Why We Need Deep Learning

I did something radical in 2008. I waited in line for an entire week at the flagship Apple Store in New York City to buy an iPhone. It was part of a PR stunt. My friends and I were the first people in line because we knew that mobile devices were going change how people worked. However, I had no idea, at the time, the considerable impact mobile devices would have on education. Will Richardson has written extensively about the impact technology has had on education. In his book Why School? he explains that the role of the teacher is changing. A teacher…

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Hey Ya (Take 1)

I’ve been practicing my chord changes with C & G, so I thought I’d take a stab at a simplified version the Outkast’s song Hey Ya. My C chord continues to give me fits. It takes me about one beat longer than I want before my fingers find the right position. I want to give this tune another try in a few more weeks. There is another strumming pattern that I want to try, but it’s gonna take me some time to practice. This is the video tutorial I’m using to help me practice. JustinGuitar has been super helpful. I…

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The Secret to Educational Innovation

For as long as I can remember, I have learned better in groups. I got started with connected learning early. I cheated my way through seventh-grade biology. By cheating, I mean used my classmates to help me complete my homework assignments. I often traded a Snickers bar in exchange for help. By today’s standards, I think this is called collaboration with an incentive. Many educators are discussing how connections and collaborations are important to education. Will Richardson writes about this in his book Personal Learning Networks. He goes in-depth about teachers and students building a PLN to harness the power of the…

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Don’t Be Fooled By Knowing Things

While teaching English in Japan, I was asked to give a group of young Japanese junior high school students a crash course in American table manners. We pushed a group of desks together to form a makeshift table, and I created a mock table setting using books for plates and plastic tableware. I began modeling how to use a knife and fork to eat. About 30 seconds into my demonstration, a young Japanese boy raised his hand and asked, “Why do we have to lean over our plate to eat?  We can pick up the plate and bring it to our face.…

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How to Make Your Classroom Innovative

I think most teachers agree that education needs to change. The things as they are, top-down, teacher-centered classes are not working. This feeling has many educators talking about innovation. What does it look like in the classroom? There are a few teachers out there leading the charge. AJ Juliani has created “A framework for Innovation in the Classroom.” His simple framework outlines key areas that teachers can consider and use for guidance. My takeaway from this is giving learners the space to be autonomous learners. If students have choices, innovation will follow. Another educator, George Couros, outlines eight steps towards…

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Top Record Store Day 2017 Picks

I love Record Store Day. I spend weeks getting ready. I comb over the RSD List with a highlighter. I make notes and search for music samples online. I thin out my vinyl collection to make room and sell records on eBay to free up some purchasing funds. I watch the Bull Moose RSD Preview video to get an idea of what the packages and vinyl will look like. I wake up early and go get in line. I make friends with other music geeks, and we talk about music while the sun is coming up. We compare shopping lists.…

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Do You Engage Students or Empower Them?

Where are you on your teaching journey? What big lesson have you recently learned from teaching? I’m currently wrestling with the idea of student engagement versus student empowerment. For years, I thought student engagement was the greatest goal a teacher could aim for.  I went to great lengths to engage students. I wanted their undivided attention. Recently, I’ve been contemplating that empowerment can take engagement one step further. I want to give my students more choices and options in hopes that it will ignite their own passions and interests and drive them to learn on their own. If I could make…

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Learning Guitar: Desire (Take 1)

I haven’t been practicing with the guitar as much as I’d like to the past couple weeks, but my changes between A, D, & E have sped up, so I decided to give a simplified version of U2’s Desire a try. I still need to practice my rhythm. I can’t get the timing down with the correct up-strums and down-strums, but I’m getting closer. I need to work on keeping a steady rhythm with my right hand.     This is the video from Justin Guitar that I’ve used to help me. His Beginner’s Course has been very helpful for…

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