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Posted by on in Professional Development

Earlier this year I connected with other educators who like to blog. We came together over #sunchat, a Twitter-based Sunday morning chat. We called ourselves the #Sunchatbloggers! We provide each other with feedback and encouragement. Someone in the group suggested we all post on the same topic: our “Top 5”.  Some people will post about strategies, others activities, others technologies—I’ve decided to focus on “needs”. 

What are my 5 “essentials” for effective teaching? What do I need to teach?

After much reflection, I’ve identified my 5 teaching must-haves:


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Posted by on in Professional Development

computer typing.preview

Over the past few years the rate at which educational books are being written (mostly by connected educators), has increased rapidly. Thanks to such independent publishers as Mark Barnes and the Hack Learning Series, Dave Burgess Consulting, and EdTechTeam Press, the process of getting a book to market is now that much easier. Many of these books I have read, and here are two from each publisher I can easily recommend (and I’m still making my way through some of the others):

Hacking Leadership by Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo

Hacking Assessment by Starr Sackstein

The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros

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Posted by on in Professional Development

Does your doctor use leeches? Does your dentist use doorknobs and string? Of course not. If we want medical professionals using contemporary practices, shouldn't we expect the same from other professions, especially teachers? The best way to stay current is to be a connected educator. Being a connected educator means using social media to improve your practice and help other teachers improve theirs. Here's how to do it.

First and Foremost - Twitter

Twitter is the main event for connected educators. It's where we live. It can be overwhelming. Start small and start learning from others. Create your account. When choosing a handle, your name is best. If you can't get that, pick something simple and avoid numbers - they're out of style in Twitter handles. Use a picture of your face and write a bio that includes what you do. Profiles with Twitter eggs for pictures and no bios are not taken seriously. Start off by following a few education Tweeters to start learning.

EdWords bloggers who tweet include Ross Cooper, Oskar Cymerman, Neil Gupta, Jon Harper, Rae Pica, Debra Pierce, Sean A Thom, Julia G Thompson, and Rita Wirtz.

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Posted by on in Professional Development


There’s a lot of talk these days about how worthwhile it is to be a connected educator. I’m one of those people doing that talking. I’m trying me best to be out there doing what I can to help people get connected. Odds are, you are, too. I might even be a nuisance to some people about it, but there’s good reason for that. Here’s why—There’s nothing that I’ve done that has had a bigger impact on me as a professional than getting connected online.

It’s not hard to find these crusaders for the professional growth online. The “Why get on Twitter?” message is pretty powerful, but the “How to get on Twitter” conversation is often oversimplified (or nearly neglected). Jump on Twitter, find a few educators, and let the magic happen, right?

Well, sometimes it’s not that simple.

The truth is that I jumped on Twitter in 2009 and proceeded to do nothing with it for 5 years.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

rainbow unicorn

The romantic notion has always been there, and plenty of teachers feed into it-- some people are just born teachers.

But the belief in born teachers has two seriously destructive side effects, one of which is becoming obvious and the other, perhaps less so.


If teachers are born and not made, then teacher certification programs are a waste of time. A smart person with an ivy league degree and five weeks of training could be a teacher, right? The belief also manifests in the argument that we should open the teaching profession to all sorts of alternative certification programs because that guy working as a civil engineer or that woman working as a computer programmer-- it could be that they are just born teachers who need the chance to put their God-given gift to work.

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