The 50-50 Rule of Technology Integration

Technology, when used to create content and connect students with authentic audiences, empowers learners and prepares them for jobs that don’t even exist yet. It is critical for schools to facilitate and promote a culture of content creation. Educators that teach students how to use tech tools to actively create content are EMPOWERING these learners by giving them the skills, strategies, and experiences they’ll need as they move into the future.

Technology Post Final

To begin, schools must work to create an equal balance of content consumption and content creation in their classrooms. Too many school systems have spent millions of dollars to equip students and teachers with the latest tech tools only to utilize them in the wrong ways.


Rows of silent students completing digital worksheets on their Chromebooks or iPads is not what one would call effective technology integration.  The digital use divide between passive consumption and active creation must be closed!


Teachers in classrooms should subscribe to the 50-50 Rule of technology integration. If students CONSUME content in the classroom for 25 minutes, they then need to CREATE content for the same amount of time in that classroom. For example, if I direct my students to passively consume content by completing assignments in Castle Learning, IXL or ReadWorks Digital, I must allow them to spend the same amount of time creating content using their devices.


This can be done in a variety of innovative ways including creating How-To Videos for Genius Hour projects, making Google Slides presentations for Iron Chef Jigsaw lessons or writing a new post for the class blog. It’s very important to strike this balance between consumption of content and creation of content on a regular basis. It could also include students putting tech devices away for the remainder of the class and making something in a Makerspace-like environment.


What do you think about the 50-50 Rule of Technology Integration? Would you suggest a different ratio? Please write a reply in the comment section at the end of this post.


Fear vs. Exhilaration


Fear = I don’t know if I should share/try/deploy this new tech tool/teaching strategy/business model. It could fail catastrophically!

Exhilaration = I can’t wait to try this out with my students/teachers/employees. This is going to make things so much better!

I used to worry about sharing my work here on this blog and on social media. I was afraid that someone would “steal” my stuff. I imagined that another educator would scoop up my idea and claim it as their own in an article, a book or a tweet. But then I read Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and my mindset was TRANSFORMED!

Mr. Kleon writes that you don’t have to be a genius (I’m definitely not) to share your work. He claims that we should make an effort to share something small every day emphasizing that you can’t find your voice if you don’t use it. Kleon also states that you should stick around and not give up so easily. It takes time to build a following and those of us who have continued to share, post and tweet are reaping the benefits of establishing and maintaining a vibrant PLN (Personal Learning Network).

This quote has inspired me to transform my fear into exhilaration and I plan to reflect on it when the “worry whispers” begin to create feelings of anxiety and doubt.

A Connected Educator is a Better Educator

Teaching isn’t just a job for me, it’s a calling – a career I’ve always wanted and one I am deeply proud of. I’m passionate about my profession and I make an effort to improve upon and add to my pedagogical repertoire on a daily basis. As someone famous once said, “The best teachers are also the best learners,” and I strive to learn as much as I can about education in the 21st century.

In order to become a better educator, I suggest that teachers and administrators do the following:

1. Stay Connected via Social Media – The education community is thriving on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (to a lesser extent). I credit my Personal Learning Network (PLN) for keeping me abreast of the latest education technology trends and pedagogical strategies. Professional development on Twitter has been a game-changer for me and I highly recommend you read the graphic below and join us. I also wrote about the awesome power of Twitter PD here.


2. Read and Discuss Professional Literature on a Daily Basis – This can be in the form of the most recent education books, journal articles, and blog posts. My goal is to read 25 pages a day. Some days I read more and some days I read less, but it evens out over the course of the year. Read the following article for more information on how to read more, “The Simple Plan To Read More”.

Some of my favorite titles read are:

The End of Average by Todd Rose

The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath

The Formative Five by Thomas R. Hoerr

Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule the World by Adam Grant

Dive Into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice by Trevor MacKenzie

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith

Start a book club at your school in order to collaborate with colleagues as you dive deeper into the books you read. Can’t find anyone to join you? Head over to Twitter and/or Voxer to join one of the hundreds of book chats currently underway. You can connect and collaborate with like-minded educators while discussing the latest thought-provoking titles. This is a true game-changer!


3. Blog Consistently – I make an effort to write a blog post per week, and this helps to keep my creative juices flowing and allows me to share some of the innovative teaching strategies (with and without tech) I use with the rest of the education community around the world. I find the process of writing to be therapeutic and it allows me to record important events in my career, reflect upon them and set goals for the future. I only wish I wrote more frequently and was happy to come across this blogging challenge:

30 Days of Blogging Challenge (are you in?)

Why don’t you join us?

4. Share Your Work – My goal for 2016 was to present and speak at education conferences, workshops, and PD courses at least once a month. By pushing myself to write proposals to local, regional, national and international conferences, I have been able to meet and exceed that goal. This has greatly inspired and invigorated my teaching and leadership. I’m excited and honored to be speaking at my first international conference this June at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio.


5. Maximize Face-To-Face (F2F) Interactions – I believe it’s really important for educators to spend time with other members of our profession. It is refreshing to step out of the comfort zone of one’s school or district and meet teachers from different locales. I do this by attending education conferences, workshops, and EdCamps by myself so I’m forced to make new connections. Social media makes it easy to keep in touch with each other and continue to share innovative teaching ideas throughout the school year. I’ve made many valuable connections this way.


I’m sure there are many other ways you stay current in your teaching and keep the learning going 365 days a year. Please leave a comment on this post if you’d like to add to the list I’ve started.

A Christmas Carol For EDUs: Three Lessons From the Ghosts

I’ve always been mesmerized by A Christmas Carol.  Since I was a child, I’ve read the story countless times and continue to find new connections to my pesonal and professional life.  I love how Dickens vividly drives home the themes of change and redemption using the messages of the three ghosts.  These timeless lessons can certainly be applied to the field of education in three main ways:

Lesson 1:

Lesson 2:

Lesson 3:

The ability to continually monitor and adjust one’s thinking is a characteristic I strive to instill in my students.  Teachers can learn valuable messages from each of Dickens’ Christmas ghosts which can in turn be shared with their students.  We must always be aware of the lessons from the past and the present as we make an effort to grow personally and professionally in order to optimize future learning experiences for ourselves and our charges.

I believe it’s important to avoid complacency at all costs!

Click the image below for further reading.

Sage on the StagetoGuide on the Side-2

App Smashing Ideas from the #FlocabChat Community – The Flocabulary Blog



“During last month’s #FlocabChat, we talked  about all things app smashing—using two or more edtech tools together in the classroom. Simple as that!

We covered a lot of ground, so we thought we’d pull out some key highlights and tips for our Flocab community. Here are some of the tools that our #FlocabChat friends suggested (in addition to some of our own tips).”

Click the link below to continue reading.

App Smashing Ideas from the #FlocabChat Community – The Flocabulary Blog