Category Archives: Uncategorized

Creating an environment for innovation and creativity

I have been thinking a lot about the need to creative a learning environment that inspires innovation and creativity for all learners.  Despite the strong emphasis on standards and testing, i believe there is a need to focus our attention on helping students to acquire the skills they will need to navigate life in a time of constant change and accelerating innovations.  Here are some interesting resources I have been looking at as i think about this topic:

Creating Innovators – Blog Post by Tony Wagner:

Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk: Educations ‘Death Valley’

Teach Thought – Excellent resources for all!:

Ted Talk: How Cognitive Surplus will Change the World:

IMPACT of Educational Leaders:

Digital Curricula Evolving:

Blog Post: what role should grades play in school? me

Educating for innovation

Inquiry based Learning – CybraryMan:

Going Global – Tips for Global Collaboration

Project-Based Learning Video: 

100 Uses for twitter in education (see Classroom- #s 38-54; 92-100)

Five Year Olds Pilot their own Learning:

8 Ways Kindergarten Holds the Key to 21st Century Instruction:

Twittering about Learning – using Twitter in an Elementary Classroom:

Projects vs. Project-Based Learning:

Flipping the Classroom:

Project-based Learning (break these out)

Blended Learning Infographic:

Arne Duncan – Empowering Learners in the 21st Century:

Edutopia – Schools that Work:

Virtual Learning in the Early Years:

The Journal – Parents and Students Want More Online Learning:

Digital Citizenship:

Digital trends Shifting the Role of Teachers:

Schooling Shake-Up in the UK:

Technology Trends

-12 Education Technology Trends to Watch:

The Digital Life of Teens: Mobile is Now:

Virtual Learning in the Early Years:

Creating Virtual Libraries:

Cracking the Code:

Scholastic – mobile Learning Technologies for 21st Century Classrooms:

Raspberry Pi: 

CybraryMan’s Google Docs:

Social Media for Schools:

Game-Based Learning:

KinderKids Blog:

Creating Info-graphics with Google tools:

Augmented Reality – Cybrary Man:


You Tube & Digital Citizenship:


Virtual Desktops: 

Virtual desktops (technical): 

Changing PD

20 ways to Make Professional Development More Effective:

Flip your Faculty Meetings- The Tempered Radical:

How Flipped PD Stacks Up:

PLNS: (break out resources)

Speed Geek Your faculty Meetings:

100 Uses for Twitter in Education (see Classroom- #s 55 – 91)


Creating a Physical Environment for Innovative Learning

Designing the 21st

Century K-12 Classroom:

Redesigning for the 21st Century Classroom:

20 things Educators Need to Know About Learning Spaces:

Sprout Space:

EDU 2.0 Furnishings:

Transforming Classrooms into 21st century Work Spaces:

Architecture for Education, Inc:

Furnishings that promote Learning – Smith Systems:

Furniture that Makes the Grade:

21st Century Furnishings:

Evolving Classrooms for 21st Century Learning:

Habits and Habitats – Rethinking Learning Spaces for the 21st Century:

Herman Miller:


Tech as Tie-Dye

After many years working with education technology in a variety of roles and with varying responsibilities, I have settled on a couple of truths that don’t seem to change for me.  The first, and perhaps  the most disconcerting truth, is that in order to be successful in a technology field, you have to accept that you are never really an expert.  As much as you may know, as hard as you may work to read and access the literature and keep abreast of trends in technology, things are changing too fast.  It is important to me to be comfortable with that truth.  It is also a challenge because others often look to their local tech staff as the gurus or experts.  “Will we even have computers in five years?” is a frequent and earnest query.  “How about ipads?”  “What will replace Smart boards?” “What will we be using in our classrooms in 10 years?”  “Augmented reality- what’s that and how can I use it to teach?”

All are legitimate questions and all are difficult to answer.  Ten years ago, we didn’t even consider use of ipads and smart phones as ‘standard practice” in our classrooms; ubiquitous wireless was not a ‘must-have!’  Now schools are investing heavily in tablets without a clear picture of how long they may last and what the long term costs of maintaining that infrastructure may be.  So we have to take a leap of faith and sometimes we have to be comfortable not having the answers to all the questions.

Recently, my excitement about our new, 3-D printer was overshadowed by awe of the innovative 3-D replicators being used to print body parts for surgical procedures and others being used to print live human tissue to aid children with birth defects or to assist in the treatment of cancer by replicating tumors and treating them.  Amazing!  As a tech leader, I keep thinking- “How do we prepare our children to be innovators and users of technology in such a startling and changing landscape?”  Reflecting on this,  I arrived at the idea of technology ‘as tie-dye’.  We can’t get so absorbed in our quest to acquire the newest, shiniest, miracle gadgets that we lose sight of what is really important- those tried and true ideals of fostering creativity, discovery, making something unique and personal from all the information and diverse materials available. Like a tie-dyed shirt, products should reflect creativity, individuality, and use of common resources to create something truly unique, personal, and innovative. We are truly living in the Wild West where anything goes and much is available to those willing and able to take risks. We must prepare our students to be creative thinkers with the skills and confidence to take risks with technology and provide the supports to try again if those risks fail. 

And as tech leaders, we must be continually aware of all we don’t know and seek to learn from all those who would teach us- including our students!    So I humbly don my tie-dyed shirt and remind myself that I have much to learn each day and that technology is only the tool that allows us to nurture the creativity, innovation, and best ideas of our selves, our teachers and students!


I recently attended the Boston Tech Forum- a truly excellent conference!  It was a day that left me very inspired and excited about all that technology has to offer, but also extremely humbled and motivated to do more! Being in the presence of so many intelligent and innovative thinkers, I kept wondering how these people had  been able to transcend what is ‘typical’ tech use and move their districts  to ‘the next level’. 

What does it take to be a transformational leader?  Is it having the creativity, insight, and knowledge to develop an innovative vision and the force of personality to bring people along with you or is it more?  Where do money, resources, and time figure into the equation?  And what about culture…is a program or practice that is innovative and effective for one school going to be meaningful for another?

All in all, the conference has stirred a certain restlessness in me and a heightened desire to learn more, do more, and improve my leadership skills. 

Twitter in the Classroom

I have spent a lot of time exploring twitter and trying to determine how I can use it to further my knowledge of educational technology and facilitate tech integration in our district. I have also considered how teachers in our district can use Twitter with their students. I think this article ( Twittering About Learning: Using Twitter in an Elementary School Classroom- ) is very interesting and really explores how twitter can be used to empower students to be more independent and self-directed learners. I am also struck by the authenticity of the learning. I think the teacher does a good job exploring some of the “cons” and concerns, but feel there might be additional policy implications for such an initiative. I believe that now is the time to start having serious conversations about how tools such as Twitter can have meaning in the classroom (not be used as “hooks” or “gimmicks”) and enhance student learning. Cybraryman does a nice job of pulling together a lot of resources for people to explore when discussing these types of initiatives at

BYOD – What are the implications for learning?

The idea of students bringing their own devices to class is enticing…students are comfortable and competent with the equipment so they may be more confident and would not face a learning curve. In some cases, their equipment may be superior to that available in school. In a classroom in which a student is allowed to access his/ her smart phone to gain quick access to information, it may be possible to get to deeper levels of learning. Also, back channel conversations in forums such as todaysmeet or twitter may raise the level of discourse overall.

But what are the the challenges and potential pitfalls? How does this impact policy? If students ARE allowed to bring devices, does that mean schools are no longer expected to provide access to technology? What about students who do not have their own device to bring to school – are they now at a serious disadvantage? How do we ensure that all students have access to the software or applications needed for class and who is responsible for technical support?

How do we find a balance that ensures equitable access for all and empowers students to be independent learners?

What do you feel are the most significant issues surrounding BYOD and how do you see this evolving in the future?

Excellent Resources for Twitter in Education…

*** 5 Tips for Teachers Getting Started on Twitter | About Teaching
*** ASCD- Why Teachers Should Try Twitter:
*** Edutopia: Twittering, Not Frittering
*** eSchool News

*** You’ve Started on Twitter – What Now? | About Teaching
NUMEROUS Twitter Resources:
** 5 Hastags that can save Administrators Time:
** Educational Hash Tags 

Setting Up a Twitter Account:
Twitter for Beginners:

The Role of Twitter in Teacher PD:

Twitter for Teachers:

Twitter for Beginners:

Twitter for Teachers in 15 minutes:

Twitter Infographic: