WEP 0024: Building Better Collaborations Between Educators and Administrators

An Interview with Ross Cooper

Ross Cooper

Kelly Croy interviews Ross Cooper about how teachers and administrators can work better together to achieve common goals, promote their schools, provide better professional development, why educators and administrators should blog and more. One of the best takeaways from this interview is listening to two friends passionate about education talking honestly about their observations in education and how they can better communicate and work together. Ross has some great ideas!

Ross is the Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12 in the Salisbury Township School District (1:1 MacBook/iPad) in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Teacher. His passions are: curriculum and unit design, inquiry-based learning, assessment and grading, and quality professional development. He blogs about these topics at rosscoops31.com. Also, he regularly engages in speaking, consulting, and presenting. He has conducted keynotes, speaking engagements, and workshops ranging from 15 minutes to all-day. A list of what he has previously offered, and testimonials, can be found on his blog. Connect with him on Twitter at @RossCoops31.

You Plan Your Lessons, So Plan Your Life: Michael Hyatt’s New Book, Living Forward

Wired Educator Living Forward Michael Hyatt

We plan our lessons, so why don’t we plan our lives?

We plan our lessons because we know the value that careful and effective planning adds to our students’ learning and day. Imagine the value you could add to your life with similar planning. I would like to recommend to you Michael Hyatt’s new book, Living Forward

Michael Hyatt has been a great resource for me as an educator, a husband, and a father.  He provides content that is meaningful and helpful in many areas of my life. One area that Michael has made an impact on me is life planning. I’m the kind of educator, husband, and father that plans my lessons, family trips, even my day, but I never really sat down and took a look at my entire life. Sure, I had goals, but a plan? Nope. 

Michael’s book Living Forward is coming out the first week of March, but I wanted you to know about it now. You can preorder it at this link for $13.10.  I recommend going to Michael’s website and watching his free video and resources he has available. If you like what you see, he also has some amazing bonuses for preordering the book.  (If you do, please let him know Kelly Croy from Wired Educator sent you. I’m hoping Michael will consider being a guest on an upcoming podcast.)

I believe in empowering educators with the best tools to become greater influencers and live a happy and meaningful lifestyle. I think Michael’s book Living Forward is just that sort of tool that will give you an edge personally and professionally. 

If you are familiar with Michael’s work you know the passion and quality that resonates in all of his work. If you have not heard of Michael before, I believe you will find him a tremendous resource. 

Here’s a description of the Living Forward: 

Each of us has but one life to live on this earth. What we do with it is our choice. Are we drifting through it as spectators, reacting to our circumstances when necessary and wondering just how we got to this point anyway? Or are we directing it, maximizing the joy and potential of every day, living with a purpose or mission in mind?

Too many of us are doing the former–and our lives are slipping away one day at a time. But what if we treated life like the gift that it is? What if we lived each day as though it were part of a bigger picture, a plan? That’s what New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy show us how to do: to design a life with the end in mind, determining in advance the outcomes we desire and path to get there. In this step-by-step guide, they share proven principles that help readers create a simple but effective life plan so that they can get from where they are now to where they really want to be–in every area of life.

If you are interested in pre-ordering Michael’s book, click here.

WEP 0023: Hacking Assessment

An Interview with Starr Sackstein, Author of Hacking Assessment

Starr headshot 3Kelly interviews Starr Sackstein, the author of the awesome new book Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grade School. Starr is a veteran teacher, has earned her National Board Certification, is the author of numerous books on education, and has been recognized for her work in education by The Dow Jones New Fund, Education Updated, among others. She is an amazing educator, writer, blogger, and speaker. You can learn more about Starr on her website and everyone should follow her on Twitter.

You will be thinking differently about assessment after this interview, and you will find ways to modify and level-up your assessment. Starr shares some fantastic take-aways for you to apply.

(Note: Contact Kelly if you are interested in sponsoring a podcast on the pre-roll or post-roll, or would like to recommend a guest for an interview.)

New Education Features on the Horizon? Apple Acquires LearnSprout

Wired Educator Apple acquisition

Bloomberg reported today that Apple acquired education technology startup LearnSprout. 

LearnSprout is known for software that helps educators track student performance. Obviously this acquisition will be used by Apple to continue to lead in making excellent educational tools. LearnSprout is already in 2,500 schools across the United States. The software helps identify areas where students may need more help, identify trends in attendance, health, college readiness, and more. 

Apple is serious about delivering value to education. This acquisition, reaffirms Apple’s commitment to education. I think it also hints at some exciting future possibilities. 

Apple has recently made exciting updates in numerous educational areas including iTunes U, and iOS 9.3. It is clear that Apple is working hard to remain a leader in providing the best educational tools for educators and students. In October, iTunes U recently added: updates to include images added to a post, Grade book to show student averages across all graded assignments, the ability for teachers to track grades for individual assignments, and more. Recently, Apple announced that iOS 9.3 is bringing new features for Shared iPad for students, a new Classroom App, Apple School Manager, and Managed Apple IDs.  

It is important to note that all of the free Google Apps For Education services are available on Apple devices as well, and going one step further, Apple has made iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and iTunes U all free on devices purchased on or after September 1, 2013. In my highly read article The Best Chromebook is and iPad, I demonstrate how these Apple tools, combined with over thirty Google Apps, along with the addition of iTunes U, the multitude of educational apps in the iTunes Store, the ability to create textbooks with iBooks Author, and better hardware components for creativity and offline work, clearly make the iPad the best Chromebook and educational tool. 

2016 is off to a great start for students and educators using Apple products to teach and learn. 

WEP 0022: The Zen Teacher, Interview with Dan Tricarico

Author of The Zen Teacher

Dan Tricarico, The Zen Teacher

Dan Tricarico, The Zen Teacher

Kelly interviews Dan Tricarico, author of the new book The Zen Teacher. The Zen Teacher is a great book that has the potential to positively change your lifestyle inside and outside the classroom by providing specific techniques for becoming more focused, relaxed, and mindful. This is a fun interview about an important topic that can help teachers at any point in their career, whether they are just getting started, rocking it, struggling, or about to retire. Dan is an educator in San Diego. He has taught for over twenty years and this is his second book. The Zen Teacher is an important contribution to the lives of educators. I am so happy to have Dan Tricarico on this episode!  You will find many great take-aways in this episode.

Mentioned in the podcast:

Dan Tricarico’s book, The Zen Teacher.

www.TheZenTeacher.com This is Dan’s website. Check it out.

iBookHack: Learn to make engaging, media-rich ibooks.

Dan Tricarico, author of The Zen Teacher

Dan Tricarico, author of The Zen Teacher

Muse: a meditation headband for practicing mindfulness. Very cool.
Breathe: An app that teaches meditation.
Headspace: an app and a service that teaches mindfulness.
Illusions by Richard Bach: A book Dan I both read and love.
Dragon Dictation: Powerful software for quickly getting your voice to text.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown: another important book Dan mentions.



Review: Formative: One of the Best Free Online Response Systems Available

Formative online response Wired Educator

As teachers we want everyone involved. We want to hear from the student who loves to answer every question, the student that is too shy to answer, and everyone in between.

I remember ordering a classroom set of clickers long, long ago so my students could interact with the lessons. I sure wish I could have those funds back to reapply elsewhere, but at the time it was a great idea, and it worked well. The concept is simple: you see the response of every student for every question. With some interactive white boards and online response systems, however, we only get to see one, or a few of the top responses, or percentages of the class. Wouldn’t it be great to see everyone’s response? Wouldn’t it be great to see a more detailed response than just multiple choice? Wouldn’t it be great to give feedback.  Now you can!

Formative is a wonderful, free online response system that works with any device. I love it. 

I have been using Kahoot and Edmodo to gather student responses, and I still will from time to time to switch things up, but Formative has really raised the bar on what you can do with a response system.

Formative works with any grade, any subject, on any device and allows you to give immediate feedback. You can see everyone’s results.

You can way beyond multiple choice and true and false. Formative allows students to submit drawings, which is great for Math to show you work, pictures, and typed responses. 

WEP 0021: Explore Like a Pirate

An Interview with Michael Matera

WE-Michael-Matera-Explore-Like-a-Pirate.pngIn Episode 21 of The Wired Educator Podcast, Kelly interviews Michael Matera, the author of the new book, Explore Like a Pirate.

Michael Matera has taught for more than a decade using interactive play, passion and purpose-driven learning to transform the classroom in international, public and private schools.

He is a pioneer in the field of education, using gamification and technology to increase authentic student engagement and content acquisition.  Along with being a full time teacher at University School of Milwaukee, Michael is also a nationally-known presenter and international consultant of game-based learning. Additionally, he is the author of Explore Like a Pirate: Gamification and Game-Inspired Course Design to Engage, Enrich and Elevate Your Learners. He was named one of ASCD Emerging Leaders in 2015 for infusing best practices in the field with accessible gamified teaching methods. 

Michael is driven to transform education through theoretical and technological applications that identify and inspire limitless learning thresholds in ourselves and in our students.

Incredible Educational Features Added to iPad with iOS 9.3 Update: This is Awesome!

WE iOS 9 3

Wow! I love this update for the iPad! This is incredible!

I have long been an advocate for iPads in the classroom and choosing iPads for 1:1 deployment in schools. With iOS 9.3, using iPads, teaching with iPads and managing iPads in the classroom is getting a whole lot easier and more powerful.

iOS 9.3 includes new features for education!

Some of the many educational features in iOS 9.3 include improvements for: shared iPads for students, a new Classroom App, improved Apple ID functions for students, an Apple School Manager, and even a feature called Night Shift, to limit the blue lighting that messes with students’ (and teachers’) sleep, when exposed to the blue lighting during usage before bed. iOS 9.3 is a great update for teachers and students.

The new Shared iPad feature is aimed at schools that cannot yet afford to go 1:1 with the iPad yet and must share iPads.  I know many schools using iPads successfully in limited number, but hope to graduate to a 1:1 program. Now with the Shared iPad feature each student can use an individual Apple ID to log into any iPad in the classroom or in the school. (Just like students can on a Chromebook.) When the student logs in he or she will see of their content ready to go. Students can now go from classroom to classroom and log in and use the iPad stored in each room, if they don’t have their own personal device.

The new Apple School Manager allows IT, teachers, principals or whoever is in charge via a web-based control panel to easily create Apple IDs, create iTunes Coursea, and manage accounts in general for teachers and students alike. This new management service for the iPad is awesome! You can make volume purchases of books, apps and other content and distribute it quickly. You can also reset passwords, assign roles, check accounts, and more!

The new Classroom app will allow teachers to launch the same app on all student iPads at the same time.  The teacher can then guide students through lessons and the app if needed and as needed. (A lot of teachers currently using Nearpod with the iPad like this feature on Nearpod, now you can do it on any app or program.)

iOS 9.3 also has Screen View that allows teachers to see what is on a student’s iPad whenever they wish to check. Boom!

These are great features.

Also included in iOS 9.3 is something called Night Shift which will help users, especially students, from being adversely affected by the blue light that electronic screens omit. This blue light can potentially affect users sleep, especially students, and now Night Shift will prevent this. Read this from Apple:

“A lot of waking hours went into thinking about sleep.
Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Pleasant dreams.”

Combine these features with the existing ability for teachers and students to create textbooks with iBooks Author (beautiful engaging, digital, enhanced, multi-touch books) that you can update with a click and push the updates out, and the powerful iTunes U for creating, grading, and managing engagin courses, and you have an incredible virtual classroom open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to all of your students whether they are at school or not.  Love it.

You like Chromebooks? Great! I wrote an article titled “The Best Chromebook is… an iPad” and I stand by that proclamation now more than ever. Over 30 Google Apps are usable on the iPad making the iPad the best Chromebook ever in addition to everything else it can do. Students can create so much more on an iPad, and they can do so much more offline.  Many of the “pro Chromebook” comments on this particular article I wrote were something like… “Well, from an IT perspective, the Chromebook is easier to manage.” Gong!  No longer. (And since when do we put student needs below ease of management? And if we do… why? Regardless, the point is now worthless with this update.) With iOS 9.3 the iPad is the best device for students. I am excited about this update. (Can you tell?!?)

Read more about this exciting update at: http://www.apple.com/education/preview/


WEP 0020: An Interview with Don Goble: Media Literacy

Media Literacy, an Interview with Don Goble

Goble ADE head shot4In this episode of the Wired Educator Podcast, Kelly interviews Don Goble about media literacy and making a difference. Don is an influential voice in media literacy and in education. This interview can help any teacher level-up as an educator by understanding the importance of media literacy in all classrooms for both educators and learners.  This is a wonderful interview with an amazing educator. Lots of great content for any field at any grade level. Give this session a listen, a review, and share it with a friend.

Don Goble is an award-winning Multimedia Instructor at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri. The National Journalism Education Association named Don as their Broadcast Adviser of the Year 2015. Don speaks internationally at conferences, conventions, and professional development workshops offering educators innovative ways to incorporate video and media literacy into the classroom. Don was a part of the 2011 Apple Distinguished Educator class. Connect with Don on Twitter @dgoble2001.

Celebrate your students work. Publish your students work.



Resolutions I Want Every Educator to Make: 2016 Update

WE resolutionI love setting goals and making resolutions. I am always trying to become a better version of myself.  I want to be a better educator, parent, husband, speaker, and more. As educators we set high standards for our students and we motivate them to become their best.  We share and encourage resources to improve the lives of our students. We care passionately about their current and future success. We need to do the same for ourselves.

Each year year I write a blog post to inspire educators to become even better and consider accomplishing something that maybe they didn’t think they could do. I challenge teachers to do something that would benefit their classroom, their students, their district, and themselves.  Take a look at my list for 2016 and see if you found some that you already do and some that might be a real challenge. I hope you find this list inspiring.  I add to this list and change it each year.

1.) Start a Community: I want you to create a community where you can share ideas and challenge each other as educators. Your community can be created in anyway you like. Maybe it’s a Master Mind group, a book club, a Pinterest Page, a private Facebook Community, or even a blog or podcast.  I really enjoy hosting my own blog.   (It could be a personal blog, one for your students, or maybe one for you colleagues.) Share the accomplishments you and your students are experiencing. Ask questions. Ask for help. Share what you have learned. Perhaps you can help olve a problem. Archive your best work. Build connections