Posts categorized "Mobile Learning" Feed

This is a Remind Reminder!

This is a reminder to try using the Remind app! This seemingly simple, free tool can transform your classroom or organization. 

In early 2012, I was introduced to Remind co-founder Brett Kopf as I was leading CoSN's mobile learning initiative at the time.  At the time, I was intrigued by his story and impressed that a local Chicagoan had gone on to make his mark on the world. 

If you're not familiar with Remind, it is an immensely popular communications platform for educators. I encourage you to sign up on the web for it or download the app for iOS or Android. Experiment with it from the teacher perspective (creator of a class) and the student perspective (person receiving messages). Remind is currently being used by 1 out of 5 U.S educators and it is a safe, simple and secure method for educators to communicate with families and students over the age of 13. From the web, you can schedule announcements and add attachments; on the app, you can also attach photos and voice memos. Recently, Remind announced that multi-owner groups a great feature for co-teachers; translation in six languages another feature being rolled out this fall.

Since August, I've been contracted to conduct educator outreach with Remind in the state of Illinois. This means that I'm available to meet with anyone interested in using this tool through the end of October 2015 and can provide no-cost training to teachers, administrators, coaches, parent groups, after school programs,  childcare workers and park district employees who are curious about using this tool to improve home/school communications. I'm willing to work with you and your colleagues to find the best method for supporting users in your school, district or organization. Email me at if I can be of help! 

During the last couple of months, I've been very impressed with Remind Connected Educators, a group of Remind power users, who continually demonstrate creative ways to use Remind. Many of their ideas are inspirational and would have never occurred to me. These teachers have gone beyond using Remind for basic class announcements and homework reminders. Recently, we held a Twitter chat on this topic, and you can see some of these ideas on this tagboard. I love how teachers are using Remind to send celebratory shoutouts to kids and parents, to communicate with families on field trips and student travel excursions, to participate in Twitter chats and even to engage students in class scavenger hunts. Administrators are also finding Remind to be invaluable for sending resources and morale boosters to faculty and for hosting "Asking Me Anything" chats for their school communities via Remind. 

I've been using Remind to share innovation resources and global education links on a daily basis. You are welcome to join either group, and you can see them embedded at the bottom of this blog post. 

  • To join my Illinois Ed Tech Innovator class, follow this link or text @iledtech to 81010.
  • To join my Global Education News class, follow this link or text @gecnews to 81010.

Here are some links to get started and I hope that you'll experiment with Remind and share potential uses on Twitter with the hashtag #RCEchat. 


Social Media and Mobile Learning Workshop at #CoSN14

New Leadership for Mobile Learning Project Director Marie Bjerede and I will be hosting a workshop next at week at the Consortium for School Networking's annual conference. The focus will be on using social media in conjunction with mobile devices and the purpose will be to give school leaders more direct instruction with using social media effectively. It seems that many administrators don't have the time and/or inclination to dive into the world of Web 2.0 tools, and we want to provide an opportunity for such types to play with tools that will potentially enhance their work. 

That said, we are not going to cover every single hot social media channel out there during this three hour workshop. Instead, we'll explore social networks and blogs and then dive into microblogging and social bookmarking. We could go to town by looking at YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., but we will keep things simple and practical for the scope of the workshop. 

All of these tools are almost rendered useless, however, unless one takes time to develop a personal learning network. This means you connect to others who share your professional interests and this increases your chances of learning about best practices, identifying great resources, and building opportunities for collaboration. During this workshop, we'll give advice on how to do this as well as how to develop one's online professional persona. 

Anyone is welcome to peruse our workshop materials (see below) and contribute to our networking survey. We'd love to have school leaders show how they are leveraging social media and connect with workshop participants. Please also follow our conversations on Twitter by searching for the hashtags #CoSN14 and #CoSNLML.  


Mobile Learning Resources

As it's the beginning of a new school year, I just wanted to re-share with you resources from the Leadership for Mobile Learning at CoSN. I'm the project director for this initiative and am constantly curating information related to this topic.

Please check out:

Our LinkedIn CoSN subgroup on Mobile Learning:
Don't forget to also join CoSN's main LinkedIn group:

Our daily digital newsaper on with mobile learning news:
Our social bookmarking group in Diigo: (TIP: search our group by state abbreviation to see ML news in your area or search by device name to see news and resources)
And finally, our Guide to Mobile Learning which will help schools think ahead: .

Let me know if you have any questions or can suggest other resources. I'm particularly looking for stuff related to non-iOS mobile learning so that I can present a wide range of resources to CoSN membership and beyond! 

I Love My Work!

image from the past couple of years, I've been working as a consultant, traveling to various locales to generally help others think about innnovation in education. This work has included running an online global education conference, delivering presentations at conferences, conducting one day workshops, curating news, writing curriculum and offering insight to individual schools, school boards, and established companies. Interestingly, I'm increasingly getting more inquiries from ed tech start ups on how best to connect to educators as well. 

I've been inspired by many places I've visited and by many people I've met along the way; one project has stood out to me as particularly ideal. Since last Spring, I've worked with fellow Apple Distinguished Educator Larry Baker to think about customized professional development as part of his school's "Mercy 2.0" initiative. Mercy High School is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and is currently transitioning its one-to-one device program for students from PC tablets to iPads. All faculty members and freshman students have iPads; upperclassmen were given the choice of sticking with the PC tablets or purchasing an iPad (approximately 200 students did so, interestingly enough). 

It's important to note that Mercy has an amazing leadership team (comprised of the head of operations, tech director, dean of students, principal, department heads and president of the school)  that has been thinking and planning this transition for a significant period of time begininng with two briefings with Apple. The admin team is all on the same page in terms of believing in the power of technology to transform learning and also in their shared goal of creating a more robust digital culture within their school. For Mercy's leadership team, using iPads in the classsroom is not an optional choice for their teachers and they fully understand that they need to provide the support and professional development necessary to help their faculty become more successful. This leadership team is also very willing to listen to feedback from their faculty and alter plans as necessary in order  to meet faculty needs. I think the role of this leadership team has been invaluable to Mercy 2.0 and I've encouraged Larry to document the digital transformation process. You can read more about what they've been up to in his blog, and  Larry will also talk more about his work during a Mobile Learning Explorarations webinar for EdWeb this coming spring.

Because Mercy has been a digitally-oriented school for a number of years, Larry and his admin team colleagues have felt that that Mercy faculty needed specialized professional development focused on teaching with the iPad specifically and thinking through how to fully utlize iPads on the classroom.  I've been contracted to spend 5 days at Mercy over the course of this year in order to help make this happen. I spent two days there last Spring, meeting with each department and conducting informal intake assessments and then returned in August to lead workshops with another Apple Distinguished Educator, Cheryl Davis. Mercy also held drop in sessions for help with specific workflow apps and workshops on using Google Apps over the late spring and summer, and required teachers to complete 10 tasks related to using the IPads and post about this to Moodle. New teachers and students attended an iPad bootcamp as well. So, by the time fall and the acutal rollout to students arrived, many teachers felt that they had had enough professional development and need time to actually implement. It was a good  time to re-think about how best to use my time at Mercy.

Larry and his team then came up with the brilliant idea of inviting me back to work specficially with students. Imagine that! I was thrilled with the idea of helping Mercy iPad "wizards" come up with a plan to create a student-run tech program. During our planning meetings, I emphasized to Larry that this group should really be student-owned and that the adults would be there to facilitate, not co-opt, this group. 

Thus, last Friday, I met with 26 enthusiastic and articulate young women to help them think about how they could establish a tech group at Mercy and serve as leaders within their school community. To see what we discussed, take a look at our agenda which is a little messy, but you can see our course of action for the day. You can also learn about other student-run tech programs linked to in this document and shared by colleagues from the ISED-L listserv.

We started off getting to know each other by sharing our favorite apps and tech super powers. The girls also gave us postive constructive feedback on how well the iPad program rollout is going. We then dove into a list of links and did some preliminary research on other student-run tech programs. Steve Hargadon happened to ping me while trying out videoconferencing on his phone, so we chatted with him for a bit, and also held Google Hangouts (of which one is recorded) with Jason Markey and Kern Kelley. Jason included one of his students in our conversation and they discussed their for credit student tech help desk; Kern talked about his Tech Sherpas program. Make sure to watch Kern's video and to read Larry's reflections on the day for more details. At the end of the day, we brainstormed ideas for the structure of our program, started an outline and joined a Ning created by Mercy tech director Tom James in order to faciliate group communication going forward. 

Friday was an incredibly satisfying day for me, most notably because I spoke my piece, and then let the girls explore, discuss and brainstorm ideas for THEIR group. I was really impressed by their poise and enthusiasm and I was also stunned to realize how much I miss teaching. There is nothing like working with students and having synergystic moments when you know you are reaching them.

At any rate, working with Mercy High School has been such an amazing experience. We've mutually learned from each other and I've grown to really admire the leadership and teaching exhibited at this school. I can't wait to see what these tech "wizards" come up with as they continue to form their group, and I hope that I'll have the opportunity to work with others schools in a similar fashion in the future!    




Attention K12 Educators and Students! Share Your Favorite iOS and Android Apps!

In preparation for a future column, I'm looking to get as many responses as possible from teachers AND students to the following survey on favorite apps. Lots of iOS users have contributed their favorites so far, and I'd really love to get some some great Android app recommendations as well. 

Thanks in advance for your time!


Steps to Mobile Learning Success: Share Your Thoughts

After visiting many schools and listening to many education leaders over the past two years, I've determined that there are specific areas that need to be covered when planning effectively for mobile learning.  Is there anything else that you would add to this list?

  • Vision and Leadership
  • School Culture
  • Planning Process
  • Workflow
  • School Policies
  • Professional Development
  • Infrastructure (networks, device management, etc.)
  • Community Support
  • Action Research

Additionally, I think that schools also need to be aware of cross-platform tools if they are in BYOD situations,  to plan ahead for changes in assessments and textbook adoption, and to think about how they can creatively fund mobile technologies that they want to adopt.

As part of my work for CoSN, I am contributing to a new leadership initiative focused on helping schools adopt a digital transition cycle. Epic Ed is an online community of practice where school leaders can come to research and discuss complex issues related to modernizing education. Each month, I plan to create resources related to one of the aforementioned areas, and in September 2012, we'll start with discussing vision and leadership. 

I also strongly believe that leaders need experiment with mobile devices and apps in order to truly understand mobile learning. We must model appropriate uses for our colleagues and encourage others to explore new avenues for reaching students. That said, I've started a VoiceThread slideshow where anyone can comment and add their thoughts about this month's topic, vision and leadership. For every subsequent month, I'll add another theme and participants can share their tips, thoughts, and questions on that topic. Participants are also encouraged to send me photos of mobile learning in action or images of charts, diagrams, infographics etc (, and I'll post these as well. 

Please take a moment to leave a comment at the very least and pass this on! Thanks!



Summer Learning Opportunities for Educators

Summer is quickly approaching and it looks like it's going to be a busy one. I'll be presenting at a slew of conferences that may be of High Techpectations readers . Read on for more details!

June 18-20 The Connections Conference at Sidwell Friends, Washington DC

Visit one of the nation's leading independent schools and engage with colleagues during three days of breakout sessions and full day workshops. I'm excited to be presenting at this conference along with colleagues from Educational Collaborators!

June 25 - 27  ISTE 2012, San Diego, CA

Stay tuned about a possible Global Education Conference in person summit! I'll be also conducting a presentation during the conference on Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube and  Podcasting and Mobile Media Learning and Teaching along with Julene Reed and Larry Anderson. 

June 28 - July 1 The Asia Society's Partnership for Global Learning Conference, Brooklyn, NY

The Asia Society has been on the forefront of global learning for many years, and I'm thrilled to be presenting at PGL12  along with my Global Education Conference co-conspirator, Steve Hargadon. Anne Mirtschin, an Australian educator who has been very active in our online conference, will also be traveling to NYC and I can't wait to meet her in person! 

July 10 -12, iSummit, Atlanta, GA

I'm thrilled to be returning to the Coalition for Lighthouse Schools' annual conference. This is a fabulous event for independent and international schools with 1:1 Apple deployments. C0-chaired by my fellow Apple Distinguished Educator and friend, Julene Reed, this conference is a sure hit!

July 21, SDE Midwest Conference on Differentiated Instruction, Chicago, IL

SDE is one of the nation's premier providers of professional development, and I'll be presenting several sessions that be of interest to educators at their Midwest event.

August 2-5, Blackfoot ETC, Missoula, MT

After a two week sojourn with my family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I'll be keynoting this conference for Montana educators. I'll be focusing on mobile learning and can't wait to travel to the West to spread the word about best practices in educational technology.

Hope to connect and learning with many of you at these events! 





Directory of Mobile Learning Initiatives

Inspired by the ISE Wiki ( which I've always admired as a great resource, I'm developing a guide to mobile learning for administrators as part of my work as the project director for the Consortium for School Networking's Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative. My plan is to use this Google Form ( to document any initiatives that I've come across, culled mostly from various news items that I have bookmarked here: This informal directory will help school leaders identify pioneering schools and learning from their efforts. I'm also hoping at some point to turn this into a Google Map. 


Please feel free to add your school and a link to your initiative's web site: and check out the 45 or so schools and districts that I have listed so far. I also encourage you to join our Diigo bookmarking group to share resources on mobile learning:
We'll be informally rolling out the admin guide at CoSN's annual conference during a pre-conference BYOT workshop and two panels on mobile learning. If you'll be in attendance, please join us for some inspiring conversations with members of the Leadership for Mobile Learning advisory panel. Also, ISED members may be interested the International Symposium produced by CoSN and UNESCO which is focusing on mobile learning:


Looking for Mobile Learning Leaders to Add to My PLN

The following informal survey is designed to promote networking around mobile learning and is open to anyone... organizations, admins, teachers, researchers, etc.

As the new project director for a yet-to-be-announced mobile learning initative,  I'm personally interested learning from those who are dealing with mobile devices for learning from a planning and deployment perspective. I'm specifically looking to add more school administrators who are directing mobile learning initiatives to my personal learning network, and I thought I'd create a list of such individuals on Twitter to faciliate networking.

Please add to yourelf to this list, if you are so inclined, and retweet!

The form can be accessed here:

The resulting directory is available here:

My Reaction to Apps Push Parents’ Buttons - The Boston Globe

Apps push parents’ buttons - The Boston Globe.

Here's an interesting article that's been posted in my Facebook feed several times today. My first reactions:
1. Parents need to set limits with everything... the use of devices such as iPhones or iPads included. New devices, same old parenting issues. 

I struggle with this all the time, but I know I bear the ultimate responsibility for my kids' overusing devices. Maybe I should start using a timeout app. My daughter, Julia, told me a few months ago to stop putting educational apps on her iPhone. Hah, I'll just replace those with this app with a tantruming kid graphic.

2. I'm not particularly cautious parent when it comes to apps my kids try out, but then again I'm not likely to have questionable apps on my computer in the first place. I usually buy apps upon recommendations and let my kids go to town with them. I'm actually interested in seeing what grabs their attention. My attitude may lead to problems, buyer beware, see #4.


3. That said, the author of this article could have done a deeper dive into this topic. I agree that it's difficult to navigate the iTunes Store which recently hit 10 billion downloads. App curation is a need, but there are many sites and blogs devoted to app reviews and children's media. If parents need help with this, my immediate recommendations would be Common Sense Media's mobile app section, Appolicious, and iEAR. The author of this blog friended me tonight in Facebook, and it looks like a good read, too.


If parents don't know how to find resources such as this, try entering the terms KIDS APP REVIEWS into a Google search and a plethora of resources will magically appear.
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4. I agree that parents need to be aware of in-app purchases. I'm embarrassed to admit that we had a fiasco in our house involving an app called Bakery Story. My 8 year old son purchased nearly $700 worth of gems through this game. iTunes refunded this unauthorized purchase, thank goodness. I am not the only parent this happen to; check out this article.
During this debacle, I also learned that you can turn off the ability to make in-app purchases. Go to your device's settings, then General, Restrictions, Scroll down to Allowed Content and turn off In-App Purchases. You also might want to look at the rating settings movies, music, podcasts, TV shows, and apps. If you really want to control things, you can also turn off the ability to play multiplayer games and adding friends. 


5. The article also mentions an app from National Geographic called Ultimate Dinotopia which we purchased last week. While my son Henry enjoyed it, I was disappointed. I haven't investigated its origins, but it seems like NG just dumped a print book into digital form and added a couple of slightly interactive features. A much more impressive app based on a book is Animalia. There is a version for iPhones and another for iPads.


6. There are more than 90 comments on this article, many of which are fairly harsh about technology. My stance on this is that iPads are the way of the future of learning; we've only just started to dig into its possibilities. 

From my own use and from observing my children interact with content on various Apple devices, I understand how personal the experiences can be. From choosing content to saving content to editing and creating content, it's a device that lends itself to personalization. 

For instance, I've become a fan of not only reading e-books on my iPad, but of searching, highlighting and taking notes within digital books. I can't imagine kids having sustained, deep connections with books by highlighting and note taking if they had to share an iPad in a class or within a family. Yes, you can have connections to print books in the same way, but you can't search them as efficiently in print nor can you carry around the same amount of print books that you can store digitally on an iPad.  


If the price of iPads comes down or I win the lottery, whichever comes first, I will be purchasing iPads for each of my kids. I don't see this as a luxury, but as a necessity. I also don't think people will fully understand this until they have the opportunity to explore iPads in-depth.