#lifehack: Four Ways that Tech Can Help You Reach Fitness Goals

(Featured image courtesy of colonnade.)

Hey guys!  Ordinarily, I do #edtech  tutorials, but this one is a little different. We all have a lot to do, and it’s often a struggle to find time to take care of ourselves.  In this interactive session, I’ll share with you my journey thus far.  Surprisingly, it incorporates many of the best practices of technology integration, LOL!

Topics include: building a support group (#PLN), motivation (#gamification), accountability (#blogging), and fitness apps (#flipped instruction).  Guess I’m not so different from my students after all 🙂

Oh, and by the way, this isn’t just for “teechurs,” it can benefit anyone trying to keep it tight in 2014 😀

The Sunshine Award

First of all, I’d like to give a huge shoutout and virtual hug to Tammy Neil, my new Google+ buddy.  Thanks so much for this nomination!  It’s so great to connect with awesome educators around the globe.

Before I begin, quick announcement…drumroll please….I have upgraded my blog via this WordPress thingie, and now you can access it directly at sarahdateechur.com.  Yaaaaaay!!!  Yet another URL for me to remember lolol.

One more shoutout to the organizers of #edcampHOME (do hashtags work on this? Hello? Is this thing on?), for such a great opportunity to learn and grow as an educator.  I had a wonderful time, and I can’t wait for version 3.0.

That being said, let’s get this show on the road!

Plenty of Sunshine

Forgive the plagiarizing, but taken from Tammy’s blog, this is how this thing works:

(Begin quote here.)

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers: they should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • Let those 11 bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

(End quote here).  Ok let’s do this!

Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

Tammy, you are super-awesome.  I’m so looking forward to learning with you!

Share 11 random facts about yourself.

Let the plagiarism continue lol.  This time, I shall plagiarize myself, from my Blogger account.

  1. I’m a vegetarian, and have been since the age of eight.  I made this decision on my own, after engaging in a “gross out contest.” I don’t remember exactly what was said that turned me off meat, but I think it had to do with hot dogs.
  2. I’ve got legs. I know how to use them.
  3. I write very complex and confusing to-do lists on a daily basis.
  4. I was the captain of my high school’s It’s Academic team my senior year (RIP Mac McGary). A former captain from a previous year went on to win on Jeopardy.
  5. I missed going on TV for It’s Academic because Honors Choir was the same weekend.
  6. When I was 21, I started a record label with my friends.  I have random, horrible music floating around the Internet.
  7. I fear many things, including heights and planes.  That’s why I threw myself out of one in October 2011.  Skydiving didn’t cure me…it made things worse.
  8. So…I signed up for a private flying lesson.  That actually did help.
  9. I have a story for nearly every situation.
  10. I have a song for nearly every situation.
  11. My greatest strengths are usually my greatest weaknesses, because I tend to go hard or not at all.

The 11 Questions

Q: What is your favorite subject/grade level? Why?

A: Ooooh, this is a toughie lol.  I love all of the different grades I’ve taught for different reasons.  Right now, I’m loving middle school, because the kids are so independent, and overall a great group of kids.

Q: What is your preference cheese or pepperoni?

A:  Cheese.  Yummmmmm.

Q: What made you want to teach/work with children?

A:  I think it was destined lol.  Almost every job I’ve ever had since I was 13 years old involved children.  First I was a soccer referee, then I worked in the daycare at the gym.  When I was in college, I worked two years at a summer camp.  It was written in the stars.

Q: What made you start blogging?

A:  I grew up in a family of writers, so once again, this was destiny.  My mom and my dad both published newsletters when I was a kid, so I got a group of my first grade buddies together, and we made our own.  “Cool News” lol.  Fast forward 25 years in the future, and here I am.

Q: If you were able to go back through time and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?

A: Live in the present. Don’t worry so much about the future, and don’t dwell on the past. Time will continue, no matter what, so take time to smell the roses (still need to follow this advice).

Q: What one movie should NEVER be remade? Why?

A:  I’m a huge Aaliyah fan, so I’m going to go with, “Queen of the Damned.”  She did such a great job playing Akasha!

Q: What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it to others?

A:  The last book I finished was called, “Liespotting.”  It was pretty good, but it focused a lot on the corporate world.  I liked the interpersonal parts more…I hope they come up with a sequel focusing more on that.

I also recently finished reading a novel called, “Gone Girl.”  It was pretty cool.

Q: What would your ideal classroom look like?

A:  My class is starting to look the way I envisioned it in my head at the beginning of the year.  We’re doing a lot of flipped/blended instruction, as well as gamification of my Tech class.  I think I want to do gamification in English next year, too.  We’ve also started using blogs.  Yay.

Q: What is your favorite app? Why?

A:  It’s so hard to pick just one!  Ugh!  Hmmm…in the classroom, I’d have to go with ClassDojo.  It’s been the biggest game-changer for me, next to Twitter.

Q: Who is your hero? Why?

A: My parents are my heroes.  They are incredible people, who inspire me to do my best.  I’m very proud of them.

Q: Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

A:  Experience is the best teacher, although definitely not my favorite.  Haha.  Seriously, though, I’ve been fortunate to have some great teachers.  I wonder if any of them are online and connected?  I’ll need to look them up.  Would be awesome to have them in my PLN.

For the last three parts, please find my answers here.

Ok, beautiful people, tune in at 1 PM EST for a discussion of Gamification in the Classroom!  Hope to hang out with you soon.  Peace in the Middle East.  Audi 5000.  Lexus 450.


Educational Technology Year in Review

Hey guys!  As of this writing, the time is currently 5:26 PM on December 31, meaning that we have roughly 6.5 hours left of 2013.  I’m super-geeked…how about you???  As I sit here, watching “The Sing-Off” on Hulu Plus, I figured that I’d share my thoughts about the top #edtech trends of 2014, as seen by this “teechur.”  Feel free to agree or disagree…it will just make the convo better!

Soooo…let’s get it on!  Here are the top 14 trends of 2014, for better or for worse.

The List

  1. OUT:  The teacher-centered model of instruction, also known as IRE.  “I” stands for teacher initiation, “R” stands for response, and “E” stands for evaluation.  This reminds me of the promoted model when I first started teaching, the 5E’s.  Don’t ask me what the 5 E’s are…I never had much of a clue.  Anyway, IRE includes all the boring stuff that we had to endure when we were kids, such as lectures.  Boooooo.
  2. IN:  Students take charge of their own learning.  The teacher’s role becomes more of a facilitator.  When done correctly, students will be the ones doing most of the initiation, and asking questions of each other.  Some ways to encourage this in the classroom are through student-led conferences, project-based learning, backchannelling, and flipped/blended learning.  Woot woot!  Que bien!
  3. OUT: Traditional professional development.  Let me be crystal clear…it is our job as educators to be life-long learners; however, we don’t like lectures any more than our students.
  4. IN: Hacked PD.  We live in the Information Age.  With access to the Internet, people can educate themselves on nearly ANYTHING, for little or no money.  There are tons of tutorials on YouTube  and many other sites, on all topics under the sun.  Many MOOCs  will give you free access to university classes.  In addition, #edcamps are a great way to “vote with your feet,” for the topics that you find important.  And, speaking of voting…
  5. OUT: Teaching in isolation.  Let me paraphrase an idea from George Courous’s keynote at #edcampnj: the room is smarter than the individual.  Think about it…collectively, we have so much more knowledge than each individual.  It’s a given, since the individual is part of the room…yeah, it took me far too long to pull out that bit of logic lol.  Long story short, you can only get so far teaching in isolation.
  6. IN:  Collaborative teaching.  Teamwork makes the dream work.  A big step to teaching in collaboration is to establish a PLN (Personalized Learning Network).  Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?  Lol.  Basically, a PLN is a group of like-minded people with whom you grow, personally and/or professionally.  Keep in touch with interesting people that you meet at conferences.  Participate in some edchats on Twitter.  Don’t waste any opportunities…the people that you meet are great resources.  Trust me!
  7. OUT:  Email.  Oooooh…this one may be controversial lol.  We can agree to disagree, but I rarely, if ever, go to my email anymore.  Truth be told, I would miss most of my messages, if I didn’t have them routed to my cell phone.  AOL…Yahoo…sorry, old buddies.  Instead, I’m using a lot more…
  8. IN:  Social Networking.  See Exhibits A and B.  This is pretty much where I live:  2013-12-31 17.59.42 2013-12-31 17.59.40
  9. OUT: Killing trees.  Gone are the days of dittos and other print-outs.  Well, they’re not totally gone, but if you go through a ream of paper per week, you, my friend, are not hip.  The paperless classroom is where it’s at!
  10. IN: 3D Printers/Augmented Reality.  These concepts don’t have very much in common, but I combined them to show the contrast between the old and the new-school ways of teaching (pun intended).  I haven’t tried 3D printers yet, but I heard that they are doing some amazing things.  Augmented reality refers to using devices to access additional information that is not visible otherwise.  I like to think of it as “Terminator technology.”  I want to get Google Glass in 2014…hopefully it will hit the market this year!
  11. OUT: ACLB aka “All Children Left Behind,” aka “No Child Left Behind.”  Thank God.  Now I know what you guys *think* I’m going to say, but I haven’t made my mind up about Common Core.  Instead:
  12. IN:  Gamification.  Extra, extra, read all about it!
  13. OUT:  Microsoft Office.  Oooh, more controversy lol.  I’m sure Bill Gates won’t be too happy about being unlucky #13.  Sorry, Bill!
  14. IN: Google Drive.  Almost all of the functionality of Microsoft Office, but without all of the pesky versions.  Also, many more perks, such as cloud storage, revision history, and collaboration.  Did I mention, it’s FREE?

So, there you have it folks.  Those are my picks for Educational Technology trends of 2013-2014.  But wait, there’s more!

Honorable Mentions

  • IN:  Teaching students to become consumers AND producers of digital content.  Three words for you…”Hour of Code.”  Enough said.
  • OUT:  Bad “Twettiquette.”  Ok, this is more of a pet peeve of mine.  I tend to follow most people who follow me, unless a) I can’t understand the language they tweet, b) their content is questionable, or c) they seem like a spam account.  I wasn’t always so open.  At first, I wanted my account to be totally dedicated to #edtech, so I never take it personally if someone decides that I’m not his or her cup of tea.  However, these three things in particular make me see red.
    1. Direct messaging  if you’re not following back.  Um, I can’t respond unless you follow back.
    2. Those stupid TrueTwit validations.  What is the point?
    3. Mentioning, saying “thanks for the follow.”  Then, not following back.  What is that supposed to mean?  Just don’t say anything at all.

I also get peeved when educators preach collaboration on social media, yet don’t practice it…but I digress.

Wrapping it Up

So, what do you think?  Agree or disagree?  Chime in below with a comment.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Happy 2014…wheeeeee!!!