Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Dr. Z in Star Trek

Sometimes we share things that aren't necessarily about using technology in the classroom.  Sometimes I like to share events outside of the classroom.  Here is an event that I experienced with my family over 25 years ago.  

After combing the Star Trek archives, I have found the long lost Star Trek episode where the Zeitz/Klink-Zeitz clan worked with Leonard Nimoy and William Schatner to create perhaps one of the greatest shows ever created. 

This episode was created in June 1993. Chris was 7 years old, Jeff was 9 years old, I was 40 and Kathy was her typical 29 years old. It is obvious when reviewing this digital masterpiece that any of us could have chosen to have pursued a life of fame and fortune through acting . . . 

I hope that you enjoy this 10-minute wonder.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Barbara Bray and Dr. Z discuss Making Learning Meaningful in a Global Society
I was just honored by Barbara Bray when she asked to interview me for her Rethinking Learning podcast. Must admit that this was an interview that went far beyond any interview that I have ever done.  She started with my childhood, traveled through my teaching experiences, and explored my many interests in education and beyond.

Barbara Bray is an amazing woman who is totally dedicated to improving the learning experience. She is an author, speaker, podcaster, coach, and difference-maker who is passionate about transforming teaching and learning.   I have known her for many years and value her as a friend.

You will learn things about me and my philosophies that you never even dreamed true.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

What Would You Ask a Real Teacher?
Think about the time when you were studying to be a teacher.  It might have been last year or many years ago or you might still be in an Educator Preparation/Teacher Education program (hopefully at the University of Northern Iowa😉).  The most important part of your program was your interaction with real teachers while you were observing classrooms, engaged in classroom teaching, and/or student teaching.  This was an opportunity for you to ask practicing teachers about why they taught a certain way or how they interacted with a student.

Imagine connecting with practicing teachers on your own and asking them about their opinions concerning teaching.  This is something that we are challenging our students at UNI to do.  We are asking them to expand their PLN (Professional Learning Network) to find teachers in the field.  Once they have found them, we are asking them to begin a discussion with them about teaching.   In some cases, it is a one-shot experience and in other cases it turns into an on-going connection.  This is a process that we use with our future teachers, but it is a practice that could be just as valuable with other practicing teachers.

Finding a Teacher

How do you find other teachers?  There are multiple ways to connect with other educators, but here are a few that I especially like:

Twitter #Hashtag: 

Did you know that if you searched Twitter for #3rdchat that you would find a plethora of 3rd grade teachers who want to connect with distant colleagues?  This holds true with #2ndchat and #8thchat  and #HSchat  and #MSchatHere is a whole list of educator #hashtags by Cybrary Man. (Yes, I know that these #hashtags are also used for Twitter Chats, but they are a treasure trove for making connections.)

Global Collaboration Databases

You can also find teachers waiting for connections in Global Collaboration databases.  These are databases where educators post their names and contact information hoping that they can find other educators with whom they can connect.  There is a variety of these databases out there,

What Should I Ask?

I have had a few students who have searched this database to connect with educators.  One of my students recently made a connection with an educator in Colorado.  They have an appointment to have a Google Hangout discussion next week. Everything seems to be set except when this student sent me an interesting question:     What should I ask them?

Great Question!!  I had been so intent on them making the connections that we didn't actually talk about what she could/should ask this teacher. Should they ask about running a classroom? Should they query about building connections with their students?  Should all of the questions be professional or should some be about the personal side of being a teacher?  What about time management?

So what should I answer them?  I asked some of my Ed Tech and Design team and these are some of our suggestions.
  • What skills (technology and otherwise) do you wish you had when you started teaching?
  • Why did you become a teacher?
  • What have been your favorite projects and learning opportunities you have had with your kids?
  • What global collaboration projects have you done?  Tell me some stories.
  • How diverse is your class?  How do you use technology to enhance your classroom's cultural inclusivity?
  • Do each of your students have their own computer/tablet?  If so, how has it changed the way you teach and how they learn?
       And Finally, "Can we stay in touch?"

What are your suggestions for what she should ask her new professional connection?  What would you ask another teacher if you were in this situation?  

Leave your suggestions in the comments sections or tell us a story of when you connected with another teacher this way.