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Global Education Conference 2017 #globaled17

Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon on episode 190 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, Global Education Conference co-chairs, talk about the Global Education Conference 2017 that runs from November 13-16. Go to to join in. Today we talk about the conference, what people can expect from the conference and how to sign up.

Listen Now


Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript

Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon for Global Education Conference

Link to show:
Date: Friday, November 10, 2017

Vicki: The Global Education Conference is here, November 13-16!

We have the two founders here with us today. My dear friends Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon are leading this conference.

So Steve, let’s start with you. What is the Global Education Conference?

What is the Global Education Conference?

Steve: Well it’s this massive online peer-to-peer opportunity for teachers, educators, administrators, and students to share with each other what they’re doing in terms of globally connecting and global education.

It started eight years ago. The first year was 2010. We just created this venue for anybody to come on and present — and for anybody else around the world 24 hours a day for several days — to watch those presentations. It’s just been a thrill since then.

Vicki: So Steve, people from all over the world can participate and join in, right?

Global Education Conference 2017 #globaled17

The Global Education Conference hosts live conversations about global education with people around the world. All sessions are recorded so you can access later. Join in!

Steve: Yeah, we have about 25,000 members in our Global Education Conference network, not all of whom will attend each year, but we have members from 170+ countries.

We have this really cool system for people to schedule their own session times based on what’s good for them, where they are in the world. So we have sessions around the clock, and they all get recorded because people can’t always watch at the same time that someone can present.

This year, we’ll have over a hundred presentations.

Vicki: It’s such a fabulous resource for those of us who want to collaborate globally.

And here’s the thing, teachers… There’s always something going on when you have time, and it’s the Global Education Conference, so there’s really no excuse when it comes down to schedule because there’s always something going on.

So, Lucy, give us some of the highlights from this year.

Highlights From This Year

Lucy: I’m really excited because we have about seventeen different keynotes that are addressing the conference from around the world, including one that’s going to be partially in English and partially in French. Another one will probably be in Spanish and maybe some English. I’m not sure yet.

So we’re trying to accommodate more languages, and I’m really excited about those, in particular.

I’m also thrilled about one particular presenter that I have come across who happens to be the creator and genius behind the “Carmen San Diego” PBS series from a number of years ago. He has worked as a technology entrepreneur in a variety of different fields related to children’s media. He has an organization that he’s looking to network with people about in terms of global education.

I had a conversation with him today, and I thought he was really interesting. His name is Howard Blumenthal.

All of the sessions are really top notch this year. Lots of different professionals from all over the Global Education space. There’s something for everyone.

Vicki: I love it, Lucy. I don’t know how y’all do it. But you are always digging out — like you said, new people that everybody hasn’t heard of — but you’re always digging out new amazing educators who are just doing great work every single day in their classrooms.

Lucy: Yes, we are.

One story that I can think of from the past that exemplifies this…

People Met Here and Become Partners

We had two people meet in our rooms a few years ago — Will Piper, who is at the University School of Milwaukee, and Pedro Aparicio, who is a teacher in Mexico City.

They started collaborating and they do all sorts of projects and are very good friends now. They keynoted for us a few years ago. But they originally met in our rooms. And I think really good global collaborations happen when you have a relationship with another person professionally.

Our conference gives you opportunities to meet those kinds of people, and hopefully, serendipity will take over and something will happen for the people who attend our conference as well.

Vicki: Lucy, that is really exciting. You’ve given us one example of things that happen. But what are some of the things that people who participate in the conference say about participating?

Lucy: One thing that I remember from the past was when we had Howard Gardner as a keynote, and his son Andrew (who is a friend of ours) interviewed him. People felt like they were up close and personal with Howard and his son. They felt like they had a front-row audience with experts that they would not normally have access to,

So it’s going to give you… It’s free, first of all. It’s online, so you don’t have to go anywhere, and you can attend in your pajamas if you want to, and it’s all recorded so that you can access it at any time afterward.

You’re going to find experts at the level of Howard Gardner, but you’re also going to find classroom teachers who are talking about projects and who are looking for partners in their projects as well.

You also will hear from organizations who have lots of global education programming and support for schools out there.

Obstacles that Educators are Trying to Overcome Now

Vicki: So either of you can answer this one. As you’re planning the conference, what are some of the biggest obstacles and challenges that educators are trying to overcome right now in global education?

Steve: Lucy’s really the expert here. Lucy’s got the gift both with the keynote presenters and sort of the “feel” of the global event. For sure we hear from people that they have trouble finding someone else to collaborate with.

While you’re definitely there to hear the interesting presentations and the keynote speakers, a lot of the collaboration takes place in the Chat Room during sessions. So there’s this enormous amount of back-and-forth between people who are all over the world who are watching a session and then collaborating with each other. And that’s kind of the magic of it.

If you go up one tier level, the people who’ve been for several years and get kind of comfortable, they become volunteers and they help to moderate and coordinate. They have the best experience of all because here they are from all around the world working together to help make sure the conference goes well.

The answer to your question, what I hear is that people are looking for someone, and they need someone to collaborate with.

Lucy, do you want to expand on that?

We Have an Amazing Community

Lucy: Yeah. I’ll say that I think we have a really nice community. We have people who come back year after year to volunteer and moderate sessions, or to attend, or to do both. I think that there’s been more collegiality between people as a result, if it’s possible to do that virtually. I think there’s more awareness of the different organizations and resources that are out there.

You know, originally when we started this, I felt like the space was a little segmented. The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing in terms of organizations and that sort of thing. Here, we provide an umbrella for these people and these organizations to network and to learn from each other.

The other thing I want to add, too, which is somewhat related is, we’re ed tech people first… and the global collaboration piece second. There are other people who have been working in the global education space much longer that we have. This movement is nothing new. It’s interesting to us, like, “How do we push the conversation further?” We think that technology helps that happen, and that’s what our event does.

But we’re also perplexed by why this isn’t more of a priority in schools. So there will be a panel with a bunch of these people who’ve been in this space for a while, on Monday afternoon of the conference, discussing what are some of the issues that keep schools from making it a priority to develop global competence in their students.

How Do People Join or Sign Up?

Vicki: How do people join in? How do they sign up?

Steve: You go to You can join the network there. To participate in the actual conference, we also have you register through an Eventbrite link that’s on the front of the website. But again, everything is free and there’s lots of good information.

If anything, there’s too much information, too many good things going on. But just look for the registration link on the front page. Then you’ll get an email from us that has the schedule.

The fun of it is that the schedule pulls in 28 time zones; there are actually 36 or 37 time zones, but we only track a certain number of them. But you click into your own time zone. You’ll see the sessions that are running. You’ll see the session rooms, and it’s really a lot of fun.

Vicki: Is there a hashtag for it?

Steve: Lucy’s our social media guru…

Lucy: Yes there is. It’s hashtag is #globaled17. We use that year-round for this event and the other events that we run at Our handle for Twitter is @globaledcon.

Why Should Educators Start Connecting Globally?

Vicki: So let’s finish up. If each of you could give a quick 20-30 second pep talk on why educators should start connecting globally. Lucy, you want to start?

Lucy: Sure. I think it’s really important to connect and collaborate globally for a number of reasons.

On a practical side, the ISTE Standards that have been recently revised for students and teachers call for this. So we’ve provided venue for you to kind of find those people to collaborate with and develop those kind of relationships that are necessary for it.

From an educational standpoint, I think there has never been a greater need to develop empathy and understanding of the world in order to solve problems across borders.

So that’s why I think it’s really important for teachers to foster this kind of mentality in their students so that they’re curious about the world and want to be active global citizens.

Vicki: Steve?

Steve: Lucy addressed the practical and the educational. For me, it’s a deep passion belief in the value of and the importance of global in our own personal learning. I lived in Brazil for a year as an exchange student, and I can’t imagine my life without that experience of seeing the world through others’ eyes — and then a lifetime of connecting in other ways. If we really think about learning, and the core learning that we do, especially in this era, it’s hard to imagine us being good learners without an understanding of how other people think and act.

Vicki: That is so true. Here’s the thing — we can talk all day about other places. But when students connect, they live it. They understand it.

How can you change a worldview when students can’t travel? You can take them and travel digitally to other places.

So many powerful ideas. Register at, and join in! Bring these remarkable experiences to your classroom!

Bio as submitted

Currently an education consultant advising a variety of organizations, Lucy Gray previously taught elementary grade levels in Chicago Public Schools and middle school computer science at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She also has worked at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute and the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. In 2007, Lucy founded the Global Education Collaborative, a network for educators interested in collaboration which has been expanded into the Global Education Conference Network. In her consulting life, she has led CoSN’s Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative, developed strategic plans and content for companies, provided professional development coaching to school districts, and presented at numerous conferences. Lucy also has received the distinctions of Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator.

Twitter: @elemenous

Professional Information: I am the founder and director of the Learning Revolution Project, the host of the Future of Education interview series, and founded and chair or co-chair of a number of annual worldwide virtual events, including the Global Education Conference and Library 2.0.

I pioneered the use of live, virtual (and peer-to-peer) education conferences, popularized the idea of education “unconferences,” built one of the first modern social networks for teachers in 2007 (Classroom 2.0), and developed the “conditions of learning” exercise for local change. I supported and encouraged the development of thousands of other education networks, particularly for professional development. For the last ten years, I’ve run a large annual ed-tech unconference, now called Hack Education (previously EduBloggerCon). I blog, speak, and consult on educational technology, and my virtual and physical events build community and connections in education, with 550,000 members.

My newest project is an online summit on Tiny Houses. I host a local tiny house group with over 2,000 members, and my son and his wife and I (mostly them) have been building a skoolie.

I have been the Emerging Technologies Chair for ISTE, a regular co-host of the annual Edublog Awards, the author of “Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education,” and the recipient of the 2010 Technology in Learning Leadership Award (CUE). I have done contract work, consulted, or served on advisory boards for Acer, Adobe, Blackboard, CoSN, Horizon Project / New Media Consortium (NMC), Instructure, Intel, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, MERLOT, Microsoft, Mightybell, Ning, PBS, Promethean, Speak Up / Project Tomorrow, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. State Department, and others typically focusing on educational technology and social networking. A number of corporations and organizations support my events, and you can see a list and more details of my projects at Web 2.0 Labs.

Personal Information: I was a foreign-exchange student through AFS to Brazil for a year in high school, and organized and led group tours for several years as my first job after college for Stanford’s Alumni Association. I spent 2013 traveling around the world talking to people about education. I have the skin disorder Vitiligo and created the world’s largest social network for those with Vitiligo at as well as the site. I also run a network for members of the extended Hargadon family–Hargadon is an Irish name, and all Hargadons come from Sligo. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and a student of different cultures, religions, and beliefs. I co-founded Asheville Interfaith and an annual exhibit of Nativity sets from around the world.


Twitter: @stevehargadon

The post Global Education Conference 2017 #globaled17 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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Book Creator for Chrome: Product Review, Tips and Tricks for Teachers

Sponsored by Book Creator, All Opinions My Own

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Book Creator has long been a favorite app on the iPad, and now it’s available for Google Chrome. Students who use Chromebooks, PCs, Macs, iPads, or any other device can now create books with this versatile, easy-to-use app.

Post sponsored by Book Creator. All opinions my own.

Right now, my students are creating books about their heroes. We’ve been using Joseph Campbell’s model of “the hero’s journey” in our class, and each of my students will be creating a six-page book on his or her hero. They’ll be adding photographs, videos, audio and text about their hero.

Standards: I’m using this project as a summary of all the graphic design lessons that I’ve taught my students, everything from color to fonts. I’m expecting them to use these principles in their books, but I’m also hoping that they’ll create a great keepsake commemorating why their hero is so special to them. Many of my students have chosen to write about their parents or grandparents, so the results could (and should) be outstanding.

Book creator covers

Students are loving writing their own books for the world with book creator. So excited!

Interactivity: Book Creator is different from many other tools because you can actually record your voice with it, as well as linking to videos in these fully interactive books. Kids can create them in a snap and use them as portfolios of their work.

Collaboration: With a click of a button, we can combine the books and publish them as a class. So when this project is over, each of my students can proudly point to their work in a combined book called The Book of Heroes.

Audience: Remember that audience improves student learning—nobody wants to do wastebasket work. Students will be able to download their books as PDFs and print them. They can also send them as eBooks that people can read on their mobile devices or computers. They’ll be able to do this with their individual books as well as with the class hero anthology.

Book Creator Features

Some of my favorite features include:

  • Many different book sizes
  • A range of styles from traditional books to comic books
  • Each classroom gets 40 free books
  • Customizable font, colors, shapes, and background images
  • Ability to add video and audio (Note: these won’t be interactive when you print, but they’re powerful additions to the 21st-century book.)

How Does Book Creator Work?

I made the above tutorial to show you how to set up Book Creator, but honestly, you don’t really need it. All you have to do is go to the Book Creator landing page and click the “I am a teacher” button. They’ll set you up with a free teacher account, and you’ll be ready to go! You’ll have your 40 free books, and you’ll also get a demo book that will guide you through using Book Creator. Just follow the instructions in the book, and you’ll know what to do.

The demo book is a great place to practice—you can’t hurt anything, and everyone gets their own individual little practice book. Call this a sandbox, and let them play there to learn about all of Book Creator’s features.

Possibly the best way to introduce students to this tool is by having them understand that they can put their best work on display for people to look at. Kids want an audience, and Book Creator for Chrome gives us that. This fantastic addition to your class lets students create audience-facing works for authentic assessment that can also be keepsakes from their year in your classroom.

Book Creator classroom library

Here’s a class library for an elementary classroom. Book Creator is an awesome tool for classrooms of all ages. From my high school classroom to this elementary classroom.

Vint Cerf, one of the “fathers” of the internet, often talks about something called “bit rot.” We put so much online yet we’re not really making an effort to preserve it.

Well, Book Creator is a great way to preserve student work because you can print these books to create an archive. However, you can still keep them in easy digital reach on your phones, digital ebook reader, or any electronic device. This tool is the best of both worlds.

Who Can Use Book Creator?

Book Creator is perfect for kids of all ages. I’ve seen books made by kindergarteners, college students, and special needs kids. I’ve mentioned it in many of my podcasts, and I’m excited that such a useful, versatile app is coming to Chrome.

Get started. So set up your Book Creator for Chrome today, and tweet me a link to your books when you get them done.

Privacy Settings. Remember that the privacy settings can be adjusted. You can have the students see just their own book and share them only with you. But after you’re done with the project, it’s possible to share these books with others—and even publicly if you choose.

As the teacher, I can publish the books I choose to share and that have parent permission.

Let your students’ imagination and expertise run wild. Give them a chance to proudly own their work. See what they can create when they know their work truly matters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post Book Creator for Chrome: Product Review, Tips and Tricks for Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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Different Schools for a Different World

Dr. Scott McLeod on episode 189 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Scott McLeod, co-author of Different Schools for a Different World, has a frank conversation about the change that needs to happen, how long it will take to happen, and the next steps for promoting creativity in schools.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to to learn more. Good luck!

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript

Improving Schools By Killing Boredom and Promoting Deeper Learning

Link to show:
Date: November 9, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking to my friend, Dr. Scott McLeod @mcleod about his new book, Different Schools for Different Worlds, that he co-authored with Dean Shareski.

Now, Scott, what are some of the things that you think are preventing kids from learning?

What is preventing kids from learning?

Scott: I think they’re bored out of their minds, most of the time. I think that we see that manifest physically, in terms of those kids who are chronically absent, tardy, those who drop out, etc.

But then there’s the ones who are compliant and show up, but they’re mentally checked out. I think that’s probably our biggest failure to powerful learning right now.

Vicki: But there are some people who would say, “Kids have been bored forever. I was bored when I was a kid, and it didn’t hurt me.” Well, what do you say to that?

Scott: (laughs) Well, again they’re compliant, but I don’t know if they’re learning much. If you ask most of those people how much they remember, or what kind of powerful learning they experienced when they were in school, they often struggle to articulate what that looked like.

Vicki: OK, so what do we do to tackle this problem?

Scott: So, I think we can do a couple things. Obviously, schools as systemic structures need to change quite a bit.

4 Big Shifts in Schools

I’ve been trying to talk to schools about four big shifts:

  1. The shift from low-level recall and regurgitation to deeper learning,
  2. The shift from teacher-directed to greater student agency,
  3. The shift from isolated-disconnected classroom work to more real-world authentic work,
  4. And then finally, using technology in robust ways to facilitate those first three.

Those four shifts seem to resonate with folks because they have seen the power of those, at least in small doses within their systems.

Vicki: They do resonate. They make sense. Why is it so hard to make those shifts?

Scott: (laughs) Because schools have incredible inertia, and they were set up for a different time. Right? So Lauren Resnick, who did this wonderful study for the federal government, said that our schools were never designed to prepare large numbers of critical thinkers and problem solvers — which is exactly what we need now.

They were designed to prepare a large number of compliant people who would go into the basically automatable-type manufacturing jobs and office jobs, where they were basically a replaceable cog in the wheel.

Now, all of a sudden, for a variety of reasons, we need kids who can do that higher level, complex, analytical, interpersonal work.

Schools were never designed to do that, so we basically have this massive paradigm shift that we’ve got to figure out how to go through. Right now, we’re in that transition period.

Vicki: We are. Now we have of course the ESSA Act here in the US that lets states have different measures. So we’re talking about wanting to scale creativity. If lawmakers or policymakers ask us, how do we measure that?

How can we adopt creativity standards that are scalable and translate between schools?

We know, for example, say we did portfolios. You know, it’s really hard to have a standard measure of portfolios between schools. How can we measure and encourage and create an environment where we have creativity?

Scott: Right. Well, we went down this road before, right? We saw some movement in the 80’s and 90’s around portfolio development, around performance assessment, and other sorts of indicators of authentic work. We were figuring out ways to scale that up at the state level.

And then, when No Child Left Behind came along, it kind of cut all that off at the knees.

We’re sort of returning to that loop now, rediscovering what we had started to make progress on before, figuring out to make that happen.

You know we have a number of states, particularly in the New England, that are figuring out some kind of competency-based student exhibition or portfolio requirements as necessary for graduation.

One of the more interesting initiatives that we’re seeing is coming out of New York, a consortium of schools called the New York Performance Assessment Consortium. That’s gotten some waivers from the state department, where they’re trying to figure out what common performance assessments look like across districts. These could be used for assessment purposes.

So, there are lots of sort of interesting things happening.

Vicki: In other words, we’re just not there yet.

The Frustration of Transition

Scott: No, no, no. We’re in this massive, messy, transition period that’s going to take much longer than you and I want it to. It will probably be a decade or two or more before it all shakes out.

Vicki: But what about all these kids now? Doesn’t every child deserve to have the opportunity to be more creative and innovative and — to invent and to make and to have deeper learning?

Scott: Absolutely. You and I feel and urgency around that. Other folks either don’t feel that urgency, or at least have some inkling that that’s the direction we need to go, but they don’t have any ideas of how to accomplish that.

Vicki: Oh… but I don’t want to feel hopeless, Scott.

Scott: I’m not hopeless. I’m just trying to feel more patient. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs) Good luck with that! You know, these children are just here. They’re now. I just think that we can do better.

How many years do we have to wait, with people saying, “But they have to take the test.” I mean, really. How long do we have to live this?

Scott: Well, until we gain critical mindset with our communities… and our educators and our policymakers… we’re going to have to wait a while.

Unfortunately, systems change slowly.

It’s easy to change at the individual level, right? You and I can make a mental shift, garner some resources, and go. But getting while systems to move is a whole ‘nother matter.

So, yes, I feel that urgency like you do. I battle it every day, and I try to find ways to “infect” people with different kinds of urgencies and mindsets. But the reality is that it’s going to take some time.

Vicki: OK, so let’s look at this one about student agency. Do you have some best practices and thoughts for really helping improve student agency in their own education?

Scott: Yes. My colleague Julie Graber @jgraber and I created a technology integration protocol. It has this horrible name called Trudacot. But it has a set of questions around agency that we’ve been having a lot of success with, with classroom teachers. Basically, the idea is that if the teacher has the interest or goal of increasing student agency in the day-to-day work, or maybe for a particular lesson or unit, there’s a set of questions that you can ask yourself about how you’re doing that or accomplishing that purpose. And it’s basic questions, like:

  • Who gets to decide what is learned?
  • Who gets to decide how it’s learned?
  • Who gets to decide what the work product is, and how it’s assessed?
  • Who gets to pick the technology?
  • Who’s the primary user of the technology?
  • Do students have the ability to be entrepreneurial, self-directed, and go beyond?

Questions like that, right?

  • Read about Trudacot and use it to evaluate your classroom

And so if your answers are always, “Teacher, teacher, teacher,” then what we’re doing is we’re using those same questions as pivot points for redesign.

So we’re saying to teachers, “OK, so you have this goal of student agency, and you have this unit in mind. Right now, your answers are primarily, ‘Teacher, teacher, teacher…” or “No, no, no, whatever…”

What if we took this question around, “Who gets to decide what the student work product looks like?” What if you wanted the answer to be “Student” instead? How would you redesign this to get there?

What if you wanted to take that question around, “Do students have the opportunity to be self-directed and go beyond?” Right now the answer is “No.” What would the lens look like where the answer was “Yes.” How would you redesign this to get there?

And we’re having great conversations with teachers around what seemed like fairly basic questions, but it’s the structured process of it that I think really moves them in desired directions.

How do we make to the change to deeper learning?

Vicki: So one more. We don’t have time to go deep into all of these, but “Deeper Learning…” How do we make that shift? And I know you can’t give that answer in a minute, but just point us in a direction.

Scott: Sure. I think we’re starting to make some movements in this direction. We’re just not there yet.

We’re looking at,

  • What kind of questions are we asking?
  • Are they of greater cognitive complexity?
  • Are we asking students to do meaningful, real-world tasks that require students to apply what they’re learning in new directions and at new depths?

Anything that gets us beyond the regurgitative multiple-choice item or fill-in-the-blank item — is all good.

Vicki: Yes, beyond regurgitative multiple choice, because you know many years ago… I can’t remember who it was that was on Facebook. I think it was Alec Couros. He asked, “What did you used to think about education that you found is not true?

Pretending that test measure learning

When I first got in, I thought that the tests actually meant something — until I realized that the kids actually forgot it the day after. Then I started doing projects. Years later, even now that they’re in their twenties and dare I say some are in their thirties, they come back to me and talk to me about these projects and concepts that they’ve applied in their real life.

And I’m like, “Oh yeah. That was teaching. Right?”

Scott: Yeah. I continue to be baffled by the game playing that we all engage in where we pretend that students care about and remember the thing we covered four weeks ago.

Vicki: And I would say that that is somewhat of a game. And do they understand it, or do they just memorize it?

Scott: Yeah. And they don’t even hang onto it for very long. Right? Nut in this pressure to cover stuff, we know in our hearts that they don’t remember and hang onto this, but we continue to proceed as if they do.

Vicki: Yeah. So I think that Scott’s blog — every time I talk to hi, I’m like, “Yep. His blog’s named well, ‘Dangerously Relevant’ because he is an instigator, a question asker. I hope that we all feel a little unsettled and dissatisfied because we can never be complacent.

I think the enemy is complacency and stagnancy. We need to make progress for these children. How can we scale creativity? I mean, that is what we need to have in our world today, particularly in more developed countries. We need that creativity.

This has been a fantastic conversation. I hope that you’ll take a look at the Shownotes and follow the links.

I’m definitely going to be asking some of these agency questions, Scott!

Scott: Cool. Thanks, Vicki. I’ll get you a copy of the whole protocol. Maybe you can share that, too.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

An Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Colorado Denver, Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on P-12 school technology leadership issues. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only university center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators.

Blog: dangerously ! irrelevant

Twitter: @mcleod

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Different Schools for a Different World appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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Personalizing the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model

Mark Engstrom, Episode 188 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mark Engstrom shares a personalized model for learning that he calls the “Learning Journey Model.” After students accomplish a core competency, they personalize their learning journey much like the “game of LIFE” board game.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now





Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript

Improving the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model

Link to show:
Date: November 8, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking to Mark Engstrom @markaengstrom Head of Middle School and Upper School at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas.

The Learning Journey Model

Mark, you are passionate about helping students have control over their learning. Give me an example. What do your students do?

Mark: So… my students know which components of my classes are foundational and what components are collaborative, what components they will have choice on and what they’ll get to choose from when it’s time for assessments.

I think of the Learning Journey more like the game of life and less like a traditional syllabus where teachers dictate what’s going to be taught, when it’s going to be taught, how you’ll be graded, how you’ll be penalized, the resources you have to use. I prefer to give kids a path, and let them choose from within that path what works best for them.

Vicki: OK, did you say that they get to choose their assessment?

Assessment in a Personalized Classroom

Mark: So they do get to choose. They have a variety of passion-based projects they get to pick from. Within the assessments, there are six questions, and they do three of them. They have five different chances to take the assessment, so the idea is that there’s choice within the assessment, and there’s choice about when they want to take the assessment.

Vicki: Okay, so are all the assessment tests, or do you assess other ways?

Mark: I assess in other ways as well. We’ve got MAP quizzes, we’ve got content-based knowledge assessments, so there are some other some other ways.

Vicki: OK, so there are some teachers sitting here saying, “OK, so you’re coming up with four different ways to assess? That sounds like a whole lot of work!”

Mark: It is! But once you get your kids trained to sort of think, “OK. I’m learning for learning’s sake. I’m going to be assessed in a whole bunch of different ways, and I will have choices,” then they are really feeling empowered.

It becomes less about “playing school” and more about, “How much can I learn? What more can I learn? What don’t I know? Who can help me? Where can I go online to get better? Who in the class can help me? What do I need to ask the teacher?” It makes them the agents of their own learning, and it is fantastic!

Vicki: Do you have a learning management system that helps you keep up with all this?

How does this relate to your Learning Management System?

Mark: We do. It’s called PowerSchool. The reality is that it’s a round-peg-square-hole kind of situation, because I don’t want to manage their learning. I want to inspire them, I want to spark inquiry, I want to answer their questions, I want to give them resources. So the whole idea of a learning management system? I just think it’s flawed. We shouldn’t be managing their learning, we should be sparking it.

Vicki: OK, but you use that to track it and hold it all together? I use PowerSchool Learning as well. I think I’d have to say that they do sponsor some of the work that I do, so I do have to say that.

So, OK. So what class in particular… You’re Head of School, but are you also teaching a class, or is this the model in all of the classrooms for your students?

Mark: So I’m the Head of our Middle and Upper School. We’ve got a Head of School who’s in charge of the kit and kaboodle of Pre-K through 12. So, in my two divisions, Middle and Upper School, we’ve got five classes that now use the Learning Journey model.

Vicki: OK. So is this something that you invented, or where’d you find it?

Mark: I went to some professional development that made me rethink the way we do school. And I kind of landed on the Game of Life that I wanted to use. So, yeah, I came up with it.

Vicki: OK. And we’ll share in the Shownotes , you’ve got some infographics about how you structure your syllabus. (See above.) You completely changed the syllabi for these courses, haven’t you?

Mark: Correct. Can I just talk a little bit about how the Learning Journey works, so it’s clear to people?

Vicki: Yeah! Help us

Mark: So, if you’re looking at the infographic, (see above) basically the top left is Goal Setting. You can follow the white arrows all the way down. It kind of forms maybe two “S”-shapes. Along the way, there’s Artifacts and Reflections and Goal Setting. Kids are always thinking about, “What did I do that’s awesome?” or “What did I do where I struggled?” or “What do I do when I want to do it better?”

And “What did I do that was collaborative? Where can I get an artifact that sort of encapsulates this segment of my learning?”

And then they write a little paragraph about it. I comment on that.

So it’s not just about the learning. I tell kids, “The hidden curriculum is YOU.”

We talk about geography, and I care about geography. But what I really care about is, “What are you learning about how you learn best?”

And so, the first part is foundational learning. That’s the blue part. In every class around the world, teachers could identify the non-negotiable pieces that lay the foundation for deeper thoughts. Those pieces are in my Foundational Learning segment.

Then there’s Collaborative Learning, which looks like what you would imagine it should look like for any collaborative project.

Then we move into a personal segment where they do a Passion-Based Learning Project.

The final segment of the class is getting ready for the assessments.

Vicki: Are all the kids operating at a different speed?

How the personalized approach works

Mark: We work on trimesters. The first trimester we kind of all go at the same pace. But then in the second and third, I really let them loose. Some kids really fly, and you realize that they’ve been shackled by the traditional methods of teaching and whole-class instruction. And it is awesome to see kids just take off on their learning.

Vicki: What happens, though, when you have some people who’ve covered a lot more material than others, and then you go back to this, “OK, these folks have class rank.”

Class Rank and Traditional Grading in this model

Is it fair if somebody covers eight more chapters than somebody else?

Mark: What do you mean by “class rank”?

Vicki: Well, in high school, do you have first, second, third, fourth in your class, or do you not do that at your school?

Mark: We have to do that for the state of Texas, because it affects admissions policies. But other than that, we don’t need to.

I mean, I see your point. There are kids who go above and beyond. But this isn’t a system that’s geared to satisfy other components of traditional education.

Vicki: Ahhhhhh….

Mark: I’m trying to drill down to what does research say about agency? Like if you look at Daniel Pink, Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose… the Learning Journey is full of autonomy and purpose options. That’s kind of the driving force.

Vicki: So… you… are just reinventing school!

Mark: That’s what we’re trying to do.

Vicki: Do you get any pushback?

What pushback do you get with the Learning Journey model?

Mark: I’ve presented this at conferences before, and I’ve written about this. Some people will write in and say, “Wow, that’s great!” But I get very few people who actually want to jump in. I think right now there aren’t enough incentives for teachers to take the time to overhaul their class. Whether their principal wouldn’t appreciate it, or they team teach with people who aren’t interested — I just think there aren’t enough incentives out there right now.

But I would say that any teacher out there, who’s really looking to get re-energized around student learning and the experiences that they’re offering their kids? They’re more than welcome to reach out to me. I’m on Twitter, and I’d be happy to talk through the first couple steps of the Learning Journey.

Vicki: Mark, the truth is that we’re going to end up where you are at some point. We can either aggressively go after it and become part of the change, or the change can be done to us.

You’re either a victim or a victor when you’re dealing with change.

This whole personalized learning approach is really where we’re moving. I mean, would you agree with that or disagree with that?

Mark: Amen. I think you’re spot on.

30-second elevator pitch for the Learning Journey model

Vicki: But it’s just hard. I’m trying to get my arms around it. What do you think… If you were stuck in an elevator with someone who was in charge of the curriculum for one of the biggest districts in the country, and you had one minute to sell this approach of the Learning Journey model. What would you say?

Mark: I’d probably start by asking them, “What’s the number one thing they want to change about student learning in their school district?”

And, depending on their answer, I would chime in that there are different parts of learning journeys, or personalized learning, or digital tools that can accomplish what they’re hoping to accomplish.

And if I had a whiteboard or my infographic at the ready, I would kind of walk them through how the Game of Life — which allowed you to make choices about going to college, having a wife and family, investing in stocks — I mean, that same sort of board game path is applicable to giving students agency over what they want to learn and how they want to learn.

Vicki: So what’s your greatest, “AHA!” moment from this whole process?

Greatest Aha Moment

Mark: ASo I think the “AHA!” moment is that we don’t need to move students through the old industrial model of teaching. It’s easy to do flipped class learning and see how that works. It’s easy to do Project-Based Learning and see how that works. But all of those things feel to me like piecemeal or part of the answer. Whereas I hope the Learning Journey is more of a holistic approach to giving students control. I think that would be my “AHA!” moment.

Vicki: What do you think is the biggest mistake you’ve made in this journey?

Mistake in Personalizing Learning

Mark: The first step I made was to get rid of all content as a requirement. I gave kids too much choice to start. I got a lot of pushback from parents saying, “We don’t know what to study.”

I wish I hadn’t started there. I wish I had started smaller, and given kids choice and trimmed back the content instead of giving them total choice over what they study.

After the Foundational Learning piece of the journey, they really do have total control. So I’ll have some students who only do politics. Or only do environmental stuff. Or only do economics. And I didn’t do that well the first time.

Vicki: I love that you admit — I think that this is important for the transparency — saying, “This is what I did right, This is what I did wrong.”

Your Learning Journey model really is a journey, for you.

Educators, you’re definitely going to want to check the Shownotes for the infographics and the links to Mark’s site.

We love to feature brave, remarkable educators on the 10-Minute Teacher to really provoke your thinking. This is the direction that I think that we’re all going to be heading.

It sounds complicated. It sounds hard.

But I’ll tell you this — we cannot let the fact that something is challenging keep us from doing it, because we’re talking about lives here.

If it works, we need to consider it.

So let’s take a look at the Learning Journey model, and see what we can learn from it.


Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Mark Engstrom is an Educational Consultant, Blended Learning Designer and the Head of MS/US at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. He has presented on digital and personalized learning through Independent School Management, Association of American Schools in South America and Association of International Schools in Africa. He has also written for EdSurge, Getting Smart and Teachers Matter. He has helped teachers from all over the world make learning more engaging for their students. Feel free to connect through Twitter @markaengstrom


Author of

Blending Alone-

Redesigning the syllabus to reflect the learning journey-

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Personalizing the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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10 Ways to Personalize Learning for Students

sponsored by Texthelp

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Students, you can get help. No, I’m not talking about cheating, I’m talking about understanding the technology tools that can help you earn a better grade. Artificial intelligence is available in many forms. Here are some of the best helpers for you. This blog post also comes with an infographic (PDF) that you can print and use to figure out tools to help you in your studies.

This post is sponsored by Texthelp. All opinions are my own. To get links to all of these sites and information on installing Read&Write, download this handy infographic.

1. Pick a Digital Notebook

Taking notes is not what it used to be. You can still use a standard notebook, but digital notebooks make a lot of sense, too. You take pictures of your notes and what the teacher wrote on the board. You can even record in-class audio or video and then find it easily. (All those pictures on your smartphone’s camera roll just get lost.)

Here are three digital notebook choices. What you pick depends upon what your school uses. Here are my favorites:

  • Microsoft OneNote: You can take notes collaboratively on any device.
  • Google Keep: If you’re a Google school or have a Chromebook, this might be for you.
  • Evernote: This is a bit fancier but will work if you don’t need to write collaborative notes.

2. Learn to Voice Type

Voice typing means dictating into a device which turns your audio into text. You can use it on your Mac or PC as well as in Google Docs. However, you do have to learn how to speak your punctuation. So make sure you know understand voice typing before turning on this feature.

3. Read&Write

This “Swiss Army knife” artificial intelligence learning assistant can do so much. Here are a few features of Read&Write from TextHelp:

  • Its text-to-speech tool reads web pages, emails, and documents out loud.
  • It can highlight, research and collect notes.
  • It defines words and makes a personal word dictionary.
  • It includes a speech input feature for the web similar to Google’s Voice typing – it even works in Google forms (pro version).
Texthelp Read Write toolbar

Many of the graphics in this post are from a powerful infographic you can print for your classroom. Go to  to download this free infographic (and learn how to get the Read&Write toolbar while you are there.)

4. Editing Helpers

Get familiar with editing tools and select several “go to” tools. Grammarly is free in Chrome and will check basic spelling. If you want more advanced checks, Pro Writing Aid is free for documents of one thousand words or less. Hemingway Editor is one of the easiest-to-use apps for simplifying text. It will color the words for you and help you get rid of run-on sentences. Students should always spell check every document, discussion post, and communication with a teacher.

Grammarly Pro Writing Aid and Hemingway App

5. Rewordify

Have you read something online that was hard to understand? With Rewordify, you can reset a web page’s reading level so that it’s easier to understand. While this approach isn’t perfect, it can make reading comprehension easier. This is great for research so that you can easily understand what you need to explain in a paper or report.

Rewordify Student helper

Rewordify can simplify text that students are struggling to understand.

6. Build a Math Toolkit

Understand how to get help for your math classroom. First, students should know how to properly use Wolfram Alpha. Not only is this a handy site for facts and figures of all kinds (very helpful for history reports), but if you type in a math problem, it will show you step-by-step solutions for them.

EquatIO is a fantastic help for students writing formulae.

EquatIO® is a fantastic tool for writing math formulae digitally. You can type, dictate or handwrite your equations easily, and EquatIO will insert it into your document with a click. It even has a collaborative space, EquatIO mathspace, where you can work on math problems with others and show your thinking through freehand sketches and notes.  What’s more, it integrates with Read&Write so you can have math read back to you. If you’re struggling with a concept, Khan Academy has some excellent math tutorials.

student tools math helpers

7. Learn to Screencast

Teachers are asking students to make movies and screencast, but few of them teach you how. If you have a PC, the easiest screencasting tool is the free Office Mix download for PowerPoint. You can add videos, photos, screen recordings, text, and even animations like a regular PowerPoint. Additionally, the Mix button lets you record your voice and even draw on the screen. With one click, you can “save as movie” and then send it to your teacher.

If you want to add your voice to an already-made movie, try Edpuzzle. If you just want a simple screencast, Screencastify is a great tool. If you’re having a problem with a website, record a quick screencast and send it to your teacher.

8. Flashcard Makers

Memorization is still part of what you do as a student, so flashcard makers like Quizlet or Quizziz can be a big help. Sometimes your flashcards are already made, although you’ll often learn better if you make them yourself. These apps also quiz you in different formats. They often let you make your own practice quizzes and take them. Use the app on your phone to review anywhere and any time instead of waiting to cram the night before a test.

smartphone student personal secretary

9. Your Smartphone

Your smartphone should be your personal secretary. Some essential things to learn how to do on your smartphone are:

  • How to add reminders (with your voice if possible)
  • How to add calendar events with reminders
  • The school grade book app (set up notifications for when new grades are posted)
  • Your school email
  • Your digital notebook (See #1)
  • Digital flashcards (See #8)

10. Learn to Block Out Distractions

Despite what you might think, multitasking is a myth. Many students struggle with distractions. If you’re not using your smartphone for studying or if you just can’t get off Snapchat, put your phone up. If you’re trying to focus on a massive project, consider deleting Snapchat (don’t worry, you won’t lose your friends!) or whichever app is a problem for you.

If you’re using the computer, StayFocusd will help block out distractions. If you feel like you’re wasting time, RescueTime not only blocks unnecessary sites but also tells you how you’re using your time on the computer.

To get links to all of these sites and information on this blog, download this handy infographic

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post 10 Ways to Personalize Learning for Students appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers

Lisa Scumpieru on episode 187 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lisa Scumpieru, 10th-grade Literature Teacher, gives us a crash course in Hyperdocs. She shares lesson plans, ideas, and tips for getting started quickly without hassle

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now


Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript

Hyperdocs: How to and Success Tips for Teachers

Vicki: Today we have Lisa Scumpieru @LScumpieru, who’s a first grade English teacher from Maryland, and we’re talking Hyperdocs.

What are Hyperdocs?

Lisa: Hyperdocs are normally a doc or slide that you build for the students. They give an ability for the students to work collaboratively. They can then work through the topic or problem at their own pace and you can give them choices within it so that they can evolve around that central question or concept or problem.

Vicki: Okay so how is this different from just a normal doc? Is it that you’re giving them an assignment? Is it an activity? Are you making templates for them? Do they each have their own personal copy? What’s it like?

Lisa: Well, usually what they do is when somebody builds one, you have the introduction for the students. It gives him some background information. When I used to teach it, I used to almost do the same thing I do in a Hyperdoc in a lesson. I would give them some background information. Sometimes in the Hyperdoc then, you can do like a flipped classroom type of thing, where they can access the Hyperdoc. They watch something prior to coming to class, and then they can do something with it.

They can reflect on it. They can prepare some questions for the actual class. Then when the teacher has them go through the Hyperdoc, they’re basically walking them through the learning process, so that students…

For my type of teaching now, I don’t do a lot of “sage on the stage,” talking the entire time. I walk around and I make sure that they’re not confused, that they don’t have questions. But I’m more of a facilitator, making sure that they understand what’s going on. That Hyperdoc helps them through it, because it goes from where they’re just beginning to be introduced to the topic. Then they delve into the topic. And we even have things at the end of Hyperdocs, usually, that are extensions.

Vicki: OK, so is it like… I learned to use a learning management system. And i’ll have these long pages. So is it almost like somebody’s in Google Classroom, and the doc is like a page or a webpage you would have in your LMS? Or are kids actually editing and writing on the page?

How Do HyperDocs compare to a Learning Management System

Lisa: They can edit and write on the page. Now, what I do is in Google Classroom, I will give them the Hyperdoc, and then I will make a copy for each student. Then they’re able to access the material that I want them to. Maybe, let’s say on the left. Then on the right, they have an opportunity to either take notes or reflect, or with a Hyperdoc what’s nice is that they have the things hyperlinked for the students.

So they’re only going to one doc, but everything is hyperlinked the videos, the other activities they have to do, the choices that they have — whether they do an iMovie or a FlipGrid or they go to a GoFormative — everything is in one. They see the process and where it’s leading to, and they see the end before they get to it, so they feel a little more confident about what they’re doing.

Vicki: Can you give me an example of a recent Hyperdoc lesson?

A recent Hyperdoc Lesson in Lisa’s Classroom

Lisa: Yeah. So today I teach tenth graders, and they had a narrative that they’re writing. I made a Hyperdoc for them to make it easier for them. I told them that we were going to “Mad Man Write,” which is just writing really quickly something down for 15 minutes and seeing if that’s going to be your narrative.

I have the link for them to know what a Mad Man Writing was, and I had what dialogue looked like. I also had the rubric that I was going to use, but I showed them today and tomorrow they’re writing. On Monday, they’re going to peer edit. I showed them the entire thing and told them, “If you want to go in and see what the peer editing looks like, so that you know where you’re going to go with your writing… Nothing is a mystery. Everything is there for you to look at and see where you want to go with this.

One Click to Find Everything

Vicki: I totally agree with this. One click. Everything should be right there. Kids should never have to hunt for it. They shouldn’t have to navigate for it. It should all be right there.

Now you’re excited about how Hyperdocs and this interactivity is being built into other tools. Give me an example.

Hyperdocs interactivity is being built into other sites

Lisa: I use it in docs and slides, but I also use it in Google Sites. I’ve done it for a digital breakout with kids. I had them read a story that was a mystery, and then they had to crack codes and figure out everything. It was fun!

I’m building one right now on a Google site for students where each page is going to be something that they can go to if they choose. There’s going to be choices, so if they choose to go to the next part of the adventure, they’ll go to that page. So it will sort of build out on that Google site.

Also FlipGrid is evolving so that teachers when they create their grid, they can embed docs in there. I’ve embedded entire Hyperdocs in there, so the kids can access the Hyperdocs as they are on FlipGrid. You can embed video. You can also embed images, or even like a prompt in there so kids are being steered in the right direction.

So you just don’t have to have everything on your board. I used to have kids take a picture with their phone or with their iPad of the board of what they were supposed to do for FlipGrid that night, and they’d then have to access that at home. Now when they go home to do their FlipGrid, they have all of the directions right there.

Vicki: So, Lisa, is there a mistake that many educators make when they start using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: When I started making Hyperdocs, my mistake was that I tried to do it from scratch. I didn’t really look at any. I looked at some and said, “OK, I think I get the basic premise. Let me start from scratch.”

When I made my first one, it was for The Great Gatsby. I did it with my students, maybe two-and-a-half years ago. I remember that they were looking at me like, “Wow. This is a lot to do. We did it for two days. They were very impressed with it, but then they also said, “This was a lot for us to do.” They gave me some suggestions.

Then, what I did the next time was I started looking at some. Lisa Highfill @lhighfill has a wonderful Hyperdocs site. I also used my Google Keep, and anything that is shared out on Twitter with Hyperdocs — there’s Padlets and all kinds of stuff — I put it in my Keep. I look through them, and I’ll sometimes make a copy of them, strip them from what they have, and work from there — because I like the layout, or I like how it looks.

Vicki: So you’ve given us the suggestion to look at other examples. What is the most wildly helpful suggestion you have for teachers who want to use Hyperdocs?

Tips for Getting Started

Lisa: I would say, “Make sure when you use Hyperdocs that you are OK with failing forward, because the kids might need a little bit of help. This year what I did, prior to even doing anything within Hyperdocs with them, is we did a Hyperdoc together.

I said, “What do you think this thing that’s underlined in blue is?”

And they’re like, “A link?”

For some classes it was dead air, and I was like, “This is a link…”

And we actually did a Hyperdoc together, and that gave the students the comfort level that they needed.

So I would say, make sure the kids are comfortable. Don’t expect that it’s going to be perfect the first couple times, because they’re getting accustomed to it. But eventually, they’ll appreciate the extra effort that you’re making.

Vicki: Last question, Lisa. Some people have to go to their administrators or curriculum directors and convince them that it is worth trying something new. What is the elevator pitch for why educators should be using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: I think educators need to use Hyperdocs because the whole thing in our building is the UBD, the design planning with the end in mind. I’ve even Hyperdoc’d all of my units. I make sure that I know where I’m going with everything. I Hyperdoc all of the ancillary materials I’m going to use during that unit. It just helps me see the end in mind, plan for a purpose, and be able to see where I’m going with the students.

Vicki: Well, educators, we have something new to try for this Ed Tech Tool Tuesday. Hyperdocs! Check the Shownotes and take a look. Tweet out your Hyperdocs, so that we can all share!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

I have taught for 23 years at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Md. I am originally from north of Pittsburgh. I have always looked at myself as a life-long learner and Twitter has helped me strengthen my PLN and my teaching. I am a Google Certified Trainer, Flipgrid Ambassador, Formative Educator, and CommonLit Advisory Board Member. Our school is 1:1 with I-pads and I am incorporating a lot of project-based learning, hyperdocs, and diverse seating. I am a fan of not teaching the entire book, but giving students the meat of the text and reading Shakespeare from the middle. My inspirations are: Matt Miller’s “Ditch the Textbook”, Dave Burgess’ “Teach Like a Pirate”, and Joy Kirr’s “Shift This”. I love to share my work and help others improve their teaching.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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