Holt Think: Ed, Creativity, Tech, Administration

Adding new technology to old pedagogy does not make it better.

Adding new technology to old pedagogy does not make it better.

(Source: recitethis.com)

Schools moving toward ‘BYOD’ with student technology

From the Article:

"In Prince William County, this school year marks the third for BYOD, and its use has been on the rise, said A.J. Phillips, supervisor of instructional technology services. The first year, high schools, for example, had an average of 45 active devices in use at any given time during the school day, and last year that average rose to 534.

“Every year I’ve seen an increase in the number of devices,” she said. Use varies by school and teacher, she said. “Like any tool in the classroom, some teachers are going to embrace it and some are not.”

(Source: Washington Post)


The team behind the programming language SCRATCH have created a classroom user guide and website with creative computing as the focus:

Creative computing is…creativity. Computer science and computing-related fields have long been introduced to young people in a way that is disconnected from their interests and values – emphasizing technical detail over creative potential. Creative computing supports the development of personal connections to computing, by drawing upon creativity, imagination, and interests.

Creative computing is…empowerment. Many young people with access to computers participate as consumers, rather than designers or creators. Creative computing emphasizes the knowledge, practices, and fundamental literacies that young people need to create the types of dynamic and interactive computational media that they enjoy in their daily lives.

Creative computing is…computing. Engaging in the creation of computational artifacts prepares young people for more than careers as computer scientists or programmers. It supports young people’s development as computational thinkers – individuals who can draw on computational concepts, practices, and perspectives in all aspects of their lives, across disciplines and contexts.

The guide can be used in a variety of settings (classrooms, clubs, museums, libraries, and more) with a variety of learners (K-12, college, and beyond). No prior experience with computer programming is required, only a sense of adventure!

Download the guide here! Download the workbook here. Download the workbooks and guides as Powerpoint files.

7 keys to making a city a true “Smart City”

If you are not reading the blog”Getting Smart” the website/blog/aggregator from Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart, you need to be It is insightful, cutting edge, and while it leans over towards the private over public sector in education, it does have lots of good information. I like it because Vander Ark is talking in a space that many public educators are not aware of and need to be: the side of education that attract the venture capitalists and the entrepreneurs. From my experience, the public education practitioners almost universally dismiss those that are making or trying to make a buck or two on education by changing the paradigms we are driving ourselves in. I think that this is wrong, because frankly, all of us can learn from each other.

With that in mind, I liked this entry from Tom’s blog “Leading the Shift to Digital: School, System & City.” In it, Vander Ark discusses seven components of what it takes to make a city a “smart city.” It is not an easy thing to do, and even large cities may or may not have these seven things in place.

Without the seven, a city cannot be expected to make significant changes to how the population is education, stays educated, or changes. Want to change a city? You need to have the seven in place:

  1. Innovation Mindset: a combination of growth, maker and team mindset—from classroom to city;
  2. Sustained Leadership: building political capital to create a portfolio of options;
  3. Talent Development: preparing and developing great teachers, leaders, and edupreneurs;
  4. Collective Impact: partnerships and community engagements;
  5. Aligned Investments: aligned public and private investment;
  6. New Tools & Schools: incubation capacity for new tools schools and connecting teachers and technology; and
  7. Advocacy & policy: a supportive environment for schools and startups.

Think about those seven: I would postulate that most cities DO NOT have these in place. I would also venture to say that if change happens in the cities where the seven are not in place, it takes place in fits and starts.

If I am reading this correctly, Vander Ark is saying that great schools cannot happen by themselves. There has to be a symbiotic relationship with the city and the businesses that they exist in. Got 6 of these? Un uh. You need all 7 in order for smart change to happen.

All seven of these are hard to come by in singular instances, and indeed I would suggest are almost impossible to come by in anything other than large metropolitan areas that have money, will power and the capital base to do this. I wonder how rural cities, towns or villages can even hope to succeed in a smart city way when these would be difficult for e much bigger, richer city to do the same?

Finally, Vander Ark and crew have seen the future and have a hopeful vision of innovation:

  • Every person, organization, and region needs to get smart—to skill up, learn more, and build new capacities faster and cheaper than ever;
  • Innovative new tools and schools are making that possible everywhere
  • Innovation starts with a mindset that can be developed in every classroom and every city
  • Innovation is scaled by leaders that develops talent, and align partnerships and investments for collective impact
  • Innovation is sustained by advocacy and policy

So, you know where you live. Can your city become a smart city? An innovative city?

Why or why not?

Why is storytelling such an effective means of teaching? 
Here is a nice infographic that gives you an idea of why storytelling works so well.Here are some previous entries about digital storytelling.
This originally came from a website  Onespot.

Why is storytelling such an effective means of teaching?
Here is a nice infographic that gives you an idea of why storytelling works so well.
Here are some previous entries about digital storytelling.
This originally came from a website Onespot.

If a teacher is not teaching at a high level, how can we expect students to learn at a high level?

- Tim Holt

Blueprint for Tomorrow: Redesigning Schools for Student-Centered Learning

Everyone knows I am a big fan of Prakash Nair, world famous designer of schools and educational futurist. I was pleased to hear he has a new book out on school design, and I will have review shortly. Here is info about the new work:

From Harvard Education Press:

The United States has about $2 trillion tied up in aging school facilities. School districts throughout the country spend about $12 billion every year keeping this infrastructure going. Yet almost all of the new money we pour into school facilities reinforces an existing—and obsolete—model of schooling. In Blueprint for Tomorrow, Prakash Nair—one of the world’s leading school designers—explores the hidden messages that our school facilities and classrooms convey and advocates for the “alignment” of the design of places in which we teach and learn with twenty-first-century learning goals.

Blueprint for Tomorrow provides simple, affordable, and versatile ideas for adapting or redesigning school spaces to support student-centered learning. In particular, the author focuses on ways to use current spending to modify existing spaces, and explains which kinds of adaptations offer the biggest return in terms of student learning. The book is organized by area—from classrooms to cafeterias—and is richly illustrated throughout, including “before and after” features, “smart idea” sidebars, and “do now” suggestions for practical first steps. It outlines key principles for designing spaces that support today’s learning needs and includes tools to help educators evaluate the educational effectiveness of their own spaces.

Blueprint for Tomorrow will open educators’ eyes to the ways that architecture and learning are entwined and will challenge them to rethink the ways they teach and work together.

You can purchase it here in both hardcover and paperback

Amazon here

Read more about Prakash Nair in these previous blog entries.

Would you trust education to Silicon Valley?

I actually do not have a problem with this. We have been trusting “Silicon Valley” with computers and equipment for years. I guess the problems comes when the shift happens from just supplying equipment to supplying the actual teaching.
Who is vetting?
Who says this or that meets the standards?

I kinda am ok with this as long as there are monitors and safeguards in place.

From the article:

Venture capitalists are pouring funding into new technologies for a trillion-dollar industry in the US that could be ripe for disruption: education.

Education technology startups attracted $1.25 billion in funding in 2013, according to analysis by CB Insights, and the boom has grown in 2014, with ed tech companies attracting nearly half that amount ($559 million) during the first quarter alone.

It’s not just new startups that want a piece of the education pie. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has signaled a major push into education. Its Amplify division, run by the former New York City schools chancellor, Joel Klein, earlier this year launched an interactive digital curriculum aimed at middle school students, after releasing an education tablet last year. Pearson, which publishes the Financial Times, makes most of its money (pdf) in its education businesses. Yet the shift from print to digital (painful as it has already been for the news media) is only just beginning in education. States are in the process of shifting the billions in dollars they spend on textbooks into digital alternatives. It’s a similar story at the university level.

Click on the title to go to the article.

- Presently Perfect! 10 Powerful Presentation Tools for Educators

Tired of Powerpoint? Think your kids can do more than make slides? Try these tools for presenting.

Click on the title to go to the link.

FREE -- Teaching Resources and Lesson Plans from the Federal Government

Really nice collection of free government resources for use in all types of subject area.

Click on the title to go to the link.

Cheat Sheet for Ed Tech Terms

This is a good infographic for newbies to ed tech. Maybe there are terms even the vets are not familiar with. Of course, there are tons more of these terms that are not on this graphic.


For many years, educators and policymakers looking for strategies to close the achievement gap and improve student learning have sought solutions involving new uses of technology, especially for students placed at-risk. Unfortunately, the results of technology initiatives have been mixed. Often, the introduction of technology into classrooms has failed to meet the grand expectations proponents anticipated. The educational landscape is replete with stories and studies about how at-risk students were unable to benefit from particular innovations seeking to use computers for teaching.

There are, however, successes among these efforts, and they reveal some common approaches to technology use. Based on a review of more than 70 recent studies, this brief describes these approaches, particularly as they apply to high school students who have been at risk of failing courses and exit examinations or dropping out because of a range of personal factors (such as pregnancy, necessary employment, mobility, and homelessness) and academic factors (special education needs, credit deficiencies, and lack of supports for learning English). The brief then outlines policy strategies that could expand the uses of technology for at-risk high school youth.

Download the full report

RTI for teachers

Interesting idea:
Use the ideas of RTI for teacher professional development

Tier I: Training everyone gets
Tier II: More specific , small group
Tier III : Specific IEP for each teacher

How would that work?

Sep 9

Here’s to those that see things differently

Why do people love a tech company?
Because they make awesomeness like this:

New Study: Engage Kids With 7x the Effect

(Source: gjmueller)