Mobile

I learned to develop websites in my spare time, and now it’s what I do for a living.  Admittedly, I find developing sites for mobile phones to be a challenge, but after completing a project for one of my TC courses on mobile devices in e-learning classrooms, I’m unimpressed with the big EdTech companies.  When [...]

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Goals, Objectives, Essential Questions, Oh My!

objectives-einstein

PREFACE: I’ve always been a bit of hater. When I was in 9th grade, I had a math teacher who was pretty strict about her notebook checks (don’t get me started on notebook checks), and one of her requirements was that we had to write the daily objective in our notes (in fact, don’t get [...]

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Teacher vs. Student Development

Why do so many teacher professional development experiences ignore everything we know about teaching and learning?  In my few short years of teaching, I can’t tell you how many meetings, PD workshops, and other teacher-as-learner experiences that I’ve been a part of where teachers were expected to learn in settings within which we wouldn’t dream [...]

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Team

One of my TC courses this week has focused on cooperative learning models.  I remember focusing a great deal on cooperative learning in my UTEP courses and being instantly convinced that it was the model I should be using for every classroom activity.  Methods classes gave me countless strategies for helping students to work together [...]

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Integration

I’ve written before about “the cool factor.”  Too much focus in technology integration work is on just that – integrating technology.  Technology can be incorporated into the classroom with moderate ease.  However, to truly integrate technology into the flow of the classroom, a teacher must seamlessly transfer between the content being taught, the technology used [...]

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Mobile

I learned to develop websites in my spare time, and now it’s what I do for a living.  Admittedly, I find developing sites for mobile phones to be a challenge, but after completing a project for one of my TC courses on mobile devices in e-learning classrooms, I’m unimpressed with the big EdTech companies.  When you look at the numbers, our students are using mobile phones like crazy.  Why doesn’t Blackboard have a mobile interface?  Why don’t huge companies embrace the fact that in just a few years, many more people will be visiting their site on a smartphone than on a windows PC?  All of the big businessmen have seen the numbers, so why aren’t they ahead of the curve.  The answer: inertia.  When I design websites, it’s just so much easier to think about mobile later, instead of the better design practice, mobile first.  I just like doing what’s easy.

The parallels in the classroom are obvious.  Tons of teachers are integrating technology: they bring students to the computer lab, they roll in the laptop cart, or they ‘flip’ the classroom.  But with the HUGE amount time that our students are spending clicking away on their phones, why aren’t we concentrating on mobile first.  If the folks at Microsoft redesigned their entire OS to be tablet optimized, why haven’t we dont the same to our classrooms?

Just like in mobile web design, there are barriers to integrating mobile devices.  There are equity issues – how do we deal with them?  There is a diverse set of devices out there that students can BYOD – how can we work with them all?  These are all important questions, but they all need to be asked, and we as teachers need to step up to the task of taking the cellphones out from under the desk and putting them to work!  It’s only then that we can develop the strategies to deal with the constraints of mobile phones in the classroom.

The key factor to all of this is teaching teachers how to do it!  There’s just so many amazing tools that teachers can make use of.  Of course, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the individual tools.  I’ve seen a bunch of “60 Apps in 60 minutes” presentations at conferences.  I think that’s a waste of time.  I’d rather sessions that teach teachers to find, assess, and integrate apps.  Technology (and a 60 Apps in 60 minutes presentation) moves way to fast for teachers to keep up with all of the tools.  Instead, we just need to teach them to pick up new tools and figure them out.  That way, they can handle it for themselves going forward.  When they see how their students react to using their phones in the classroom, I’m sure they’ll be motivated to keep up.

Shameless Plug: If you’re looking for someone to provide this sort of professional development in your school, or you want to see how a web application can help you to revolutionize your school’s culture using web and mobile technologies – check out my web development and consulting group, Merlin Education.

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Goals, Objectives, Essential Questions, Oh My!

objectives-einstein

PREFACE: I’ve always been a bit of hater. When I was in 9th grade, I had a math teacher who was pretty strict about her notebook checks (don’t get me started on notebook checks), and one of her requirements was that we had to write the daily objective in our notes (in fact, don’t get [...]

Share
Full Story »

Teacher vs. Student Development

Why do so many teacher professional development experiences ignore everything we know about teaching and learning?  In my few short years of teaching, I can’t tell you how many meetings, PD workshops, and other teacher-as-learner experiences that I’ve been a part of where teachers were expected to learn in settings within which we wouldn’t dream [...]

Share
Full Story »
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Merlin Education LLC

Mike Kadin, this blog's author, is also the founder of Merlin Education LLC, a group dedicated to harnessing the power of the web to help improve achievement and culture in schools. Merlin Education's flagship product is Merlin, a web-based behavior management system that helps students, teacher, administrators, and parents to revolutionize their school's culture.

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