Category Archives: Teachers

Critical Digital Pedagogy: A Definition

One of the most thought-provoking online tech journals, Hybrid Pedagogy, published this article today. It is incredibly thought provoking and articulate. I hope you will read it and comment on the article. It is reproduced here in its entirety in conjunction with their Creative Commons Licensing. If you enjoy the article, I recommend that you subscribe to their free journal.

On November 21 at the OpenEd Conference in Washington, DC, Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel will present on critical digital pedagogy and MOOCs. This is the first of three articles that inspired that talk.


“There is no such thing as a neutral educational process.”  ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“Pedagogy is not ideologically neutral.” This line has been for me almost a mantra over the last several years. I’ve said variations of it on Twitter, on the About Us page of Hybrid Pedagogy, on the site for theHybrid Pedagogy Inc. non-profit, and in our recent CFP focused on Critical Digital Pedagogy. I’ve circled around this phrase, because I feel increasingly certain that the word “pedagogy” has been misread — that the project of education has been misdirected — that educators and students alike have found themselves more and more flummoxed by a system that values assessment over engagement, learning management over discovery, content over community, outcomes over epiphanies. Education (and, to an even greater extent, edtech) has misrepresented itself as objective, quantifiable, apolitical.

Higher education teaching is particularly uncritical and under-theorized. Most college educators (at both traditional and non-traditional institutions) do little direct pedagogical work to prepare themselves as teachers. A commitment to teaching often goes unrewarded, and pedagogical writing (in most fields) is not counted as “research.”

The entire enterprise of education is too often engaged in teaching that is not pedagogical. There are a whole host of other words I’d use to describe this work: instruction, classroom management, training, outcomes-driven, standards-based, content delivery. Pedagogy, on the other hand, starts with learning as its center, not students or teachers, and the work of pedagogues is necessarily political, subjective, and humane.

What is Critical Pedagogy?

Critical Pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning predicated on fostering agency and empowering learners (implicitly and explicitly critiquing oppressive power structures). The word “critical” in Critical Pedagogy functions in several registers:

  • Critical, as in mission-critical, essential;
  • Critical, as in literary criticism and critique, providing definitions and interpretation;
  • Critical, as in reflective and nuanced thinking about a subject;
  • Critical, as in criticizing institutional, corporate, or societal impediments to learning;
  • Critical Pedagogy, as a disciplinary approach, which inflects (and is inflected by) each of these other meanings.

Each of these registers distinguishes Critical Pedagogy from pedagogy; however, the current educational climate has made the terms, for me, increasingly coterminous (i.e. an ethical pedagogy must be a critical one). Pedagogy is praxis, insistently perched at the intersection between the philosophy and the practice of teaching. When teachers talk about teaching, we are not necessarily doing pedagogical work, and not every teaching method constitutes a pedagogy. Rather, pedagogy necessarily involves recursive, second-order, meta-level work. Teachers teach; pedagogues teach while also actively investigating teaching and learning. Critical Pedagogy suggests a specific kind of anti-capitalist, liberatory praxis. This is deeply personal and political work, through which pedagogues cannot and do not remain objective. Rather, pedagogy, and particularly Critical Pedagogy, is work to which we must bring our full selves, and work to which every learner must come with full agency.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire argues against the banking model, in which education “becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor.” This model emphasizes a one-sided transactional relationship, in which teachers are seen as content experts and students are positioned as sub-human receptacles. The use here of “sub-human” is intentional and not exaggeration; for in the tenets set out in Freire’s work (and the work of other Critical Pedagogues, including bell hooks and Henry Giroux), the banking model of education is part and parcel with efforts most clearly summed up in the term dehumanization. The banking model of education is efficient in that it maintains order and is bureaucratically neat and tidy. But efficiency, when it comes to teaching and learning, is not worth valorizing. Schools are not factories, nor are learning or learners products of the mill.

I immediately become deeply skeptical when I hear the word “content” in a discussion about education, particularly when it is accompanied by the word “packaged.” It is not that education is without content altogether, but that its content is co-constructed as part of and not in advance of the learning.

Critical Pedagogy is concerned less with knowing and more with a voracious not-knowing. It is an on-going and recursive process of discovery. For Freire, “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” Here, the language echoes the sort of learning Freire describes. With a flurry of adjectives and clauses separated by commas, his sentence circles around its subject, wandering, pushing restlessly at the edges of how words make meaning — not directly through literal translation into concepts, but in the way words rub curiously against one another, making meaning through a kind of friction. Knowledge emerges in the interplay between multiple people in conversation — brushing against one another in a mutual and charged exchange or dialogue. Freire writes, “Authentic education is not carried on by ‘A’ for ‘B’ or by ‘A’ about ‘B,’ but rather by ‘A’ with ‘B’.” It is through this impatient dialogue, and the implicit collaboration within it, that Critical Pedagogy finds its impetus toward change.

In place of the banking model, Freire advocates for “problem-posing education,” in which a classroom or learning environment becomes a space for asking questions — a space of cognition not information. Vertical (or hierarchical) relationships give way to more playful ones, in which students and teachers co-author together the parameters for their individual and collective learning. Problem-posing education offers a space of mutual creation not consumption. In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks writes, “As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence.” This is a lively and intimate space of creativity and inquiry — a space of listening as much as speaking.

What is Critical Digital Pedagogy?

My work has wondered at the extent to which Critical Pedagogy translates into digital space. Can the necessary reflective dialogue flourish within web-based tools, within social media platforms, within learning management systems, within MOOCs? What is digital agency? To what extent can social media function as a space of democratic participation? How can we build platforms that support learning across age, race, culture, ability, geography? What are the specific affordances and limitations of technology toward these ends? If, indeed, all learning is necessarily hybrid, as I’ve argued, to what extent are Critical Pedagogy and digital pedagogy becoming also coterminous?

The wondering at these questions is, in fact, not particularly new. In his forward to Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Richard Shaull writes, “Our advanced technological society is rapidly making objects of most of us and subtly programming us into conformity to the logic of its system […] The paradox is that the same technology that does this to us also creates a new sensitivity to what is happening.” And, John Dewey writes in Schools of To-Morrow, published decades earlier, “Unless the mass of workers are to be blind cogs and pinions in the apparatus they employ, they must have some understanding of the physical and social facts behind and ahead of the material and appliances with which they are dealing”. If we are to keep every educative endeavor from becoming mill-work — from becoming only a reflection of oppressive labor practices and uneven power relationships — we must engage deeply with its reality.

Increasingly, the web is a space of politics, a social space, a professional space, a space of community. And, for better or worse, more and more of our learning is happening there. For many of us, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between our real selves and our virtual selves, and in fact, these distinctions are being altogether unsettled. In “The New Learning is Ancient”, Kathi Inman Berens writes, “It doesn’t matter to me if my classroom is a little rectangle in a building or a little rectangle above my keyboard. Doors are rectangles; rectangles are portals. We walk through.” When we learn online, our feet are usually still quite literally on ground. When we interact with a group of students via streaming video, the interaction is nevertheless face-to-face. The web is asking us to reimagine how we think about space, how and where we engage, and upon which platforms the bulk of our learning happens.

In Small Pieces Loosely Joined: a Unified Theory of the Web, David Weinberger writes, “We are the true ‘small pieces’ of the Web, and we are loosely joining ourselves in ways that we’re still inventing.” Ten years ago, following the publication of Weinberger’s book, I wouldn’t have imagined the learning networks I have now built with colleagues working together (sometimes simultaneously in real time) in places as seemingly remote as Portland, Madison, Manchester, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Cairo, and Hong Kong.

This is not to say, however, that there aren’t challenges to this sort of work. In On Critical Pedagogy, Henry Giroux argues,

Intellectuals have a responsibility to analyze how language, information, and meaning work to organize, legitimate, and circulate values, structure reality, and offer up particular notions of agency and identity. For public intellectuals, the latter challenge demands a new kind of literacy and critical understanding with respect to the emergence of the new media and electronic technologies, and the new and powerful role they play as instruments of public pedagogy.

Most digital technology, like social media or collaborative writing platforms or MOOCs, does not have its values coded into it in advance. These are tools merely, good only insofar as they are used. And platforms that do dictate too strongly how we might use them, or ones that remove our agency by too covertly reducing us and our work to commodified data, should be rooted out by a Critical Digital Pedagogy. Far too much work in educational technology starts with tools, when what we need to start with is humans.

We are better users of technology when we are thinking critically about the nature and effects of that technology. What we must do is work to encourage students and ourselves to think critically about new tools (and, more importantly, the tools we already use). And when we’re looking for solutions, what we most need to change is our thinking and not our tools.

In short, Critical Digital Pedagogy:

  • centers its practice on community and collaboration;
  • must remain open to diverse, international voices, and thus requires invention to reimagine the ways that communication and collaboration happen across cultural and political boundaries;
  • will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather together a cacophony of voices;
  • must have use and application outside traditional institutions of education.

A Critical Digital Pedagogy demands that open and networked educational environments must not be merely repositories of content. They must be platforms for engaging students and teachers as full agents of their own learning.

Pete Rorabaugh writes in “Occupy the Digital: Critical Pedagogy and New Media”:

Critical Pedagogy, no matter how we define it, has a central place in the discussion of how learning is changing in the 21st century because Critical Pedagogy is primarily concerned with an equitable distribution of power. If students live in a culture that digitizes and educates them through a screen, they require an education that empowers them in that sphere, teaches them that language, and offers new opportunities of human connectivity.

Critical Pedagogy is as much a political approach as it is an educative one. As Sean Michael Morris writes, it is “a social justice movement first, and an educational movement second.”

So, Critical Digital Pedagogy must also be a method of resistance and humanization. It is not simply work done in the mind, on paper, or on screen. It is work that must be done on the ground. It is not ashamed of its rallying cry or its soapbox. Critical Digital Pedagogy eats aphorisms — like this one right here — for breakfast. But it is not afraid to incite, to post its manifestos, to light its torches.


Hybrid Pedagogy uses an open collaborative peer review process. This piece was reviewed by Sean Michael Morris and Valerie Robin.

[Photo, “Electric Sun“, by Andreas licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.]

NASA Shares Recordings from Space for you to Listen to & Use

NASA has a Soundcloud channel where they post audio recordings from space.  The channel includes items such as Kennedy’s speeches about space exploration, the shuttle’s rockets, as well as interstellar sounds. You can share the content or sample it in your work.

You can learn more about the project by going to NASA’s Soundcloud Stream or check out the story on NPR

Web Tools for Ninjas

On my second day at Miami Device, I’m thrilled to attend the session “Web Tools for Ninjas.” I’ve been following Tech Ninja Todd (Todd Nesloney) for years, so I’m feeling a bit like a fangirl! This presentation focuses on tools featured on their website: The 3 Tech Ninjas. Todd’s big suggestion is to focus on 1 or 2 tools, otherwise you get overwhelmed.

The first tool he highlights is Vocaroo. This is a tool that lets you record voice and then share via email, embed, QR code, etc. Todd’s school likes to use this for students who require audio tests. This is a free tool. My friend Moss Pike at Harvard Westlake uses this tool for students to submit audio recordings of language assessments.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 9.49.40 AMAnother great tool they are highlighting SafeShare. Safeshare allows you to take a YouTube video and it filters out the video ads that can be a distraction to students before or after a video is shown in class.

A tool I’m excited to use is Canva. Canva lets you produce some amazing designs (documents, letters, flyers, presentations, etc). They make you look like a high end designer! Shhh… don’t tell my boss, I want them to think I’m a Ninja! I’m especially excited that you can use Canva to build a high quality infographic! I love those and want to use them more in my classroom. As its cloud based, you don’t lose content.

Animoto is a web-based video building and editing tool. It produces beautiful videos. If you are a teacher and register with your school email, then animoto is entirely free! This is unlimited videos and links. Keep in mind that students cannot get a free account.

Poll Everywhere is one of my favorite tools. In fact, during my presentation I’ll be using it.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.01.38 AMWe are flying through the tools! The next one they highlight is WordSift. Wordsift takes text, highlights the type of words used and highlights them in teresting ways, such as world clouds. I put in the I have a dream speech, and have this cool word map! If you click on it, then you can trace the origin of various words.

Remind is another popular tool. You can use it to text students and teachers reminders. By creating different groups, you can send out texts to appropriate groups, e.g. parents, particular class period, faculty, department, etc. This way, you don’t have to share your personal phone number. Additionally, no one can respond to the text, which is also handy. You’re getting the information out there. It’s very easy. Also, remind curates all of your content, you cannot delete it. This helps to protect you. No one can claim that you sent something that you did not. You can also pre-schedule messages! This is a great reminder for events, tests, etc.

Skype in the Classroom is an education side to Skype. They provide content and tools just for educators. You don’t have to worry about “random people.” Todd describes it as a Craig’s List for Skype People! Skype in the Classroom is free for schools and ad free. The nice thing about interacting with other educators is they understand that sometimes they are tech issues, sometimes kids are Lord of the Flies… we all know what each other’s concerns are!

Classroom Champions is a way for top performing Olympic and Paralympic athletes connect to schools and build effective, mentoring programs for character building programs. During Olympic Years, it’s al athletes participating in that year’s athletes. In the Spring, you apply to be a Classroom Champions Teacher, this means an athlete is assigned to your classroom. In the Spring, an athlete is assigned to compete for your athlete to visit your school.

Kahoot! is a popular tool at my school. It turns “Exit Tickets” into a game. Students rack up points and  have a fun review session.

Blogging is important for students. As an avid blogger, I can attest to its utility. However, many schools are hesitant about blogging. Kidblog is a great way to give young students autonomy over their own writing within a safe environment. Teachers have control and their security is protected. However, students get to play with the visual elements and content. Other tools for blogging are Blogger (a Google Project) and WordPress. Keep in mind that blogging can be a security concern for many people, so be sure to investigate the tools that you are going to use.

If you’re a tech administrator, check out Ninite! It creates an install bott for updating content on your machines. This is great for allowing you to update and/or install content

Cloud storage is very important. I use about a dozen services. The tool CloudMagic allows you to search all of your cloud platforms to find content and files! This is pretty cool.

Drawastickman.com is a fun site that allows students to draw a story as you progress. It’s very cool.

Incredibox allows you to create your own music! While it’s cool, it can be a bit annoying… Beware! You can put different figures together to build a song and visualize it at the same time.

Project Explorer is a non-profit organization that provides virtual fieldtrips. They have recently updated it to include lesson plans. They have some great projects! They’re short, quick, and to the point. Check out what they have going on:

Sydney Harbour Bridge from ProjectExplorer.org in Australia from ProjectExplorer.org on Vimeo.

Google Art Project is another way to take students on amazing digital field trips.

DIY is a site where students share their process of learning something new through other kids. Students teach one another how they’re learning to shoot a bow and arrow or rebuild a motor.

If you want to learn more about these tools and from your peers, check out the podcast Edu All-Stars. Check out their interview with Secretary of State, Arne Duncan:

I have only captured a few of the tools they highlighted. Check out these tools and more on their website The 3 Tech Ninjas.

Opening Keynote at Miami Device

Today is the kickoff for the first ever Miami Device, an educational technology conference in Coconut Grove, hosted by St. Stephens and organized by the esteemed Felix Jacomino.

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The first speaker at the conference is Daniel Kim whose YouTube channel covers music, psychology, and education. He’s family for his annual pop danthologies.

Every year, his “Danthologies” go viral. In these mashups, he uses the best parts of the songs and discards everything else. Daniel talks about his own emotional experiences, where children are so used to getting immediate gratification that it pains them to be “bored” even for short periods of time. They are used to immediate rewards and resources. Technology in the classroom doesn’t mean that you will connect with your students. Modern schools with students hungry to learn restrict their access to resources. Students often have access to great materials at home or outside of the school that the tools available to them in educational environments. Daniel says it shouldn’t be this way. Instead, schools need to keep up! Some great thoughts about restrictive practices in education.

The main keynote speaker is Kevin Honeycutt. I’m so excited to finally see him speak in person! Looking at the stage, there’s half a dozen devices, a 3D printer, and even a guitar! Kevin talks about “kids today.” We don’t want to kill them with boredom!

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Kevin says that teachers need to constantly shift. We aren’t multi-taskers, instead we’re fast switchers. He leads us through an exercise that demonstrates just how we are *not* multi-taskers! So as teachers, we have to be master switchers.

“What can we do to help manufacture confident creative minds?” We need to use our words. We need to blog, tweet, and share. As Kevin says, we need to tell our story “Stop being secret geniuses!!” We need to role model for kids. We can’t blame kids if they mess up. Kids are raising themselves on digital playgrounds and no one is on recess duty! But it’s not about technology, it’s about relationships. If you don’t do something meaningful with it, it’s just “stuff.” “Why will we do this?” Because hands on learners want to hold what they create in their own hands. Kids want to design iPhone cases not buy iPhone cases. It’s not about worksheets, it’s about what you create. Kids need to publish what they’re proud of because they are “publishing puberty!” Think about all of the mistakes they made in puberty… but they’re analogue! We need to role model for kids what good humans do with technology.

Everything that we do doesn’t need to be perfect. Perfect is the enemy of done! If you wait to be perfect, then you will never get started. Just start doing it and doing the work. You improve as you grow. If you apply in class, you can build relationships with your tools. “At any given moment a person can have a renaissance and they’re new again!”

Kevin tells us that school isn’t rehearsal, it’s real life. It’s the show. We need to use technology to connect to people. Build your own network on Twitter and other PLN tools. You need to model for your kids! Tap into your own passions, art, music, literature, science… what do you love? Create and share!

Why we went Google Apps for Education

This weekend I will be traveling to Atlanta to attend the SAIS Annual Conference. I will be presenting on Ransom Everglades’s experiences implementing Google Apps for Education. You can see my slides and conference materials here.  Here is a reblog of my article, “Why we went Google Apps for Education” which includes a broad overview of my discussion.

Ransom Everglades School is a prominent and successful day school located in Coconut Grove, Fl. We pride ourselves on the progressive and innovative education that we provide our students. Our high ranking AP, SAT, and ACT scores attest to our academic accomplishments. Our students matriculate to prestigious colleges and universities around the country.  So then it may surprise some that we proactively explored and then implemented Google Apps for Education at our school. After all, if we are satisfied with our achievements, why would we look at making and applying a significant change at Ransom Everglades?

There are several reasons for this of course. Like all good educational institutions, we look to the future – what will our students need to be successful in college and graduate school, as well as to lead satisfying and productive lives? How can we better facilitate the needs of our teachers and staff? How can we continue to achieve our standards of excellence? Like many other educational institutions, we heard a great deal about Google Apps for Education, so we decided to explore what it had to offer that could benefit the Ransom Everglades community.

What is GAFE

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a prominent technology tool that has been gaining momentum in both K-12 as well as higher education. It 30jul2013_s-268x300includes Google’s core suite of applications (Drive, Calendar, Contacts, GMail, Sites, Talks/Hangouts, Google Classroom) with the added ability to control, scale, and manage access with an eye for an educational institution’s individual needs. For example, we activated Google Drive for students (so that they could use the Word Processing and Cloud Storage provided) but disabled GMail (as we use our exchange server for email services); also, we enabled Talks/Hangouts for Faculty and Students grades 10-12 to facilitate communication between faculty and online study groups for our AP Students. The highly customizable features of GAFE allowed us to explore available options and then implement them progressively and as needed.

Promote 21st Century Skills

The development of 21st century learning and skills (collaboration with peers, digital literacy, effectively harnessing Social Media, and drawing skill sets across multiple disciplines) is no longer optional for students or teachers. Again, Google Apps for Education allows us as an institution to promote them within a safe and managed environment. Students can collaborate on research projects and papers using Google Drive’s share features. By using tools such as Google Sites, students can create digital portfolios (I provide several examples in my article, “Google Sites for ePortfolios”) to highlight their accomplishments and demonstrate their learning through multi-modal examples (documents, imagery, video, and more). What I like best as an educator, is that by building their work within Google Tools, I can monitor their progress and provide feedback as they build and revise in real time! This is instrumental in assessing not just the end result, but the process (see my article, “Google Drive & Research Essays: Monitoring the Writing Process”).

Security and Privacy

Along with more prominent use of internet tools has come greater concern for student security and privacy. Many third party tools mine student data, use content for their own advertising purposes, and struggle with protecting valuable and sensitive data from hackers. Google itself, in its individual services, states that your documents, emails, and content created, stored, and sent via Google can be mined for content and sold to third party advertisers. This is exactly why there is a 13 year old age requirement for signing up for many services online (including Google). Several Federal mandates, such as FERPA, CIPA, and COPPA, establish basic requirements and guidelines for institutions to protect student’s data and privacy online. Google Apps for Education is compliant with these mandates, in fact it is why there is not an age 13 age restriction for students to sign up for GAFE accounts. Institutional and student content cannot be provided to third parties and identities and information must be protected through robust, secure servers. Additionally, by using third parties tools like Cloudlock, we can ensure that our students are engaging and collaborating with others appropriately and safely.

Cost Effective

Google Apps for Education is a free service provided for schools. However, it would be misleading to state that there are no costs involved. Just like all tech roll-outs, it is important to provide effective professional development for faculty and staff so that they can not only learn the basic features of these tools, but use them to deliver more innovative and pedagogically rich lessons. For example, one can simply replace Microsoft Word with Google Docs. At the same time, that doesn’t take advantage of Docs’ ability to collaborate and share with peers, effectively use its research tools, or for teachers to employ the revision history tool in order to monitor the revision process to better understand the evolution of a student’s work.

In addition to professional development and training for faculty and staff, it may also be necessary to hire external support specialists to audit your exchange server (if you wish to migrate your calendar and mail services to Google) or sync your logins using a tool like GADS. It is always necessary to invest in assessment and planning on the front end to avoid serious complications after the fact.

Even with these initial investments, the cost savings in the long-term are astronomical. You do not have to pay for an expensive cloud based or remote login solution to allow faculty and students to access content off campus, you can save thousands of dollars on software licensing, provide greater storage space (GAFE currently provides 30GB of free cloud storage), and by migrating many of your internal services to the cloud you can free up your IT staff to focus on more important internal needs.

Single Solution

As Director of Educational Technology at Ransom, one of my favorite features of GAFE is that it provides a single solution for multiple issues – students can use Google Drive to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations; students and faculty can share large files (such as images and videos) with ease; departments, staff, and students can maintain a single calendar; and Google Sites can readily serve for ePortfolios, class sites, and blog platforms. Instead of researching multiple different tools (having to focus on cost, privacy issues, and compatibility), there is often a tool in the Google Suite that will fit our needs.

Another great feature of Google Tools is that they are cloud based and cross-platform compatible. While our school primarily runs on a Windows platform, there are exceptions on campus within our Arts and Yearbook programs; many students and faculty have Macs at home; and if someone wants to access a resource on a phone there is not only iOS and Android, but Windows Phone and Blackberry (at least for now). Google Apps works across all of these platforms via Apps or a simple web browser. For example, a student can create a video on their iPhone at home, upload it to Google Drive via the App, and then share it with their teacher or classmates without having to use a flashdrive, email, or other creative solution. It seamlessly integrates across platforms. Specifically at Ransom Everglades, we struggled with more effective ways to use iPads. We are on a shared-cart model and using the Google Drive iPad App (free), we can readily get media on and off of the iPads, rendering them more effective mobile learning platforms.

Integration with Other Tools

With the rising ubiquity of GAFE in K-12 and higher education (more than 20 million students worldwide, 7 of 8 Ivy League Colleges, 72 of the top 100 schools; you can see their exponential growth along with their customers here), more and more educational services now integrate with Google. This is great for providing your users with easy single-sign-on options for third party apps, integrating with Learning Management Systems, and overall blending numerous services under a single umbrella. This allows for better and easier incorporation of new tools at your institution.

Greening

Like many other institutions, Ransom Everglades has a greening initiative. We recognize that our environment’s resources are limited and we must do our part to limit waste and promote conservation efforts. The suite of tools within Google Apps for Education allows us to move forward with that initiative. For example, by providing students handouts via a shared Google Drive folder, I limit printing in my classroom. By storing documents and materials online, I not only conserve space but limit paper use. By having students store research, organize a project, write and revise electronically we limit waste. As we move forward with Google Apps for Education in conjunction with a robust overhaul of our wireless infrastructure and broadband, we hope to further our efforts to make our institution more environmentally friendly.

Moving Forward

At Ransom Everglades, Our GAFE deployment is still in its early stages. However, after witnessing its successes in our initial pilot and deployment we have plans to explore a more extensive roll-out, such as migrating our exchange server, expanding our training, and moving our non sensitive records and documents to the cloud. Google Apps for Education has helped us to maintain and further our standards of excellence by promoting a more robust pedagogy, supporting our faculty and students in their needs, and continuing to allow us to provide innovative and robust pedagogy within our established rigorous curriculum.

 

5 Ways Teachers Can Use Their iPads Professionally

This post is reblogged from iPad Apps 4 Schools

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) andEdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

iPads are powerful tools for teachers in the classroom. In addition to being robust, mobile creation devices for students, they help you to stay organized, be on top of your classes, create content and lessons, focus on continued learning, and build your PLN. Here are five ways to turn your iPad into a robust, education machine!

Organize Yourself

You can easily sync your Outlook or Google Calendar to your iPad by going to iPad Settings → Mail, Contacts, & Calendar → Add Account. This allows you to add multiple work, personal, and/or shared calendars to the calendar on your iPad, giving you mobile access to all of your appointments (personal and professional) on a single calendar. You will also be able to make changes on the go, and with cloud based platforms, you won’t have to remember to sync your device to your computer as all changes are updated automatically.

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By using the Reminder app, you can schedule notifications weeks, months, even years in advance! One of my favorite features of Reminder is that in addition to alarms based on date/time, you can set a reminder notification based on location (don’t forget to buy milk at the grocery store or to take your gym shoes as you leave your house in the morning). If you want to conquer more robust tasks, look at investing in one of the popular To-Do List apps such as Wunderlist, Things, or Trello.

Organize your Class

Even if your school does not have a formal LMS, there are numerous free tools that allow you to organize a class calendar, have students check and submit homework assignments, share content and materials, keep attendance, track students, and even send robust reports to advisors, administrators, and/or parents. Some of the most popular and comprehensive LMS’s available include Schoology, Teacherkit, andEdmodo. While Google Classroom does not yet…

You can read the complete article here.

Teaching Tolerance Releases Robust Common Core Curricular Content

Teaching Tolerance has just announced its new Common Core aligned curriculum, “Perspectives for a Diverse America.” This is a literacy based curriculum that teachers students to read text deeply and meaningfully while incorporating the experiences of a diverse set of Americans.

The Curriculum is entirely free and can be found here.