This book is for educators, parents, and community partners!

Resources, ideas, examples, for both beginners and experts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Savvy Blogger

With so many bloggers and social mediaites sharing information, ideas, opinions, and resources about technology integration in the classroom, it's difficult and time-consuming to separate the wheat from the chaff. One of the best educational technology blogs, and I list this one in my book, is written by Tim Wilson: The Savvy Technologist. Once a classroom teacher, he now works as a chief technology officer in a public school in Minnesota. He uses his blog to chat about technology integration from his perspective as a classroom teacher. His blog posts are engaging and straight-forward. He began sharing his ideas and opinions focusing on blogs and wikis several years ago. His musings and his unique philosophical style now cover a range of emerging digital communication tools. This is a blog that offers value for both novices and experts. If you're a beginner wondering how to get started with social media, I recommend The Savvy Technologist. If you're an expert with years of experience, here is a peer whose thoughts and suggestions are worth the time it takes to read what someone else has taken the time to share.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is Career Awareness?

Some may wonder what is "Career Awareness." With the competitive world today's students face upon graduation, it's important they are aware of the many possibilities for jobs and career paths in all kinds of fields.

Once they become aware of their passions such as the environment, medicine, scientific research, and how the arts might be connected to these interests, they need to be introduced to the options and possibilities and how these relate to their studies now. They need to be challenged long before they get to college or enter the workplace.

In the book, Connecting Students to S.T.E.M. Careers, I propose that, "Students who were once isolated within the four walls of the classroom can now use interactive digital media and distance learning tools to interview professionals and learn from role models through firsthand experiences. As students develop relationships...goal setting becomes more authentic....They begin to understand the education and training needed to fulfill their dreams." They begin to develop a clearer understanding of why they are doing what they are asked to do in the classroom.

One of my own mentors, Jay Matheson, who provided inspiration for the book through his Oregon-based project, Extending Career Options for Rural Students, says, "There's a natural curiosity that young people have--because in their minds they're going to be doing some of those things. You never know when you're going to come across an interest in a child."

There is an extensive list of STEM-related career degree programs available at this government site: STEM-designated careers. The light may go on for one movitvated student by browsing this list.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Together we do it Better

I owe a debt to all the smart people who talked to me about STEM career awareness and allowed me to quote them in my book, Connecting Students to STEM Careers. Without these partners, the book wouldn't be so smart or so informative.

That's true for all partnerships, and helps make the point of why we should partner classrooms with people in our global community. Students need role models, people to emulate. Let's not put it all on the shoulders of individual teachers. Easy to blame one teacher, but really? 

One partner who contributed to my book is Kathy Schrock. She is well-known for sharing what she has learned about educational technology with teachers everywhere. She isn't in it for the money, clearly, she just seems to like to help teachers. Here is her website where teachers, parents, students, anyone, can find great resources for teaching and learning: Kathy Schrock.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Science Resources for Kids

Regional Science Centers can be found all over the world, but the days of school bus driven field trips for school children are all but over. Fortunately for today's students, digital technology is the magic carpet on which to ride in order to visit places like the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research at Cornell University's Department of Astronomy, or the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute; the Regional Science Center at Moorhead at Minnesota State University, or the Science and Discovery Center in Central New York, or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or any one of the Science Learning Centres located in the United Kingdom, to name but a handful of the many regional science centers welcoming and inspiring students through virtual doors every day from all over the world.

No parent permission slips or brown-bag lunches are required. Parents don't have to chew their fingernails all day long and keep an ear to the news in fear of a deadly bus crash, knowing that the school buses on which their children ride have no seat belts. They'll be home before dark. They'll be home at the usual time, even if they've been to Tucson, Arizona or Washington , DC.

The ticket to ride on these virtual field trips is bandwidth, teacher innovation, and administrative support. Science centers are one example of the kind of community partnerships upon which today's students thrive and tomorrow's workforce relies.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Digital Tools in the Classroom

My publisher, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), is also a professional membership organization (with members all over the world, I might add), and they do more than just publish books. They support educators in their quest to stay abreast of emerging desktop technologies, and this is no small job. At this point, digital tools are emerging like ants at a candy store picnic.

ISTE has developed technology integration standards for teachers, administrators, and students. Under the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NET*S), K-12 students are encouraged to use the same tools they use to communicate with their friends outside of school to "...construct knowledge to generate new use digital media to work collaboratively [to] develop cultural understanding and global awareness."

By following some of the ideas in the book, Connecting Students to STEM Careers, Social Networking Strategies, students will not only broaden their awareness of trends and opportunities in these fields, they will, in the process, expand their proficiency in the use of technology for professional purposes. They will gain:
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • [Skills related to] Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship [by learning about safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology]
  • [...a sound understanding of] Technology Operations and Concepts
To learn more about the ISTE NET*S, about how to become an ISTE member, to learn about their annual conference, or how to purchase the STEM book, visit the ISTE website:

Members have access to a worldwide community of their peers on the ISTE site through blogging, Nings, and other social and digital media tools. If you're a teacher or a parent, I suggest it's important to stay ahead of the digital curve.