What I’ve Read & Learned: February 2019

Over the last month I have read more articles than books. I began teaching a class for educators in my district and have put the books I was reading aside for a few more weeks. However, this issue of EL was something special. I found myself reading and sharing a couple of these so much that I carried around copies of the articles that I could share with people!

February’s edition of Educational Leadership (EL) magazine is full of incredible reads. The title of the issue is “The Tech Savvy School” but what I love the most is how the authors connect the tech savvy label to learning for students. We’ve spent too long thinking about technology integration separate from teaching and learning.

Teaching our Way to Digital Equity (Reich, February 2019). This article was shared with me before my copy of this magazine even arrived in the mail. This article connects with the work and conversations I’m engaged in every single day more than anything I’ve read in the last year. Our digital transformation (FCPSOn) that I’m working to explain and plan for is based in equity – not just in access to devices and wifi, but to equitable learning experiences. How often are the neediest students experiencing the least rich learning practices? How often do they get the skill-and-drill lessons and not the opportunities to think critically and creatively? Our students ALL deserve access to this type of instruction! Another statement I often hear is “I’ll try this with my honors class… but my teamed class can’t handle it” and Reich argues that ALL students need these experiences. Truly this is an article that causes one to examine her beliefs about learning for all students.

One to Grow On/Diving Beneath The Surface (Tomlinson, February 2019). Carol Ann Tomlinson hits another homerun with this short article. She names that tech integration is truly second order change with many steps toward adoption. This is complex work that truly depends on teacher belief that all students can shift from passive learners to active learners who are constructing meaning.

Smart Classroom Tech Integration (Kolb, February 2019). I am often asked by administrators how they will know tech is being used well. Liz Kolb has created a framework of guiding questions to refocus administrators on the learning that’s happening, not on the technology being used.

Bonus learning

A couple of podcasts that have me thinking a great deal lately are listed below. I’ve been listening to and from work every day (and I’m less annoyed with traffic this way!)

Scene On Radio – Season 3. This season is all about the privilege that men have in our country and where it’s come from. It’s really interesting (and maddening!) to listen to! I finished this season and went back and listened to all episodes from Season 1 (which had a different flavor..not all about the same theme). I still feel that Season 2 is the best produced but I’m anxiously awaiting Season 4!

Invitations to Learn – this podcast is created by Nishi Langhorne. She is a first time podcaster and an tech coach in a high school in my district. This series of interviews with teachers at her school range from lessons learned about flexible seating to a new teaching strategy to blended learning and more. The best episode (if I HAVE to choose) so far is with Mrs. Baxter, a teacher who completed the Shadow A Student challenge and experienced an entire day with a student. This led to reflections and changes in her own practice.

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