Who is Ethan Young?

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.

The Last Days of True Online Anonymity

Believe it or not, everything that we do online and on our cellular devices is traceable. This is not a bad thing due to dangers people pose to the public and National Security.

The days of hiding behind a proxy server to reserve someone’s anonymity for good or bad are numbered. I started this blog post before National Security Agency’s PRISM exposure. Actually, It should not be surprising that this system exists. It only has been confirmed and specific details of this surveillance system are slowly forthcoming from our government.

The true war is over data, whether or not does it really belong to us if it transferred over air or wire. I’m not sure if I desire to choose that battle to fight because there are other issues that are more pressing. So, if you’re hiding behind burners or proxy servers, Big Brother is OFFICIALLY watching you…

The Downfall of BYOT

In the back of our minds, we are already aware what may cause the downfall of the BYOT movement. We just don’t want to admit it. The source of what powers technology is “the problem”. Using common sense, we all know that there will be a great demand for charging these devices to last throughout the day. Colleges are already dealing with this issue.

Charging stations will be a vital requirement of power management for teachers in the classroom. While a student’s device is being charged, will the teacher have a backup device to supply in order to maintain the student engagement?

Will schools have to give a limit of devices that can be charged at on time in an outlet? Will there be an increase of fire hazards in schools? I will not even touch the issue of theft of property theft while the electronic devices being charged.  These issue cannot be avoided (unless we demand engineers of our electronic devices to create be solar powered versions) for the time has come for students to be empowered with these devices for instruction. As TD Jakes states, “Get ready, get ready, get ready!”

eBooks, tablets, & laptizzles: Do we really need them in the 21st century classroom?

Now whither the textbook…

Yes, there is a big push to move to digital text books. I understand there is a great need to eliminate paper and the convenience ebooks/tablets possess. Anyway, before your read this blog post any further please view:  North Carolina School Engages Tech Generation With Digital Learning Tools.

This video champions the big push to having technology resources in the classroom. Don’t get me wrong. I am one of the biggest edtech nerds that you will ever know. As a nation, are we really for our classrooms to be transformed to a multimedia rich, Internet-driven environment? What is required for this to happen in school districts nation-wide? I am overjoyed how the above video elaborates why they are successful.

However let me let me quickly point out the key phases of any successful local school or even district wide full technology adoption.

1. Implementation – This is know as the “roll out.” Within implementation, there is a very brief period of training. It is important to know your hardware and know it’s limitations. This phase it the easy part.

2. OJT (On-the-Job Training) – This is the phase that is the key to the success or failure of any technology initiative. Videos on a website are good for training, but training should not stop there. To learn anything, you must get your hands dirty. The IT department and every school department must merge and become one (in my best Yoda voice). Teachers must be as tech savvy as your computer guy. The expectation is there. Period. There is no getting around this fact. Not just having a help desk on standby, but hand-holding/shadowing may be needed as necessary for those who are hesitant or very-slow to adopt in the transformation of the expectations of the 21st century learner.

3. Maintaining universal hardware and software requirements and access for all – In my humble opinion, to maintain a successful technology-dependent school you must ask hard questions. Will what we are doing continue to be successful in 1 year? 5 years? Will all our new equipment become obsolete next year, if so, what do we do? Will learning still take place when power is down?  Can I find another teacher that can fit in the shoes of the hot-shot nerd-extraordinaire teacher that just left to the other school district with better training/equipment? Will my all students with their BYOT computer/tablet/smartphone/laptizzle work on the network?  How do we handle students that bring their own network? How often should school districts supply students with updated equipment? How long will we be in the piloting phase of BYOT when students possess their own smartphones and portable wifi hotspots?

I can continue on with my rant for or against technology in the classroom. Let me just conclude that it will always come down to money. Without money there is no budget for technology or training.  At this time, we just have the expertise of the teacher with their bag of best practices and textbooks to support instruction. How long will this be acceptable for the 21st century learner. We must allow the technology transformation to occur.

Productive 21st Century Citizens

In my humble opinion, these are very difficult times in education. As an educator, I must take the huge responsibility to maintain the course (of study) and trail blaze new territory.   The next generation must be educated in preparation for jobs that don’t exist yet. However, take note that real world connections and effective communication are two skills that are necessary, period.

I know that you’ve heard this before, but unlike my generation or the previous generation who are still in the trenches, we cannot present content in a way that it was presented to us. An overhaul or the politically correct term in education would be reform is definitely needed.

I suppose I should get more involved with this side of activism outside the classroom.  This way I am able to see that students get what is required to become “productive 21st century citizens.”

Do you model what is required to be a productive 21st century citizen? Like Malcolm X eloquently expressed, “if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Digital citizenship is more than buzz words

Last week I finished a survey from ISTE on my opinion about the role of schools in teaching digital citizenship. I believe it is not only the parents and schools share the responsibility to train their child on the safety and manage their conduct online. By coincidence, last week Edmodo released a poster  (shown below) that lays out the expectations for online behavior.

As students form their online identities, they need to reflect on how are they viewed professionally. Of course, this may be the last thing on their mind when posting updates on Twitter or FB.

Anyway, it is highly recommended for (high school) students to get on LinkedIn and work on repairing their online presence that they created. This blog post illustrates how this can be done.

iPad 3rd Gen is the charm?

Yes, I’ve really been hungry for an iPad. I guess this want is logical since I am a proud owner of an iPhone 4. In order to be a pioneer in using this tablet technology in the classroom, I must be prepared to be a model for my fellow educators, right? The iPad 3 was released yesterday (3/16) and I was able to stop by an Apple store to witness the madness and get my hands on this device.

Anyway, My school district has an innovation for transformation grant that will supply me with an iPad 3 and an additional ten iPads for my students. My school has until the end of the month to get the paper work together. I participated in a workshop on Thursday that gave participants grant writing ideas which was useful. I will share further details on my quest to integrate this new technology in my classroom or other educational endeavor.

What thirst? What dendrites?

In your thirst for knowledge, be sure not to drown in all the information.  ~Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

I had a great conversation with a fellow educator in regards to the future of education. He brought to my attention that with the increase use of technology in the music industry has resulted in the lack of true creativity, originality and quality of music. Is this issue the same in education? Or… Is the increase of electronic gadgetry in our lives crippling our dendrite expansion? Please reflect on those questions before you respond if you care to.

One example of how technology is limiting our thinking is to ask yourself, how many phone numbers do you know by memory that is programmed in your cell phone. Honestly, I don’t think I can remember any more numbers than the fingers on one hand.

Anyway, I ran into the above quote by Mr. D’Angelo this evening. In my humble opinion, I believe that a thirst for knowledge should be in the hearts of our learners. So, is it really a disservice to deny student use of technology such as using iPods & cell phones for education; and are we  missing an opportunity to engage our millennials to use these devices.

I guess I’ll leave the answers to the real decision makers and see what will happen within five or less years from today.

Limitation of eReaders

Welcome to the age of electronic books infestation. You would think that book publishers are shaking in their boots by their threat. In my humble opinion, I believe that they pose a significant threat to the publishing industry.

However, children picture books will remain “king” in the traditional paper form. Can you imagine being in an elementary class and during circle reading time, the teacher pulls out her iPad/kindle and attempts to read any story on that device? There is something missing from this picture. My mother was a third grade teacher who had a arsenal of picture books. I cannot imagine her sharing her love for reading using her ebook reader/tablet.

What do you think?