Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I am happy to announce that I have just received word that ISTE has accepted my proposal to present Explore Twitter Tools for Global Collaboration as an Interactive Lecture in San Antonio on Tuesday, June 27 from 1:15 - 2:15 CDT.

I gave another presentation similar to this in Denver in June of this year.  It was with an amazing team of Anne Mirschin, Amy Jambor, Toni Olivieri-Barton, and Angela Gadtke.  This year I know that I will be presenting with Anne and the other amazing participants may show up depending upon whether they can make it to ISTE 2017.

This is a fun hour of engaging our audience in an ongoing Tweetchat during the interactive lecture.  We introduce them to the medium and then show them a variety of ways that we can use Twitter to connect with other educators around the world.  All the while, there is a Tweetchat running on another screen which includes the 80 members of the audience as they respond to our ideas and provide a myriad of other innovative experiences and suggestions.

Our Presentation from ISTE 2016 in Denver

Will you be coming to ISTE 2017 in San Antonio?  If so, please give me a ring and we will be able to Meet-Up in Texas.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Need YOUR Feedback on the ISTE Standards for Teachers 2017

The ISTE Standards have been a driving force since the 90s.  These standards have been developed for students, teachers, administrators, coaches, and computer science teachers. 

Every 9 or 10 years, the ISTE Standards are Refreshed.  This means that a team of ISTE leading educators review the present set of standards and evaluate how well they are still addressing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that our present students need to flourish in our technology-driven world. This team asks for input from educators the world over.  Using these ideas, they create a new version of the standards and then release them in "draft form."  Educators around the world are asked for feedback and to hold discussions with their peers about the proposed standards.   Based upon this input, they finalize the standards and then release them at the June ISTE conference.

ISTE Standards for Students

They don't do them all at the standards in the same year.  In fact, they work on one per year. This year they released the ISTE Standards for Students 2016.  While it was evident that the ISTE Standards for Students 2007 were greatly influenced by Bloom's Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking Skills, the 2016 Standards are based upon students assuming causative roles in the world.

The 2016 Standards for Students challenge students to assume the roles of Empower Learners, Digital Citizens, Knowledge Constructors, Innovative Designers, Computational Thinkers, Creative Communicators and Global Collaborators.   You will notice that there are 7 overall standards instead of the 6 standards in the 2007 set.

 Is this just a repackaging of the previous standards?  I don't think so. This model was created to place the students in the center of the learning expectations.  It is all thoroughly encapsulated in this graphic from the ISTE website.

ISTE Standards for Teachers 2017

This year the ISTE Standards for Teachers team has been working to update the Teacher Standards just as the Student Standards team has completed.  They have gone through the interactive process of developing these standards and they have released them in DRAFT format for us to provide feedback.   These standards are not as directly aligned with the 2016 Standards for Students. They are organized to provide a connection with the Student Standards.

The 2017 ISTE Standards for Teachers see teachers as having two primary roles - Empower Educator and Learning Catalyst:
  • The Empowered Educator is a Learner, Leader, and Citizen. These three standards are designed to encourage educators to develop themselves professionally.  They embrace the need for continuous learning as well as the teacher's leadership role in transforming learning with technology.
  • The Learning Catalyst is a Collaborator, Designer, Facilitator, and Analyst. These standards provide direction in more of a classroom environment. They foster the need for working collaboratively as an educator to Design, Facilitate and Analyze their students' learning.

Provide Your Own Input for these Standards

What do you think about the new organization of the educator's role?  

These new standards acknowledge the many hats that educators have to wear inside and outside the classroom.  They acknowledge that our role is not just to "teach stuff."  It also includes the roles of visionary, organizer, designer, expediter, assessor, implementer, and so much more.

You have the opportunity to provide your own input into developing these Teacher Standards.  The ISTE Team is calling for you to read their new standards and provide feedback on the draft of these standards.  (see below)
This is the page you will visit.  Nothing fancy.  It is just a Google Doc containing the proposed standards and links to pages where you can complete feedback surveys.

You will notice that you have the opportunity to provide feedback as an individual.  They are calling for feedback teachers, administrators, college students (future teachers), parents, even k-12 students.  Your voice can be heard so Make It So!!!

Get Your Colleagues Involved. 

Another option is to get a group of your colleagues together to discuss the new standards and provide your group's feedback.   You can create your own group discussions by downloading the Refresh ISTE Standards for Teachers Forum Toolkit.   Download it and discuss your future opportunities.

Share your ideas. Create your future.

Leave a note in the Dr. Z Reflects comments about your opinion and maybe something about what you shared in the ISTE questionnaire.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

After the Election . . .

I don't know how you have been handling your students' feelings after the election, but I discussed it in my class on Friday.   I began the discussion by saying 

I have been reading a number of things about teachers asking their students about how they feel after the election, and I just wanted to open up the discussion to you.  After 9/11, I didn't know what to do so I just taught my lessons and didn't even discuss the incident.  Students came to me saying that they felt cheated because they didn't have a chance to share and deal with their feelings.  I don't want to do that this time so do any of you have feelings that you want to share?  This isn't a discussion about politics.  It is about feelings.

Some of my students shared some deep feelings of fear and anxiety.  Some of those who didn't feel threatened still felt anxiety. Some students felt that some of the reactions we heard about on the news (i.e., closing down a college so that students could deal with the results of the election) were not the reactions of adults and that we just had to deal with it.  

It was a good discussion and we talked until they had nothing else to say.  I shared that I was available if anyone wanted to talk. I think that it was a positive experience.

I was prompted to write this email after reading a posting on Jennifer Gonzalez's blog, The Cult of PedagogyShe decided that the best thing to post a "To Do List" of things that teachers can do in a situation like this.

I recommend reading, After the Election: A To-Do List, and maybe sharing it with your students.  BTW, this is a wonderful blog filled with posts, podcasts, videos, and teaching materials that you may find useful in your everyday teaching - I know that I have.

What are your experiences?  
What suggestions do you have about dealing with these emotions?

Share them in the Comments section below.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Learn from Educational Podcasts on your iOS or Android Phones

Ever wanted to listen to a radio show but you can't because you have a wonderful online class session to attend?  Ever want to follow radio shows just like they did in the 50s?  Ever want to listen to those incredible TED talks but you don't have time to sit down to your computer?  Ever want to share your ideas or your students' ideas with the world through the spoken word?

Podcasting is your answer.

Podcasting is to the internet what Tivo is to digital TV and what VHS was to analog TV.  It is a way to capture events/shows/ideas and then play them back so that you can listen to them any time.  

The greatest quality about Podcasting is that it is mobile.  I started podcasting my classes in about 2006.  We would audio record classes and students would listen to them later.  Students could listen to the class while they were driving or walking or just lying around.  

The biggest issue with podcasting is that people just don't seem to know how to make it run on their phones.  I see students walking around campus with earphones plugs into both sides of their heads.  Are they listening to podcasts about the upcoming profession?  Probably not. They should, because it can give them that special edge that they might need to succeed in their professions.

One misconception that many people have is that you have to be on wifi to listen to podcasts.  Not True!!!  You can download podcast episodes to the app on your mobile device and then listen to it later.  I like to listen to podcasts while I am gardening and working in the yard.

Here is how you listen to podcasts on your phone or mobile device:

  1. Download and install a podcast app. (Apple, Android or ??)
  2. Sign up to get an account.
  3. Subscribe to podcasts that pique your interest.  Here are some of my favorites:
    1. TED Talks 
    2. Every Classroom Matters - Vicki Davis -   The Cool Cat Teacher
    3. This American Life
    4. Tech Talk Roundtable (Concordia EdTech Podcast)
    5. Moving at the Speed of Creativity
  4. For each podcast, open the settings and set it to your specifications. Some of the settings include:
    1. How often to refresh
    2. Maximum number of episodes you on your phone at once.
    3. Should your player delete episodes after they have been played.
There you have it!!!!   You are a podcast listener!!!!

But which podcast players should you use?  How do you go about doing this?  
Here are some videos that can address some of your questions.   If you have any others, please post them in the comments section and me or one of our readers to answer.

Listening to Podcasts on your Desktop

What if you don't want to listen to it on your phone?  If you want to listen to it on your desktop, I would suggest using iTunes.  Sure this is an Apple product, but it runs on both platforms and is easy to use.

If that doesn't fit your needs, here is an article about How to Listen to Podcasts in Windows 10.

What do you think?  Don't wait, go right ahead and download an app to your phone or mobile device and listen to some of your favorites.

Here are some places to find leading podcasts in Education:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Find/Use Education Hashtags on Twitter

I have already written about finding and using Education Hashtags on Twitter, but I have just found a few more important resources that I think you would want to use.
  • Using Twitter to Grow Your PLN (Education-related hashtags)
    A quick intro into using Twitter to expand your PLN. This page talks a lot about "chats." These are Tweetchats. Remember that you can search on those #hashtags at anytime to connect with other educators in your area of interest.  Edutopia is a website created by George Lucas and dedicated to showing "What Works in Education."
  • Education TweetChats & Educational Hashtags
    I wrote about this earlier, but no list of Twitter resources would be complete without this from Cybraryman.  This is a calendar of Tweetchats that are occurring all week long but remember that you can also use the hashtags to connect with other educators at any time.
  • Grade Level #Hashtags:  2ndchat, 5thchat, 12thchat
    This has been noted through the previous resources, but please remember that if you are teaching 5th grade, you can just use the hashtag, #5thchat, to connect with other educators.  It's a great way to learn from practicing teachers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Back from ISTE 2016 and Lovin' It!!!

I had a WONDERFUL TIME at ISTE 2016.  This was my 25th ISTE/NECC and they just keep getting better.

Learned a great deal.  Made incredible connections.   Assumed the presidency of the ISTE Global Collaboration PLN from Julie Lindsay - Thanks Julie.  Had GREAT food.  Met a bunch of dedicated and visionary educators.  Made new friends and contacts.

I will be writing about this over the next week or so.  There is much to share but right now I am in prepration for Fall Semester at UNI and getting ready to ride my bike across Iowa in our annual RAGBRAI ride.

Until that time, I would like to share wonderful Infographic about the attendance of ISTE 2016 "By The Numbers."

Take a look at the photo of the crowd.  Recognize anyone?  Yes, that is me sitting in the front of the row with the blue shirt.   Must have been a slow day at the office . . .Well, anywho, I look forward to sharing what I learned and learning what you did as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Latest Update Video for the Schindler Education Center Renovation

Click the link in the text ------->
As many of you know, our Schindler Education Center at the University of Northern Iowa is undergoing a massive update.  We are really excited about the process and periodically the UNI PR people release a video about what's happening.

Unfortunately, I couldn't embed the video into this web page so you will have to click on UNI Schindler Education Center video

You can see that the Lobby now has a gi-normous hole in the floor for the new stairs to emerge.  You will see a huge door cut into the curved brick wall that was in the lobby.  This door leads to the IRTS lab.  There are many more changes coming up and I look forward to moving into my office for the Spring 2017 semester.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Using Twitter Hashtags to Connect with Other Educators

Ever wonder how to connect with other educators who have the same interests as you?

You're a 2nd grade teacher in a small school and you have some 2nd grade questions.  Where do you turn?

You're a high school social studies teacher and you want to look for new ways to engage students in your subject.  Where do you turn?

There is a whole world of resources out there for the connected educator.  You can read articles or follow blogs but you will get the most out of direct interaction.  Twitter may be your resource.

I will assume that you know something about Twitter and Tweetchats.

What astounded me was when I found a directory Education Tweet Chats that was posted by Cybrary Man.    Not only are there hundreds of chats listed, it is organized by the day and time when they meet weekly.  It is an unbelievable resource.

Moreover, the hashtags that are used for the weekly tweetchats are wonderful ways to find other people with similar interests during the week.  You can use these hashtags to find others with your interests, or share ideas/resources that you think others in your field will enjoy.

Did you know that there are hashtags for each grade?  If you are a 2nd grade teacher and you want to see what other 2nd grade teachers are posting on Twitter, you just need to search for #2ndchat

If you want to connect with other Social Studies teachers, you just need to search for #sslap (Social Studies Teacher-Like-a-Pirate) or #sschat (Social Studies Teacher Chat).

What do you do?  How do you use Twitter to connect/discover with distant colleagues?
Which Tweet Chats do you find the most helpful?

Please share your ideas and hashtags with our other readers.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Preparing Future Teachers to be Connected Educators


I have a challenge and I am turning to my PLN to try to address it.

As you know, I teach Instructional Technology at the University of Northern Iowa.  We teach both undergraduate (future teachers) and graduate (present teachers) about how to use technology to support learning.  It is much more than technology.  It is about building a mindset to use teaching/learning strategies that optimize the opportunities available through technology.

We need to develop Connected Educators.  Our undergraduates are connected through social media, but they don't see how this can be used for a professional purpose.  They are unaccustomed to connecting with people around the world to learn from other practitioners.

Our challenge: We are trying to trying to develop learning activities where they will actually engage with other educators through social media. It has to be something more than connecting with other students in the class because they see them face-to-face a couple of times per week. It needs to be more than following hashtags.  Experiencing a globally collaborative project is good, but I am looking at changing a mindset. It needs to be something where they are experiencing this type of connection in such a way that it carries on into their professional lives.

This is where I am calling upon the greater knowledge base of the many. YOU.

What do you do with your students and teachers?  How do you, as a connected educator, connect with other professionals as part of your daily routine.  What are some suggestions that you might have for activities/experiences that we might use with our future and present teachers to foster them toward being Connected Educators?

Thank you for your response.

Leigh Zeitz

Please forward this to your colleagues or others you believe would have an idea about this.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gaming to Learn: Research Meets Classroom Practice

Today is the University of Northern Iowa College of Education's Education Summit.  

I was invited to talk about gaming in the classroom at this conference.  It was a great opportunity to discuss the topic with about 20 people.  These educators ranged from 19 - 60+ years of age.  It was a strong discussion with many points of view shared.

Below is an embedded version of my presentation.   The Youtube links should also work. Please contact me if they don't work for you. 

If you want to contact me, please leave a comment below or email me at

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Educational Background Behind Gaming - Part 1

It's NOT about the Games.  It's about the Gaming.
Creative Commons:
I like to introduce my university students to Gaming in the Classroom. It is not aboutplaying games but rather about the opportunities and engagement that students experience when they are learning through a gaming framework.  

I would like to share with you the introductory sequence that I use in introducing this.  I would also like to share how I challenge my students to play a specific game for a while and then reflect on the process.  

ALERT:  Next week I will share the responses, reflections and insights that my students develop from this experience.

Did you know that in 2011:
  • 65% of US households play video games?
  • Almost 1/2 of the video gamers are adults < 49 years old?
  • The average gamer is 32?
  • 2 out of 5 gamers are women?
Gaming is not a fad. Video gaming is a way of life. Gaming is an activity that provides sufficient positive feedback to cause players to exclude all else. It is challenging enough to entice gamers to continually attempt to beat their last score.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if school was like gaming? Where students would be so motivated by their learning activities that they would get up early and stay up late to engage themselves in the learning process.

Our understanding of learning has taken a HUGE leap forward in recent years.  It is time that we were Rethinking Learning with the 21st Century Learner.  This video explores how we need to rethink our students' learning experiences to best fit their interests and learning preferences.  This video includes interviews with John Seely Brown (discusses how today's learners are gamers to the core),  Nichole Pinkard, Diana Rhoten, Mimi Ito (Lead Researcher for the Digital Youth Project); Katie Salen (Executive Director of The New School for Design); and Henry Jenkins (Media Guru). 

Is it about playing the game or getting involved in something that is rewarding and challenging.  Maybe it has something to do with "getting into the flow of things . . . "

Flow - The Psychology of the Optimal Experience

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Chick-sent-me-hi) has studied states of "optimal experience" for over two decades. He is exploring the conditions and attitudes that engage people's concentration and attention to the point of total absorption. He calls this state of consciousness Flow.  In this state of attention, learners are at their most receptive level.

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi discusses his theory of Flow in this 5-minute video. 
It is the primary introduction to the Flow concept. He further explains its application to education in this short interview on  Motivating People to Learn.

9 Characteristics of Flow have been identified. Learn these characteristics so that you can later relate them to the apparent aspects of gaming and learning.
Pay careful attention to this concept of Flow because while it may seem like "good common sense," it is an underlying principle of learning.
Gaming's Elements Make for Good Learning

Gaming is a directional process where the player is guided towards a selected goal through positive and negative reinforcement. Isn't that similar to a good learning situation? How does that relate to the 9 characteristics of Flow?

Read this posting which discusses a list of 8 characteristics of Gaming. Relate these to those of Flow. What similarities do you see? What distinctions?  You will also find a video of a leading gaming researcher, Dr. James Paul Gee.  Watch this video and correlate it with the connections we have been discussing.

Gaming in Your REAL Life

Gaming is the basis of living and learning.  When you do something correctly, you are rewarded.  When you faultier, you fail.  It's about how you interact with the world. Before you can explore how you would do this in the classroom, you need to know something about how it works in your life.  Seth Priebatsch and Jesse Schell share some interesting ideas about how Gaming appears as a layer in your real life.  Read this posting and watch these two videos to get a new perspective on how you are gaming on a daily basis. 

If you are interested in really applying gaming to your real life, Explore Chore Wars.  It is a quest game where you can claim experience points for housework.

Consider your present concepts about gaming. Have they changed in the past 24 hours? If so, what have you realized?  How does this affect your perspective as a trainer, teacher, educator?

Using Gaming Practices to Improve Learning
In this 10-minute video, Paul Anderson explains how he reinvented his course to make it a gaming learning experience. Pay attention to the insights that he shares about the elements of active student-centered learning environments.


Time for Real Gaming

In my university class, Using Digital and Social Media, I challenge my students to apply what they have just learned.  These resources have identified how the gaming and learning are two sides of the same coin so I want them to play a game and then reflect on what connections they are seeing.

Another benefit for this homework is that my students get to tell their roommates/friends/ siblings/parents/children that they get to play Kingdom Rush for 3 hours for homework.

Tune in Next Week

I will share with you the gaming reflections that my students generate as well as some educational perspectives that I add to the mix.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

5 Question Structures to Improve Higher-Order Thinking

Looking to improve the discussions in your class so that they are engaging your students in Higher-Order Thinking?  Here is an InfoGraphic that I found on the Four O'Clock Faculty website.  It has a number of great ideas.  I especially like the Question Flooding idea.  It involves your students generating as many questions as come to mind about the topic at hand.

At first, I was thinking "How can I write fast enough to get all of those questions written down so we can discussion them?"  Further consideration brought me to the realization that this should be a student centric process.  Just getting the flow of ideas is enough to kindle the fire of examination.  Field the questions and then go back to them to see which ones stuck out in your students' minds.  Another idea would be to have your students post them in the cloud through Tweeting (with a specific hashtag) or entering the questions into a Google Doc or Padlet or Etherpad.

Which one makes the most sense to you?  Do you have any ideas that you would add to these 5 question structures?