Monday, September 14, 2015

Ditch That Textbook Week 2: Why Go Digital?

Why go digital? Have you asked yourself this question? Of the seven reasons that Matt made to go digital, which one is most important to you? How have you already seen change in any of these areas in your classroom because of the implementation of technology?

As I've been looking through comments I've noticed several people's names are showing up as Unknown when they comment to blog posts. Please ensure that you have completed your profile. I need to know who is making comments so that I can award PGPs at the end of the book club.

Next week we will be reading and discussing chapters 8-14, the first half of the section "Ditch That Mindset."

200 comments:

  1. Really, picking just one... alright. The one that rises to the top for me is that implementing technology can "empower our students to find their passions." When we start to become more open and flexible with the use of technology, and our students' use with technology, their education really starts to become student centered. As educators... our students and their learning has to be our primary focus.
    On the other hand, technology isn't a magic bullet either. Just going digital isn't enough. Teachers are still the most important part of the process in learning because we help make the connections and build relationships and set the right environment for learning. Going digital just allows us to have the flexibility we've always needed to be able to empower our students to find their passions.

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    1. I agree! I was also drawn to the section about helping students to "find their passions". Even our high ability students are often so focused on complying with the expectations of our curriculum that they fail to find their passion at school. I believe that we can help students connect their passions to employment opportunities. Being a facilitator in that process, using technology as a gateway instead of the teacher as a gatekeeper) is an exciting new responsibility in our field!

      In addition, real world application has to mean something to all of us in schools today. The biggest criticism of education is that it no longer matches the demands of the workplace. We finally have 1:1 at our high school, and are working to help the 8th graders follow suit. I love watching my daughter and her classmates work on assignments together through Google Classroom - very much the way my colleagues and I use Drive. The thing that keeps us all on our toes is how quickly they surpass the tools we teach them to use, and begin to teach us new ones instead!

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    2. Kelly, I love how you remind us that relationships are always going to be important in education. That continues to make a difference on every classroom I see. Teachers who build rapport with kids have more success and many times less classroom issues because the students respect them.

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    3. I couldn't agree more! Ditching the textbook gives us more opportunities to build those relationships and get to know our students so much better! When we help them find their passions, differentiation happens naturally and we start to reignite the passion for learning.

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  2. My favorite reason is "We are no longer the gatekeepers". I feel it is very important for students to be able to research and find their own information. The ability to discern between a credible source and a not-so-credible source is a life skill as well. Like Matt said, students no longer go to adults or teachers to find answers as much as they used to. I see students go straight to one place...their pocket for their smartphone. I do the same thing. If I don't know something, then I will be on Google or another site to find the answer.
    We need to empower students to think for themselves. In order to do that, we also need to "get out of the way". Let them learn what tools they can use to do their research for themselves. As adults, we can guide them and discuss with them the best sources to use and how to tell if that source is credible. We are now the facilitators and learning guides. But we can no longer spoon feed them information. As teachers, we are still one of the most important aspects in a child's learning, however, we are not necessarily the only mode of information for our students.

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    1. I love that last line you wrote! It really made me think about when I was going through college and everyone started talking about going 1:1 with iPads. I freaked out thinking that there wouldn't be a need for teachers anymore. Little did I know, there is still a HUGE need for teachers as we are there to guide them with this new technology. We help them make decisions and learn how to use the technology (if they aren't teaching it to us that is!). They will still come to us with questions and concerns but we, as teachers, aren't the only ones teaching them things. There are hundreds and thousands of "teachers" at the tips of their fingers thanks to technology.

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    2. Beautifully said, Kyle. "We are no longer the gatekeepers." Frankly, I encourage my kids to find credible links to prove me wrong! LOL We need citizens who can think for themselves, who can problem solve, who can access credible sources of information. Teachers must be able to humble themselves and get out of the way of their students.

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    3. I like your way of thinking Kyle. You said it perfectly

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    5. This is one of my favorite reasons as well. As I work with teachers, I find that this is often one of the more difficult issues in making changes and going digital. Many of our teachers feel a little threatened or nervous about losing that "control". I know they have the best of intentions and desire for their students to learn the content, but need to provide those skills that allow students to problem solve and find information on their own. These are some of the best skills and opportunities that we can provide for our students, while facilitating them through their learning process.

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    6. Yes to all of this Kyle! I call going to my Smartphone - Asking the answer box! My assessment has even changed because of it. I no longer test students on that spoon fed information we used to... well said!

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    7. Your words captured what I was thinking! A couple of years ago my class was having a discussion about reference sources. I was asking what an encyclopedia was. One student raised her hand and said, "It's the old school Google." How right this student is! I do the same thing. I go pull out my phone or go to my computer to find information that I want or need.

      I also agree that teachers are still a very important part of the process. Students need to learn from us how to discern a credible and non credible source. We are the ones who need to empower them to be self directed in their learning.

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    8. Kyle, I like how you mention that students need to discern between credible and non credible information. That is a skill they will need in the real world, so they don't believe everything they read on the internet.

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    9. But what if you are stuck in a spoon-fed system that does have 1:1 and you know best practices encourage you to teach one way (more effectively) than what is actually done? Ditching the textbook is a revolution to ditch the factory model of education and can that really be done with legislative watchdogs and federal funding incentives? As educators, we know inherently how to reach our students and get them to that moment in which they are able to and willing to take a part in their own growth. However, many of us just keep on, keeping on, doing what has been done before to appease the central administration and their factory-model, one size fits all approach. Is ditching, really, truly a possibility?

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  3. To select one reason is very difficult because they all are important. Reinventing Education is a great reason to Ditch that Textbook. Learning should be the focus of every classroom and learning is evolving with the use of technology and schools must adapt accordingly. We must as, Kyle Kline said in earlier comment, help students be "critical consumers" of information not just recipients of information. Digital curriculum in our classroom has allowed for a new way of learning. The combination of technology, problem solving and creating has improved learning. In order to be relevant to our students the classroom must evolve away from traditional school . At Delphi, our social studies students are blogging, they are working as museum curators in history and they are using simulations and projects to understand content. Add in student choice on almost every assignment and we are working with our students in order to develop life long knowledge and skills. Ditching that textbook and using technology helps students. That is exciting.

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    1. "In order to be relevant to our students the classroom must evolve away from traditional school." Love this! Going digital gives my class (HS German) immediate relevance and firmly removes me from the "Gatekeeper" position. Students are connecting with current event news articles, streaming music, film, and television from German-speaking countries, following soccer clubs on Twitter- because they want to and can! My classroom spills into their free time interests, but more importantly, their free time learning feeds into my classroom. I answer more random culture and vocabulary questions than ever before, and they're always prefaced with, "So I found this...." (My 7th hour has turned this into the game "Stump Frau.") They have had some great moments of individual learning!

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    2. I loved that you included student choice. I think that this is so important. I've been trying to do this more with my fourth graders and the response has been so positive. It makes perfect sense that they would be motivated to learn something that they chose!

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  4. This is Brian Tonsoni- Delphi High School... sorry for the comment from my personal account

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  5. As a social studies teacher preparing my students to be productive and contributing citizens in our democratic world, I choose using technology to help "reinvent education". Our education system today is set up for the industrial era; an assembly line developing similar products out of our students and they are being tested with the same quality control test. We currently tweak what is already in existence when what we actually need is not just to think outside of the box, but to break the box and start all over again. We live in a post-industrial era that is globally connected. Such as an assignment today, I do what John Dewey would suggest, and have the students develop the questions that they would like to learn about that topic and then search for their own answers as I serve as a "guide on the side". Students are the active participants in this format and not receivers of information. I have not at this point, but would love to use technology to connect the students with real world problems and make global relationships to develop skills to collaboratively discuss possibilities. This authentic learning "outside" of my classroom through the use of technology is how my students can develop the skills needed to be prepared for life.

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    1. I agree Valerie. It is unsettling to deal with the changes our education system because we don't know exactly which direction it is going. For those of us who have taught for a long time, switching out old ideas and practices with new ones can be difficult. Switching from our traditional ways to a more inquiry-based, digital system will take many years, and as educators we are going to be prepared for a constantly changing system. As teachers, we often feel like we can't keep up. and I think that will become even more evident as we make this transformation. I am trying to make changes within my own classroom with baby steps. While the students are handling the changes well, it sometimes takes longer for the teacher and parents to accept. I like Miller's idea of teaching our students the skill of adaptation. It is something not only our students must learn, but we as educators must learn to adapt.

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  6. If I can only choose one, the most important reason to go digital is to arm students with those real-world skills. I love the line that reads, "That means we must teach students the skills they'll need to solve problems we've never before seen..." (Miller 39). It is the skills that going digital exposes students to that they will take with them, no matter what technology is required of their jobs or how technology changes over time. In high school, I did not know that I would be a technology coach, only because that job did not yet exist (at least I don't think.) This reminds me of how often our conversations center on the technology, website, device, etc. when they should be centered on the skills and student learning goals. The skills listed in Chapter 7 also integrate dig cit, which is so important. Our students have used social media for the majority of their lives, so they have/will have plenty of time to make mistakes that could impact their futures. Educators have to address this in an authentic way.

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    1. I agree- this is my favorite line too! "That means we must teach students the skills they'll need to solve problems we've never before seen..." (Miller 39)

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    2. So true, Diana!! Problem-solving!! I tell kids that their digital footprint is more like a digital tattoo. Always there. Choose wisely.

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    3. I love the tattoo metaphor much better! Footprints wash away!

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  7. I strongly believe that one of our most important jobs as educators is to prepare our kids for life outside of the classroom. With this being said, I think one of the most important reasons to go digital is to equip our students with real-world skills. I love how Miller discusses "turning wasted time into productive time" (pg. 41). So many of our students today view technology as a way to zone out and escape. If we can harness their interest in technology and turn it into something productive, everyone wins!

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    1. I agree 100%! Many students see the technology we put in their hands as a distraction and time waster. One of our jobs as educators is to help them change this mindset and show students the potential for productivity and creativity with technology. If we're giving them digital "worksheets" to complete, they'll rush through them to play on or with the technology. If we ask them to solve problems, collaborate, and create, they don't want to stop working productively on solutions! I love it when the bell rings and they're all surprised and disappointed!

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  8. Adding Value? Today my beginning art class found out the real way to pronounce Vincent Van Gogh through a humorous video I never would have explored before this year. Then we practiced stumbling through varied pronunciations. Next time I will be more prepared and video our responses!
    https://youtu.be/X1GzmXlDqJY

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  9. Teaching real world skills is most important to me. As a teacher of electives pertaining to business ......this is the business I am in! Of the skills Miller outlines, turning wasted time into productive time is one of the qualities that employers tell us is lacking in today's prospective employees. Having Chromebooks and Google Classroom has really made this skill easier to practice in high school - resources/URLs can be posted that will give students that "extra" information, or immerses them in watching a YouTube video or a TED talk in order to learn something new or enhance what they already know. In my classroom, students know that when they are finished with an assignment, or they find they have down time for whatever reason, it is an expectation that students use their time wisely and find educational or useful information above and beyond what we've covered in class. Basically practicing for when they are in the labor force - employers expecting their employees to earn a full day's pay for a full day's work - finding something productive when their "regular" work is done that will benefit the company they work for.

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  10. I go digital to meet those College and Career readiness standards and literacy skills- those "real world" skills that students need for their future. We are a STEM school, so the technology is embedded in many of our lessons for that reason. I managed to graduate HS and college with honors but no computer skills (HS-90, BS- 94), and I've had to learn all of my computer skills through my school and professional development. It is now expected that students have a base of computer skills when they join the workforce. Plus students enjoy the technology- it empowers and connects us all in ways that a textbook just can't do!

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  11. As a science teacher teaching real world skills is very important to me, I also think seeing how the things we learn apply to real life is important. I like being able to enhance our lessons by showing labs online that would wouldn't normally get to do in class.

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  12. The most important reason for me to go digital is "Real World Skills". We can no longer continue to use paper and pencil and ignore that the entire world is digital. All jobs in the "real world" use technology everyday all day. I agree that any program or tool we have students use today will be out of date soon, but the ability to adapt to new web tools and to be able to decide which web tool would be the best to accomplish a goal is a skill we can teach our students and one they can use in the future. I have friends who are in the managers in the medical field and in industry and I hear from them that they need workers with communication skills, digital literacy skills, problem solving skills and creative-thinking skills.

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    1. I agree with you totally.I am trying to make sure the majority of my teaching has some sort of technology related to it because my students love being on their laptops and I want them exposed to as much as possible. The more they are exposed to technology wise the better prepared they will be for the future.

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  13. While I see all of the seven parts to be important in my classroom, I feel the "Reinvent Education" is most important in my specific area. I teach special education and these kids typically don't learn the "traditional" way. They need different ways to access information and show they understand the material.
    If students have a say in the lessons and how they are taught/what technology can be incorporated, they are more likely to learn the information rather than just memorize it (which my kiddos struggle with anyways!). If we are teaching lessons that were taught 10 years ago, the students are not going to relate to the presentation and the lesson will be forgotten very quickly. I feel we would be doing a huge disservice to our students if we kept in the mindset of "I'm going to make this lesson and teach it the same way for the rest of my teaching career." Sure, some things will stay the same, like the actual content, but the way we teach the content needs to evolve with our students and technology.
    I am actually going to try this method this week. I'm going to let my reading students pick a way to present their book reports in a non-traditional way. I am excited to see the results and I'm sure they are looking forward to a technology-based project rather than a pencil paper test. I saw changes right away when I started talking about this project. They got bright eyed and wanted to start right then and there. I think they like to be creative and enjoy a place to put their ideas other than a piece of paper.

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    1. This sounds awesome. If you could post a link here showing some of their projects, that'd be awesome!

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    2. All of my science projects last year were done this way. My students enjoyed doing webquests, then they enjoyed doing projects that involved them using power point or prezi.

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    3. I agree with Lance. I'd love to see some of your students' projects.

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    4. I loved your post and have to say I completely agree. I also teach special education, however, along with those students I also have general education students who struggle in math or reading/language arts. I teach intervention classes and in my language arts intervention I constantly struggle with the lack of motivation to write. This year I reflected back to when I was in school, I remember very few assignments, writing assignments specifically, that I actually enjoyed doing. The one 'assignment', more like on-going assignment, that I will never forget is having pen-pals. So, I took to Google and started my search for finding connections for pen-pals... I found a great website that had a sign-up form for connecting with other classes along with a form showing all the other teachers and their contact information. This week we are expecting our first letters from our pen-pals, we were lucky enough to not only connect with one school, but TWO! When I told my students we would be connecting with two different schools I told them one school was in the United States and one was in a different country! Immediately the kids began guessing and using their planners to look at maps to try and figure out where in the world these other schools were. Once they picked the right state and country all sorts of questions were being asked, while I hadn't planned for full 50 minute periods exploring Oklahoma and Finland, that is how the class periods went. We used google earth to see where these schools were located, we looked at pictures of the cities, we even checked on how much flights might cost to actually visit these pen-pals of ours, ha! In case you were wondering, for 31 students to get round trip tickets to Finland it's around $45,000, whew! The kids have never been so engaged and already have so many things they want to ask their pen-pals. Reinventing education is so important and is something I will continue to work on, as well as the other 6 reasons outlined in the book.

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    5. Sadly, I am not seeing a way to upload my projects on here as a comment. :( Also, I only had one student take on the actual "technology" aspect. Everyone else simply used technology to find pictures to use on their projects, which isn't exactly what I meant when I asked them to use technology, but at least they know how to find pictures now. :) haha.
      Kasey, that is seriously amazing about the pen-pals! I'm curious which website you used, as I would LOVE to do this with some of my kiddos! Such a culturally rich experience for them! Amazing!

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  14. I know someone already said this one but I like the we are no longer the gate keepers one. This one is tough for me to adapt to. I taught at a school with limited technology access last year and this year I am at an amazing 1:1 school. For me it is tough to take a step back and let the kids be in charge but the more I do it the easier it gets. I am starting to see my kids become more excited about learning when they can use technology.

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  15. For me, reinventing education is the most valuable lesson learned for Miller, and the biggest reason to go digital. Students cannot solely depend on teachers for all knowledge when there is a plethora of knowledge out there with the internet. Especially with history! Not everyone loves history, or can even stand history, and I think a big part of it is that is was previously taught (and how I learned) as people and dates, but there is so much more to it than that. With opening the doors to technology and the internet, studentss don't just learn on their own--things they actially want to learn-- but are able to create on their own products. School should prepare student for their adult life, and that is what I aim to do in my history classes. So why not use technology more if that is where the future is? It would be a a disservice not to prepare them for that. Additionally, using technology prepares them to be self sufficient members of socoety, which is what anyone wants for a student. It may be fun to the the sage on the stage every now and then, but students should become sages of their own stages.

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  16. Each of the ideas presented by Miller were all very valuable. I think for me, the most valuable one is "boosting your efficiency". At my school class periods are only a precious 47 minutes. I need those 47 minutes to get everything done! But with students coming in, taking time to settle in, passing out papers, answering a bell wringer, turning in papers, packing up early, etc. We lose those precious seconds/ minutes every day. At my one-to-one school I am able to save a lot of time just by uploading a document such as a primary or secondary source to them. My students use an online site for a bell wringer activity that I can view immediately upon their hitting the submit button. I am able to use that saved time much more effectively. To me it is also less stressful. Miller talks about time in the copy room, I think I was only in the copy room once last week, because most of my stuff is digital!

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    1. Boosting efficiency is a valuable idea for me, also. Thanks to the wise use of available technologies, I have discovered many ways to gain back some of those "precious minutes" that are so important to student achievement and my own organization.

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  17. I would love to go totally digital. I have come to a point a couple times and have almost gotten to the point where I could go mostly digital but... My district is having funding issues so even though we are integrating chromebooks, we do not have the funds for every student to have one right now. I struggle with going to a lab for tests and quizzes or to do a cool activity related to a unit. I have a bank of 7 computers in my room, so I am luckier than most. But I really feel I could do so much more if every student had a computer all class everyday.
    I feel computers really help the students in an English class With writing assignments such as summaries or keeping a reading log. My students would much rather type than write. I also always let students use pictures as symbols as long as they connected it to their writing.

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    1. I would love to be 1 to 1, also, but funding is an issue for my district, too. I try to do as much as I can, though, with what is available.

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  18. The most important reason for me is that teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. I am trying this year to integrate technology as a tool to produce a product rather than to only use the apps as an enhancement to instruction.

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    1. I like that. I feel like I am just scratching the surface of using technology. I want to use it more than just and enhancement also. I too liked the chapter about we are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge.

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  19. Wow! It is so hard to pick just one. All of the seven reasons are great, but I think that the reason that resonates with me the most is the opportunity to reinvent education. Education today is nothing like it was even ten years ago, nor should it be. The students live in a world that reinvents itself with ever-increasing frequency. The technology grows and changes on a continual basis. Being educated today means knowing how to navigate, manipulate, and anticipate those changes.

    This is my 22nd year of teaching. My teaching style has changed so much throughout the years, but particularly since I have had more access to technology and devices. As I learn relevant teaching strategies for today's learners, I find that the students respond with greater engagement and ownership of their learning. They are excited to come to school and continually amaze me with their skills and knowledge. I learn as much from them as they do from me. Today more than ever, I am learning right along with the students. It's an exciting time to be an educator!

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    1. "It's a exciting time to be an educator" is right. I'm so glad you said that. I spoke with one of my colleagues the other day about this. He is close to retirement age. He looked right at me and said, "Technology keeps me going." It was so cool that technology rejuvenated his passion for teaching as it provided an exciting challenge for him and so many avenues to provide awesome learning experiences for his students. He's creating that change Matt talked about later in this chapter. I'm glad I can see him do just that.

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  20. The most important reason to go digital for me was in chapter 6. Matt mentioned that teachers should no longer be gatekeepers for students but guides for them in the classroom instead. I grew up thinking that teachers held all the knowledge; they knew everything that I needed to learn. I also came out of college thinking the same thing; that I would hold all the knowledge and deliver it to my students. However, that is no longer the case. As I think about the day to day activities in my room, I can quickly pick out the students’ favorite ones. Their favorites are always the ones where they can interact with the material, find their own answers and come up with their own conclusions. My most creative lessons are the ones where I take risks. I still follow the standards, but I don’t necessarily follow the book. I guess my big question here is: how do I do this all the time? How do I keep students wanting to learn all the time in my classroom? Can I be this creative all the time, do I have to be?

    I have seen many changes in my classroom, especially over the last year or so. Our school has been preaching technology for several years now and I can finally say that I am getting more acquainted with it. Although I see changes in my instruction, I still see routine, day to day work happening as well. Probably, one of the biggest changes in my classroom is less printed material. I have been using websites like google classroom and moodle to post assignments and “extra copies” and study guides so that students have access to these materials all day, every day. This has definitely made my life easier and I spend less time at the copier every day.

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    1. I agree with you. I too grew up thinking teachers knew everything about everything. I am not afraid to tell my students I do not know or I am not sure but you can look it up on the computer and let us all know.
      I also love the freedom from the copy machine and all the headaches that come along with using it.

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    2. I don't know about, but not being the gatekeeper has made teacher a lot easier. I enjoy being able to tell the students "I don't know", but look here to see if you can find the answer and tell me what you find out. My love of learning new things is now shared with my students!

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    3. We are supposed to guide students in their journey for knowledge. This can be done with technology or without. Schools and/or students who don't have easy access to many helpful technological teaching tools must find creative ways to incorporate modern knowledge. When my students and I learn together, they get to see my excitement about discovering new ideas and interpretations in literature. This makes them excited as well! So, I agree with you 100%.

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  21. My school has Promethean boards in every class. It is wonderful to incorporate technology into the elementary music program. I always begin class by taking attendance on classdojo and having the class read their objectives. It is also wonderful when my school doesn't have specific instruments to pull up youtube and have a wide range of videos available to check them out. There are many days that I have 'ditched the textbook' and went totally digital with a lesson. My school in K-2 has roughly 5-7 ipads in each class and I try to utilize them as much as possible. My 3-5 grades have about 5 laptops per class. Again, I try to incorporate them as much as I can.

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  22. As a counselor my view may be slightly different that a traditional educator. As a few others have said picking just one of the 7 is a difficult task in itself. In my field, number 2 is the most important and can be related to a few other chapters. While hard work nearly always pays off, working smarter and more efficiently will pay off more often. If a person can complete the same task in half the time, why wouldn't everyone be doing it? So many of us get stuck in the "it's how it's always been done," that we get behind the times. We need to get out of our comfort zones to help our students learn to be life long learners.

    Every student in our school had an iPad, they take it everywhere including lunch. It amazes me that they ask some of the questions that they do. When I say, "why don't you look it up on your iPad", it's like its a foreign idea to them. Many of them have yet to learn how valuable of a tool the school lets them use, and contrary to their belief it was not so why can play games and iMessage their friends in other classes.

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  24. As a counselor my view may be slightly different that a traditional educator. As a few others have said picking just one of the 7 is a difficult task in itself. In my field, number 2 is the most important and can be related to a few other chapters. While hard work nearly always pays off, working smarter and more efficiently will pay off more often. If a person can complete the same task in half the time, why wouldn't everyone be doing it? So many of us get stuck in the "it's how it's always been done," that we get behind the times. We need to get out of our comfort zones to help our students learn to be life long learners.

    Every student in our school had an iPad, they take it everywhere including lunch. It amazes me that they ask some of the questions that they do. When I say, "why don't you look it up on your iPad", it's like its a foreign idea to them. Many of them have yet to learn how valuable of a tool the school lets them use, and contrary to their belief it was not so why can play games and iMessage their friends in other classes.

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  25. All of the reasons were important to me, but one issue that is fresh in my mind is reinventing education (chapter 5). I used to teach 4th grade before the school district I was teaching in went 1:1. I was offered the position as a technology integration coach because of the way I was having students utilize the computer lab (five and a half years ago). I had kids blogging (on Sharepoint 2007 of all places) and sharing their thoughts about an article we read in class. Then they’d go and find resources online that would support their response and link them in their posts and comments to one another (not all fourth graders were very successful with the responses). At this time, this was a fairly cutting edge activity with kids that were 9 and 10 years old.
    Now...I couldn’t imagine having kids do what we did because of that vast amount of time it took kids to log into those stinking Windows XP machines, find my website, go to the link to my blog, and get logged into my Sharepoint blog. With how conveniently fast students can access content with today’s tablets and Chromebooks, there is no way I would utilize those same resources. I guess that goes along with Matt’s mentioning that we must teach students the skills of adaptation. In order to do that, we have to be adaptable as well. What is available and what will provide students with the best shot of being successful in the future?
    Now that I’m a technology integration coordinator, I have to think of how I’m providing learning opportunities for teachers. Am I maximizing their time? Am I maximizing their opportunity to collaborate and learn? Am I creating a change in how teachers receive professional development that will provoke change in my school district? Am I allowing teachers to develop the ability to guide their own learning? I hope I am doing these things. I mull this over in my mind constantly.

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  26. I appreciate a digital approach when it provides a more efficient way of accomplishing something. One tool that keeps me and my 8th grade general math students excited about class openers is the website exittix.com On that site I can preload a few questions for students to answer within the first minutes of class, and immediately I know what they remember from the previous day, what they still need to work on or what components of an upcoming topic might need more detailed explanations. The site gives immediate feedback to each student individually and lets me see on the teacher side of the site both individual and whole class weaknesses and strengths on each question. I can project on the class screen anonymous results, and students have made it a competition to have one class period outperform another. Questions can be used at any time during a class to check for understanding as the name exittix suggests and each student's progress over time is measured and reported. With a nod to Matt Miller's format p. 13--- BEFORE: class openers or exit tickets required my time to grade and a day or more delay in processing results back to students. TODAY: the feedback is immediate with students seeing ongoing reports of their progress. Class activities can springboard from students' weaknesses/strengths.

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  27. I am starting year 28 of teaching English/Language Arts in a rural high school and I have had to consistently change my way of teaching as advancements in technology have occurred. Does anyone else remember the days of mimeograph machines and bubbling in forms for report cards? Let’s face it; English skills have not changed. Reading comprehension and writing skills are still important. I believe that the best reason for going digital is that my curriculum delivery methods have to be relevant to the students in my classroom. I have to adapt and change because the type of student who enters my classroom has changed.

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    1. Yes, I remember the purple mimeograph worksheets! It is exciting to be able to load items for my students to see within just a minute or two. If a student brings up a related topic in class, I can easily do a search, add it to their LMS, and I can adapt a lesson quickly. While this is super amazing to me, my students are used to the fast-paced speed of Twitter and Snapchat. Adding one new skill at time, I am feeling more comfortable each year in my students' "world."

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    2. I am only in year 6 of teaching English/Language Arts and though I can't compare that great of a change, I have seen so much change in the last 6 years. I went from a paper only classroom, to using a SMARTBoard, to Blogger/Websites. I love the changes, but I do miss actually writing in a journal. I still have my journal from high school.

      I love digital but as someone who has seen many more swings in education than me, do you feel like some things should stay the same?

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    3. I remember when you had to calculate student grades by hand! Luckily, I was never teaching during this time, but it always made me nervous. Teachers use to spend hours calculating grades and now because of technology, they can be more efficient and use that time for teaching or providing feedback.

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  28. Arming our students for the real world is just so vital for their future. As students and education changes, it's important to make sure that they are prepared with relevant skills that can help them for the future, whether it's college or the work force. The students who enter our classroom can insistantly be engaged when the right technology tools are placed at their fingertips. It's our job to use these tools to make the learning happen.

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  29. I feel like Reinventing Education is the most important. The reason for students getting an education is to help prepare them for their future. If we don't reinvent how we educate our students then we are failing them when they get out into the real world. When reading I highlighted on pg. 28, "It's time our classrooms address the needs of the current and FUTURE marketplace." We can no longer expect the "old traditional" ways of teaching to be effective in today's ever changing world. I think Matt is absolutely right when he says that our role of a teacher has shifted from just answering question to helping students to discover the right questions to ask and how to go about finding and answering themselves.
    I started using Chromebooks this year and when students began typing an essay I just first said to ignore the red squiggly line that pops up. Then I thought, I don't ignore the red squiggly line, I bet other professionals don't ignore the red squiggly line when they are typing something. So now students are encouraged to use that to their advantage.

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  30. I really liked the line "That means we must teach students the skills they'll need to solve problems we've never before seen..." (Miller 39). As a special ed teacher, we are having to teach our students skills all the time. We are a 1-1 school and referring the students to their computers to look for answers first before they ask me is awesome. My students are more engaged, and ask me more questions than before, just so they can find their questions and answers on the computer.

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    1. My school is also 1-1. I feel it is very important to teach students how to think through any problem. My teaching partner and I are always asking students how they think they should have solved a problem or why they would solve it this way. We want to hear their thinking. When we don't have an answer, we refer them to their Chromebooks. They have so much information at their fingertips for them to learn from! I am excited to learn new ways to incorporate technology more into my classroom so I can not only empower my students but prepare them for solving these problems we've never seen before.

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  31. I think the most valuable and personal to me was "Reinvent Education". This is something I have been doing in my own 2nd grade classroom for the past 2 years. I think it can be difficult but necessary at times to change our way of teaching. As the digital world is rapidly changing, so must our commitment to teaching right along with it. As we all know, the only thing constant in this world is change. So let's embrace it! Our students are the ones who will benefit as well as our own children.

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    1. I agree that the most valuable was to reinvent education. I like how you said that we need to embrace it. You are exactly right. It's the world in which we live. It's how our students learn about their world when they are not at school. Why should it be different when they are in school?

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  32. For me, it is "Empower Students To Find Their Passions". When Matt says on page 23 "you can open your students minds to new possibilities and empower them to explore what drives them", isn't that what we are supposed to do as educators? To light a fire within them to learn? To create that desire to be better? Showing the students there is a whole world out there for them to explore, and then giving them the tools in which to explore that world is what it should be all about.

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    1. I totally agree with this sentiment. I want to expose my students to all the many interesting things they can learn about in the world! I want them to use technology to reach out of their comfort zone and learn new things. As part of an enrichment activity, I am hoping to schedule video interviews with friends of mine who have cool jobs. I want kids to see the many ways they can take their education and channel it into a job that interests them. Helping students find their passions is at the core of helping to create lifelong learners!

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  33. As a high school journalism and newspaper teacher, teaching students real-world skills is very important to me. The ability to understand and utilize technology in various formats is crucial to the future of journalism and the ability of students to find and thrive in the business. Journalists are expected to blog and tweet in addition to writing stories and filming interviews. Developing real-world skills in technology allows journalists to find a place in this business, so it's my job to help them develop those skills, while also teaching core skills and techniques for writing that have spanned decades. It also makes learning about journalism much more interesting when a variety of technologies and styles are utilized.

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  34. I feel that all seven reasons to go digital are important. I think if I had to choose one it would be "Empower Students to Find their Passions" because technology allows to them to take their interests to a new level. My students all have Ipads. Last year was the first year for them in my district and my building was one of the first schools to implement them. I found when we did our research unit it allowed students to dig so much deeper into the topic they selected. They loved having the option to watch videos about their topic instead of just reading text. We also used an app called Book Creator to publish their final research projects!

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  35. I feel that all seven reasons to go digital are important. I think if I had to choose one it would be "Empower Students to Find their Passions" because technology allows to them to take their interests to a new level. My students all have Ipads. Last year was the first year for them in my district and my building was one of the first schools to implement them. I found when we did our research unit it allowed students to dig so much deeper into the topic they selected. They loved having the option to watch videos about their topic instead of just reading text. We also used an app called Book Creator to publish their final research projects!

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    1. Our PTO president is working on the rest of the board to approve the purchase of iPads for our students. I am keeping my fingers crossed because I know it will be great for our kiddos. After reading and listening to Matt Miller, I feel like I will use them to a wider capacity then I would have before this book.

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  36. I agree with the author that kids are bored to death with textbook learning. However, it is up to the instructor to make education creative and innovative. I think with budget constraints many teachers have already ditched their corporation's curriculum in some way or another. I know my corp hasn't adopted a grammar series in over 10 years. There are grammar mini-lessons in our reading series, but we have to supplement big time to properly teach grammar in our classrooms. Technology has made a big difference in my building with grammar instruction. Everything from online games to project ideas have been critical for us. I agree with him that going digital opens up choices for a wide range of creativity and 'outside the box' thinking. It is often overwhelming for educators because there is so much technology already available, it's impossible to be constantly on top of what is available. I have found more success by listening to my coworkers and seeing what they use it helpful. I have used QR code creator websites and QR code reader apps on ipads quite often to give my students access to a padlet I create. I can link several websites on a padlet with multiple resourced they can use for a project or assignment. The padlets save me a ton of time!!

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  37. In my mind, Miller's most important point is using technology to teach "real world" skills. Technology is an ever-increasing influence in our lives, and in order to keep up with society and everyone around us, we must adapt and at least be aware in technological advances. An important point Miller mentions is, "65% of today's school children eventually will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created" (9). [That might not be the right page number; I do not have the book in front of me at the moment.] Due to the constant presence of technological advancement, there is a greater chance that the 65% of these newly created jobs deal with technology of some sort. We have to remember that we are preparing students for the rest of their lives. Through the use of already implemented best practice strategies and with the use of teaching technological literacy in our classrooms, students will feel better prepared to venture into technological-based occupations.

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  38. The chapter that really spoke to me was "Reinvent Education." I've been in this field long enough to have seen many educational trends come and go (remember 'Open Classrooms' and 'Whole Language', anyone?) and feel that in addition to teaching specific skills we are obligated to encourage children to be intellectually inquisitive and give them the tools to be life-long learners. Digital education is ideal in this way because of its immediacy and the inherent appeal it has. The authors observation that often the atmosphere and expectations in today's classroom are ideal for producing good little factory workers when future work requirements will be "non-routine, interpersonal, and analytical" really gave me pause. It's not just the means we use as teachers that must change, but the goals we have as we use them. Technology isn't just a flash in the pan trend that we might wait out, but the basis for a needed paradigm shift for teachers!

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  39. I liked the chapter on reinventing education. We are a 1:1 district so our students have had laptops for three years now. Having the devices has completely changed how I teach. While it has been a real challenge, I feel like I am finally becoming the teacher I always wanted to be. When I taught using traditional methods, I felt like I had a few students who were engaged and learning, but many of them were simply biding their time until the bell rang. Changing my methods, and moving away from the textbook has allowed me to engage more students, and I feel like real learning is occurring in my classroom for many more students.

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  40. Jump IN!! Try it! Even if you aren't sure how it will turn out. I like this line in the first chapter! Last year a couple colleagues and I attempted some apps on our set of iPads. This was great for us in that we were able to try things, experiment with how the app worked, talk with one another about possible ways to use the app and how to trouble shoot problems that arose with the elementary (lower K-2) students that were using them. I think the part that meant the most to me was that it was learning for us and the students at the same time. They have taught me more on these devices than I would have dreamed. I also like the part in chapter 7 that spoke about cultivating our relationships with others; this is how our world works. We are teaching our students to be engaged in life, with those near and far and make the most of their learning experience. It is a scary, "crazy good" part of teaching that we are entering. Times have changed and it is pretty exciting!

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    1. I liked the Jump IN!! Try it! line also. I often find myself afraid to try something new because I am behind the times in technology. I have found that the students are a very valuable resource. The students seem to enjoy teaching me something new. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and feel baby steps are happening. I have experienced some failures, but also some success. I feel this book has helped me see that failing is ok and to keep trying.

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  41. My favorite is: We are no longer the Gatekeepers. I rarely use my textbook but struggle for time in the computer lab. We are starting to get Chromebooks and cannot wait for the day that I hopefully have a classroom set. I believe what Matt said about students needing mentors. Our role in the classroom is changing and we need to be on board to help our students be ready for the world they are in. I think my role is to guide them and open their world to what is out there. I also think it is important to develop a PLN to share our ideas of what is working in our classrooms.

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  42. Hi everyone! I'm late to the party here! I think that beginning something new in the digital realm is a twofold adventure. The first step is to pick ONE thing to try and the second step is to go ALL in at it. If it doesn't work as planned, the students will learn from us as we regroup and devise a new plan. If it does go as expected, then it will be an amazing experience for everyone.

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    1. I thought I saw your picture when I was scrolling through the posts! Yeah! So glad you decided to join in!

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  43. I liked the chapter Reinvent Education. "How can we reinvent education? The easier question might be, "How can we not reinvent education?" I totally agree that our world is changing and we have to keep up with it or it will pass us by. I was told once that our students are technology natives and we (the teachers born before 1980) are technology immigrants. I went to a workshop today and listened to Matt Miller. He showed us a short video where a student explained how technology comes so easily to them that their school is chasing to keep up with them. As a technology immigrant I want to learn from my native students and guide them to a great education. After reading the book and listening to Matt Miller today, I feel empowered to use more technology in my classroom tomorrow.

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  44. From Gate Keeper to Guides really resonates with me. I am in an elementary school. Even though we have a fairly young staff (I am not one of them anymore) I do not see them guiding their students in the technical word to be productive citizens in our world. I feel that we still are handcuffed to our text books.

    I am not sure about other districts, but in ours we are held accountable for the NIET rubric. Teachers are afraid to deviate from it since it is a vital component for their pay. Our teachers are afraid to step out of the norm in fear of not following the rubric they are evaluated on. Since I have a different rubric (I am the Media Specialist) I don't worry about it so much. I am trying to show teachers that technology can be put into the I do, We do, You do model. I have taken a 5th grade teacher and made her class my guinea pigs. We have created some google classes, are beginning to blog, and are doing some Project Based Learning items. She and her class are loving it. It is my hope that others will see her progress and want to join in our learning.

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    1. Hi Nancy- I am also an elementary media specialist! The gradual release process is so important for classroom instruction! I would love to hear more about your blog (is it through you- in the library- or their classroom?) and your project based learning that you've done so far! I'm looking to do some of the same things!

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    2. I love the Project based learning-- I signed up for it and each week I receive the idea. Since I only see students for 40 minutes a week -- it takes us longer than the 40 minutes so our projects last a few weeks
      Hilary take a look -- I love them pblproject.com

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    3. Thank you for the resource! I will check it out!

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    4. Thank you, Nancy, for the resource pblproject.com. What the Project Based Learning sounds like is a great example of using real-world skills to teach academic standards. I am checking it out, too!

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    5. Thank you, Nancy, for the resource pblproject.com. What the Project Based Learning sounds like is a great example of using real-world skills to teach academic standards. I am checking it out, too!

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  45. I really identified with the part where Matt talked about student's "playing the game of school." The idea that they come in, go through the motions, and eventually moved on struck a cord with me. I can remember plenty of classes like that in high school, and when I decided to become a teacher, I told myself that I never wanted to be like that, and if I ever did become that type of teacher, then it was time to move on from this profession.

    We live in a golden age with technology and everything that is available to us. Our school district is in the process of going 1-to-1 with laptops and tablets for all students, and I for one am excited for this. There is so much available with the creation of different apps and websites that can be integrated within the classroom. I recently used an app on Google called Human 3.0 which not only allowed me to show a 3D interactive representation of the human body, but I can break it down by body system, and go further in depth with diseases and issues that affect certain systems.

    Overall I am excited to continue this trek and learn as much as I can in regards to incorporating technology not only into my classroom, but within the gym setting as well.

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    1. The resources available through Google are awesome! I will have to check out the Human 3.0 app!

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  46. We need to be able to meet kids where they are - and they definitely are not in paper and pencil worlds anymore! I have a 4, 6 and 9 year old and they can run circles around many of the adults I know in using technology, just becuase that's the world they are growing up in. My 4 year old knows how to pull up videos on youtube - When I was 4, I wanted the paper towel tube!! Going digital is giving them real world skills they can use to become productive members of society - and when coupled with teaching effective communication skills (which are quickly falling by the wayside), they will be armed to go in any direction they choose! (Randi Tolentino, MSD Decatur Township - beginning the journey of our Digital Transformation with the rollout of 1:1 iPads in all high school and 6th grade this year.)

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    1. Kids today are truly digital natives. I'm in awe of the things my 10 yr old daughter does on Mindcraft. The amount of work she puts into it, and the research and collaboration with other players is amazing. The education field needs to catch up quickly to meet the needs of these students. Good luck with the 1:1. sounds like exciting times at Decatur.

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  47. When Matt talked about having this vision of what he wanted his classroom to be, it totally resonated with me. I have always had this picture in my head of these levels of engagement I wanted to achieve, and textbooks have never been a way to get there. The reason Matt gave to go digital that seemed important to me was the efficiency piece. We recently switched to being google based in our corporation- google drive, gmail, google classroom, etc. Even though we are fairly new into it- I see the efficiency of it already. Teachers sharing pictures from their classrooms that easily are placed in a shared folder that can be displayed on hallway tvs... Documents with master schedules that can be edited and don't have to be reshared... Sending out a google form to get feedback as opposed to printing something to put in teacher mailboxes. It all makes life so much easier! I can see how helpful this will be with our students- no more rushing to make copies, plan way in advance for an activity, etc. I think this is already transforming the way our school operate.

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    1. Hilary, I totally agree with you. The efficiency component alone makes life so much better!

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    2. Hilary... I haven't quite figured out how to push out a google doc to my students. If you know how to do that...I would appreciate your assistance. Thanks!

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  48. Why Go Digital? I ask this question in addition to using the SAMR model every time I plan a lesson to determine if tech/digital is the right thing to engage students and help them learn. Sometimes a simulation/activity trumps tech...but most of the time digital tools allow my classroom to reach much further than the walls of the classroom. My classroom has changed immensely, I have changed. I can't believe the things I do with tech now that I had no clue how to do 3 years ago.

    I primarily identify with Matt's statements in Chapter 4 "Empower Students To Find Their Passions." I teach Social Studies, specifically World History and Geography..., and utilizing technology has allowed me to connect students to faraway places, have chats with people across the world, etc. I lived abroad for 3 years to become more knowledgeable about the rest of the world in order to be the best Social Studies teacher I can be. Now, my students don't have to rely on me, travel, or a textbook for their source material...it's at their fingertips! I love the global interconnectedness of the Internet and technology, as well as the ability of the Internet and online tools to inspire students to take ownership of their learning. There is nothing I love to hear more than when a student gets so engaged in a lesson that he/she goes home to further research details I don't have time for in the classroom. Brilliant!

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    1. Tara-
      Passion is key to keeping kids motivated. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job keeping your student engaged and making real-world connections. kudos

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    2. Hello, Tara! Yes, expanding the walls of the classroom goes a long way in making connections with students' current interests. When that happens, there are limitless possibilites available and it is awesome when they do research on their own. Tara did a great job of inspiring students when she was a teacher at my school. We miss her still!

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    3. "Global interconnectedness!" The fact the we can connect our students/classrooms with others anywhere in the world is amazing. The possibilities are endless!

      I also liked the fact that you always start with the "why" when planning your lesson. Technology for technology's sake alone does not add value to a lesson; it is when the technology redefines or modifies the lesson that its full potential is realized. Great job!

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  49. What a tough question to start this book discussion. :) As I contemplated this question, I couldn't help but make connections between chapter 5 and 7. We are currently at a point in time where the entire education system needs to be over-hauled. The philosophy of trying to patch a tire with 80,000 miles and no tread should seem ridiculous. But that seems to be the philosophy when it comes to the education system in the United States. Reinventing education requires us to look at what real-world skills our students will need when entering the workforce. In an interview with Laszlo Bock, the Head of People Operations at Google, he describes the five hiring attributes Google looks for when hiring someone. Number one on the list is cognitive ability, not IQ, but their ability to learn. The least looked at attributes are expertise and GPA. I keep this interview on my desktop to remind me of what I need to be teaching the teachers in my schools. I have included a link to the article here: http://goo.gl/QmyBFH
    Technology needs to play the pivotal role in preparing our students and teachers to be effective lifelong learners. Digital content allows high levels of adaptability for teachers as they craft lessons and learning units for their students. Effectively curating content allows a teacher to make connects to the real world, collaborate with experts in the field of study, share ideas and projects with anyone in the world, and create deep, meaningful learning moments. And this is just a fraction of the possibilities digital content provides to teachers and students. We need to stop attempting to patch the tire and start over with a new one.

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  50. The beginning of Chapter 5: "Reinventing Education" made an impression on me. The list of expectations including, "Sit in your seat quietly, don't talk while you work, take notes," although familiar sounding because it was what I had to do in school for most classes, also made me reflect about some of the other classes I took that were more interactive. I am trying to make my classroom more digital because I know the school budget is tight. Some curriculum is best suited for paper, while other items can be easily handled and stored on my class Edmodo page. The last three years have been a learning process to discern what students need and want in print, and what part technology can play in saving me time and effectiveness. Utimately, I do want creativity, innovation, and inspired work in my classroom. This chapter convinced me I probably won't have that if there isn't a big digital presence in my classrom.

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  51. Picking one was tough but I feel strongly about we are no longer gatekeepers. Today the teacher is more of a guide and I rarely use my textbook in the US History classes I teach. Students are more excited learning by doing and discovery. I find myself linking the past and not so past more and really like being able to do so. Every student has an iPad at my school and I feel we have went from the gatekeepers to a guide that teaches more by discovery and student research than a paper book.

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  53. It is hard to pick just one reason to go digital. First and foremost, our students are already used to technology. They know more than us sometimes. We need to go digital to keep up with them. Technology will just keep advancing, so why not prepare students for the real world as much as we can? Most communication in the work force and even between friends is done digitally. Even if we don't like things being this way, it is reality. It is our job to prepare our students to be the best citizen they can be and digital readiness is part of that. We can show them how to be efficient and effective with their time; we can help them cultivate relationships with others that will help them in the long run. Knowing how to navigate the world digitally will keep them on the cutting edge. Even if some students don't go on to college, (almost) everyone will use technology in everyday life. So much information is at our fingertips, why not use it to our advantage?

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  54. The most meaningful chapter for my thinking is Ch. 6 “ We Are No Longer The Gatekeepers.”
    This may sound lame, but I love watching students read their novels or textbooks and then start googling a topic they are curious about. I can’t plan this type of learning. It is authentic and lifelong learning. I remember reading to my curious six year old. When she would ask for more information about a topic, we would head for the library, use the card catalog and try to find the books that might answer her questions. If the library didn’t have the book, we would use the interlibrary loan program. Typically---in about a week’s time---we would have the answer to her question. No longer is this the issue. Kids find what they need in seconds. I firmly believe that students are reading far more than ever before. Students are not only reading novels online, but they are reading informational text in greater chunks. This has to impact their learning, as well as their abilities to read and write. Students are constantly building background knowledge as they read. I look forward to being a guide.

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    1. I like this idea too. I teach second grade and they are always asking questions. We try to take a couple minutes a day to "google" their questions. I think allowing this process to happen instills the idea of life-long learners and doesn't squash their natural curiosity.

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    2. Sounds like the beginnings of inquiry learning in your classroom. I imagine your students love it.

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  55. As a science teacher, I found several of the methods useful for going digital. I especially liked the "Real-World Skills." There are a lot of webquests and a lot of websites that I currently incorporate into my students' education. I feel this gives them a different viewpoint on how assignments and assessments can be accomplished. In addition, again, being a science teacher, I am able to bring into the classroom online labs and videos of stuff that I may not be able to do in my classroom. The information being presented is often eye-opening to many of my students who would not otherwise experience it.

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  56. The most important reason for me is reinventing education. As a special ed teacher of students with moderate and severe disabilities, I can at times underestimate and put limits on my students. In the past, if I found something that worked with a certain student, I would stick to that method without changing for long periods of time. Technology has opened the door for me to think differently and see my students in a different light. Even though my students have disabilities, they have amazed me at how well they learn, use, and adapt to technology. They are also excited to learn in this way! How can I not reinvent my classroom and how I teach with the excitement and willingness of my students to learn? I am still most certainly a guide and a monitor, but my students now how better tools to meet their needs and learning and new knowledge is at their fingertips.

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    1. That's awesome. Technology can sometimes level the playing field for all students.

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  57. I think we need to help prepare kids for life outside of the classroom. They come into my kindergarten classroom thinking that technology is used only to entertain them (and there are a lot of things that we can use for practice that they find entertaining) but I'm excited about teaching them how to use technology to communicate with others, show their learning, and expand their knowledge of the larger world outside of them and the small town they live in.

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    1. Absolutely. I agree they go for the games first. They want the fun and games, but showing them that technology is a tool for learning is the ultimate goal. Today I did a lesson on teaching students to use an online dictionary. They were able to see what a time saver this will be for them. I am hopeful when they are doing their writing, they will be more willing to take time to edit. Looking up words on the computer will be so much easier.

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    2. I also agree Kathy and Kim! In teaching my students about digital citizenship this year, they've acted surprised when I've explained that being a digital citizen isn't about playing games on the computer. Games are great when it's time for games - but that isn't necessarily the best way to learn (in my opinion). The time saving aspect of going digital is awesome!!

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  58. Reinventing education resonates with me. A connection to the material is so important for students in getting and staying motivated to learn, and that connection can come a lot more easily for many students when they go digital. As a teacher of Latin for many years, I've "reinvented" teaching before, showing students (and parents!) that Latin doesn't have to be just a rote memorization of forms. Now it's time for another reinvention in the digital realm.

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  59. I was really touched by defeating student insecurity. I was a very shy student. I know if given the opportunity, I would have participated using technology. I can often write about my thoughts, feelings, and ideas, but sharing out was not something I was comfortable with. I would love to see what thoughts would come from the quieter students in my classroom. It would also be interesting to see how those students that are often willing to share out would stop and think about what they are going to say before they post it.

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    1. Very good point Kathy. I had a couple students who were uncomfortable sharing in front of the class. We used to flipagram to record their stories to share.

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    2. I am anxious to try this too! I think it will really help those students that hang back and don't raise their hands to share.

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    3. I felt the same way. As I read this chapter, I had horrible flashbacks of discussions in high school...the ones where we'd all put our chairs in a circle and everyone was expected to contribute something to the conversation. I dreaded those days. If only we would have had the means to contribute without the heat of all those eyes staring at us!

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  60. It was certainly a challenge to pick just one section. Chapter 7 focusing on Real World Skills spoke to me both as an educator and as a mother of two children. The real world of the future will not be what we know today, just like the world I teach in is different from how I went to school. I want my own children to develop the skills to problem solve and to be able to intact with all kinds of people from various backgrounds. School can help provide opportunities to learn and engage in meaningful ways, but we must change our expectations and how we think about learning.

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  61. The most important reason to me was that 65% of students will have jobs that are not even created yet. Our jobs as educators is to prepare students for their future. How can we do this without the use of technology? I can't remember the last time I went a whole day without using technology in some way. I use three pieces of technology while teaching; my phone for class dojo, my iPad which has my lesson plans and where I take notes/video/photos, and my laptop that is connected to my Mimio board. If technology is important enough for me to use, it should be important for my students to use as well.
    Engagement and creativity are also strong motivators for using technology in the classroom. I have seen more motivation from students when they can use technology to learn and create. It also creates a sense of purpose when their work will be shared with others via technology. Suddenly, people beyond our classroom walls are able to see their work and that's exciting to them.

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    1. Jessica, I have been thinking about the amount of technology I use and also am noticing how my high school son is using it as well. Technology does help us to be connected. I am still exploring how to connect my students' learning to their parents. I do know that any of my struggling students are quicker to write on the iPad than on paper. The motivation factor is definitely an important reason for using technology.

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    2. I don't think students/children understand the impact technology is going to have on their future. I think it is something they easily take for granted. When they think about the future, not having an idea of the possibilities could be a bit overwhelming for them. I think it will be exciting to see what waits for them. As educators helping them become comfortable with all the technology can seem monumental.

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  62. I feel "Empowering Students to Find their Passions" is the most important one. Mainly because I saw it in action a couple of summers ago when I witness Angela Maiers work with a small group of kids over a 1.5 day period whom she had never met before and helped them identify their passion. Once their passion was identified she helped connect them with people around the world through technology who could help these students actually do something with their passion and make a difference in the world. This, I believe, is what are students are seeking. How are they suppose to find their passion when they have their noses stuck in a packet, a textbook, or are placed in front of a device and asked to work through a computer program?

    Another aspect of passion that can excite students is to have a teacher who is passionate about what they teach. When a teacher is passionate about their content it can become contagious and the next thing you know students are getting excited about content they could typically care less about.

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  63. Real World Skills is important to me as I prepare middle and high school students in Lifeskills areas, such as exploratory Family and Consumer Science, Nutrition, Adult Roles and College and Careers courses. The students are intrigued when I say that many future jobs have yet to be created and some are interested in learning more about the STEM jobs. Using technology has opened the door to a plethora of information that the textbook and classroom discussions/labs alone cannot provide. The instantaneous and visually appealing research results from the Internet drives learning much more effectively than the encyclopedias and index cards of my day.

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  64. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  65. The section that stood out the most for me as a teacher was Boost Your Efficiency. My school began a 1:1 initiative this year, and I have found that it is so much easier, faster, and less wasteful to post assignments and student work to Canvas, our LMS. I have saved reams of paper already this year, just because I don't have to make paper copies of everything we work on.
    From a student learning perspective, however, I feel that the section on Real World Skills is so important. They need to be prepared for life after school, and to know how to find, apply, and create information will be vital to their success. Technology can help them in that process in so many ways.

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  66. As a k-3 elementary music teacher, I want my students to experience music through play. We dance and move to music, play musical instruments, and play nursery rhyme games while we sing songs together in my classroom. I like to limit "screen time" in my room, so that my students learn to unplug from their devises. I hope my last statement does not make me sound anti-technology. I want my classroom to be a room where we make human connections through an aesthetic education.

    For me personally, I want to go digital to "boost my efficiency." As a young teacher, the more I digitize my teaching, the less work I have to do in future school years. I love when I make a SmartBoard lesson, because the time and energy that I put into it now, will be time I gain when I want to reuse the lesson later. I use a document camera when I teach to save time and project the images/music that I want my students to see on a SmartBoard screen. I also love using technology to stay organized. Case in point: any music recordings I use are on my iPod, sorted by grade level and by lesson units/ and or national standard--makes songs incredibly easy for me to find! I am interested in other ways to boost my efficiency.

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  67. I think the most important idea that I got from this is for me to actively remember how important technology truly is. For reasons such as engagement, future jobs, etc...it is so relevant to their little lives! It is our job to make sure that what we are teaching can both benefit them long term, and be something that keeps their interest, which I think technology most often helps with. I use my devices all the time, so it shows that technology is current and probably going to get even more used in the future! Students are always talking to me about what games they played on their devices, even in first grade!

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  68. The most important reason for me is that we are no longer the gatekeepers and we shouldn’t be. I want students to be problem solvers and creative thinkers. Teaching students how to find information and learn from each other is so important. Students need to be prepared for life beyond school and it is a rare situation when they will be solving a problem with one right answer. Students need to know what to do if their idea is not working. Students learning how to use technology to find information and solve problems will help them for the rest of their lives. I teach my students that one of the first places I turn to when I am not sure of how to do something is the internet. If something breaks and I do not know how to fix it I find it on Youtube. Our students should be taught where to find the information and how to use it once they have it.

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  69. The biggest reason I think is on page 16. “It makes your life easier.” That’s it in a nutshell. Everyone is so busy we look for any way we can to make our lives a little less full. Using technology in the classroom, or in my case, media center, allows us more time to do things both at school and on our own time. Using e-books is a great way to get kids reading again. Most kids don’t like carrying around an extra book or some feel like a nerd when they have their nose stuck in a book but let them focus on a laptop, iPad, kindle, or even their phone screen and they’re all for it. It’s sad, but unfortunately, sometimes getting a kid to read for fun is all about image. It’s also great to have a book downloaded when you have a little extra time waiting in a line, at an appointment, or during a boring meeting. I think using digital media gives me more time to do the things I want to do instead of always what I have to do. As Matt Miller points out, the most important thing: living life!

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    1. I try to get mine to use the audiobooks by promoting them as a way to get an assignment done on the way to and from school. We live in a rural area, so some of our kids are on the bus for well over an hour. How I wish they would've had audiobooks when I was a kid!
      We need to recognize that students have busy lives, too. Lots of ours work after leaving here for the day (high poverty area = work to help support your family). How can we help them be more productive with their limited time.

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    2. I absolutely agree. I am finding that not only are our students looking for the most efficient way to complete tasks but that we as teachers are too. This is my third year teaching first grade and I am still trying to find the balance between home and school. Integrating technology into my classroom has made a huge difference in the amount of time I spend preparing for the upcoming week. Also, some of my kiddos, the boys especially this year, refuse to read a book but LOVE to listen to audio books or read on a tablet.

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  70. After reading these reasons why we should go digital, I believe the most important to be empowering our students to find their passions and success in life. Matt states that, "They have no idea what motivates them, so rather than pursue a career with passion and purpose, they randomly send out resumes and get stuck in uninspiring jobs." That is exactly how I felt when I graduated high school, and I am sure that is also how many other students feel as well. Okay, I am done with high school what do I do now? I also wonder if we had all the technology resources that we use and have now, would I have been able to know that I wanted to be a P.E./Health teacher. I knew I loved sports and being around kids, but I didn't find out until my 2nd semester of college when a professor took me under her wing and I loved all of her methods of teaching, allowing us to express ourselves with the technology that was available. I knew after watching her and seeing the interaction she had with her students, that is who and what I wanted to become.
    I also am trying to empower my students through the use of technology, and cannot believe how much they already know. My eighth grade Health class makes Environmental collages using Publisher, and I allow them to be as creative as possible and to identify why they have included certain pictures, etc.
    My 7th grade Health class designs their own Power Point Presentations for various communicable/non-communicable diseases, and it is amazing how they include video clips and sound clips. I did not even know how to do some of the things that they were including in their presentations, and continue to be amazed on how much pride they take in their work and they love designing these projects.
    As a coach, I was able to show various Youtube clips on things like hurdle form and techniques, long jump, high jump, etc. I encouraged my student/athletes to revisit these videos if they needed help while at home or practicing after school. I agree that technology is great for students to find things that interest and motivate them. How can I become a better athlete? What am I interested in? Who do I want to become? Hopefully we can facilitate the opportunities to find these answers for our students/athletes.

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  71. There are so many reasons to go digital. I think preparing our students for the real world is one of the most important. If we just teach them to use their textbooks and "spit back" the material to us, they are not having the best educational experience and they are not prepared with the tools they need to succeed. They need to learn how to find the answers to their questions, with guidance if necessary, instead of expecting their teachers to be the "gatekeepers" and give them all of the answers.

    In the classroom, I often feel that I am more effective when I can incorporate technology into my daily lessons. I often use YouTube to add short videos to supplement my instruction. Students are more engaged because many of them get more out of the lesson than if I would just lecture them. Technology also allows me to differentiate more often and makes it easier to keep class interesting.
    Also, if the technology makes your life easier...USE IT!

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    1. AMEN - (to the if it makes life easier... USE IT!)

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  72. In chapter 5, Miller talks about the repetitiveness of going to school and he compares it to the same routine work some people fall into after they graduate. This comparison is so true. I see so much of it in some classes at the high school level even today. My hope is as schools move to 1:1 devices, this type of classroom will disappear. The comment from Larry Rosenstock rings true, "Don't tell kids what to learn...and when and where to learn it." Especially in this day and age when they can pull out their phone or ipad, look up info and learn. This book has been very eye-opening so far. Technology is all around us and it does make our life easier, so as teachers we need to, at least, try to incorporate it in the classroom.
    Also, I wanted to touch on Chapter 6 for a moment. As a media specialist/school librarian, I have never felt like the "gatekeeper" of information, instead I have always considered myself as a "guide." When students come into the school library, I share my knowledge and guide them to the information they need, whether in book form or online. This is something I have done for years, so I had to laugh a little when Miller was describing teachers as "gatekeepers" who only gave you the information they wanted you to have.

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    1. As a fellow Library Media Specialist, I agree. I tell them I may not know all the answers but I generally know how to find all the answers, and if not, I'm going to exhaust myself trying!

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  73. I think the real question is not "Why go Digital?' but rather "What happens if you don't go digital?"
    In 2012, when we became a 1:1 high school using iPads, We came across the video "Shift Happens" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcZg51Il9no Matt's idea that you need to go digital to help prepare your students for the real world goes hand in hand with the concepts in the video. Not just the idea that we are preparing the students for the real world but that we need to prepare them for a world that right now doesn't exist. We should not longer be using teaching methods that require the little effort on the part of the student. We should be using digital resources and technology that pushes the students to their limits. That makes them think outside of the box. When we met with our parents in 2012, we told them that there is absolutely no content area that we teach that students could not find on their own on the Internet. What we must do is work with the students so that they learn how to use the content, how to work together, how to think critically, how to be ready for the needs of a constantly changing 21st century. Last Friday night on all major TV channels, there was a program call "Think it Up." I only saw the last 15 minutes or so - but it was celebrities raising money and appealing to the viewers to donate to the cause -- the cause being to fund high schools who want to move in a new direction "THINK IT UP will invite public school students in grades 7-12 to develop student-powered, teacher-led, crowdfunded learning projects. Together, we can address real-world problems, generate new ideas, and prepare for 21st-century challenges" (http://www.thinkitup.org). Going digital should help us move from teaching in a way that prepares students for a world that no longer exists to a new way of learning that will get our students ready for the real world - one that is and will be vastly different than the world most of us faced when we graduated form high school and college.

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  74. A long time ago I actually have read Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock (mentioned on p. 21). What I remember is that the people with the power are going to be the people with the information. It’s our job to help our students find that information, analyze it, and use it to empower their learning. This is why we should go digital. This is a real-world skill, because we all need to be able to adapt to changing resources and sift through what’s out there to find those nuggets of useful, reliable information. Society needs all kinds of skills, and those who have the skills to find, learn, analyze, adapt and relearn have the advantage. I see many new opportunities ahead for our students. It’s a learning curve, but I’ve already seen students critically analyzing what they see on the internet and not just accepting everything they read (and every Google Translation) as the truth.

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  75. I believe using digital as a tool is important for engagement and expanding student learning. Chapter 6: We are no longer the Gatekeepers was the chapter triggering reflection. The digital world has opened up lots of information. As a teacher of struggling students in the primary grades, I have been wrestling with how to use the technology we have. Because I need to follow a researched based intervention program, I am learning how to balance the "textbook" curriculum with the digital tools. Honestly, I feel very awkward but am learning. Most of my young students are motivated by the iPad, even just having the tool to write. My goal is to help the children not struggle with reading. The digital tools help take something difficult to master and makes it fun. I want to guide my students to know how to practice what they are learning I order for their lives to be enriched for a life time of digital learning.

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    1. I love the challenging of 'gatekeepers' in that chapter. I feel like i grew up in a classroom with those who knew everything and I was intimidated! Now I can learn along side my students and feel like I am helping more that challenging them.

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  76. As a special education teacher, technology offers so many new and innovative ways to access and acquire information for my students. Digital learning takes the power struggles out of doing work that needs completed and provides a non-threatening way to for students to share what they know. The devices help to make learning fun for kids which has not always been the case. I enjoy learning about all the possibilities right along with them!

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    1. Angie - I definitely appreciate your thought about the power struggle being taken away!! Absolutely!

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  77. I went digital because that is what I was comfortable with, and it turned out, that was what my students were also comfortable with as well! As a high school Language Arts teacher I am constantly trying to find ways to make older writings more relevant. Why not bring in some digital tools to make things more interesting?

    That idea took off, I created a school website, found Twitter and even began connecting with students outside of my four walls. It only takes one idea and the can of worms opened! I love being digital and though it took some time investments in the beginning, it is paying off so much now.

    I am leaving any day now to deliver baby #2 and because of my digital history and organization, there is little for me to plan or worry about! I will be using my classroom website (www.mrsburman.com), student Blogger pages, Google Classroom to collect and grade big assignments while I am gone. This brings peace of mind to my students, me, the parents, AND my sub.

    I went digital for myself, but ended up loving it for everyone else. Funny how that works huh?

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  78. I think that the most important reason to go digital is to boost efficiency. I work in a nontraditonal classroom setting. I have students who are able to work in the library for credit, but I must be able to give them a final exam over something. However, there is not a textbook for me to use. All of my content has been self-created. This has probably helped me to be an early adopter of digital learning. I

    have found, since using a digital classroom platform, that my students will complete assignments before coming to class, because the assignment is out there and they have time to do it. Also, if you post all of your assignments digitally, you will never have to hear the "I lost it" excuse. That's not to say that hasn't been replaced with something else :)
    Additionally, I think this is the way you are going to get the most buy in from teachers. For example, if my child gets sick in the middle of the night, I obviously do not have a sub lesson plan ready. I can get up, post a digital assignment online through a digital classroom platform, and resume taking care of the sick child. If the students have questions with the assignment, they can send me an email through the platform. This allows learning to continue. We don't have to stop for a movie day, or a study day because we have a sub.

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  79. After teaching for 25 years... going digital is a whole new way to think about teaching my students. I feel like I am definitely the gatekeeper. I keep rereading the following sentences to tell myself it's o.k. to allow students to explore and create. "Gatekeepers to Guides...What they need are mentors and guides to help them discover what they want to learn and what they want to be. To an extent, our role in education has shifted from teacher to virtual-learning travel guides."

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    1. Your post made me think back to my college days! I remember that the style that seemed more natural to me back then was to be more of a "travel guide" rather than a "gatekeeper" of content. Over time, I find myself being in more of the "gatekeeper" role. Technology is scary at times and I certainly don't have all the answers, but I look forward to being able to shift back to my earlier goal of being a "travel guide" that gives the tools through technology and allows students to learn and grow even more!

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  80. To empower students to find their passion is an exciting concept for educators. How wonderful is it to see students excited about learning. Just as Matt described his brother-in-law's experiences about researching basketball and exploring ways to improve his game using online resources. Isn't that what we want for all of our students? As a teacher it is necessary for us to provide all of the resources possible to make that fascination come to life for everyone. Even if they are exploring activities that take place outside the classroom they are still moving through the process of inquiry, reading for information, developing plans and strategies to carry through with the activity. Secretly, they are learning but they are exploring content that is more meaninful to them. For educators, it is important for us to be prepared to guide these students through the research process in a practical safe manner. Maybe students won't realize they are really learning  and continue the process by moving on to multiple research inquiry topics.

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  81. I chuckled at the author talking about “I think about what teaching would be like if I’d had begun my career 20 years ago.” I DID begin my career 20 years ago!! I definitely remember Math Blaster and creating banners with Print Shop. When I started teaching, there was a HUGE computer in the corner of the classroom I moved into that didn’t work. Wow! I haven’t thought about that computer in awhile. How things have changed!

    I SO appreciate the point Matt Miller is making on connecting with others via technology. I’m not on Facebook, but believe in this inherently tremendous aspect of the digital world we live in. On a person level, I think about how I’m not able to spend nearly the amount of time with the people I love. What would I do without Facetime? Definitely on a professional level, the doors, avenues, boulevards, highways, and opportunities opened up students and the chances for them to have real audiences is AMAZING! These alone are priceless!

    I ABSOLUTELY love the chapter on empowering students to find their passion. I think this is one of the smartest things in education in a long time! I wish a teacher would have helped me more in that arena. How will students ever know what their strengths and interests are if they don't have time to ponder interests, to dig down and really understand their thoughts and themselves?

    When Matt said, "Right before I graduated, it dawned on me I had no idea what I wanted to write about." We rob students when we don't allow them to pursue their interests and passions. Definitely we can open students minds through digital tools. If they love art, going on a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel is awesome! Just like being a voracious reader, students should be encouraged and taught how to use digital tools, and be empowered to be voracious online, pursuing interests and passions!

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  82. They were all good but I like the chapter on empowering students to find their passions. Technology allows students and teachers to bring in speakers without them even having to travel more than their personal computer. Students can investigate far more different areas in medicine for example than a teacher can discuss in a whole nine weeks. If technology is used correctly in the classroom can be the difference between an exciting and diversified classroom or a classroom just like thirty years ago.

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    1. You make a great point! By using technology we can even help guide students to helpful websites or articles, and like you said, "bring in" special speakers via Skype or some other program. Also, students might not even know they are interested in, and thus find their passion in, a certain topic with out having a little free reign to explore.

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  83. Ultimately, we are in the business of teaching our students the skills they need to be successful, productive citizens...so the “Real Life Skills” chapter spoke to me. No matter what subject we teach, the skills that will be most important to our students will be those that allow them to solve problems that they encounter, adapt to situations as they occur, use their time productively, and to make informed, mature decisions when faced with new experiences. Many of our students will not remember the content that we are teaching them, but they will remember the collaborative and/or passion projects we facilitate for them. They will use the skills we model for them as we adapt and learn to use new technology. The technology they will encounter will be much more advanced than what we have today, but the skills we help them develop will benefit them in all their future endeavors.

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  84. I had a hard time choosing just one chapter! All of the chapters had good information on why to go digital. I teach at a 1:1 school. I do not feel that I have done a good job at going digital. I felt as if we were thrown into the digital world without knowing much about how to become digital! I was the “gatekeeper” for so long, that it has been hard to give that role up but as an educator I realize that I have to become the “guide” and let my students explore their passions.
    As a language teacher, digital resources have offered so much more to my students than what I had ever imagined. They seek out topics that they are passionate about and even make mundane topics more exciting. My quiet students find digital “voices” to express their ideas. It is a whole new world for our students to explore and gain knowledge.

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    1. I love your comment, "My quiet students find digital 'voices' to express their ideas." Technology has allowed students to share their passions, creativity and sense of humor in such amazing ways. Our Digital Citizenship teacher had students create PSAs about a topic they were passionate about. Some PSAs were hilarious, some were breath-taking, and others brought me to tears - wow!

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  85. "Reinvent Education" was the chapter that I most related to. I love the opening page where he was comparing what students are expected to do at school and what good factory workers are supposed to do, which would be fine if those jobs still existed. I know that many teachers that begin the day with strict morning routines, which the goal being--get them in, get them quiet, get them working. I want students to want to come to school and begin their day feeling good! I would rather them get their socializing taken care of before I ask them to do independent reading in a little while. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the routines of school and the idea that students are only learning when they are sitting quietly at their desks. As an adult I know that I sometimes do my best thinking when I can bounce ideas off of others. My morning routine is turn on music, greet the students, and let them eat breakfast. To clarify, we do universal breakfast so everyone gets a breakfast for free and they eat in the classroom. Students have about 10-15 minutes to do that and then when the bell rings they take their seat and have something to do at their seat. The students are in a good mood to start our day and I'm in a good mood because I didn't have to tell them to be quiet and sit down, over and over.
    I also really liked how he said we are preparing our students for jobs that have yet to be created. We have to make our students thinkers! They have to be able to communicate through technology. The have to be able to come up with ideas and not be afraid to try them.

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  86. Each of the chapters are strong reasons to change, but to me the real-world skills is the core. The others seem to fall under or from the relevance statement. We need to look at the options students have available to remain relevant - we are not the gatekeepers. School should be able helping students be prepared to be valuable citizens and good people. Helping students understand the vast amount of information available to them and helping them become efficient, effective, and innovative users who have a voice are critical to our nations success. Innovation has been a foundation of the United States success and is still crucial. Maybe more than ever. Four key skills students need are the ability to collaborate, communicate, think critically about issues, and be creative. None of these come from textbooks and worksheets. Even class discussions tend to only provide a voice to a few students. Online collaborations prior to class discussions can provide each student with a voice. It allows each student to express themself and connect to the content in a unique way. This allows for the content to be relevant to each student. Relevance is critical. Relevance requires connection to the world we live in and the way ideas are shared and learned.

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  87. The part the resonated most with me had to do with expanding our students' worlds under the "Empowering Students to Find Their Passions" chapter. I teach in a small rural district where most students have limited experiences with the world outside of our little town. The possibilities are endless with the use of technology and the Internet to be able to enhance their perspectives. I was talking with some of my colleagues about how technology doesn't replace the opportunity to go on local field trips which are important experiences for the 1st graders I see everyday! However, being able to take them on virtual field trips around the world helps them to make connections with the greater world around them! It's a process of learning how to find these avenues that will most enhance the learning that takes place in my classroom. Starting with their passions will help engage students and allow them to learn more beyond just what I can provide on my own!

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  88. The chapter that spoke to me is that we are no longer the gate keepers of knowledge. I've been teaching for 15 years and this has never been more true! (Even my 4 year old says "let's Google it when he asks me a question that I don't know!) This open universe of knowledge is exciting. It's amazing that we can instantly find the answer to our most pressing questions. Just the other day we were working on a subtraction paper where the students had to solve the regrouping problems to find the answer to the riddle, What is Hawaii's tallest volcano? Through the "magic" of the internet we were able to google the name of the volcano and see a picture of it erupting. I was just as amazed as the students! In the past it would have been just another boring worksheet to practice subtraction with regrouping. This year, however, there was an added dimension that really caught the students attention. Admittedly, that's not the most fascinating was to use technology in the classroom but it did teach my students how easy it is find answers to random questions. :)

    I'm also intrigued by one of Matt's quotes, " . . . we must teach students the skills they'll need to solve problems we've never seen . . . " I feel passionately about this in all areas. We are responsible to help students become critical thinkers and evaluators. There is more than one way to approach a problem and usually more than one way to solve it. I teach 4th grade and am certainly not teaching my students to fill out a job application or manage a budget, however, I try to instill in them the value of thinking for themselves. If your pencil breaks, sharpen it. If you need something, ask for it. Think before you act so that you can make the right choice. I can't remember where I saw it (online somewhere!) but I live by the motto "never do for students what they can do for themselves". The kiddos need to learn many, many more skills from us then just the state standards.

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    1. I love how you said that you try to have your students think for themselves. This is so important for our youth to practice before they enter the "real world". One of my first years of teaching, I was observed by a principal while trying to instill this very skill. She was so impressed that a particular student in need did not have to ask me what to do, rather the student took it upon himself to fix the problem. We do not just teach the standards of our curriculum; we teach how to become productive citizens of the future.

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  89. Yikes! Just one reason to answer the "why"?!? I feel that digital learning is a necessity in the world we live in. Our kids have never known any different. I have heard time and time again, "We must enter the world of our kids in order to engage, motivate, and meet their needs". We cannot expect our students to go backward as we create lifelong learning in our classrooms. It is exciting to think that we are heading the way to "Reinventing Education" as Matt talks about in Chapter 5. "We are no longer the Gatekeepers". This is such a powerful chapter. I feel, as an educator, it is our job to show our students how to utilize the abundance of information that is sitting right at their fingertips. We must show them the power behind their screens. Many of my students struggle to see that their device is the most powerful learning tool in our schools today.
    I have noticed a huge change in my classroom since going digital and truly using the digital resources to take their thinking and experiences to the next level. The engagement and motivation is at a level I've never seen before in the classroom. Amazing things are happening on a daily basis! It has truly rejuvenated my love for teaching and for learning! It is my hope that the same rejuvenation is happening inside my students!

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  90. The need to go digital in the classroom is very evident to me as I see how much technology is used in everyday life. I particularly liked one of the reasons Matt Miller listed as important for teachers to change from gatekeepers to guides. Using student's intrigue makes them life-long learners. It is absolutely awesome to see kids who are curious about something pursuing this knowledge on their own. They do not need to wait; this information can be found instantaneously online. Tapping into students interests can be extremely beneficial to keep them motivated to learn.

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  91. The biggest reason that I go digital is to increase my efficiency. In today's world, we are all so busy. Time is precious. As I said in a keynote this summer, every click counts. I am able to do so much more in the same amount of time because I have gone digital. I am definitely more efficient at work because of technology. I no longer search for files as I can quickly find them with a keyword search in my Drive. I don't have to go to my office to get a copy of a document from a binder because I can access it in my Drive. I no longer have to find that sticky note that I wrote that important reminder on because I have my sticky notes digitally in Google Keep. My list can go on and on. However, I can definitely say Matt Miller's chapter on efficiency hit home for me. Along this line, if I don't know how I lived without a tool before, why wouldn't I want to share it with other teachers and/or students, so they can enjoy the same relief that I felt when I realized how the digital tool could make my life easier? Thus I find that I am empowering others by sharing that knowledge. In addition, we as teachers are keeping up with the new tasks of the real-world while preparing our students to do the same. Many teachers that I teach with say these tools weren't even possible when they started teaching, so my job as a technology coach is to teach them about these tools so they can prepare our students for the real world uses of technology.

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    1. Amy, I whole-heartedly agree. I never would have realized how going digital would improve my efficiency even 3 years ago. I do a lot of PD with my teachers and increasing their efficiency is very important to me as more and more is added to their plates. I have a lot of older teachers who struggle with change and technology and are resistant to going digital. I sometimes feel that I'm waging a losing battle with them because they haven't seen the advantages yet. I'm hoping that by sharing Matt's book and his blog that they'll see how even little changes (Google Keep, Evernote, Canvas etc....) can lead to bigger and better changes that will filter down to their students.

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  92. I found myself highlighting almost everything in Chapter 5, Reinvent Education, so that will be the topic of this post. I believe technology provides so many opportunities to help educators get away from the routine and the mundane. No longer do classrooms need the "sage on the stage." This is a huge paradigm shift. Many in education approach change with extreme caution. (If we wait long enough, this "digital stuff" will just cycle through like every other "trend" in education, right?) Encouraging and supporting teachers who take risks is a critical step toward reinventing education.

    Regarding change, Miller writes, “Large doors swing on very small hinges. If we can start the change with our own students, we can tout the benefits of our own personal education reform to others. We can take our stories and share results through social media, in personal conversations, or by blogging. What we can’t do is keep our great work hidden within our classroom walls. If the education community and public perception are going to change, people have to see what forward-thinking teacher are doing. Otherwise, how will they know the magic that happens when kids get excited about learning?” (p. 30)

    The opportunities to learn on a global scale, the idea of empowering students to explore their passions, the tools and programs available for learning and work flow management are all a part of what I think reinventing education looks like. As Curriculum Director, I want to offer my support to the "digital risk-takers" of our district, who try, on a daily basis, to integrate technology as a means to increase student engagement.

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  93. I just joined the group this week, so I'll start by introducing myself. I work for the South Bend Community School Corporation with their School Age Mother's Program, teaching high school Science, Health and PE.
    From my reading this week, I found Chapter 5 to be particularly interesting. I liked the focus on the end goal of education and what we're really preparing our students for. As young mothers, my students are often especially focused on preparing for their future careers and knowing that they will be able to provide for their child. Matt Miller points out that the way our students learn will directly affect how they will function as employees. I believe that thinking about the classroom experience from this perspective will motivate my students in a new way. As a teacher, I will also be challenged to have more non-routine lesson formats, encouraging interpersonal skill formation and ultimately helping my students to become more analytical thinkers.

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  94. Reinventing education stands out as the number one reason to go digital for me. Although I was fortunate to attend a high school that had access to technology (we had student email accounts and built websites in biology class in the late 1990s!), it will only be a disservice to my students if their education looks and feels the way my own did! Technology has made information readily available to all, and my students can easily connect with learners around the globe and experts on the topics their studying. To deny these possibilities and limit their experiences would be limiting their education. I'm working hard to reinvent a little more each year, take advantage of social media and collaboration with tools like Google Apps for Education, and show my students they are worth the risk of trying something new, even when it doesn't go perfectly the first time.

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  95. We use the TAP instructional rubric at my school, and Chapter 8 -Making it Personal- made so many connections to the rubric - from Motivating Students to Teacher Content Knowledge. I know that the rubric is "just good teaching', but when I read books that refer and highlight to the same teaching practices - it just makes more sense!

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  96. As a library media specialist, I have to check in all the books and equipment from students that withdraw. I always ask them, where are you off to now? Many of the responses are often online school or homeschool because they’re “bored” or they don’t “learn well in the classroom”. For many, I know this is just an excuse and they’ll be back sooner than later. For others, I wonder what we could have done differently to reach these students better. I’m torn between many of the reasons to go digital; but the one that I feel applies the most to me is becoming the guide rather than the gatekeeper of information. I often hear students questioning why they need to learn advanced math, history, a foreign language, etc… when all they want to be is ____. Of course I always try to give them a million reasons why those subjects will help them in the future. However, with information accessible 24/7, I often wonder why myself. We no longer need to be the keepers of the information. My job is now how to help students sift through the information to find what is relevant to them. Maybe they only think they can be XYZ because they’ve never been shown that they can be more. They’ve been told that information is the key; but what they really need is a mentor to guide the way. Matt states, “The fact that the information isn’t peer reviewed or vetted by professionals doesn’t bother kids”. (36) This is hard for me because I was trained to ensure students use good information. Am I part of the problem? Am I not helping with the root issue? It’s not just about finding the information; it’s about using it to do more. I hope some of the kids come back. I think we have some great new ideas and teachers that are willing to lead the way to a new kind of learning that might inspire them to greatness.

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  97. The chapter that really made me realize the changes we need to make was chapter 5. We are in the digital age whether we like it or not! If we do not change for our students' benefit, what are we preparing or condemning them to? It was hard for me to read this chapter knowing that we need to incorporate technology more than ever before and knowing that this is something that I am not totally comfortable with in my own teaching. Change is hard, and technology changes quickly, so this is something we just have to attempt and learn as we go. I know many teachers who just don't know how to start. Using the iPads during center time seems like a big leap, but there is so much farther to go!

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  98. In my first grade classroom, I feel that the most important reason to go digital is to reinvent education. My students go home to screen time...they watch television, play video games, watch videos on YouTube, and chat with grandma and grandpa via FaceTime. How can I compete with that? Boring old worksheets are not going to cut it. Is it easy to take the leap? No. I kind of like my go-to files that I have used for years. There's some really good stuff in there! But, can I find a balance to blend what I know works with ways to deliver the information and engage my students on their level? Yes. My school corporation recently took the leap of one-to-one technology for our students K-12. We have the hardware. We've subscribed to the software. Now, I just have to pull it all together. It's something I am nervous about, but it excites me at the same time. If I want to challenge my students, I have to start with myself.

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  99. Teaching science and social studies I value the use of technology within my curriculum. Technology such as web quests, online field trips and other supplemental material has given my students a better understanding of concepts and the motivation to explore deeper understanding of the topics being covered. Technology has created attention grabbing modifications not only to resource students, but to students across the board by giving them a resource to reflect upon and use as evidence during lab activities and assessments. Over the past few years, our school system has been implementing more technology within the classrooms and just this year we have a 1:1 ratio in our building. I am looking forward to the future as we unlock the hidden talents of our students through the use of technology.

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  100. It is difficult to select just one reason that going digital in the classroom is important to me. I am thrilled with the free access that students and I have to the information, images, videos, music, maps, and ideas that are out there. I acknowledge I am not the gate-keeper of information and it would be ridiculous to assume I could be. What an incredible responsibility! Realistically, the knowledge out there is much greater than I could ever hope to possess, let alone impart to my students! I do like the idea of being tour guide on this language-learning journey. I enjoy showing students things they have never experienced before...like a city in southern Spain, or a Mayan temple in Guatemala, or a concert by a Columbian musician, or a mural by a Mexican artist, or the latest breaking news about an earthquake in Chile, or a visit by a Latin-American Pope to Cuba, then to the USA to encourage a dialog of peace and reconciliation, or it could be reading about an event from another point of view! I would like to think that my choice to go digital would empower my students to find their passions, but I might be disappointed to discover that it may not have anything to do with learning Spanish at all...! I try to make connections that student my students might find relevant or interesting that something to do with what I am teaching. There are skills that my students need to learn to be able to use the language, but I can find ways to it better by using technology. I am constantly finding resources online that I use to introduce, explain, teach, reteach, review and explore further. I would like to think that using technology boosts my efficiency, but alas, it is not the case! I spend so much time searching for and evaluating digital resources before deciding what would be best for which lessons and how and when to tie them in, that I confess I spend endless hours navigating the Internet in search of "just the right thing!" I use Google Classroom every day to share documents, videos, games, songs, news articles and so much more! It is a work in progress...I'm still trying to figure it out after all these years!

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  101. With the availability of technology, acting as the giver of all knowledge is not something we as educators need to do. The idea of no longer being the gatekeeper of knowledge hit what I have thought for years. We must help students understand what information is good and what is not - what they can trust and what they should do more research on to find out its validity. With that said, moving in that direction can be difficult - for one it often goes against the norm of schools. Lack of technology or access to the technology also makes it more difficult to allow students to mine for the information they need. I have a great desire to put more responsibility on my students for their learning, however there are challenges - we have two computer labs and 400+ students. We have WiFi, but students cannot access it. We are moving forward and towards a 1:1 environment - which I cannot wait for!

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  102. It's an exciting time to be an educator. I love having Free Access to information and resources for myself and for my students. With the availability of information and resources that can be incorporated into the classroom, the possibilities are endless. As we are 1:1 this year, I am always looking for ways to use the digital tools in my classes. The biggest issue I have encountered are from the students who say they have no internet/WiFi access after they leave school. Although, many say they can access email and open attachments a few students are adamant they can not. It's difficult to decide if the students are being honest or is this another excuse. I am hoping as we move forward, students will view the digital device as an exciting way to learn.

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  103. Picking one, I choose "Reinvent Education".

    I sat in a parochial school for 10 years of my life in elementary - a strict parochial school at that. I hated school for the most part. Sure, there were some years that I enjoyed myself more than others but overall, I hated elementary. That's sad to think of. So when I had to write an educational philosophy essay in college, my number one goal was to make school fun for students. Obviously, there is business to attend in the classroom but I wanted my students to actually look forward to coming into my classroom.

    When I was hired as an elementary teacher out of college, that philosophy still held true for me. Now, as a middle/high school Ed Tech teacher 15 years later, my philosophy is still the same. Again, there is business that needs to get done but I think it's important that students want to walk into your classroom.

    The chapter on reinventing education is one that speaks to me more so than the others. I don't want to create a classroom culture of students "clocking in" as Matt puts it; I want to create a culture of collaboration, discussion and one that is enjoyable and energetic.

    I don't claim to be an award-winning teacher - that'll probably never happen. But I am trying to do my part in creating a classroom and a school environment that is enjoyable and produces content that is real-world. If that is considered "reinventing education" then so be it.

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  104. I would have to say that I found the fact that teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. In reality I am not sure they ever really were. It is true that they may inspire students and have since education began, but many of the most respectable inventors, philosophers, and successful people have gone after information and been curious of their own accord. I think that the idea of helping students use technology to motivate interest and learning is very important and necessary for many students to find their passion. A combination of interpersonal contacts and the ability to find information for analysis and learning is important as is helping students to get excited about what they want to learn.

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  105. I'm still mulling over chapters 8 through 14 of our book. I so appreciate chapter 13 - "What Every Tech-Using Educator Must Know." The topic is getting the most out of technology in our classroom and the SAMR model. What I especially appreciate is how Matt Miller is communicating. . . just because we're using tech devices, that doesn't make things "easier" for the students or the teacher.

    I think this is often a misconception - that when using devices so often in class, it's, somehow watering down things. So not true! Definitely higher level thinking goes along with implementing and using technology in a classroom! He mentions, on page 75, "Don't worry, the steps aren't a formal process" and won't be this much work each time. I definitely have found implementing technology, teaching students to use it, etc. . . is definitely a lot of work, but well worth it!

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  106. I'm still mulling over chapters 8 through 14 of our book. I so appreciate chapter 13 - "What Every Tech-Using Educator Must Know." The topic is getting the most out of technology in our classroom and the SAMR model. What I especially appreciate is how Matt Miller is communicating. . . just because we're using tech devices, that doesn't make things "easier" for the students or the teacher.

    I think this is often a misconception - that when using devices so often in class, it's, somehow watering down things. So not true! Definitely higher level thinking goes along with implementing and using technology in a classroom! He mentions, on page 75, "Don't worry, the steps aren't a formal process" and won't be this much work each time. I definitely have found implementing technology, teaching students to use it, etc. . . is definitely a lot of work, but well worth it!

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  107. It has greatly impacted my efficiency. I have downloaded tests/quizzes online and this has greatly affected my grading time. In addition, taking a pic or posting a worksheet on Blackboard sure beats standing in line at the copying machine.

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  109. It is no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with technology ... loving it when it works and serves a purpose and hating it when it becomes a toy or is inaccessible. I like how Miller suggests that technology must be "harnessed correctly." My seventh grade language arts students have daily access in my classroom -- we are still in the learning curve of harnessing.

    I found the use of backchannels (Using Technology to Defeat Insecurity) intriguing and want to learn more about that.; it is always a challenge to get your non-talkers involved in class discussion. I think the use of backchannels could be a great tool to help reluctant student voices be heard and help build their confidence.

    An important reason for going digital is definitely to build real-world skills. The key word there is build. Though many students are tech-savvy in their own way, students still must be taught how to use technology as an academic tool. We have just gone to Chromebooks and are working hard to help students learn the basics. Currently, we use Google Classroom for some assignments, which has provided opportunities to use Docs and Slides and work collaboratively. There are still activities, however, that are better served with a piece of paper and a pencil.

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  110. As I read the chapter "Reinvent Education" I kept finding myself saying "yes!" and getting excited. When we do the old stand-by of textbook, worksheet, homework, test students can fall into that rut of the "factory work" and we as teachers lose our spark and students lose their passion.
    The couple times I've broke out of the box this year I can really see some students take interest in the projects we're doing. I also love bringing in the you-tube videos whether made by others or myself to help students expand on a topic.
    A few times I have also flipped the lesson with I find so beneficial. Instead of a powerpoint and notes over something I tell them to teach me. Teach me about manners we should all follow, teach me about the proper way to dress for a certain occasion and what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Students enjoy getting to pick the topic and I enjoy hearing what they have to say as well as the other students learning from their knowledge and not just me!

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  111. The reinventing of education is happening all around us, whether or not we are choosing to participate. It seems logical to me to climb aboard and be part of progress, rather than a hindrance to it. I teach in a 1:1 high school, although we have taken a step backward for each two we have taken forward. We went to laptops, then to iPads, then back to laptops, leaving the heads of both students and teachers spinning. But I do believe progress has been made. Students feel at least somewhat that the school is meeting them where they are. And I must say I do enjoy giving vocabulary quizzes that are instantly graded for me!

    My greatest rush of enthusiasm came when reading about helping students to find their passion, and then pursuing that. I know that students will spend far more time and energy on something about which they are passionate. But I also appreciated Miller's acknowledgement that teachers are not "redundant" but rather necessary guides in this process. Students left on their own to discover and pursue their passions would surely find themselves on paths to chaos, confusion and many, many rabbit trails. Teachers must learn to become resource experts, well-versed in avenues for discovery, equipped with good advice and the voice of experience.

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    1. We are a 1:1 school also. We've had a lot of changes, going from different types of laptops (each grade 9-12 has different computer capabilities) so it is difficult to know exactly what the students can do with their computers. You are right that students are often overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available online. We need to teach them how to sort the good from the bad and how to make a search that will give just the right number of results.

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  112. hmmm...so many options!
    If I had to pick just one reason to go digital...I would say empowering students to find their passions. I, for one, am not a fan of public speaking. (Yes, this might be a shock to anyone reading this who knows me). I was never the one to raise my hand because I was afraid to be laughed at for the wrong answer. By using the tools, such as backchannels, blogs and messaging, I feel like I can be more like myself. Studies have shown that people are more "themselves" online than face to face. The same is true for many of our students out there. Think about the language learner with the "funny accent". They would not be comfortable raising their hand and answering a question because someone might make a snarky remark about their accent. By using Backchannels and other tools, the student can anonymously answer questions and ask questions without the fear of ridicule. It can help boost confidence and moral in more ways than one.
    Once those students feel confident, they can find what truly makes them happy and begin to pursue that career or those studies. They are happy and want to go to college. They want to keep going, because it is something they LOVE.

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  113. Of the seven reasons to go digital, the one that stuck out the most was using technology to defeat insecurity. I have a class that is very quiet and I have considered using back channels to give the quieter students an opportunity to chime in and participate without having to speak up.
    As a 1:1 school, technology has definitely made a difference in my classroom and the way the material is taught.

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  114. I will go with the real world skills. I am a junior high social studies teacher that focuses on my students becoming great citizens. Part of that goal, is showing them even at a young age how they can do things to benefit their community. One of the things that I stress is problem solving. For 14 years I have generated issues and controversial scenarios in which the kids have to research topics and then come up with a solution. I do this both individually and in groups. Technology has allowed me to take this to a whole new level. I have taken real world skills coupled with life skills to see what kind of hearts my students have. The internet has added so much value to these lessons. It has given the students an opportunity to see different perspectives and then judge for themselves the right solution for each issue/topic. It has enhanced our classroom discussions and allowed those who are not comfortable speaking in class, to write freely in their journals and laptops without being judged by their peers. Because of the unlimited information on the internet, it has helped me cultivate relationships with students that otherwise might not communicate with me at all.

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  115. Empowering students to find their passions has been the most effective portion of the chapter for me. I let my students choose any topic that interests them and do research on it. The only criteria is it must be school appropriate and it must be lend itself to extensive research. This very similar to Genius Hour. They must use on-line Cornell Notes to practice note taking skills. (They still need quite a bit off work on this) At the end we will be using the notes to write informational essays.

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  116. I think reinventing education is the most important of the reasons listed. There is no reason to be trapped by a textbook, teaching only what the publisher thinks is important. There is a whole other world out there just waiting to be discovered. I have never been a fan of textbooks. I have always used them as a guide to make sure all the standards are covered, and then I add my own material. Going digital makes it possible to access any information any where at any time. I want to incorporate more of the real world into my classes and technology makes that possible.

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  117. Actually I do not like having students use a textbook. Many have a difficult time reading and understanding the content and get themselves more confused when they use it. Believe that technology has a lot of advantages but students are quick to use it for things other than learning. Too many of them are playing on their phones and texting their friends or family or listening to music rather than engaging in classroom content to learn.
    What I see as a good use of technology is how it can best help me to become more efficient and learn more so that I can benefit my students. They are more reluctant to use the technology for learning than I am. I enjoyed reading his suggestions for improving and motivating student learning through improving my technical skills.

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    1. I agree with your comment about kids playing on their phones. That is a hard thing to monitor especially if you have 30 in a class. I also don't always have a class of smart phones, majority probably do but not all.

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    2. I agree with your comment about kids playing on their phones. That is a hard thing to monitor especially if you have 30 in a class. I also don't always have a class of smart phones, majority probably do but not all.

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  118. I guess I would have to go with Chapter 5 reinvent education. I have been teaching for 29 years and wow have things changed! Ditto masters to Xerox copies (still a worksheet) to my school being a 1:1 school. I am not as fast as changing to technology ways like the kids are. I know if I don't change I will be pushed out of education. I am making changes but I am sure I am slow compared to everyone else. Four years ago we hired 2 new math teachers fresh out of college and they have helped and more importantly have been patient with me! They have taught me lots of new things. Going digital I feel is still a lot of work for me. Redoing things,but the hard part is finding those things to do. I have tried not only digital ways but doing more group and/or activities. Trying to talk less and let them talk more. I know I need to keep up with the times!

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  119. I teach High School math so am tied to standards that are part of an exit exam. I feel restricted partly because I find students need some boring repetition. However, implementing real life problem solving and technology in the classroom is important as student’s find the material more is interesting and helps to answer the question of “when am I ever going to use this”. I use a textbook, but do not feel tied to the textbook as much as I am tied to the standards. I work with a great set of math teachers and we all have to teach the same set of standards each semester in approximately the same order as our students may switch teachers at the semester and sometimes will switch schedules during a semester. We have freedom in how we present the material and what types of assignments we offer. However, we compare tests to make sure that we are testing at the same skill level for the material. We have to make sure that the students are prepared for the next level of math. Despite these restrictions, I still believe that challenging students through technology and real-life problem solving relates to this book.

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  120. It's hard for me to choose only one reason to go digital, but I think that I want to go with the reason Matt lists in chapter 4 of empowering students to find their passions. While I realize that in middle school, many kids don't have a clear direction of what they want to do with their lives, I want them to realize, too, that there is an entire world to be explored outside of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. I think that many of them put limitations on themselves by what their parents have been able to achieve, and they only think about what they can do in terms of what their parents have done. They don't think beyond that. Also, I think that many kids limit themselves to what their friends like at this age, and so their horizons are limited. Those limitations can certainly be lifted in high school, but for some students it's often too late. They are often too disengaged with their passions and with school to care any longer. If we as teachers can engage kids in their learning through technology, as opposed to doing things the way they've been done for years and years, why not give it a shot?

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  121. While technology is something i should be fully adopting and embracing, it is something I struggle with sometimes in finding the best way to use it and a justification behind using tech over using the physical materials available to us. However, the point made about technology allowing students to find their passions, embrace them, and explore them in real world contexts is what struck me and is my deciding factor in why I use technology. The students we have today are people who are skilled in maneuvering the technological world available at their fingertips, but they are not always so skilled at maneuvering the real world they are preparing to enter. If I can teach them the skills they need to be successful through the means they are already successful at that it great, but my goal now is to do that while also giving them a tool and a means to explore who they are and what they want to do post schooling.

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  122. Here is for you. Some information, which might be in use. http://bigessaywriter.com/blog/how-modern-technologies-can-transform-the-way-we-live Feel free to visit the blog and read the articles posted in there. There is no way for someone not to find something to one`s liking.

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