The ATLIS Conference Schedule: Making Magic Happen

I am about to begin my second year as an Executive Board member of ATLIS and my third year as an organizational member. I have to say that my time with ATLIS has given me the unique opportunity to learn from and engage with my peers in new and powerful ways. I am so excited for the 2017 ATLIS Conference: Making Magic Happen in Los Angeles. The conference featured speakers Jaime Casap and Tim Fish are sure to inspire and the array of sessions will be amazing. You can view the full schedule here. Here are some highlights of the 2017 Conference:

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If you want to attend but still need to register, check out all of the details here.

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Lifelong Learning is a Life Skill not a Buzz Word

Working in education, I have seen my share of buzz words (and concepts) come and go. Often they are rebrandings of past, failed initiatives or great ideas that simply don’t work among the established cogs of the modern educational machine. However, one “buzzword” that I believe has been unfairly branded as such is “lifelong learning.” Lifelong learning is “the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.” In other words, it’s a self-driven desire to continue to learn and grown in all areas of our lives well after we leave a classroom. I have attended numerous educational conferences and events that highlight the need for educators to inspire “lifelong learning” in their students. In the world of educational buzzwords, it’s easy to roll one’s eyes and get back to the classroom. However, what I have learned in my world of education and technology is that lifelong learning is not the latest flash in the pan. Rather, it is now a necessary life and career skill.

In the past, job changes were few and far between and career changes (barring going back to school for a degree) were practically unheard of. Now, with automation and technology putting more people out of work and a shifting landscape in the economy, job-hopping and career shifts are becoming more prevalent. Forbes highlights that job hopping (moving to a new job every 2-4 years) is becoming a career necessity, often leading to higher salaries, more opportunity for advancement, and a better “cultural fit” at your place of employment.

But besides the fact that job hopping can lead to better opportunity, the reality is that job hopping and career shifts is not just an “acceptable practice” but becoming a necessary one, thus the need for self motivated learning. In his almost dystopian non-fiction work Rise of Robots, Martin Ford argues convincingly that automation and technology will not only be displacing factory workers and manual laborers, but traditionally “safe” jobs that require high levels of (often expensive) education–think lawyers, doctors, and even writers. If the trends that Ford highlights continue, unemployment and (more commonly) under-employment by even the highly educated will persist and grow. The Economist made a similar argument, stating that the solution to these trends is continued education throughout the life of one’s career (whether it stays within a single trajectory or takes a radical shift):

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades.

In their article “School and the Economy,” economists Murnane and Levy argued that the answer to helping students (and adults) be prepared for the new, shifting economy is to emphasize softer skills: expert thinking and complex communication, primarily “…the ability to solve new problems that cannot be solved by applying rules. (If the problem could be solved by rules, a computer could do it.)”

Lifelong learning empowers individuals to adapt to a variety of new jobs and career paths in the unforeseeable future. Levy and Murnane have a less apocalyptic view of future employment. While they argue that many traditional careers will shrink and even disappear, they view this shifting landscape as one that will open up new avenues and jobs. However, preparing for those jobs requires greater emotional and intellectual agility; a desire and passion to learn new skills and information.

Whatever the future holds for careers, lifelong learning is now a critical component for success. Your current job or position may downsize or all together disappear. New opportunities may be a better fit for your skill set and passions. Whatever the the future holds, being prepared and skilled at adapting to it through continuous learning is vital for success.

My Favorite Podcasts #trypod

This month, there is a big push to recommend your favorite podcasts to others. As an avid podcast listener, I thought that this was a great idea! If you follow my Twitter feed (or know me in person), then you are aware that my interests expand well beyond education, technology, and history. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts!

Social Studies & History

Backstory Radio – Created by historians, this podcasts explores the historical significance of present day issues.

Freakonomics Radio – If you’re a fan of the book Freakonimics, you’ll love the podcast!

Planet Money – Planet money is another economics podcast. It explores the economy of the world today in interesting ways.

Code Switch – This podcast explores race and ethnicity in every day life.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect – This podcast explores the history of the Supreme Court. I’ve never before heard a podcast that makes the law so interesting!

Just for Fun

Hidden Brain – This podcast explores how people understand their world and the world around them.

The Cracked Podcast – Do you remember Cracked magazine? It went under. Now they have a podcast. I don’t know how to describe it. Just take a listen.

This Life with Dr. Drew & Bob Forrest – I grew up on Loveline. It has since retired. However, Dr. Drew is still an avid podcaster. This Life explores various topics with co-host Bob Forrest.

Note to Self – Note to Self explores the modern, digital world.

The Film Vault – Anderson & Bryan explores various movies and themes. It’s a great podcast for film lovers.

The Miscellaneous Adventures of Mike Carano – Follow Mike Carano as he explores the desert, local diners, drones… wherever life takes him.

Sword & Scale – If you like true crime, check this podcast out!

Free Literary Texts & Resources for Teachers & Students

I recently discovered CommonLit, a free curated repository of fiction and non-fiction works for teachers and students. This is a great resource for educators looking to infuse content into their course work. Educators can browse for content by grade level, grenre, theme, literary device, or standard.

As a history teacher, I especially liked that works included related texts and media. For example, I could access the Articles of Confederation, under paired texts I could then direct students to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and Shay’s rebellion. They also couple it with related Media, such as a Crash Course video.

Teachers can also use CommonLit with their students as a portal to assign readings, assess work, and track progress. It is an all-in-one resource for English, Humanities, and History teachers!

Learn to Build Apps for iOS 10 at Stanford for Free

stanford-itunes-uStanford has released a new iTunes U Course Developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift. In this free course, learn how to craft Apps for iPhone and iPad on Apple’s newest operating system. iTunes U courses are self-paced and free via the iTunes store.

iTunes U is a great way to expand your skill base via free, world-class University courses. Try it out today!

Getting Creative With Video in the Classroom

I love doing video projects in my class. Here are some great ideas to help you be more creative in yours!

Jonathan Wylie: Instructional Technology Consultant

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While watching the Oscars tonight, I was intrigued to see a promotion that Walmart was running to celebrate the craft of film making. I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to  commercials, but these ads managed to catch my attention, and I think that they have some interesting potential for teachers who are looking to add some creativity to video projects in their classroom.

Walmart contacted four award-winning directors, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Neighbors), Antoine Fuqua (Southpaw, The Magnificent Seven), and Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner). They sent each of them a receipt with the same six items and challenged them to make a one minute movie that was centered around the six items on the receipt. You can learn more here, but take a look at the videos below to see what these talented directors came up with…

The three stories are very…

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From Teaching Children to Teaching Adults – Shift your PD Focus

I am an educator in many ways. First, I teach a cabal of sophomores (at Ransom Everglades I teach two courses of United States history). However, I am also a teacher of adults. In my role as Director of Educational Technology and in my work with ISTE and ATLIS, I proselytize, train, and educate.

All of us know (at least intrinsically) that adults and children are very different learners and students; some might argue that adults can be more challenging than children! There is actually a lot of data that highlights how adults differ in learning styles and process. If you want to ensure that your Professional Development sessions are effective, consider doing a little investigation into andragogy (the teaching of adults). I especially liked this infographic:

The Adult Learning Theory Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics