This Year be an EduHero!

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A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Our world is full of hero potential waiting to be motivated, supported, and skilled. Teachers hold the key to unleashing that potential, yet many are wounded heroes themselves. According to Teachers Count, the average teacher impacts 3000 students within a lifetime. How many students have you already impacted? How many will you impact this year? What kind of impact will your students have on others and the world? We need you inspired, strong, and mission minded so that you inspire your learners to lead heroic lives.

Teachers are everyday heroes going through a journey. In order to become an EduHero you have to continue this journey. This year, I’m presenting keynotes on The EduHero Journey, which is my adaption of Campbell’s monomyth. I’ve been researching Campbell’s hero journey since 1997. According to Joseph Campbell, every hero (Jesus, Buddha, Superheroes, etc.) goes through a similar hero journey. I have outlined the stages below and included a slideshare of my recent closing keynote for the ITDIMOOC. For this initial presentation, I asked Sylvia Guinan, a teacher I consider an EduHero, to co-present my research with me and share her personal EduHero journey.

The EduHero Journey

I shortened the EduHero journey into these stages. If you choose to go on the EduHero Journey this year feel free to download any of these badges I made to go on your blog, eportfolio, or website:

  1. (Call to Adventure) Mission: Your mission this year is to join a League of EduHeroes and go on your EduHero Journey. You are not just a teacher. You have the ability to be a hero and model and guide students to be heroes. What makes a hero isn’t extraordinary talents. If you think of some of your favorite heroes- Spiderman, Ironman, Luke Skywalker, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, etc.- many were living ordinary lives until they answered their missions and endured the journey. Their choice and ability to endure is what makes them heroes. It is up to you to be brave enough to make the difficult, but very meaningful choice to go on the EduHero journey.
  2. Refusal of the Call: Many times I’ve felt like giving up on the journey, even refused the call, and other teachers have, too. I want to tell you that you have the skills, talents, and strength to do this. Understand that reading this post is not by accident. You are either one or a few of the teachers in your school, city, state, or country hearing this call. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard it. When you first decided to be a teacher, something inside you and beyond you called you to this mission and you chose it. Being a teacher is a very difficult journey and I congratulate you for answering the call.
  3. Meet with a Community of Mentors: Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. There is a league of extraordinary EduHeroes ready to offer support, resources, and guidance. These are educators who connect and support each other in online communities and social networks. Find an active community of mission minded teacher to join. These communities will ask you to participate in various events that will help you learn new skills while inspiring other EduHeroes. Some of the EduHero communities I am apart of and founded, include the 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, #Edchat, and the Reform Symposium E-Conference. Find others included in the presentation and via hashtags on Twitter. Cybraryman’s EduChat list will help you find a community of teachers with your specific interests (subject, grade level, country, and city).
  4. Experiencing the Unknown: You will encounter many new terms, trends, and technologies. Don’t worry your EduHero community will provide resources and support.
  5. Tests, Allies, Enemies: You will undergo many tests throughout your journey that will build you up as an EduHero. Each one you overcome will prepare you for a major obstacle. You will need to go to your EduHero Communities for help. You will meet many who will become close friends. You may also meet teachers, leadership, and others who resent your mission and the great things you are accomplishing. Heroes aren’t always loved, respected, or supported.
  6. Supreme Ordeal: You will experience major hurdles. For me these were depression, a cyberbully, my mother’s health, and other ordeals. The tests and support of my Passionate Learning Networks and EduHero communities is what helped me overcome.
  7. Reward: After surviving the ordeal, you will find a new strength, confidence or inspiration within yourself that will help inspire others. It will feel like your superpower!
  8. The Journey Home with the Elixir: As an EduHero who just endured the journey, you get to inspire your students, colleagues, parents, and school community with your newfound inspiration, mission, and skills.

EduHero Badge

It is important as EduHeroes that we inspire our students to also go on heroic journeys. We need our learners to feel like heroes, that it is their duty to care about the world. We need to inspire them to learn math, science, languages, writing, and literacy not to take tests, but because by obtaining these skills along their hero journeys they will be able to find cures, get closer to living in a peaceful world, lead meaningful lives, and solve world issues like hunger, poverty, and illiteracy. The only way that we will raise heroes is if we, their teachers, impart to them this mission and let them know we believe that each one of them has the ability and strength to be a hero if they just choose to endure the journey and learn the skills. Some of our students never hear adults or their everyday heroes they look up to tell them they have the ability to live meaningful lives and so they choose other things like drugs, crime, money, fame, and other things that hurt others. We need them to spread inspiration and care about others.


Ability of teachers to impact lives of individual children. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Bronzite, D. (2013). The hero’s journey: Mythic structure of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Retrieved from

Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New World Library: Navato, CA. Retrieved from

Examples of each stage of a hero’s journey. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hamby, Z. (n.d). The hero’s journey. Retrieved from’s-Journey.php

Monomyth. (2014, July 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from


Join a connected community of EduHeroes and begin inspiring your students to lead heroic journeys. Don’t forget to download your EduHero badge.

If you enjoyed these resources, consider purchasing my ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Right now get the PDF and Kindle version for less than a few coffees. You may also want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

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My Edublog Award Nominations #Eddies12

I’m a girl who has difficulty picking my favorite song or gelato flavor. I enjoy so many and get so excited by many. Awards are difficult for me because there are so many educators who produce such great blogs, wikis, webinars and/or share through Twitter and Facebook. This, however, is why I continue to participate in the Edublog Awards because educators worldwide share so much and deserve to be highlighted. Forgive me friends. I will not mention so many of you who deserve also to be highlighted. I have taken the word Best off, though, because really I can’t pick one but definitely I enjoy the work by these great folks.

Individual blog- Don’t know how he does it but Steve Wheeler, author of Learning with E’s, continues to produce thought-provoking posts and provide incredible insights to the world of education technology, education in general, and education
Group blog- The Connected Principals. I truly appreciate the various principals who contribute posts of incredible leadership and passion. They make such a difference with their leadership in schools and sharing their work on social networks.
New blog- Scott Newcomb has one of the best Mobile Learning blogs around. It’s fairly new and I’m so glad he’s sharing his vast experiences since he is one of the keenest in the field.
Ed tech / resource sharing blog- David Kapuler’s Technology Tidbits- David shares so many free and wonderful web tools :-)
Individual tweeter- Jerry Blumengarten, @Cybraryman1
Jerry is one of the sweetest, most amazing member of my PLN. Every year I nominate him for Lifetime Achievement because he contributes so much. I also count him as a close friend, even though we have never met.
Twitter hashtag- #NTChat wonderful resource for new teachers and created by Lisa Dabbs, @TeachingWthSoul
Free web tool- Voicethread has a free app and web application that are both pretty cool
Educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast- NerdyCast is my new favorite podcast. Nick makes learning about our PLN so much fun!
Educational wiki- ICT Magic Wiki full of incredible resources
Open PD / unconference / webinar series- Future of Education interviews and webinars by Steve Hargadon continue to help educators connect with some of the greatest folks in education such as Diane Ravitch, Seth Godin, and Sir Ken Robinson
Educational use of a social network-  ELTChat is a wonderful resource for English language teachers worldwide and continues to be a lively chat (#ELTChat), podcast, group blog, and so much more thanks to Marisa Constantinides, Shaun Wilden, James Taylor, and other dedicated teachers. It’s pretty present at most conferences I’ve attended so teachers feel like a family even if it’s their first time attending the conference.
Mobile app- Sock Puppets. I have way too much fun making these videos with students worldwide and they love it, too!
Lifetime achievement- Graham Davies recently passed away and contributed so much to education technology, ELT, and education in Second Life. I was blessed and honoured to have him introduce me during a presentation at last year’s IATEFL.

So there it goes folks!


Check out one of these resources! You won’t regret the good stuff you find. And also, for one of the educational resources one of your favorite PLN members has taken the time to create and you visit often, then leave a comment this week, share it with others on your social networks, or send them private messages telling them how much you appreciate them!

Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!

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14 Edtech Integration Tips & 20+ Resources for the School Year

4th post in a new series: PLN Tips 4 Teachers and Goal 17: Integrate Technology Effectively of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” ~ Bill Gates

I have been integrating technology with students since 1997. I remember some of the first technologies I used with students were a TV/VCR, cassette recorders, cameras, polaroids, large video cameras, large desktop computers, microscopes, telescopes, the Internet, a transparency projector, and a video projector. Now I use iPads, mobile phones, iPods, digital cameras, and still the Internet. I was fortunate to start off my official teacher training at a hands-on science and history museum. We had access to some pretty cool tools like a green screen studio (kids could report the weather and be recorded like a professional), state of the art telescopes, and video microscopes. Lessons were taught in and around the museum so it was also one of the best learning environments. I remember being so new to teaching and still in college. My classes ranged from 10 to 50 depending on if it was a camp-in or summer long museum program. We had to develop the curriculum for those 3 months of classes each year and had the kids 8 hours a day. My director always reminded us to make it hands-on and related to the real world. The idea was to get students to see that history and science surrounded them. I still use a lot of this training now when I integrate technology. I believe the students should be moving around as much as possible and using the technology to discover the world around them. I also believe they should produce, create, problem-solve, and think critically with technology. I like to get them working in pairs or groups and also collaborating with their peers worldwide. Mostly, we also have fun! My motto has always been that if students leave my classroom thinking learning is fun then I have given them the desire to be continuous learners. In my opinion, too many schools make learning boring, tedious, and difficult for learners.

Maybe you’re new to integrating technology or just need a few pointers. I know that most teachers were not blessed with the technology training I received. I am posting a few tips to help you out this year that I found while reading posts from my Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN). I hope these tips help inspire you! And one of the best things I can recommend to help you successfully integrate technology, is to get connected. Begin to develop your on PLN by interacting with educators on Social Media.

More Tips & 20+ Resources

Beyond the first tip of connecting online and learning from other educators, I offer the following tips from my PLN, which are in no particular order:

Tip: Assess if you need to use the technology. This flow chart created by Sue Lyon Jones will be very helpful.

Tip: Have a back-up plan in case the Internet doesn’t work. In this post, Naomi, a teacher from Israel shares 10 ways she uses a computer with no Internet connection.

Tip: Get ideas from other teachers. Usually a teacher who submits a lesson plan or idea online has already went through the mistakes and evaluated if the lesson worked. You can find several lesson plans for various technology tools at Ideas to Inspire. Just click on the tool and you will be led to various presentations! Below this are Tom Barrett’s famous Interesting Ways to Use presentations that have various ideas on how to use a tool submitted by teachers worldwide.

Tom Barrett’s Interesting Ways

Clipped from: (share this clip)

Tip: Make sure the technology supports higher order thinking skills and learning objectives. Kelly Tenkely and others have created their versions of Digital Blooms Taxonomy to help you see which free tools are out there that support various tasks.

Kelly’s Peacock Digital Blooms

Tip: Determine which is the best technology that will support that lesson. In this post, TJ Houston tells us how to use EdShelf to choose the right Edtech tool!

Tip: Familiarize yourself with the skills and pedagogy behind teaching with technology.

Robin Good’s fantastic post, Teaching Skills: What 21st Century Educators Need To Learn To Survive


New Pedagogies for the Digital Age is a presentation by Steve Wheeler that walks you through effectively technology integration. It covers pedagogy, what students should be doing with the technology, and highlights how the classroom environment should reflect this learning.

Tip: Prepare, get the knowledge, and reflect! In this post, Nicky Hockly shares 8 key questions to ask yourself when integrating technology. Below that is a presentation created by various teachers providing 25 Techy Tips for Not so Techy Teachers.

25 Techy Tips for Not so Techy Teachers

Tip: Avoid the pitfalls! In this post, Jerry Swiatek shares 10 mistakes teachers make when integrating technology.

Tip: Prepare the lesson plan with the technology you are going to use. Clif Mims shares several lesson plan templates to use when integrating technology

Tip: Have fun with it! Create your own holiday greetings or send your creations to family members. This way you learn the tool and get to have fun as well! The Nerdy Teacher has several fun technology integration posts in a series called, “Everything I Learned About Technology Integration, I Learned From..” and he includes StarWars, 80’s Movies and more!

Tip: Involve the community in your technology integration. If parents are using various technology to get information about the school then it may become more normalized. It’s a good way to ease parents and students into using technology. Below is an excellent example of how Burlington High School uses various social media to communicate with parents and the community.

Tip: Have your students discover how to use a tool, then teach the class or school. This idea comes from Jerry Swiatek who had his students do this in an event he hosts at his school called StudentCon. Below is a video of the event. Please begin at 17min 45 seconds so you can see the student presentation.Sorry for any pop-ups from Ustream.

Video streaming by Ustream

Tip: If you like a certain tool, then get to know that tool. There are many sites that will help you use various tools and give you tutorials. I have listed some more resources below.

The 30 Goals Challenge

As part of The 30 Goals Challenge I would like to inspire you to accomplish these goals:

Short-term- Use one of these tips for your a lesson plan where you integrate technology then reflect on the outcome of the lesson. Blog about what you learned and please share any tips you have. You can even blog about it here if you do not have your own blog.

Long-term- Make it a habit to assess why you use certain technologies and how you use them with your students. This goal is similar to last year’s goal, but last year we shared an example of effective technology integration: Integrate Technology Effectively.

Important News

  • Lisa Dabbs and I have decided to change the hashtag to #30GoalsEdu.
  • This year we are focusing on 1 to 2 goals a week in order to have time to really reflect on the tasks and respond to each other’s posts and enhance our support system for each other.
  • Check out my Pinterests for other posts with this goal or ask me to add yours!


Use one of our PLN tips to integrate technology more effectively.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEDU, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!

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Social in Media in Education! It’s Time Has Come

3rd post in a new series: PLN Tips 4 Teachers

digi citizenship

I read this heartbreaking post from kindergarten teacher, Matt Gomez, today, The End of Facebook in My Class, and I was saddened that yet another battle has been lost between a teacher trying to help support students in the kind of learning that will help them in life because school policy got in the way. I’m tired that “learning” has been reduced to an institution, profit making industry, and a bunch of bad policies worldwide.  And I am sickened to know that we as a society have allowed this to happen. But we can speak up now and try to change the system through social media. Social media gives us a voice and I am proof as also many others who use social media in education are that we can spread the message of what great learning is and try to change policy.

In order to do this we need to help people get over their fears. Systems control us because they feed on our fears. Policy has been allowed to ban and block sites and the use of various technologies, because we fear students will access them, post terrible things, and it will have detrimental repercussions. Let me tell you that this fear has already happened. 1000s of students have even committed suicide due to cyberbullying and sexting and guess what they didn’t access social media at school, they did this at home with only their peers to guide them and talk to them. Kids can’t come to us with these problems, which is sad because now social media is embedded in our lives and society.

We don’t teach students how to make positive footprints and how to handle sticky situations in social media because we fear that in schools they will make mistakes. That’s learning. Learning is making mistakes and having a guide to help you along the way correct those mistakes so that when you are alone and have to make the decision you make a much better one.

We miss so many magical teaching moments because the majority of policy bans us from guiding our learners to a better path with their social media use once they make mistakes.

How can you help?

Spread your examples of how you use social media in education. Get the word out and get people excited and try to alleviate their fears. I spend a lot of time in the media talking about the issue and I will continue to spread the word out through social media and my travels. I hope to reference the following great examples of social media use with learners. I’m including the great work Matt Gomez did using Facebook with his kindergarten class. I will miss reading about that great learning that took place with this initiative and can only hope that one day I will live in a world where learning isn’t controlled and schools really prepare kids for their lives in the real world.

You may want to also visit a post George Couros wrote in response to Matt Gomez’s post, The Power to Kill Innovation.

Great Examples of Social Media in Education

These posts are in no particular order:

Why I Am Using Facebook in the Class Again This Year by Matt Gomez


CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation by Langwitches, Silvia Tolisano


Integrating Language and Science by Aviva Dunsiger

Teaching with Twitter in the Classroom by Shelly Blake Plock

Teaching Digital Citizenship Using Twitter and Lord of the Flies

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Partnering with Parents: 12+ Resources for the School Year

2nd post in a new series: PLN Tips 4 Teachers and Goal 15: Partner with Parents of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators

“People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.” ~Dr. Allan Fromme

One of the best survival lessons I learned as a teacher was to engage parents. Trust me. If a parent is talking negatively about you at home, then you will have a difficult time getting the child to listen or behave properly in your class but if the parent likes you then you have ally on your side! However, engaging parents is a challenge. Larry Ferlazzo, author of Building Parent Engagement in Schools, points out that while many schools involve parents they rarely engage parents. According to Larry Ferlazzo, engaged parents are those that enter into partnerships with teachers and school staff to provide the best learning environment for children. Engaged parents make decisions and have a say in what happens in the classroom and with the curriculum. Engaging parents was something I often struggled with for many years. I was afraid of communicating with parents because in my teacher training courses I was never taught how to engage parents. Below are a few tips blogged about by various educators that offer insight and deep reflection on how to engage parents. I hope these posts will encourage you to take the time to get your parents to become partners with you in providing the best learning environment for their children. When parents are involved they aren’t scary at all. As I found out, when I won over parents by showing them how much I care about and do for their children I had less behavior problems and more successful students.

Parent Partnership Tips & Resources

These posts are in no particular order:

Parent Involvement or Engagement? by Larry Ferlazzo

Building a connected, transparent learning community & my #140edu talk by Joe Mazza

A Multi-Faceted Approach to Engaging Parents by Eric Scheninger

Workshop “Education in the Digital Age: A Reorientation for Parents” by David Truss

6 Ways to Use Cell Phones to Strengthen the Home-School Connection by Lisa Nielsen

For Teachers: Different Ways to Communicate With Parents – 25 Suggestions by A Fly on the Classroom Wall

Parents in the Classroom by Josh Stumpenhorst

Parent Teacher Conferences & Communication: Tons of resources from Cybraryman

Parents, Who Needs Them? by Tom Whitby

Teacher At Work, Parents Keep Out ~ A Teacher’s Thoughts

Tips for Engaging Parents this School Year | ESL Library Blog

How to Work with Parents | Edutopia


The 30 Goals Challenge

As part of The 30 Goals Challenge I would like to inspire you to accomplish these goals:

Short-term- Try a new way of communicating and partnering with parents this year. Try to contact every parent at least once whether it be through a blanket e-mail, a newsletter, video blog introducing yourself, wiki, blog, text, or phone call. Try one of the tips from the bloggers above. Blog about what you learned. You can even blog about it here if you do not have your own blog.

Long-term- Make it a habit to have continuous communication with parents. With social media and texting, communicating with parents has become easier and faster! Try using social media and technology to help you build a parent community. Facebook, Google Plus, and other social networks help you to do this in a quick, free way! This goal is similar to last year’s goal: Engage Parents.

Important News

  • Lisa Dabbs and I have decided to change the hashtag to #30GoalsEdu.
  • This year we are focusing on 1 to 2 goals a week in order to have time to really reflect on the tasks and respond to each other’s posts and enhance our support system for each other.
  • Check out my Pinterests for other posts with this goal or ask me to add yours!


Partner with parents by continuously communicating with them and involving them in the decisions that impact their child’s learning.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEDU, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

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