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Thomas Whitby's Blog (130)

Trying to make sense of a senseless act

This is probably the wrong time to sit down and address what has just happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. All of the details are not yet out, but the news media has made many statements and assumptions that seem to hold up myths about schools that we continue to hear each time another of this growing number of horrendous incidents explodes on the TV screen. Reporters continue to ask the question, “Were all of the security and safety measures in place and adhered…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on December 14, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Are we preparing students for life?

We are preparing our students for life. I hear so many educators use this sentence when asked, what is the purpose of education? Many years ago I believed that to be true as well. Maybe many generation s back it may have been true. In consideration of all that I observe, even with some great innovation,  and a whole bunch of technology integration that is taking place in so many schools across the country, I don’t believe “preparing our students for life” is the focus or goal of education…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on December 12, 2012 at 11:14am — No Comments

Again; Relevance, Why Twitter?

Twitter has been a topic for educational Bloggers for several years now. I believe that those educators using Twitter are drawn to those posts, while other educators, not using Twitter, are driven away. Maybe the problem is the emphasis, or focus of the blog posts. Maybe the focus should be on relevance and no mention of twitter. Are educators relevant in our technology-driven society?  The obvious answer is that some are, and some are not. A more important question is which of these two…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on November 29, 2012 at 5:58pm — 2 Comments

A Conference Perspective

When I accepted an invitation to attend the World Innovation Summit on Education, WISE2012, in Doha, Qatar, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. In my own arrogance I thought I was a seasoned education conference attendee. I have been to maybe a…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on November 23, 2012 at 4:15pm — No Comments

What is a WISE Conference?

A few weeks ago I received an email invitation to attend an education conference with all expenses paid. This is done to get the conferences noticed in the education community. It is an expense and a necessary element of Public relations. Depending on the quality of the conference, sometimes it pays off, but sometimes it exposes flaws of a conference to the world of connected educators. This is not an uncommon practice, and as a connected educator, I look upon it as an opportunity with each…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on November 15, 2012 at 10:58am — No Comments

Are EDU conferences meeting our needs?

Today I attended the 39th Annual Conference for the Association of Middle Level Education in Portland, Oregon. I actually presented for this group for a couple of times about 25 years ago when it was The National Middle Schools Association. That was back in the day when we had far fewer middle schools. The model most often employed back then was the Junior High School. Junior high schools were 7-9 mini high schools. Little kids, little problems (what were we thinking?).

The…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on November 10, 2012 at 8:30pm — No Comments

What makes Edcamp popular with teachers?

During the weekend, I attended my fourth #EdcampNYC. I have attended or participated in about a dozen Edcamps nationwide. I think that puts me in a solid position to make a few considered observations on the subject. In the interest of full disclosure, SmartBrief and SmartBlog on Education have supported the Edcamp Foundation during the past year.

The Edcamp movement has been around for a few years. It is a widely known professional-development format that was spawned from social…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on October 31, 2012 at 1:13pm — No Comments

The Missing Link

One of the many things that I love about my job is my freedom to attend national education conferences for the purpose of meeting with educators and commenting on trends and changes in the education system many of which are introduced, and explored at these conferences. I wish I could say that I could objectively report on the influences these conferences have on education, but my personal bias as a long, long time public educator prevents that from happening. I will always view these…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on October 30, 2012 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

If common core fails, then what?

I was invited to attend the Annual Conference on Evidence-based Policymaking and Innovation sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of Education, NASBE. The conference was well planned with excellent leaders and speakers in each of the sessions. These were the very sessions the members of NASBE needed to consider the weighty decisions they need to make on policy required by their positions on their State Boards of Education. I was there as an observer and a blogger and I was…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on October 21, 2012 at 1:38pm — No Comments

PD: How do educators get to know what they don’t know?

When it comes to education reform there are in general two major camps, but there are also several variations of each. The first camp would like to blow up the system and start all over. The other camp wants to continue the status quo while working to change it in directions governed by whatever dominant force of change has the ear of the public at the time. I find my own inclinations falling somewhere between the two camps. I want to blow some stuff up while improving upon some existing…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on October 9, 2012 at 10:49am — 1 Comment

Does being connected help in being recognized?

This is a difficult subject to write about without being labeled smug, arrogant, conceited, or all three, but that is a risk I take. The Bammy Awards took place recently. If you never heard of The Bammy Awards for educators, there is good reason. They were invented this year. From the Bammy Awards site  we have this: “The Bammy Awards acknowledge that teachers can’t do it alone and don’t do it alone. The Awards aim to…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on September 26, 2012 at 10:46am — No Comments

The 6 "P's" of Education

Dell Computer has sponsored four education Think Tanks over the last year, or so, and I have been fortunate to participate in three of them. At each get-together educators, education related organizers, education industry executives, and most recently students, were brought together in an open discussion on the weighty topics of education and education reform. All of the discussions were video-taped, and live-streamed, and even animated on a mural to a viewing audience. The final production…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on September 23, 2012 at 8:11pm — No Comments

My limited understanding of public vs. charter schools

I was a public-school educator for 34 years. While I recognize many of public education’s shortcomings, I am a staunch supporter. More than ever, I believe that this country needs its citizenry to be more than just educated, but also critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

Our country is a representative democracy dependent on leadership, and the direction for our country is placed in the hands of our elected officials who are our politicians. In our government, all leaders are…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on September 7, 2012 at 5:40pm — No Comments

Student Standardization

As I was driving recently, I heard a commercial on the radio that really grabbed my attention. It was from a real estate organization that was talking about the advantages of owning a home. What grabbed my attention was a statement claiming that children of homeowners score better on standardized tests. I couldn’t believe it. Somebody was using the potential of a child’s success on a standardized test to get people to consider buying houses.…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on August 23, 2012 at 9:30pm — No Comments

The Connected Conundrum for Education

Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared August Connected Educator Month. To the delight of many connected educators, this was a validation for much of their time spent and their many accomplishments achieved through the use of technology in general, and using the Internet specifically. Many connected educators have gathered virtually to assemble panels, webinars, podcasts and blog posts about all of the advantages of being a “connected educator” and its possibility of transforming education…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on August 15, 2012 at 12:35am — No Comments

How Does #Edchat Connect Educators?

For educators who have been connected since the early days of social media, it is difficult to understand the reason people would ask, “What is #Edchat?” We must remember that many educators using social media for professional reasons have joined only recently. The idea of using social media for professional reasons is a relatively new concept. One would hope that it is having a positive effect…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on August 8, 2012 at 7:49pm — 1 Comment

What’s the big deal about Blogging?

A short time ago I attended a meeting where members of a college English department were doing a presentation to the faculty about their writing program. As I listened to about a 30-minute presentation of the types of writing required by this program, it became obvious to me that two words in this presentation of a college writing program were never uttered. They were two words that as an educator I come in contact with almost every day. Two words that have changed the way information is…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on August 3, 2012 at 6:20pm — 2 Comments

Defining Definitions for ASCD

This was originally posted in SmartBrief's SmartBlog on Education http://smartblogs.com/education

I was lucky to have scored an invitation to the ASCD Leader to Leader Conference. ASCD is a premier education organization that engages a membership of about 150,000 educators internationally. This particular conference…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on July 27, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments

Teachers Are Poor Consumers of Learning

There are only a few explanations that many educators offer up as reasons not to learn and use any technology as tools for learning. One of the most popular excuses, frequently cited by educators, is that there is not enough time to learn all of the stuff that is out there. It certainly is true that there are a huge number of things to learn out there that are linked to technology. When thought about as a complete package, it most definitely can be overwhelming, and I wholeheartedly agree…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on July 24, 2012 at 10:59am — No Comments

ISTE 2012 and the Importance of Educator Connections

I recently attended a complete immersion of education philosophy, education methods and pedagogy, technology tools for learning and connectedness with education thought leaders from around the world. All of this took place at one of our premier annual education conferences, ISTE 2012 in San Diego. Educators attend these conferences with their own focuses. They select the sessions they need from a smorgasbord of high-quality…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on July 8, 2012 at 7:38pm — No Comments

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