Microsoft Innovative Educator

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Teacher Relevance

The start of the school year has been busy. No surprise there! My only regret is that in the process of preparing for a new year and new opportunities, I have not had time to blog. But guess what? Now I'm back! I did make time for my favorite group of professional learners, #satchat, on Saturdays. Today's topic was "Teacher Relevance in an Era of #EdTech" (educational technology). This Blog is Why our focus must remain on the important role of teachers/educators even in a technologically advanced society.

Summer Reading Blog #8
Twitter: @pattigrayson

The discussion today made me think about the many students/learners that I encounter and how I can make a difference, even when they have a wealth of information at their fingertips. I am sure this argument is waging somewhere in schools or communities right now. How much technology is too much (or not enough)? I think that technology has enhanced the learning experience. Teachers/Educators have immediate access to information, strategies, or resources that can be used to support current standards and curriculum. There are so many great ideas that there is guaranteed to be something for every teaching style, population demographic, and classroom environment. And finding that information only requires the teacher to log on. No travel expenses, minimal wait time, and it can be tailor-made to your needs. How awesome is that? Of course access to information or even technology does not guarantee success or student achievement. The teacher's role is still important and relevant. The teacher is there to foster collaboration, teach critical thinking skills, presentation skills, and explain how essential it is to evaluate content for its validity. No matter what level you work with: elementary, middle, high, college, or even adult learners; these are valuable components to instruction.

In Patti Grayson's article (in the link above), she explores when technology should be used in the classroom as a tool to SUPPORT instruction and the teacher. During the discussion today, that was a key point: Technology is not the end-all-be-all, it is a tool. It should enhance instruction, not take the place of great teaching.

My big take-aways from the reading:
1. Great minds think alike: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and celebration; many of these were mentioned in the chat!
2. The #edtech classroom is not about technology being the central focus, but rather when can it be used to enhance the student learning experience--which IS the central focus.
3. NoodleTools---I need that for my Reading classes when they do their research projects!

Thank you to @Media_Barber for sharing take-away skills for students in the #edtech classroom:

Thank you to @DJFTLL and @cheinesch for sharing "11 Ways for Engaging Students' Brains":

What are your thoughts? Do you think teachers still have relevance in today's classrooms/schools?

You can also connect with me on Twitter @MsClassNSession or LinkedIn:
Post comments or subscribe by email to as I continue to share my summer reading list.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Social Media in the Classroom

Most Saturday mornings from 7:30-8:30AM you can find me sharing in educational conversations via Twitter and the group #satchat. Today was no different. The topic was "What Connected Educators Do Differently" (co-moderators @Jeff_Zoul and @casas_jimmy). Even though I didn't tweet much today, I learned a great deal. Looking back on my previous blog posts, the most popular was when I shared some icebreakers. One of the questions posed to the group asked about using social media tools to connect with students. So after the chat this morning, I went back and created a list of some ideas that I want to try, remember, and/or share. We all know that educators are famous for "borrowing" awesome ideas from colleagues and This Blog is Why sharing is caring!

Before I get to my list, I found a challenge to take within my challenge. Of course, I have committed myself to reading at least one blog per day. Now, the new challenge presented by @mwaiksnis (Mike Waiksnis) is the #3in3 challenge. The goal is to leave at least 3 comments on 3 different blogs for 3 days. I think this is a great idea. The power of reflection in blogging is rewarding, but who doesn't love feedback? It would also be interesting to know what your audience is thinking, how are they reacting to posts, and whether they agree/disagree with points you have presented. I am looking forward to this new challenge and I hope you will join me. Only 3 days? Easy!

 My big take-aways from #satchat:
1. Blog- #nphcblogit #ECGBlogging

2. 50 ways to use Twitter-

3. Instagram/Fakebook- via @leadlaughlearn

4. Twitter Tuesday-Post one question for students to answer via @JayBilly2

5. 5 Ways to use YouTube-

6. Skype- @SkypeClassroom @MysterySkype

7. Literacy Snapshots-

8. #ShelfieWednesday #Read4Fun-Share what you are reading.

9. Voxer- via @cybraryman1

10. Etc.- @RemindHQ, @Movenote, @GoogleForEdu, @SmorePages, @Edmodo

You can also connect with me on Twitter @MsClassNSession or LinkedIn:
Post comments or subscribe by email to as I continue to share my summer reading list.