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Posted by on in UNward!

Another packed room for the Dirty 30 v.4.0!

I'll admit it - I'm an edcamp  junkie. I love spending my own time on weekends or using my vacation days to go learn something new about what's happening in schools. I'm passionate about my craft, 24/7. 

Kyle Calderwood kicks off #tmnj16

Over the years, the edcamp  movement has exploded, but there is also another Un-conference  that is gaining major traction: TeachMeet. Today, I attended my third TeachMeetNJ in Toms River.

73 teachers partook in BreakoutEDU

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Posted by on in UNward!


“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.”    Amy Fast  @fastcranny 

As I heard that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States, I sat quietly with my wife and daughter and savored the meaning of the moment. 

I was filled with the spirit of the possibilities the future held. I had no idea what kind of leader our new president would be. What I knew was that the faces of the masses gathered on election night 2008 shouted hope in a way I had never seen.

I saw how much the moment meant to people who could not hold back their tears -- and I shared that. 

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Posted by on in UNward!


Working with Vicki Davis, Angela Maiers and 30 other connect educators has been eye opening. Through them, I'm seeing how companies are engaging with educators on the very leading edge of social media influence. 

I’ve now had scores of one-on-one exchanges with these enterprises. Some have been large established national brands, others new ed tech startups.  The experience has provided a rare view of what these companies want from connected educators. We're also seeing what educators are getting in return.

Perhaps the three most important insights gleaned so far are:

  1. For those who want to make a difference beyond the classroom, there are abundant new opportunities everywhere.  This is especially true for educators with significant social media influence. (Most influential connected educators already know this.)

  2. There are also significant challenges, conflicts of interest and pitfalls to navigate. (Many are unaware of the myriad issues below the surface.)

  3. Finally, there is a massive gap between the value educators are providing, and the compensation they are getting. 

As it stands now, most connected educators go into these relationships with companies blindly.  Many have no idea what to expect or what will be expected of them.  Many  have no knowledge of what is generally acceptable and what is not.   It’s clear that all connected educators can benefit from having  some visibility into what’s going on in this rapidly developing love affair between connected educators and education marketers.  So let's start with the big picture...

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Posted by on in UNward!


This week I learned that semantics can be a surprisingly insurmountable barrier to positive community action. In fact, it can prevent really, really, really great things from happening. Apparently, even things that we all agree are good and needed can get derailed by a “label.”

Despite the growing popularity of the work being done on school “branding” by Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis, this week I discovered that the term has a deeply negative connotation for some.

As I was comfortably laid back following #edchat with the rest of the committed lead lurkers, Heather Rocco @heatherrocco dropped a tweet bomb that grabbed me by the collar and forced my hands to the keyboard. 

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Posted by on in UNward!



ONE: This week I learned that another hallmark of a 21st-century education is “reflection time.”  Nancy BlairKelly Tenkely and Mark Weston, Ph.D. made me aware that taking time during class to reflect is now in vogue.  This came as quite a surprise, since “reflecting” during class was called  daydreaming when I was in school and riveted attention to the sage on the stage was the mandate. Sounds like a 21st-century education is much more fun.  

This is a very exciting development to those predisposed to reflection. I just want to know where Nancy, Kelly and Mark were when I really needed them back in high school. (Smile.)  

I enjoyed listening to How Do We Encourage Reflection Among Students and Teachers?, and it was the most popular segment on BAM Radio this week.  I take solace in knowing that if this notion catches on, the next generation may be free to daydream, er… ah..., I mean “reflect” in class without being scolded for failing to focus on where the real learning is happening. The show also attracted an interesting tweet from Tim Vagle who struck a chord with several people: 

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