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What Are Tests Really Measuring?: When Achievement Isn’t Achievement.


This excellent and well-reasoned piece regarding the high-stakes testing culture and public education is well worth the reading time.


So, I have been looking for ways to motivate my Digital Natives and Gamer students, and I came across a number of apps or sites that will allow me to create classroom badges for students to earn and show off their achievements. I am testing ClassBadgesCredly, and have applied to beta test Passport (currently in development by Purdue University).

I am hopeful that these will spark student motivation. Hopefully those reward-driven, extrinsically motivated, digital-media-consumer students will find these intriguing and will want to earn them.

Results to follow.

Inside Search

This is a good source for Google search tips and tricks. Share it!

Tech Implementation

It has been an insanely busy couple of weeks. I have been implementing many of the ideas I gathered at TCEA13 and students have really responded to most of them really well.

  • Google Drive ( After initial set up with middle school students, they were impressed that I got the updates as they typed them. A live demonstration of the drive sealed the deal. So far students have submitted their last two projects via Drive. It has also been a powerful tool to use with parents because I can show them how much work students are (or are not) putting in on the projects every day. Love It!
  • I used “Teach Parents Technology” ( with a few parents during conferences. I am adding it to my school webpage as a result. It worked–really well.
  • Snag-It Stamps ( LOVE these. It is easy to annotate and mark up texts and they look really polished on the screen.
  • Trying classroom achievements based on gamer badges now. Will post the results soon.

Misunderstanding? Hardly!

Misunderstanding? Hardly!.

There are tons of great ideas here…

The Blog

Last month, we attended the Modern Language Association’s annual conference in Boston, Massachusetts, and had a great time talking to educators about how encourages in-class conversations to keep going and keeps students and parents up to date. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how some tech-savvy teachers are using to create educational experiences that seamlessly blend the traditional and virtual worlds.

The Paper-Free Class Experiment

My name is Mr. Hays and I teach 8th grade Language Arts. I am a National Board Certified teacher, and I have been reflecting on my role as a teacher this past summer. This year, I  have decided to try a radically different approach to teaching. I want to step away from the traditional classroom for a while and see just how much we can do online.

With The Paper-Free Class Experiment, Florida middle school English teacher James Hays has built…

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TCEA Day 3

I am picking up a great deal of new tips, tricks, apps, etc. on day 3 of TCEA.

Become a Google Ninja
Jeff Utrecht, a Google Ninja Master offers a free series of lessons and tests designed to make you a Google power user.
Google Ninja Training

Be part of the Education Revolution
Reach students where they are, armed with what they use every day.

Use a Google Hangout to “meet” students after school or keep office hours.

More to come…

Tech Help

This is a great resource for teaching the technophobic or those that just need a bit of help:
Teach Parents Tech

This may very well keep me sane.

One and a half days into #TCEA13, and I am so energized. The Google representatives are knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. He are just a few things I’ve picked up so far:

Amy Mayer is a tech goddess. Her presentation re: Drive Apps is fantastic and here: allows you to bundle lots of links as one and open all of them from a single URL.

Hoot Suite manages all of your social media accounts in one place.

Duolingo helps you learn almost any language for free.

On your PC or Mac, you can download a Google Drive folder and sync all of your documents, just like Dropbox.

More on Google Extensions tomorrow.

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