What Do Students Want?

“You are unique…”

At the core, I believe what students want is to understand their place in the world. They find themselves in turbulent, even traumatic, times. They are told from the time they can speak that they are unique, that they should dream of a livelihood to expresses their own uniqueness. And students embrace these dreams. They want to be firemen, nurses, teachers, astronauts, even president of the United States. Yet students also find themselves immersed in a world where they are powerless to control the things that haImageve the most effect over them. They can’t choose their family. They can’t choose their school. And they can’t choose the church they attend (or don’t). At every turn they face the limitations of their powerlessness.

Students try, of course, to face their powerlessness head-on. They choose their friends. They choose the activities they participate in, like sports, music, art, or student council. And in expressing themselves through these activities they can find some comfort, perhaps even profound meaning. Through these activities of self-expression students can begin to understand their place in the world and how they might one day live up to the mantle of uniqueness that has been laid at their feet.

“Here is a syllabus…”

ImageThe problem is that many classrooms don’t allow the same opportunity for self-expression that students’ chosen activities offer. In many classrooms, students face a long list of agendas, assignments, procedures, and curricula which they have almost no power to change. On the first day of school the teacher tells them “you are special. You are unique. You can be anything you want to be.” The
n a syllabus is distributed. The students notice that every week is accounted for, that every assignment has already been weighted, every due date assigned, and every consequence for not meeting those due dates spelled out in bold letters near the top of the syllabus.

A situation like this would never be accepted by those of us old enough to forget what school is like. Yet students soldier on with barely a word of complaint. To them, it’s not a shock that there is a disconnect between “you are unique” and “here is a syllabus – go complete it like a cog in a machine.”

“Student voice…”

Do students want technology integrated into their classes? I have no doubt that they do. But I think an important follow-up question is why do students want technology integrated into their classes? The answer to this question is all around. Students have posted it on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Many students, like in this video, have said powerful statements. Important statements. From my observations, there is one common thread in all of these student statements. They want a voice to determine what and how they learn. They want to stop seeing the disconnect between “you are unique” and “here is a syllabus – go complete it like a cog in a machine.” In these students’ statements, technology and student voice have become connected.

It appears that many students (and adults) believe an increase in technology will create an increase in student voice. After all, many of the classrooms with the most student voice are also connected classrooms. So it would appear that there is a correlation between technology and student voice – increased technology causes increased student voice. But what if technology and student voice aren’t correlated like this? What if a classroom teacher’s desire to integrate student voice causes him/her to also integrate technology as a tool to increase student voice?Image

I would like to argue that this is in fact the correct correlation – that most of the early adopters of technology pursued a connected classroom because they believed it would bring more voice to their students. If this is true, what is important is not whether a school adopts a Chromebook, iPad, netbook, or laptop. If this correlation is true, what is important is whether a school puts student voice at the center of its culture and curriculum. I would argue that adding devices to a classroom lacking student voice will change very little. The worksheets will become Google docs, the scantron sheets will become Google forms, and the flashcards will become Quizlet links. But the students will still feel the same disconnect. They will be told they are a unique snowflake, but they will look at their world and feel like a cog in a machine.

So what do students want? They want to be unique, not just be told that they are unique. They want to express this uniqueness through meaningful activities both outside and inside the classroom. They want the freedom to choose how they should pursue these meaningful activities so they can, in turn, understand why they should pursue these meaningful activities. And once students understand the why they will be able to understand where they fit into this crazy, disconnected world.

I understand that this is a tall order. For some, it is perhaps an impossible order. Many classroom teachers will find themselves in institutions where there is a disconnect between their own uniqueness and the cog in a machine mentality. Many classroom teachers will not have the freedom to pursue student voice because a department/school/district/state-wide curriculum has been handed down from the powers that be. Many classroom teachers will be afraid to pursue student voice because it disrupts the way things have always been done. These concerns are all valid, and I can’t pretend to know the answer. Change is hard and opportunities for change are rare. However, the upside is that we are right now facing an opportunity for change. Technology does, in fact, offer an opportunity to disrupt the system and implement change.  But change must be implemented for the right purpose, as a way to increase student voice, help students understand their place in the world, and help students achieve what they truly want.

Are we implementing technology change for the right purpose? Are we giving students voice in the changes we are making? Will those changes help students better understand their place in the world? These are the questions we should be asking.

– @BushJMS

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The Birth of a Coordinated Effort: a National State Chat Network

It’s happening. And I can only express gratitude that I’m along for the ride. Within the last month, thanks to the leadership of Joe Mazza, the state chats across the United States have begun talking in earnest.

“This network is going to make things happen.”

It began with a map of the state chats, then expanded to a Google+ community and a hashtag. It’s alright if you didn’t notice. On the Twitter-Richter-scale, it barely measured as a rumble. But make no mistake. This network is going to make things happen. The energy in the group is palpable. And this is a group of connected educators who want to drive change, and want to connect with others to help each other drive that change. State Chat Map Screenshot

It’s been less than a week since I joined the Google+ community, and within the last week I have witnessed state chat moderators coordinating their schedules and discussing the possibilities of coordinated chats. Jeremy Evans asked if guest moderators would like to join #ohedchat. Naomi Bates has begun collecting information from the other state chat moderators. And other state chat moderators have begun to join the state chats across the country. For example, I was flattered to see  Ryan Archer from #caedchat, among others, join the #miched chat this past week (Wednesdays, 8 p.m.).

Recently, I sent out a survey to the state chat moderators listed on the national map. In one of the questions I asked what the state chat moderators would like to see to help support each other. The top suggestions were coordinate topics, promote chats, combine chats, and help guest moderate the state chats. This list is impressive on its own. But what is even more impressive is that these efforts began immediately. No one asked these educators to do these things, they just knew instinctively to get it done, because this group of connected educators have already made it happen in their respective states.

“I don’t know where we’re going, but I know it’s someplace necessary and good.”

I can’t wait to learn from and watch this group grow. I am in awe of the things the other state chats have accomplished. What will a national state chat network look like in one year, two years, three years? It’s almost impossible to know. Because the state chat movement itself is so young. A handful of state chats began in 2012, many more in 2013, and still some in 2014. MichED

I remember the birth of #MichED on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012. Ben Rimes, Craig Steenstra, and I sat in a room at Grand Rapids EdCamp. We wondered what Michigan educators could do to connect with each other more. Soon after the meeting we were joined by Brad Wilson and Todd Bloch. The following Wednesday a state chat was born, and was followed by a website, a podcast, and a YouTube channel, with plans for a state-wide virtual conference. Since that time the #MichED team has expanded to include Rebecca Wildman, Kit Hard, Rachelle Wynkoop, Ben Giplin, Tara Maynard, Scott Panozzo, and Mike Kaechele. But even more important, #MichED has become a real, true community. The team above is incredible, but the true heroes of #MichED are the educators across Michigan who connect with each other everyday. A trip to our recent state tech conference showed the power of the #MichED community. Seemingly everywhere I turned I met people who were grateful for the #MichED community, who thought of that community as colleagues, friends, even family.

And what is hard to comprehend is that the #MichED state chat is just over a year and a half old. It has been absolutely amazing to watch a vibrant community take shape in such a short period of time. But what of the other state chats? They all have similar stories to tell. They have their own vibrant communities, and have developed these communities in a short period of time as well. I don’t know where we are going, but I know it’s someplace necessary and good.

“This is not just another education hashtag. This is education hashtags 2.0.”

The reality is that the Twitter state chat movement is growing so quickly because it fulfills a vital need. The need to connect Twitter with real world relationships. There are education hashtags that get more traffic, more retweets, or draw in large Twitter followers, but the state chat movement provides something even the largest education hashtag can’t – an ability to develop grassroots relationships at the state level. And I don’t intend this as a criticism of the large national hashtags. They are awesome incubators of ideas. The point is simply that what a national hashtag can offer is inherently different from what a network founded on statewide, grassroots networks can offer.Hashtags

What excites me about a national state chat network is the opportunity to develop these grassroots relationships, to build upon them. I firmly believe this is a game changer. This is not just another education hashtag. This is education hashtags 2.0.

So what are we going to do with this? Other survey responses included conversations on culture and issues, create a website, tweet ups, virtual meetings, classroom Skype, connect the users of our hashtags, and create challenges or goals for our state chats. These are all great goals, and I would personally be happy to participate in any of them.  But no matter what we do, I think the driving force behind our decisions should be founded on what makes a national state chat network different from the other education hashtags – that we are built on grassroots, statewide networks.

The conversation has begun. Now the excitement begins.

So where are we going to take this?

– Jeff (@BushJMS)

 

“Fix It!”

In one of my favorite SNL skits, “Fix it,” Seth Meyers asks financial analyst Oscar Rogers what we should do about the economy. “Fix it!” shouts Oscar Rogers. “So what exactly should be done?” asks Seth. Oscar responds: “It’s a simple three step process. Step one: fix! Step two: it! Step three: fix it!! Then repeat steps one through three until it’s all been FIXED!” “How do we begin to fix it?” “Fix it!” “Who’s going to fix it?” “THEY are! They gonna fix it because THEY broke it! Fix it, fix it, fix it!!!”

ImageThe skit is brilliant, a satire of the living room trolls who shout “fix it!” from the comfort of their couch. The skit was written as commentary on attitudes towards the Great Recession, but what makes the skit brilliant is that it’s really much larger than that. The “fix it!” attitude could apply to many fields. Lately I been thinking that the “fix it!” attitude is especially applicable to education.

I’m not referring to the cries of “fix it!” from parents, politicians, and business owners. There is little doubt that there have been frequent cries of “fix it!” from these groups, and that these cries of “fix it!” are hard for educators to handle. But there’s a more damaging “fix it!” approach.

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The most damaging “fix it!” approach is not how others view the education field, but how I view the education field, and my own place in it. To teach is to face a constant stream of “fix it!” moments. Yesterday’s lesson didn’t go well. The student I watched improve just took a massive step back and now teeters on the edge of the cliff. The email to a student’s mother seemed alright, but I now wonder if I parsed my words too much and didn’t explain the full extent of her son’s actions.

As an educator I don’t just face imperfection – I swim in it, I breathe it in. There is always a better way to teach, a better way to relate, a better way to model learning. As an educator, this reality of imperfection is both sustaining and draining. Facing my own imperfections every day pushes me to improve to such an extent that I wouldn’t know how to exist as an educator without it.

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And yet, such constant contact with imperfection has a darker side – the “fix it!” side. Some days I drive home with a “fix it!” refrain. It wasn’t good enough. The day was lost. The students learned nothing. On those days, I wish I had a better answer. But the reality is that I don’t. The best thing I know how to do is just to let the “fix it!” moment pass, go home, watch some really stupid TV, and wake up the next day prepared to start all over again. The “fix it!” mindset tells me I should have THE answer in class. A sustaining mindset tells me it’s alright if I don’t, and it’s alright even if it doesn’t feel alright.

In the end, perhaps the best answer I know comes from Oscar Rogers himself. Yes, things aren’t perfect. But it happens. And when it does, we should try as best as we can to laugh about it and make it better the next day.

Top-5 Take-Aways from MACUL 2013

This past week I attended MACUL 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. It was an amazing experience, put on by even more amazing educators. Every session was filled with ideas to bring back to the classroom and enhance the teaching, learning, and professional improvement. Below are the top-5 takeaways from my experience.

Take-Away #5: the battleground for the classroom is grass roots content vs. corporate content.

Presenters shared resources where teachers could take control of the content in their own rooms. In one session on CK-12 flex books, a resource which allows teachers to download textbook templates, then modify them to perfectly fit their classroom experience. The room was filled with standing room only, teachers sprawled out on the floor, standing in the back of the room, and spilling out the door into the hall. There was an excitement in the air as educators realized they no longer had to just take what the textbook companies gave them, but could make their content their own and cater it to their classroom experience. At another session a group of teachers strategized to collaborate an iBook author “Hack-a-thon” to collaborate on building their own textbooks for iPads. Truly, the level of collaboration and educator-initiated work on digital textbooks is impressive to see.

Take-Away #4: Michigan teachers are incredible

Every room was filled with highly-motivaed, highly-skilled educators doing incredible things inside and outside the classroom. A trip to MACUL is truly an exercise in humility when you realize just how much talent exists in Michigan schools. It was such a refreshing experience, after watching the local and national media only cover the things that are going wrong in the schools. But MACUL was filled with the people who were doing great things in the classroom. Talk to anyone in the hallway or the food court – you would find great stories and great educators. A trip to MACUL would convince even the most hardened skeptic that Michigan education is in good hands.

Take-Away #3: Project Based Learning is for real

Pickney New Tech High School conducted several PBL training sessions, explaining their model and describing the opportunities and pitfalls of teaching in the Project Based Learning model. I was struck by just how well-thought out the PBL model is. Before this session I knew that PBL offered tremendous opportunity for student engagement focused on high level thinking skills. What I didn’t know was how the PBL model also translates well to teaching standards as well as teaching skills. The educators from Pickney High School shared this presentation, which laid out how the PBL model uses extensive scaffolding and background activities to teach students mastery of the content before it teaches them mastery of 21st century skills. After seeing this presentation on PBL I am convinced we have just heard the beginning of Project Based Learning.

Take-Away #2: The #MichED movement is just getting started

This past year a handful of educators began a Twitter hashtag and education chat called #MichED. The original concept was to help educators in Michigan network and collaborate. Throughout this year the group of educators has grown and has even expanded into creating education-themed podcasts to celebrate the good work of students and educators across the state. It’s been great to watch this organization grow, but I didn’t know just how powerful #MichED could be until this week at MACUL. #MichED was everywhere. Teachers involved in #MichED wore t-shirts to promote the movement, presenters plugged the group at every opportunity, and some even passed out flyers to get word out. #MichEd is still in its infancy, but one thing is clear from MACUL: this is just the beginning. #MichED is going to become a powerful positive force in Michigan education.

Take-Away #1: Conferences aren’t about content, they’re about the people you meet there

Thursday night myself and a couple of teachers walked into the lounge at the Renaissance and were invited by Kevin Honeycutt and his fellow presenter, Ginger Lewman, to join their table. What followed was an incredible few hours of conversation on education and learning. I couldn’t help but think two things: 1) we had no business sitting at the same table with the conference keynote speaker, and 2) Kevin and his crew are incredible people who never acted as though they are above a group of everyday classroom teachers – this was just a group of people getting together to discuss a topic close to all our hearts. It was a pointed example of  how and why MACUL works. MACUL is more than a group of presentations filled with good content. MACUL is about the people who go there, and throughout my two days at that conference I met person after person who shared the collective vision for making our schools better through working together around a common goal: providing a better experience for our students. All conferences are about the people who attend, but MACUL was a truly impressive collection of dedicated professionals. It is a conference I will return to again and again.

Thank you to all those involved with MACUL for working so hard to make this event such a positive experience!

Roger Schank and School Culture

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. the educational chat #MichED will host education revolutionary and edupreneur Roger Schank as a guest chatter. Schank’s background is in the academic world, where he studied linguistics and worked on projects with artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. But to hear him speak, his former life in the academic world is more of a demerit than a badge of honor. Schank frequently bemoans the world of academics for it’s lack of focus on what really matters in learning. And what really matters? Schank’s answer to this question is straight-forward and pragmatic – what really matters in education is doing. For Schank, time spent teaching academic facts without context, memorized to simply pass a test, is wasted time. Students dump this information from their brains within minutes of finishing the test. In speeches, Schank likes to demonstrate this reality by asking audiences if anyone can remember the quadratic equation. It’s a reasonable question, considering all the time spent in schools around the world teaching the quadratic equation. It’s funny to watch Schank’s expression as he scans the audience, looking for any hands of someone in attendance who can remember one of the cornerstones of basic math classes. When no hands go up, Schank gives a little nod, then continues on with his broader point.

“Why should everyone know the same stuff? … Teachers should help students figure out how to do stuff that students actually want to do.” – Roger Schank

There are only two problems with school, claims Schank – 1) what we teach, and 2) how we teach it. While this may seem a little extreme, it’s a good example of just how revolutionary Schank’s ideas are for the educational system. Schank wants to do away with a teacher- and curriculum-centered institution and replace it with an educational approach which puts the student’s motivation and learning front and center. For Schank, this is accomplished by giving the student some independence. “Why should everyone know the same stuff?” asks Schank, “[besides] there isn’t all that much that is important to know. There is a lot that is important to know how to do, however. Teachers should help students figure out how to do stuff the students actually want to do.”

Schank takes this practical approach into a field whose reputation is anything but practical. In his latest book, “Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science Can Save Our Schools” (here), Schank applies cognitive psychology to academic institutions. For Schank, schools ought to teach student how to “do” and “think.” Forget the traditional knowledge-based process of education and focus on process-based education. Schank describes a knowledge-based approach to education:

“In our society we have set up school to teach knowledge. We concern ourselves with facts children know, we test to make sure they know them, and then we complain that the schools are failing when they don’t.” – Roger Schank, “Teaching Minds”

What we ought to teach instead is the stuff of thinking – teach student the process of thinking, which looks more like this:

“Make a prediction

Prediction fails

Make a generalization

Explain your generalization

Make a new prediction”

Notice how failure is central to this process. For Schank, schools need to teach students how to fail. Students should fail again and again, because failure – and learning how to deal with failure – is a cornerstone in the process of learning. Once again, this idea is practically rooted and makes more sense when we consider our own personal lives – true growth and learning begins with failure, and our most profound lessons are rooted in our most profound failures. It’s this type of practical sense that Schank wants to apply to the classroom. Don’t teach students “what” – teach them “how.” This is the heart of Schank’s gadfly approach to education.

If interested in learning more, check out the #MichED chat tonight – 8:00 p.m. Or look into Roger Schank’s new book: “Teaching Minds

Why Every Teacher Should Use Twitter

Twitter, a brief video introduction

If you consider yourself a “visual learner,” this brief video introduction to Twitter for Teachers may help. Follow the link here

I already have a Facebook account, why would I want to become involved on Twitter?

Twitter isn’t Facebook. Yes, they both are social media, but Twitter offers users a lot more control than Facebook. With Twitter, you only follow who you choose to follow. Even if someone follows you, you’re not obligated to follow them back. This offers a huge advantage over Facebook, which forces two-way feeds on all your Facebook “friends.” With Facebook, you are forced to see posts from anyone in your network. With Twitter, you can choose. I like this saying to describe the difference between Facebook and Twitter: “Facebook is the place where you learn to hate the people you like. Twitter is the place where you go to meet new people.”

“Teachers love to hear practical tips and strategies from others teachers. The problem is that we work in one building, in one district, in one small city, in one state – this not exactly what we might qualify as a network. Twitter gives you a chance to exponentially expand that network.”

I’m a teacher. I want to represent myself as a professional. I don’t want to blog about what I had for dinner or what I thought of the latest episode of Jersey Shore.

There is a common impression that Twitter is the place where Facebook content is posted with fewer characters. Thus, according to this impression, Twitter is like Facebook, only more shallow. There is no doubt that Twitter can be used in unproductive ways, and in that respect the impression is true. But this is not true across the board. There are many large, well-developed networks across Twitter where incredible, vibrant ideas are exchanged and professional connections are made. Twitter is what you make of it. Garbage in, garbage out. If you follow the losers on Jersey Shore, you will get looser content. If you follow quality professionals, you will get quality, professional information and connections. Twitter offers you the chance to connect with the top professionals in your field. Robert Marzano, Ken Robinson – they’re both on Twitter. No other medium gives you this opportunity to follow such high quality professionals. Excellence is determined by who you surround yourself with. Why would a teacher choose to not connect with the best teachers in their field?

So how does Twitter work for teachers?

There is an incredible network of hundreds of thousands of teachers on Twitter. The problem, in fact, is that there are too many. Knowing where to start can become overwhelming. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t despair. That’s normal. It’s also a good sign because that means there are unlimited possibilities for connecting with teachers on Twitter. Once again, the first step is choosing the right people to follow. Start with people in your network, or people who post on topics you care about, then look to see who they follow. All the hot topics in education are discussed on a regular basis: common core, Project Based Learning, 1:1 education, formative assessment – you name it, it’s on Twitter, discussed by quality, motivated professionals. But Twitter is also more than educational theories. By getting involved with Twitter you have the opportunity to hear practical classroom strategies that work, all from teachers across the world. Let’s face it – teaching is a practical field. Teachers love to hear practical tips and strategies from others teachers. The problem is that we work in one building, in one district, in one small city, in one state – this not exactly what we might qualify as a network. Twitter gives you a chance to exponentially expand that network.

“Over the course of a career, this exposure may mean the difference between being a slightly above average teacher and a teacher bordering on mastery.”

But I don’t have enough time for Twitter. I’m overwhelmed with what I already have on my plate

Twitter doesn’t have to be the time-sucking-monster some believe it to be. It’s like anything else. If you have a lot of time, you can give it a lot of time. If you don’t have a lot of time, then you just spend a few minutes a week. It’s up to you, and it’s a convenient medium. Standing in line at the store for 20 minutes waiting to check out with your Thanksgiving groceries? Pull up Twitter and read an article on implementing the common core. Waiting at the oil change for 15 minutes? Check out the latest posts on formative assessment and hear how dedicated professionals are changing their classrooms. You could decide just to read one article a week – that would be 10-20 minutes spent on Twitter per week. But over the course of the year you would be exposed to 52 new educational articles which may help expand your teaching practice. Over the course of a career, this exposure may mean the difference between being a slightly above average teacher and a teacher bordering on mastery. And what was the time commitment? 10-20 minutes per week, much of which could be spent while waiting in line at the store, or at the doctor’s office. Yes, this is a chunk of time that might have otherwise been dedicated to reading the latest columns on the celebrity gossip magazines. So if you’d rather read the latest celebrity gossip than constructive educational articles, then Twitter might not be for you. If you don’t mind this trade-off, then Twitter might be something to give a try. The point is that finding time for Twitter is not about finding more time, it about being more efficient in the time you already have. There may be some good reasons for teachers not to use Twitter, but time is not one of them.

Where to Start

Begin by searching for educational related hashtags (those funny tags that always start with #). Some great hashtags for education are: #edchat (general education tag), #satchat (Saturday ed chat), #MichED (Michigan teachers network), #engchat (ELA), #sschat (Social Studies), #mathchat (Math), #scichat (Science), #spedchat (Special Ed), #edtech (Educational technology), #musedtech (Music education). There are many more, but these are some of the best to start with. To search for a hashtag on Twitter simple enter the hashtag in the search bar on Twitter, then hit enter. It’s as easy as that. Twitter will sort through its millions of posts and find only those tweets that match your subject. Once you find these posts you can search through and glean for information. If someone says something that sounds good, retweet it out to your followers so you can pass the message along, then click on the Twitter user’s profile and follow them. Over time, you’ll build a great base of people to follow. If you find an educator who seems to be really well-connected, then click on their profile and see who they are following, then follow who they follow. If you limit who you’re following to quality educators who only tweet about education, then after a very short period of time you’ll build a solid foundation to build from.

Twitter Chats

The Twitter chat is my favorite way to participate in Twitter. A chat is a scheduled time where people log onto Twitter and search for a specific hashtag. Moderators of the chat have a topic and prearranged questions. Participants discuss the topic and the questions. It’s a lively discussion, usually with 4 or 5 threads or more happening at the same time. It takes some getting used to, but it’s a great way to use Twitter for ideas. Believe me, by participating in the Twitter chat you have no lack of ideas to choose from. Pick those that are of value, then forget the rest. Here are some of the most common Twitter chats and their times:

  • #edchat (general education tag): Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m.
  • #satchat (Saturday ed chat): Saturdays, 7:00 a.m.
  • #MichED (Michigan teachers network): Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m.
  • #engchat (ELA): Mondays, 7:00 p.m.
  • #sschat (Social Studies): Mondays, 7:00 p.m.
  • #mathchat (Math): Mondays, 3:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:00 p.m.
  • #scichat (Science): Tuesdays, 9:00 p.m.
  • #spedchat (Special Ed): Tuesdays, 9:00 p.m.
  • #musedtech (Music education): Mondays, 8:00 p.m.

Author: Jeff Bush, @BushjMS, epoxylearning.com

Who’s Next: Michigan Teachers

Coming away from yesterday’s EdCamp Blue Water, I’m struck with one overwhelming impression: Michigan educators are what’s next. There’s a movement underfoot, led by highly dedicated and talented professionals, to bring the best teaching practices to the classroom and share those best practices with other teachers in Michigan. Yesterday’s EdCamp, organized by Kit Hard, Sally Morgan, Hope Zick-Powell, and Kristen Day, was a model of organization and inspiration, and was also well-attended, especially considering this was the first EdCamp in Blue Water. It was amazing to walk from room to room, listening to teachers grappling with the most important issues in the classroom. (What’s an EdCamp? Click here).

EdCamp Blue Water is just the most recent event in a series of events which will very soon explode onto the scene. Consider checking out these resources to see the growing Michigan Teachers’ Network:

  • #MichED hashtag – a place for Michigan teachers to connect on Twitter
  • #MichED educational chat – a place for Michigan teachers to discuss questions and issues of the day
  • miched.net – website dedicated to connecting Michigan teachers across the state
  • #MichED Podcast – plans for a weekly podcast are in the works. The podcast plans to celebrate and model the great work of teachers and students across the state.
  • techsavvyed.net – Michigan teacher website, created by Ben Rimes, devoted to integrating new technology into the classroom
  • thenerdyteacher.com – Michigan teacher website, created by Nick Provenzano touching on blogging, writing, technology, and pedagogy in the classroom
  • kleinspiration.com – Michigan teacher website, created by Erin Klein, with information on technology, classroom practices, and project based learning, among other topics
  • 21innovate.com – Michigan teacher website, created by Brad Wilson, with reflections on teaching and learning
  • sweattoinspire.com – Michigan teacher website, created by Todd Bloch, with thoughts on teaching, technology, learning, and education
  • edtechkit.com – Michigan teacher website, created by Kit Hard, with tips on using technology in education

This list is just the start. Truly, Michigan is a place where talented professionals are growing a network of innovation and learning.

And I believe this is just the groundswell. The tsunami is yet to come. In the next few years we will watch Michigan explode. This is more than just a collection of professionals dedicated to their craft. This is a movement – a movement you should join. Become part of Michigan’s teacher network.

Join the Movement!

Start by participating in the #MichED chat, Wednesday’s at 8:00 p.m.

Begin following the blogs above.

Then follow some Michigan educators. You can find them on the #MichED hashtag.

And look for the #MichED Podcast, coming out soon.