All posts by admin

Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Research your Passion

Wow.. I am blown away by the research experience I have had in the last 24 hours..

Sometime this summer when I heard about a few prominent teachers leaving Oklahoma, I was left with the question.. What have we as a state lost? I started to think about how we could capture this phenomenon and document the teachers who left Oklahoma and where did they go.

This is phenomenon research – research designed to capture and document something that is happening at a given time.  it is often framed by context or events and is time sensitive.   If you want to learn more about this type of research consult this special issue of Change management on the topic.

I started out wanting to do the research anonymously – teachers leaving Oklahoma is a highly politically charged topic and i was not interested in being part of that.  but then after talking to a few teachers,  I realized that knowing that a professor was asking the questions was important.

I began working on a survey, got feedback from current teachers and teachers who left about the questions. The survey grew based on this feedback and also the sample narrowed.   It became clear that the sample needed clear bounding. So I limited it only to educators who are still working in education but in a different state.  I know this excludes people who left education or could not move for a variety of reasons – but again, this is phenomenon research – so the phenomenon I am capturing is educators who left OK to teach elsewhere and why they did that.   Those other choices were equally as valid and may be part of another study, but one of the challenges of a study is set clear boundaries. I also decided to only allow people to fill it out for themselves – and then that way I won’t ask a name, and they can do it anonymously (however, the collection of their data in some ways identifies them).

I went through a week of Human Subjects approval which also refined my survey more and did a few more proofings.

My ultimate goal is to look at the economic and educational impact of this phenomenon as well a produce a visual map to show who has moved to where.

The survey is found at  

I am sampling using snowball sampling. I am sharing it on social media including a facebook group about educators in Oklahoma and Twitter.   And then encouraging others to share.  So my few posts of sharing, has a snowball effect to let others identify participants.

In the first 18 hours I had 135 responses.. (about 130  were valid and complete enough)

It allowed me to create this map after only 18 hours. Click on the pin to see where the teachers had taught in Oklahoma.

I am going to continue to capture data and plan to create new maps along the way.

But wow.. First,  what I am learning so far. People are so passionate about this issue.  Second, even after leaving the state, teachers have maintained an important network of educators and still care deeply about the state and their communities.  Third, we have a lot of work to do to learn about this problem.  Lots more info in the survey but this visual has a lot to say too.

My final, thought, I was a little in a research doldrum and I am so excited by this opportunity and idea..  Proof that research is driven by passion and the results can surprise you.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing the survey ( , and I will continue to capture data.


Excited to work on the New Administrator Standards

I am excited to announce that I have been invited to part of the new working group for ISTE’s new Administrator standards. (many hope they will call them Leader standards.. but who knows)

ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education and they write the standards are used in most US states and many other placed in the world for Students, Educators, and Administrators. They are used by districts and organizations like CAEP to assess the quality of education and technology use in an educational setting, and guide the curriculum on technology integration in places like Colleges of Education.   The many uses of evaluation and also in making a case for funding, makes these standards very important for educators who care about utilizing technology in their teaching.

Every 5 years or so they do a refresh – starting with the Student, then the following year Educator, and then Administrator.

The new Educator Standards are quite good –  and are well aligned with the student standards  There is a lot of talk within the members I know that they hope that the Administrator standards are equally well aligned to help leaders create a full vision for technology within their units and be encouraged to be both a participant and servant leader when it comes to technology.

This year, I got the chance to attend the kick off for the Administrator standards at ISTE – which marks a one year process where a working group will meet twice during the year and other times online to draft the new standards.  Throughout the year ISTE staff will be working to get feedback both online and face to face to make sure the standards are relevant.

I have also been asked to be part of the working group that will meet to help craft the standards and gain input. I am excited about this national opportunity and in supporting an innovative vision for technology integration into the future.

This post is just sharing that I will be part of the conversation, as the year progresses, watch this blog to see what opportunities there are for you to also be involved.


Addressing Hate in the Classroom

I have been like many others aghast at the white supremacist and nazi activity since the last election.. To be truthful, I don’t doubt that it has always been going on, but for many reasons it seems now to some that these kind of thoughts are OK..   I am here to say they are not,  and that is not the America that I know and love.   We have worked so hard to move forward from our hateful past and I feel as though we are watching a loose string being pulled on a sweater, and we are being pulled back into dark times.   Part of how this kind of hate speech continues is that those who are not okay with it, don’t speak up.

However,  I think we need to think about our stations in life and how we make a difference in the world.  For me, it is by working with teachers, both current and future, and that is where I can have an influence.

I have been trying to find some good resources to address hate in the classroom – and did a little research and wanted to share them with my friends..
One lead me to the other two.. and they have different audiences and perhaps different uses. .
They are From Teaching Tolerance. (which has much more than I am highlighting now)
Responding to Hate and Bias at School – a guide for Teachers and Administrators
I am especially interested in this pocket guide – and the lesson plan that goes with it..
This by far is the best – Its a PDF booklet with ideas for students and teachers.
So I am left thinking about how I will incorporate them into my teaching – so far here is where I am at:
I want to make these options for some open ended badges on Webinars and classroom readings. I am going to explore the cyberbullying section in more detail (as that matches my curriculum most closely)..
I can’t possibly say it enough that it is not OKay.. but what I can do is incorporate topics into my teaching and help give other teachers tools, resources, PD, and lesson plans to deal with hate that may be in their classrooms. I hope if you are a teacher or know teachers, you might pass it along.

One lead me to the other two.. and they have different audiences and perhaps different uses. .

They are From Teaching Tolerance. (which has much more than I am highlighting now)

Responding to Hate and Bias at School – a guide for Teachers and Administrators…/Responding%20to%20Hate%20at%20Sc…

I am especially interested in this pocket guide – and the lesson plan that goes with it..…/how-to-implement-speak-up-at-sc……/ge…/speak_up_pocket_card_2up.pdf

This by far is the best –…/…/2017-06/Speak_Up_at_School.pdf Its a PDF booklet with ideas for students and teachers.

So I am left thinking about how I will incorporate them into my teaching – so far here is where I am at:
I want to make these options for some open ended badges on Webinars and classroom readings. I am going to explore the cyberbullying section in more detail (as that matches my curriculum most closely)..

For me, I know there are a lot of people online that are wanting people to speak out on social media about what happened yesterday in Charlottesville, I can’t possibly say it enough that it is not Okay.. but what I can do is incorporate topics into my teaching and help give other teachers tools, resources, PD, and lesson plans to deal with hate that may be in their classrooms. I hope if you are a teacher or know teachers, you might pass it along.

These are my initial thoughts,  I appreciate additional ideas and support.  One thing that I know is very important to remember, these are scary times, and we need to encourage every one who makes an effort in the right direction.   Unfortunately, there is not a clear pathway on many of these things, there may be stumbles along the way,  but by sharing resources and support – we can all make a positive difference.

#edumatch #edcamp how I spent my Saturday morning

So how does a nerdy ed tech professor spend her Saturday morning on August 5th. (before school starts)..

Well she first goes to a garage sale, but then at 9am she participates in the Edumatch EdCamp.

This is an online Edcamp that lasted from 10 to 12 eastern time and consisted of 3 sessions and an opening and closing.  It was run by the group #Edumatch which is group that helps educators connect via social media.

I heard about it when Sarah Thomas posted about it on Twitter and I joined for a few reasons.

  1. They were using the Unhangout from MIT which was a platform that is open source and designed to do things like online conferences. I wanted to explore it as a user for maybe use with our online masters. (btw.. it worked really well)
  2. It was a chance for me to better connect with #EduMatch who I first met at #Badgesummit and now that I know to look for them, I am really impressed with their group work..(I followed many members individually but did not get the big picture). Read more about it here:
  3. It is a good way to reconnect and get my head in the fall semester.

So it started at 10 am EST (9 CST) with an opening session..  In this session the organizers introduced the event and also the side events going on.  There is a badgelist page where people can earn badges  and a google classroom where people could share resources as well.  They did a really good job modeling using technology to support learning.  And as someone who has trouble not multi-tasking the multiple modalities kept me engaged for the full two hours.

In the lobby while the welcome was going on and in between sessions – there was an chat room that people could leave messages.

Then at the top of each session, people could propose a session (just like EdCamp) and then people could join.

This is what the main room looked like.. See the one session being proposed under the group video.
This is what the main room looked like.. See the one session being proposed under the group video.

In the first session, I attended helping reluctant ed tech teachers, the second I lead was on what Preservice teachers should know, and the third I attended on Makerspace Events.  I learned from all of them and they are relevant to my job and my students.

So you left the main room and then went to a small room with up to 10 participants.. They asked people to record if they could.  When time was up we were asked to return to the main room or lobby.

This is what a breakout session looked like.
This is what a breakout session looked like.
So you can see in this window I proposed a session but but no one had joined yet..
So you can see in this window I proposed a session but but no one had joined yet..


I will focus on my session (The video will be here   but I did miss the first few introductions)

We had a few themes come out in the session that were super important.. What is it most important for new teachers to know: Relationships and Planning and that hit most things.

If you are using technology or not – it all comes down to planning. Having a plan, archiving materials,  and having a plan cuts down on classroom management issues.

For relationships – it is all about relationships with both teachers and understanding the chain of command in a school and following.. Ie.. even if you really excited to get started, you can’t burn up the chain and have to respect it..  Also, in a relationship sense – students all have issues – and behavior management is easier if you have a personal relationship with kids. Finally, in the last few minutes one participant shared that being culturally responsive is so important.  This too is a manifestation of good relationships and being able to understand students as people.

This was a very enlightening session and I loved all the voices I heard – new and experienced teachers, other people who work with training new teachers, and technology people as well. In the end it was never about the tech, but more about the planning and relationships.. A good take away.

Overall I really enjoyed the format. There are  few things that I would have changed.. ie.. had a place to share social media addresses, being able to boot someone out if they tried to hijack a discussion – but overall it was a great experience and I could see using it in the future with my students both graduate and undergraduate.

I hope to participate in more Edumatch sessions in the future. This group has great positive energy and a wonderful collaborative vibe..  Funny in that getting the full edumatch picture was probably one of the best things I got from #Badgesummit (completely unrelated really).

by the closing session we had 38 people in the main room.
by the closing session we had 38 people in the main room.


Oh Alumni

So probably one of the best things about being a professor is alumni who stay in touch.

Are you shocked by this? I hope not..

In the last two days, I have had such great experiences with alumni and even some interested possible future students.

So what do I love about my interaction with alumni the best?

Real Feedback!  I had a conversation with someone yesterday and they explained to me that they did not continue on their educational path because of self protection – they wanted to maintain the creativity – and I felt – well.. Crushed!! but it was real feedback.

Another student, made a selfie video for me as part of an evaluation project and well.. Gosh.. I have watched it 4 times because I am tired and burned out and it reminds why I do what I do..

A third was showing me pictures of her new school.. and how excited she is to start her third year of teaching.  Thank you that excitement is infectious and a shot in the arm.

Also, this week I have had experiences talking to a first year teacher who will benefit from the Taryn Trotter Book Drive – which unfortunately is named for an 2013 grad who lost her battle with colon cancer.  

I love seeing our students making a difference in our world, be it in Oklahoma or Texas – I love seeing them making a difference in schools and kids lives..

If you are an alum, feel free to drop me a line.. let me know how its going ?  If you are not yet a student, come join us, let’s change the world together.

A file called Dammit

So today is the last day that OUInnovation Hub is open this summer so I was hurriedly finishing up a project  I need for the first week of school using the Laser printer.

So last night I made a series of things I was making for a future event, (No pictures cuz a surprise) and I realized I forgot to make a piece I needed..  Dang it.

So last night I stayed up and I created a file to fix to project and get the missing piece. I also printed a few more “just in case” pieces to solve a problem later.  I called the file   I got up early and headed over the innovation hub to use the laser cutter.

I printed the pieces and then I realized that the pieces were not centered properly and while done, they were not done right!  So I had to print them again!! This time, I called the new file Dammit.

These pieces were were printed on a Acrylic (very expensive but I had bartered for it) so I did not want to waste a inch.. So I asked if I could flip the media over.. and print on the side that still has paper on it.. Normally, the laser burns through paper like masking tape, but it turns out, this paper was thicker. so what did I get?  I got the missing piece, now perfectly centered, on a piece of paper that I would peel off,  so once I pulled the paper off – it was blank..


A student noticed the name of the file as it printed- and I said – “Hey every project has a dammit file – it shows we are learning, right?”

So I had to print it again, use more of my acrylic and finally got the job done right.

So let’s talk about the file called Dammit, the extra trip to print, the extra prints, and the extra media.

There is a need for  file called Dammit – and we need to expect to have moments of redo, moments of failure, and moments of frustration..

When we really work, on things that we care about, don’t we expect to have times to pause, regroup, problem solve, so that we get it right?  Also, sometimes feedback is part of our learning process.

Throughout the process, I talked to the people working in the lab, I asked their advice. They were also shocked that I was left with blank piece.  (We all learned something about this new media that we had not used before).  They gave me solutions, Turn up the laser power, pull back the paper but in the end I had to redo the pieces.

I had extra media – why was I so concerned?  Why I can’t I accept that learning and practice has a price?

I was concerned because I wanted to get it right the first time and I wanted to be an expert right away – but honestly, that is not possible.

Ericssons work on Deliberate practice is often cited when talking about expertise  (read the article here  )   you will often see the statistic that it takes 10 years to be an expert in anything. that is from his work on developing expertise.

However, honestly, to be proficient at something does not take 10 years – but it does take practice, and mistakes and files named Dammit.

So as I have had it mission this summer to learn how to make stuff in the Innovation Hub so I could encourage my students- I have improved, increased my skill, and had a lot of do-overs and projects that I have had to do multiple times. What I learned were nuances of the equipment,  functionality of the software,  human resources available to me, and a much better understanding of scale.  I am also learning to trust my instincts and to let go of the perfect on the first run expectation.   I have looked back at the some of the projects that I made early on.  The 2nd and 3rd iterations are much better, but the earlier ones are not bad and they contain the marks of my learning and the growth.   I am able to communicate my learning, share my projects with others, and give hints to help others be successful. Going through the process has increased my empathy and also made me a co-learner with students.

So Dammit! – in reflection on my summer spent making at the Innovation Hub I learned a lot and I actually put 21st Century Skills to practice- and it only took a few files named Dammit.


PS.. Once I finished the project, and chilled out, I used some extra acrylic to make myself a custom message board.  Sometimes when we release the perfectionism then we can play. 


So I am sitting in the airport about to leave #ade2017 – this is Apple Distinguished Educator Academy.. This was my first time attending as an alumni and got to welcome a new class of amazing individuals as well as interact with others from my class and those before me.

It is hard to encapsulate the experience in one post – and I may have other things to say about the community in the future.. but let me blurt out a few first thoughts..

These are the most creative and impassioned individuals I know..  

What do we share in common – a few things.

  • We are creative and impassioned
  • We all have technology knowledge – each of our expertises are different – but we share that as a baseline.. (ie.. you don’t have to explain what you know with these people or why technology matters).
  • We come from many different backgrounds but are all committed to education and innovation.
  • We are able to develop their additional areas of expertise – so if you passionate about PBL or Challenge based learning – this a space where you can make a name for yourself on things that you care about (i.e.. I feel as though I can be more than an ed tech teacher, they get that those are just tools)

The Apple Distinguished Educator Community is hosted by Apple Inc of course – but have been a fundamentally important community to my professional development, fueling both ideas and renewing my relevancy to my the future teachers that I teach. We talk about all kinds of tools but more important the pedagogy behind them and the fundamental supports they can provide to all learners.

It has provided me with resources when I struggled, but motivationally and technically and a safe space to excel. I know that where I go personally and professionally is influenced by this dynamic network.

Apple Distinguished Educators for me is my Professional Learning Network (ADE=PLN) 

This is what a PLN (Professional Learning Network)  is supposed to be.. a ZPD – a Zone of Proximal Development where we can be more together than we can by ourselves.  Being in a good one, makes me examine all the PLN’s to which I belong and consider the criteria or bar that I can use to judge their effectiveness and value to me.

I found this blog post from 2011 about PLN’s and what they should provide? Is your PLN providing this to you? and if not, what can you do to change that? or is the PLN worth your time?

5 Reasons Teachers Should Create a PLN Now!

Michael Mills uploaded a picture of me from ADE2017 – I think this picture is worth a 1000 words.. my last two favorite pictures have both been taken at ADE events. They leave me feeling energized, full of ideas, new connections, and opportunities – how do you feel when you finish interacting with your PLN?

Thank you to the community for your support, your opportunities, and challenging me to be better than I can by myself.




On my Way to Apple Distinguished Educator Academy

So this is my 3rd ADE Academy and I am so excited to be part of it again.  I am excited to see my friends, get new ideas, and refresh.

ADE – stands for Apple Distinguished Educator – which is a group of educators who are focused on using technology to improve and innovate in education. Yes it is sponsored by Apple Inc.. but it is a collaborative community where we leverage lots of technologies along with our creative ideas to make a difference for students at all levels.

There are few ways that I benefit from a meeting like this..

  1. It keeps me aware of trends in K-12 education so that I can best improve our teacher candidate’s preparation.
  2. It helps to me test out ideas that I am having with peers and work out details.
  3. I get to see what peers are doing and think about how I can match, improve upon or contribute to our collective successes.
  4. I can investigate new technologies or new approaches. For examples, I will be seeking insights on iPad Pros. How are K-12 schools using them and are they worth the added expense for our faculty and/or students.. (It is really a tipping point analysis).
  5. It causes me to stretch my own skills, learn more, and meet people who are different than me. While challenging,  its a great way for me to practice to being open and vulnerable in my own learning.
  6. Finally, it is a place where, even though I am somewhat uncomfortable because I am surrounded by so many exceptional individuals, it is a place for me to mentally relax knowing that I am among like minded mission focused individuals.

I was so happy to put my Out of Office for this week. 

Something that will be new for me is to welcome the new class of 2017. While ADE Class of 2015 is the BEST CLASS EVER! I am energized by the excitement and new ideas of the class of 2017 and can’t wait to make new connections, collaborations, and friendships..

I leave in an hour, let the fun and learning begin…


Yes, I am posting this

So a bunch of people may be shocked that I am saying.. Here Here to this article!

Here is the greater point of this article:

We have a deep infiltration of technology in the United states – many schools have a lot of technology available – but we don’t have deep integration.
Technology is not the field of dreams – if you build it – they many not use it..   We need to be sure to change how we approach technology use in schools.

How to do it:

  • Increase teacher training.
  • Focus on using technology for new tasks not old ones – ie.. not just digital worksheets but instead focus on technology for transformed assessment and personalized learning.
  • Focus on helping teachers develop curation skills. The technology is changing so fast, we need to focus on having teachers feel empowered to evaluate and make effective technology choices on tools they may have never seen before.

As a teacher educator, one of the challenges I am finding is getting access to tools that schools are using to demo and provide experiences to my students.

Ie.. I would love a personalized learning platform to allow us to demo and have students explore adaptive and personalized learning to be better prepared for their teaching careers. I am having a hard time finding a company that understands that use case.

These are areas that we need to grow – both in our teacher education program and in support of practicing teachers.

Teachers with more experience are poised to be leaders in making technology choices. Those with classroom management and procedures under their belts and a clear understanding of curriculum are well poised to transform education with technology – with the right supports!


Reflections from ISTE – Reasons for Hope

So I don’t regularly go to ISTE Conference because it does not “count” for me as a faculty member at an R1 Education School – and honestly, by the time I get to June, I am out of travel money or living in Italy (@OUinArezzo)

However, this year, I was invited to participate in some of the standards work for administrators and it was “driveable” (I took the train.) It was in San Antonio.

ISTE – the International Society for Technology in Education is a professional organization known for releasing standards for students, educators,and administrators (maybe leaders in the future) and these standards are used widely to align curriculum (we use it in our program) and for Accreditation – CAEP (formerly NCATE)

But one criticism of the organization has been that it has not in the past served the needs of higher education and now I see that the new CEO seems to get it and is showing Higher Education some Love!

The New CEO is Richard Culatta – who formerly was at the Office of Educational Technology at the Department of Education.  He left January 20th- but in December and January his team released a a supplement to the National ED Tech Plan for Higher education  and for teacher education  At ISTE I could see those ideas and addressing these groups beginning to take shape. They have in fact hired Joseph South from Office of Ed Tech as a consultant as well.

So there were a few things that I picked up as themes.

  1. Applicability of Tech Standards to larger audience – ISTE is trying to hard to make their standards even more general.   This may been as a bad thing, but honestly they are no longer teacher standards but educator standards  These standards are general enough that I believe that they could be applied to Faculty as well in higher education.  There is talk of maybe an addendum about research and other roles, but I feel pretty good about using them as is.   There was talk that Adminstrator standards may be Leader standards and I love that.. it would be very aspirational for some and could focus on more than the tech but instead the PD and team building more.

2. Equity – I swear i have never gotten as consistent a message about equity being a goal at a conference in a long time. There were several strands and it was a clear focus of the the keynotes and their messages.   Even in the Editorial board meeting the message was loud and clear.  I have heard some people have been critical of this – but honestly, I see a shift and I think we need to give this organization time to make some moves and see what they do.  I believe their efforts are in the right place and I know that that I had many conversations about equity and diversity and I was not even looking for that strand.  My only criticism is that the cost of the conference and lodging is a huge barrier towards equity and i look forward to seeing what programs they may put in place to address that obvious concern. (although they did not block the #NotAtISTE or the #PasstheScopeEdu guys at all)

3).  Higher Education – during the conference, I attended a standing room only meeting for Higher Educators that was attended by ISTE staff.  In addition, I was invited to a focus group for higher educators.  In the past, I felt my involvement in ISTE was  a throwaway but I got a clear message that they are interested in us as a group.

Their leadership is new, and they are starting to address issues that I think they should. Honestly, my ears are perked up.   I was sad, to see so much of the good work that was done by the former administration being deleted or shutdown on January 20th  (ConnectEd, some of CS for all etc..)

If you look at the documents on    you will see that things like Equity, Higher Education and Teacher Prep were a goal of that office, and it seems that ISTE is working towards those previous goals from the Office of Ed Tech.

I say, let’s give them some time and see where they take this organization and what good can they do?  If it does not pan out, there will be plenty of time for critique in the future.

For now, I am going to watch, commit to participate, and hope that this organization and people associated with it can help push technology in education forward.