learning + technology + innovation

Thinking about Research: Guest Blog from Amanda Mefferd, Newell-Fonda

Thinking about Research: Guest Blog from Amanda Mefferd, Newell-Fonda

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to this blog via e-mail or our RSS feed. We also are each on Twitter (see sidebar on right). Thanks for visiting!  Amanda Mefferd, Newell-Fonda High School English teacher, shares her reflection as she ponders the…

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Spooky Reading and Writing Ideas

Spooky Reading and Writing Ideas

I am not a fan of scary movies. I would rather laugh than scream. Despite my viewing preference, I do enjoy reading a thriller. There is something captivating about stories that create suspense, that unveil mystery, that reveal inner darkness. And those stories-fact or fiction-make…

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What makes a quality STEM activity? Find out in 5 days!

What makes a quality STEM activity? Find out in 5 days!

Hope you’ll join Mike Anderson and me for our K12Online presentation on October 30!

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Technology grants for Iowa teachers

Technology grants for Iowa teachers

Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency is working with the CenturyLink Foundation to award technology grants to Iowa teachers. As we said on our web site, The goal of this grant program is to fund INNOVATIVE uses of digital learning tools by students and educators. Don’t…

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So what is a connected educator, anyway?

So what is a connected educator, anyway?

October is Connected Educator month and I have had an amazing month reconnecting with colleagues, members of my PLN, and making new friends. My wonderful friend Erin Olson and I are even teaching a class on connected education. But what does that even actually mean?…

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Is this what we mean by ‘close reading?’

Is this what we mean by ‘close reading?’

85 questions assigned by a high school teacher to start off To Kill A Mockingbird… Is this what we mean by ‘close reading?’ Who is this book dedicated to? How old was Jem when he broke his arm? What is Jem’s full name? Who does Scout…

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Nobody likes to hear it

Nobody likes to hear it

Nobody likes to hear that they need to change. Nobody likes to be told that they’re not there yet. Nobody likes the unrelenting messages that we need to do things differently. And therein lies the challenge. Because we DO need to change, we DO need…

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Time: Making, Organizing, Understanding, Appreciating

Time: Making, Organizing, Understanding, Appreciating

Time, the treasured abstract noun, has woven itself into my learning opportunities during the last few weeks. As I considered my learning and growth, I noticed the connection of the subject’s insight being shared indirectly and directly with me. Just passing this along… Making Time…

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Can we really call it learning?

Can we really call it learning?

If a student holds on to something she read, heard, or did in class just long enough to regurgitate it back on an assessment but has little to no memory of it a few weeks later, can we really call it ‘learning?’ How much of…

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Our technology messages are important

Our technology messages are important

When we take away technology access because of student behavior concerns, we send the message that digital devices and the Internet are optional, ‘nice to have’ components of schooling rather than core elements of modern-day learning and teaching. When we ban teachers from using social…

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#WhyTeach: 15 seconds

#WhyTeach: 15 seconds

This morning I was listening to the voxes in the Minnesota Educator Voxer group (yes, I know I’m from Iowa) and Jenny Wamsley (@JennyWamsley) issued a challenge – share a 15 second video about why you teach. Being the safe driver that I am, making a…

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Shoes Don’t Dunk a Ball

Shoes Don’t Dunk a Ball

If you haven’t seen the movie, Like Mike, watch this movie trailer.  As you see in the movie, Calvin got Air Jordan shoes to be able to play on a NBA team just like Michael Jordan. Now take this same idea and apply it to…

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#stucamp: What happens when you listen to your students

#stucamp: What happens when you listen to your students

Guest post by Dane Barner, @mrbarnerwcms I consider myself an EdCamp alumni. I have attended EdCamps in and outside of Iowa. I participate. I facilitate. I try not to pontificate. I love EdCamps. I was at #edcampiowa this last spring and an idea hit me…

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PAC Celebrates Dot Day

PAC Celebrates Dot Day

“PAC Celebrates International Dot Day” Pocahontas Technology Integrationist, Susan Oehlertz, originally posted on her blog: PAC-This Just In. Check out her original post for more video and photo footage of the day. PAC Elementary was among the 2 million people in over 80 countries celebrating. International…

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Suppressing students’ creativity and inquiry

Suppressing students’ creativity and inquiry

Jeff Herzberg said: What are we doing that suppresses students’ natural creativity and inquiry? And what are we doing to try and stop those things? via https://twitter.com/mcleod/status/514074648531984384

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Guest Post by AC-T Principal Cody Tibbetts: A New Level of Student Engagement

Guest Post by AC-T Principal Cody Tibbetts: A New Level of Student Engagement

Guest post from AC-T Principal Cody Tibbetts: A New Level of Student Engagement Last spring, the thought of hosting a Maker Fair at Albert City-Truesdale Elementary began. While reflecting on the 2013-14 school year, Mrs. Erin Olson I and thought back to Grandparent’s Day 2013…

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Making our Mark for You: Albert City-Truesdale Elementary Celebrates Dot Day

Making our Mark for You: Albert City-Truesdale Elementary Celebrates Dot Day

Albert City-Truesdale students celebrated Dot Day, an international event celebrating the mark all of us make on the world, in connection with their traditional Grandparents’ Day on Friday, September 19. Wednesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 18, elementary students participated in a maker version of Dot…

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Shoes and Tools

Shoes and Tools

As I began packing away my summer shoes (sandals) to make room for my fall and winter collection (boots), I started to think about techie tools. Considering my shoe purchases, I buy for a specific engagement-heels for a special occasion or flats for the school…

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What helps students get good jobs?

What helps students get good jobs?

The latest results from Phi Delta Kappa’s annual poll… Check out standardized tests versus real-world projects in the image below. [cross-posted at Dangerously Irrelevant]

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When will we be ready?

When will we be ready?

We see it every day in nearly every class. The students lean way back, eyes drowsy, barely paying attention, sometimes propping their chin up with their fist… we’ll call this ‘the slouch.’ Or they’re leaning forward, spine curled over, head resting on their arm or…

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