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17 April 2014 ~ 2 Comments

10 reasons why I pick Chromebooks for 1:1

I know that I’m wandering into contentious waters when picking sides for the 1:1 debate. Some love their iPads. Others insist on MacBooks. Or Windows laptops or Nexus tablets or any other device. My school district is headed down the 1:1 path, and my students and I have gotten to check out several devices. If [...]

14 April 2014 ~ 8 Comments

Stop doing too much: The “minimum effective dose” for educators

I always dreaded handing papers back to students. After they had turned them in, I spent hours grading them. Marking them up. Correcting the errors. Then, when I would hand them back, so many of them ended up in the trash without a glance at my work. My work to help them improve. I knew [...]

11 April 2014 ~ 4 Comments

Floored. Amazed. Honored. Bammy Awards nominee.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when the e-mail rolled in last night. My wife, Melanie, and I were sitting on the couch watching an episode of “Chuck” on Netflix when I glanced at my e-mail. There was an e-mail from Rae Pica, who I love to listen to on the “Teacher’s Aid” podcast, stating that [...]

10 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

On motivation: How mastery, autonomy and purpose affect edtech

Some teachers seem to motivate students very easily while others flounder and don’t get the results that others do. I’m thinking of the Jaime Escalante type of teacher. The type that students would run through a brick wall for, or in Escalante’s case, that East Los Angeles students would learn calculus for. The topic of [...]

07 April 2014 ~ 2 Comments

10 ideas for teachers new to teaching with tech

Welcome to exciting times. If you’re new to teaching with technology, there are some givens. First, it’s not going to work exactly like you want all the time. Second, it’s OK if it takes some time to tinker to get it to work exactly like you want. Third, sometimes you’ll have to abandon some tools/ideas/activities [...]

03 April 2014 ~ 4 Comments

10 ways to reach SAMR’s redefinition level

When I saw Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model for the first time, I thought two things: 1. “Wow, why hasn’t anyone shown me this sooner?” 2. “How can I get to the redefinition level?” If you’re where I was when I asked question 1 above, here’s your brief synopsis: SAMR is a technology integration model [...]

31 March 2014 ~ 10 Comments

One place where technology won’t enter

I’m holding a photo of my grandfather, Roy Smith. One of my prized possessions of his is a Bible with my name in his handwriting in the cover. It’s a keepsake I can always hang on to, no matter if I switch phones, computers or social media. (I would have shown you a photo of [...]

27 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Vines and GIFs: The “what” and “how” in class

I love when a spur-of-the-moment idea turns into a sensation for my students. We needed a spark for a new set of vocabulary in my Spanish 2 class, and I had heard of Vines — the six-second video site that allows users to post their looping videos to Twitter and other social media. So my [...]

24 March 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Digital classroom management ideas for minds-on learning

With a classroom full of computers at my disposal, there is a long list of ways students can get distracted and lose productivity. I see browsers pointed at ESPN and prom dress websites on a regular basis. There’s newstudyhall, a site with 100+ mindless games to fritter time away. If iPads are the device of [...]

20 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

10 tips to more meaningful Skypes in the classroom

Skype is a powerful tool that can bridge a gap of a thousand miles between schools. It can make conversations and activities happen that never could exist otherwise. It can also fall apart and lead to wasted classroom time and opportunities because of certain pitfalls. I’ve missed Skype calls altogether. I’ve seen entire class periods [...]