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Thomas Whitby's Blog (130)

Educators Need to Discuss and Learn…?

My last post, Hypocrisy in the Profession of Education, seems to have gotten quite a few people talking about educators needing to learn more. Of course there were some who disagreed, which is an inevitable consequence of blogging. One of the comments that caused me to think even more about this educator/learner topic was a comment that I had…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on June 18, 2012 at 2:22pm — 1 Comment

Hypocrisy in the Profession of Education

Whenever I think of a teacher, I also think of a scholar. It has always been apparent to me that if one is to be an effective teacher, one must continually learn. Of course that is not always a path that individuals are able follow as a straight line. Often things, or situations get in the way over the course of a lifetime and many stray from that path for the sake of time, money, or most often family. I attended a retirement party recently for some retiring colleagues, and I engaged in…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on June 12, 2012 at 3:34pm — No Comments

What Is Technology?

My friend, John Carver, a prominent education leader in Iowa, Skyped me the other day just to kick around some ideas in education that he was considering.  John and I often have discussions about education. Of course my favorite thing about our discussions is that John often likes what I have to say. As always, things came around to the role of technology in education. John has been a leader in the 1:1 laptop movement in Iowa schools.

During the course of our discussion we both agreed…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on June 1, 2012 at 1:33pm — 1 Comment

Social Media: Help or Hindrance to Edu Reform?

I recently had a lengthy discussion, ironically on Twitter, with a very tech-savvy educator friend about his concerns that big ideas in education might be getting drowned out as a result of the continuing discussions about Social Media and connectedness for educators.  I hope I am categorizing that correctly. My friend felt that Social Media is a powerful medium that can be used to learn, but too much attention is given to it at the expense of other powerful ideas. According to him,” it's…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on May 29, 2012 at 10:06am — No Comments

Twitter Ties

For the “Connected Educator” Twitter can be a mainstay for information and sources. In order to build up a steady flow of information and sources, one need only to establish a list of people to follow on Twitter who put out the tweets, or messages, that contain links, URL’s, to that information or source. In Twitter terms these people are called “Follows”. They are the people one follows. An educator using Twitter for professional reasons would follow educators, since they put out education…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on May 18, 2012 at 7:38pm — No Comments

How We Teach Trumps What We Teach.

I was fortunate and honored to be asked to speak at a recent conference for The Software Information Industry Association (SIIA). They are all wonderful people in a group that represents a major portion of education software developers and manufacturers. I had some great discussions with some very smart and driven education-minded, business people. As I stated in my last post, many of these people have come from the ranks of educators. My big take away from this conference however, was not…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on May 11, 2012 at 6:42am — 2 Comments

Vendors: Villains or Visionaries?

And now for something completely different... As an educator who has organized and attended many education conferences over several decades, I have made a few observations about the unique relationship between educators, and vendors of education materials or educational technology. The reason for my consideration of this topic is because I will be participating in the Software Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco next week. Most of my conferences…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on May 3, 2012 at 5:30pm — No Comments

What If School Was More Like Twitter?

Every educator knows what their school is like, but few really understand what Twitter is like. The Twitter experience, like school, is different for everyone. One’s contribution to the effort in either of these endeavors has a great deal to do with producing the outcomes. Simply put, the more you put in, the more you get out. That at least is the theory.

I am fortunate to have a very large base of educators that I follow on Twitter and an even larger number of educators follow me.…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on April 17, 2012 at 10:51am — No Comments

Technology Teacher or Teacher?

For years I served on the board of directors of The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education, a group known to most as NYSCATE. One thing that I always had a problem with while working with NYSCATE was the name of that group. The name gave the perception to teachers that this was a group for computer teachers. It is actually a wonderful, professional group that supports technology for all educators in any subject areas. As any honest politician worth his/her…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on April 11, 2012 at 1:39pm — No Comments

Smart-Briefing and Zite-Seeing

There are few questions that I get from teachers about social media, or sources that I haven’t gotten in some form before over the last three or four years. Two similar questions that I get with frequency are: How do you know all that stuff? And where do you get the time to get all this stuff? My immediate response is that Twitter is my guide to relevant education sources. Those educators who are “unconnected” should know that many “connected educators” consider Twitter an indispensable…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on April 6, 2012 at 1:13pm — No Comments

Pizza, Wine, & Vasectomies

What is not to love about a zone of comfort; it is a comfy cocoon. It is a pleasurable place that is safe, sound, and satisfying. It is a place where alliterative adjectives may abound with abandon. Comfort zones are safe havens where residents of those zones need not do anything that would in any way slow the flow of comfort. Comfort zones exist in our personal lives as well as our professional lives.

My personal favorite comfort zone is created on Friday nights. I have a Pizza…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on April 5, 2012 at 11:30am — No Comments

"Cellphones are a Distraction"

Over the last year I have engaged many educators on the topic of using “Cellphones” as learning tools in the classroom. I would say that in most of these discussions, the leading reason given not to have “Cellphones” in a classroom is that they are a distraction.

For the purpose of this post, I am placing some Webster definitions here:

Telephone: an instrument for reproducing sounds at a distance; specifically: one in which sound is…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on March 30, 2012 at 11:57am — No Comments

#ASCD12 Opening Day

Over the next few days my blog will be a snapshot album of words describing what it is like to attend a premiere education conference, ASCD12. This is an experience that most educators rarely experience over the course of their careers. It is not an inexpensive proposition to send educators to national conferences. For some reason many districts use that as a reason to send the same administrators year after year to these conferences. I think administrators have the idea that their district…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on March 23, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments

“We Don’t Need No Stink’n Textbooks” #Beyondthetextbook

In order for educators to teach kids, they need something to teach. Exactly what it is that educators should teach has often been discussed and continues to be the focus of ongoing discussions for over many generations. The delivery of that content, in regard to what to teach, has never been of great concern, because the bulk of it came in the form of text, delivered in a book called the textbook. In the 50’s the education pioneers introduced film strips, 16mm films, and recordings to…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on March 20, 2012 at 5:45pm — No Comments

Why most teachers don’t know what they don’t know.

Most professions have professional journals. Professional journals have long been the method by which innovations to professions have been introduced. Lengthy articles explaining the: who, what, where, when, why and how of an innovation in the profession was spelled out for all to read. Follow-up journal articles weighed the pros and cons. Journals historically have been a form of print media, but with the advent of the internet many are transitioning to a digital form in addition to the…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on March 7, 2012 at 12:17pm — No Comments

Time: The Educator’s Friend or Foe?

My wife and I had been saving up our rewards points from airlines, hotels, and credit cards in order to celebrate a 24th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas. We finally did it this past week. As a lifelong “Rat Pack” fan I looked forward to the Landmarks, the Legends, the Lights, and the Luxuries of the Las Vegas Strip. Ironically, however, our most enjoyable venture was a helicopter tour and landing in the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

One of the most impressive feats of Las Vegas…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on February 25, 2012 at 12:13am — No Comments

“Teaching Isn’t Really a Profession”

As an educator for the past four decades there is very little in the way of conversation that I haven’t discussed about what it is to be a teacher. In these discussions, over all of these years, there is one position taken by many people which always gives me cause to think less of the person with whom I am having the discussion. It forces me to question their bias on the subject. The statement that sets me off is usually some variation of,”teaching isn’t really a profession”.

The…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on February 13, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

19th, 20th, 21st, Century Education

A personal observation: Back when I began my early education, the year was 1952. I don’t believe Pre-K even existed back then, so I started my education in Kindergarten. There is no doubt in my mind that in my early education I was exposed to educators who were students of a 19th Century education. Those teachers were teaching content to kids using methods they had learned in the 1800’s. Content back then was more solid and more trustworthy. Things did not change. Encyclopedias,…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on February 3, 2012 at 12:25pm — No Comments

Extra Credit For Charity

I am anticipating that this post may be among the most unpopular posts I will write as a blogger. My position on this topic certainly did not win me the “most popular guy” award when I was a secondary teacher. I remember when Barry Goldwater ran for President; there was a saying that “He would rather be right than be President”. That was a testament to the man’s core beliefs. That seems to be a dying quality given the examples of politicians today. The point however is that sometimes…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on January 31, 2012 at 11:12am — No Comments

What's This #Educon Buzz?

There are certain education conferences that people look forward to attending each and every year. Certainly the big national conferences with thousands of attendees and hundreds of vendors are the conferences most familiar to educators. The state organizations usually draw big crowds of educators as well. At one time this is how educators networked and saw the newest of the new, and the best of the best. All of that is represented at big education conferences.

With the introduction…

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Added by Thomas Whitby on January 28, 2012 at 5:05pm — No Comments

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