Thursday, August 30, 2012

Digital Footprints

Are students aware of the power of their digital footprints?

Looking at this pictograph from Connected Learning (, students are on-line using a variety of networking tools to create, share, explore, play, learn, and publish. Their online presence is creating an indelible mark about who they are as a potential employee, college student, or member of the military.  Too often, I see the negative side of how students use technology and social networks.  How do we help our students be their best?

In the blogosphere, educators are constantly discussing the need for teachers and administrators to have a PLN and August has been Connected Educator month with lots of free professional development to help educators network and grow as a professional including their digital footprint. Should we be discussing and creating a connected student month that focuses on helping students network "academically?"  By academically, I mean that students start to think about how their on-line presence is going to help them for college and career readiness.  Or should this type of learning just be a part of students' daily/weekly learning?

In the end, students need to have a balanced education that includes learning to create a positive digital footprint for themselves.  What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Start of School

104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it.  -- Phineas and Ferb, Disney

It is crazy to think that this first day was my 28th (as student and educator) and will be my dad's 55th (I think, you can scold me if I am wrong).  I am very excited to get the year started; faculty had their first official days back last week; Freshmen Orientation was Friday; and our whole high school was  filled today.  I hope that I can continue to have the same passion, drive, and excitement that my father has continued to exhibit in his 30 plus years in education. 

I am excited about about the future of education and I am constantly thinking about the possibilities.  Eric Sheninger shared a video called the Voice of the Active Learner on his blog: (check it out).  This video really captured one of the things that has been weighing heavily on my mind this summer; and that one thing is providing a world class education to a generation of students that "pack a smart phone" and has choices on how/when to learn.  How do we take the best of what we do in education and leverage technology to individualize education, as well as providing the opportunity for national and global collaboration, while upping the level of rigor and promoting creativity?  I shared the video with our faculty to promote a discussion and to get all of us thinking, developing and implementing new strategies and ideas into lesson plans. As always, I believe a balanced approach is critical to what we do.  

Whether you have had your first day or you will shortly, have a great start to the school year! As Phineas states, "We've got fun to make." 



Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to School PLN

It's funny how as an educator my year revolves around the "school year."  I was talking with my wife and I said something to the effect of "this upcoming year . . .", and she asked, "are you talking about 2013?".  Any way, another year (2012-2013 school year) is getting ready to begin and I can't wait for all of the students and faculty to be back in our building.  I'm excited about where we have been and the direction we are going.  Yesterday, we had our annual back to school department chair meeting and I attended our marching band preview.  Things are definitely picking up steam and as they do, my mind is beginning to swirl with a myriad of "to do" items/ideas and also thinking about finding that right balance of time with work and home.  While, I do not want to go into all of my professional and personal goals for the year.  I am wrestling with what I want to get out of my on-line PLN (Professional Learning Network).  I have read some great blogs and tweets with informative links this past summer, but I also want to be a contributor as well, which I have tried with my limited number of tweets and blog entries.  I often times come back to the question of why am I taking the time to do this on-line PLN thing?  What am I adding to the equation (my inner math geek is showing)?

First, this past winter I actively joined Twitter and started following educators after attending a conference and seeing the ability to have a conversation during a keynote as well as recognizing the amazing amount of information and PD that various educational leaders are sharing.  Second, I started a blog because I wanted to learn another valuable, educational web 2.0 tool and hopefully contribute to the blogosphere conversation.  After about six months, I am averaging about 10 tweets a month and 1 blog post a month, hardly significant.  I want to produce original content or at least add a new/different perspective to an idea or article, which brings me back to my two questions above.  So, I plan on writing a blog entry a week and doubling my tweets to 20 a month.  Will spending more time actively engaging in producing content help me see why I am doing this and what I am adding to the equation?  Time will tell.  For those blogger and twitter sages out there, what advice/encouragement do you have for me to meet my goal and answer my questions.

In the meantime, I wish all of you educators out there a great start to your school year.