Technology Enthusiasts, Pragmatists, and Skeptics among Practitioners and Policymakers: Where Are You?

I love that this update broadens the continuum of positions – I am one who is somewhere in the middle. My position on the spectrum is constantly changing as I learn more about supporting the diverse needs of teachers and learners.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

I wrote this post five years ago this month. In it, I mentioned two recently published books that divided advocates of and opponents to technologies in schools into two camps: enthusiasts and skeptics. For the past few months I have been thinking anew about those policymakers, pundits, and practitioners (including blogging students and parents) who write about technology. I want to broaden the familiar continuum of positions on technology in schools beyond those at either pole. I want to include a rich array of those who inhabit the middle. So here is a revised and expanded post.

In reading Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America (2009) by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson, they, like many other writers on technology, create a continuum of advocates and critics of technology in schools. At one end of their continuum are the “Technology Enthusiasts” and at…

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Scrivener: a grad student review

I’ve been using Scrivener for my graduate school work and agree with many of the points made by Sam. I take all of my class notes in Scrivener and I also use it to draft most of my larger assignments. I am still a noob and haven’t gotten to work with the more advanced features. While there is a learning curve to this software (I spent way too much time setting it up- tinkering with the settings/font sizes), I have decided to take it slow and learn to use one feature at a time.

Any tips and suggestions are appreciated!

Sam Grace

NSF Word Cloud Look! I made this from my NSF DDIG application!

I just submitted an application to the NSF DDIG*. It’s a big grant and a big deal and getting it in makes me a very happy camper. I had already done a lot of writing for it in Word, which is where I had done all my grant writing previously. But I was feeling a definite need for a Fresh Start, and so I downloaded a trial version of Scrivener** so I could stare at a new kind of blank page.

I had heard that Scrivener is a pretty impressive writing management system from novelists and other academics. They were correct.

The first awesome thing was that I imported all the grant writing I had already done into folders in the Grant Collection I started. That meant that whenever I wanted to check or copy some previous writing I could zip…

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Creating and Fostering Learning Opportunities: Professional Learning Networks for Teachers

Informal professional learning opportunities – those that can take place in a variety of digital forums like twitter, facebook, and google+ – are very interesting to me. Over the past few months I have become more active in conversations on twitter (chats) and in google+ (communities). I have learned a great deal from interactions in all of these communities and have been able to get feedback on several questions that I have posted especially, in twitter. In both of these spaces I have found that the more time/content I put into the community, the more content/connections/relationships I gain in return.

As I begin to dive into education literature, it is important for me to remember that there are so many communities specializing in the topics I am interested in. More importantly, in order to become a practitioner one has to interact with the experts in the community. Even if that means lurking for a while.

A colleague – Chris – came up with this diagram which he calls The Collaborative Learning Cycle. While Chris developed this model for the adoption of new technology tools like iPads and applications, I think that it can also be used to illustrate the process of becoming a member of a community. The steps below show that it’s okay to jump in and be a learner for a while – what I called lurker earlier. Then transitioning to user when you become more proficient, to then an innovator and finally a contributor. As always, I’m curios to know what you think.

The Collaborative Learning Cycle

by Chris Cozort

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A Strong PLN

One week after the Schoology NEXT conference (#NEXT14), I’m still making connections and reaping the benefits of a robust PLN! What makes the Schoology PLN so powerful is it’s members: connected educators willing to share their resources. Many of the presenters at NEXT 2014 gave credit to others who had developed the work that they tweaked, improved and then shared with the rest of us. Now, we can take these resources and re-work them for our own schools and share alike.

Including two wonderful keynotes by Alan November and Jennie Magiera, the presenters at this conference were the best that I have had a chance to see at an EdTech conference. Most presenters shared content that they have used in their classrooms and experiences that they have had with EdTech in general and Schoology specifically.

At #NEXT14 I had the opportunity to connect and re-connect with some wonderful educators, and I look forward to more PD experiences like this one. Check out some of the work that was shared: