ran into some literature that discussed depending on your plan on race day, should determine how hard I condition myself. Then I had to ask myself, am I training to compete or complete?

If I train to complete, I must work on endurance and not my speed. Worrying about my time is not essential in beating the competition when focusing on completion.

IMHO, I think in the past, our education system has been in the mode in getting students to complete their educational career to receive a high school diploma. Don’t get me wrong, but this is not a bad goal. However, since the United States is lagging behind in the educational area, I believe that the Common Core Standards (CCS)  is a movement in the right path shifting our schools from a mode of completion to competition.

Step back with me for a moment and think; When one masters something, they are able to go beyond expectations. For example mathletes that compete in tournaments. They solve word problems all day long that are beyond what they learn in the classroom. So rigor is understood and is naturally already there.

Enough of my rambling and in conclusion, CCS is a paradigm shift. Don’t fight the movement in embracing change. Let’s be prepared for greatness once again.

Gamification and #GTAV

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On Tuesday, 17-Sep-2013, a highly anticipated video game will be release. If yImageou deal with teenagers, I’m sure that you know what I am talking about. The good people from Rock Star Games will be releasing their next installment of the controversial game Grand Theft Auto 5 (#GTAV). It is no secret that this game has it’s share of negativity in it. However as 21st century educators, we must learn to adapt, modify and flip our lessons to what interests our students to make instruction engaging, relevant and meaningful. For example, now is a great time to have students debate about the violence in video games as the media will discuss in the next few weeks.

Anyway, GTAV is nothing but a open, virtual world or sandbox game just like Second Life, Assassin’s Creed, Sky Rim, or Little Big Planet. My friend David Hutchison has a chapter in his book, Playing to Learn discusses how to make GTA “kid-friendly”. Yes, that deserves a chuckle, or two. He expresses if a teacher wishes to use this game as an educational tool, one must modify the game play and content. David share a great point of view of many game play tasks and other ways to use GTA and other video games for instruction. I highly recommend this book for your teaching pedagogy library.

Gamification is the future of education. I will definitely continue my research and share my finding on this topic. :-)

Reflections on #edcampSC

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Today I attended edcampSC in Rock Hill, SC. Before I forget, I am just going to briefly share my “take-ways” from this conference.

Session #1: How to engage parents
Facilitator: Bobby Lynch

  • Strengths of Remind101 – allows to txt w/hyperlinks
  • What ever way in communicating with parents, consistency is the key to success
  • Traditional methods of communication with parents via newsletters is still effective with puzzles and/or brain teasers
  • Look for ways to allow bidirectional communication including anonymous feedback
  • Teacher was successful in using padlet to have students create artifact and have parent interaction with it
  • Another teacher had success in posting high performers on stars on the wall. Students were very eager to have parent to come to school to share accolade
  • Blogs are a great resource in communicating with parents and to receive feedback from them. (Weebly was mentioned)
  • ConnectEd was agreed by all to be annoying and a “turnoff” to parents
  • Focus groups including parents to address issues seemed to help with communication

Session #2: Using Non-traditional web/app resources in the classroom (Apps as creation tools and Google apps)
Facilitator: Me!

  • foursquare.com – Could be used to have parents to checking at school functions where teacher have evidence of their attendance and can give student incentive
  • craigslist.com & ebay.com- Students could discover and compare purchasing items on this site vs local store. Discuss or debate the pros and cons of ordering items online; or have an assignment having students findin someone they know that has purchased items online and share findings
  • Train students how to research and be an informed consumer
  • Other websites that were mentioned: freerice.com, playspent.org, and readwritethink.org

Session #3: What about students who don’t have tech @ home with
Facilitators: Heather Rollings & Derek McQuiston

  • Record video or audio of lesson on DVD – Classroom Redbox
  • Set student expectations of Internet usage using contracts
  • Someone mention this project (http://wigle.net/) that displays wifi coverage
  • Offer alternate assignments that do not require technology; or if teacher requires an assignment to be completed using technology, students need an interval of time to complete assignment to find access to Internet resources.
  • Remember that it is not about the device, but about the learning
  • TPACK was mentioned
  • Ipad = Manipulative on steriods

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