Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 Reasons Why Educators Need to Network

Networking

Terms like “networking” are often reserved for the business world. Many educators not only do not proactively network, but they are often discouraged from doing so. However, networking is essential to professional growth and, thus, for educational professionals. While a few teachers and administrators have taken this call and run, especially on platforms such as Twitter, many teachers are still isolated in their classrooms. Here are a few reasons educators should be actively networking:

Classrooms & Schools are Isolating

Schools are busy places and teachers and administrators often become isolated in their schools and classrooms. If you teach five periods, have 1 or 2 preps, and are inundated with paperwork, planning, and students seeking extra help, it can be challenge to meet with other teachers at your school let alone outside of it. Networking can help you keep your finger on the pulse of education as a whole, your subject matter, or your grade-level. It can bring you out of your island into a richer realm of professionals.

Great Professional Development isn’t Always Formal

One of the best benefits for educators is using their network for extended professional development – new trends in practice, a great book, a profound lesson plan, or feedback on a challenge. These are all reasons to tap your broad network of peers.

Education is a Profession Just Like Investment Banking – Treat it Like One

I often get frustrated about the view that education is not so much a profession, but glorified baby sitting. Educators often hold advanced degrees, regularly hone their skills, and are the most “professional” people I know. As such, networking helps to emphasize all of those points. It’s also why I encourage my peers not to keep their networks to others in the field – talk to scientists, lawyers, politicians, economists, and more. We teach future scientists and lawyers, so we should draw from them as well.

Networking can Save you Time

This seems counter-intuitive, but building your network can actually help to save you time. A lot of teachers share out lesson plans, can help you with training, or help you find financial support for professional development or tools for your school. This can save you hours of your own time.

Networking is still key to Career Advancement

Some teachers teach for life, others become administrators or advocates for education. Whatever your career goals, networking is still vital. Perhaps you want to move to a new city or state, your network can help you to find a job. If you are looking to become the next superintendent, your network can help you to advance within your district. The same rules of career advancement in other fields apply to education (See point 3).

Networking is vital for educators to be successful in their field as well as their careers. So get online and join a twitter chat, bring business cards with you to your next conference, or attend a local professional networking event. Get your name and your ideas out there!

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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!

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

walmart receipt.png

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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America in Class

Some amazing resources for teachers of American History!

History Tech

The National Humanities Center is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. And it’s got some handy resources that they’ve housed at a site called America in Class that has primary and secondary resources, webinars, and lessons for history and literature teachers.

According to the site, it’s designed to promote the analytical skills called for in the Common Core ELA / Literacy standards in History/Social Studies:

  • identifying and evaluating textual evidence,
  • determining central ideas,
  • understanding the meanings of words,
  • comprehending the structure of a text,
  • recognizing an author’s point of view, and
  • interpreting content presented in diverse media, including visual images.

You can find a variety of things at American in Class:

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History, Art, and Archives of the House of Representatives (and the Senate)

This is a wonderful resource for Social Studies teachers!

History Tech

I’m a member of a semi-active Facebook group that was started several years ago following the final session of the Century of Progress TAH project. The group was an attempt by project participants to stay somewhat connected and supported after three years of working together.

We were able to develop a face-to-face PLC that meets four times a year and the Facebook group continues to act as a sort of digital conversation space. Most of us aren’t super active, simply lurking around and picking up the helpful tidbits posted by the few truly active members of the group.

One of those truly active members is Nathan McAlister, middle school teacher at Royal Valley MS. The 2010 Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year, Nathan is one of those seriously gifted individuals, perfectly tuned to be a great middle school social studies teacher. And not only is he a great classroom teacher and GLI Master…

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Be S.M.A.R.T. and set Goals for the New Year!

If you want to set some new year’s resolutions, try doing it the SMART way. Write down your goals and tweak them so that they are:

  • Specific: Clear & well-defined.
  • Measureable: Able to determine successful.
  • Agreed Upon: Agreed upon with all stakeholders.
  • Realistic: Within available resources, abilities, and time.
  • Timed-Based: A set deadline.

SMART goals are easier to achieve and measure. Give it a try!

3 Ways for Educators to use G-Suite Team Drives

At the end of September, Google released Drive for Teams. This is a new way to organize collaborative tools and folders within the existing Google Drive ethos.

Content ownership and sharing are managed at the team level, and new roles give more granular control over team content. Team Drives help streamline teamwork from end-to-end, from onboarding a new team member (add her to the team and she instantly has access to all of the work in one place) to offboarding a departing team member (remove him from the team and all of his work stays right in place), and everything in-between. –Google Cloud Blog

I’ve had the opportunity to play with Team Drives. It certainly has the potential to make my life as an educator a little easier. Here are three ways that educators can use Teams in their school:

g-suite-product-launch-2

Courtesy of Google Cloud Blog

Collaborate across Division/Grade Level/Department

Educators do not work solo. Instead, we often work together and collaborate on many different levels. Using Google Teams, you can create digital, collaborative work spaces. If you are working with others at the division, grade, or department level, Drive for Teams is a great place to engage with your peers. You can share files, a Google Doc, and more. Additionally, no more hunting for that file or document that someone shared with you two months ago. It’s all in the same place!

Collaborate on Classes

If you team teach a class or want to collaborate with others who teach the same subject, Team Drive is a great place to do that! You can share educational resources (work sheets, lessons, projects, etc) and engage with your colleagues remotely. This is a great way to make collaboration easier.

Collaborate on Administrative Projects

Many educators have administrative duties. If you are working on a project with others, a Team Drive is a great place to organize and share resources. You can set up a team drive for each project, adding only those who are working on the project. You can share large files, images, Google Docs, and more.

Ultimately, I think that the new Teams features will add higher levels of usability and organization to the existing set of G-Suite Tools.