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Global Education Conference: Day 4 Session Recommendations #globaled12

15 Nov

Hi all —

Here are a few sessions to check out today in the Global Education Conference!

(All times given in Eastern Time, U.S. Use the full schedule linked below to confirm times in your area!)

4:00 PM — Session: World Language Meets Glocal PBL: Local Solutions for Global Refugees
Jennifer D. Klein, Global Education Consultant
Kelsey Vroomunn, ISTE Emerging Leader
Description: Glocal learning approaches allow students to address the global challenges of displacement and refugee life on a local level.
Link to Session:

6:00 PM — Keynote: The Network is Us
Larry Johnson, CEO of NMC
Description: Social change is as timely as it is timeless… 
Link to Session:

9:00 PM — Keynote: The Rise of Makers: Rethinking Innovation and Education
Dale Dougherty
Description: The maker movement “invites participation of amateurs of all ages and takes advantage of new technologies for personal fabrication and physical/digital interaction.” This session digs deep into the “national effort to find opportunities to integrate making as a way of transforming education, providing hands-on experiences and open-ended projects that engage students.”
Link to Session:

10:00 PM — Session: Motivational and Self-regulated Learning Factors of Informal and Extreme Learning
Donggil Song, Curtis J. Bonk & Justin Whiting; Indiana University
Description: The present study aims at investigating motivational and self-regulated learning factors of informal and extreme learning when using educational Web resources as well as the supports, uses, and challenges and obstacles.
Link to Session:

Once again, the full GlobalEdCon schedule can be found  here.  And remember, you can follow #GlobalEd12 or me (@EngagingEdu) on Twitter for ongoing updates, tips and highlights as well!

The Problem with Teaching to the Test

20 Mar

Instead of glowing in the light of a new day, each morning thousands of educators walk the halls of schools beneath burdensome shadows. For looming not too far off on the horizon are the towering silhouettes of imminent standardized tests. And whether intentionally or not, many educators cannot help but allow the presence of such looming silhouettes to drive their teaching methods.

Their motivations are usually good, for who would fault them for trying to prepare students for success on these standards-based, institutionally important assessments. So, they type up their lesson plans, replacing engaging hands-on activities with dull practice tests and repetitive lessons on testing strategies. And as these looming silhouettes approach, more and more educators spend more and more class time reluctantly teaching to the test.

The government, and even your administration, might even commend teachers for such behavior, pushing NCLB criteria and pay for performance evaluations measured by those ensuing student test scores. Many of them have no problem selling the idea that a singular math or reading score on a written exam can measure your effectiveness. And when that is directly tied to your salary you may be inclined to believe them.

Yet, the act of teaching to the test is a futile endeavor of Sisyphean proportions, motivated by the desire to attain standards of “success” on standardized tests that will, unfortunately, always be changing. Policy makers are constantly raising the bar for compliance. One year’s success is the next year’s failure. And all of those incredible learning experiences that you put off until after the test, the ones that help students discover who they are, that help them not just to learn about science and writing, but to actually be scientists and writers, will consistently get pushed later and later until, eventually, they never happen at all.

As an educator, we must refuse to measure our own success, and that of our students, through standardized test scores alone. We must recognize that those scores are merely numbers on a continuum of lifelong learning, constantly changing and evolving. These scores capture a single moment. Their data should inform us, should direct us, but it should not measure us.

For in education, what is it that really matters? What is it that truly measures our success as educators?

Undoubtedly, students learning gains do play a role. But an effective educator who can recognize the unique learning needs of their students, can also recognize that learning takes place in unique ways, at diverse paces, and sometimes even in a singular ‘aha’ moment (often taking place days or weeks after the crucial standardized testing date). Effective educators also do not see any one test as a summative indicator of all that a student is capable of, but instead as a formative narrative of a student’s momentary location in a grand lifelong journey of learning.

Yet, to be an effective educator, facilitating student learning gains is clearly not enough. More than this, the success of these educators is reflected in the excitement their students have for learning, in the kindness and respect their students demonstrate toward themselves and others, and in the degree to which their students engage the world as active members of a global community.

This is the role of the dignity-driven educator.

The effective educator, the dignity-driven educator, knows that that they are in the classroom to teach the whole child, to spend intentional time rummaging through the backpacks of student lives to uncover the unique potential buried in each student… And, ultimately, to help those very students identify and realize that potential for themselves.

For the problem with teaching to the test is that the moments in life that test us the most rarely come in the form of a multiple choice question. Instead life’s tests come as tests of our character, of our ability to do what is right in the face of pressure and stress and mixed messages about what really matters.

So, as educators, we have a choice. For, each day, the shadows will continue to loom over us; the standardized tests are already growing there on the horizon. And in the life of an educator, this is our test.

So, what answer will we give? Will we tell students that the value of their education can be measured by one test? Or by our actions, will we tell our students that their education is too valuable to be discarded in preparation for a single test? Will we give standardized tests the power to define us? To define our students? Or will you join me and stand in the face of these towers, withstanding the pressure to conform, and instead, do what is best for students?

Countdown to FETC: Still time to sign up for workshops!

13 Jan

The Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), Florida’s premiere educational event, kicks off in just ten days!

If you haven’t registered, now is the time. With over a 100 workshops and 200 concurrent sessions, there is something for every educator. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you check out the new technology available from hundreds of exhibitors ready to teach new tricks to easily infuse cutting-edge technology into your classroom.

And… it’s not too late to add a hands-on workshop to really enhance your FETC experience. Hands-on workshops let you try out new technologies and gain feedback from experts simultaneously. It is the ultimate interactive conference experience.

Here is some information about the three Workshops I am offering at FETC. To see the full list of all FETC Workshops, visit the FETC 2012 website.

I look forward to seeing you there!


WMP467 – 7 Projects x 3 Dimensions  = 21st Century Learning

Monday, January 23rd: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, BYOD

Research and educators agree that learning in 3D can increase student understanding… and engagement. Experience cutting-edge anaglyph and stereoscopic Web 2.0 and hardware tools, as well as free online resources, that will make your elementary curriculum come to life! What are you waiting for? Join us as we throw on some 3D glasses and start innovating!

(Plus, you’ll be one of the first to experience the Ladibug 3D Document Camera at its FETC debut!)


WW2300 – Transforming Technology Integration for New 21st Century Learners

Wednesday, January 25: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Hands-On Lab

Our kindergartners have grown up on the Wii and iPhone. These interactive, relational students are not the same 21st Century Learners we had the first decade of the millennium… and our technology curriculum and integration shouldn’t be either! Join us as we explore proven and emerging ways to revolutionize your class and school with a Technology-Infused Curriculum for Student Discovery and Creation!

(Get a taste of this powerful workshop by reading my recent article in Principal magazine.)


WR2454 – Create the Ultimate Technology Project – Today!

Thursday, January 26: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Hands-On Lab

Want to integrate engaging and effective technology projects into your classroom, but aren’t sure where to start? This session will help you find the right tools, customize your projects for diverse learners, find authentic audiences, and even figure out how to grade these creative masterpieces! Plus, you’ll discover free & easy-to-use projects with all the bells and whistles you’re looking for – student-created movies, avatars, digital books, and more – ready to go this Monday!

Global Education Conference 2011

16 Nov

The Global Education Conference is underway! The first two days have offered resources, insight and best practices for connecting students, teachers, and administrators to the Global Educational Community… and it’s not too late for you to get involved!

You can find a list and link to all of the sessions at There are sessions 24 hours a day from all over the world!! You can also follow the conference on Twitter with the hashtag, #globaled11.

I will be presenting  a session on Wednesday, November 16 at 6pm EST on Powerful Web Tools for Elementary Global Collaboration. In this session, you can discover powerful web tools and best practices for allowing even our youngest learners to collaborate across a classroom or around the world. I’d love to have any of you join me for that online session!
Or find out more information at:

This year, make it a priority to participate in at least one Global Initiative, reminding your students that the world is their classroom instead of the four walls they may be used to seeing!


**The mission of the Global Education Conference is to be “a collaborative,world-wide community initiative involving students,educators, and organizations at all levels. It isdesigned to significantly increase opportunities forbuilding education-related connections around theglobe while supporting cultural awareness andrecognition of diversity.The conference seeks to present ideas, examples, andprojects related to connecting educators andclassrooms with a strong emphasis on promoting global awareness, fostering global competency, and inspiring action towards solving real–worldproblems. Through this event, it is our hope thatattendees will challenge themselves and others tobecome more active citizens of the world. Let uslearn, question, create, and engage in meaningful,authentic opportunities within a global context.” Find out more at

3D Learning: ISTE

26 Jun

Since February, I have had the unique opportunity to work with a prototype for the World’s First 3D Document Camera created by Lumens Integration, Inc.  Meeting the need for custom-designable 3D content for educators and students, this stereoscopic visual presenter allows teachers and students to handcraft unlimited 3D activities supporting standards in math, science, literacy, and more.

This handout details the implementation of the tool at McKeel Elementary Academy and the amazing results we have already begun to see: Elementary 3D: ISTE Handout

Over the last two weeks, my work with the 3D Ladibug Document Camera was shared at coolTECH 2011 in Tampa, FL and INFOCOMM 2011 in Orlando, FL. The story made the news and can be seen here. This week, I will be taking this unique tool on the road to ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia, PA.

If you are attending ISTE, you can find out more about this awesome tool and other great educational resources by joining me at any of these events!!

11:00-1:00pm Poster Session – 3D Comes to School: The Story Continues,
PACC Broad St Atrium , Table: 26
(This Poster features several 3D Learning Initiatives and Projects, included mine.)

4:15-5:15 – Engaging Education: Student Created Media Projects – Nancye Blair, PACC 122B
(Engage. Inspire. Assess. How? With more than 20 innovative, adaptable student-created
media projects that integrate curriculum through movies, animation, Web 2.0, and more.)

1:00-1:30pm The Future of Document Cameras – Nancye Blair – ISTE UnPlugged
(Immersive. Interactive. Hands-on. Experience how best practices with emerging
technologies in document cameras, from wireless mobility to stereoscopic 3D capability,
can breathe life into the 21st Century elementary classroom.)

10:15-11:15 Panel – 3D Teaching = Student Engagement in the Classroom, PACC 113A
(This Panel will feature information about 3D initiatives worldwide.)


By visiting the Ladibug Document Camera Booth #1049, where I will be giving Interactive Demonstrations on Monday & Tuesday at 10am & 2pm.