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LeaderTalk: The End of an Era

As many of you know, LeaderTalk has been limping along for at least a year now. Our original cast of 50+ contributors faded over time due to natural attrition. Despite our best intentions to restock with new authors, we just never found the time, at least partly because LeaderTalk's unique niche (and our urgency) faded as others stepped up and gave voice to practicing administrators. What was new and bold in February 2007 isn't today. And that's okay. Times change and it's important to know when to move in other directions. So I just sent the note to Education Week ...


Picking an Assessment

Many school districts are starting to choose common assessments from third party vendors. Some of this is due to new federal or state regulations, and some of this is due to allowing for an assessment that might be more reliable than one created internally. The purpose of this article is to provide practical advice on how to choose an assessment


Expand and Contract

n any industry, there are times where there is an expansion of competitors and then, through several different factors, there is a contraction. This is no different than what is happening with data specifications and models that states and the federal government are using to pass all the data that they need to collect.


Distracted

By Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag I fully admit that I'm distracted. There are few moments I find myself not wanting to roam around Twitter, hangout on Google+, flip through Zite or Google Reader, tap on some apps, or poke around various social learning networks. With social media and my mobile devices, learning has become my greatest distraction. I'm on a great learning expedition that is ongoing regardless of place or time - learning opportunities unlike at any other time in human history. But here is the thing. I hear over and over about the fear of distraction with social media and ...


The Trials and Tribulations of a Dissertation

Deciding to go back to school for your doctorate is a life-altering decision. There are so many unknowns that come along with returning to school for such a degree, which is something that keeps many people from pursuing this personal challenge and goal. Five years ago, I could not get rid of the nagging thought that it was time for me to seriously consider applying to schools for a doctorate in educational leadership. I applied, was accepted, and am in the final stages of dissertation writing...closing in on my last weeks without the title of Dr. Throughout the process ...


Google or Apple: I Don't Want to Choose

By Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag Apple is set to make an "education announcement" on January 19th and I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated that this announcement surely won't be how Google and Apple are putting aside their differences in the best interest of education. Nope. It is said to be about textbooks, which misses the mark for those like me that envision a learning environment where Google Apps for Education and iPads are foundational pieces for each learner. And it is this missing the mark that puts schools with similar visions in a most precarious spot: choosing between iPads and Google Apps. And ...


Online software

Educational software has been around for over 30 years now. In that time we have progressed from graphics that were just made by letters and numbers to programs now with rich graphics and that can really measure student progress in a multitude of areas. My current district has made a big push the last several years to move all software possible to online software. We are now down to just a few titles that are CD/DVD based. These are mostly in the areas of music, art, and special education due to the size of the programs. Below I answer ...


YouTube for Schools - A Leadership Embarrassment

Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag The launch of YouTube for Schools is well documented by now and has brought with it considerable excitement. While I should be happy about this opportunity for schools, teachers (check out YouTube Teachers), and students that are in a position to at least have the hand shackles removed, there is a part of me that remains frustrated. Google should be proud. They saw the unfortunate trend and stepped up. Teachers and students should be happier. Those that have lived in the world of heavy handed filtering now have an easier argument for relaxing it a bit. Then ...


Devices, Devices, Devices

By Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag Discussions and debates continue about what technology device is best for students in a one to one computing environment. iPads. Chromebooks. Netbooks. Windows-Based Laptops. Macbooks. Recently, this discussion took off on Twitter and great minds weighed-in. While I always grow from these streams of thought, I'm also reminded why discussion of devices are challenging when it is only about the device. Like always... learning and teaching environment It needs to focus first in the area of learning, teaching, and environment from your local view. Don't get caught up in the discussions about the device taking place ...


Student Led Conferences

Student Led Conferences Student Led Conferences (SLC's) might seem to be new but they've been around for awhile, at least 18 years - that's when I first encountered them as a newbie teacher. Since that beginning, I've had the professional pleasure of working with a number of school staffs and communities in adopting and growing SLC's. In my current position, this was our 3rd year with SLC's. Our school, a newly amalgamated K - 12 facility in a rural community, has an evening conference time and a morning conference when parents and their children can come to the school for ...


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