We spend billions on ed tech; let’s work on making better use of it

Note: I have teamed up with Andrea Wilson Vazquez (master of makerspaces and coding) to offer Make Tech Matter design-thinking workshops with a tech focus. Interested in scheduling one for your school or organization in 2019? Email me at Martha.Rush@neverbore.org. What is one critical problem facing your community? My colleague, Andrea, and I led a…

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Why high school seniors should take hybrid courses

At a time when high school parents (and teachers) are doing more and more hand-holding and college deans are doing more and more hand-wringing over incoming students’ lack of efficacy, hybrid courses can fill a critical gap. In my opinion, every college-bound student should take at least one. By hybrid (also called blended) courses, I…

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Kids can’t stop themselves – time for the adults to step in

How often do you check your smartphone? Every hour? Every five minutes? Multiple times per minute? Stop and think about why. Are you really waiting for an urgent call — say, from a doctor, a family member or your boss? Or are you just hoping there will be something cool or funny there? A bit…

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Kids can learn online, but they often don’t

Is Khan Academy or Crash Course (or something like it) going to drive public schools out of business? Online competition has already dominated our traditional ways of doing almost everything –planning vacations, looking for jobs, watching TV, playing games, meeting dates, talking to friends, consuming news. Just ask my former colleagues in the newspaper business.…

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A solution – or a new problem?

Yesterday, I received an email from “R” saying a parent was requesting that I join 55 other teachers at my school who are “already using Remind.” This struck me as odd. Was the request really from a parent? (“R” came with no last name or email address.) Are parents demanding this, or is it clever…

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Kids work like crazy when they have a purpose

What does motivation look like? I saw it in the faces of about 40 kids at Irondale High School (MN) on Saturday morning. They were the KnightKrawler robotics team members, gathered in the library at 9:30 a.m., waiting for the “big reveal.” Saturday was the day when organizers of the global FIRST Robotics competition announced…

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Help for students who lack logic

Have you ever had to teach logical reasoning to teenagers? I have — many times — and it’s very difficult. A few kids are fairly logical already; building on that is easy. But teens who don’t think logically at all have a hard time even understanding the task. Asking them to construct an argument with…

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If you train us, we will use it

Workshop participant: What is that pen tool you were using? Me: It’s a Wacom Intuit tablet — it lets me use my computer like my Smartboard. Workshop participant: So you’re using Smartboard software? Me: Yeah, I like it better than Powerpoint. It’s easier for drawing graphs. Workshop participant: Oh that’s interesting. I’ve only ever used…

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Technology we need in our classrooms

In just the past two weeks, I have read about Apple’s new technology that could be used to disable iPhones from photo and video recording during concerts as well as neoprene pouches, produced by a startup called Yondr, that are already being used to lock up smartphones during concerts. Why do we need these expensive…

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Flip that sub plan

5-6 class periods, 25-35 students per class, 2-3 different preps, 5 days a week. That’s the typical schedule for an American high school teacher, and as I have noted before, it doesn’t allow much time for professional development, reflection, or even creative preparation, let alone absence. Just staying on the treadmill – keeping up with…

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