Blog

  • Way of the Ninja Pirate
  • Final Rendering It feels good to be running the final rendering of the video, and also to be wrapping up the final project of Course Five of COETAIL. Without a doubt, it’s been a challenging project. I began wanting to look at the issue of Tech Literacy across the whole middle school, but Kim wisely steered me towards ...
  • Community Engagement – Depth and Breadth A few days ago I had a conversation with one of the teachers at UNIS Hanoi about the value of social media for teachers. He is in his mid-30s, fairly tech savvy, but only recently created a Facebook account has never used Twitter, Google+, or other social media tools to build a PLN. When I ...
  • Diving Deep in Citizenship What sorts of implicit and explicit rules govern our online societies? This question is the primary point of inquiry for the Grade 8 Digital Citizenship Unit that I am working on with three other  teachers. It’s been a very exciting unit to work on, but also a bit of a doozy. As we’ve found, there so ...
  • Project: Grade 8 Digital Citizenship This is my first blog post for Course 5 of COETAIL, but things have been cooking for the whole past month. As the MSHS Tech Coordinator at UNIS, one of my goals this year is “to develop and begin implementing a coherent tech literacy curriculum in grades 6-8”. After thinking about this broader goal last ...
  • Digital Footprint focus After some feedback on my initial final project proposal for COETAIL Course 5, I’m focusing it on one of the components in the broader ATL picture: Social Media and Digital Footprints. Right now I’m trying to avoid the term Digital Citizenship because I’ve found that nearly everyone means something different when they talk about it. ...
  • Planning for COETAIL Final Project Last year I was part of a Technology Curriculum group that met several times throughout the year to discuss our school’s philosophy of technology and design as well as how we sought to articulate our curriculum both vertically and horizontally. The philosophy statement we came up with was: Humans design, use and interact with technologies in ...
  • Student Centered Learning Last week I was working with a team from UNIS Hanoi and from Concordia International School on an event for next October. We are calling it Synapse: Innovation & Action. Our concept is that instead of being focused on technology, like our Vietnam Tech Conference, it will take a broader focus on innovation in general. ...
  • Shifting the focus to the students Last month I had the opportunity to attend and present at the EARCOS Teachers Conference in Kota Kinabalu. It was the first non-tech focused conference I’ve been to in a while, and it brought up a topic that previously hadn’t been much on my radar: libraries. I’ve always been a fan of libraries: my mother ...
  • Writing on the Wall Although the Flipped Classroom model is only one aspect of Blended Learning, it is a particularly important one because it is one of the more accessible models for most teachers. In fact, it is also one of the most conservative models of Blended Learning. As most people know at this point, Flipped Classroom instruction is based ...
  • Games, Gamification, and DIY One of my good friends (also COETAIL instructor and 2015 Vietnam Tech Conf keynote presenter) Rob Appino is focusing his PhD in education on the subject of game-based learning and gamification. He was the first to point out to me the differences between game-based learning and gamification. This distinction appears again in Elizabeth Corcoran’s article, The ...
  • Tech integrate or not tech integrate… When we talk about the meaning of tech integration, we have to first start with the meaning of technology. The best definition of technology that I’ve heard comes from Alan Kay, who said in the 1980s that “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” (Wikiquote) Perhaps his most famous quote is “The ...
  • Tying it All Together This next week marks the end of a year long project for me.  Last year, around this time, I decided that I wanted to present at Learning 2.0 in Bangkok. I knew that I wanted it to be focused on pedagogy, on big ideas, and not just on the latest Chrome or iPad apps, Google ...
  • Google Fusion Tables: My Kind of Infographic   In the past, when I thought about infographics I always associated them with posters and designs that combined words and images with (hopefully) good typography. Seeing the range of examples in this weeks reading has opened up my perspective on it a fair bit: maps, charts, diagrams, and even videos all count as infographics as ...
  • 21st Century Problems – the short version It’s taken me longer than usual to get through this assignment, partially because I was presenting at the Vietnam Tech Conference last weekend in Saigon, and partially because I had trouble deciding on what story to tell.  I considered some of the stories of my own past, but realized that most of the most meaningful ...
  • Designing a Presentation For almost a year now, I’ve been working on a presentation focused on 21st Century Problems. The premise is simple: we spend a tremendous amount of time analyzing, articulating, and standardizing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for students today, what many call “21st Century Skills”. However, all of these tools are valued not for ...
  • 5- Shades of PowerPoint When I was teaching back in Indiana, I used PowerPoint fairly regularly to present content to my students. It served as a record of what I had taught, so I could use it the next year; it allowed students who were absent to catch up on some of the material that they had missed; it ...
  • Media literacy We’ve all been there: sitting in a theater or auditorium with dozens of other teachers, learning about how to create dynamic, exciting lessons and curriculum for our students, viewing one horribly designed PowerPoint slide after another. It ranks up there with another frustration of mine: when presenters use outdated, inappropriate pedagogy to deliver a talk about ...
  • SAMR and Stager I met Dr. Gary Stager last spring at the ASB Unplugged event in Mumbai, and had a great time at the Maker Space workshop with his partner, Dr. Sylvia Martinez.  Afterwards, I bought their book, Invent to Learn, and found many of their ideas fascinating. I was a big fan of John Dewey when I ...
  • Final Project: Digital Footprint Detectives For the final project for COETAIL Course 2, I worked with Jeff Wrensen and Mairin Raisdana on a Digital Footprint scavenger hunt / detective work. The plan is to help students see how “Everyone can mold their image online and should be aware of the message that it sends to the digital community.” To do ...
  • Top Twitter Hashtags for Teachers Best Education Hashtag or Twitter Chat – 2014 Edublog Awards View more lists from Edublogs
  • Rethinking SAMR Last week I had the good fortune of getting to hear Ruben Puentedura speak at the 7th annual 21st Century Learning event out here in Hong Kong. My big takeaway: I had seriously misunderstood his SAMR model of tech integration.  In fact, most of my colleagues had also misunderstood it. If you’r not familiar with it, ...
  • Tools for Learning There are lots (LOTS!) of educator tool roundups.  Here is a great slide deck with the top 100 tools of 2014: Above: Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014 from Jane Hart Interestingly, Twitter retained it’s rank at #1 from last year, and Google Docs kept up at #2. Although I am fully aware that ...
  • Whose Responsibility? Some questions related to online safety are quite straightforward.  When we ask, “Whose responsibility is it to teach students to be safe online?” the clear answer is “It’s the responsibility of everyone involved.”  It is the responsibility other students, siblings, parents, teachers, tech coordinators, librarians, principals, heads of school, mainstream media, celebrities, lawmakers, politicians, non-profit ...
  • Zombie Copyright Laws The question of whether we as a global society need to rethink copyright laws is probably the least interesting or controversial part of the current debate. Yes – of course we do. Perhaps the best illustration of why we need to overhaul these laws comes from the US Court case of Captial Records versus ReDigi ...
  • Expectations of Privacy It’s interesting to me how privacy means so many different things to different people. Growing up in a Boston suburb in the 1990s, for me privacy meant having my own room and being able to lock my door.  For my parents it meant not being interrupted at dinnertime by telemarketers, and not giving out their ...
  • Tattoos for all Whether we use the term ‘digital footprint’ or ‘digital tattoo’, either way this has become an important piece of learning both in and out of the classroom.  Last year, my colleague Michelle and I did a series of workshops with parents about digital citizenship, social media, and helping students control their digital footprints. When parents ...
  • Final project for COETAIL Course 1: Comparative Images of Africa Last week I spoke with one of the MS Humanities teachers at UNIS about their upcoming unit on Africa.  Back in the US, I taught two semester-long courses on Africa, one on East Africa and one on West Africa, so it’s a subject that I know a bit about and is also dear to my ...
  • Global Collaboration as Revolution Every morning at UNIS we read the morning announcements to my homeroom of 23 grade eight students.  Today there were no announcements, so I decided to use the time to get feedback from the students about one of our current tech initiatives.  This year we decided to give the staff at UNIS a choice about ...
  • Edutopia Back in 2005, Marc Prensky wrote in Edutopia that the main barrier to achieving this ‘edutopia’ was the hardware obstacle of getting to 1-1 computing.  In Clint Hamada’s presentation at Learning 2.0 in Bangkok, he talked about a new 2:1 initiative at Yokohama International School in which the 7th grade students were getting both MacBook ...
  • Authentic Technology Last weekend I was fortunate to attend and present at Learning 2.014 in Bangkok, Thailand. In his closing session, Jeff Utecht talked about how some teachers have been pushing the envelope of technology since the 1800s and before. He talked about how teachers pushed for the adoption of slates instead of the abacus, of pencils ...
  • Student motivation in a digital world One of the most fundamental questions for teachers is: how do we help students become motivated? My own thoughts on this question have reflected the transition from being a high school classroom teacher at a small, independent school called Harmony School, to being a Tech Coordinator at a large, high-power international school like UNIS.  When I ...
  • Collaborative Notes and SAMR On Tuesday my friend Jeff Wrensen posted on his blog about collaborative note-taking: I was taught how to take notes and jot down important thoughts on paper. In a recent discussion at school, I was told that the students don’t need their laptops to take notes, they can just use paper. My argument was not that ...
  • Internet Fundamentals What fundamental principle is the Internet built on? Is the Internet a mass of content or a mass of connections? The other day I was talking to a friend about how hundreds of years ago the problem was the inavailability of information.  Books were precious items that contained the secrets of religions and governments, and oral ...
  • Innovative Education “Students are not problems that need to be solved; they are people who can develop solutions to problems.” I’ve been turning these ideas over in my head for months, but when this sentence popped into my head I felt like it summed up much of my thinking and also provided a litmus test for “innovative education”.  For ...