Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is now blogging at Learn it in 5

Posted in applications, classroom web site, Impact on Education by Mark Barnes on July 16, 2010

Mark is now blogging at

Please join Mark and other innovative educators for amazing how-to videos and thought-provoking blog posts at

Learn it in 5


Social Media Revolution

Posted in Impact on Education, multimedia, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on March 13, 2010

Do we have any idea where social media and Web 2.0 are going?   

Based on this video, it’s hard to believe that we do. More importantly, are we using the power of these tools properly in education?   

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Are Teachers Inherently Innovative?

Posted in Impact on Education, Recent Events by Mark Barnes on March 12, 2010

One of the blogosphere’s more intelligent educators, DanMeyer, suggests that a large percentage of teachers are innovative.

Realize that if you’re a teacher and you’re reading a blog post, you’re automatically seeded in the top 10% of innovative educators. You’ll try anything once. Let’s also go with Jack Welch and assume that 10% of educators are hopelessly and/or willfully incompetent.

Convince yourself, then, that 80% of teachers exist on a sliding scale of innovation and are basically up for grabs. Those who don’t want to try [x] aren’t necessarily bad educators. They may have made a rational calculation that [x] isn’t easy enough, fun enough, or free enough to adopt.

As evidenced by the many comments on Dan’s post, this is a hot-button issue.

Beyond the specifics of Dan’s X and Y musings, the foundation of the commentary got me to wondering; are educators truly innovative, or do they see new technology and flinch, when someone suggests that they try integrating it into their classrooms?

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The Dangers of E-Mail in Education

Posted in Impact on Education, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on March 10, 2010

Not more than a few short years ago, you could e-mail a student and not give it a second thought. As Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU’s business school quickly learned, things have changed.

According to eCampus News, Galloway responded to an angry student’s e-mail with a derisive reply, and shortly thereafter, it was traveling through cyberspace, faster than you can say Sincerely Yours.

Although teachers in the K-12 world are less likely to e-mail students, many do. I certainly have. Stories like this one about Galloway should  make teachers take a moment of pause before responding to any e-mail from a student or parent.

You never know when your e-mail will become the hottest tweet or Facebook post on the Internet.

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Education Is Coming Full Circle

Posted in Classroom strategies, Impact on Education, Recent Events by Mark Barnes on March 8, 2010

According to eSchool News, the government has released its National Educational Technology Plan, which calls for sweeping edtech reform. Or does it?

As eSchool News reports:

“The plan, called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all students; standards and assessments that measure key 21st-century skills and expertise; a shift to a model of “connected teaching,” in which teams of interconnected educators replace solo classroom practitioners; always-on connectivity that is available to students and teachers both inside and outside of school; and a rethinking of basic assumptions, such as seat time, that limit schools’ ability to innovate.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but when I started teaching 18 years ago, we worked in academic teams that functioned  precisely as the plan outlines above.

We used interdisciplinary learning, team- and co-teaching and used the connectivity mentioned above.

Granted, our technology was not what it is today, but we did have technology and used it.

“Reform” may be the wrong word

None of this is to suggest that the plan is not important and that this is not what we should be doing in education. It just seems to me that rather than reforming, we may just be coming back full circle.

Many Teachers Missing Opportunities to Connect

Posted in Impact on Education by Mark Barnes on March 5, 2010

An interesting post at Adventures in Teaching and Learning outlines “points of disconnect” between teaching “effective teaching.” Basically, the post contends that there are things that keep some teachers from being effective — some of which are personal.

Adding my two cents

The blog post covers five areas of disconnect, but I’d like to add a sixth — unwillingness to improve technology literacy.

Even as technology advances explode in this new millennium, I still see teachers and administrators who are unwilling to accept this explosion and refuse to embrace the kinds of web-based instruction that students desire.

This sort of disconnect has got to stop, and it’s up to all parties involved — government, administrators, teachers and parents — to make it happen.

InnovativeEdu Eyes Interactive Reading/Writing in This Edition of Edtech Tweets of the Week

Posted in Classroom strategies, EdTech Tweets of the Week, Impact on Education, twitter by Mark Barnes on February 26, 2010

Here we are for Round Two of the Tweets of the Week, something that I hope becomes one of your favorite attractions.

We had a nice start last week, and thanks to a great suggestion, there are no retweets this time. Remember, I welcome your suggestions for this weekly feature. As always, my humble commentary is next to each Tweet in parentheses. 

10:30am, Feb 22 from BuzzCanTweet
Blog on PLC’s and their use in teacher evaluation. Feel free to comment. #edch… (Wanted to start with something educational, and this is a very solid contribution.)
5:36pm, Feb 24 from HootSuite
Police escort student out of class after refusal to recite Pledge of Allegiance – (Some controversy never hurts; this piece could spark some nice debate on civil rights.)
Clueless Woman Calls Tech Show When Her Stolen Wi-Fi Disappears (Three Tweets in, it’s time for some humor; this is one of the classic oops moves of all time.)
Preview of my slides for a presentation on Twitter for teachers at my school (Very nice slide show on this important topic; worth your time.)
does anyone else have people laugh when you use the word “tweet” in a conference presentation for teachers? funny (I thought so, too.)
More ways to make reading / writing interactive for kids (One of the most insightful blog posts of the week.)
edTech: Quizzes in an Age of Course Management Software thx (In an age of online learning, it’s nice to have resources like this.)
Absolutely hilarious! “Funniest Headline Fails of All Time” (another reason to teach critical questioning!) #Funny (Nothing to do with technology or teaching, but far too good to leave off the list.)

ISTE Video Tells All

Posted in Impact on Education, Recent Events, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 20, 2010

The International Society for Technology in Education creates networks for teachers, in both real life and second life.  

Learn more from this excellent video.  

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Do school administrators keep us from becoming digital learners?

Posted in applications, classroom web site, Impact on Education, Recent Events, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 15, 2010

My school district recently formed what is called the Digital Academy. This is a sexy name for a group of teachers selected to participate in technology training, provided by Smart Solutions.

In theory, this sounds progressive — especially when you consider that my district has languished in a digital wasteland for the last decade. However, I can’t help but remain skeptical about this so-called digital revolution.

Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but when technology trainers attempt to teach us an exciting part of Web 2.0, like those who recently visited our district to teach us the wiki PBworks, only to have the site either blocked by our firewalls or crash repeatedly during the professional development, one must wonder about the district’s resolve.

This is not some random rant either; this sort of thing has been happening for years and not just in my school district. I teach three online courses about web-based instruction and Web 2.0. Dozens of teachers taking my courses have told me that they run into these same issues, district administrators who are too afraid of potential harm from the Internet to truly allow their students and teachers to become digital learners. Many, in fact, wonder if they’ll be able to use what they learn from me at their schools.

This constant fear by school administrators that the Internet and Web 2.0 is something they must treat like an enemy must stop.

If we are to become the true digital learners that this time in history requires us to be, school administrators must tear down those walls — the firewalls, that is.

Is Entourage Edge better than the iPad?

Posted in Gadgets, Impact on Education, multimedia, Recent Events, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on February 13, 2010

I just saw this video on the Entourage Edge. It’s maybe the coolest computer/notebook/eReader I’ve ever seen.  

Wonder how long before we can actually use these in our classrooms.  

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