Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer

I have received notification from Google that I have qualified to become a Certified Google Apps for Education Trainer.

"This program is designed for organizations and individuals who provide professional training and support to schools using Google Apps for Education. The Google Apps for Education Certification is an official “stamp of approval” from Google, and gives you access to additional marketing support, training opportunities, and business visibility in the Google Apps marketplace. Meanwhile, your customers can be assured that your expertise and learning materials meet high quality standards set by the Google Apps team."

Last summer, I had taken it upon myself to complete the Google Apps for Education courses and corresponding exams. Six tests and many weeks later I became a Google Certified Teacher. Shortly thereafter, I began putting together my application packet to become a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer. I had to include various workshops samples, background information, and two videos among other things.

I received an email four months ago stating that I did not qualify at that time and that I could reapply in six months. However, unbeknownst to me Google re-evaluated my application and I was granted certification.

Regardless, I am stoked. I enjoy using Google and I am proud to say that I am now a Certified Trainer!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Difficulties Teaching in a Wired World

As I was taking a look at Katherine Brindley's article, Teacher Texting Students: Should Schools Ban or Encourage, which had been published in the Huffington Post (article:, I made the mistake of reading the reader comments at the end of the article. I've generally trained myself to avoid reader comments as a general rule. However, my curiosity and interest in the topic lead me to go against my better judgement. Note to self - do not read the reader comments! 

Regardless of the reader comments, Katherine Brindley raises a number of interesting and valid points in her article. The topic of student-teacher communication via text, email, and/or social networking has been an hot topic as of late. School districts and state education departments alike are reviewing various policies seeking to ban student-teacher electronic communication. Some have gained traction; others have been overturned and abandoned after legal intervention. 

Should we have blanket policies banning student-teacher communication outside the school day? Absolutely not. I believe we should encourage and support blended learning environments and collaboration through educationally sound social mediums such as Edmodo, Google Apps for Education, and others. I believe we need to adapt our teaching styles to meet the demands of our students' learning styles and infuse technology to foster communication and collaboration.

Nevertheless, I found myself reading reading through the reader comments. One user's comment in particular made me cringe. This individual who's username is FunctionOfTheCrisp, wrote:

"When I was in school (the ancient 1990s) students didn't call their teachers. Business was handled during the class period and resumed the next class period. The ability of a teacher to accomplish that was standard leadership and classroom management. This was true for standard academic classes. Extracurriculars were a little different because of the logistics, mostly. It was considered reasonable that students would call their band directors, coaches, etc. if necessary. 

Am I to understand that this is no longer the way things are? I can tell you that if I ever became a K-12 teacher, I would continue the policy of my youth. There would be no texting, e-mails or phone calls with me unless it was an emergency." 

As a former student of the 1990s and now a teacher of today, I take offense to the last part of this comment. "If I ever became a K-12 teacher, I would continue the policy of my youth." Really? You graduated public school so that apparently makes you an expert of K-12 education? 

Having graduated in 1997 and now teaching in 2012, I can attest that things have changed drastically. In 1997, cell phones were practically non-existent. Dial-up internet was the status quo. Forget about wireless access points or 3G access. It was Netscape all the way! Google, Facebook, Twitter were not household names and would not be so for some time. 

Unfortunately, these sort of comments tend to highlight the difficulties of teaching in a wired world. These comments are not uncommon - hence the reason I avoid most reader comments. These same comments pop up in the districts I work with as well. 

Technology has changed how we do things. What has worked for the past 10 or 20 years won't necessarily work for the next 10 or 20 years. We need to change. We need drastic change. 

As an educator and a technology specialist, I know the value in integration technology in the classroom. I have seen how communication and collaboration have improved the learning environment. There is value in technology and we need to harness it, foster it, and support it. We should stand up against these blanket policies and redirect our energy on digital citizenship and properly use of technology rather than sheltering our students from it. We need to instill change in our teachers; we need to instill change in our students. 

We need to get beyond the mindset of what worked for me then will work for them now. You didn't have what we have today. Yeah you got by and did well. Imagine how much better our students will do when you present them with the opportunities that you didn't have!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Education Reform from the eyes of a 14-year-old.

This afternoon, I came across the guest post, Teen Who Left School Explains It's Flaws,
written by Line Dalile on the blog, The Innovative Educator

Here was a 14-year-old student with a much clearer perception of education and its flaws. It was impressive to say the least; even more so seeing that it was coming from such a young individual.  

Line affirms that she doesn't "claim to be an expert in education, I am still a student and I speak for myself. I believe that students should have a voice in the education system today, because mainly they are the ones who are being educated. Education is falling in the wrong hands. 

I’m not writing about the flaws of education; everyone wrote about them years ago and claimed to start a “real” learning revolution. Years have passed, students have graduated. Our education system is a dictator that’s not willing to step down and give its [throne] away yet."

After sharing this post through my social networks followed by a sudden surge in debate and discussion. One individual stated "Poor work is poor work and techniques exist for a reason. Everyone loves to cite the true geniuses as examples of how people don't "get" creativity without realizing just how rare those examples truly are. For every Einstein out there who was thought of as "slow", there are THOUSANDS of kids who truly are slow and no amount of "creative freedom" will change that." 

I agree in the fact that we cannot and should not assume that those dreamers would have grown up to be Einsteins and Edisons. However, I think motivation and creativity are interchangeable in this example as well as many others in recent educational literature. That being said, we are literally sucking the motivation out of our students. We have becoming a test bubble factory. We expect that our students will sit through these tests and do their absolute best and for what? Do these tests impact their GPA? No. Do these tests impact their ability to graduate? No. Will they win a pizza party or ice cream party? No. So what's the point of the test factories? To rate teachers, principals, and districts while tossing more money in the vendor coffers.

Thanks to programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, we have now added mandatory ELA (English Language Arts) and Math Assessments to all grades 3-8 plus the regents testing for all students 9-12 (where applicable). To top that off, we also need to conduct "localized growth assessments" K-12 in order to assess our teachers as part of their new APPR/Observations. The local growth assessments must be conducted at the beginning and end of the year to determine student growth. So that's 2 localized tests, the ELA test, the math test, regents where they apply, and let's not forget all the practice tests as well. There is no longer a regents tract vs. non-regents tract either. The assessments for the 3-8 students are not reflective on their GPA. They get what they get - it's an assessment of their ability. However, they are still moved on even if they fail with some remedial assistance if offered by the district. Yes - you still need to pass the regents to graduate in 9-12. That being said, we test the snot out of kids throughout elementary and middle school, but we don't hold them accountable. Therefore there is no motivation to do as well as they should. At the same time, we are so focused on ELA and Math assessments that everything else is put to the side in the name of test prep.

Home schooling is not necessarily the answer either. This kid is apparently intelligent and has quite the portfolio even at 14. The kid has already published 2 books, speaks 4 languages, and is obviously ahead of most. A traditional public school program would not make sense for her whatsoever. No doubt, her parents are well educated, supportive, and able to provide those opportunities for their kids as well. Home schooling is only as successful and enriching as the parents involved. I have three degrees in education, one in history, and another in environmental studies plus numerous certificates and other nonsense. However, I do not feel that I could or should home school my kids. There are services, experiences, and other programs that I cannot offer my kids nor would I pretend I could. Therefore, my kids will attend public school. By all means, I will be involved in every facet and will advocate for my kids as any parent should because we as parents should be and need to be involved in our kids learning.

In my opinion, we need to go back to a system where we can redirect those who are college ready vs. those who are career ready. The percentage of those graduating and going to college should not be our ultimate goal. Those who graduate and are sustainable should be though. Not every kid is going to grow up, go to college, and graduate. Some just aren't made for that. Maybe they will grow up, graduate, and become a master tradesman. Why not give them the option?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sharing my Thoughts on the Khan Academy

I had been sitting back, watching the discussion and ultimate backlash against the Khan Academy following the 60 Minutes Episode with little opinion one way or the other.

For those that haven't seen the episode, you can watch it on their website (Khan Academy: The Future of Education?) Not for nothing, I can see both sides of the argument. Does applications like the Khan Academy provide students with additional resources to help them get through difficult content? Yeah - it does. Will applications like the Khan Academy revolutionize education as a whole? No - not really.

Therefore, I sat back and watched the backlash go one direction and then the other without much thought until I came across Stephanie Sandifer's post Khan Academy, TED-Ed and the new leaders in education reform - REALLY?! ( For the record, it was not Stephanie Sandifer's post that made me cringe, but the quote from The Washington Post that she shared regarding Khan Academy and the need for educational reform (Jena McGregor - The Washington Post: Khan Academy, TED-Ed, and the new leaders in education reform).

In the final paragraphs of the article, Jena McGregor stated:

The large public-school education system, although not quite a big, slow company, is not really that different. Teachers are at the center of a system that has long relied on lecturing in classrooms and homework at home. No matter how good their intentions might be, it is hard for them to think about their own jobs differently, much less step outside the predominant teaching methods that have been used for hundreds of years. You can’t exactly study methods that haven’t been invented yet, and as difficult as it can be to get companies to experiment, doing the same on school children is even harder.
Who knows how much Khan’s video-based, “flipped-classroom” approach will truly change what ails American (and global) public schools. But whether it is Khan or someone else, my guess is that the most revolutionary—and potentially, most effective—educational reform will come from leaders outside the system.
What the...! Seriously? You truly believe that the educational reform will most likely come from leaders outside the system? Have you not seen what those leaders have already done to the system. You think those that penned No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top really know what they are doing? Do you honestly think that Michelle Rhee has the answers? Obviously, you have no idea what is going on in education much less the classrooms of those that should be considered leaders in educational reform!

I stand behind Stephanie Sandifier on this one. Those that are leading the change are those in the classroom; they are the ones working, building, developing, and educating day in and day out. They are not looking to sell their model to the highest bidder or the next district over. They are helping students grow; they are helping students learn.

Change needs to come from the inside. We need to find those leaders from within the system who understand what needs to be done, is willing to make that change, and is willing to model that change. There are a lot of teachers out there doing great things, but they being overshadowed by the current political witch hunt in education.

Does the Khan Academy hold merit in education? Absolutely - don't get me wrong this is not an attack on the Khan Academy. I don't think it's the answer, but I definitely think it can be part of the solution. Nevertheless, we cannot allow outsiders like Jena McGregor to think that they have the answer because they watched a 13-minute segment on television on a random Sunday evening. We cannot continue to allow Washington or state education departments to reign down upon education with this one-size-fits-all, pre-packaged programs thinking they have the answers either.

Maybe 60 Minutes should run a segment on teachers making a difference and highlight those that are doing more with less and who are bringing change to the classroom. Maybe then we'd get a bit more attention.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Random thoughts on Student Learning

There are days I forget how truly involved I am in technology and education among other things. 

  • I oversee my department, schedule professional development workshops, facilitate those workshops, and also handle several vendor contracts.
  • Twice a week I am in one particular district as their Tech Coach. 
  • I facilitate several local online courses through our Moodle platform. 
  • I am the co-chair of our Technology Committee
  • I am our Title III (ESL) Grant Coordinator
  • I am our Senior Enrichment Coordinator
  • I host two separate blogs, including this one. 
  • I try to keep up with my Twitter profile. 
And let's not forget about my family commitments as a father of three very young children and a husband to a very patient wife. 

Therefore, I don't always feel much sympathy for those who complain that they don't have enough time to learn about technology and/or incorporate it into their classrooms. I do everything that I have listed plus whatever else I am called upon to do AND I still find time to research, review, and practice. 

Now that I have that out of the way, I can get on with my original plans for this post....

As the final assignment in my Internet Safety course, I pose the following questions

This course has addressed various topics regarding the integation of technology in education. These key factors are all pieces of a much larger goal which is ultimately student learning.
  1. Of all the topics, articles, and videos discussed what is the most important thing(s) that stood out to you?
  2. How do you plan on incorporating this information into teaching?
  3. Where do we go from here?
There was and always is very good dialogue that goes along with this assignment. Many teachers share their "Ah Ha" moments as they begin to reassess their philosophy on education going forward. 

One teach in particular, raised a number of interesting points which spurred further conversation among the group. Here is that teacher's original response: 

(Teacher 1)
1. The most important thing that stood out to me was the video with Kevin Honeycutt [side note: this video was from the 2011 NYSCATE Conference where Kevin Honeycutt was one of the keynote speakers]. This video discussed the importance of inspiring passion to learn in students. He reinforced how critical it is to provide the tools for these students and teach them how to utilize them to enhance their love of learning. It stresses how teachers need to change their classrooms into dynamic environments where students enter and want to expand their horizons. We need to start having students recognize their innate powers that they are born with rather than mold them to fit into what we feel is the ideal language learner. When we start to create an environment where students feel important and where they see that we believe in them will we create a generation of learners that believe in themselves and challenge themselves to be "great". 

2. It is very important to incorporate this information into teaching. At my level and subject (Spanish) the use of new technology is not a luxury but a necessity. Alot of language acquisition is based on modeling and our society does not have enough models for my students. However, all of the new technology opens up the world for my students and gives them the models that they need. I plan on connecting my students to others in other countries a lot more now .

3. In terms of where we go from here I think that the challenge becomes attempting to utilizing these new tools in environments where financial strains somewhat limit what we can have. It is important to stress the importance of opening up their world through new technology and how, financially, this is essential to our future economy. We need to enhance education and refocus how we view education in our society. We cannot look at technology as supplemental but as a tool we have to open up our educational world and keep up as a society with the incredibly rapidly changing world. Only when our schools change can we become part of a global economy and compete in such an environment.

(Teacher 2 | In Response) 
I too think we need to "light the fire" of learning in our students.  I am still having difficulty helping my reluctant learners to realize that they do have the power, despite the use of various technologies.  I continue to plug away in the hopes that I will find the magic bullet that will wake up those students who haven't yet found the value in challenging themselves.

My Response (and the foundation of this post!)
It's difficult to light that fire, when we are so focused on testing and data collection. 

The system is literally killing the desire to learn among our students and our teachers as well. A recently New York Times article stated that teacher morale is at a all time low with a third of teachers seeking to leave education in the next five years. 

The system doesn't encourage our students to learn. it encourages them to takes tests and a lot of tests. It encourages them to take tests that have no implications; they don't receive a real grade. They aren't held accountable for that grade. We bring them in, sit them down, test them, test them again, and test them a third time. Somewhere in between we try to instill content on them and teach them to be good students. We never ask them what they want to learn or how they want to learn. 

Our system needs to focus on student learning, portfolio development, and career exploration. Why not incorporate the necessary skills in a student engaged environment that allows the students to choose from a variety of options?

Both individuals raised several very good points. (1) For many technology is a necessity. It's not a game that we've introduced to our students. It's not a toy that we play with on Friday afternoons. It's the gateway to learning; it's key to unlocking new opportunities and experiences that would not have been possible otherwise. (2) Technology a large component of 21st century learning and education as a whole. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that we can continue to prepare our students to be "college and career ready" while ignoring and/or underestimating technology. Society has steadily adapted to the influx of technology and social media. The private sector has acknowledged this and embraced this. However, a large number of  educational institutions continue to stick their heads in the sand or downplay the potential of technology. Others will try to throw out one excuse or another. If we had more money and our budgets weren't being cut blah blah blah - Not every student in my district has technology; there is a discrepancy among students, therefore we are putting them at a disadvantage when we use technology - etc. etc. etc. (3) The system has killed the desire to learn. The system is so focus on student assessments, student growth, and quantifying the qualitative nature of learning that we've killed the passion for learning along the way. We aren't willing to admit it, but we know our teachers are teaching to the test. Our students are onto us. They know these tests have little to no impact on their grades nor graduation. 

So how do we reverse the process? How can we reinvigorate learning among our students? We need to change the system and we as TEACHERS need to change the system. Yes - I know. That statement is easier said then done. Nevertheless, we need to take back education; we need to take back the ability to educate, to assess, and to teach, we need to our state and federal governments to support education rather than dictate education, and we need to establish a process that holds students accountable for their successes and properly prepares them for "career and college readiness." 

Otherwise, we will be stuck here treading water waiting for the imminent failure of the latest alphabet soup of programs that have been handed down by our government "leaders."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Applying Game Theory to the Classroom

We teach a generation that lives in a world that is self-configured to meet their individual wants and needs. It is a world that our classrooms have yet to understand or adapt to - until now.

I've begun working with an ELA teacher who has devised a somewhat unconventional twist on classroom learning and game theory applications. Rather than implementing a traditional linear approach to learning and instruction, Kevin wants to infuse game theory applications that infuse a "Skill Tree" of achievements, levels, and pathways within his curriculum.

In his own words, Kevin wants to develop:

A "Skill Tree" or a "Tech Tree" is a gaming mechanic in strategy computer games that allows for players to progress through a hierarchical pathway, unlocking more sophisticated and complex skills or technologies as they go. The tree acts as a visual representation of what players have accomplished, as well as acts as an indicator of the necessary means by which to further progress. They offer players an option to see how often mundane or repetitive tasks lead to more potent rewards and greater ability. Lastly, they lend the sense that one is in control of shaping one's development, often allowing players to choose how they will make their avatar or minions grow in order to meet the game's objectives.

I want to adopt a "flipped classroom model," as championed by Bergmann and Sams. With my lectures and lessons thus recorded, I would like to use web-based assessment tools to build activities that help students learn, practice, and demonstrate their understanding. With the course fully articulated, the intention is to open up time for greater and more in-depth project-based learning activities.

The tech-tree would serve as a pathway for each individual student's learning, somewhat akin to the Khan Academy. However, the lessons will be bound as well by narrative, for as a gamer and English Language Arts instructor myself I've seen the driving power of storytelling to compel and motivate. This would package my course into a complete game, replete with missions, XP, bonuses, rank titles, avatars, and boss challenges. The goal is to fully implement a game-based learning model that is motivating, differentiated, student-driven, and which satisfies the literacy and technology standards of the Common Core as defined by New York State.

Together with my students, we will plan out pathways to meet each students needs. I will implement recursive pathways for remediation, re-enforcement, and re-teaching, and utilize the data gathered from my students progress through the tech tree in my design and implementation of project-based lessons demanding long-term commitments and high order cognitive tasks.

Although Kevin has developed his skill tree and is currently working on incorporating his content within the process, we are lacking a platform. We have begun to look at a variety of options, but we are seeking a RPG-like environment that we can build from. Kevin has developed the vision, the materials, and the process. However, we are lacking the foundation and that is where we are stuck.

If you have recommendations, suggestions, and/or know of someone that may be able to direct us towards the "light" please let us know.

As Kevin has stated: Please help me to make this vision a reality.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Death of Learning

The more I visit my local school districts, the more frustrated I have become with the new APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) that has been handed down by the New York State Department of Education and our Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Like most, I am all for teacher evaluations and observations. I honestly believe that our teachers need to be observed and evaluated on a regular basis. I get that and I am all for that.

However, the new APPR process that has been implemented will be the death of learning!

For those not familiar with the new initiative, teachers will ultimately be rated on an 100-point scale with 60 points coming from direct observations and another 40 points coming from local and state assessments. Truthfully, I do not have an issue with the 60 point observation mechanisms. In fact, they are very similar to the previous observation tools we had in place with a few tweaks to the language. My angst does not lay within the observation, but the acquisition and implementation of thse tools.

Are we allowed to use our previous observation tools? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Apparently we're only allowed to use state approved observation tools that have been supplied to us by a number of third party vendors. Of course, each observation tools also comes with a professional development training package all for a hefty price. Let's not forget that most districts are also going to purchase an observation recording tool such as OASYS or Teachscape, which jacks up the price even more!

Nevertheless, the core of my anger does not lay within the observation tool, it's third party vendor pricing, or the packaging deals that fail to impress. There's still the other 40 points that relies on local and state assessments that have become the thorn in my side.

Of the 40 points, 20 points must come from a state assessment exam and the other 20 points must come from a district directed assessment. Again, districts have turned to third-party vendors to purchase various assessment tools such as NWEA MAP and STAR Enterprise. These tests must be conducted two to three times a year, which takes buildings two to three weeks at a time to complete. During a 40-week school year, this shuts down computer lab resources for 6 to 9 weeks!

Districts have implemented these programs under the pretense that we are going to pre and post-test our students to chart their progress throughout the school year. Are students provided with study materials? Do we know what the test is going to cover? Does it align with our current curriculum? No - No - Most likely NO. Therefore, we are "testing" our students progress on material that may or may not be covered. What happens when that student scores poorly? Does their success/failure on the test have any impact on them? Are they held back? Are they put in remedial classes, AIS, RTI? No - Like the grade 3-8 assessment, these tests are a "measurement" of student progress. Therefore, it has very little impact on them whatsoever.

However, these tests have everything to do with the teacher. A teacher can and will be rated poorly if his/her students do not show adequate growth. The system holds the teacher responsible for the success/failure of the students, but the students are not held accountable for their own actions. Pass or fail - it doesn't matter to the student. Pass or fail - means everything to the teacher including his or her job!

Is this the death of learning? It is absolutely the death of an educational system that I was once familiar with. Within a single year, I have watched our educational system make dramatic changes that will profound implications. You think teachers won't teach to the test more so now then ever? You think this new system will actually call out the bad teachers and not affect the good teachers?

What ever happened to learning? What happened to exploring new ideas, new topics, and new projects? When did the school year become a testing schedule of pre-tests, mid-year tests, post-tests, and state assessment tests? When are we supposed to teach? When are students supposed to learn?

How much is 40 points on a teacher evaluation really worth?

For those interested, please read Diane Ravitch's article No Student Left Untested, which can be viewed at:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No Shirt, No Shoes, No iPads

I received an email this afternoon from a colleague who wanted to share a story and raise a number of questions. 

A teacher just told me that someone she knows has a daughter who is part of the LPN program. The girl pays tuition because she is an adult. Well, they were asked to purchase a bunch of books and the girl did, but on her iPad. Well, when she went to class the teacher told her that she could not use it, that she needed the books. So, they had to re-purchase the books and a rolling suitcase to carry them around.

It's taken me a bit of time to wrap my head around this. I have found myself debating this situation as both a parent and as an educator. The parent side of me would have demanded to speak with the principal/director/supervisor. I would have raised hell for a lack of better words. Why can't my child use his/her iPad to access their textbook, class notes, etc.? What's the difference between the ebook and the regular textbook? Where in the syllabus does it say that the textbooks have to be actual printed textbooks? 

I can assume that the supervisor and or teacher would have begun pointing to various policies and procedures that have been set forth by the learning institutions. "We're sorry - such and such learning institution has a strict ban on student-owned technology devices in the classroom. This policy includes the use of cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices."

This drives me absolutely insane! In my opinion there is no reason why that student could not use his/her iPad to access the ebooks that they downloaded for his/her course. It's even more infuriating that this is a continuing education/adult education program and the instructor has an issue with another adult using his/her iPad to access their ebook.

This happens in continuing education programs; this happens in K12 public programs. Again, we expect our students to walk in, unplug, and go to class. Why? Why do we have to unplug? Why do we have to leave our computers, our tablets, our smartphones at home, in our lockers, in our bags? Why can't we download our textbooks onto our iPad, take notes on our laptops, and look up answers on our smartphone? 

Obviously, we need to have a plan in place. We need to figure out the particulars before allowing the students to stay plugged in. However, we should not limit our students from accessing technology - from learning! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Day of Encouragement/A Day of Frustration

What would your ideal classroom look like? Would it consist of several work stations? Maybe a full laptop cart? Would you like a closet full of iPads? What if we threw in a few iPod Touches? Obviously there would be WiFi access and an interactive whiteboard to top it off.

I discovered that classroom today - sitting empty.

It was frustrating. Here sat an ideal classroom environment geared for exploration, collaboration, and research going to waste. Unfortunately, those in charge focused on developing a fully integrated classroom without focusing on the classroom. And there sat their ideal classroom - empty.

The day was not a total loss though. Although the computer lab set relatively empty, there was a steady stream of teachers stopping in to ask questions, learn more about this or that, share what they have done with their classes, and discuss what they could do with their classes. We experimented with Moodle, took a look at Edmodo, and shared several lists of apps that we could install on those iPads sitting in the close.

So how do we get these teachers into the computer lab? How do we take their ideas and bring them to life? They obviously had all the tools in place, so what was missing? Why wasn't the lab being used?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Technologies vs. New Behaviors

I spend most days developing and facilitating professional development workshops focused on this device, that application, or a combination of something else. I develop projects that incorporate latest trends; I devise ways to implement and integrate applications into various classroom environments. I facilitate a multitude of workshops with a multitude of teachers in a multitude of districts. Such is the life of a Technology Integration Specialist.

And then I came across a recent blog entry by Dr. Scott McLeod on his site in which he shared the following quote:

Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies - it happens when society adopts new behaviors.  - Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, p. 160

Like myself, Dr. Scott McLeod, visits a number of schools. And he noted that "many schools that have new technologies, but not enough of them also have new behaviors.

And with those words the preverbal light bulb went off as these words rang so true to my own experiences.

We tend to focus on the technology. We tend to gear our instruction towards this application or that process without looking at the grander scale of the program. We want to integrate technology into the classroom without focusing on the classroom. We want to explore new ideas without addressing old ideas. We want to change the face of education, but we don't want to change how we teach.

Technology is part of the solution; it is not the sole solution. Rather than micromanaging the implementation of this or that, we need to think globally. What behaviors do we want our teachers to model in the classroom? What applications can we integrate to support that model? How would you structure your classroom - your building - your district to meet the demands of 21st century learning? What applications, programs, tools, training, resources do we need to make this dream a reality?

The success of new technology lays within the adaptation of new behaviors. It has been said that the whole is more than the sum of it's parts. We must address education as a whole if we are to succeed in the classroom. We must focus on the how if we expect to see success with the what.