Monthly Archives: October 2015

Is Technology Replacing Teaching? Part III

BLOG WEB2.0 TOOLSThis post is the final installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education.

Web 2.0 tools can be valuable assets to the classroom at any level. Educators need to be purposeful with their selection of tools to implement in their classes. They need to consider the content and what tools best match the pedagogy style needed to meet the needs of the learners – regardless of their age and level. This applies to school or the workplace… be intentional.

Without further ado – here are some WEB 2.0 Tools for you to consider and intentionally select to use in your classroom or workplace:

WEB 2.0 Poll Everywhere
Poll Everywhere – Find out who your audience is or what your learners know about a topic. Easy tool to survey a group and have instant, live results to share.

WEB 2.0 twitter

Twitter – This may be considered the #1 professional development tool out there. Follow others to find out.

WEB 2.0 Instagram

Instagram– Have your class post pictures from classroom activities to work samples to share out with their families to see the dinner conversation grow.

WEB 2.0 kidblog

Kidblog– Blog to share information and learn from one another. Learners can share what they have read and discussed to have their own PD sharing.

WEB 2.0 Glogster

Glogster – Glogster can help share information with others in an engaging, interactive poster-kind-of-way. Embed videos, incorporate pictures, share text, and include graphics to share your information.

WEB 2.0 voki

Voki– Have your voki share your thoughts. This makes engagement fun for your students and challenges them to consider closely what they want to say.

WEB 2.0 Animoto

Animoto – Who doesn’t love a good movie?! Showcase who you are… be authentic!

WEB 2.0 Wordle

Wordle – Mean what you say and say what you mean. Wordle will present your words in a graphic way!

Check them out and see what they can do for you and your learners/colleagues.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

***All logos/brands are located at the websites noted.

Tennis Shoes and Carpet… Little Things Matter!

BLOG little things matter

Just finished a two day gig at the National College Fair in Minneapolis, MN recruiting possible future SMSU Mustangs. Kids from all walks of life and of all ages come to this event. Yes, even sixth graders from AVID schools come to the college fair. They are so cute!

Hanging out with the Admissions folks from SMSU is always pleasurable…even though we stand for hours and hours and hours and more hours. Thank you very much for including that lovely black, thick carpet found in our booth underneath our feet! 😉 It’s those little things like that carpet that make a HUGE difference for those of us standing there that long.

Below are a few of those little things that made a huge difference for us recruiting, and really…for all of us in life:

Smiles: Cole, Nya, Sam, and Aileen…your smiles enticed those future Mustangs over to our booth. There wasn’t a moment during all our hours at that College Fair that you four current Mustangs weren’t smiling. We ‘older’ people talked about it a lot and kept saying how cheerful you four were! We are proud of you for that! Even Matt told of how his heart melts every time his 4-month old sweet baby girl smiles at him. Keep smiling everyone!!! It is the one thing we all do in the same language! 🙂

Water Bottles: Water wets the whistle. And after talking that much with all those prospective students, we needed to keep our whistles wet! Thanks, Sam, for carrying the case of water bottles over to the convention center. Luckily for you, Allan was right behind you to pick up your name tag. Inside joke!! 🙂

Tennis Shoes: There is NO shame in wearing tennis shoes with a dressy outfit. Especially when it is no secret that you will be standing that long. Ladies…your flats were cute, but your blisters after those long hours on your feet weren’t so attractive. 😉 Comfort trumps fashion every time. Those black and orange tennis shoes that were making their mark on our cushy black carpet were stylin’ though. And speaking of carpet…

Cushy Carpet: The cushy black carpet was SO worth it! Our feet and legs and backs hurt enough WITH the carpet being there. Can’t imagine what it would have been like without the carpet beneath our soles. Thank you, Admissions, for investing that little extra (or a lot extra$$) to put that cushion below us.

Sincerity: Passion is in the hearts of those of us who recruit. Sharing with those prospective students that they WILL love SMSU if they just come visit us is expressed with sincerity. We all honestly believe that SMSU is where future college students belong. Come join our family. And we say that sincerely!!

Thanks for the recruiting opportunity, Admissions Office. We in the School of Education extend our abundant gratitude to YOU for all the hard work you do for our university! And for all those little things you do that make a HUGE difference! MUCH appreciated! 🙂

BLOG little things matter 2

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Is Technology Replacing Teaching? Part II

This post is the second installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education.  Read on and stop back to learn more.

Communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation are considered the 4 Cs in education today. They are the expectations for learners for life beyond the classroom. “Using the 4 Cs to engage students is imperative. As educators prepare students for this new global society, teaching the core content subjects must be enhanced by incorporating critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity” (NEA, 2015, p. 3). Implementing the 4 Cs into the teaching and learning process is critical. It is required. According to President Obama, “I’m calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity” (NEA, 2015, p.5). National and international leaders are counting on learners, or rather, citizens to be engaged and possess the skills to aid in society’s success.

Considering the advancement of technology and the call for improved life skills, what changes are needed to meet the needs of the learners and the society? Education must support, sustain, and improve technology and likewise, technology must support, sustain, and improve education. With the tech savvy generation growing up, the dilemma is “as students are more likely to express themselves through texts and tweets, schools must find a way to keep up with this new tech-savvy generation” (Kirton, 2015, p.11). Educators must acknowledge and respond to the changes in technology in our schools.

According to John Stocks in a National Education Association publication, we need new tools to support educators in the classroom as they implement new strategies to enhance the 4 Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (NEA, 2015). What are these new tools supporting the teaching and learning process of the 4 Cs? Web 2.0 tools are considered a possible solution. “Web 2.0 is about revolutionary new ways of creating, collaborating, editing and sharing user-generated content online. It’s also about ease of use. There’s no need to download, and teachers and students can master many of these tools in minutes. Technology has never been easier or more accessible to all” (Discovery Education, 2015, para 1).

Although some may question if Web 2.0 tools are replacing teachers and teaching, they are enhancing student learning and engagement. According to Todd Conaway, an instructional designer at Yavapai College, “None of these tools can replace the passion you have for your content or for teaching, but they can help you demonstrate that passion and carry it forward to your online students” (Bart, 2009, para 4). To improve student learning, educators need to demonstrate and live out their passion in their teaching. “Your passion will also help you become absolutely relentless in the pursuit of excellence” (Burgess, 2012, p.10). Web 2.0 tools can truly enhance teaching and learning. “When technology works well in the classroom, it does so because it doesn’t really change anything. It just allows teachers to do the things we already do, but in an easier and more streamlined way” (Kirton, 2015, p.15).

Even with active support for Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, critics continue to speculate that technology is taking over the profession of teaching. It is the responsibility of educators to integrate technology in purposeful and meaningful ways. “Educators need to strike the right balance between incorporating devices into lessons when necessary and keeping students focused on the task at hand” (Kirton, 2015, p.17). With existing criticism surrounding the use of technology in education, educators should consider the right balance and make conscious decisions about the integration of technology into their teaching. According to Killory “Technology is fantastic and embracing it is a good thing, but it shouldn’t necessarily be a juggernaut that dictates the learning process. Don’t discount seemingly ‘old school’ methods just because the latest technology is flashy and modern. Just as a teacher should ask students to develop a questioning attitude, it is paramount for teachers to question their choices, too” (Kirton, 2015, p.17).

Technology, in particular Web 2.0 tools, can benefit the teaching and learning process if integrated in mindful and intentional ways. With thoughtful implementation, technology can serve as a valuable tool in the classroom, aiding in the teaching and learning process to allow learners opportunities to grow in ways not even imaginable to the school setting of the past.

Sorry if this blog seemed like a research paper; it is an occupational hazard for us at times! Stop back for Part III to find out some practical Web 2.0 tools and ideas to implement in your classroom or workplace.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

References to support our ramblings:

American Association of School Librarians. (2009). Standards for the 21st-century learner. American Library Association: Chicago, IL. Retrieved from:

An, Y-J, Aworuwa, B., Ballard, G., & Williams, K. (2009). Teaching with Web 2.0 Technologies: Benefits,
Barriers and Best Practices. Retrieved from:,-99,792

Armstrong, P. (2015). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved from:

Bart, M. (2011). Help students develop lifelong learning skills with Web 2.0 tools.

Bart, M. (2011). Professors use twitter to increase student engagement and grades. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed
Teaching Strategies From Magna Publications.
Retrieved from:

Bart, M. (2009). Twitter in the classroom: Studies find increased student engagement. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies From Magna Publications. Retrieved from:

Bart, M. (2009). Web 2.0 Grows Up, Goes to College. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies From Magna Publications. Retrieved from:

Bart, M. (2011). Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom: Embracing the benefits while understanding the risks.
Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies From Magna Publications. Retrieved from:

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach Like a Pirate. San Diego CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Chen, PS.D., Lambert, A.D., & Guidry, K.R. (2010). Engaging online learners: The impact of Web-based
learning technology on college student engagement. Computers & Education (54)4, p.1222-1232.
Retrieved from:

DeCosta, M., Bergquist, E., & Holbeck, R. (2014). Three ways to breathe new life into your online courses.
Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications. Retrieved from:

Discovery Education. (2015). Web 20.14. Discovery Education. Retrieved from:

Dunn, J. (2010). The 35 best Web 2.0 classroom tools chosen by you. Edudemic: Connecting education &
Retrieved from:

Kirton, H. (2015, September). Is technology taking over teaching? IB World issue 72, p. 11-21.
Haymarket Network, UK

National Education Association. (2015). Preparing 21st Century Learners for a Global Society: An
Educator’s Guide to the Four C’s. Retrieved from:

Oomen-Early, J. (2010). Ten ways to re-energize your classes and yourself. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed.
Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications.
Retrieved from:

9 Ways to Stay Optimistic This Autumn

BLOG Optimistic autumn 1

Autumn…an extraordinary time of year. A time for hooded sweatshirts, crisp cool air, brilliant colors, football games, tractor rides, pumpkin festivals, apple treats, hot chocolate, and bon fires. So much to do, so little time before the snow flies.

Embrace the season. Embrace the opportunities that await you. Don’t let your attitude start to take a dip just because the temperature outside is starting to dip. Below are a few ways to stay optimistic during this lovely time of year:

Hooded sweatshirts: Put on that hoodie and take a walk outside with a friend. Breathe in that fresh, crisp cool air. Ahhh…it ‘tastes’ delicious, doesn’t it?

Brilliant colors: Visit a place where the fall colors shine. The North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota is a perfect place to see some brilliant hues. Make sure to google when the color peak hits at the place you want to visit. You certainly don’t want to arrive there and find all the trees bare. That would be a bummer.

Football games: Who is your favorite football team? Is it a college team or a professional team? Whichever one you choose, try to attend a game. Try a little tailgating if you haven’t before. The excitement of the atmosphere is invigorating. Or…watching it on the big screen is okay too. Go Minnesota Vikings!

Tractor rides: You can take the boy off of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. (Likewise for the girls!) Our ‘boys’ sure love to help family with farming. Pause for a few hours and go for a ride in the tractor with your significant other for a few rounds during harvest. Watch the sunset as you do…it’s kind of romantic. 🙂

Pumpkin festivals: Horse rides, corn boxes instead of sandboxes, pumpkin carving competitions, and pumpkin launching are all entertaining activities happening at the local pumpkin fest. Children of all ages (yes that includes us) enjoy participating in the pumpkin festivities.

Apple treats: Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Jazz…which kind is most “a-peeling” to you? Visit an apple orchard or attend an apple tasting event to find out. Then make some of your favorite apple treats—Caramel apples on a stick, apple pie, apple crisp, or applesauce—and savor your choice morsels. Pinterest has so many apple recipes. Have a fun time exploring!

Hot chocolate: A cup of hot chocolate on a cool crisp fall evening while sitting by a bon fire is so tranquil. Put together a hot chocolate bar, invite friends over and enjoy an evening of peaceful conversation. Top off the hot chocolate with some cinnamon whipped cream, and top off the bon fire with a little singing and guitar playing.

We have been blessed with a wonderful fall so far. We hope you have been blessed as well. Happy fall, everyone!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Is Technology Replacing Teaching? Part I
This post is the first installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education.  Read on and stop back to learn more.

Education as we know it from years ago has changed. It is changing. It is no longer the “sit and get” theory based on a society of the past with focus on reading, writing, and arthritic only; education instead is focusing on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation.

One big player in the classroom today is technology.  Technology is a major focus in education, and it is shaping our society and schools. The impact of technology is far reaching, encompassing lands, cultures, genders, and ages from young children holding iPads in efforts to learn their ABCs to senior citizens utilizing iPads to stay in touch with distant family members. With the increase of technology usage and advancements, people are continually growing in knowledge and comfort with technology, including learners in schools. Considering the integration of technology in life and in education, students attending schools in the 21st century are tech savvy.  Now the question is – are their schools?

What implications does this have for education?  How does technology impact the 4 Cs previously noted – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity?

Let us know your thoughts!  Look for more in Part II of this series, but until then –
Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.