Category Archives: Uncategorized

Holy Cow I was on News9

I wrote earlier this week about how my research project looking at teachers leaving the state has taken off.  Well after 46 hours, I got a call from CBS News 9 and I was interviewed and my project was featured on the 10 pm news.

Here is a link to the actual broadcast

I only got about 10 more responses after the News Story.. so I feel pretty good it is not going to totally skew my data.

Overall I am happy with the message and feel that I represented Oklahoma Teachers well.

If you know a teacher who has left Oklahoma to teach in another state, please share the survey address of with them, so they could participate.



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.

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.


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.




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.

Riding the Rails to ISTE

So where does Old technology meet new technology – when you take the Amtrak to ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in San Antonio.

Here are the logistics:

  1. Get on train in Norman -(9 am)  be there 15 minutes early or so..
  2. get on train
  3. carry all luggage with you.
  4. 2 hour layover in Fort Worth that turns into 4.
  5. Arrive in San Antonio at midnightish.  (so yeah that is 13 hours)

So pros and cons.. to my European friends, we don’t prioritize Rail in the US.. but this day long trip is only $52 dollars – which is cheaper than the gas it will take me to drive.

The bad thing – the rails are owned by the freight companies so rail work and freight backups means our train must wait, which is why so many delays.

This was a fun experience though..

turns out Vanessa Perez took the train too.. so that was fun to talk and not talk.

The Texas Eagle has an observation car and a dining car..

Each seat is super roomy.. They announced when there was cool to things to see like rivers and other natural sites because of a relationship with the National Parks service.

So great things..

So much leg room..

Seats are big and recline into beds.

the ride is overall comfortable

they have a dining car that is crazy expensive but we are doing it so we can say that we did it.

Cost is awesome.

Each chair has two plugs

Beautiful views

Not so great things:

Rails owned by the freight trains so many delays.

(on the way back I am on a bus part of the way)

No wifi and very sporadic cell service.. if this thing had wifi – I would be 100% sold..  (I really hate driving)

It is quite a juxtaposition. The old trains and going to a conference about modern technology.  But with all things,  if you don’t use them, you lose them, Let me challenge you to try to take train if it works into your schedule (lots of parts of the country do not have service). This is the my second Amtrak this month (earlier – Chicago to Milwaukee) but overall enjoyable and supporting alternative affordable transportation for many people who may need it.

so what did we do with our time? We talked about tech in education, I did an article review for JRTE, we talked about your schedule plan, a great way to build excitement and plan for ISTE 17.


Observation Car
Observation Car- Windows all above.
Dining Car
Dinner Menu – art deco
Some train stations were cool.
Dinner Suprisingly Good but very expensive.
Sunset on the plains.


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.

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.