Mark Barnes

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?

Advertisements
Tagged with: , ,

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.

Apple iPad Is Coming Soon, May Revolutionize Education

Posted in Gadgets, Recent Events, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on February 21, 2010

A couple of years ago, surface technology was introduced, and people didn’t really get it. You could drag things around your computer, mostly pictures, which looked kind of cool, but how practical would this really be? 

Time went by and people forgot about this amazing new technology. Then came the iPod. Now, it made a little sense — at least for this small gadget. Then, the Smart Phone. Really neat, people thought. 

Now, enter the iPad. Admittedly, I didn’t see the attraction, until I saw this video. Welcome to the power of  surface technology, which may just revolutionize education. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “iPad Changing Everything“, posted with vodpod

 

Tagged with: , ,

Roush, EdTechSandy Headline First edTech Tweets of the Week List

Posted in EdTech Tweets of the Week, Recent Events, twitter, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 20, 2010

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no Twitter expert, but as a language arts teacher and long-time edtech expert, I like to think I recognize both good technology and good writing.

Plus, although I know my students would disagree, I like to think I have a good sense of humor.

These things being said, here is the first installment of what I hope will be both a regular and popular list of edtech Tweets of the Week.  My humble commentary is in parentheses at the end of each Tweet. If you think I’ve missed something, please comment. In fact, feel free to comment anyway.

Sarah Brownsword missbrownsword

Digital Media Theme http://bit.ly/b6Ea3h – focuses on persuasive writing and AFL – would love to hear what people think! (It’s informative; plus I teach language arts, so I’m a little biased)

Joseph Alvarado UltimateTeacher

Using VoiceThread for Writing http://bit.ly/aSqKnS @tombarrett Awesome!! Great post for all writers!!! (one of my favorite Twitter pics)
Megan Palevich mrspal
  
Check out this great post on the Committed Sardine Blog http://committedsardine.com/blogpost.cfm?blogID=778 (How can you not love something called, Committed Sardine Blog)
Cory Roush coryroush
Oh, come on, http://www.fora.tv. If you’re going to auto-play a commercial, at least give me the option to pause it or turn down the volume. (Cory is one of the smartest and wittiest young tweeters I’ve seen)
EdTechSandyK EdTechSandyK
  All educators need law coursses: RT @mashable School Accused of Secretly Spying on Students Through Laptop Webcams http://bit.ly/d8CZXZ (Certainly not Sandy’s best, but she’ll likely be a regular on this list — a true star in our business)
Lee Kolbert TeachaKidd
RT @DiscoveryComm: Cannot wait! RT @LifeonDiscovery: LIFE in Pictures – be ready to be blown away. http://bit.ly/ag32eW Premieres 3/21 (Lee is another brilliant teacher, presenter and insightful tweeter)
Steven W. Anderson web20classroom
RT @ktenkely: Dear spammers of the world, be warned, if I ever meet you, I will kick you in the shin. <-And I will get the other one! (He’s nformative, insightuful and  funny — ‘nough said)
Marsha Collier MarshaCollier
So true! RT @vanillabean45 I’ve decided I don’t want to be anyone’s friend or lover. I want to be a client. They get better treatment. (There’s a lot to be said for cynicism)
Ben Wildeboer WillyB
Got some good work done after school, though now it’s 5:00 and I’m still at work on Friday. Need to get out! (Anyone working at 5:00 on a Friday deserves to be recognized. . . or institutionalized)
carldowse carldowse
  eModeration Station » Activities for online courses: The End http://ow.ly/19mwU about 1 hours ago from HootSuite (If you teach online, you won’t want to miss this article)
 

Tweet This!

Tagged with: , , ,

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.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.

   

  

more about “International Society for Technology …“, posted with vodpod

   

Tagged with: , ,

EdTech Tweets of the Week

Posted in Recent Events, twitter, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 19, 2010

EdTech Tweet of the WeekThere’s an old saying in teaching that instead of re-creating the wheel, you should “beg, borrow and steal.” Now this is not to be construed as a negative declaration.

Rather it means that teachers have far too much on their plates to create new lessons for every objective they must meet. So, it’s often necessary to go to a colleague and use something they’ve already created.

With this notion in mind, I’m borrowing an idea from another blogger. Starting tomorrow, I’ll debut a weekly blog post called, EdTech Tweets of the Week, which may include sme non-tech tweets from teachers.

This will be a list of tweets that are inspiring, useful, educational or just doggone funny.

If you want to recommend something, e-mail it to me at mark@thepaperlessclassroom.com or DM me on Twitter at markbarnes19.

Tagged with: , ,

Smart Board’s export to PDF enhances classroom web site

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Recent Events, Teaching Tools, wiki by Mark Barnes on February 17, 2010

If you have a Smart Board and a wiki-hosted classroom web site, you have a perfect opportunity to provide wonderful enrichment for your students, as well as a powerful communication tool for parents.

All you have to do is complete a lesson like this one on your Smart Board and export it to a PDF. Once you’ve done this, save the PDF and upload it to your wiki. Now, your students can access this lesson anytime as a review. This is also great for absent students. When they ask what they missed, tell them it’s all just a mouse click away and guide them to your linked Smart Board activity.

It’s also nice to guide your parents to any Smart Board lessons you upload to your classroom web site. It keeps them updated, and best of all they’ll love you for it.

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.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.

  

more about “Best notebook ever?“, posted with vodpod

  

Not just any student web site

Posted in classroom web site, Recent Events, student web sites, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 9, 2010

Most people think a student web site is nothing more than a blog or an Internet work space on something like Blackboard. In the all-inclusvie wiki-hosted classroom web site, the individual student web site is something quite different.  

Check out the video below to see the power of the new student web site.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.

  

more about “An amazing student web site“, posted with vodpod