Dave's Tech World

Personal and Professional Ramblings of a Veteran Teacher

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Trying a New Form of Learning

This January I will be trying a new form of learning called a MOOC.  MOOC stands form Massive Open Online Course.  The one I will be participating in is called the #etmooc (etmooc.org) and was created by Alec Couros of Regina Saskatchewan.   I am very excited to learn more about this type of course and to learn from it.  Rather that using a LMS we will be using various online tools to complete our tasks.  As Bilbo said at the end of The Lord of the Rings…”I think I am ready for a new adventure.”


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Coming Soon New Posts

I am behind on posts right now but will be posting ones on Claco.com and TED Ed soon.

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Today I Learned About Accessibility

This morning I was helping my 92 year old Dad with his Kindle.  We bought it for him a couple of years ago so he could continue to read.  He has macular degeneration and reading books was beginning to become difficult or outright impossible.  We bought the Kindle with the thought that we could enlarge the print and that did work.  However, for the last few months he hasn’t used it.  What I found out today is that the Kindle is not very accessible for the visually impaired.  Yes, you can enlarge the print but the keys and buttons are so small he could not read them even with the aid of a magnifying glass and flashlight.  Even when I tried to show my mother how to use it the key and buttons were readable but the process of ordering a book is not very easy.  My mother can see much better and is only 78 years old.  She had to write down the numerous steps to order a book and learn how to use the not so easy buttons.

I showed them my iPad which is well lighted, touch manipulatable and with a large keyboard.  However, at a price point of $399 for the 16 GB version it tends to be a bit pricey for people on a fixed income.  But it is more accessible to the visually impaired.  Today I was taught a lot about accessibility.  This lesson with combined with having an Autistic student this year is making me rethink how we can bridge the digital divide and how I will set up my online classroom presence.  I am open to ideas.  Tweet me @dprindle .


Would Steve Jobs Make a Good School Leader?

I have been reading Steve Jobs biography and been wondering how his leadership model would work in education. I have had relationship based superintendents and ones at the opposite end of the spectrum. So my question to you would you want Steve Jobs as your Superintendent? Please leave your comment below. Thanks

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New Phase of Life Week 1

As week one of my new phase in life comes to a close there is not much to report.  One of the future opportunities is not on hold but waiting for the budgetary process to finalize.  It must also involve an opportunity for my wife.  The more radical change is still taking shape but I cannot announce anymore details at this time.  Two decisions that need to be made in the next month are: is it time to give up the presidency of the my local education association. Even though it does not take up as much time as it has in the past two years it is still a time commitment.  However, if the next opportunity comes about that decision will be made for me including the second decision of resigning as Varsity Girls Track coach.  It has been 21 years and this year it really saved me from the doldrums of winter.  Either way my focus over the next months and year will be geared more toward training teacher in technology integration in the classroom.

Some things on the near horizon are I am presenting at the MACUL/REMC Mobile Learning Conference April 27, attending the TEDx Grand Rapids Educator Live Stream and finally attending the MACUL Board retreat in Grand Rapids.  These will all be excellent PD opportunities.

I continue to flip my classroom in order to make it more relevant for my students.  Right now one of my greatest frustration is the requirement that all students in the state of Michigan must pass Chemistry or Physics. I teach General Chemistry to students that have limited math skills and regularly struggle with problems no matter how simple I make the explanation.  They are even more frustrated by the fact they need this class to graduate and do see it as relevant to their lives.  In Forensic Science which is mainly Seniors we are fighting the affects of “senioritis“.  Luckily we have two very interesting units left (Blood Spatter and Arson & Explosives) along with the Mock Crime Scene Final Exam.

Finally, this week I find out if I have been elected to the MACUL Board of Directors.  If not I will continue as the Assistant Director of SIG-Professional Learning.  With that I finish the week one update.

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Today Begins A New Phase In My Life

We have all heard the phrase “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  Well today marks the start of a new phase in my life.  Over the next few month I will be making some personal and career changes.  I will still be in education in one way or another.  However, these changes don’t come without a lot of thought, stress and consideration on how they will affect my family.  One potential change would mean a move across the state when my daughter would be entering high school.  She is very involved in various activities and would have to make changes to all new friends and a new larger school.

With the end of Spring Break I have been somewhat re-energized to finish out the year strong.  This means continuing to flip my teaching and classroom, coaching my track team (something I look forward to each day), and teaching another Monday night college Math class.  Finally, I have to finish an online class to process my teacher certificate renewal.  Once school ends for the year my wife, family and I will be cleaning out and updating our house for sale.  Whether we stay in Byron Center or move across the state this was previously planned due to our shrinking family and a too large house.

My wife and older daughter have suggested that I start an educational technolgoy consulting business. I had been thinking about this for awhile with another teacher.  Due to the large amount of planning and work that would involve that will be put on the back burner until the end of school.  I think having been a teacher I understand what teachers want and need out of a consultant as well as districts.  More on this in later posts.

My experience with flip teaching has been good so far.  The biggest hurdle has been getting the students to think outside the box they have been trained in for the last 10-11 years.  We have done a really good job ingraining the 19th Century factory model into students.  Once again I will update this in another post.

I have really enjoyed blogging (however intermittent its been) and will continue to do so during this new journey.  It is my goal to take time each day to create a post on something each day. However, Mondays would be a little tight with coaching and teaching at night.

I will continue to present at conferences.  I really enjoy helping other teachers learn new things.  I will continue to be involved with MACUL for the same reason.  As part of the leadership group I get to work with many of the leads in Ed Tech in the state of Michigan.    I am running for the Board of Directors but if that doesn’t happen I will continue in my role as the SIG-PL assistant director.

Finally, this week my Chemistry classes will be working on and hopefully finishing their 90-sec videos.  These videos will teach one concept and will be submitted to nextvista.org for their current contest.  In Forensic Science we will be taking two days for a lab and then beginning the race to the end of the year.  Since 95% of my Forensic Science classes are made up of seniors I lose two weeks of class time and their final exam is analyzing a mock crime scene.  Thus we have a long way to go in a short amount of time.

In the words of Alan B. Shepard (First US Astronaut in space) “Let’s Light This Candle!”