New Podcast Series on BAM Radio’s Pulse Network

Having been a listener of BAM Radio for some time, I was happy to be invited to a conversation with Larry Ferlazzo and Alice Barr about effective implementation strategies for 1:1 programs.

Also, I was honored to be asked to begin a new podcast series on BAM’s Pulse Network. Designed as a tool to help every educator begin sharing his or her own voice, I wanted to make sure that I was using the new show as an opportunity to talk with teachers, not just at them. Fortunately, around the same time, I was in an email conversation with Katharine Hale, an outstanding young teacher that I met last year at a conference in Rhode Island. We had been talking about various ideas she has for integrating technology into the reading and writing workshop, many of which she shares on her blog: TEaCHitivity.

After some trials and errors with the technology (I am reminded that, yes, it is good to fail!), we can now share our first two episodes of Revising the Reading and Writing Workshop.

In the first episode, Katharine and I discuss some of the shifts that she has seen happening in her instruction this year while working to integrate iPads into her 5th grade classroom.

Then, in our second episode, we discuss how Katharine is conceptualizing the idea of “flipped learning” as a crucial component of her reading and writing workshop.

Each episode hovers at about the ten minute mark (a specific and intentional technical limitation of the BAM site), so each episode is short and sweet. Here is the RSS feed for the show notes, where I will provide links to the audio for each episode, too.

Of course, we are interested in your thoughts and questions, and we will also soon be looking for some guests. Please give them a listen and let us know what you think!


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Edutopia Article and Talks with Teachers Podcast

Twitter Image
Image from Elizabeth Mendelson’s EDU 3110 Blog

This past week, I’ve had two pieces enter the educational social media space.

First, my blog post for Eduoptia, “Feeding Our Students’ Reading Interests with RSS,” came out last Friday, March 21st. In it, I “reiterate the power of RSS as a tool for active reading” and recommend using Feedly and Flipboard as two great apps.

Second, my podcast conversation with Brian Sztabnik on Talks with Teachers released yesterday was a welcome reminder of why we choose to work with students, engaging them in the writing process and supporting them as best we can with individual attention.

Talks with Teachers Podcast (Episode 19)

Enjoy these two pieces and let me know how you are using RSS and social media in your teaching this spring!


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Literacy Research Association Webinar

Literacy Research Association Logo
Literacy Research Association

This afternoon at 2:00 PM EST, I will be participating in the Literacy Research Association’s webinar series. Today’s topic is Writing and Multimodality and I am looking forward to the conversation. Here are the slides and handout that I will be sharing:

Please join in the conversation via Twitter, too: #LRAShow

Update (1/14/14): Here is the archived recording of the webcast.

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Interview on iPad Educators

http://www.ipadeducators.com/
iPad Educators

My thanks to Steve Bambury and Sabba Quidwai for featuring me in an interview on their site, iPad Educators.

Their archive of 2013 interviews is impressive, and I hope that my comments help get many teachers inspired to integrate digital writing into their classes this year!

 


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“Tech Goes Home” Goes National

Tech Goes Home LogoYesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with Deb Socia, executive director of Tech Goes Home, a non-profit based Boston that has recently launched a national portal with resources for parents, teachers, and community members interested in connecting families with technology. (Quick disclaimer: I was contacted by Intel with an initial press release, but followed up with Deb in an interview.) Here is part of the press release shared by Intel:

Founded in 2000, Tech Goes Home has trained more than 10,000 residents in Boston since 2010 alone, with more than 4,000 individuals now participating in the program each year. Through its impactful and cost-effective model to help families gain access to the skills and tools needed for 21st century success, Tech Goes Home has been committed to tackling the entrenched barriers to technology adoption and Internet access in Boston, and it will now spread this work across the country.

“The success of Tech Goes Home is the result of the amazing partnerships we have with Mayor Menino’s office and our Boston partners,” said Deb Socia, executive director of Tech Goes Home. “Thanks to the support of Intel, Tech Goes Home can now improve the lives of unconnected people across the country.”

The Tech Goes Home national program will virtualize materials so parents, students and teachers can take advantage of technology and learning no matter where they are. The program offers free resources categorized by work, school, finance, personal wellness, and cultural and recreational opportunities that help people make the most of their increased access to technology. The nonprofit also offers training toolkits to support formal and informal education settings, as well as virtual training groups where trainers can upload their own recommended resources.

More importantly, Deb and I had a chance to talk about many issues related to education, including her career as a teacher and principal, her efforts to bring a 1:1 program to her school, and how the resources from Tech Goes Home could be used to offer digital literacy programs for families. She described to me how families in Boston were provided with 15 hours of training in local schools and community centers, and then were provided a netbook or tablet for just a $50 co-pay. The TGH team then helps them get online with Connect2Compete and using ISP’s such as FreedomPop, which offers 1GB of 4G LTE each month for most low income families for, yes, free. Also, there is 500 MB for those who do not live in low income census tracks.

Deb clearly has higher aspirations than just getting everyone online. Her goal is to provide a three-pronged approach to improving digital literacy. “There is training, hardware, and access,” she explains. “With all three we can anticipate more success [for families].”

For me, I am trying to figure out a way that I can work with local schools and other community partners to make use of the resources provided by Tech Goes Home for parents, students, and teachers. I encourage you to do the same, and to share your stories so we can figure out how to make training, hardware, and access available for as many families as possible. I’ve already sent an email to our local library’s technology program director and a community organization focusing on technology skill development for adults.

What’s your first step?

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What I’ve Done on Summer Vacation (So Far)

Troy and Kathy
Working with CRWP Co-Director Kathy Kurtze (shown here), as well as Elizabeth Brockman and Shannon Powell, I facilitated the Chippewa River Writing Project’s 2013 Invitational Summer Institute.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the good fortune of facilitating our 2013 Chippewa River Writing Project and participating in a number of Google Hangouts where I have talked about my new book, Crafting Digital Writing.

I’ve gathered all those videos up and posted them on a page of the book’s companion wiki. All in all, I’ve had some great conversations with some amazing educators, and I hope that you find them as useful to listen to as I found them when I was participating in them.

Also, in the past two weeks, I have had to-coauthored journal articles released, both available for free online. :

Then, last week, I was out in Colorado presenting at the Conference on English Education summer gathering. It was great to talk with other English educators about the power of my professional writing group and some of the research I am working on right now. Needless to say, it’s been a busy summer so far!

Then, next week, I work my way down to the Discovery Education near DC to present at their Common Core Academy with a stop on my way home in Charlottesville, VA, to work with teachers at Albemarle County Public Schools on creating their digital writing workshop. In fact, we had a virtual meeting today to start our conversation, and they came up with a great list of topics for us to pursue next week:

  • Digging in deeper to smart assessment practices and building useful rubrics
  • Among their PLC, creating a repository of digital mentor texts and teaching resources
  • Exploring the affordances and constraints of different forums for students to write and comment on each others’ writing
  • Discussing ways to help parents who may be hesitant letting their students use digital writing tools feel more comfortable about why and how we are teaching with web-based technology

As I reflect on the summer so far, I have been impressed with the willingness and dedication of teachers, all working to understand the Common Core and implications for digital writing with their students. Most of these conversations have been positive, despite the negative political rhetoric surrounding the CCSS right now. I am still not an outright fan of CCSS, but I am confident that many teachers are thinking about how to use these standards in thoughtful, generative, and — dare I say it — even creative ways, not reductive ones. Let’s hope that we can keep the positive momentum going, focusing on how to help students craft digital writing.

One last note — please join in the book’s G+ community and feel free to post. I need to get back in there and stir up some conversation, yet always welcome comments, questions, and insights from you, too.

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Brief Summary of #TheDigitalClassroom Hangout

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to be invited to an AdvancED webinar featuring:

  • Sean Cavanagh: @EdWeekSCavanagh (Moderator), Assistant Editor for Education Week
  • Angela Maiers: @AngelaMaiers Founder and President of Maiers Education Services
  • Jackie Gerstein Ed.D.: @jackiegerstein Online Adjunct Faculty for Departments of Education
  • Darren Burris: @dgburris Teacher & Instructional Coach at Boston Collegiate Charter

It was an incredibly fast-paced and informative conversation, especially because we thought we had to get it all in 30 minutes and were then allotted about 45. A few of us tried to keep pace with the #TheDigitalClassroom on Twitter.  A few retweets are still happening today, and I hope that other colleagues involved in teacher education and professional development may find this a timely and useful resource for sharing during workshops and methods courses.

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