Monday, April 26, 2010

Apple Show

This past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I was fortunate enough to attend the Apple Leadership Summit in Dallas, Texas. I am thankful to my Board of Education for allowing me to attend. The conference was very good and got some good ideas and different perspectives on using technology in education. It is marvelous what some individuals as well as school districts are doing about bringing 21st Century skills to the classroom.

We were each assigned tables, which was probably good since that does force you to meet other people, and the first person I saw was the Superintendent from Labette County in Altamont. It was refreshing to see a familiar face but it did me good not to be paired with Chuck since I did gain knowledge from different areas of the country. At my table were educators from Iowa, North Carolina, California, and Texas. At least Kansas isn't the only state with funding woes, everyone had the story as money is tight, so we choose not to discuss it. I ate one night with an Apple employee from Brisban, Australia, and that was an interesting conversation.

I think it really helps us grow as professionals when we venture out and take advantage of opportunities presented to us. To visit with educators from across our nation, and across the ocean, can benefit all we come in contact with. I am a strong believer in staff development and technology and this conference fit both areas.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Relationship Strength Key for Kids

What do schools need to teach their students? We are on the cusp of a great global educational change and the question we need to ask is not what do students need to learn, but what do we need to teach them?

Most everything students need to learn either can or will be able to be learned online. If you doubt this consider the advertising done on television for online institutions of higher learning, or take into account that the largest college, in regard to student population, is Phoenix University. Instead of students conforming to a traditional model of education they appeal to the sector that wishes to have convenience and a customized education.

We connect with others through a web of relationships with our family and friends as well as our business ones where we work in person as well as with people online we never meet.

Relationship strengths are the application of character virtues such as trustworthiness, forgiveness, loyalty, consideration, thankfulness, flexibility, and dependability. I agree with Charles Barkley that the best role models for a student is their parents, however, we can display these qualities on a daily basis and hopefully students will try to imitate these behaviors.

We rarely teach students skills to promote long-term success in their relationships. We tend to believe that experience will be the best teacher. Children should know how to choose friends, act on teams, listen, give and take, forgive and accept. Children socialize on the playground, cafeteria, and ball games and we hope they figure it out on their own. We throw kids in social situations and hope for the best, experience has shown us that most workplace failures are the result of relationship breakdowns rather than inability to master the tasks of the job.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Put On More Steam

At this time of year we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel which means school will quickly be over. With state assessments winding down and after a full year of academics the students have a tendency to hit the slack button and teachers as well feel the need for a mental break. Put as I have stated before we are in the learning business and that goes for the teachers also, so here are some points to keep the students motivated.
1. Be enthusiastic and positive about what you are doing.
2. Allow students to have some fun and discover things on their own.
3. Use visual aids, movies, demonstrations, and projects.
4. Take a field trip and make it real.
5. Let them how great it feels to succeed.
6. Give people praise for a job well done.
7. Care about each other, both students and teachers, talk to each other.
8. Reward people with different things, however, start slowing down on rewards and replace with praise.
9. Create tasks and work that students can have success with, make sure they have the resources to succeed.
10. Make sure the subject matter has personal meaning and value for the students.
11. Make sure students feel valued and special for their contributions.