Learning to Skate

As a kid growing up in Alaska, it was practically a requirement to learn how to ice skate.  The joke is that we are born with skates on our feet and a hockey stick in our hands.  The reality is that we all learn by accident or we take a class.


I remember my first ice skating class. I was probably about five years old.  All of the kids were lined up along the wall, hanging on for dear life, skates strapped to our feet.  The teacher told us that for the entire first class we were going to learn to do the unthinkable.  We were going to learn to fall.  As a kid, this sounded crazy, and many adults I talk too, think that this is nuts.  It was the teaching best method ever.  My teacher knew that if we spent 30 minutes doing the one thing we all feared; falling and failing on purpose, we would lose the fear of falling and failing.  She knew that once we were good at falling, it would seem like a normal part of learning all of the other new skating skills: gliding, turning, crossing our feet in from of each other, etc.  She also knew that we would get good at falling, meaning that we would adjust the way we fell to minimize damage to our little bodies.


I always relay this story to teachers that are reluctant to try using a new technology tool in their classroom for fear of failure.  We push our students to practice new skills everyday, with the distinct possibility of failure, so we have to be willing to take a similar risk in our teaching practice.  Certainly our hope is that we do not fail, but we have to plan that it may happen and know how to turn that into a learning opportunity for ourselves.


Next time you are fearful of implementing a new tool or technique in your classroom, imagine that you just strapped on a pair of skates and you are ready for the possibility that you might fall and rejoice when you complete the double twist jump and land on your feet.

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CUE NV Tech Event 2013 – A Great Opportunity for PD


Computer Using Educators of Nevada is hosting its annual Tech Event this weekend on November 1st and 2nd.  If you are not already registered to attend, I encourage you to review the information below and consider registering on site.
I know your personal and professional schedules are packed with important events, and I hope the learning and networking opportunities available this weekend will fit into your calendar.  You will find sessions about iPads, student clickers, web 2.0 tools, blended learning and more.  The keynote speaker, Leslie Fisher, is nationally know and will provide an informational and entertaining presentation titled “Technology Time Machine” along with offering several other breakout sessions.  I will be presenting several sessions that fit into this year’s STEM theme, Sowing the Seeds of Innovation.
The registration fee ($45) also includes an annual membership to CUE-NV, along with CUE-CA benefits.  Check out those details at the link below.  When combined with these benefits, it’s well worth the registration fee, even if you can only attend a few sessions.  I look forward to seeing you at the Tech Event.
Register for the Tech Event

View the Schedule

Leslie Fisher’s Speaking Schedule

Carole Moreo’s Speaking Schedule

CUE-CA Membership Benefits

CUE-NV Membership Benefits

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Gearing up for my own PD

‘Tis the season for summer PD. I am heading out to San Antonio today to attend ISTE 2013. I have been attending this conference for about the last six years and I always come away with great new ideas to energize me for the new school year in the fall. I will be tweeting out my “ah-ha” moments and cool tidbits over the next few days so that you can get in on the fun and learning too. Be sure to follow me on twitter @nvtechgirl to keep up with all that I have to share live from the conference.

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Putting Content First

Have you ever been out shopping and bought something just because it seemed cool or it was on sale?  You were not sure how you would use the item, but you knew you had to have it.  I have a few shiny tools in my shed that I bought at the big box home improvement store that I was sure would be useful in fixing up some part of my home and I have a few dresses in my closet that I bought on sale just in case I was invited to something that required fancy clothes.  The reality is that most of my home improvement tasks require simple tools and I don’t have time for complex projects, so I hire a contractor.  I don’t attend many fancy events, so the dress I bought a few years ago does not even fit.  If I get invited to a wedding, I will need to buy a different dress.

As teachers, we can get the same feeling about using technology in the classroom.  Technology is shiny and new.  It creates a wow factor for the students and we think that if we can squeeze it into every aspect of our lessons that it will magically transform learning.  The truth is, learning is not transformed by technology.  It is transformed by addressing the standards with quality lesson design.  Learning should involve technology if and when it benefits the outcome of the of the lesson.

I encourage teachers to take note about how and when they use technology in the classroom.  Before you design your next lesson or unit, take a look at the resources available regarding the TPACK model, graphic show below.  Begin your lesson planning with the content and pedagogy in mind.  Then weave in the technology as it enhances the lesson.  You may find that whether you use technology more or less often, the use of the technology will then transform learning for students in the classroom.


Image is property of and shared by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org.

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