Thursday, October 18, 2012

NBC Learn

NBC Learn is a new resource available to middle school and high school teachers and students when they are on campus or at home.  To access the resources, click on the link in this post and click register in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Celebrating Teachers and Public Schools

This video was forwarded to me over the weekend--thought it was a great celebration of teachers.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

National Research Project

Taken directly from --this is a great opportunity for all of us!

Participate in Speak Up 2012 and learn what K-12 students, educators, and parents have to say about education issues!

What is Speak Up?
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow (formerly known as NetDay). Since fall
2003, the annual Speak Up project has collected and reported on the views of over 2.6 million
K-12 students, teachers, administrators and parents representing over 23,000 schools in all 50
states. The Speak Up National Research Project dataset represents the largest collection of
authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of
the future, and science and math instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report
using the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional
information, visit

Who is Project Tomorrow?
Project Tomorrow is the nation’s leading education nonprofit group dedicated to
ensuring that today’s K-12 students are well prepared to become tomorrow’s leaders,
innovators and engaged citizens of the world. We believe that by supporting the innovative
uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students
will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and
thrive in the 21st century.

Why participate in Speak Up 2012?
• We share the Speak Up data with national, state and regional policy makers.
Participating in Speak Up 2012 ensures that your voice is included in the dialogue
about K-12 science, technology and math education.
• Speak Up provides you the opportunity to gather information from your students,
teachers, school leaders and parents about key educational topics, including:
educational technology, 21st century skills, science and schools of the future.
• By encouraging your school or district to participate, you are sending a strong signal
that you value your stakeholders’ opinions about K-12 education.
• Speak Up survey results, with national comparisons, will be available online, free of
charge in February 2013.
• Use the Speak Up data to engage your stakeholders in your strategic planning,
budgeting or decision-making processes

Visit to learn more!
Speak Up 2012 will be open October 3rd – December 14th, 2012

Register at:

*Speak Up 2011 national reports were released this spring to download the reports visit:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Does it Mean to be Literate Today?

David Warlick, I presenter I heard last week, posed this question to the audience.  He highlighted some ways in which literacy is important today, and I have taken these from notes I took during his presentation:

  1. The ability to determine what is true and verifiable.  In the world where you can google anything and find an answer, one must not just be able to read, but also discern what is true.
  2. Numeracy has become important in literacy.  It's important now for students to be able to take information and manipulate it--at a much higher level them simple adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.  Student must be able to manipulate digital information.
  3. The ability to determine which information to use.  Have you ever done a google search only to yield millions of results?  This can become overwhelming.  It is important to be able to tune out distracting information and focus on only the best.  It is also important to be able to build an audience and gain the attention of readers.  This involves the ability to be passionate and compelling when expressing ideas.
It is important that we as educators consider how literacy is shifting due to the availability of information, and the ways we not use information.  To prepare our students for a future we cannot imagine, we need to start asking ourselves what type of literacy our students will need.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wiki Chats as Part of Learning?

As part of David Warlick's presentations he usually sets up a wiki for the conferences at which he is a speaker to encourage dialog about the content shared.  (Interestingly there was not one for our conference--I'm guessing because he assumed the majority of people in the room would never try to access it!)

This was a fascinating idea to me--not because I've never used a wiki before, but because it was a way for people to interact on a topic when in the past the conference learning slowed to a halt past the conference room doors.  According to his Wiki, these chats are "tools designed for engaged learning" and these chats (when participants post questions/ideas/thoughts/comments) build an approach to learning that builds ideas collaborative through the interaction with others.  Participants have the opportunity to gain the perspective of others--and construct meaning from these online interactions.

I've many times had the opportunity to read something that transforms the way I think, but the power of this transformation can be lost when I don't interact with others about it, thus refining the way I am thinking. does that translate to the classroom?  As we prepare students to function in a world that we cannot ourselves imagine--I believe an important skill will be to collaborate to extend learning.  While I don't know that a wiki will be the way of the future--I do believe that people interacting with each other about ideas online is probably here to stay.  We have moved from phone calls, to emails, to text messages--all with the goal of that short, immediate communication of an idea with the goal of rapid feedback.  Taking overarching principles (like what our shift to texting says about us as a culture) and applying them to how we educate students will be one way to prepare them to function in a world that we ourselves cannot conceive.

Monday, October 1, 2012

David Warlick--Harnessing the Perfect Storm

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Indiana School Board Association/Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents Conference in Indianapolis.  I was able to attend many sessions, but one session stood above the rest in challenging my thinking and direction when it comes to being a Superintendent of a Public School System.

There are many things which I took from this session--so I'm devoting my blog postings this week to highlight some of my favorites.  Today, I'm going to start with the question that kept the gears in my brain turning all last week:  How do we prepare students for a future that we ourselves cannot even imagine?

This question in the session focused primarily on technology.  David Warlick considered how drastically technology has changed since he was in school (50 years ago).  While he is older than I am, it is true for me as well.  Even in the past 10 years technology has changed completely.  So, how do we educate and prepare students to face this rapidly changing world?

Hopefully you'd like to hear what I'd learned--so stay tuned for my posts this week!