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Showing posts from April, 2015

Learner Centered Classrooms and Google Apps for Education

Google Apps for Education has changed how I teach and how my students learn. A few years ago I agreed to pilot Google Drive after spending years using Microsoft Office and Smart Technologies to support teaching and learning. Up until that time, Google was only a search tool that help with research in and out of the classroom. My students collaborated on a some in-class activities, but we rarely collaborated using digital tools. My classroom was very teacher centered. We focused on content first and foremost and student skills connected to learning was an afterthought. 
I can't tell you that I started using Google Drive and I immediately became a different teacher. It was probably a full year before I fully engaged in Google Drive. Today I rarely touch an Office Tool or Smart Notebook file. They are great products but no longer meet the needs of my classroom. My classroom has become a learner centered space with content supporting the development of critical student skills. 
The chan…

Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  ― W.B. Yeats
I am just amazed how much education has changed in a decade. I earned my Masters of Education in Instructional Technology in 2004. This was three years before I took on the dual role of part-time Science Teacher and part-time Instructional Technology Coordinator. (I might argue that both are full-time jobs, but that may be a post for another day.) I earned my degree in the 21st Century, but I honestly don't remember any of my classes focusing on 21st Century Skills. 
Much of my learning was focused on the creation of tools, technical skills,  and technology resources. EdTech was only a for substitution, not for enhancement. I learned very little about the skills needed to support learners in a student-centered classroom. 
The tools were cool, but I'm not sure I could name more than a handful that I used to complete my Masters.  While the tools have faded, my learning and philosophy has continued t…