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Empowering Educators for 21st Century Teaching & Learning - Urban EDU Coach
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21st Century Learning & Thinking Revolution
Be Converted
Suspension, expulsion or restorative
Johnny can't read, still


Adult Literacy
Education, Blended Learning, Web 2.0 Technology, Professional Development
Literacy for high school students
Restorative Practices and Discipline
Web 2.0 Tools for the classroom
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21st Century Learning & Thinking Revolution

The computer age has gone through a liberation of sorts. Information is acquired in real- time, it is accessible right now, and users decide whether or not the information acquired is relevant. Moreover, the 21st Century brought with it revolutionized teaching and learning. People interact differently in the 21st century than we did in previous centuries. Computer users have transformed into active media consumers who no longer passively consume information. In the past we were merely consumers of news.

Be Converted

     Despite the accolades Web 2.0 technology is getting from innovative educators, there are a numerous number of teachers who don’t used Web 2.0 tools in the classroom yet. Because social networking sites require a personal profile to sign up, educators are fearful. Some don’t want to old friends or fraudulent family members to contact them. Others don’t want to be tracked by debt collectors. Some educators are fearful that because of the many budget cuts more technology in the classroom, it is simply too costly and not in the budget.

Suspension, expulsion or restorative

In many urban schools there is a concern for customary and habitual suspensions and expulsions.  These practices are largely driven by the over-representation of minority demographics.  Minority students make up a large portion of the population of students who are suspended or expelled from school.  An alarming fact is that  African American boys make up 23%% of the CPS's student population yet  76% of this  student population are expelled from CPS schools. Also important is emerging research that indicates that these consequences, suspension and expulsion, are not likely to change the inappropriate behavior of the students involved, nor do they serve to deter other students from engaging in the same behaviors.

Johnny can't read, still

Over the years we have spent too much time talking about the problem. We have raised valid issues regarding the fact that many students can't read. We have talked about why they can't read. Entire school districts have bought expensive programs and materials that were supposed be the answer. 

In 1964, John Holt became a prominent educator when he pointed the finger at the system because "Johnny" could read. He wrote a book called, "How Children Fail" detailing reasons why our kids fail.

We have a problem

What's tweeting in education today? Listen up educators. Get those students online NOW! 

I have been in education for over 27 years and I have experienced first hand that the American education system has an amazing resistance to innovation.  Approximately 100 years ago Thomas Edison once said, "Books will soon be obsolete in the public schools...our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years." However because of a deep resistance from administration as well as teachers the classroom experience hasn't changed much at all for contemporary students.

Digital literacy heightens student achievement

Unbelievably, in the year 2013, there are many schools in urban and rural areas without adequate technology in the classroom. On the other hand, there are schools that spend a great deal of funding making sure schools have the latest technology for student use. Can you believe there are schools that have this equipment tucked away and locked up? In many cases, school officials fear students will “get hooked” on technology, be distracted by it, or be overwhelmed by it.In other cases, the teachers in charge of these students lack the 21st century skills necessary to incorporate technology into lesson plans.

10 tips for incorporating Web 2.0 tools in the classroom

1. Incorporate Web2.0 tools at any level in your lesson planning.

2. Overlapping resources at different levels of learning is normal.

3. Integrate Web 2.0 tools according the relevance they have to your lesson or project.

4. Ensure the Web 2.0 tools support your intended student outcomes.

5. Reuse tools students like but don’t be afraid to try new ones.

6. Enhance differentiation by providing students a choice of topics and artifacts.

7. Rid yourself of fear many educators have of technology and have fun.

21st century differentiated instruction

Reprinted from the Chicago Urban Examiner.

FEBRUARY 23, 2013

 What is differentiated instruction for the Digital Age? This educational philosophy says that a teacher should provide students with diverse content, assorted processes, allowing for student to create variant products and artifacts as a result of every lesson.It says that no two learners are alike and to differentiate instruction means to vary the learning environment in recognition of variances in students’ readiness, prior knowledge, backgrounds, partialities, interests, experiences, and learning styles.

What is Blended Learning?

First published in my Urban Education column atwww.examiner.comon January 31, 2013. 

Many teachers who teach in urban settings complain that students are unmotivated and they don't know what to do. Learners who act out have in many cases simply become disinterested in school for various reasons. One of the main reasons is that they have been disengaged in learning so often that they have lost interest. Absenteeism is a main cause of disengagement. Learners who are absent too often miss important information and get behind so they lose interest.
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