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On Thursday, October 22, 2014 I had the honor and privilege to give my first Ignite presentation. If you are not familiar with an Ignite presentation, it’s a 5 minute mini-keynote that includes 20 slides that automatically transition every 15 second, whether you are ready or not. It’s an exciting, nerve racking, fun experience and I thank Matt Mingle, the President elect for NJASCD, for offering me the opportunity to participate.

Nine presenters gave Ignite sessions and each was outstanding. The theme was Innovate and the presenter could take the theme in whatever direction he / she wanted for the five minutes presentation. Here are my notes of what I prepared to present. I hope what I actually presented, because I went without notes, was close to the message I tried to convey.



Good afternoon.

I’m Scott Rocco – the proud Superintendent of Spotswood Public Schools and a proud Public School Educator.

Today like others I’m talking about the word Innovate.

And how this word…

This concept…

This practice…

MUST be part of our schools.



For far too long the mere thought of the word innovate in conjunction with education was thought to be completely illogical.

Forget mentioning the word, the concept, the practice.

Why would we innovate when we knew… really… we knew how to educate students.



Innovation in education involved blackboards and chalk. If you were really daring you included an overhead projector or a filmstrip.

Innovation in education was limited to a moment… a dead end opportunity.



As a student my limited opportunity was when a teacher dared to innovate with a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer and the one time I completed my work early. I had a chance to go to a room and play with one of  four computers because I was able to complete some work before other students.

That brief moment sticks with me because it was lost opportunity… a lost chance to motivate and engage a student. A lost chance to truly innovate in a time when innovation was not a reality.



Then something happened in education at some moment in time by some educator who dared..

Dared to be innovative… I don’t know what the Tipping Point was, what pushed us over the hill




We are here now… we are in the beginning stages of an era of educational innovation that is limited only by our ability to imagine and try.



When something new comes around the first thing people ask is:

Who is responsible for this innovation in education?

The responsibility to innovate is ours as educators. It’s the responsibility of everyone of us in this room today to be innovators in education.



We need educators who will question why we do what we do and how we can do it better.

We need educators who can innovate learning and teaching and education.

Every educator who wants to be an innovator can do so but those who choose can also be innovation leaders.



As teachers, supervisors, principals, and superintendents it’s our job to imagine and try… to Innovate

We need innovation leaders who can see 4 walls, desktop computers in rows and a whiteboard and transform it into a global learning opportunity.

But innovation leaders in our classrooms, our schools and our districts must also help others to imagine and try to innovate



As innovation leaders we need to help:

Nurture and foster and support and encourage the learning environment that makes it possible for others to image, try, and innovate.

We must create a trusting environment where innovation can be tried and fail but tried again.



But what is innovation in education?

Is it all technology?

Is it all about devices and wifi?

Is it all about doing things differently because someone asks you?



No… innovation is a mindset.

It’s about thinking, and trying things that are different from the way you did before.

It’s about exploring options and engaging students at new levels.

It’s about encouraging connections and collaboration where they never existed before.



In my office since I was a Middle School VP sits the poster on the right from Apple that says Think Different.

It helped spark a generation of computer users.

What if we as educators adopted the same concept and developed the motto

Think Innovatively and had a similar poster.



When we talk educational technology many immediately think innovation.

So we can easily make the Think Innovatively connection.

By we must remember that truly innovative thinking in educational technology means what we do with educational technology is more important than what technology we use.



But let’s go beyond educational technology

And let’s truly Think Innovatively about education and what we can do in an innovative educational world.

Let’s think beyond the obvious choices.



When we Think Innovatively in instructional practices we need to be willing to go beyond our comfort zones.

We need to look at what is possible outside of what has always been done.

To Think Innovatively in our instructional practices means we aren’t teaching to the top, middle, or bottom of the students we serve… We are teaching to each of our students.



When we Think Innovatively in Educational Leadership we need to be the role models.

We need to talk the talk and walk the walk.

To Thinking Innovatively as an Educational Leader means being innovative and supporting innovation.

Even when you’re not sure what it is or where it’s going just be excited and happy people are trying.



To Thinking Innovatively when it comes to our students means understanding how our students learn, when they learn, and what they really need to learn.

The students we teach today, more than any other time in the past, are ready to innovate.

Who are we to hold them back?



Steve Jobs who spent a lifetime Thinking Innovatively and changed the world.

Think about what a small group, a dozen, a hundred, everyone in this room, or a thousand educators could do if we all agreed to…




3 Next Steps to Nurture EdTech Growth

Photo by Nick Harris as posted on and reprinted with permission through Creative Commons on Photo has not been modified. Creative Commons Legal Code: Photo:

Photo by Nick Harris posted on and reprinted with permission through Creative Commons on Photo has not been modified.

Over the last few years the seeds of educational technology and social media in education (referred to as EdTech from this point forward) have been planted. Educators have nurtured the early stages of its growth (exploring and modeling), and the roots have begun to dig in (integration). But now what?

Even with the vast majority of people now agreeing that education needs to integrate technology and social media into schools, learning, and teaching there is still this unclear path of what is next. It’s as if the EdTech planted seed was of an unknown origin, and we now wait to see what blooms. We can’t wait. This isn’t an experiment in growing something unknown, and then deciding if we should keep it or throw it away. We don’t have the time or ability to wait and see what grows. Instead we need to nurture what has been planted and help it grow into an educationally self-sustaining change in the way we see, appreciate and do education. Here are 3 steps to nurture that EdTech growth so desperately needed:

  1. Accept and Create Asyncronous Learning Opportunities

One of the issues that must still be addressed as EdTech moves forward is identifying valid and effective learning opportunities that integrate technology. These integrated learning opportunities change the learning dynamic for students, teachers, and organizations. We need to accept the change and work to create the opportunities that show the value of the change.  This change is called asynchronous learning and it is a reality. Once this is accepted, asynchronous learning actually becomes an essential part of the EdTech integration movement. Think about it. Anytime, anywhere learning for everyone! It’s a staggering and exciting thought. But it needs to be accepted and the opportunities created for EdTech to be fully integrated into education.

  1. Continue to Explore, Model and Integrate New EdTech

If you have been at the forefront of EdTech advocacy, why stop? Things are changing minute by minute in the EdTech world. We can’t be up on every single thing that is changing but we can still be part of the change. As much as we learned in the beginning to be an EdTech advocate, we must continue to learn so we can continue the advocacy. But there is a second reason we must continue to explore and learn. So we also maintain relevance in the EdTech world. What was advocated for just a few years ago may no longer be relevant or of educational use so we must continue to explore. Once our exploration identifies new EdTech we need to model its use so others can see what is being used and how it can be used in our profession. Finally, we need to integrate new EdTech daily into our personal and professional lives. There needs to be a concerted effort to continually explore, model, and integrate new EdTech in education by everyone who believes in this movement. Otherwise this change movement will stagnate and eventually die.

  1. Stop Trying to Take the Human Out of EdTech

Yes, new technology is being created and implemented daily, and yes this technology is creating asynchronous learning environments for education. But who do you think is creating the learning and the new tech? People. Not just people, but educators. The integration of EdTech should not be approached with the intent of reducing or eliminating people from education. Instead EdTech should be implemented to connect people who would never have the opportunity to connect without technology. It should create learning environments where people learn from experts in the field, in the classroom, and in the laboratories. EdTech should focus on how the technology can enhance what educators have done for centuries. Technology is not human, it’s a tool to help humans, so let’s stop trying to take the human out and find ways to enhance the human experience with EdTech.

So much progress has been made in the development and integration of EdTech in education thanks to the hard work of many educators. However difficult those early years were with planting the seeds of EdTech the next few will be equally, if not more, challenging as what we planted sprouts from the ground and grows. It won’t grow on its own. It needs those that were the early advocates to continue their advocacy, and it needs new advocates who will continue to push EdTech to a new level. The three steps above will help nurture EdTech growth if you are part of the process. Be a part of the process and let’s see what grows. I have a feeling it may be something beyond our wildest hopes!

Note: I originally posted this blog on but it’s still relevant and want to open up the ideas to further discussion.

3 Ways to Turbo Charge Your School’s Twitter Account


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By Jonathan Valesquez & printed with permission from Unsplash

printed with permission from Unsplash

If your school and/or district does not have a Twitter account, you are missing out on a vital method of communication with your students, staff, and stakeholders. In this era of instantaneous information Twitter serves as an excellent avenue for quickly communicating key pieces of information to your school and/or district community.  Whether you are just starting or have already established a Twitter account here are three ways to turbo charge it to increase connections and validate its place in your array of communication methods:

  1. Have a great description and picture for your Twitter handle. Notify people about who or what your Twitter account is all about. Is it for your school? Or is it a district account? People want to know where the information is coming from. In addition to a description of who the account is connected to, be sure to put some type of picture associated with the connection. People will connect with your brand faster than your description so be sure to include it as an image. Here are two examples (click on each to make it bigger):




  1. Connect your Twitter feed to your website. For me there are three reasons for connecting your Twitter feed to the district website:
    1. It makes your website relevant because the Twitter feed is updated in real time with current information. In this era of instantaneous information a school or district website can become irrelevant or extinct because it lacks relevant and updated information. I wrote about this a while back on in the post Back from the Brink of Extinction.
    2. It connects a whole new audience to your Twitter feed. Believe it or not, there are people who do not have Twitter accounts. Twitter, in its company facts, states that as of June 30, 2015 there were 315 million monthly users worldwide. With a world population of about 7.2 billion, that’s small portion of the total world population. Those who don’t have a Twitter account will simply go to the website to see what was posted.
    3. Some people have such an active Twitter feed that it is too busy to find the information you are posting. Instead of sorting or having to scroll through their feed, they just go to the website to see what you have posted lately. This is a convenience for people who have complex and busy Twitter feeds and lives.

Here is the Twitter feed on my district’s website:


  1. Retweet information from your staff and co-curricular groups. As a school or district Twitter account, you have a responsibility to not only generate your own information but retweet information from staff, co-curricular groups and other school organizations. This expands both their and your followers, and provides a well-rounded view of the activities and events happening in the school or district.

Turbo charge your Twitter account with the above three ideas. You will quickly see an increase in followers and retweets, and build a relevant and engaging Twitter account for your school and / or district.

Have another idea, leave a comment below.

The 4 Things Your School’s Social Media Feed Needs to Include


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Printed with permission of

Printed with permission of

The use of social media in schools and school districts has gone from a novel way of spreading news and information to an essential method of communicating with school stakeholders. However, those who are in charge of the school’s social media feed don’t always include the most important items.  As a result, they don’t draw the followers and interest that should be present in the social media feed. Here are four things your school’s social media feed need to assure you are maximizing connections with your stakeholders:

  1. Diversification of posted information: Lots of people want to know about the next game or the upcoming days off from school. But by just posting just one type of event you are limiting your audience and telling them that other things happening in the school or district are not as important. Post information on a Family Science Night, fundraisers happening in the schools, art festivals, concerts, and student successes. One of my most popular posts this year was the Top 10 Graduates from the Class of 2015. Based on class rank, we developed a press release posted on social media that provided each student’s picture, GPA, where they are going to college, and a favorite memory from high school, along with other information. We promoted their four years of hard work and our stakeholders appreciated reading about our students’ success.
  2. Visuals: Information is important and sometimes you need to just put it out there in written form. But think about it, visuals in both picture and video form make a bigger impression and are more engaging. This past winter I experimented with pushing out school closing notification due to snow through a picture with the information on it. It received a lot of favorites and retweets. But I also know this is partly because I closed school, which is a huge event for students! You can also put up brief videos of events, the school musical (be careful of copyright issues for music and script), and other live event activities. People like to see as much as they like to read information.


  1. School, district and/or community pride on display: Nothing connects quicker with stakeholders than school or district pride. Our students, staff, parents, and community should be, and often are, proud of our schools. Those moments of pride need to be captured and sent out through social media to the community. We have promoted community service, school spirit days, pep rallies, and other events that show the great pride our school community has throughout the school year. One example was when we joined the townships social media effort to get them a grant to improve one of our local parks. Another example was after the senior prank, which was very respectfully done by our seniors, two seniors took it upon themselves the night before graduation to put a post-it with a positive message on every single, yes every one, locker in the high school. This showed great pride in our school and was well received by all. I took a picture and posted it for our community to see. As the superintendent I was proud of these students and their “last act” as seniors, and the school wanted the community to know about this random act of awesomeness.


  1. Timely information: When you agree to start a social media feed for a school or a district you look for information and material to post in the beginning. Once you establish the feed as something that is reliable and connected to stakeholders you have more than enough information, and sometimes too much, information that needs to be posted. However, the information is only good if it is posed in a timely fashion. Reporting on an event that happened a month ago will not create the buzz and interest you want in your social media feed. And for bigger activities and events timeliness means doing promotional and lead-up social media posts to create interest. Timing is important for most everything in life but vital to the validity of social media feeds in education.

By diversifying your social media posts, using visuals instead of all written text, displaying school and district pride, and providing timely information you will validate your social media feeds and build a following that finds value in the information you provide.

Are there other essentials not listed here? Post them in the comments section.

3 Things #EdAdmin Should Do with Social Media to Start the New School Year


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Schools all over the country are opening their doors to another school year. Prior to opening day, a lot of work goes into getting the schools, curricula, and staff ready. Our school social media resources should be no different. If you haven’t given your social media feeds a thought since the close of last school year, then you are not completely ready for the new school year.

Here are three things administrators should do with social media to start the new school year:

  1. Review your social media feeds. It’s important to check on who is following, re-tweeting, re-posting, sharing, and if there are comments from the summer. I periodically review who is following the district twitter account to assure there are no spammers. I’ll report and block spammers and any spam tweets.
  2. Identify new images and pictures to use in the coming year. Images and pictures need to be part of a school’s social media feed. They help tell the full story of the great things happening in our schools. However, we often go back to our “stock” images and photos because they are easily accessible. In the week, leading up to the first day of school, I will take photos of the schools (inside and out), practices, events, and new teacher orientation. Some of the better pictures (I’m not a great… ok, I’m average at best… photographer) will make it up to our website. Others will be used on our Twitter and Facebook pages. People love to see what’s happening in our schools more than reading about what is happening.
  3. Create a buzz for the new school year. This is an exciting time of year. I’m starting my 22nd year in education so that means that I’ve been a student or educator for 38 years. Even 38 years later I still get excited, and a little nervous, for the first day of school. As administrators we need to think about our students, staff, and parents. They are excited and, probably a little, nervous too. For some of them it will be their first day in school, or in your school. For others they are starting their last year in your school, or in their educational careers. Get them ready. Create a buzz. I’ve tweeted throughout the summer but started discussing the next school year with this tweet:


And started the countdown to create more buzz with this tweet:


As school and district administrators we need to get our schools, curricula, supplies, and staff ready for a new school year. But modern day summer preparations also involve preparing our social media feeds to start the year too. Prepare them now so they are ready to open the year and so your stakeholders will know where to get great information and images about what’s happening in your schools.

How are you preparing your social media feeds for the next school year? Leave a comment to help others prepare.

Find the Time


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Photo reprinted with permission by Unsplash. Photo by Sonja Langford

Photo reprinted with permission by Unsplash. Photo by Sonja Langford

Recently, I published a blog post titled The Secret to EdTech No One Talks About, and it must have struck a chord because the post came up as a comment in a recent #satchat conversation. Specifically, an educator during #satchat said that she was not “sure there’s time for Pr/Admin to ”Become completely informed about & comfortable w/ ed tech being used”.” Basically, she was questioning if principals and administrators have the time to learn about and become familiar with educational technology. This is a valid comment and I thank the educator who posted it for bringing the issue up because this tweet made me think about what always ends up being a concern in learning: TIME.

To do anything in life we need time. Time to learn. Time to do something.  Time to reflect. Time to improve. And to do anything well we need MORE time. We know this because we battle time in everything we do. And when we want to make a change, time is always a concern. So let’s take the time argument out of our list of excuses to do new things in education.

Let’s agree to find the time necessary to do what is needed in education.

Let’s agree to find the time to be a better educator.

Let’s agree to find the time to learn something new.

Let’s agree that time, although not our friend, will never be our excuse as a professional educator.

By now you’re thinking, “This guy doesn’t know how busy I am” or “He must have a lot of time on his hands”. No I don’t (to both statements), but I do know what it’s like to use time as an excuse and to have that excuse used on me.

So here’s 3 things we can all do to find the time needed to be better professional educators:

  1. Collaborate with other educators. Everything we do in education does not need to be independently done or “original work”. There’s value and time saved when we agree to collaborate. The next time you need to accomplish something, look for collaborators to help you.
  2. Ask for Help. There’s something inherently wrong with asking for help in education. I don’t know why, but people often equate it with weakness. This is so far from the truth. Asking for help is an effective and efficient way of achieving a goal and saving time.
  3. Find time suckers and stop them. We all do things that waste time. Sometimes it is procrastination and other times it is avoidance behavior. Identify what you do to waste time and commit to stop doing it to save your valuable time.

In education time is our scarcest commodity. We can never make more of it and we never have enough of it. So we have to maximize what time we have available to us. But we need to commit to our profession to not use it as an excuse for not doing what we need to do to be better educators.

What do you do to maximize your time? Leave a suggestion in the comments section.

There’s No Substitute for These 3 Things in Education


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Image permission by Unsplash – photographer Jeff Sheldon

Everyone is looking for something different, an alternative to do things better, faster, more efficiently. We are in a period of time where our time is so valuable that we must maximize it by finding ways and things that help us to free up more of it. We can buy cleaning solutions that work faster and make things cleaner than the old stuff we used for years. We can use over the counter medicine that cures what ails you days faster than the “other stuff”. Or at least that’s what the commercials and advertisements tell us.

Yes, our time is very important. Especially when it seems as if things are happening faster and are more involved than they were just a few years ago. However, in the world of education here are three things with no substitute or alternatives. They just need to be done the way they have always been done.

  1. Committing to doing the hard work in education – There are tasks, responsibilities, routines, expectations, assignments and challenges in education. Whether you are a teacher, principal, supervisor, superintendent, or anyone in between, these all exist. Education is not an easy profession and we need to commit to doing the hard work required to make it and those in it the best possible. However, we all look for ways to become more efficient and effective in our educational roles, but let’s be honest; there is no substitute for committing to doing the hard work in education. Accept the challenge of working hard in our profession to better yourself, those around you, and those who come to us every day expecting to learn.
  2. Dedication to our profession – These may sound the same but they are not. There’s more to our profession than what happens in the schools or board office. Things happen all year long from professional development opportunities to advocacy for students, subjects, or our profession. Dedicating ourselves to our profession means that we understand our role as professionals goes beyond our title and job description. Dedication to our profession means we are dedicated to our own continued learning, dedicated to making the learning environment the best for our students, dedicated to helping others in our profession, and dedicated to bringing respect to the profession we have devoted our time, effort, and careers.
  3. Taking responsibility, especially when we are wrong – I remember as a brand new teacher how afraid I was to make a mistake or be wrong. This fear made me take a very cautious approach to my teaching and my responsibilities as a coach and advisor. However, we all make mistakes, provide suggestions that don’t work out, and have a bad day. One of the most important parts of being an educator is admitting we are not experts in everything, perfect at every single aspect of our profession, or able to flawlessly accomplish every idea we develop or is presented to us. This doesn’t mean we don’t try. It means we take responsibility and admit when we can’t do something or when we get it wrong. Taking responsibility as an educator is essential to making our profession better.

Where are you as an educator in respect to these three things that there is no substitute for in our profession? Are there others?

The Secret to EdTech No One Talks About


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Photo by Ariana Escobar and published under Creative Commons Zero through Unsplash

Photo by Ariana Escobar and published under Creative Commons Zero through Unsplash

We are in a time of exponential technology growth and change in education. Much of this change can be attributed to a growing number of devices, software and apps available for teachers and students. As a result, some form of educational technology is being implemented in many classrooms across the world or being infused into the overall learning process for students. This can be considered a positive and important change in the world of education because for far too long little changed in our classrooms and schools.

However, we must acknowledge the one secret to educational technology use, regardless of the device, software or app being used by educators and /or students. That secret is:

What WE do with educational technology matters more than the actual technology being used.

I’ve seen classrooms where the educational technology available to educators and students spills out across the classroom and I’ve seen classrooms with a singular device or tech resource. Most would consider the first classroom with lots of technology the best for learning but the answer is neither classroom is the best for learning if educators do not know how to effectively implement educational technology use.

In order for us to effectively implement educational technology we need to:

  1. Determine the learning outcome we want for students. This has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with good teaching. Using educational technology in a lesson is not a teaching outcome and should not be part of this first step in planning and teaching.
  2. Identify how educational technology can engage, enhance, and improve the teaching and learning experience. Educational technology to be used in the lesson should be based on the established learning outcome. If an educator is limited to a specific device, website, or app, then get creative with its use in your classroom. However, do not just use it to say you are using educational technology. Use it because the lesson, the learning, your teaching, and ultimately your students are better off because you used it in your teaching.
  3. Become completely informed about and comfortable with the educational technology being used. Here’s where your own learning comes into play. When implementing education technology into your instruction you need to be comfortable with it. No one gives a second thought on how to use a pencil, whiteboard marker, ruler, or a textbook in the classroom. That level of comfort with those educational “tools” should be the same level of comfort for educational technology tools. You have to take it upon yourself to learn about the educational technology in your classroom because surface knowledge will only produce surface teaching and surface learning. Do not leave your professional development up to others. Take an active role in it beyond what is provided to you by your school or district.

The benefits of using educational technology in our classrooms are limitless for our students and us, as educators. However, the amount of technology available will not make our classrooms better. We can only do that if commit to effectively implementing any available educational technology into our classrooms after the student learning outcomes are determined. Educational technology should enhance the lesson and the learning because what WE do with educational technology matters more than the actual technology being used.

This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book Digital Perspectives

To the Class of 2015


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As a Superintendent of Schools I give a graduation speech to the seniors each year. This is the third year in a row that I post my graduation speech in hopes that others, who have to give speeches, will do the same on their sites. My thought, three years ago, was for the posting of graduation speeches to be a way for our educational community to share our messages and ideas we want our graduates to leave our schools thinking about as they head into their future.

Welcome to Graduation.

Each year graduates listen to the advice of the speakers at their graduation ceremonies who come up to impart some recommendations for life after high school. Sometimes that advice is very intricate based on the speaker’s experience and the fact that life can be rather complex and involved.

However, over the years, I have found that the best advice is often the simplest.

In 1989 Robert Fulghum published All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The book made me think about how complex advice can be and what you really needed to know as high school graduates. So I took a page out of this book and I asked our Spotswood and Milltown Kindergartners what advice they have for you upon graduation. Our Kindergartners came up with over 40 suggestions.

And here’s 10 pieces of advice that they told me they want you to know, with a little interpretation from me:

Do what you want to do, don’t copy your friends

It’s important to be happy with what you do in life. What makes your friends happy may not make you happy. So go through life doing what you want to do, not what your friends do.

Follow directions, unless it is a bad thing to do

Kindergartners understand the value in doing what’s right and understanding when it’s not. Life will give you good and bad directions. The hard part is figuring out which ones are good and which are bad.

You should learn how to be a parent

Yes, this is something in your future but it came up multiple times on the classroom lists. To Kindergartners their parents are very important. As seniors in high school your parents should still be very important. And they should always be important to you. But Kindergartners want you to know that it’s important for YOU to learn to be a parent.

Being a parent will be one of the most, if not most, important responsibilities in your life. There is no manual for it and so you will need to do what you feel is best for your child or children as they grow up. But most importantly, take this responsibility serious.

Worry about yourself

This advice has two meanings to me. The first reminds me of a quote by Olympic Figure Skating Champion Peggy Fleming, “Compete against yourself, not others, for that is who is truly your best competition.” We spend so much time worrying about things out of our control that we lose focus on what really matters… which is YOU.

My second interpretation of this statement is that they want you to take care of yourself as you leave high school. Your physical, emotional, and financial health are important as you become adults. Don’t diminish the importance of any of these three areas.

Use nice words

It’s easy to forget that what we say means something. Our words can hurt, offend, help, console, or provide motivation. We should always be aware of the words we choose to use and as much as possible we should use nice words.

Keep your great friends and make new friends

Kindergartners are wise beyond their years. Great friends are so important. It will be hard to keep all your friends as your life changes, but your great friends will always be there for you. As life goes on, it’s also important to make new friends and hopefully some of those new friends will become great friends too. But the most important part of this advice is to understand that to Kindergartners, friends are your friends even when you don’t agree, get in an argument, or you are not happy with that person. They are always willing to forgive a friend and that’s why they have so many great friends.

Learn how to cook

Your parents probably love hearing this one. But as you get older your responsibilities will expand and learning to cook is a sign that you are becoming an independent adult. But make sure you learn to cook real food that does not involve the microwave.

Work hard and do your best

There’s value in hard work and trying your best. But more importantly Kindergartners understand that if you are going to do something you go at it 100%. Shortcuts are often not beneficial to you personally or professionally. And people appreciate when you do your best. Especially, your future employer.

Learn to listen

We all want to be heard and feel that we have important things to say. Kindergartners know that in life it’s also important to not only listen but be a good listener. They listen to directions, and lessons, and what their classmates have to say. Some of them are such attentive listeners that they will put their face in their hands, sit forward, and listen in awe to what is being said. You should listen to what people have to say, how they say it, and understand what they are saying. You don’ have to agree with everything people say, but you should learn to listen to what they do say.

Celebrate all the things you learned

After all the hard work and effort, Kindergartners understand that you need to have a little fun. So make sure you take time to celebrate all of life’s successes and all you have learned. You can follow their advice today by celebrating your accomplishments that led to graduation.

Congratulations Class of 2015!

I wish you much joy and success in the future, and I hope that the advice of our Kindergartners will help you as you leave high school.

Why Have You Not Become a Connected Educator… Yet?


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If you frequently read my blog posts, you know that I am a huge proponent of using Social Media as an educator for learning and to improve our profession. I am also a Connect_an_Educator_Day_2015_002realist and believe this concept of Educational Social Media is not a mainstay for the majority of educators around the world. To encourage more educators to engage in the use of Educational Social Media we will hold the first Connect an Educator Day on May 2, 2015 at 7:30am EST on #satchat. The hope is that those who have yet to find value in Educational Social Media will do so on that day. But those of us who are connected educators must also understand the reasons why other educators have yet to connect through social medial. So, I posed this question to my graduate students as part of their blog post responsibility for class:

Why have you not become a connected educator… yet?

The key is the word “yet” as I am hopeful that a time will come that every educator connects. I asked for the students’ permission to anonymously post their responses so those of us who are connected educators will understand why our colleagues are not yet connected? The four responses I picked to share below are verbatim from their post and open a window into why they have yet to connect. I hope their responses help you to move colleagues from not connected to connected educators.

And I’d like to thank all of my graduate students for providing their honest feelings on this topic.

Student 1:

I am intrigued by the idea of utilizing social media as a tool to enhance educational practices. It appeals to me because of the ease and speed of responses to personal questions that are posted. It also adds a more personal feel to finding solutions to problems. Instead of reading an article from an unknown author on the internet, the responses come from people whom you know or whom you know are reputable. Connecting through social media also greatly increases one’s professional network of educators, which is valuable for many reasons.

Despite all of these benefits, I have not become a connected educator yet. As we discussed in class, my main excuse is time. Due to other obligations, I have not set aside the time necessary to explore this concept, set up a page, and troubleshoot through its features. I have viewed the concept as “something I’d like to do one day” as opposed to “something I must do TODAY.” As we all know, life gets busy, and the “one day” items on our To Do lists rarely seem to be accomplished in a timely fashion!

Another excuse for why I have not yet become a connected educator yet is because I already feel that I spend too much time in my day looking at computer and phone screens. Between emails and Facebook (my only social media account), it seems like I cannot go an hour without checking my phone. I try to break this habit, but in today’s world, it is challenging. I fear that, with another site to check, this habit will only grow.

I use the term “excuse” in this blog because I do realize that these are petty reasons to not try something new that could really expand my horizons. I welcome any feedback on this topic.  

Student 2:

I like to think of myself as a very private person.  I like to keep my personal life and professional life as separated as possible.  Social media is a large part of my personal life.  Currently, I have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to keep in contact with friends and acquaintances.  If I were to become a connected educator, I feel that the separation of my personal and professional life could become blurred.  Although I have my personal accounts on the highest privacy setting, I would not feel comfortable with the possibility of it being found and looked at.  Teachers are criticized now more than ever, and I would not want others to see what I have to say, regardless of what the topic is.  I also think adding on another social media account in order to become a connected educator would even more encourage my exhausting and time consuming habit of checking my phone all the time.

As we discussed in class, time is also a huge issue for me.  Setting up accounts and using social media to my professional benefit seems like another thing to do on my daily list.  There are so many other demands that come with teaching, especially now more than ever.  I feel that it is another item that I would like to give a try but do not find the time to do so.  

Student 3:

I really had no clue that educators were using social media, such as Twitter, in ways to connect with other educators.  It is hard to connect to something you had no idea about.  I use Facebook for personal purposes, and I am constantly checking my emails.  I usually use google in order to find information regarding differentiation, pedagogy, practice AP exams and practices.  My reason for not becoming a connected educator yet is because I do not have time.  I am a wife, mother, full-time teacher, and graduate student.  After our last class with Dr. Rocco, I realize that I could save lots of time and connect with various types of educators who have been where I am if I connect quickly.  I believe I will connect to Twitter in order to enhance educational practices very soon.

Student 4:

I would consider myself somewhat connected, but have not made the full leap to connecting to other educators via social media.  The reason I consider myself somewhat connected is because I attend PD opportunities and am able to ‘connect’ in person and learn from others.   I think ‘connected’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean solely connecting through social media.  However, I definitely understand its advantages, especially this day in age.  For example, after meeting people at workshops and conferences, the best way to keep that connection going is clearly through a form of social media.  Being a connected educator doesn’t have to stop at the PD workshop anymore.  It also doesn’t have to be limited to the people in a given area.  Everyone can connect online, and maybe you’d come in contact with someone you would have never met otherwise.  Social media makes this form of global connectedness possible.

Another reason I consider myself somewhat connected is because I use twitter to communicate with the families of my third graders.  It’s an additional way for me to communicate with my families, and it’s quick and simple.  I’m able to post pictures, links, etc. that I wouldn’t normally put in my weekly newsletter.  Also, I’m able to get information out right away, rather than waiting until Friday to print it in my newsletter.  Some of my parents actually follow me on twitter, while others can see the updates right on my webpage.  I follow other teachers and other organizations/companies on this account.  This account is for my families; it is not a PLN (Personal Learning Network) account, which is why I do not do anything other than post about what is going on in my classroom.   Although I’m not purposely connecting on this account, I do still feel somewhat connected.  I feel connected because I am able to get ideas for things to implement into my own classroom by seeing the things that other teachers/companies/and organizations share.  Hopefully others get ideas from the things I post/share, too.  Most importantly, though, I hope my families feel more closely connected to our classroom.

The reason I do not consider myself completely connected yet is because I have yet to use twitter or other forms of social media to develop and enhance my PLN.  I have made an account that will act as my PLN account, but have yet to use it regularly.  Although I meet people at PD, I have not completely jumped into the world of twitter chats.   I know that these chats are great, and would definitely connect me with so many more educators.  My fiancé, whom is also a teacher, participates in twitter chats each week.  Most of the time while he’s chatting, I’m working on graduate school readings and work.  So, I think the biggest reason I have not connected in this way, yet, is because of time.  I don’t feel as though I have the time to do it right now, but I hope that in the future I can make it work into my schedule.  I’ve seen firsthand the connections he’s made and the opportunities he has gained from connecting via social media.  I do think all educators would benefit from connecting in this way and having this opportunity to learn from so many others around the globe.

So the reasons are time, life, responsibilities, unaware of the resource, privacy, and personal space vs. professional space. All of these reasons are valid for why educators have not connected. Knowing the reasons for not connecting help those of us who are connected address these reasons and provide an opportunity to focus our efforts when we demonstrate the power of Educational Social Media. How will you use this information to connected a colleague?

Join us on May 2, 2015 for Connect an Educator Day and show those who have yet to connect how they can address their concerns and be a connected educator.


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