Category Archives: McREL

You might know more about your future than you think

railroadWe’ve all seen those famous quotes used in ed tech presentations (I use a few myself) that highlight lack of vision in previous predictions. A few examples:

  • “By 2000, machines will be producing so much that everyone in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy.” – Time, 1966
  • “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” – Ken Olsen, President Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Yet, when I read books such as Where Good Ideas Come From or Blink or Decisive, I become more convinced that, given the right protocols and tools, we are actually better at anticipating our future than we might think. If we have a system for paying attention to current trends and for adding to our view of the world beyond our own narrow realities, we stand a chance of not only accurately predicting future trends, but preparing ourselves for success within that future world.

I will be presenting on how McREL used the scenario planning process to change how we thought about our work at this year’s TIE Leadership Academy on June 17 in Copper Mountain, CO. If you would like to learn more about the process and start your own planning, I hope you will join me!

In the meantime, here’s a quick video where I describe the basic tenets of the process.


Tired of the gloom and doom of education news?

We are!

Please join Dr. Ceri Dean and me tomorrow at 1:00 pm CDT as we look at the GOOD things that are happening in classrooms around the world every day: How Mobile Devices, Data Streams, & a Return to Authentic Learning Will Change Education.

We hope to see you there!

#mcrel #ascd13

Hope to see you in Boston!

book coversNext week, I will be attending the Learning Forward conference in Boston and will be presenting on Monday (2:30-4:30) on “How Instructional Strategies Inform the Use of Technology.” This session will highlight McREL’s newest research that informs Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, 2nd editionand will show how an instructional framework helps educators to make intentional use of technologies under the umbrella of research-based strategies.

Many activities during the 2 hours will be hands-on, so participants are encouraged to bring a laptop, netbook, iPad, or other mobile device.

Hope to see you there!

Post on the Evolving Role of Museums in Education

Met NYCYesterday, I posted about Urban Advantage Denver, a cooperation between metro area schools and our local museums to foster interest in science for middle school students.

I also posted on McREL’s blog, expanding on how museums could play a dynamic role in the growing interest in informal education. Is the fact that museums are focusing on their future role in education a signal that we are moving towards the fourth scenario described in The Future of Schooling: Educating America in 2020? Head over to the McREL blog and let me know your thoughts.

(Photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, 2008)

Small Bodies, Big Concepts

If you teach science to students in grades 5-8, McREL invites you to apply for a 2-week professional development opportunity this summer where you learn more about the amazing images from NASA and how to incorporate them into your curriculum.


Close-up of comet Wild 2's nucleus. Credit: NASA/JPL

The dates are July 6 – 15, 2011 and participants will receive at $1200 stipend for participating in the pilot.

The deadline has been extended to May 16. For more information, click here.

ASCD 2011

I’ve only attended one other ASCD annual conference back in 2007(?) in New Orleans. Being accustomed to ISTE’s and (Colorado) TIE’s ubiquitous wireless, informal gathering stations, and incorporation of technology, I found myself disappointed with that experience several years ago. The New Orleans conference used nothing but paper, there was virtually no Internet, and it just seemed….old. As we left, a sign encouraged us to attend next year where the focus would be on “technology.” I have to admit…I chuckled.

Fast forward to 2011 – WOW! What a difference a few years makes. We were able to create virtual schedules of sessions we wanted to attend and exhibitors we wanted to see, several of the sessions (including my iPad session) provided free wireless for participants, our handouts were uploaded electronically, and there were MANY sessions that focused on the use of modern tools and educational ideas. What was really telling was the constant flow of tweets using the hashtag #ascd11. Not only does it seem that ASCD has undergone lots of change internally, externally they are attracting the very audience who is focused on transforming our schools into engaging and dynamic learning environments.

I was also extremely impressed with the involvement of upper management in the conference. The Chief Program Development Officer passing out umbrella bags as participants enter the conference center? That speaks volumes….all good.

Kuddos, ASCD. I can’t wait to attend the next one.

Join the ISTE SIGilt book study

As you may or may not know, I’ve recently taken on the role of PD chair for the ISTE SIGilt. One of my roles is to organize a series of 1-hour webinars and a couple of book studies over the course of the coming school year.


Using Tech with CITW

I thought I’d start with a book that I know pretty well: Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. While my colleagues and I wrote this four years ago, I still find it amazing that, while the technologies have evolved, that the strategies provide such a strong structure for utilizing technology in the classroom.

Say, for example, a teacher finds a good frog dissection website. At first, his thoughts might be, “This will be a great website for my students to use when we’re studying amphibians.”

When one starts to think about technology in terms of the strategies from Classroom Instruction that Works, the language changes to something like, “This will be a great website for my students to use when we’re studying amphibians and I what them to use nonlinguistic representation to compare and contrast amphibians to fish and reptiles.” The technology is no longer a part of the “noun” of the content, but becomes rather the “verb” of what skills and strategies we want students using.

To that end, I invite you to join our book study. We will go through the research behind each strategy and look at a variety of tools and resources that help you integrate those strategies. We start September 1st and wrap up around Thanksgiving, ending with a webinar hosted by the authors. Hope to see you online!