Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hans Rosling's The Joy of Stats

I saw this terrific video last week and thought this is a must share item. Like some many thoughts that race through one’s head, it was in and out as I moved on to something else. Checking my Google Reader this morning, I read Larry Ferlazz’s post “You Can’t Miss This Video”. There it was again “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes” by Hans Rosling. My best learning takes place with a visual presentation, therefore this piece of work really appealed to me. I think you will find the information most interesting.

Hans Rosling's famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport's commentator's style to reveal the story of the world's past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before - using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of 'The Joy of Stats' he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers - in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

I find this presentation most fascinating! Extrapolating this presentation into the future, what are the implications for education? I would enjoy reading your comments.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fear and George Couros

George Couros “The Principal of Change” wrote a short article on fear for his December 1st posting. He had just returned from a conference, which included a session with Will Richardson. A question from the session ignited a reflection in George: “What’s one fear you’re going to have to overcome to lead your school forward?” He then went on to list twelve fears that drive him.

I can relate to all twelve, but his last, “fear that our students and staff are not having fun” really resonated with me. I envision my primary mission/goal, as a principal to be fostering an environment where fun and enjoyment of learning is maximized. My reasoning is this: teachers do their best instruction when they are happy, relaxed, and connected with their students, and student learning is optimized when they are enjoying the content they are exploring. Creating such a school climate can be a challenge given the federal, state, and district directives schools must follow. Not to mention the crazy standardized testing cycle education is involved in as we race to the top.

The following are my email contributions to our staff and the district elementary principals to foster a positive learning climate for students of our school and district:

Good Friday Morning LC Cowboy Staff,

As the holidays bring the close of another year. I have this fear. Will another year go by without you discovering, or for some of you rediscovering, the JOY of this profession?

Our students are so alive. Catch their energy. Enjoy what they have to teach you. This will bring the focus back to the real center of your work. THE KIDS.

Sling some fish with your class today. Hey, it's “80 Days @ LC”. Have some fun!

Ashley, Jennifer, Jillian, Danielle, and Jennifer, (our student teachers)
It’s your last day with the Cowboys. Thank you for learning with us. Hope you enjoyed your time here. Have we helped you discover the JOY of teaching? I sure hope so.

Wishing everyone a weekend filled with happiness and good times.


After writing the Fear email to the staff, George’s message continued to race through my mind. How would my peers react to the Fear message? Would they reflect on what fear drives them. I felt compelled to share the post on Fear with the other 45 elementary principals in the school district. This is so out of character for quiet me. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I sent the following email:

Good Morning Peers,

One of the blogs I follow is “The Principal of Change” written by George Couros. George says, “I am a K-12 Principal in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, who wants to help and inspire others to find their passion.” I would say his outstanding sharing on twitter and his blog postings are touching and inspiring educators around the world.

I am sharing his December 1 posting titled “Fear” at The Principal of Change. After reading his short post, I encourage you to answer his question. What fear drives you?

It is 80s Day at Longs Creek, and we are having a blast. I hope your day follows the same pattern.

Rich Cantrell
Longs Creek

I am delighted to say, I have had a few responses from my peers. Let’s hope George’s message brings reflection for them and a refocus on what is most important in their efforts with students and staff.

Have you added to George’s list of “What fear drives you”? Why not now? The Principal of Change

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Last week I posted about passion and passionate educators after reading Silvia Tolisano tweets on passion and watching her video titled Passion in Education …make a difference! Little did I know that passion was now a huge buzz subject on my PLN? I guess I’ve been more focused on activities at school than I realized. Angela Maiers has been featuring guest bloggers on the topic Passion Driven Conversations. I invite you to visit her page and check out the list of guest bloggers like Larry Frelazzo and George Couros. You will find some great reading.
My PLN has many individuals that would qualify as passionate educators. In putting together my list of passionate educators last week, I know I could not include everyone that qualified. I listed the names of those that first came to mind. In doing so, I left off one outstanding educator in Melbourne, Australia - Jenny Luca. I really enjoy her School’s out Friday postings. She also posts on Learning happens. If you read this week’s post of Learning happens, you will see a passionate educator in action. Jenny participated in a ‘camp’ program called Creative Communication. She was working with 21 very special girls who have all made an effort to extend their thinking and contemplate how we communicate in today’s world. One outcome of the time with Jenny was an online publication called passionfruit. Here you will see the efforts of some passionate students.

What do you think of the new online publication passionfruit?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Passion in Education

I cannot get the word passion out of my head after watching Silvia Tolisano’s video, Passion In Education. We have all know teachers that could accomplish the most unimaginable task or project. Most of these same teachers seem to turn around students placed in their class that lacked any desire or love for school or learning. You have known some I’m sure. It is a marvelous, awe-inspiring experience to be around them when they are working with children. What do they possess that allows them to make that connection with kids that others seem to be lacking? I submit that the main quality missing is a passion for learning and love of the students and subject in which they are teaching.

I’m still trying to have a more complete understanding of the meaning of passion. I’ve read Merriam-Webster online dictionary, which offers the following synonym discussion of PASSION:
passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal mean intense emotion compelling action. passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable . fervor implies a warm and steady emotion . ardor suggests warm and excited feeling likely to be fitful or short-lived . enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity . zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause .

I have watched Silvia Tolisano’s video Passion In Education.

Passion in Education from langwitches on Vimeo.

As I continue to wrap my brain around passion and education, I begin to think of my PLN. Yes, an excellent means of illustrating passion in education would be to offer examples of people who are passionate about education. I know that students develop a greater understanding when given examples. I pull a list of PLN members. Whoa, I find it very difficult to make choices but do offer the following names: Silva Tolisano @langwiches, Kelly Tenkely @ktenkely, Kevin Jarrett @kjarrett, Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher, Edna Sackson @whatedsaid, Kathleen McGeady @kathmcgeady, Pernille Ripp @4thGrdTeach, Karen Keenan @2ndgradeteach, George Couros @gcouros, and Chris Wejr @Mr.Wejr.

After checking these web pages my understanding of passion in education is much more complete and I know yours will be also. Have you found your passion? Sir Ken Robinson says, “Finding your passion changes everything.” I would love to hear your comments on passion.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dr. Mitras - New Experiements in Self-Teaching

This is my post from June 30, 2010. Edna Sackson from the What Ed Said blog once again has my mind buzzing with a fascinating set of ideas and values dealing with education. She has introduced me to Dr. Sugata Mitra and his data on technology, children, and learning with children in India. The Hole In The Wall Project shows us the power of what children can learn if they have access to technology. The links below will reveal Dr. Mitra’s work and expand your thinking on children with access to technology. Exciting material!

Now because of the post of Kim Cofino on her blog Always Learning we have an update on the work of Dr. Sugata Mitra. This scientist from India started his Hole-in-the-Wall project in 1999. He began by simply embedding a computer in the wall of a slump area of New Delhi. The idea really began in 1988 when Mitra wrote a short paper expressing the idea that maybe children are capable of learning a whole bunch of things on their own with computers.
In September 2010 Dr. Sugata Mitra gave a TED talk titled New Experiments in Self-Teaching. It is truly amazing to see what Mitra has done with his basis idea that given the opportunity children can teach themselves and each other things not thought possible by the educational community. I guarantee you will be fascinated with Dr. Mitra’s TED talk.

What do you think of Dr. Sugata Mitra’s work? What implication does this have for your teaching? Will this affect your teaching style? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Edutainer

I would like to give credit to the person that tweeted about The Edutainer but short-term memory has left me. Saw the tweet and was off to Amazon. The book just arrived and I found the first chapter most enjoyable. Just taking time to stop and blog a short introduction to The Edutainer – Connecting the Art and Science of Teaching – by Brad Johnson and Tammy Maxson McElory. These two are veteran teachers who understand the lives of contemporary classroom practitioners. It appears from the acknowledgments of the book that a great deal of their information came from the state of Georgia USA. A cleaver table of contents reveals: Edutainer Program, Act I: The Vision, Act II: The Rehearsal, and Act III: The Performance.
Passages I highlighted from Edutainer Program:
The foreword from Dr. Joe Richardson
Utilizing live theater as a metaphor, they argue that teaching, like acting, embraces elements of both science and art: the stage is to the actor as the classroom is to the teacher.
Great emphasis is place upon students assuming responsibility for their own learning.
Likening the classroom to the stage moves us to another level, away from the boundaries that suggest limits and narrow perspectives, to a different sort of arena where we see new possibilities, where imagination and creative impulses flourish and are encouraged.
The Edutainer would be a good resource book across all grade levels and should find its way into teacher training programs as well as staff development initiatives.
From the Introduction
· Research suggests that students are most successful when they “feel” connected to the teacher and classmates.
· Educators in the twenty-first century must take a different approach to teaching if we are to prepare students for an ever-changing world.
· The story behind the edutainer concept is base upon the collaborative effort of the authors’ more than thirty years of combined teaching experience at the K-12 and collegiate level within public and independent school systems.
Scene 1: Connecting Education with the Twenty-First Century
As a visionary, the Edutainer understands that culture plays an important role in shaping our lives.
Embracing these cultural influences not only makes learning more engaging, but also makes it more relevant as well.
Students today often seek to “be” understood rather than seeking to understand others.
However, the Edutainer embraces interaction with parents because it is beneficial for the student and her.
Research even suggests that collegiality among teachers has a positive correlation with student success.
The purpose of this section is to give you strategies to building a collegial relationship with your administration.
Remember, the Edutainer doesn’t just think outside the box, she threw the box away.

With just one chapter read, I can see this light reading educational book would be beneficial to all educators. Now I need to end this blog and get back to The Edutainer. Scene Two – Director’s Chair begins with this quote: “Leadership is about responsibility and action, not title or position.”

Are you an Edutainer? Do you know an Edutainer? Wouldn’t you like to be in a classroom lead by an Edutainer? Would love to hear your comments.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A 21st Century Education documentary film from the New Learning Institute sharing educational innovators. Empowering Young Learners is Stephen Heppell describing his vision for schools and learning as he travels around London. Other documentaries in this series feature Alan November, Elliot Solaway and Cathie Norris, and Yong Zhao. They are all looking to change our views on the model we presently have of schools. You can feel their passion for students and education and hopefully you will be inspired to make changes in the way you deliver lessons to your students.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Public Education Today

I am or have been the following: parent, grandparent, teacher, school administrator, school board member, small business owner, and life long learner. These are my qualifications to give a view of public education in America. I believe many individuals and groups offering opinions have an ulterior motive for the view they share. I also believe there is and has been for a number of years a group or number of groups in America trying to privatize education. Their reasons are varied and for many they are self serving. Let’s leave that for another writing.

It appears, if you can believe the media, public education in America has failed and must be replaced with some type of system that runs education as a business. The belief that is being touted is that if a school is making money then they obviously know what they are doing and are doing it well. If not, they are a failure and need to close shop. Although this movement has been gaining strength for a number of years, I believe the coming election in America has given politicians and private business groups the platform they have been looking for to launch a major attack on public education. A well planned media blitz including the movie “Waiting for Superman”, NBC’s Education Nation, along with major news magazines, and TV personalities jumping on the band wagon campaigning for moving away from public education and looking to the private sector to be the savior of our children’s education.

You might think I would be excited to see the likes of Grassroots Education Movement (GEMHYC) with there video “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman”. Not so. Although many of the individuals, I believe, are very sincere, there may be hidden agendas there also. Unfortunately the politics of education runs very deep and we must look carefully at all sides of this issue.

Public education in America has been one of the major factors behind our rise to a leadership role in the world today. Are there problems in public education? Yes. Do we need to see major changes in public education? Yes. Do we abandon public education in America and move in another direction? No. The New Yorker magazine published an article recently that is much more in line with my thinking. The writer states, “In education, we would do well to appreciate what our country has built, and to try to fix what is undeniably wrong without declaring the entire system to be broken.” Also consider the post on the blog Schools Matter with an article written my Stephen Krashen. The financing of public schools in America certainly plays a critical role in improving public education. Maybe the crisis in American is over blown. Give it some thought. Yes, Finland has a fine education system in place but take a look at the homogeneous make-up of that country. Now compare it to the ethnic and cultural make-up of the melting pot of the world. A huge difference wouldn’t you say? Do you think this might make a difference in test scores being ripped by the proponents backing the move to privatize our public schools?

The solutions to the problems of public education in America will not come easily or quickly. There is no simple fix but there is a plethora of exciting changes taking place in classrooms around the world that will bring about needed changes to improve the lives and education of our precious children, the future decisions makers and leaders of our planet. We in education are the solution! Wake up teachers and educators! With the technology available today, a passion for learning, and an enthusiastic, positive attitude we can make the difference one classroom at a time. Yes, entire school systems may change but it will be the result of a spark provided by one individual. Collaborating with others in our field is so easy today and so necessary if we are to make the critical changes to save public education. I offer the following educators as proof that this is already happening: George Couros, Edna Sackson, Kelly Tenkely, Kevin Jarrett, Vicki Davis, Kathleen McGeady, Pernille Ripp, Chris Wejr, Paul Fuller, Karen Ditzler, Jenny Luca, Richard Byrne, Tom Barrett, Lee Kolbert, Dean Shareski, Tania Sheko, Cory Plough, Silvia Tolisano, Angela Maiers, Karyn Keenan, Jason Bell, Shannon Miller, Kelly Hines, Beth Still, Colette Cassinelli, and Sue Waters.
Are you ready to make your contribution to improving education? Let’s start with your classroom. The educators listed above are leading the way and would love to have you on board for this exciting journey of improving education one classroom at a time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The 21st Century Teacher

The September 2010 edition of the Teacher Net Gazette has a compelling article on the changing role of today’s teacher. Dr. Brad Johnson and Tammy Maxson McElroy have written a powerful piece titled “The Changing Role of the Teacher in the 21st Century”.
Here are a few statements from the article:

This means that children entering kindergarten today have been exposed to more information than their grandparents were two years after graduating high school.

This innovative educator of today utilizes authentic relationships and relevant teaching to connect education with the real world.

One major difference between the antiquated teacher role and the changing teacher role of today is the involvement of everyone in the educational community.

The effective teacher has to be the ‘thermostat’ that controls the environment of the classroom.

The changing role of the teacher means to move away from the isolation of the past and embrace the collegiality, expertise, and support of colleagues.

The changing role of the teacher includes reaching beyond the walls of the school.

With the release of the movie “Waiting for Superman” this month and recent articles in Time Magazine, the public is focusing more than ever on public education in America. I believe this article to be a must read for educators and parents with young children. Those of us in public education need to look closely at the words of Dr. Johnson and Ms. McElroy as we reflect on our relationship with our students and parents. I invite your comments on “The Changing Role of the Teacher in the 21st Century”.

Photo: flickr by my_new_wintercoat

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Teacher Web Pages

We have a great group of teachers at Longs Creek Elementary School in San Antonio Texas. The teachers know that for students to maximize their potential they must be excited and engaged about learning in and out of school. Knowing that their students love technology, the staff has gone back to the drawing board to create more engaging pages on their teacher webs. I am very proud of the efforts they are putting forth to connect with their students and parents. They are also very interested in connecting with other classes around the world by way of Skype to become 21st century global learners. If you are interested in skyping with one of our classes, log on to our web site and contact a specific teacher or contact me direct . Give the area of interest and age group you would be interested in skyping with and I’ll pass your name along to one of our teachers.
Here are a few of the teacher's web pages for you to view:
Lisa Carnazzo – Second Grade Teacher
Tami Jordan – Third Grade Teacher
Wendy Pleak – Kinder Teacher
Amanda Peet – First Grade Teacher
Jennifer Growcock – Fourth Grade Teacher
April Blackler – Fifth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Blackler has posted a video on her student blog page that I want to share with you. What video could not be more fitting than “We Are In This Together” by Ben Lee.
We look forward to a year of learning, laughing, and living. Hope you enjoy the video.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life Long Learning Made Easier

The picture at the right is a plaque that hangs outside by office at school. Back in the 60s with the decoupage craze in full bloom, I created this plaque to remind me of one of my goals in education. Little did I know the impact this statement would have on my life! During my educational career I have experienced the following transitions: purple ditto machines to the zerox copiers, Underwood typewriters to computers, crank phone on the wall to the iphone in my pocket, USPS (snail mail) to twitter, Dick and Jane readers to My, have I seen changes in communication, technology, and education!
Now is the time for all educators to take a critical look at their own professional development. Kathleen McGeady @kathmcgeady and Edna Sackson @whatedsaid, along with technology of the day, have created the solution for making it much easier for one to be a life long learner. I read a blog today written by Mrs. Ripp at 4thGrdTeach. She challenges those who say one of their goals in teaching is to make life long learners of their students. Listen up Mrs. Ripp at 4thGrdTeach. Maybe you can’t promises to make life long learners out of your students in one year, but they may be well on their way if you introduce our students to Kathleen McGeady list of technologies: twitter, blogs, google reader, podcasts, skype, and wikis/nings.
Read Kathleen McGeady’s post “Here are my 10 tops ways to engage in Professional Development in 2010” @ Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Digital Story Telling

I have been interested in digital story telling for many reasons but the most important reason is because I believe it connects with students and increase their learning. Confucius had this to say way before the digital age:
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
What better way to hear, see, and do than digital story telling?
Wikipedia - Digital Story Telling under Uses in Primary and Secondary Education: "Teachers can incorporate digital storytelling into their instruction for several reasons. Two reasons include 1) to incorporate multimedia into their curriculum and 2) Teachers can also introduce storytelling in combination with social networking in order to increase global participation, collaboration, and communication skills. Moreover, digital storytelling is a way to incorporate and teach the twenty-first century student the twenty-first century technology skills such as information literacy, visual literacy, global awareness, communication and technology literacy."

A recent tweet by @langwitches, Silvia Tolisano a teacher of teachers in my eyes, told about digital storytelling at Kauai Pacific School. My interest in the activity was rekindled after seeing what early school age children were doing with digital story telling. What an exciting tool to use with students as they begin to read and write. I challenge you to watch this video from and not see the immense value of digital story telling for children of any age.
Find more videos like this on Schools of the Future

For more information on digital story telling Silvia Tolisano slide show “Digital Story Telling – Tools for Educators on . She made this presentation at the Teacher2Teacher Conference in 2010. Silvia’s web site is .

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Digital Natives Restless

The following is a note I wrote to Kathleen McGeady, a primary school teacher from Geelong Australia, after reading the Digital Native story in The Age, an Australian newspaper.

Kathleen, not only are the digital natives restless, I believe the entire educational community is restless. Digital classrooms are essential for our students to receive the quality education necessary for them to be productive citizen when they become adults. There appears to be a ground swell movement going on with this issue. While governments and individual states are moving toward digital classrooms, the most effective advancements are coming from individual classroom teachers like yourself and your teaching buddy, Kelly Jordan. Other issues, I feel are equally important for our students to be productive citizens as adult are global awareness and civic/humanitarian responsibility for one another. From following your blogs and classroom activities the last few month, I have the feeling you would agree. A couple of activities/programs that have touched our elementary/primary students are Pennies for Peace and Read to Feed. Pennies for Peace is a program started by Greg Mortenson author of Three Cups of Tea. .

Read to Feed is sponsored by Heifer International, a long established global humanitarian effort.

Just sharing these two ideas with you and Kelly and offering the highest of praise to you two. As teachers, you are not only touching the lives of children but also modeling for educators throughout the world. Kathleen and Kelley, I wish you all the best as you finish out term III.

Read the Digital Natives are Restless story for yourself:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

for the love of learning: John Spencer on Accountability

for the love of learning: John Spencer on Accountability

SXSW Panel on Social Media

Social Media is playing an ever-changing role in our society today. Schools are no exception. Richard Byrne needs you help! He would like to have a panel discussion on the emerging role of social media in schools at 2011 SXSW. Read his post on Free Technology for Teachers and vote for the selection of this panel. Don’t delay vote today!

South by Southwest, commonly referred to as SXSW, is a huge technology, business, and entertainment conference held in Texas every March. This year, I submitted a proposal to host an education discussion panel. The panel is comprised of myself, Steven Anderson, Cory Plough, Mary Beth Hertz, Kyle Pace, and a moderator yet to be named. The panel discussion will focus on the emerging role of social media in schools. It could be a great opportunity to reach a non-education audience with our message of why schools need to embrace social media.In order for this panel to happen we need your votes. SXSW picks panels through a crowd-sourcing process. To vote please visit our proposal page and vote us up. You will need to register to vote. On behalf of Steven, Cory, Mary Beth, Kyle, and myself, thank you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

2010 Reform Syposium July 31- August 1, 2010

I just completed a fabulous weekend of educational technology by participating in The 2010 Reform Symposium. Where did this wonderful experience take place and at what cost? Let me share a little secret with you. Location: the comfort of my home, in my office with plenty of coffee at hand. Cost: $0.00 FREE. Impossible you say! Not so because of the following terrific, industrious people in my PLN: Shelly Terrell - @shellterrell, Chris Rogers - @MrROg3rs, Kelly Tenkely - @ktenkely, and Jason Bedell - @jasontbedell. They worked with Steve Hargadon and Elluminate who hosted the symposium/conference. A sampling of presentations titles: Identity Day – Revealing the Passion of Our Students, It’s Not the Tool, It’s How You Use It, Second Life in Education, Using Word Clouds to Integrate Reading and Writing, Creating a Personal Learning Network, Skype Around the World, Back-channeling in the classroom, Student Redefine School, Abolishing and Replacing Grading, and Who Needs Bricks and Mortar. These and many other presentations were delivered by close to 40 dynamic technology individuals for all over the world. Yes, I said the WORLD. Not only were the presenters from worldwide locations, fifty-seven countries were represented at the event. This experience was worth at least five years of professional staff development and all at no cost in the comfort of my office.This experience is still available to you. Why not get a global view of technology and great tips on tech programs and example of their uses. The archives for most session are available on the 2010 Reform Symposium web site. Don’t miss out and share this information with you friends. You will be a hero at your school, I promise.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Looking Ahead at Social Learning

Andrew Barras (Educational Stormfront) has posted another very interesting blog on Social Learning for the next ten years.

AKA crudbasher says:
I really liked this article. Basically the authors are predicting how learning will change in the next 10 years. Interestingly they aren’t talking about this in the context of education, but in the context of workplace continuing education. I think that industry will take the lead on innovative learning techniques in the future.
It’s important to remember that learning can happen without schools. If schools want to remain relevant they have to come up with a better reason than “we have all the information here”. That isn’t true anymore.

Read More @
Image from Social Learning Playbook

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to Ignite Intellectual Curiosity in Students

The web, magazines, newspapers are all a buzz about student's declining creative. If you have read my blog you know that I share many of the views of Sir Ken Robinson. Kids come to school with abundant creativity but by third grade many have lost much of that spark of creativity they had. Ben Johnson’s article “How to Ignite Intellectual Curiosity in Students” in edutopia may offer some reasons. Give it a read and offer comments:

Ben Johnson 7/26/10
I personally have never seen a student that was not curious about something. I have seen many students who have suppressed their curiosity when they enter school to such an extent as to be nearly undetectable, but it is still there. Human beings are hardwired to be curious and being curious is a major activity of childhood and young adulthood (and yet recently more and more students would rather be curious-looking).
Want to read more:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Learning Today Blog - Post by Amanda Kenuam

On the Learning Today Blog, Amanda Kenuam, has an excellent post titled Web 3.0, Networked Literacy, and Information Fluency | #ISTE10. She reports on information from Gary Hayes (Web 3.0 & Social Media Counts), Jeff Utecht (Networked Literacy), Anglea Maiers (21st Century Teaching and Learning), plus tidbits from #ISTE10 and ebc10. Wonderful reading for all in education!
Love to hear your comments on the Learning Today Blog post of Amanda Kenuam.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom - Alan November

Last fall I viewed an Alan November video “Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom”. Two comments by November that spoke to me were: kids need to make contributions in the real world community and let students have more control of their learning. Along with being inspired, the video challenge my thinking about teachers and their control of student learning.
Today Kyle Pace sent the following RT: Awesome...RT @mbteach: So inspired by this video of/by Alan November
I took a second look at the video and continue to be impressed with its content. What about you?

Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom by Alan November from Brian Mull on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Children's Book - Riley's Lost Tooth

As a husband, I certainly have the right to do a little bragging on my wife. Diane's second children's book was released in the spring of 2010. The book is titled Riley's Lost Tooth and was written for our granddaughter as a Valentine's gift the year she lost her first tooth. As with her first book, Goodbye Baby Max, the illustrator is Heather Castles. The illustrations have been captivating to those reading both of the books. Do you have a child or grand child soon to be losing their first tooth? Riley's Lost Tooth might be just the perfect gift to say I love you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ISTE 2010 - Ian Jukes & Lee Crockett on Education the Next 10 Years

I did not attend ISTE 2010 in person but did try to follow on twitter and Elluminate. Even from a distance, I found the conference to be full of energy and excitement. Recordings from this event can be found at ISTE Unplugged. In reading Andrew Barra’s blog “Education Storm Front” I was introduced to Ian Jukes and Lee Crockett's session on a look at education for the next 10 years. I would rates this a must view for all of you in education. The beginning of the presentation also has an excellent history of computers going back to 1947 in Philadelphia. I encourage you to set aside 55 minutes to watch is dynamic presentation!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Children With Technology

Edna from the whatedsaid blog once again has my mind buzzing with a fascinating set of ideas and values dealing with education. She has introduced me to Dr. Sugata Mitra and his data on technology, children, and learning with children in India. The Hole In The Wall Project shows us the power of what children can learn if they have access to technology. The links below will reveal Dr. Mitra’s work and expand your thinking on children with access to technology. Exciting material!

Image from Hole In The Wall Project web page.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Relationships & Technology

I want to share from a blog I follow “Realizing Your Personal Legend” written by Mike Mansour. The title of his article was “Tribute to a Non-tech Principal”. Mike has served with his principal, Mr. Connelly, for six years. He has a great deal of respect and admiration for his principal even though he is not up to speed with his tech skills.
Technology his changing many aspects of our society from the way children access information to the way teachers need to plan for lessons that will be engaging to their students. I would say Mike and I are both techies but we agree on something that is more important that technology. Mike has expressed it this way, “Mr. Connelly was a great principal because of the relationships he built with our families and the atmosphere of excellence he fostered among the staff.” RELATIONSHIPS
The teachers where I serve continue to hear these words from me each August as we begin another school year. “The most important thing to accomplish with your students the first few weeks of school is to make connections and build relationships.” They know I believe that more significant learning will take place with each child with whom they have a personal relationship.
As educators, let’s be more accepting of our peers. Many teachers that are struggling with learning technology have mastered the relationship piece. I challenge you to embrace them, hold their hand, and show them respect and patience as you model technology for them.
Here is a link to Mike Monsur’s complete article:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Priceless Education

How have I missed this youtube video from Lanwithes/Silva for so long? First published in December 2008, it still has a fresh message for all of us in education. Will you deliver a Priceless Education to your students? Making connections and building relationship as we change the world one student at a time!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Daniel Pink Interview

Interview of Daniel Pink from Andrew Keen:
According to Daniel Pink, the author of the New York Times best-selling Drive, the great shift of the early 21st century is from left to right. Rather than a political change, however, Pink's shift is all about the brain. The 21st century, he argues, represents the triumph of our creative right brain skills over the more procedural thinking of our left brain.

So when I met with Pink on a rainy afternoon in Washington earlier this month, I began by asking him whether the new hegemony of right brain skills would represent a new golden age of creativity for both artists and ordinary people. –Andrew Keen

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Winning vs Success from John Wooden

On June 4, 2010 we lost a wonderful gentleman and college basketball icon. John Wooden was the head basketball coach at UCLA from 1967-1973. During that time he won 620 games. At one point in time, he won 88 games in a row. He was called the Wizard of Westwood and built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports. Winning was not his GOAL in basketball or life. Listen to his TED talk on Winning vs Success. Words for all of us to live by!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eating to Starve Cancer

William Li presentation at TED Feb. 2010: Can we eat to starve cancer?
William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sir Ken and A Revolution in Education

Sir Ken (Robinson) Again - Speaking in Long Beach California in February 2010 at a TED conference. Education Listen Up!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Quiet Sunday Morning

Technology is essential in our fast pace world of today. It allows us to explore, to learn, to share, to complete tasks, to keep us touch with friends and family. Also essential for all of us is a good quiet morning with nature and the out of doors. It can be as simple as a Sunday morning on the patio. May you have a great relaxing day soon.

Patio and Flowers on PhotoPeach

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sir Ken In Nanaimo

Sharing a small part of an article from Chris Wejr's blog, The Wejr Board. This blog is titled "Summary: Sir Ken Robinson in Nanaimo". Chris is a principal at Kent Elementary School in Agassiz, B.C. Canada. You know how I love Sir Ken's comments on education!
“We often punish people by taking away the things they enjoy doing.”
“Human life is not linear but our education systems are; human life is inherently creative.”
“We are in a state of cultural evolution.”
Flowers came to life in Death Valley following the extremely rare rainfall in 2005.
“Analogy of gardening: Gardeners do not grow plants – plants grow themselves. Gardeners provide the optimal environment for plants to flourish (sunlight/shade, water, heat, etc). One environment can cause one type of plant to flourish while another to die or become dormant. In Death Valley in 2005, it rained 7 inches. In an environment that was supposedly ‘dead’ of plant life, under the right conditions, a beautiful layer of flowers formed. Under the right environment, people flourish.”
“Education must be personalized, not standardized.”

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Celebration of Student Learning

Just discovered LiveBinders. Yes, I know I'm a little on the slow side. Sooo much to discover on the net. Always searching, Always learning, Always sharing

Monday, April 26, 2010

Educating Students for the 21st Century

I love Education Stromfront by crudbasher
Here is his post of April 26, 2010 on Why 'Educating Students for the 21st Century' is a False Promise (and what we can do about it)

This may not be your view point but I hoped the video causes you to begin thinking about what we need to change to be providing our students with a gobal education for the 21st century.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Real Time Communication & Education

140 Character Conference held in NY April 20/21 2010

The conference was a worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and people. I was especially interested to hear this topic discussed as it relates to education. I enjoyed listening to a panel including a PLN member, Kevin Jarrett. The discussion title was Real Time Communication and Education. For those that missed the session here is a video replay.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Greg Mortenson and Edutopia Webinar

Edutopia is funded by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Last week Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, was the guest speaker on a webinar presented by Edutopia. I'm sharing Greg's message on my "Spot" because I believe so strongly in education being the major solution for greater peace in our world. The webinar is one hour long but I promise you will enjoy every minute of Greg's talk.

Here is my email from Edutopia:
Dear Rich, Thanks so much for registering for our April 15th webinar with best-selling author, Greg Mortenson on service learning. We were thrilled, Greg especially, that so many school classrooms and assemblies attended the webinar. For those of you who were not able to attend, the full archive, in its entirety, is now available for your use. We hope you continue sharing this event and Greg’s message of service learning with your students and colleagues through this archive. All materials from the webinar, along with additional resources and opportunities to continue the conversation, are available at

Friday, April 16, 2010

Longs Creek Elementary School San Antonio Texas

From the Express News 4/11/2010

Stellar schools in San Antonio are not relegated to one part of town.
And while the neighborhood, size, wealth and ethnic make-up of successful schools in the San Antonio area may vary, there are several things they have in common: Strong leadership, almost fanatically dedicated faculty and staff, a focus on small learning groups, high expectations and a lot of hard work.
Children at Risk, a Houston-based advocacy group, is releasing its second round of annual school rankings for the San Antonio metro area Monday and gave the Express-News a sneak peek.
Researchers used a wide array of indicators, including test scores, participation in advanced courses, graduation rates and class sizes to rank 374 of the area's elementary, middle and high schools from best to worst.
The system, based on 2008-09 data, gives a boost to schools with a lot of low-income kids and leaves out some schools with insufficient data.
Hats Off
To the
Longs Creek
#28 of 257 Campuses

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wild Flowers of South Texas

This has been a fantastic year for wild flowers in South Texas. Pictures from a recent trip south of San Antonio on Hwy 16 toward Poteet.

South Texas Wild Flowers April 2010 on PhotoPeach

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kids and Failure

A lessosn here for Teachers and Parents
Kids can Learn a Lot from Failure
Posted by crudbasher 4/5/10
I really agree with this article I saw in the Sydney Morning Herald. The article states that if we don’t let kids fail once in a while, it give them unrealistic expectations for life.
As a college teacher I saw this a whole lot. Many of my students were not concerned with doing their best because they always got what they wanted regardless of their effort. They had what I call a “blinding acceptance of mediocrity”.
I think back on my life and can clearly remember times I failed. It seems to stay with you and help motivate you to better things.
I wonder what effect failure had on these people?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Social Media Creates Open Education

Ewan McIntosh from Scotland speaking at a LIFT Conference. The title of his presentation is Social Media Creates Open Education. He believes student write because they have an audience. In the classroom it is often an audience of one - the teacher.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Vision of Future Learning Management Systems

A Vision of Future Learning Management Systems from Education Stormfront by crudbasher
Sharing from Andrew Barrass

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can We Not Individulalize Students' Education?

I am following Kelly Tenkely on twitter. She is a technology teacher from the Denver area with a passion for kids and learning! Her writings and postings will cause you to take a second look at what is happening in education today - her chosen passionate profession.
From her new blog Dreams of Education March 24, 2010 A Vanilla Education
The focus of schools today really isn’t learning. The focus is standardizing the student population. What we are left with is an educational system that is vanilla. Don’t get me wrong, vanilla has its place in the world. Vanilla makes an excellent base, you can add almost anything to it and it is only enhanced. But we aren’t really enhancing it with anything are we? We are stopping at vanilla. We are standardizing learning until each of our students is popped out the other end looking exactly the same. This isn’t really what this global, connected society calls for, is it? What it calls for is innovation and creativity, anything but vanilla. Yet in our schools, we strip it all away and pass students through making sure that they reach certain standards and pass certain tests. Where is the individualization, the flavor?

It seems to me, that in this world where everything else can be individualized, education should be individualized as well......... Standardizing is not the answer in education. We don’t need a group of people who can do exactly the same thing, the same way. We need a society that has many talents. I am afraid that right now we are losing the great talent to standards. Students don’t feel that they measure up, so they give up and drop out. It isn’t that they aren’t brilliant and don’t measure up somewhere, they just don’t fit in the standardized school box. These kids are still getting “Left Behind”.

With the tools we have available to us today, how could we begin to offer customized learning?

Thank you Kelly for this thought provoking post.

Earth Hour 2010

From Miss McMillan's Blog by McTeach
This Saturday, March 27th, the entire world will come together to fight climate change one darkened light bulb at a time. What started in Sydney in 2007 as one city making a statement against global warming has become a world-wide phenomenon. Last year more than 4,000 cities around the world, including San Francisco, turned out their lights for one hour demonstrating the idea that anyone and everyone can make a difference. Will you join us this Saturday?
To learn more, visit

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Video Learning to Change, Changing to Learn

They just keep coming. Here is another video about CHANGE in SCHOOLS. Learning to Change, Changing to Learn posted on Education Stormfront by crudbasher:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Inspire Teachers

From the Imagine it Project - Inspire Teachers
"The great hope for the future rests with the quality of our teachers."

Bill Clark, "Our idea of education should sit soundly upon the foundation of asking questions - not answering them."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Teachers: Let's Look @ Kinder

After kindergarten, labels get hung on learners like an albatross and too many of them give up and become negative self-fulfilling prophecies: “I didn’t think I could do it, either.” How sad!

What can we do? Bring some of the fun back to learning. Break some of the rules….especially the ones you think you can get away with: more collaborative group work, answer fewer questions but ask more, let them teach you, give them the tools to show what they know.
Say, “Look!” more often., “Hey, everyone, look at this!”
When the lights start going back on in their eyes, you’ll know it’s working.

The above writing taken from "Teacher Rebot Camp" by Shelly Terrell.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

Educators: A time to focus on family and self - A time to recharge your battery - Prepare yourself so that you can give your students the best your have to offer as you finish out the school year. myspace graphic comments
Have fun kids. See you in a week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Annoucement for Riley's Lost Tooth

There is big time excitement around the Cantrell house these days. Diane's second children's picture book Riley's Lost Tooth will have a launch and book sign on March 27. If you live in the San Antonio Texas area, we would love to see you at the launch. The book is now available on Amazon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why Do We Connect?

This was posted on Teacher Reboot Camp by Shelly Terrell presently in Germany teaching online technology and English.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Move over Segway ... Here comes the Yike Bike!
Check out this bike. The coolest bike around. Will it become an urban wonderful?

Gotta Keep Reading

Posted by Larry Ferlazzo's on his Website of the Day. Educators: following Larry is a must. I know you will enjoy this video on reading. Sit back relax and enjoy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Flatclassroom Project

This information was taken from the Flatclassroom Wiki:
What is a Flat Classroom™?

The concept of a 'flat classroom' is based on the constructivist principle of a multi-modal learning environment that is student-centered and a level playing field for teacher to student and student to teacher interaction.

What is the Flat Classroom™ Project?

The Flat Classroom™ Project is a global collaborative project that joins together middle and senior high school students. This project is part of the emerging tend in internationally-aware schools to embrace a holistic and constructivist educational approach to work collaboratively with others around the world in order to create students who are competitive and globally-minded. The project was co-founded by
Vicki Davis (Westwood Schools, USA) and Julie Lindsay(Beijing (BISS) International School, China) in 2006when Julie (then in Bangladesh) and Vicki joined their classrooms together for the first time to study and emulate the emerging flattened learning environment. The Flat Classroom Project 2006 is was featured in Chapter 13, 'If it's not happening it's because you're not doing it', of the latest edition of Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat' upon which it was based. (pages 501-503)

One of the main goals of the project is to 'flatten' or lower the classroom walls so that instead of each class working isolated and alone, 2 or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web 2.0 tools such as Wikispaces and Ning.

The Project uses Web 2.0 tools to make communication and interaction between students and teachers from all participating classrooms easier. The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman.

This is just one of thousands of innovative programs taking place in the world today that will have a major empact on the revolution happening in education.

A Flat Classroom Workshop just concluded in Mumbai February 27, 2010. Video will soon be available but until then here is a video from a conference in Qatar 2009.

“Our school system was invented in the late 1800s, and little has changed. Can you imagine if the medical profession ran this way?” – Linda Darling-Hammond.

Become Change At Your School

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Abby Sunderland's Solo Sailing Adventure

I'm following another 16 year old girl hoping to become the youngest person to complete a circumnavigation of the globe. She is Abby Sunderland from Thousand Oaks California.
In her words:It has been my dream since I was 13 years old and began single-handing, to one day sail solo around the world. I am 16 years old and this blog will contain the story of my attempt to become the world's youngest solo circumnavigator.

Abby with her boat, Wild Eyes, left in January 2010 from Marina Del Rey, California. Because of mechanical problems, she restarted her trip from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in February. Yesterday, Feb. 20th Abby crossed the equator headed for the Horn, the southern tip of South America.

Learn more about Abby at her web site:

Follow Abby on her blog:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jessica Watson Sails Solo Around The World

I am following the adventures of Jessica Watson, a sixteen year old Queensland, Australian, girl who is attempting a solo circumnavigation of the globe. She left Sydney in September 2009. Her journey so far has taken her over 11,000 miles through some of the most dangerous waters the oceans have to offer as she passed around the southern tip of South America. The voyage of 230 days at sea is expected to end back in Sydney in June 2010. You can follow Jesscia's posts at:
I'll share Abbby Sunderland adventure on the next blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Are Digital Learners

The challenge for public education in our world today is monumental. To meet the needs of the young people of this world, education and business must work together to transform education. Technology is certainly a key factor in the transformation that will take place if we are to be successful.

Saturday, February 13, 2010