The Future of Learning

The future of learning is here…and surprise, it involves students using with technology.

Everyday, more and more K-12 institutions investigate adopting 1:1 technology or BYOD programs in hopes of providing their students with the most cutting edge teaching and learning.  However, with each decision, although generally a minority, there are a loud minority of teachers, families and districts hesitant to give students that power.

Since when is students having access a bad thing?!

After meeting with a majority of families for parent/teacher conferences this week, and hearing 10% or so vocalize their opposition to 0ur school’s one-to-one iPad program in some way, I wonder “are we marketing the technology correctly?”

You see, it isn’t about iPads vs. laptops, school controlled vs. BYOD.  Technology is the pathway toward changing education paradigms, as Sir Ken Robinson shows.  For decades, students have sat passively taking notes, raising their hands and waiting to be recognized to regurgitate facts.  What learning has this led to?

It is 2012.  Students have access outside of the school building, why not allow access within the walls of the one area where they can learn to use it in the right way.  It is the wave of the future!  No family, whether in opposition to use of EdTech or not, can emphatically deny their child will need to communicate effectively, collaborate with peers, be creative with technology and think critically in the future.  Education technology is the means in which to teach students the 4 C’s of 21st Century learning.

On Tuesday morning, after @edmodo being down from 2-10pm Monday, I was met with many 7th grade students who couldn’t do their homework due to the outage.  So I asked, “what would we have done if it weren’t through Edmodo?”  Many said they would have written it in a notebook.  Then one student chimed in…”I did the homework, Mr. Reichert,” he said.

“Oh really, how?” I said, skeptical of where this was heading.  “I posted it on Edmodo this morning, on my way to school, using the 3G from my cell phone.”  I congratulated him on how he thought critically to solve the problem.  This is truly mobile learning.

You see, with the technology, students are not only asked to learn the content presented in new and more engaging ways, they learn how to troubleshoot minor problems as they arise quite unexpectedly.  It is stories like these which consistently reinforce that using technology to aid learning is not only the right thing to do; it is necessary to do.

To the schools, teachers and families who are so afraid of the giving power to our students, I ask, “isn’t the job of schools to prepare students for success in the future.”

“If we teach students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” -John Dewey

What are you waiting for?


Extreme Makeover: Social Profile edition

Task this week:  Evaluate your own social presence to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to better market your skills and expertise.

You see, one of the possible pitfalls of maintaining a social presence through many sites (, Google +,Twitter and the like) is you risk compromising a “follower’s” understanding of you.  I had two main goals when I set out to give a makeover to my social self.  First, I wanted to make everything uniform.  Much as a business wouldn’t want to market multiple slogans, I wanted followers to have one uniform understanding of me, as a brand, no matter the site they were viewing.  Second, I wanted to tie my many social presences together as efficiently as possible.  This task has already proved invaluable (doubling my daily and quadrupling my weekly viewers to this blog!).

How do I differentiate myself from other educators?

To answer this, I went old school.  On a post-it note, I jotted down everything that makes “Mr. Reichert” (my teaching persona) unique.  On the list I noted many things which help to shape my role in education.  I teach social studies to all boys in grades 6-8 using an iPad in a 1:1 environment.  I also coach many of the same boys in soccer and lacrosse.  I serve as the Middle Level Coordinator.  And, last but not least, I am currently in school for a doctorate in leadership and education technology.

–All of these items make me unique and contribute to my brand.  Also, each of these things were mentioned in at least one of my social profiles, but were not consistent across platforms.–

Next, what have I done which others haven’t had the opportunity to do.  Though a notably smaller list, it is growing by the keystroke.  In addition to maintaining social presences in a variety of sites, I have created an ePortfolio to house my educational philosophy and many tools and creations of mine, including two presentations I have made in the EdTech realm.

–Again, these were items which I had not initially listed in my social profiles.–

Makeover Time!

After reading of, I decided (after an initial Klout Score of 16) that I was going to boost this as much as possible by linking my social profiles.  I also noted I needed to brag a bit more of my accomplishments.  As Seth Godin notes in his blog, “Great people shouldn’t have a resume’.”   If I want others to see me as great, I need to show my expertise not just to those directly connected but to my weak ties (of, but not limited to, Twitter and blog “followers”), as written by New York Times columnist and author, Malcolm Gladwell.  To truly harness the power of social media, I need my posts, tweets and updates to exude knowledge in my areas of interest and expertise.  I need to treat my social presence as my resume and build an online reputation which can precede me.

NEW!! About.Me profile:

About.Me housed my simple landing page.  By simple, I mean bare bones.  Going along with what I’ve been writing, I made several changes to the landing page, all of which are intended to enhance my brand and marketability.  In essence, this will serve as the one-stop-shopping description of me.  Changes include:

  • updated biography
  • link to this wordpress blog
  • link to Google Site and Professional presentations

In addition to making the three major updates, I explored how often visitors landed on my page.  Let’s just say I felt very lonely and minor.  To increase hits to my page, I attached a link to the page on my personal e-mail signature.  I would also do this to my professional e-mail, but the school is very particular (think branding!).  I also took the advice listed on the “Get more visitors” section of  I added the link to my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and WordPress profiles.


Another step to take on my quest to solidify my brand, I updated the look of this very blog.  Since its creation, I have switched themes a number of times, trying to find one which I felt was readable and clean. Oddly enough, I settled on the theme entitled, “Fresh and Clean.” (Go figure).

One feeling I have had since the dawn of the blog was that it needed spicing up.  Looking through the blogs I follow, they all have two things in common.  Visually, they pop.  They lure readers through the use of pictures, infographics and other items.  Also, they promote user interaction.

For me, this meant rearranging my pages and adding a few widgets such as a live stream of my twitter feed, a tag cloud and a list of blogs I follow.  To grow this, I need to consciously stay true to my mantras.

From this quest, I take away a few major rules which I hope will govern my future social interactions.

  1. Keep the Personal and Professional posts separate.  Use certain sites and platforms for your personal life and others for your professional life.  Never intermingle!
  2. Solidify your UNIQUE message.  Determine your brand and stay true to it.  Discover (and publicize) what makes you “you.”  Offer something which nobody else can offer.
  3. Promote “You”.  Make it known how readers and followers can connect with you.  To begin this, I am going to arrange for HootSuite to shoot a tweet containing my About.Me profile along with a link to this blog using IFTTT.

Until next time, connect with me at my landing page.