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Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma.

We are leaving Baby Boomers behind with Technology

I am visiting my parents for their 49th Wedding Anniversary and my mother made a list of things that she wanted me to do while I was here.  This included:

  • Help her upgrade her phone
  • Help her figure out how to renew her license (done online)
  • Update her Kindle Fire tablets (that have error messages about memory and app updates)

While I have been sitting here, my Aunt (her older sister) called me trying to figure out how she lost messages with the children she texts the most.

This is Day 1 – generally when I visit, my Mom has me go and visit with her Silver Sneakers class when they meet for coffee afterwards and I field questions about their cell phones, tablets, and computers.

I find that when we talk, technology always comes up.. More and more they can’t do things on paper anymore, their health insurance,  their taxes, all have to be done online.   Even 10 years ago, I regularly read how to find books in the library sessions during my regular visits.

Have we really thought about the update to technology and how it frustrates our parents and grandparents?  Are we leaving them behind?  We sat here talking about how she hears about her friends getting taken advantage of buying technology like phones and computers..  Maybe our need to efficiency needs to remember to help our elders adjust?

NYT Article on Silicon Valley and Education

So sometimes you see things shared again and again on your twitter and facebook feeds and think – I need more than 140 characters to share my thoughts on this..

The article by the New York Times on How Silicon Valley Billionairesare changing education  requires a blog post.

Okay first, my background;

I am an Associate Professor and Apple Distinguished Educator – and I teach those studying to be teachers how to use technology in meaningful ways with kids (and also some practicing teachers).  I have been a professor for 11 years and lead a 1 to 1 iPad program.  So obviously I am an Apple fan but just to put myself in a adopter continuum – I will say I own two chromebooks,  don’t have an Apple watch or iPad Pro and my first iPhone was a 6s Plus which I am still using.  (and intend to for least another year) I try hard to be aware as many new technologies as I can and trends in education because it is my job to help my students learn about many technologies and choose which ones they want to use..

A lot of the innovations that they are talking about in the New York Times article are great, and in many cases these startups, while free now move to a freeium model – so while these things might be really useful now, the subscription costs (for which schools are not well set up) will be coming.

I find these also to be pockets of innovation – and don’t get me wrong we need pockets but I feel as though the large scale, company commitments were left off from this article.  I appreciate the CEOs that spend their own money, but I also appreciate the large scale initiatives that are looking at larger changes to education.

For example, Google got a small shout out in their article for Google Suite (formerly known as Google Apps for Education)  They said : “Already, more than half of the primary- and secondary-school students in the United States use Google services like Gmail in school.”  A true statement and this free service has changed the workflow in so many schools. I can see it in my college students and practicing teachers getting their masters – we expect to collaborate in real time in our documents.   Apple and Microsoft have just joined in on this, they are late the game, and don’t have the seamless nature to the collaboration yet.  (ie.. they still have problems with conflicted copies etc..)  However, educators are worried that this will become a freeium in the way that Dropbox SpaceRace gave free storage to University students and faculty and then forced us to pay once it was an important part of our workflow.

So definitely Google is changing productivity in education and is currently free. but what this article missed all together is more of the philanthropic nature of some of silicon valley’s work.  I have had personal experience with ConnectED which is an initiative funded by Apple (100 million)  in an agreement with the Obama White House.

ConnectED identified and gave grants to 114 of the most underserved schools in the US to transform education for some our of neediest students.

I have had several opportunities to interact with the students and teachers at ConnectED and I can tell you that I believe this philanthropy is changing the lives and learning experiences of students, teachers and communities.

We have a Connect Ed school in Oklahoma City – Arthur Elementary (part of OKCPS) . This school was one of the first schools to get going with Connect ED.  Not only are their teachers new iPads new ways with kids, many of whom are English Language Learners but they also have partnered with our College of Education to host practica students and student teachers.   I have offered training to them and several of their teachers are pursuing masters’ degrees with us. Whenever I visit the school, I see many other educators from within OKCPS and other districts visiting to see how they can use technology to reach their students.   Their impact is much greater than being measured.

Arthur Elementary
Miranda Hannon learned from Connect ED students
Miranda Hannon learned from Connect ED students

In February, I was able to participate in a training for Connect ED leaders from about 75 schools that was put on by Apple.  Meeting these educators who were not only preparing students to use technology but also providing for many of the basic physical and emotional needs of students who are often not in a stable environment and may need food, clothing and shelter was inspiring.  These were some of the most dedicated educators I have ever met and I found myself inspired by their projects and stories. As part of this, Apple has been activating the Apple Distinguished Educator community to serve this group.  In all of the examples in the NYT story, I did not see where educators were helping to lead these efforts.  I can’t help but think of the other news story that keeps popping in my feed about the need for large reform and philanthropy about schools to include teachers.  

I know many people will say that Apple has an up side, by giving away 100 million in tech, training and apps they must be setting themselves up to sell more.  But lets look back to 1986 – in 1986 they did the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) which is the still the gold standard for planning technology professional development programs for teachers.   In the end, they added to the collective knowledge but the research but that project really did not change their sales that much.  Much of what they learned has benefitted all tech companies and ed tech researchers.

I know that Microsoft and other companies spend a lot of money on education too.. but to my point,  I think the NY times missed the boat here, individual commitments from CEOs to create new educational products is great, but so are company wide commitments especially those that have a strong educator input.  Where is the talk of that?







Oklahoma Women in Technology

I had the pleasure of being invited to speak to the Oklahoma Women in Technology Meeting last night at University of Oklahoma Health Science Center Bird Library.

They Screened the Code Documentary ( the women’s representation in Tech fields and then we had a discussion afterwards.This film talks about how there is a gender gap in the tech field and how we can make a difference.

I was so impressed by the people who attended the meeting.  There were both men and women and kids in attendance and everyone was passionate about how to encourage more women into the field (both kids and adults).  There were all sides of IT including project managers, programmers,  instructional designers and recruiters. This group has fantastic networking potential.

The group also has some great philanthropy including:

  • Supporting  which offers camps for kids and training for teachers on coding.
  • Organizing technology exploration camps for girls in middle and high school to explore tech careers.
  • Having monthly speakers and networking events to aid in the professional development of their members.
  • This is a new but poised to be powerful group in the OKC and Tulsa metro.  You can become a member too.
  • Visit their page at: and get involved.

As for the program,  you might want to see the movie yourself. It is downloadable at a variety of sites  (but be warned it has about 7 minutes of bullying info that has the Fbomb and the C word in the non educational edition)

Also I encouraged the participants to pick a way (beyond all that their organization is doing to make a difference).  here are my suggestions.

  1. Volunteer in a classroom to support a teacher teaching code and tell the students about your job and life.
  2. Volunteer at a Botball robotics competition
  3. Buy some books about coding and donate them to schools so kids can read and relate to them. (you can see my growing list of )
  4. Engage a child in you life in learning about coding.  You can use a variety of things like  and Apple’s Swift and Swift Playground
  5. Be a beacon for coding..  Wear it proud, let people know that you are a woman in IT so that girls can see that someone like them could be in IT.

One of the questions I got, what is the right thing to use to learn about coding – there are so many, pick one and go with it.. and you could be making a difference in someone’s life and career trajectory.

I was so pleased to be part of this discussion, I joined the organization and am excited about being part of this vibrant community in Oklahoma.

Special Shoutout to @KimT  (Kim Thomas) at OUIT who invited me as a program chair.  She is a force for change both within OU and within the IT Field.

Designers for Learning: Mobile Sprint

So this summer, I am trying to engage in the community more and build my skills as part of my personal summer Professional Development plan.

I have recommended several students consider doing Designers for Learning service projects as a way to improve and practice their instructional design skills.   (  I recommend them from knowing of them from Jennifer Maddrell at AECT but I have never participated in one myself.   So that is about to change.

So I am doing  Mobile Learning Design Sprint. 

  1. It is a good experience doing instructional design towards a larger project.
  2. If I recommend it, I should do it and know more about it.
  3. I should model personal growth and professional development for my students.
  4. Their premise that mobile technologies are access for many people..  in many parts of the world, is true.   I wrote about it with my student Daniela Nunez Ponte in 2013
  5.  They are using a Google Sprint  design process – which reminds me of SCRUM which is something all of our ID students should be learning.

I am interested to see what I learn here, and what I can take to my own classes and design process.  the cost of the course is $20 and I will comment on it as I go.. It starts today but is individually paced,  feel free to join me if you are interested.

Mobile Learning Design Sprint


What is necessary? White House Survey Seriously?

So today someone on my Facebook Feed shared this..

The White House has asked people to vote to reorganize the executive branch.  Seriously… seriously..

First, while our current POTUS may have experience by online polls that ask if we should vote off Omarosa or not, they are not scientific.  They only sample those that are engage in a particular issue and those that have internet access and are comfortable with computers. (So let’s rule out my Mom, who does log into “the facebook” but really is not comfortable with a lot of navigation)  and those without access (like IDK, people in rural appalachia)

Second – I ALREADY VOTED!!!  I voted for a president, and I voted for senators and representatives – to represent me and my needs and it is time for them to do the job they are elected and paid for!!!!!!

Third, I am not qualified to vote on this.. (and sometimes I question our elected officials who don’t read the bills they vote for) but they have staff to educate them on their needs.

When I saw this survey I went immediately to the section for the Department of Education – What do you want to reform: and it lists the 9 Program Offices – Do you know what they all do? I am pretty knowledgeable (more than the average joe) because I am an Education Professor – but seriously – as an everyday citizen could you vote for which ones should be removed or reformed?

So I researched – (Copied and Pasted – from )

The Department has nine program offices.

  1. The Institute of Education Sciences provides national leadership in expanding fundamental knowledge of education and produces rigorous evidence on which to ground education practice and policy. This is accomplished through the work of its four centers: the National Center for Education Research, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, and the National Center for Special Education Research.

  2. The Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students administers, coordinates and recommends policy for developing and supporting high-quality instructional programs designed to serve the education needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students, thereby helping these English language learners and immigrants attain English proficiency and academic success.

  3. The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education provides leadership, technical assistance and financial support to state and local education agencies for the maintenance and improvement of both public and private preschool, elementary and secondary education. OESE administers programs designed to advance the academic opportunities of the nation’s neediest children.

  4. The Office of Innovation and Improvement administers and coordinates programs and activities designed to support and test innovations throughout the K-12 system, including a number of teacher quality programs and reforms that expand parental choice of schools for their children and information about best practices. It is also the Department’s liaison to the non-public education community.

  5. The Office of Postsecondary Education is responsible for formulating federal postsecondary education policy and administering programs that address critical national needs in support of increased access to quality postsecondary education for all students. OPE also promotes the domestic study of foreign languages and international affairs and supports international education research and exchange.

  6. The Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools administers, coordinates and recommends policy for improving programs and activities that promote the health and well-being of students in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. Such programs and activities comprise drug and violence prevention programs, character and civic education, and a variety of other comprehensive efforts to promote students’ physical and mental health.

  7. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services supports programs designed to meet the needs and develop the full potential of children with disabilities, reduce dependency and enhance the productive capabilities of youths and adults with disabilities, and support research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, regardless of age.

  8. The Office of Federal Student Aid administers the systems and products related to providing tens of billions of dollars annually in federal financial aid to millions of students pursuing postsecondary education and training opportunities. The office provides the information and forms needed to apply for loans, grants and work-study funds, as well as information for students, parents, financial aid administrators, lending institutions, auditors and others in the field. It also leads the U.S. government-wide initiative to deliver Web-based services from government agencies and organizations to postsecondary students (see

  9. The Office of Vocational and Adult Education supports a wide range of programs and activities that provide adults with the basic skills necessary to obtain a high school diploma or the equivalent and support them in their pursuit of postsecondary, career or technical education and lifelong learning.


So what goes?

Given that information? Even just a paragraph – what needs dropped or reformed?  Do you want students with special needs to not be given an appropriate education – Get Rid of 7 !  Do you want those people who lose their jobs to not be able to get an education – no problem Get rid of 9!   How about making student loans a free for all – that meaning – an uncontrolled predatory lending situation – (When did you last ask yourself – why can’t student loans be like a title or pay day loans?) 

Now given the current leadership and the proposed education budget presented by DeVos to the Appropriations committee last week – many of these things will go away.

What should do you?  I have no idea how this “survey” will be used by the whitehouse..  but I have two action steps.

Watch Devos testify to House Appropriations Committee last week.


In the end – this survey is unscientific and I ALREADY VOTED.  Please take the time to write your congressperson or senator and tell them how you as a consitutient would like them to represent you.

Wayfinding Academy – Why it has me excited..

So maybe its a midlife crisis, maybe its being an associate professor who at 42 is still paying her student loans, maybe it is the 21st Century masters and what I have been reading… . but I am worried about higher education and especially about some of our highest achieving students who get great grades but don’t really have a plan for what they want to do in life.

I am worried that there are lots of students who don’t know what they want to do and are going into extreme debt to leave college with a degree and still without a direction.

One Sunday morning as I drank my coffee to come to life I saw a story on CBS this morning  about Oregon Public House and one of the charities it was funding Wayfinding Academy.  A not for profit college that focuses on helping students find their way, their goal and mission and life before amazing a ton of credits and a ton of debt.

Here is the original story that Inspired me to get involved:

I am pretty questioning about charities, and I am pretty sure to check them out myself – so in April I went to Wayfinding weekend – I will share more of my experiences in future posts –

But here are some of the questions I am asking:
How can we help more students be successful in college?

How can we help them explore who they are and how they can affect the world without them going bankrupt in student loans?

How can we help students identify their goals so that college catapults them to success rather than lets them wait out 4 years until they start asking those questions?

I have decided to support Wayfinding Academy though my charitable giving and you can get involved to.   We are starting a Crowdsourcing campaign after Memorial Day to provide students with a great start to college.   Join me and make me do something silly for something I believe in.   So you can support me in their mission:

What it means to be an ADE

It is summer 2017 now and I am getting ready to attend Apple Distinguished Educator Academy as an Alum and I am excited to see my friends, colleagues and participate in one of the most vibrant learning communities I have ever had the joy to a part of..

I can a be a little slow on the uptake in new situations, and joining the Apple Distinguished Educators community can be an overwhelming experience.  But I wanted to share my take on the community, what means to be part of a community, and my fear for our community.

My take on ADE

I was not excited about becoming part of the ADE program at first. I was doing a new 1 to 1 iPad Program and I wanted to collaborate with others and I found it frustrating that I had to apply to do that, even going to my first institute, I still did not get it.   It really only became clear to me once I started to form relationships with people in the community, that it was so special. It was the time between institute where I was able to share my knowledge, skills, towards a shared mission and advocacy that the magic was released.

The ADE community is filled with people who are great at what they do, but they don’t know everything.  The group is comprised of teachers, leaders, and professors all of whom are exceptional in some way in their domains, but not always in specific technologies. Think a puzzle with many colorful pieces which creates an inspiring picture.  So when I went to my first institute (academy) I had a serious case of imposter syndrome, expecting the others to figure out I did not know what i was talking about. But I found, as any creative community,  the members of ADE respect each other for what they know, what they are learning, and what they don’t know..

After the institute is when the power of the network happened.  As a person who coordinates a 1 to 1 iPad program,  I had opportunities to bring in speakers from the group via distance technologies to talk to my faculty and students.  I was able to meet up with ADE’s in Europe and learn what they are exploring and share those experiences with my students.  I was able to brainstorm and bounce ideas off others to advance my own projects and help others with theirs.  I was given opportunities to serve schools who educate some of the highest need students in our country via ConnectEd.  All of these experiences have greatly enhanced my personal life and professional life.  It has brought new ideas into my teaching,  relevancy to my classroom, and friendships with other impassioned people.   But can be a lot of work..

What it means to be an ADE

Being part of a community of practice (COP) has been studied by many researchers, my favorite is Lave and Wenger. Wenger defines a COP as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”  BOOM.. there it is, INTERACTING REGULARLY.

Being an Apple Distinguished Educator is about discourse and I know that there are people in the new class, who plan on going to the academy, adding it to their resumes, maybe even start consulting,  and then move on.. but that is not the point of this community.  This community is about discourse, sharing, and working together towards having teachers make meaningful use of technology.    Not all of this is public meetings like academy (in fact, most is not)  – much of this are DM’s and messenger conversations,  talks at conferences, and conversations in the online community.

Now I know that you probably know someone who is an ADE and maybe a consultant from your twitter connections or as a speaker at a conference, and those people are great, but know that they are the exception to the rule.  (and many of those people are amazing, but it is not the goal of the program)  The Majority of Apple Distinguished Educators are amazing teachers, leaders, and advisors, who have not left the classroom, but instead are soaking it all in to be able to reach kids and create meaningful learning through a supportive community.  It is my hope that you come to this experience with a similar approach, and not a consulting or work for Apple goal at the forefront.

My Fear

So that brings to my fear,  this is my first year as an alum to welcome a new class, and I now get the nervousness of being an alum.  There are many people that I met at my Academy in 2015, who I have never had contact with again.  They added it to their resume or added it to their collection of titles and moved on.   It makes me sad because they were selected because they had unique expertise to offer the community.

My challenge to #ADE2017

So I bring to you #ADE2017 the challenge… How will you engage in the community? What unique gifts are you bringing with you and how will you share them?    How will you contribute into the shared mission of this professional network and advance our shared goals and passion?  In the end, aren’t we here for the kids, or our students, or teachers, or to raise the profession and lead us into the next century of innovation.  We can only achieve that by working together.

I look forward your comments on this post, your engagement at academy, and maybe we can get a cup of coffee at #ISTE2017.


Creating a Culture of Innovation

I have been getting Tech and Learning sent to me for a while now, and I peruse it from time to time. In a recent issue – 37.9 available here:

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what it takes to create a culture of innovation and so this article attracted my attention.  I think the first thing that I noted was that the article was not saying a culture of technology – but instead innovation.  I feel as though we can often focus on technology as the innovation but instead we need to be focused more on the mindset.

As I read through the article, there were several things I noted about the examples they shared:

  • They allowed the teachers as learners to pick their passion projects and gave them time to pursue them.   This is an example of allow the culture to build with a carrot versus a stick.. Ie..  teachers were rewarded with time, resources, and professional respect to pursue the ideas that they were most passionate about.
  • Teachers were encouraged to form small groups around big ideas that interested them. They supported each other and built community. This kind of community supports a culture of innovation.
  • The leaders were facilitators and did not use top down methods to get change but instead trusted their professional staff and supported them.
  • Leaders engaged professional networks – there is an example of connecting teachers interested in robotics with other teachers using similar tools.  Again, leader as facilitator and connector not top down management.
  • It all came down the fundamental ideas of Diffusion of Innovations.   One of the tactics discussed was to go to the laggards – the latest of adopters and get them on the side of innovation, and seeing them change help move the process along. I might disagree with this a bit,  in that most diffusion research shows early or late adopters can produce this effect more consistently. However, I believe looking at the influential teachers, no matter their acceptance level of change, is worthwhile effort. Every friend you make, is someone who can drive the innovation process forward.

In the end the article stressed that innovation does not happen by itself and it requires leaders who are working towards creating a culture by trusting their team members and being open their ideas.  As servant leaders, they take roles to assist their team in pursuing their interests towards that goal, and the structure they provide creates a safe space for innovation to grow.


Remote Work – A Wife’s Perspective or He’s Always Here!

So I had a chance to visit the Super Secret iThemes HQ this week and I remembered that I owed  Cory Miller a Blog Response to his earlier post on working from home.    You can read his original post here

So when Cory’s post came across my twitter feed, I read it and laughed.. He spent all this time going over the pros and cons for working at home for an individual but he left off some of the challenges one might think about for family.

So in background I am a honeymooner who married in August 16 and lived with my husband for a year and a half before we married.   Still to this day, we live in the house I bought as a single woman and lived in by myself for 7 years.  

When we started living together,  he worked in OKC and it was  dream.  He was on a modified schedule, he left at 6:20 to get to work by 7..(because if he left at 7 he would get to work at 9)  He would get up, get ready, make coffee, and wake me up on the way out the door. Then I would luxuriate on the couch drinking the coffee he had made for himself and watch Gayle, Nora, and Charlie to get ready and go to work at 8.

Oh those were the days..

I love my husband dearly, but now HE is ALWAYS home!!

I actually think he talks to more people during the day now working remotely, he is constantly on the phone and Hipchat etc..

But when I get home, he does want to talk to me!!!  And sometimes after being a professor, I want to be home alone too..

I miss those days when I could sit on the couch, and do nothing or watch secret shaming tv during the day (you know like Fuller House or Hoarders on Netflix)

Sometimes when he has a local programmer meeting or is out of town, I feel as though I am running like Kate in The Cutting Edge to get to the ice first – and enjoy being in the house by myself.

However, I love my husband, I love that his current employer appreciates him and his love of learning.  I love that he is excited to talk about work and feels part of an organization.

That all said, it took some negotiation..  I asked him to quit planning his programming club meetings for days he knew I was already gone.  I have sent him out of the house once or twice to give me some home time.   He likes getting out and mixing with people, and I like the alone time.  For someone who works remotely, joining user groups and Meetups can be important social interaction and time out of the office/house.

Our routine has changed,  he does not have to get up before 6 to go to work, and I often make the coffee or if we are organized enough we let Mr. Coffee make the pot we set up the night before and he now makes us breakfast..(and making breakfast is his special gift).

Moving forward, we have started looking for a different house that allows him to work from home better.   He can have a work office (and we can claim it on taxes) but still have a “fun” office  at home like I do for my things.  The ideal situation would be a mother in law suite or an upstairs bedroom with separation from the hustle of the main living space.

I have had to adjust to his work schedule too.. I lack work life balance in my job,  and now that he works at home it is more important to have work life balance for him, and that affects me. Working from home, he has to work at it and creating clear boundaries.  We try to have dinner together and set a separation time for work.  Currently, this is my challenge, more than his. I have to learn to take the lead from him if he is successfully navigating work from home.  It is one way that I can support his work success.

In the end, like all good relationships, it takes negotiating.  He is so much happier in this job, and is a pretty good remote worker, as a couple we need to commit to this lifestyle and as he supports me in my professional endeavors, I need to support him too.