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Top Posts of 2019

Well, another year of writing has passed, and it was a big one as 2019 marked ten years since I began my blogging journey. To still be churning out posts on a weekly basis is quite the accomplishment for a guy who never wrote nor intended to write for a public audience. For me, the push I needed came from Ken Royal, who, after hearing what we were doing at New Milford High School and then visiting, stated unequivocally that I had to share our story. Well, after begrudgingly agreeing to pen some guest posts for him, I built up my confidence and launched my blog in March of 2019. After that, the rest is history.

Blogging has certainly changed over the past ten years. Back in the day, a typical post would garner numerous comments. They would also serve as a catalyst for vibrant Twitter conversations. Another change has come in the form of developing unique topics or spins on what is already out in cyberspace. For me, in particular, I have experienced a great deal of difficulty trying to determine what I want to write about in that I want each piece to either add to existing conversations or be an entirely new take. Often ideas pop into my head when I am sleeping, and I immediately wake up to type them into a note file I have on my iPhone. However, the best ideas for blog posts I get come from coaching in schools. Here I get to experience firsthand how many of the ideas that are talked about on social media and at conferences are successfully implemented into practice.



Without further ado, here are my top posts of 2019.

The Pedagogy of Blended Learning

Blended instruction is what the teacher does with technology. Blended learning is where students use tech to have control over path, place, and pace. There should always a focus first and foremost on ensuring that sound pedagogical design serves as a foundation. In this post, I pull on extensive observations and work with schools to identify instructional strategies, essential elements, most successful models, and effective technology solutions that work to create pedagogically sound blended learning experiences.

The Problem with Zeros

To say that this post generated some buzz on Twitter would be quite the understatement. Punishing learners with zeros destroys both morale and a love of learning by digging a hole that many cannot recover from (nor do they have any aspirations to do so). They also create a mirage in terms of what was actually learned. If a grade does not reflect learning, then what’s the point? We owe it to our students to pave a better path forward. 

The Future of Work

Change is not only on our doorstep, but it is about to kick the darn door in. The future of work requires new skills, and it is up to K-12 education to lead the charge in this area. Skills are not enough, in my opinion. Yes, we want learners to have the requisite skills to meet the needs and demands inherent in the 4th Industrial Revolution. More importantly, it is our duty and the role of education to ensure that they are competent. Empowering our learners to think critically and solve real-world problems is paramount.

The Two Most Important Questions to Ask to Determine if Learning is Taking Place

Keep it simple stupid. Are kids thinking? How are kids applying their thinking in relevant ways? This post explores how the Rigor Relevance Framework can be used as a practical way to determine the answers to both of these questions by looking at the level of questioning and the tasks that kids are engaged in. 

Digital Leadership: Leading Change from Where You Are

Leading change is about identifying intended outcomes, applying an innovative lens, and arriving at outcomes in better, more effective ways no matter your position or title. The Pillars of Digital Leadership represents a framework for all educators to initiate and sustain innovative change that aligns with the core work that already serves as the foundation for every school or district learning culture. The premise is to do what we already do better by working smarter, not harder.

Here's to an amazing 2020 everyone. Thanks for all that you do for kids.  

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