A weekly post, Quotes of the Week.

 Technological prowess
Because technology is becoming simpler to use and more ubiquitous in our daily lives, teachers won’t actually need as much as people may think in the way of technology skills to teach in a blended-learning environment.

Still, they will likely need a few basic skills.As the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s (iNACOL) National Standards for Quality Online Teachingdocuments, teachers will need to be able to communicate via a variety of mediums, explore, identify, and use a variety of online tools to meet student needs, and be able to do basic troubleshooting–such as helping students reset passwords, download plug-ins, and so forth.

For many teachers, being able to teach effectively offline as well as online will be critical.

5 Skills for Blended Learning Teachers,  Michael Horn and Heather Staker

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In preparation for our students to become actively involved in contributing on the classroom blogs, as a school, we needed to Update & Upgrade Our School’s Media & Publishing Release in order to reflect the shift from students as consumers to students as producers.

Some teachers felt ready sooner than others, to climb the next step on the ladder. They opened their classroom blog up for comments to their students. They started to shift from merely pushing out information to parents and students to see the opportunity for a conversation. Teachers were learning to, not only post information, but posing questions for students, encouraging them to think and to participate in a virtual conversation.

Implementing Blogging in the Classroom, Silvia Tolisano

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The right cognitive tools can repurpose our brains, have done so repeatedly, and are at the root of what it means to be human….

Humans appear to be natural born cyborgs, biologically equipped to reprogram each other’s thinking machinery through culture.  That’s where today’s 2 billion Internet users come into play.  Developing a mutualistic relationship with computing machinery– becoming networks of cyborgs– is taking this process of human tool co-evolution to a whole new level.

Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter, Howard Rheingold

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Reality for teachers is that we may get away to a conference for a few days but we’ve got a hard row to hoe every day of the week. We’re up past midnight grading papers and have parents who send us emails and expect an immediate reply. We might have a tad of time and if we read our reader or education news we see another teacher basher who has written a damning article from the quiet of their office while their secretary holds their calls and their own children are off at school.

I feel like most edreform articles are unrealistic diatribes by the clueless for the clueless. Meanwhile, those of us doing this for a living are attracted to articles about how to do it better and rarely can stomach the edreform debates swirling around us that will determine the future of education in America or the country in which we reside.

There has to be a balance. 

Victory Lap: Pondering the Struggles of Being a Teacher, Vicki Davis

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3. Connection Comes First
People talk about not having time for email, of not having time for blogs. Sometimes they even talk about working without an Internet connection.

It’s good to take a break and go out camping, or to the club, or whatever. But the idea of replacing your online connecting with busy-work is mistaken.

In almost all fields, connecting with others online is the work. The papers you write, the memos you read and toss-all have to do with connecting with people. Even if you work with your hands, making cabinets or rebuilding engines, all your contacts with customers and suppliers are about connecting with people.

If you don’t have enough time for reading email, writing blog posts, or posting to discussion lists, ask yourself what other activities you are doing that are cutting in to your time. These are the things that are often less efficient uses of your time.

If you are spending time in meetings, spending time traveling or commuting to work, spending time reading books and magazines, spending time telephoning people (or worse, on hold, or playing phone tag) then you are wasting time that you could be spending connecting to people online.

If you make connecting a priority, you can take that walk in the forest on vacation in Cadiz without feeling you are not caught up.

Seven Habits of Highly Connected People (2008), Stephen Downes

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I heard this story on NPR this morning. It was about the discovery of three new human viruses, which is interesting in and of itself. But this was the line that got me thinking:

Better communications aside, the world has another big advantage over the SARS era.

The SARS eraSARS happened in 2003. It struck me that in less than ten years we’ve apparently changed eras in virus research.

“Ten years after SARS, I think it’s very difficult to imagine … an important public health event where that information isn’t getting out in some form — via text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, chat rooms,” he told Shots. “I think there’s very few places on Earth where we’re not able to get citizen reporting and information.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, agrees. “Communication about health-related issues just travels with the speed of light today,” he says. “I think the problem of international communication — openness and sharing of information — is largely resolved.”

One hundred twenty years after Eliot, I think it’s very difficult to imagine . . . well, no, actually it’s not. I think there’s still one place on Earth where we’re able to channel 1892. How much longer do you think the Eliot Era is going to last? What might we replace it with?

The Eliot Era? , Karl Fisch

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My brief love affair with the flip has ended. It simply didn’t produce the tranformative learning experience I knew I wanted for my students .

When I wrote that post, I imagined the flip as a stepping stone to a fully realized inquiry/PBL classroom. And the flip’s gradual disappearance from our learning space hasn’t been a conscious decision: it’s simply a casualty of  our progression from a teacher-centred classroom to a student-centred one.

The Flip: End of a Love Affair, Shelly Wright

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At Oyster River, where kids have been bringing their own devices for three years, seventh-grade science teacher Janet Martel says students will get distracted if their teachers let them get distracted, the same as it’s always been.

“One of the big things is engaging kids in the classroom,” Martel says. “If kids are engaged and they have a specific task, they’re not apt to be out searching for other things, because they can’t.”

She says allowing the devices has actually decreased discipline issues.

Some Schools Actually Want Students To Play With Their Smartphones In Class, Sam Evans-Brown (npr)

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