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Monday, June 11, 2018

Extending Your Reach


Last week I was able to be a part of the 4th annual Innovation Institute in Springdale, Arkansas. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the planning committee for this event and present at it every year. This year, we invited the Arkansas Commissioner of Education, Johnny Key, to come and give a short speech before our keynote.

Key made the excellent point that "technology will never replace great teachers/teaching." A point that many of us have all made before, and agree with. Then he added, "However, it can extend your reach." An excellent point, and one that isn’t stated enough.

It is easy to get wrapped up in “cool EdTech” for the classroom. How often do we get wrapped up in “extending our reach” to our students through EdTech? To do this let’s make sure we are asking some of the following questions as we plan our lessons:

  • Does this app deliver content to my students in a way that can’t be done without it?
  • What 21st Century Skills (Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, or Communication) are my students engaged in while using the tech?
  • Is the feedback process to students and/or parents improved by using this app?
  • Does using this tech offer student voice and choice opportunities? (Such as sharing their learning with peers in and outside of the classroom)
  • Does the tech/app allow for anytime/anyplace learning?
We can use EdTech for efficiency and engagement, but our goals should be using EdTech to extend our reach as educators.


For the last 3 years or so, this blog has really focused on apps and tools to use in the classroom. While I feel that I've been able to help teachers through that aspect, I've decided that it's time to start to shift that focus.

This shift isn't because I'm not proud of what this little blog was able to do, but more so the fact that I want to help teachers by offering more than just tools. I want to help teachers think about how technology effects their pedagogy, as well as the learning in their classrooms. I'm looking forward to this step in having my reader's grow along with me.  


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