In 1999, an influential leadership and management book called First Break All the Rules was published—if you are a leader of an organization in any capacity, I would recommend it. I see all of my teachers as teacher leaders, so if you are a teacher, you should take a look. The follow-up book, Now Discover Your Strengths, is just as profound.
Another successful year at the annual ISTE conference has come and gone, and this year’s latest trends have made a strong impression on the EdTech industry. Whether you were at the conference in San Antonio or following the action through the #NotAtISTE hashtag on Twitter, there was so much to learn about. The Boxlight team returned from ISTE this year full of new insights into the educational technology industry, but a few topics stood out to us more than others. Here are the top three trending themes our team found most impactful at ISTE 2017:
We’re on the verge of one of the largest education technology conferences in the United States. So, of course, everyone wants to know what the 2017 ISTE Conference & Expo will bring to the table.
When winding down from the school year, I always take a bit of time to reflect on the events of the past year—but I also make certain to keep a steady gaze toward the future. When it comes to education, a great deal never changes. Teachers remain laser-focused and dedicated to their students’ success, while students are eager to learn (albeit they sometimes conceal their enthusiasm). Yet every year, I marvel at the pace of change within the technology ecosystem of K-12 education.
We all know that children belong outdoors, but when they become our students, the tendency is to keep them behind four walls tied to electronic devices, PowerPoint lectures, and computers. Well, I am here to tell you that you can go outside with students and see productive results. Moving your class outside engages a world of fresh stimuli for the senses that have the amazing ability to open up students to new insights and real-life application of the concepts they are learning.
What is the role of keyboarding instruction in the classroom—especially the elementary classroom? Over the past few years, as one-to-one devices become more widespread and accessible to students at younger grade levels, this question has become more and more pertinent. I know our own school has struggled with student keyboarding skills over the past few years.
Three main issues we grapple with as educators.
Asking students to write is one of the most difficult tasks we require. It tasks the writer with managing multiple cognitive functions all at one time: idea creation, organization, word choice, grammar rules, voice, correct sentences, and focusing on a topic. Whew. Writing this myself is taking a lot of hard work!
Because of the load that is placed on the writer, students are more successful when some of the individual tasks are broken down and isolated for them. Teachers do this in a variety of ways. We have them spell check at the end so they can focus on the ideas at the beginning. We have them review their sentences for run-ons or incompletion. We help them to organize in paragraphs. And most importantly, we try to help them with original and complete ideas.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” - Aristotle
As teachers, we know our students learn in many different ways: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and social. But most of us teach the way we're most comfortable—and that's not necessarily the way our students learn. It's a missed opportunity if we don't use the way that a student learns best to hook them and get them excited about learning.
As a classroom teacher, you may have heard about the recent push to incorporate more computer science and coding into students’ lives. The problem could be—as it is with most teachers I know—that you feel vastly underqualified to teach anything in that realm. Coding seems like an intimidating subject and something that requires a lot of professional learning before jumping in.
When looking at the big picture of a school system, it can be daunting to think about effective ways to incorporate change. Systems are complex by nature, and education can be a hard one to change for a variety of reasons.