21st Century Skills: It’s More Than Just Technology


“Given the growing ubiquity of [technology] in schools, as well as the increasing numbers of educators advocating for their use, it can seem as though education may have reached a tipping point when it comes to improving students’ 21st-century skills. According to the Partnership for 21st Century skills, these can be categorized as the 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.” — Beth Holland

Beth goes on to share that she has started to worry about the growing presence of what she calls the Fake Cs.

Source: EdWeek

7 Characteristics of Teachers Who Effectively Use Technology

“…Using technology in the classroom – and using it effectively – might require some slight adjustments on the part of the teacher to sustain the effort, creative problem-solving, and innovation required to actually improve learning through the use of technology. This occurs at the belief level–what teachers believe about technology, education, and their own abilities to manage technology.

“Looking at the characteristics of teachers that effectively use technology in the classroom, then, can be useful to create an “edtech” mindset–one that believes in purpose, adaptation, change, and meaningful planning.” — TeachThought

Click here to view the infographic of these seven characteristics.

What a Wonderful Era for Learning!

Journey from a Makerspace to a Maker District


This article shares the story of Albermarle County Schools’ experience integrating maker education throughout all the schools in the district. In particular, snapshots of Agnor Hurt Elementary and Albermarle High School are spotlighted. I recommend diving into this article and considering how Albermarle’s experience and ideas can impact your classroom, school, and district. Here are just two nuggets I gleaned from reading this.

“Making shouldn’t be isolated. We want to get away from that idea. Makerspaces and classrooms are one and the same.” — Andrew Craft, Elementary Teacher

“When people make, they get back to the basics of who they are as humans. Making puts the learner at the center of the work — and when that happens with our kids, the content makes sense to them.” — Pam Moran, Superintendent

Source: EdSurge.com

Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s Lens


“A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product.

“Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem. However, project-based learning has already created a framework for Making in the classroom. Let’s see how Making could work when placed inside a PBL curriculum unit.” — Patrick Waters

Source: Edutopia.org

Hundreds of Things to Ask Your Google Home


“Google Home now has more than 200 third-party skills, also known as conversation actions. If you’re just getting started, or you want to really see what your virtual assistant can do, check out” this list from PC Mag. — Sascha Segan, PC Mag

Why You Should Be Using Google Photos


Google Photos “takes your entire photo library — every photo you’ve ever taken on your phone, as well as screenshots and photos taken within Instagram and whatever else — and uploads it to the internet. The photos remain private, hidden behind your Google account information, but now you can access them anywhere. On your laptop? Yep. On a new phone? Yep. On your tablet? Yep, there too.” — Ben Gilbert, Business Insider

Building the Future: Tinkering and Playful Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.

“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.

“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.

“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal

Sources: Image 1, Image 2