Monday, October 26, 2015

Ditch That Textbook Week 8: Conclusion

As we conclude this book club, what are your take-aways from reading this book? What steps will you take to ditch your textbook?

Be sure to catch up on your reading and commenting this week. In order to receive 8 PGPs and be eligible for the professional development grant, you must have commented to all 8 week's blog posts by this Friday, October 30th, at 5:00pm Eastern. Also, be sure your introduction from the first week includes your school so that I can locate your email address.

98 comments:

  1. My take-aways from “Ditch That Textbook” are varied but I have been most influenced by the idea that I will need to choose what I cheat. I need to look for ways to make my teaching more efficient so that I have time for my family and my own interests. I tell my students that they need to do things that interest them so that they have sometime to write about and I need to take my own advice. I need to do things that interest me so that I do not get overwhelmed or burned-out from teacher overload.

    My next adventure in ditching my textbook is to video-tape myself (Yuck) and create a small flipped lesson.

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    1. Cathy -- The "choose to cheat" message is one that seems to resonate with teachers in my workshops. It seems like all of us in education continue to have more and more heaped on our plates, and our precious time becomes more and more precious. I'm always having to reevaluate myself! (PS: Remember that in your videos, your students will see the same you and hear your same voice that they hear every day ... it won't be any different for them! :) )

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    2. Cathy, I think many of us are struggling to find a NEW balance with work and family. I want to be available to them, to answer questions; but I also need to take care of myself and my family.

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  2. I agree with Cathy in that a big take away for me is the way I look at 'cheating' when it comes to planning for school. I have already noticed what a time saver technology is for me when communicating with students as well as teachers. Technology is going to help me be more efficient and effective- that I am sure of. I also plan to work on helping students take ownership of their learning and not be the gatekeeper. This is also an important take away for me and something I strive for as an educator. It's not always the specific content that is the most important thing students are learning in school- it's the skills and strategies that help them be thinkers, problem-solvers, and good members of society! Technology will help them attain these things.

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    1. Hilary -- I love your outlook on education. It's not always the content knowledge that students find most useful from school ... it's the skills and strategies that they use to navigate life! We need more educators like you with that perspective! Keep up the good work!

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  3. I really enjoyed reading "Ditch that Textbook" and participating in the eLearning book club. I want to take steps to make my elementary music lessons more meaningful to students, and I believe that technology can create a bridge between my students and a more personalized, relevant education.

    My four big "take away's" are:

    1. Don't use technology for technology's sake; make sure that technology enriches the lesson. (SAMR model)

    2. Use technology to introduce your students to a global audience.

    3. Jump in and take risks, but make sure that you pace yourself! (Only introduce one or two new technologies per year.)

    4. Technology can make a teacher's life more organized and efficient: use technology to work smarter, not harder. This ensures that you have time for family and life outside the classroom.

    I have already started getting out of my comfort zone: I am posting video clips of music class to social media. Our school is doing a global reading initiative: #readitoctober. Also this week I am working with my digital learning coach to use a "padcaster" (think iPad and newscast video camera) to make music videos of my 3rd graders Halloween lesson.

    Thanks for making my first eLearning book club experience so great!

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    1. Wow, Cathy, I'm impressed! You're jumping in with both feet! I'm sure your students are thanking you for it already. I love reading your takeaways ... if that's what you got from reading the book, you got from it what I hoped that you would!

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    2. Cathy,
      I'm so glad you participated in this eLearning book club! We need to get with all of the other teachers and administrators reading the book and have a book discussion, maybe during a Wednesday morning collaboration.

      I can't wait to see the Halloween music videos! Jake has the song stuck in his head : )

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  4. Hello folks! Matt Miller here, author of Ditch That Textbook. I'm so sorry that it has taken me so long to get into this conversation. I started reading posts a while back and felt like I had to get caught up ... but I've since just decided it's time to jump in!

    I'm so honored that you've all been reading the book and posting your reflections. YOU are what education needs, in Indiana and beyond, to move forward. These ideas are the kind that will engage students and spark a lifelong interest in learning. Let your lights of passion and enthusiasm shine bright for all to see ... that passion and enthusiasm is contagious!

    I'll be jumping back to comments in different sections of the blog throughout the week to make comments. Thanks again for participating ... all this activity really blows my mind!

    Keep up the GREAT work and have a wonderful year of enjoying your students and learning alongside them!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond and chat with us!

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    2. Thank you for inspiring us to listen to that inner-voice that whispers "Ditch that Textbook," even when others around us are not. It is wonderful to know there are so many passionate teachers that feel the same way. I am proud to be a Hoosier educator.

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    3. I enjoyed reading your book and meeting you in Angola. I am a work in progress, but heading in the right direction, I think!

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  5. My take away is to continue to take the risks to change up some of my routines I have been stuck in over the years and let technology be a larger part of our daily tasks. I will take the risk to try new things and be patient as I allow the students to discover them with me. I also would like to utilize the videotaping or whiteboard writing/audio for future flipped lessons. I want to take a step this year and become more globally connected. I have signed up with Mystery Skype because of this experience.

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    1. Way to go, Valerie! I love your bravery to take risks. I think that's the big barrier that keeps many teachers from making the big jump to exciting new things (whether with tech or without). Mystery Skype was a great experience for me and my students and led to even bigger, better experiences. I can't wait to see how this all works out for you!

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  6. My biggest takeaway from this book is to always continue trying to make things better. To never settle or never say, yep, I am done improving my class. I think we so many times settle into what is comfortable, and with this book, I have been truly inspired to work towards trying new things one thing at a time to try and constantly improve my teaching and my class. I know I can't make major changes overnight- I think I might just go crazy if I try. But, that is not what Miller wanted us to do in this book. He wanted us to take one step at a time to make changes that will better match our desire for our classroom as a teacher!! My goal is to try one new technology component a month to enhance my students' experiences.

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  7. For me, the book reinforced some of my own thoughts. For instance, my school went 1:1 this year. In all the planning phases, I kept stating I wanted to find ways to use technology to help my students and not feel that I have to use technology just because it is available. I find some concepts are better without technology (at least at the introduction of the concept)…while other concepts are enhanced with technology. I also find that just because I choose to use technology does not mean it will be less work for me or for my students. However, sometimes it is more rewarding.

    I also felt reassured with knowing it is okay to take small steps when making changes to the curriculum or the presentation of material. Often, we feel pressured to make too many changes at once. This is overwhelming for the teacher and for the students.

    I have found many good “starter” ideas by googling. I borrow ideas that are available and alter to fit the order of my curriculum or fit with my students. Sometimes the “risks” we take are successful but many times we find ways to revise so that things go better the next time. I think reflecting on each class period really helps us determine what is working well and what might need changed.

    I am always looking for more good ideas for my high school geometry classes :)

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    1. I agree that it's ok to take small steps!

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  8. I have several take-aways, but mostly I want to push myself to continue to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to using technology in the classroom. Taking risks and trying new things can be exciting and can have great rewards. Even the failures are great learning experiences and often create great "teachable moments". Two things I am really excited about trying are the flipped classroom and Mystery Skype. I teach social studies, so I think my students would really enjoy skyping with other students around the world.
    We just have a professional development day at my school last Friday for training on Chrome books and Canvas. I am so excited to get to add this technology into my classroom in the near future!

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    1. Mystery Skypes sound exciting. I am sure you and your students will find the adventure empowering and fueling for their learning and your teaching.

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  9. I think the greatest take-away I gleaned from this book is that education is not something to be done to or for children but rather as something that students should discover for themselves through carefully planned experiences that ignite their interests and curiosity. Give them ownership and the resources (technology, experiences, people, books, etc) to get started and then stand back and let them fly. The funny thing is that in my early days of teaching I did just that (without all of the technology-I had a single Apple IIe and a floppy disk of Oregon Trail, haha.). Over time, though, with the push to standardized everything, I became more of a micromanager of my students, carefully controlling every minute, every activity, and every data point. I worked myself to death and effectively sapped the life out of my students' education and my own love for teaching. I am beginning to feel empowered to be creative again, although more intentionally now in order to meet today's requirements and individual needs. That is exciting for me.

    I plan to use the mission statement I created to start planning my curriculum (themes, units, etc.). I have also been more intentional about how I am spending my time. I cannot give students the best of me if the best of me is bent over a stack of papers for hours on end. I see my life passing by and I want to enjoy more of it. With that said, I also want to enjoy seeing the excitement in my students' eyes and the reward of knowing that they are taking away from my class a passion for lifelong learning and the ability to be thinkers and questioners who will make their own mark on the world.

    Thank you, Matt Miller, for this great book. I plan to read it again to make sure I did not miss anything the first time around!

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    1. Oh yes, I also plan to continue trying new technologies. I started blogging with students a few years ago, I began tweeting and using Planbook and Google Drive last year, and this year I am focusing on Google Classroom. I am taking it a step at a time and loving every minute of it.

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  10. My take-away from this book is that I am on the right track with what I am doing in my classroom. I use the book only as a guide and a resource that is equal to or less than other internet resources. I see that the students in my class do notice that we don't use the book everyday and comment on how we are always doing something different. I had a huge ah-ha moment last spring when a student entered my room and said "What are we doing today?" In a somewhat disgusted tone I said "Read the board". She replied "I didn't mean to be mean, we just always do something different and that is a good thing". After I apologized, I realized I must be going in the right direction.
    Everyone should check out: Free Ebook from @jmattmiler showing how to Teach Like a PIRATE using free tech tools. #tlap. GREAT RESOURCE!

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  11. My greatest take-away from Ditch that Textbook is to challenge myself to find what makes student tick and make plans utilizing that to our best advantage. This is the gist of Chapter 19, and my ability to motivate and educate pivots on what students find engaging. It hasn't taken me the full 20 or so years that I have spent in education to understand that the thrill I have for my subject area goes nowhere if I cannot spin it in a way that my students relate. A classroom managed with technology doesn't make it the best, and a textbook doesn't make it the worst; it is more about the connection that students make between school and their present/future world. While we are encouraged to prepare students for the future, students mostly care about today. That boils down my need to motivate students to learn in a way that will engage them now. Sometimes this seems a daunting task as students will forever continue to change, therefore, so will we as educators. However, it is exciting to think that my learning continues right along with the students. I have appreciated many things about this book and how fellow-bloggers have candidly responded each week. THANKS, all.

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    1. You are so right, Tammy. I agree that the best approach to teaching curriculum is a blended approach for all of us, and one that is constantly changing as we change, our students change, and our schools and society change. Finding an area of interest for a class of different students can be a challenge, but at least we will never be bored with a career like teaching. I've often thought to myself, "If I'm boring to myself during class, think how quickly the students thought I was boring." I try to remind myself to keep my audience in mind. I'm no longer fourteen, but that's the age I'm hoping to engage!

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  12. I really enjoyed the book. My biggest take away is that I need to be braver. I think I let my own insecurities get in the way of taking the final steps to make a good lesson great. I already don't use a book, but I think I need to pay more attention to what tools are truly valuable and which aren't. As I have been reading, I have found myself going back through things I have done in the past and re-evaluating what I have done and what I can do differently with an eye toward making a better learning experience for the kids.

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    1. Angie, me too! You have been brave, but everyone can learn to be brave in new and different ways each school year. I think I am brave in the amount of work I do, but I need to be braver when it comes to technology. I don't feel technology is something that scares me as much as it used to, but I don't feel I'm at a point I can figure out why technology goes awry when it does. I need to let the kids teach me more technology skills. Thank you for your efforts in this area, too! You know I've asked for your help many times over the years!

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  13. This book has changed my entire way of thinking about education (and I've only been in the classroom for two yeaa! I loved the freeing feeling I got when I was reading this book. I was filled with so many ideas that I should have started a list! (I'm kicking myself for not!) My school will be going 1:1 with devices next year and I can't wait to implement some of the ideas that I read about.
    I have started to try "ditching my textbooks" wherever I can. Last week I did a project with some math students instead of a worksheet. The kids really seemed to grasp the lesson and were so enthusiastic about presenting to the class that I rarely had to redirect them to "keep working!" It was amazing! It was a great feeling to see them so excited about learning! I can't wait for this feeling to engulf my entire classroom and not just one class out of the day.
    In order to keep this positivity about ditching textbooks, I am going to start a Google Doc (or something like it) with ideas I'd love to implement and talk with my tech coach and see what things we can start doing now. He is going to be a key element in my plan to start a trend to get students excited about learning. This book has given me hope that my mission statement of "helping students find a love of lifelong learning" will be fulfilled in the near future! That right there is my biggest take away, it is possible for students to love learning, you (as the teacher) just must be willing to put in some effort and help along the way.
    I can't wait to share this book with my coworkers and hear their ideas! Thanks for such an amazing and inspiring book, Matt Miller!!

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  14. All the teachers at my school had to jump right in with technology this year as we began a 1:1 program with Chromebooks. Some teachers were more ready for this than others. Some of us felt bombarded with technology training at the start of the year (a time of year which is already crazy-busy!) Therefore, my take-away from the book was to start slow, add only a few new types of technology at a time, and to not be afraid to try something new. It has been encouraging to read the posts of so many other teachers; we have been able to share ideas and be inspired by the experiences of others. I am looking forward to branching out and adding to my bag of tricks as the year continues. Thank you for hosting this conversation!

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  15. This year I started teaching at a 1:1 school and I was so excited. I started teaching and trying to use the technology offered as much as possible. After reading this book, I can go back to my classroom and work towards not relying on my textbooks. I'm excited to implement so many of the great things Matt talked about.

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  16. Before reading this book, I was already making strides towards incorporating supplementary and current sources to readings done in class (some of these are found in our textbook). Reading the book just reinforced this idea.

    From reading this book, I started to have all students type their drafts on the computer and send them to me through Google Drive, so I can offer suggestions throughout the writing process. Writing comments in the margins for students proved to be problematic before because a lot of them couldn’t read my hand-writing (sadly). Using Google Drive also proved helpful because students could revise their drafts from home. I am currently working on making the whole process online to where students can see the rubric I use to grade them instead of handing out a paper copy.

    In the future, I want to have forums online where students can comment on what we are reading in class. I also want to continue to make my classroom activities more accessible for students from home.

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  17. My take away is to keep moving forward and try new things, but not all at once. Be strategic in the way implementation happens.

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  18. One thing I have learned is to give new things a try and don't shy away because of fear of failure. I have learned to tell my student this is something new we are going to try together. My students like the idea of us learning together and are more patient as we work out kinks and details. They are more willing to share things they've learned with me and others. However, the biggest thing this teaches them is try new things and work through problem to figure things out.

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    1. Agreed! Some things I've tried have failed. Some things are works in progress. Others went like gang busters, and suddenly I was just along for the ride. It's a terrific real-world learning experience to try and fail with students- and nothing to be ashamed of. We learn the most from "failure".

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    2. Great post, Jessica! I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be successful the first time trying new things, and with technology....most times it doesn't work the first time. I must keep my chin up and not let my frustration transfer to my students. I guess technology is testing us and teaching us each day to problem-solve, which is a life-long lesson. I will pledge to keep trying new things if they are beneficial to my students and their learning.

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  19. WOW! There are so many things that I need to try. I, too, need to become a little braver and take some steps to learn how to implement some of these ideas that were in this book. I used Google Slides last week for the first time for a project with four of my classes. Many students had not worked on the slides before. All but one of my first year Spanish students did the project. I never have had that good of a response when they do worksheets or book work. They enjoyed seeing other students’ slides and sharing their own.

    The use of technology needs to enhance the students’ learning. I plan to incorporate a few new things every 9weeks. I really enjoyed reading the book. I also enjoyed the conference that I attended on this book. I have seen Matt Miller three times at conferences, and I have enjoyed every one of them. I always feel that I can “Ditch that Textbook” and I need to try to incorporate some awesome technology into my classes.

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  20. My take away from the book is to jump in more. I easily get frustrated with technology. Students not having there devices, waiting for things to pop up and not just watch the circle spin. I need to find more time to see what is out there for me to use.

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  21. My take away from the book is to not be afraid. My best ideas come from my students, so why be afraid to look to them for tech assistance when necessary. I get frustrated when I watch some type of app demonstration only to find that it looks totally different when I download it, or it has been updated or modified. I need to be more patient and look to others for assistance instead of shoving it aside for the later that never comes. I need to keep SAMR in mind as I plan my lessons, yet still remember that my student's writing stamina will be tested. In my reading, I did see where I can draw other curricular areas into my classroom. This will be fun and interesting for our students. Another take away is that it is all about balance. Nothing will be perfect and one size won't fit all. Just keep chugging and learning and implementing and reshaping and retooling. By the way--Feedly and Doctopus/Goobric--are saving me lots of time.

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  22. My take away from this book is to take more risks. Ineed to try new things and be patient as I allow the students to discover them with me. Being a 1:1 school, I'd like to try to flip my classroom, so it gives me more time to work with my students who might not understand the concept I am teaching. I'd love to be more interactive with my ASL class. I'm trying to set up skyping with the deaf school. I'd love to see where that will take my students.
    Thanks for such a good read!

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  23. My biggest take away is that I am in fact already implementing methods to "ditch the textbook." My students do still use it, but are able to achieve so much more learning when I can supplement online resources as well as using video of my teaching through technology. I will continue to improve on this, as this is my first year really utilizing technology in this nature. I enjoy it and am certain my students enjoy it as well.

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  24. My take aways are this: I loved the chapter called "You are your best PD". This is something I am always saying. As professionals, we know what we need to get better at, or we should. So it is our responsibility to get out there and find it. Providing tech PD for everyone, at their level, is near impossible. We are professionals, we need to develop! I also agree that tech should just be another arrow in our quiver of arrows that we shoot at the target of educating our students. The classroom should not support the tech, the tech should support the classroom. I enjoyed reading this book this past summer, and have enjoyed going back through it with this study

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    1. Thank you for always supporting our PD interests.

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  25. I loved the acronym for DITCH that we were reminded of in the last chapter. I need to continue challenging myself to try new things and make learning fun for my students. We are already a 1:1 school so I feel like we have already "ditched the textbook" in a lot of ways. Now it is a matter of trying new things and pushing my students to the next level.

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  26. Matt has written a fantastic resource for all educators! It should really be recommended for students to read while they are still working on their degrees in colleges and universities. It should be a required reading for those prospective teachers' professors and teaching assistants as well. I have waited for a resource that really outlines how we should look at education now and going forward. Matt, you have done an excellent job, my friend!
    The biggest takeaway I received from the book is to make learning relevant for the students and to take learning outside of the 4 walls of a classroom. Textbooks are fantastic resources, but they are outdated once they hit the students desks. Students should be using online resources for research. They should be finding ways to work collaboratively with their community members. They need relevance.
    My main goal moving forward is to engage students and teachers in worthwhile professional developments that motivate them to continue being a lifelong learner. I plan on continuing to work on the MakerSpace I have started and to make it more than just a student MakerSpace. I want it to be a community area where the community will take some ownership. I want them to come in with their children and create, make, collaborate, etc. I have to thank Matt for writing a fantastic book that will help me as I continue on this adventure. Good luck to you all as you move forward with "Ditching the Textbook" and making learning relevant for your learners! I look forward to seeing you on the #INeLearn chats soon. If you want to connect, you can find me on Twitter at @MrKline_EdTech. I can't wait to start collaborating with you!

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  27. My take aways from this online book study are really more of the different resources that people are using. I do not have a textbook, so I "ditched" it a long time ago, and use mostly digital content. I especially liked the topic of cheating. I feel like I've been a cheater for a long time, and now I have justification for it! There is always work that can be done, so for me, I look at it as, these are the hours that they are paying me to do this job. What are the most effective things I can get accomplished in that time frame. Yes, I still do work outside of "work hours" but that is more along the personal learning lines, and stuff that interests me. Stuff that I would do regardless of the benefits to my job.

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  28. My take away from all of this is not to change all at once, for my sanity and for the kids. If I'm overwhelmed I'm not giving them the best lesson I can. I want to change things but still keep them relevant and engaging. I've tried to set a goal of changing one thing per quarter so when our school goes 1-1 I'll be better prepared. Right now I feel very text-driven, but hopefully I can gradually change that.

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  30. My take away from the book is to try using technology to promote the school library. I'm fairly comfortable with technology, but I need utilize it more in the library setting and find a way to connect it to the students. I haves ideas about creating informative and fun library videos to try to draw students to the library but I have to take baby steps because it is too new of an idea for me. I totally relate to the comment in the book about "good ideas and lessons get trapped in our minds...unleash them!" I have lots of ideas that need to be unleashed. For me, it's all about being comfortable with change, going slow will get me there in the end and I will wonder why I didn't do it earlier!

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  31. I truly am ready to jump in to technology. My take aways from this book are:
    1. Create new units thoughtfully and consider them individually.
    2. Students are worth it and they're the future.
    3. Embrace the uncomfortable and discover what's really possible.
    4. Gradual release to students
    5. Jump in and try it.
    6. Have a digital toolbox and add to it each year.
    7. The ideas and websites are great places to start with....
    Thank you, Matt Miller, for giving such a great read!

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    1. I agree. Thanks to Matt for writing a great book.

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    2. I love the list! I agree. I think I enjoyed checking out all the QR Codes in the book for ideas. It is full of valuable resources that I know I will go back to find. I am already working on using my weebly website more efficiently and checking out google classroom. It will take time and effort but well worth it!
      Thanks Matt Miller!

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  32. The best idea that I am taking away from this book is to create my own mission statement and to start slow. I usually jump on the bandwagon and want to incorporate everything I learn at a workshop and when I get back to my classroom I do not know where to start. All of my new ideas end up on the back burner and stay there. So I am taking Matt's advice and beginning slowly with one theme. I also chose my one word goal; interactive.
    I am also encouraging other teachers in my building to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this thought provoking book and the chance to share this experience with other teachers across Indiana.
    My mission statement is unclear at this time, but I am excited to work on it.

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  33. I am really excited that I have got some of the other teachers in my building to try some of the new technology ideas that I have shared. Such as Kidsblog, Kahoot, and Quizlet. I am also having my students work on sketch note taking, which they love.

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  34. What will I take away from this book? First of all, I am reminded that I am already doing some great things with my first graders. We have embraced the entrance of iPads into our curriculum and I am challenging myself to find new uses for them all the time. Secondly, I will take away a reminder that I do not have to change everything all at once. I know from past experience that if I try to change too much, I end up frustrated and then nothing gets changed at all. I need to start small and gradually try new ideas. Finally, this book challenges me to go for it and to not be afraid to try new things. I owe it to myself and to my students to revolutionize my classroom.

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  35. As a faithful reader of the Ditch That Textbook blog, reading the book was a refresher course. Matt writes like he speaks- I could hear his voice from the workshops I attended and feel his enthusiasm. I gleefully ditched my textbook a long time ago, back when I taught Spanish at the high school over 10 years ago, and then a second time when I moved to middle school Social Studies. I want to try making my own teacher videos for students- I've tried the flipped classroom videos of other teachers on E-Learning days, but they aren't as effective as I'd like to be. So that's my next step- making my own teacher instructional videos so the students can hear (and see) me when we aren't together. I really enjoyed this discussion too!

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  36. I have many thoughts and ideas I want to try after reading the book. I need to be brave and let some of my insecurities go. I just need to jump in and try. I really like the idea of only trying a couple of new things at a time. If I try this, then maybe I won't feel overwhelmed and give up like in the past. This book has been a big influence on things I am trying or will try. I have already tried some new ideas and had success. I really appreciate how the book gives ideas and examples of different methods, techniques, etc.. This book is probably one of the most useful and better books I have read in awhile. Thank you Matt for helping me.

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  37. As an eLearning Coach, I came away with one word: support. It may only be one word, but it has endless possibilities. I need to support our teachers in their learning journey. That support comes in many different packages. Creating a safe environment for innovation, continuous, effective PD for all teachers, keeping up with new trends while weeding out the fads, and opening clear channels of communication for all teachers in the district. Effective teachers share, share, share, and steal, steal, steal ideas.

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  38. My biggest take away from this textbook is "to get with the program" so to speak! Like others, I need to embrace the challenge of trying new things instead of being a creature of habit. Libraries of today are digital and accessible remotely for check out, information gathering, and research. I hope to continue to integrate technology into my media center to make our resources more user friendly and convenient for everyone in our school community. Thanks to all for the great ideas and for sharing what it working for you!

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  39. I took a lot away from this book... I am actually really glad to have read it this year, knowing that my school will be one to one next year. It allowed me to reflect on my current practices, my past practices and how I want to adapt my practices moving forward.
    One quote I absolutely love is the quote Matt added from Alvin Toffler, "The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write. The illiterate will be those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." I completely agree with this quote and feel like it helped me to realize just HOW much the times are changing.
    I also liked the reminder on choosing to cheat and also the section about being friends with your students. Finding a way to connect with students is very important and I need to continue to find ways to make sure respect, friendship, and trust is a daily part of teaching.
    Overall, I enjoyed this read... it touched on multiple aspects of teaching, learning, and the constantly evolving world of education. It was a great reminder that not everyone is perfect, things will not happen immediately and it surely will not be an easy transition, but to try, change things as you can, keep working toward your goals and philosophy, it will come. I will definitely reference this book throughout my years of teaching. I thank everyone for great opinions, sharing of resources, conversation, thoughts, and reactions... this has been a great learning opportunity.

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  40. I have really enjoyed this book; it is just so practical! I feel fairly empowered to go more digital. I realize that this is a process and I don't have to do everything all at once. As an English teacher, I have felt it difficult to truly "ditch the textbook," but I love the examples he gives on ways to do this.
    One of the biggest "a-ha" moments for me was the idea of choosing to cheat. I realize that this doesn't make me a bad teacher; it makes me a smart teacher.

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  41. I'm so glad I decided to participate in this book club and plan to participate in the future ones as well. I feel really motivated to continue the work I've already been doing to ditch the textbook and I also like that I realize it doesn't need to be an all or nothing type of thing. I can work at this little by little and get my curriculum where I really want it.
    I would love, love, love, to create some flipped lessons and plan to do this using the screencastify. I've created a few short tutorials using it after I read about it but my next step is a whole flipped lesson with screen casts and other items added.
    Other than that I plan to just go unit by unit and ditch the textbook where I see fit. I've already made big changes this year (so much easier to do when you're 1:1) and just plan to keep rolling with it.

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  42. I am so happy I read this book. I feel like so many educational "help" books just overwhelm (and underwhelm) and I never connect with the author. The lack of connection then flows into my classroom (or should I say, away from) and my students.

    I connected with Matt from the beginning. I had been an avid follower on Twitter and had even seen him present. Reading hte book felt like he was talking to me. The outsider using technology in my classroom in a rural Indiana school, AND coaching swimming AND starting to loose touch with my family.

    His ideas are not just beneficial to the students but also to the teacher. YES, planning takes a lot of time, and getting things organized also takes time, but after one school year of trying things out, playing around with technologies I have found waht works for me!

    I feel like I say this each comment, but I am on a stress free maternity leave (well, stress free about the classroom, having a baby opens a whole new stress) due to previous planning. I have a class website, I am using videos for short lessons, GAFE educational tools for everything. My sub has been terrific and has even become more GAFE comfortable.

    The take away wasn't just one tool (though I found two I am going to try upon my arrival back to the classroom) it was the sense of not being alone in my adventure of teaching... with technology, and not just a textbook. Thank you Matt.

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  43. I've really enjoyed the positive, exciting outlook that Matt Miller brings to his teaching--he is a real cheerleader for the students, the educators, and the technology available to them! My biggest take away is that in this current world of rapid change, we need to continue to move forward and change with it and not get complacent or stuck in a comfort zone but rather challenge ourselves to adapt. I tend to get discouraged and overwhelmed by everything out there now, but the advice in the book about setting priorities and doing organized planning, and not giving up when something goes wrong make me feel that at least I can take some baby steps toward embracing new ways of teaching. I also enjoyed the practical advice given both in the book and in the comments of others. To quote from one of the last chapters, I feel more empowered to teach my students "how to learn, communicate, and thrive in today's world." Thanks!

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  44. This book helped change my teaching and has made it more student oriented. It has also made history more fun both for my students and for me to teach.
    I have found that you can't just use tech just to use it sometimes the older methods still work. The technology of the internet has allowed me to do many things just today I showed video from World War I and used it to talk about weapons and trench warfare. The biggest thing was that sometimes with technology you have to try it sometimes it works great and sometimes no matter what you think of it working great it fails horribly. When that happens you remember to not utilize technology in that way again or figure out a way to redo the technology to possibly make it work. The last thing is to always have a backup plan something that works one minute may not work the next when you really need it such is the world of technology. Overall I think this book helped me improve as a teacher and according to my students they like the way my class is taught and they agreed that they have learned more without using a physical book.

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  45. My biggest takeaway from Ditch that Textbook is on the topic of selecting tools. So often, we force technology tools because it is working for someone else or because our district spent a lot of money on a product. The first problem is that every class is different and every teacher's style is different. Stick with what you know will work for you and your students in the most time efficient and effective manner. The second issue is that often times products are selected without the consideration of all parties (all grade levels, teachers, administration, stakeholders, etc.). Teachers force a digital tool on students because of the cost.

    Overall, I'm realizing that I need to slow down more instead of grasp at every tool I can find. It is better to be a master of several really good tools that are worth a teacher's time instead of knowing a ton of different tools at a surface level.

    These thoughts come from this portion of the book that I quoted on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mr_Yoder/status/657201400724725760

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  46. I want to reach out to other educators through Twitter and at conferences. I think if I make more efforts to do this I can discover more ideas to bring to my classroom. We don't need to be an island anymore. I need to share my ideas and be open so others will share with me. I am taking more risks this year. Trying out lessons that I am not sure will succeed is also important.

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  47. My greatest takeaway from this book is that I do not have to attempt to implement a variety of technology all at once. Matt discussing his experience when he did that at the beginning of the book and then giving better ideas of how and when to implement throughout the book gave me a sense of relief. With a push to go use more technology, his words showed me that using it little by little is enough in the beginning, and a great place to start! This allows me and my students to become more acclimated with technology so that it all doesn't come crashing down on us. I've shared this philosophy with my department at school whenever we discuss new technology platforms, websites, and ideas. I think its important to remember that we are good teachers and technology is simply another tool that we can use when we want, not that we have to use all of the time. After reading the book, I decided to use technology to have students create videos on a historical topic and upload it to a new platform, we are using at my school, and so far, it is going very well. The students are having fun researching and creating, but also learning at the same time! I plan to slowly, but surely, move more away from my textbook and begin using technology in ways that enhance student learning.

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  48. My take away from the book focuses on the section choosing to cheat. I have two teenagers at home that are involved in everything and I also have an itch to get back into coaching at the high school level. I need to free up some time to allow myself to get back to some of the things that I have a strong passion for, ie: coaching. I realize this new 1:1 will require a lot of work on the front end, but hopefully on the back end it will ease our time constraints and allow us to do some things that we dearly love and are missing out on right now. With over 175 students it is very difficult to find that extra time. The one thing I need to be careful with is introducing too much technology at once. Like Matt said, pace yourself and allow your students to become acclimated with what your trying to accomplish. Overall, it is a very exciting time to be an educator, but also a little nerve wracking. Let the fun begin!!!

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  49. My biggest focus after reading the book and participating in the book club is twofold -- continuing to add technology use to my lessons and choosing to cheat. The book further encouraged and motivated me to look for ways to use technology in ways that enhance lessons and also efficiency in the classroom. The book and the forum gave me ideas and information about where to look and what sources could be useful that I didn't already have in my toolbox. In addition, the section on choosing to cheat reinforced and encouraged something I already was doing, but also gave me new ideas. Because I am involved in so much outside of the classroom, I have been forced to be as efficient as possible and have chosen to cheat for a long time. This gave me new ideas and reinforced that it's an okay approach. Thank you!

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  50. I teach in a very restricted environment so trying new lessons is not always an option for most teachers here. I am lucky in a way to teach music because I am allowed to try new things when others cannot. I am going to try and extend their learning beyond the textbook this school year. There are so many things that can be done with music that the possibilities are endless! One thing that I would like to work on is adding more technology. We have limited resources during class time, but I am hoping that I can work on this and come up with some solutions to add more technology.

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  51. The biggest thing I am taking away from this book is to just give things a try. I might not succeed at first, but students need to see that sometimes we fail just like they do. This is a great moment to teach life skills. Students get real experience with how to cope and overcome failure. I have found myself not as willing to try things because I do not know what the outcome will be. This book gave me some much-needed confidence in letting go and jumping in!

    I also appreciate the encouragement to take my time. I do not have to have all of these ideas implemented at the beginning of the year or even in the same year. I can focus on one or two ideas at a time. I always feel like I have so many ideas and they all need to happen right now! After reading this book I feel like it is okay to slow down and actually enjoy what we are doing in the classroom instead of continuously pushing the next tech goal.

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    1. Taking a risk is scary but worth it. Thanks for sharing your willingness to try. I agree that taking time to learn is encouraging.

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  52. I enjoyed reading the book and had actually started reading the book before it was announced for the book club. I wish I had a normal classroom (I teach gym) to implement the ideas from the book and fellow readers. I am looking to get back into a regular classroom and I hope my classroom has the technology to put the ideas into practice.
    For the teachers who have been around the teaching pool for as long as I have we did in the past ditch the textbook from time to time. I used to do big units and bring in all the subjects without my students using textbooks. It was the same without the technology. But we used to write letters and brought in speakers. For those who have been teaching for a while just think of the things you did in the past (big units - all subjects) and just add in the technology where you feel comfortable. If you take it in slow steps I think we will accomplish what our objectives are and the students will profit.
    I enjoyed reading all your comments and I hope you have a fantastic school year and holiday season.

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  53. I found this book very thought-provoking and engaging. I feel that I have come a long way (using Edmodo, videos, Quizlet, online quizzes, etc.), but I guess this book has shown me how far I still have to go. I mean that in a good way. I feel challenged to grow even more, to venture ever further; and that is an exciting prospect. Finding a global audience is something, for example, that makes so much sense for a world language classroom, but I just haven't gone there yet. There's no time like the present! I appreciate Miller's encouragement and the "permission" to fail and try, try again!

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  54. I have been inspired by so much in this book, but I especially enjoyed the concluding chapters. I've spent a lot of time in a number of schools throughout the past few years, and I found it very obvious which schools were operating under a shared vision and which were not. This also applies to individual classrooms. This year, my goal is to take risks and be okay with failing for the sake of improvement. Perfection isn't a goal, but reflection is. #failforward I feel very luck to work in a district that supports teacher risk taking.

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  55. This book encouraged me to try something new and not be intimidated. The “jump in and try” and “don’t use it all” sections resonated with me because it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the possibilities. I have learned to pick one thing, try that and work with it for awhile, and then when I’m ready, attempt something else. I am learning to modify what I’ve tried if necessary and try again, or throw it out and do something else. Being adaptable is important, especially this year when being 1:1 is new.

    Useful to me is Google Classroom, where I can post announcements and vocabulary lists. I can post grammar videos and notes. It’s been a great new communication tool, and it’s been easy for me to have students collect their materials in one folder. I have also been learning the features of our online textbook system, sites like Kahoot, Quizlet, and Conjuguemos, and the most efficient way to grade online homework. When I have time, I’ve found new ideas on Pinterest.

    Another take-away from this book for me is the reminder to use this new tool to “make it visual.” The more visual aides I can add, the quicker my students learn new vocabulary in Spanish. This can include something as simple as projecting a picture, but a new visual way to practice vocabulary has been with class slide shows. Students have made slide shows (as individuals and collectively) and I’ve clicked through them as review. I have also found great YouTube resources. All the visual possibilities help to bring magic to plain memorization.

    Moving forward, I would like to find ways to “globalize” my Spanish class that don’t take up too much time. I want to find ways to inspire my students and help them find tools to practice and use their Spanish. I want to learn what to do with Google Earth. I want to learn not only how to make videos but what to make videos about. I plan to search out projects where students have more choice. I also want to model ways to be a lifelong learner.

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  56. The idea was shared about picture superiority effect. I have begun to allow my student to make pictures of doodle vocabulary words and sight words on the iPad and on dry-erase boards. I am sure I will find some other areas of technology to allow them to be creative. The important idea is to have their brains recall and learn the words in a more creative way.
    I have been involved with choosing One Little Word for the year, but I hadn't thought about choosing one word to drive my mission. I have been thinking about that. I am more aware of how to incorporate technology and am thinking of ways to increase the learning. Thank you for allowing us the freedom to learn slow. I have become overwhelmed lately with comparing myself to the techy teachers at hand. I need to embrace that fact that my fear of failing is more mythical than reality. I can do it; I just may need to be retaught a few times in order to retain it. It's okay. I'm learning and growing and wanting the best for my kids.

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  57. From this point, my focus is still a bit scattered, to be honest. I know that I would like to share some of the ideas that Matt has mentioned in his book with my colleagues because some of them would be particularly great additions to things that our great staff is already doing in our building. I think that Matt's idea of not sharing being selfish was something that stuck with me in that regard. Just because I put in the time and energy to read the book and post to the blog doesn't mean that I'm the gatekeeper to this information. As our administration stresses to us, we all share "a piece of the pie" when it comes to our school letter grade/ISTEP scores. If I have information that could enhance the learning of ALL of our students, it would be selfish of me not to share. I also want to focus my attention on making more of my learners owners, instead of renters -- another concept that I intend to share with my colleagues. With the impending implementation of Canvas, a lot of our staff is overwhelmed (and understandably so). I think that this metaphor may ease some of their fears by allowing them to think of specific students in their current classes who are renters and owners and how this implementation could affect them.

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  58. After reading "Ditch That Textbook" (the first time) I shared 5 pages of notes with my admin team! This book contains so many "golden nuggets" of information that really resonated with me. When Matt said (on pg. 214), "I just can't do it all. Neither can you. And that's okay" I found myself wishing that I had read it 20 years ago. As a teacher, I found myself passing up opportunities (outside of school) because I felt like I had to get a set of papers graded or work to fine tune a lesson...ugh! I hope I can help other teachers "choose to cheat." I just ordered "The Zen Teacher" and am super excited to begin reading it this weekend!

    Even though not all chose to participate in this eLearning book study, ten of our teachers and two administrators are reading "Ditch That Textbook." I look forward to having conversations with these teachers and administrators about their favorite take-aways.

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  59. After reading Ditch That Textbook for the second time, my takeaways are a little different. When I read it in the summer, I was energized and excited about trying new things and taking risks. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in the school year and reading it, I've found that most of my takeaways involve pedagogy. I want to create the best learning environment possible for my students and, at least in the History classroom, that rarely involves a textbook. I need to remember to not be the teacher that chooses the flashy new tech tool without thinking of the task at hand first.

    I can't wait to share this book with my colleagues and hopefully do a book study this spring! Thank you for all of your comments and inspiring connections this fall. Good luck to all in continuing the journey of Ditching That Textbook!

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  60. After reading Ditch That Textbook for the second time, my takeaways are a little different. When I read it in the summer, I was energized and excited about trying new things and taking risks. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in the school year and reading it, I've found that most of my takeaways involve pedagogy. I want to create the best learning environment possible for my students and, at least in the History classroom, that rarely involves a textbook. I need to remember to not be the teacher that chooses the flashy new tech tool without thinking of the task at hand first.

    I can't wait to share this book with my colleagues and hopefully do a book study this spring! Thank you for all of your comments and inspiring connections this fall. Good luck to all in continuing the journey of Ditching That Textbook!

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  61. I feel like this book gives me permission to start small - and that it is okay not to try everything new at once! Lots of things are thrown at us and we are expected to 'sink or swim' with it. It is comforting to know that if I can do one thing well, that is a great place to start. I am hopeful that I can become comfortable with one thing and start on the next at my own pace. I also know that I will be reaching out to our newly appointed Technology coach for suggestions! :)

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  62. I feel as though being part of this book club has given me more confidence in my ability to use technology in the classroom in meaningful ways and has provided me with some tangible concepts and uses I am excited to put to the test.
    My main take aways from this reading:
    1) Technology is not and should not be used for technologies sake. Be deliberate in your usage or technology will not add anything to your lessons.
    2) The students should help drive their education and conduct learning experiences that have real life connects to their passions and goals and experiences. By incorporating technology, I am able to incorporate my students and their backgrounds in ways I was not able to before.
    3) Technology and the global audience and the massive amount of information available are wonderful resources, but that they should not be jumped into all at once. Baby steps are key and completely normal as it can be daunting to take such a large plunge. Small steps are completely acceptable.

    Thank you for a wonderful time and enjoy ditching that textbook!

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  63. I have several things to take a way from the book. The most important to me is to go little by little. I've attended some Technology PDs that give out so much information I can't process all of it. This book gives many insights and examples of assignments and projects. As well as teacher tools to cut out some unnecessary steps. I have used a couple already freerice.com and Doctopus. I plan on continuing to the book as a reference and create the best learning environment for the students that I can.

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  64. My biggest takeaway from this book is that I am on my way! I already started "Ditching my Textbook" four years ago. Each year I improve my digital repertoire. I feel I have a good, solid start, but now it is time to tackle some new applications, resources, and especially, to take the leap into having the students CREATE. I once took a graduate level class about Learning Styles. I loved it, and I always landed on the creative preference side of those measurements. However, I don't always allow my students that same freedom to create out of my own fear. Fear of what? I guess fear that they'll ask me a technoloby question I can't answer. This is really silly because I am blessed with a building full of people who would offer to help me and my students figure out any technology question we might have.

    The chapters on "Cheating" and "Minimum Effective Dose" were also significant chapters for me. The story Matt Miller tells about a long day that had him racing home only to find the kids were already in bed was something all teachers have probably experienced too many times. It was a good reminder that if you don't carve out some personal time for yourself, this job can eat up all of your time if you let it. Good read, Matt Miller! You've got teachers thinking and talking about a lot of topics, so well done.

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  65. I am taking away from reading this book an excitement and commitment to using moe technology in my classroom. I realize that there is no emergency about it, but to expect failures and don't bemoan them. I know that I need to talk about things with colleagues and know there are good resources out there. I very much need to become more involved with Twitter blogs and inquiring of those sources and gaining support.

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  66. After reading the book, I have several take aways. First, I think that we need to teach students how to be "good" users of the internet. We need to go over what digital citizenship is and how to accomplish this. Second, I think that as a teacher, I really need to take a look at what I can to on the computers that will truly benefit the students. I need to talk to other educators who are already online about what is truly beneficial in the classroom. Lastly, I need to remember that this is not an overnite process. This is going to happen with time.

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  67. This book was a great kick start to helping me revamp my classroom and reignite some of my earlier passions. I have steadily relied more and more on my textbooks. However, I am excited to bring back some old ideas and try a bunch of new technology. I've already integrated many videos and pictures to help students actually see the place we are reading about or visualize the concept we are learning about. I'm ready to continue the journey and see how I can change my lessons to foster even more student engagement and integrate more technology. In a few years our elementary students will be 1:1. By then I am hopeful that I already have many items in place that will make that transition more beneficial.

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  68. My take away from was the great resources in this book. In addition, I found that I could relate to a lot of what Matt talked about. I think there are so many more tools available beyond the textbook including technology. It will be fun to incorporate some of the ideas in my classroom.

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  69. What I will take away from reading this book is the fact I am on the right track. I am still learning all the new things that could benefit my students and myself in the classroom. I have never been a huge fan of students just reading to understand concepts. There are far too many kids that do not learn that way. I like to give a varied approach to learning and remembering information. This book has a lot of great ideas to start with. As I continue to look at my mission statement and objectives, I will add more new tools that will help to reach these.

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  70. Well, I thought I responded to this but I guess it didn't post. I hope I still get PGP points since I posted every other week on time.

    I don't know if I will ever truly ditch the textbook completely. For my subject I think it can very useful. I do know that I want my students to be "in the know" as far as technology goes. I will do my best to stay caught up with the competition because that is how the real world is. Those that aren't tech savvy are a little behind. I also like that it gives students different ways of learning outside of my classroom.

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  71. When do we get our certificates for the book club?

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    1. It usually takes a couple of weeks.

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    2. okay thank you! Just wanted to make sure I didn't delete an email by accident :)

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  72. I don't have anything yet so I'm guessing early next week!

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  73. I sent out PGPs to everyone who participated in at least 5 weeks of the book club on Friday, November 13th. I was unable to locate some participants' email addresses, so if you feel like you should have received PGPs and did not receive a message, please email me at carnahan@doe.in.gov.

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  74. Not sure why my comments didn't post, but I commented on time for all posts including this one.... my biggest take away though would be my willingness to try new things now. I am not afraid to bring technology into my class, and I have been and sometimes it fails and this is okay. I know for Health this is going to be easier to incorporate technology, and P.E. I will use when I see fit but I believe certain subjects do not need as much technology. I am very excited to have 1:1 chrome books this year, and after reading matts inspiring stories I am ready to begin diving into the technology world. I will definitely have help along the way, but I have great teachers in my building that are so willing to help. Good luck everyone! Thanks Matt!

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