Thursday, August 29, 2013

Up In The Sky

Have You Heard
Newsflash, the Internet has changed the world! I know, I shouldn't have let that secret out, but think about how quickly we have become a global community and it is truly amazing. For most of us we work, play and communicate daily from our multiple devices, but there are still billions of people that do not have access to the Internet.

In The Sky
By now everyone knows that Google is filling the sky with balloons to bring the Internet to rural and remote areas. If you have 4 minutes, watch how loon works, it is amazing what humans can do when they have the desire to innovate. The project has begun testing in New Zealand and most recently has asked for volunteers in California's Central Valley area to participate in generating traffic. Like all big news makers, there has been some criticism of Google putting the cart before the horse with Loon, but we all know you need a solid infrastructure before adding devices.

Enter Facebook
Recently Facebook has been in the press with their internet everywhere initiative through Zuckerberg's plans are a bit different than Loon, as he imagines bringing the Internet to world through mobile phones. The plan doesn't seem quite as flashy as sending up giant balloons that ride on the edge of space, but having the power of mobile carriers on your team is never a bad thing. My only thought is thinking about driving to my families house in the White Mountains of Arizona. It is difficult enough getting solid 4G service in the town that they live, much less on the ride there. If establishing a reliable cell network in our country isn't easy to do, what will it be like in a third world country?

One Request
I am excited that Facebook and the other corporate giants involved are working to help connect other nations around the world that lack the infrastructure to become part of a global society.'s focus will be on these emerging markets, and I am ok with that as we will all benefit and grow as a world if we are connected. Just one request, don't lose site of the emerging markets that have no access right here in our own rural and less fortunate neighborhoods.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Guest Post: How are We Using Technology in Classrooms?

Good People
If you look closely at any successful district, school, or business, you will find that the leader has surrounded themselves with amazing people. Those people are the ones that make things happen on a day to day basis, and without those people, one person alone can not make an organization great.

I am very fortunate to have a great team in place that makes the day to day happen in our district. I learn from them weekly and they make my job an easy one. Among our team members is our district Technology Integration Specialist, Tracy Watanabe. I will always credit her for inspiring me to get in the game and start a blog. I would recommend her blog to any teacher K-12 as she does a great job of breaking down technology integration into easy to understand pieces. I wanted to share one of her recent posts as it is relevant for not only teachers but any educator. You can visit her blog or follow her on twitter. Enjoy!

How are We Using Technology in Classrooms?
Technology has changed how we do things in our daily lives such as shopping, banking, communicating, and it has changed how we should do school.
Photo Credit: Reeding Lessons via Compfight cc

When I was a child, I remember spending so much time going through microfiche to find just the right bit of information to share with the teacher. In those days, finding the right information and recollecting that information was the mark of a good student. 

Today, knowledge and information is at our fingertips. In fact, there is so much information that it's tough to know where to start and what's the best source to use. Therefore, accessing the right information at the right time is more important than just finding information.

Focusing on skills rather than knowledge is a shift in how we do school. It changes what students are taught and how they are taught.

What do these shifts look like in the classroom?

This type of learning is easy to capture because there are artifacts as evidence of learning. I could have gone to any number of AJUSD blogs to look for artifacts, but was able to find a plethora of content to share from Mrs. Hamman's post titled, The End of Another Great Year!

Final thoughts

How we “do school” has changed, and focusing on 21st century learning skills is the shift taking place. We see this shift in the Common Core State Standards, and we see this shift as a necessity to prepare students for college and careers.

Change isn't easy, but it's a necessity. I'm proud of our school district, because we are focused on giving our students 21st century, student-centered classrooms.
  • What shifts do you see in how we "do school"?
  • Change takes time, and progression occurs one step at a time. What goals have you made to take another step forward this school year?
  • What questions or comments do you have regarding this post?