Educelerate XVIII: New School Models in K-12 Education

This Educelerate Event was recorded on July 31st, 2014 and presented by Christopher Nyren, Founder of Educelerate.  Educelerate holds a gathering space for Ed Tech leaders in the industry with the educators and entrepreneurs who share their interests. This next episode, taken from Educelerate 18: New School Models in K-12 Education, invites listeners and viewers to join our panel discussion on New Models in K-12 Education.  Watch experts in Blended and Flipped Learning, Maker and Place-based Education, and Charters and Independent Schools including:

Our panelists:

Cameron Smith: Cameron is the co-founder and CEO of Bennett Day School, which he was inspired to create after the birth of his son in 2010 (who will be a member of their first JK class this year).  He also serves on the Board of the Namaste Charter School.

• Anne Gillespie: Anne is the Founding Principal of the Academy for Global Citizenship.  After working as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and earning her Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis  University, Anne co-founded the Academy for Global Citizenship, a Chicago Public Charter School located on the underserved Southwest side of Chicago.

• Nick Montgomery: Nick is the Chief Research Officer of TeacherMatch and previously was the founder and CEO of UChicago Impact, an organization supporting schools in the use of research-based, practice-proven tools across 20 states.

• David Napier: kindly filling in on our panel for Mac Gamse, founder and CEO of Meritas Schools, David is the SVP of Regional Operations, providing strategic and operational leadership for its four schools in the Western US. Previously, David worked for the education private equity fund Sterling Partners and in business development for Kaplan. Please join us online at Educelerate’s next event. You can RSVP here at our Meetup Page. 

Enjoy the event!

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At #ISTE2014: Posters, Playgrounds, And Personalization Were The Win

Personalization. I have really been enjoying this word more and more over the past couple years, and have started to understand how important personalizing my learning has become. This is why I’m so fond of the EdCamp experience. This is why I love Twitter. This is why I love #EdChat.

I don’t mean to sound impatient, but as my growth and love for personalization has come into its own, at the same time, my frustrations and impatience for sitting in conference sessions that I’m not getting anything out of- has only increased.

With that growth- the ISTE Conference 2014 has done something to satisfy my love for personalization like never before. This year’s ISTE was the equivalent of dropping myself into the middle of a gourmet buffet- giving me lots to choose from, great new inspirational students and teachers to meet, and didn’t lock me in any rooms that I couldn’t get out of. It did this by making the Poster Sessions and Learning Playgrounds- absolutely awesome. This is where I felt free. At one moment I could be talking with students about their robotic turtle project- then go to talk to Roger Wagner about his Hyperstudio Arduino hacking that he’s doing. Freedom to move about the cabin.


It gives me thoughts about the future of conferences in general. Instead of devoting an entire floor to vendors- I’d like an entire floor to be Posters and Playgrounds. I like the ability to find exactly what I’m looking for, really dig in with questions, or simply get lost in learning. This was really one of the first times where poster sessions finally evolved and went beyond the old tri-fold. Finally (perhaps it’s the Maker Movement?) we saw tons of interactive displays, computers, projections, and walking/talking robots. It gave me feelings like this was the Columbian Exposition of learning. As if we were finally being treated to the future- of what learning can look like.

I don’t mean to sound impatient, but as my growth and love for personalization has come into its own, at the same time, my frustrations and impatience for sitting in conference sessions that I’m not getting anything out of- has only increased.

As a classroom teacher, I do stick to chunks. I almost always give kids breaks after every 10 minutes, ask a question, point something out. I’ve been sticking to that 10/2 rule for years, but I see that kind of chunking works for me as well. This is why the Poster/Playground format is becoming so important. Sure, I can sit through an hour lecture, especially if it’s engaging, and there’s certainly a time and place for that. Separating my own learning into chunks like this, gives me the opportunity to make the most of my time.

This was also the most useful I found QR Codes. I find QR Codes to be somewhat gimmicky, but at a poster, if the speaker was engaged with someone else, I was easily able to snap a QR code, add that resource to my Pocket list,  and go about my day. Never stopping. Always collecting more and learning.

There were, of course, other great things about ISTE2014, namely Phil Hansen’s EdTek Talk. That was perhaps the most brilliant keynote and public display of presenting that I’ve ever seen in person. After his presentation, I watched his TED Talk. Seeing him speak in person, the effect was completely different. I thought his display of creativity was out of this world.

I almost didn’t make it to ISTE this year. It was literally a last minute effort to get me to Atlanta. I haven’t missed an ISTE in 6 years. I can now safely say that ISTE has become simply part of my summer process, like Independence Day and Ribfest. I’m already booking my Philadelphia rooms right now. Here’s to lifelong learning!

Introducing: The Google Docs Marginalizer

Google Docs has been constantly improving. Most recently they created an Add-ons feature that allows you to install great little apps that improve Google Docs functionality. But what about margins? This has long been a problem with Google Docs, as many an English teacher can attest to. Finally, Google Edu guru, Kevin Brookhouser, has taken the matter into his own hands, and introduces the Google Docs Marginalizer. Share with your fellow teachers- and be part of the solution! In this video, Kevin shares how you can integrate this new tool with Google Docs. Enjoy!


Get Marginalized Right Now!—->    Tweet this out




Support EdReach By Becoming a Patron. Yes, It’s Crowdfunding Time!


One of the things we know is that EdReach has some of education’s most devoted followers. EdReach doesn’t follow the content trend on the web. We’re part of the “attention web,” keeping devoted listeners around for 30, 60, even 90 minutes at a time. In this latest age of click-share-don’t-read, we’re all pretty excited about this accomplishment- and where we’re headed.

Each week, EdReach gets pitch ideas, request for new shows/channels, and requests for advertisement (most of which don’t follow our mission). We’re also being asked to cover education events, and with this latest conference season, we dispatched contributors at 8 conferences over the past three weeks and coming weeks. We’ve helped to create and support The #EduWin Awards, and to continue to promote the positivity in education. Again, this is awesome, but to honor these requests, EdReach has some growing to do, and some building to do.

To help us in our “next phase” of growth, we’re putting together a crowdfund over at What Patreon does, is gives anyone a chance to support what we do, by giving as little as $1 per month. By becoming a Patron of EdReach, you’ll help us do three things:

1. Rebuild EdReach. Right now, we’re working on a new version of EdReach, that we think is really awesome. We want people to engage in our content in ways that they never have before, and share that content more easily.

2. Help Us Build a News Team. As you might now, as Editor in Chief, I’ve been really focused on education in the news. My personal blog is somewhat devoted to it. We’ve danced around doing the news before, but we have a unique vision for education news that treats education differently. One of the things we don’t want to do is what other networks do, and simply read other people’s news. Real news requires real journalism, which, in education, there are only a handful of bonafide, respectable education journalists.

3. Build The New EdReach Studio: Most of our dozens of contributors do a lot of the content creation themselves, with some audio and customization work on our side. We help in branding and distribution, but we’d like to lighten their loads. A better studio situation would allow us to pipe in all of their content, and edit it from our side.


We’re part of the “attention web” keeping devoted listeners around for 30, 60, even 90 minutes at a time. 


By supporting us with at least a dollar a month, you’ll help us reach goals that can continue to transform education, and help us support the dozens of contributors that are stretched over three continents.  By helping us build the new EdReach, you can be a deeper part of the EdReach family, and be a continued part of what helps us “Take Education Forward.”  And there’s some exciting rewards as well! Check the Patreon page for more details.

Are you satisfied with education in the news? Do you want to see better education coverage? By contributing, we’re going to build a real education news team like you’ve never seen- that covers innovation- not unions and angry teachers. So, drop a dollar in our barrel, and The EdReach Contributors can continue to do what they do-

Only better.


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Image Credit (featured): Alan Cleaver

EdReach Nominated for Chicago Innovation Award


As educators, we know all too well not to toot our own horn too much. Besides, the work we do here at EdReach is about the educators and the innovators- not us. When we submitted our application for a Chicago Innovation Award, the application clearly asked: who is responsible for the innovation at EdReach? There was only one answer: the educators that are Taking Education Forward. 

We’re working simply to highlight the amazing work that everyone is doing, and to elevate education to something beyond the bland outskirts that it has been relegated to for so many years. We’ve always thought that education deserves better. That’s why we joined the #EduWin movement. That’s why keep pushing. That’s why we keep adding new channels. That’s why we’re adding a new comic strip tomorrow, and bringing in innovative brands.

We’re not satisfied with education’s stature in the media, in the global conversation, with teacher training and how PD and is offered online- and we’ll continue to grow EdReach until we’re satisfied with education’s place in the world.

We’re hopeful that day will come sooner than later.  So- regardless of how far we get with this award process- the real thanks, goes to all of you awesome educators out there- who continue to build, share, and grow this network.

Thanks to all of you.

EdReach: Explained

At EdReach, we’re growing by leaps and bounds. We’re adding new channels for educators left and right, and will be adding some brilliant new channels in the next few weeks. One of our original missions, was to be the ed tech facilitators “of the world,” but what we’ve learned is that technology- is really only a fraction of the conversation. We see education as a lens- that any topic can be viewed through. If you’ve been waiting to share a great resource with educators, go ahead and share this video. If there’s an educator you’ve been trying to reach- we have a channel for them. Listen and learn- at Thanks for sharing!

Summer PD Your Teachers Won’t Want to Miss – [Updated]

[Update] We’re getting really excited! So far EdReach has close to 150 folks signed up for tonight’s Hangout On Air!  To sign up for tonight’s Event- FlipBoard and Your iPad 1:1- go to this link. If you can’t make it- that’s okay- but why not share it with your fellow educators? Let’s enjoy one of the best Summer PD experiences yet!  

Announcing our Summer Learning Series here on EdReach! 1 to 1: On Air

One thing we know, is that so many people are doing iPad 1:1 pilots. While we know there are other device pilots going on right now, we wanted to create a series that would be focused on doing amazing things with one specific ecosystem. In this case-  iPad. Also- we want to show off the power of Google Hangouts as a PD device.

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We’re working directly with Haiku Deck, MentorMob, Google, TechSmith, Subtext, and FlipBoard to create a series of workshops that will give you great ideas to use with students, and for managing your classroom. We’ve also found some of the most talented educators to run these.

Why pay for PD? EdReach is bringing your school district some of the best PD right to your desktop or screen. Use the hashtag #EdReach on Twitter and G+ while enjoying this PD, and connect to educators everywhere!

How do you sign up? Here’s how: 

Step 1:  Go to our Google Plus page and add us to your circles.

Step 2: Add these events to your schedule, click on “Add These Events to Your Calendar” below and choose “Yes,” that you’re going. You can also invite others to the events!

Step 3: Join the EdReach Community Page  so we can share what you’ve done with these apps afterward!

All of these will be broadcast LIVE on our Google Plus page. Go ahead and add that page to your circles. You can also tell people to go to to spread the news.

So, when does it start? What’s the schedule? Here’s the tentative schedule (more to be added):

FlipBoard and Your iPad 1:1Flipboard

Presenters: FlipBoard Head Curator, Mia Quagliarello and Sue Waters,

Date: July 17th, 2013, 7pm CST


FlipBoard is the most popular way to catch up on all the news you care about, discover amazing things from around the world, and stay connected to the people closest to you. You can save and collect the things you love into your own magazines like “Education & Technology” or “Class Ideas.” In this 1:1 series we will show you how to use FlipBoard as a resource for you, as an educator, or in your classroom.

Add This Event to Your Calendar 

Subtext and Your iPad 1:1Subtext


Heidi Perry, Subtext

Dena Glynn — 4th/5th grade teacher from Poway Unified

Sara Speicher — Literacy Coach and Digital Content Specialist, Hopkins West Jr. High

Julie Walthour — Literary Coach, Hopkins West Jr. High

Date: July 24th, 2013, 7pm CST


Subtext is a reading platform (iPad, Web) that lets classroom groups collaborate in the pages of any digital book, article, PDF or document. Join three Subtext teacher veterans to learn how to find content, create groups, and start discussions with higher elementary or middle/high school students. Bring your iPad and follow along during this ‘demo & do’ session and you’ll leave knowing the basics of Subtext!

Add This Event to Your Calendar

MentorMob: Curating Your iPad 1:1Mmob

Presenters: Alison Anderson, Jon Samuelson

Date: July 31st, 2013, 7pm CST


Mentor Mob is the best place to organize learning on the web, whether it be by storing your own playlists or discovering new lists from the 1000s already created. The power of MentorMob is that it allows users, both teachers and students, to harness open content from anywhere on the internet and, easily, feed it into a simple step by step playlist. In this 1:1 series, we will show you how to make your own playlists and, also, share the best lists that are already found in the MentorMob library.

Add This Event to Your Calendar

Ask3 and Your iPad 1:1ASk3

Presenters: Brian Bennett, TechSmith, and Rebecca Wildman, educator.

Date: August 7th, 2013, 7pm CST


Participants will see a wide variety of uses for the Ask3 app in a 1:1 iPad classroom. Rebecca Wildman will share many tips and tricks to help deploy the app successfully in the classroom. She will share student examples and her experiences using Ask3 with students.

 Add This Event to Your Calendar

Haiku Deck and Your iPad 1:1Haiku

Presenters: Rafranz Davis

Date: August 14th,  2013, 7pm CST


In this workshop, you are invited to join Haiku Deck Guru, Rafranz Davis as she gives insight into how students can use Haiku Deck to transform learning. Whether you teach kindergarten or Senior English, Rafranz will share her expertise on the ins and outs of creating in the classroom. In the span of 45 minutes, you’ll leave this workshop understanding how to create a conversation in lieu of a presentation.

Add this Event to Your Calendar

Google and Your iPad 1:1Google Logo

Presenters: John Sowash, Google Certified Teacher

Date: August 21, 2013, 7pm CST


Blending the power of Google and Apple yields engaging and relevant classroom possibilities for students of all ages. In this installment on the EdReach summer learning series, we will explore different Google applications and web services and suggest integration strategies for your classroom. The iPad is about to go Google!

Add This Event to Your Calendar 


We’ll make sure to post any updates as they come in, as well as when we have confirmation of presenters and descriptions.

Go to our G+ Page right now to add us to your circles.


Welcome Techlandia to The EdReach Network!

techlandia itunes 300

EdReach has always been about giving educators a bigger voice. That’s why we’re super excited to announce that Techlandia – that show that everyone is raving about, has joined The EdReach Network.

From day 1 of starting EdReach, we knew that education had a problem in the media. Education still- is all over the place, and getting cool relevant resources in one place- is still a challenge. Hopefully now, by adding Techlandia (and newer shows on the way), we’ve made that process a little bit easier.

Says Jon Samuelson, host of Techlandia, and new EdReach Contributor:

“Alison, Curt, and I are very excited to become a part of the EdReach Network.  We started the podcast to help teachers get ideas that they can use in the classroom right away. Joining the EdReach Network with all the great podcasts and educators that we listen to already, was an honor for all of us on Techlandia.”

One of our biggest contributors and Oregon educator, Sean Williams raves about Techlandia:

“I love the Techlandia podcast because the zany group is from all over the country, so they have diverse experience and perspective. Never miss any of the great tips and ideas that they share. Every episode has ideas, apps, and great people to follow on Twitter.”

So, where can you find Techlandia? You can:

Subscribe to them on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe to the Techlandia EdReach Channel (and get more than just podcasts!)

EdReach is collecting the voices of educators everywhere. You can soon hear more new shows on EdReach! We are adding new channels almost every week, it seems.  Congratulations to Techlandia for a quality show, and let’s continue Taking Education Forward!

Want to contribute to EdReach? Drop us a line here:



EdReach, Stitcher Radio, Form Partnership to Take Education Forward

logo_0034_stitcherIt’s not everyday we like to tout our own accomplishments, but we’re very excited to announce that we are partnering with Stitcher Radio, the leader in Internet radio.

One of the things we love to talk about on EdReach are innovations. Innovations in the classroom, gaming, media literacy, apps, classroom tech, startups – the list goes on. We do this because these things are relevant to those who are ready to Take Education Forward.

One of those innovators are Stitcher Radio. By partnering with EdReach, Stitcher is helping to promote the awesome content that is created by so many innovators in their field, and they’re giving education a front row seat. No other audio platform allows you the flexibility to listen on any device with the ease that Stitcher does, and from our perspective, no other platform offers such a great amount of listener data that is extremely hard to find on other platforms. Stitcher truly is taking education forward.

With today’s partnership, Stitcher helps EdReach promote innovative education all across the world with content distribution, accessibility, and increased exposure.

Rachel Eaton, Stitcher’s Director of Content Partnerships says:

“We are proud to be working with EdReach. We believe in their mission of Taking Education Forward and are happy to provide a platform that will help them reach their audience to expand that mission.”

Stitcher’s platform makes consuming education content seamless.  A growing population of educators make their morning or afternoon drive a learning and engaging experience by listening to EdReach shows. Here’s what an educator said just yesterday:

Thank you #EdReach network you are awesome! Where else can I get my PD on my schedule?
Roberta Bandfield

Overall, Stitcher offers over 15,000 shows on-demand. Through this partnership, is solidified as a go-to broadcast network for education content.

Wesley Fryer, Oklahoma educator and edtech innovator says of EdReach:

“Amidst the negative barrage of news amplified by mainstream media outlets today, we need EdReach and the educator voices it seeks to amplify- more than ever. Check out the podcast shownotes for more links to follow and subscribe to EdReach. Consider not only becoming an EdReach Network follower, but also a contributor!”

We couldn’t be happier to have a partner that supports us the way that they do. You can help support all of us by downloading the Stitcher App here, or you can listen to EdReach right here. For the past few months, EdReach has consistently been in the Stitcher Top 100 shows for educators, and this no doubt will help us improve that.

Thanks so much to our listeners for all your support of EdReach and Stitcher. Hopefully, we’re always on your schedule.



Roger Ebert: The Man Who Taught Me How to Read

roger-ebert-2So, one of my childhood heroes is gone.

I can safely say that, besides John Denver, for me, there is no greater public influence on my work in education, my work as a writer, my obsession with visual, audio, and written media- than Roger Ebert.

This hurts.

Like many Chicagoans growing up in the early eighties, kids spent quality time with their parents saddled up to watch Sneak Previews, with Gene Siskel and Roger.

You don’t always think about how these shows influence you, until moments like now, but here were two intelligent gentlemen, who did something you hardly ever see on Facebook these days, and that’s have “gentlemen’s” arguments. They would spar back and forth talking about one of the greatest  and most influential mediums of the 20th Century- the movies. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?!  Watching that show made me fall in love, not just with movies, but understanding how movies are made, and understanding the story-making process. They would pick it apart. This was higher-order learning of the best and most fun kind.

It’s probably no wonder that later in life, I went on to go to film school, and worked in a video store for three years devouring every (and I mean every) movie on the shelves to the point of reading all of the VCR boxes as well. I had to know who produced what, who wrote what, and who were the players behind some of the best (and putrid)  movies ever made.  I was motivated to learn about this medium- because of Roger’s unwavering devotion. Without even knowing him personally, he was a great teacher. One of the best. Who would have thought that all this time Roger Ebert was teaching one of the biggest and most elaborate MOOCs ever imagined?

I was never an avid reader growing up. Well, of books, that is. But I guess kids really do model their parents because my Dad read the paper voraciously, and, like any good Chicagoan, read the Sun-Times from back to front (to first get any Cubs news). I followed suit, and started to read Roger’s reviews (which were always in-depth and much better than Siskel’s).

In the early nineties, Roger started this great column, which appeared every two weeks on Sunday called The Movie Answer Man. I never missed it- ever. Here was a pre-Internet opportunity to ask the king of movie knowledge what he thought about a certain camera angle, what he thought about certain genres, and helped him create an entirely new movie language, which you can learn in his Little Movie Glossary. Before 1995, Roger Ebert was The Internet Movie Database. I ate up every word.


Once Gene Siskel died, it was great to see Roger bring in new voices to his show, bringing in stars of the Internet like Harry Knowles and showing that he was adapting. The biggest and most unique evolution Roger did in the last few years, was start his blog, which I also hope is archived forever. Like I did with his Movie Answer Man column, this was one writer, one mind- that I could not wait for the next post. I could not wait to hear what Roger thought of- anything. I respected him that much.

This was a unique chance to hear the thoughts of a man whom I revered- talk about things other than film. Though my favorite Roger Ebert blog posts were usually when he talked about the future of cinema, probably because it involved the technology of cinema, which combines way too many things that I love all at once.

 Before 1995, Roger Ebert was The Internet Movie Database.


Throughout the eighties I wasn’t much of a reader, but I did read Ebert. The nineties, things got a little more interesting, as my love of cinema had grown, I dove into reading books Roger wrote, but also was inspired by much of Roger’s cinematic muses. From that I discovered works on cinema and art by Walter Murch, David Mamet, Carl Sagan, George Hurrell, John Berger, Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris,  Stanley Kubrik, Sidney Lumet , George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, and so many more.

It was because of Ebert, and I can say this honestly- that I read anything- at all.

Look what Roger started!

Look what Roger started!

And writing? I didn’t write much more than chicken scratch on a napkin until I got to college, but when the Internet boom exploded, I finally had an authentic reason (and an audience). Being able to share thoughts with Ebert on his blog, get comments back from him, was the most amazing feeling for this film geek-educator-blogger-podcaster.

Roger Ebert was able to conquer every medium- film, books, the Internet- he even has some of the best film commentary tracks you can find. This is one of his best, and it is also one of his Great Movies (and one of my favorite movies ever, Dark City).

Part of what we do at EdReach is take a different view of education, viewing education from all angles, from classroom strategies to pop culture. When I think of how much media is important to me, and how much I strive to make education relevant, positive, in people’s minds- so much of this is because of the legacy that Roger Ebert created. He taught me how to read, to write. Ebert taught us all that you can remain relevant- that education- can remain relevant every single day.

You just can’t ever stop.

Badge Madness: Classbadges and Edublogs Team Up to Reward Kid Bloggers Everywhere

Great news for those of you innovative teachers who blog with your students. Edublogs, the Internet’s premiere student blogging service, and the newest entry into the official badge movement, has teamed up to allow teachers to reward their students achievement badges for those who reach milestones.

But how does blogging translate into achievements?  James Sanders, Classbadges Founder says:

“Authors are recognized for their accomplishments, either literary prizes or earning spots on celebrated lists, students who go above and beyond through their blog also deserve to be recognized.”

Teachers who are looking for new ways to reward students to “go beyond grading,” can leverage Classbadges as a classroom platform. What’s also great, is that you can create your own badges and match them up with CBs vast library of artwork. We got to playing around with CBs and we made this great EdReach Pro Listener badge:

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Lately, the badge movement has been getting a huge influx with Mozilla’s Open Badge movement, creating an alternative method of grading that begs the question whether we need grading at all. The end game is that students would be able to use their badges on their resumes to get interviews, to get into college, to get jobs-  to show what it is that they’ve actually accomplished. EdReach talked with James Sanders last October when Classbadges was just launching:

So, if you’ve been looking for new ways to reach out to your students, definitely try Classbadges and Edublogs. There is also a WordPress Plugin for those of you who blog outside of Edublogs, but still use WordPress. You can download that here.   Go to to learn more!

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SXSWedu: Alan Gershenfeld- The Difference Between ‘Big G’ and ‘Little G’ Games

Today at #SXSWedu,  we had a moment to talk to Alan Gershenfeld, CEO and President of E-Line Media, a publisher of game-based learning products and services.

From Alan:

“Often the deepest learning happens around a game… in the social space around it. “

We asked Alan to tell us about the concept and differences between Big G and Little G games: