When academics aren’t everything…


What are parents looking for when choosing a school? A new study out of New Orleans shows that academics aren’t everything when it comes to school choice.  Parents may be looking for more.  A study from Education Research Alliance for New Orleans shows that many parents, particularly those of poverty, are looking for schools that offer extracurricular activities and extended day programs.  Another number one criteria above academics is proximity to the family home.  In an era where only test scores have mattered, it seems as if parents haven’t found academics to be the number one deciding factor when choosing a school.  For more information on this topic, follow the link http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2015/01/15/376966406/a-new-study-reveals-much-about-how-parents-really-choose-schools .


When new teachers are left out in the cold!


Too often new teachers are hired after the start of the school year without much thought given to their success on a day to day basis.  When classroom positions open after the 1st day of school, new hires miss the typical new teacher orientation.  They are left asking simple questions like “How do I take attendance?” or “How do I access the curriculum?”  My doctoral team and I are working to add clarity for the many new teachers that our district hires.  As a result of a recent assignment, we worked to create an online module that will provide the necessary information that any new teacher will need.  If you would like to take a look at our module to get ideas for your own district follow the link: https://www.goorulearning.org/#collection-play&id=524ec51f-c1f4-470c-a75a-6b862da9ebf8 .

Don’t fear your research genie is here!


So you’re doing some research for class you say…

Have you tried Zotero?  I hadn’t either, but guess what!  It’s free and easy to use.  It holds all of your references and applies them to your research paper based on any citation style you need.  That’s right, put that terrible APA or MLA manual away and trust in technology.  Want to leave yourself some notes or annotation, you can do that too.  Why didn’t I know about this sooner?  Zotero could have saved me lots of time.  If you’re getting ready to research, open a free Zotero account first.  Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself: https://www.zotero.org/support/quick_start_guide .

Riding the online wave



Are online schools the wave of the future or shark infested water? It seems that there are just as many positives as potential negatives.  NPR recently ran an article that discusses this very issue (http://n.pr/1Bpw28b ).  Online programs offer convenience and flexibility, but what about accountability.  When the majority of course work happens outside of the physical classroom, sometimes hundreds of miles away, how can anyone be certain of the validity of assignments.  Critics are pointing to lower than average test scores and a lack of services for special populations such as special education as a reason to reconsider allowing such educational models.  The issue of quality schooling is a current problem that is being debated in both the public and private sector.  Can online education be the answer? How can we ensure that the education offered is a quality program?  Much as the article describes, I believe that any online program must incorporate a face-to-face component for added accountability.


Common Core, what’s the fuss?


Common Core for Elementary School

If you’ve ever heard of Common Core and you want to find out what all the fuss is about, take a look at the Teaching Channel.  This online resource is available to everyone and offers a variety of videos to help breakdown the Common Core and what it means to education.  You can find a quick tutorial on instructional strategies or a much longer video segment meant to provide a deeper level of knowledge.  Whatever you choose, there is plenty to learn on the Teaching Channel.



And I’ll make a video for that!

The past few weeks I been trying out some new tech tools.  Some have been super user friendly, others not so much.  The one I am totally hooked on is Screencast-O-Matic.  It is a super easy way to create short videos that capture not only your computer screen, but audio as well.  You can easily edit the videos and publish them to numerous places.  I have found this tool to be useful in my doctoral program but also in my professional career.  Just the other day, I was giving a presentation and was able to provide a take-home tutorial for the whole process.  If you haven’t tried it, you should!