Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn

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Trusting your Social Network

By Barbara Bray      June 3, 2010 -- 11:41 AM
Since Facebook made changes to their privacy issues, users have made some drastic moves like removing themselves from Facebook. Trust is a big concern online. Dan Martell in his study on Flowtown by Pew wrote:

The way that people interact and conduct themselves online is changing, and with the discussion surrounding privacy and social networks escalating in recent weeks, it seems that we have reached a tipping point. Pew Research recently released a study that focuses on individuals’ online identities, which takes into consideration reputation management and what people are really using ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Cheryl Vitali  June 4, 2010 -- 07:53 PM

Participating Online

By Barbara Bray      February 10, 2010 -- 06:41 PM
What does it mean to participate online? I asked a few of my teacher friends this who are more of the boomer age category. Many told me they really only felt comfortable with email. Some of them joined Facebook and have added friends. They usually do not comment on status updates from their friends. They send them a personal message.

At first, I thought that feeling comfortable only emailing instead of posting or commenting is only with boomers, but I am finding that people of all ages use different social media and participate in online learning communities for different purposes and in ...   more...
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Digital Democracy in a Global Environment

By Barbara Bray      December 6, 2009 -- 09:51 AM
Article adapted from my column in OnCUE Winter 2009:

The world is shrinking. Boundaries are fading between schools, organizations, and countries.  The Internet has changed every sector of business and education. Businesses and governments are developing strategies to address how they are using technology in their daily operations, marketing, and future planning. Why not schools?

We are in the middle of a digital revolution. Younger generations are challenging the status quo with the words ’So what?’ ’I’m not so sure about that’ or ’Well that’s one opinion among many.’

In 1995, Don Tapscott ...   more...
Comments: 2   Last Comment By Anna  December 30, 2009 -- 10:11 AM

Discovering Out of the Box Solutions for Professional Development

By Barbara Bray      November 5, 2009 -- 03:28 PM
How can you provide professional development on a tight budget? U.S. schools are looking for ways to trim their budgets and professional development is on the top of many lists to cut. If we want to find and retain high quality teachers and administrators in our schools, we have to start thinking creatively. There are innovative ways to use technology as an inexpensive professional development solution.

At the Edublogger Con at the National Education Computer Conference 2009 (NECC) in Washington D.C. this past June, there was a discussion group on professional development with about thirty teachers ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By xexe  March 25, 2010 -- 10:07 PM

Encouraging and Empowering Sharing

By Barbara Bray      June 16, 2009 -- 09:47 AM
The new web and social media encourages sharing. Should sharing be by default? When you upload something to Twitter, del.icio.us, or Facebook, you are sharing. But what about anything you post anywhere on the web? I read Wes Fryer’s blog and it made me think about sharing.

Here’s a video from Creative Commons Wes shared:



If you use a Creative Commons license on anything you pose, then you are sharing and explaining how others can use your materials. You determine the type of license.


Is this enough for you? I encourage sharing, posting, collaboration. Yet, there still needs to be a secure ...   more...
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Learning to Change - Changing to Learn

By Barbara Bray      October 13, 2008 -- 09:34 AM
The keynoter for the pre-conference of K12 Online Conference Stephen Heppell shared this video on YouTube.

I’ve been thinking about this for as long as I can remember. Schools have to change to keep up with our students. They use technology everyday and schools ban that technology. I worked with independent study programs where students who may have been at risk worked at home and had jobs. Once or twice a week they met at school to follow-up with assignments and sometimes to work on projects.I like the idea about using school as the place for teamwork and projects. Letting students collaborate online using: text messaging, cell phones, and social networks. Use school for teachers to collaborate. That’s what we’re doing in eCoach: providing online private and public spaces for confidential issues and sharing best practices. Also having a place for teachers to co-author projects and not reinvent the wheel. We can do it!    more...
Comments: 2   Last Comment By small Barbara Bray  October 15, 2008 -- 10:23 PM

Cross-Age Cross-Curriculum Projects Change Teaching Practice

By Barbara Bray      October 12, 2008 -- 10:21 PM
The K12 Online Conference starts with the Pre-Conference on October 13. Each of the presenters are posting their presentations as podcasts 20 minutes or less. I am presenting the findings as an audio podcast and PowerPoint presentation. The teachers and students did all the work. Pat Lusher and Cecelia Nauda are coordinating the EETT grant and provided data, documents, and other information included in the powerpoint or as separate files below. Nancy Kuznicki and Donna Blanton shared podcasts about the projects. This presentation is on Thursday, October 23 (Day 4).


Throwing Away the Box...   more...
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Can kids teach themselves?

By Barbara Bray      September 2, 2008 -- 09:17 AM
Watch this video from Sugata Mitra from the Lift Conference about his "Hole in the Wall" theory and the absence of formal teaching:








20 minutes but worth watching if we are part of the global society and want to reach our at-risk students. He shares his "Hole in the Wall" experiment. Can kids teach themselves?    more...
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How about Zenovating?

By Barbara Bray      August 20, 2008 -- 10:46 AM
I haven't been keeping up with my blog. Guess you would say I have taken time to enjoy the summer. Yep! But now it's time to get back and start sharing again. I tried to figure out what innovation means in today's world so I've been doing lots of research and thinking.

Learning is different today than what many of us as teachers thought it was all about. We defined learning as how we teach, what a classroom is supposed to be like, but we didn't define it from the learner's perspective.

All of us are learners. The world is changing and so should what we define as "School". Especially now with information ...   more...
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Arriving at NECC day after Edubloggercon

By Barbara Bray      June 29, 2008 -- 08:49 AM
Being at NECC in San Antonio is what I need right now; gathering ideas, meeting new and old friends, learning, and more learning. I am sitting in the Blogger's Cafe reviewing the comments from yesterday's Edubloggercon.  While I was waiting in the airport I watched Vicki Davis UStream from her session. What is Edubloggercon?

An international all-day "meetup" of educational bloggers and those using collaborative technologies will take place on Saturday, June 28th, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio just before the start of NECC. All are invited--whether you yourself ...   more...
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Gamers as Leaders

By Barbara Bray      March 11, 2008 -- 09:06 PM
Looking at the digital native, you see someone who has been part of the gaming world most of their lives. Can games help prepare them for their future? From “The Gamer Disposition” by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas, I realized that there are multiple characteristics that can also prepare gamers to be leaders in the business and education worlds. The multiplayer online games expect users to be quick, be able to adapt and evolve as games change, and know the rules, tips, and even make the rules as they progress through this new type of social system.

Brown and Thomas share five key attributes ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Barbara Bray  May 29, 2008 -- 01:51 PM

Education Candidate? Rethink Issues - Collaborate on Visions

By Barbara Bray      February 28, 2008 -- 10:02 AM
USA Today shared an opinion by Wendy Purlefoy about which one of the candidates is really the education candidate. She lists real issues that need to be considered including:

....candidates should answer these five questions:

  1. Fifteen percent of our nation's schools are overcrowded. As a result, teachers say they spend an inordinate amount of time policing classrooms. Do you have a plan for relieving this overcrowding?
  2. How will you ensure that children attend schools that are places of teaching and learning, not violence and crime?
  3. Teacher recruitment, retention and quality are suffering. ...   more...
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Meme: Passion Quilt

By Barbara Bray      February 19, 2008 -- 10:32 PM

Thanks to Barbara Cohen of Independent Thinking for tagging me for this cool Passion Quilt meme.

Directions: Find or create an image that captures what you are most passionate for kids to learn about.



I took this picture from the air of the Hayward salt ponds. What I like about this is how you can find beauty from most anywhere. Patterns on the ground make a real quilt to enjoy. The world looks different from above and now with Google Earth, students can find these patterns and leave a placemark with facts, images, videos, and even create an audio podcast. This picture is in our
eLibrary...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By Andrea Hernandez  February 20, 2008 -- 06:18 AM

Becoming a Teacher 2.0

By Barbara Bray      January 27, 2008 -- 11:12 AM
At Educon 2.0, there are wonderful conversations that I encourage you to read, listen, and share. Wish I could have been there but have been part of the conversations via Twitter and checking out the agendas, handouts, resoures. Thanks to the conference planners, contributors, and presenters!

Konrad Glogowski from the  Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto provided resources on professional development and designing communities of practice for teachers that I wanted to share with you. I like the way you can use Voicethread as a collaborative research tool ...   more...
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Got Pecha Kucha?

By Barbara Bray      January 19, 2008 -- 09:52 AM
Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for "the sound of conversation") has tapped into a demand for a forum in which people can present, minus boring content. 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds for a total of 6 minutes 40 seconds. Just think of really fast-powered storytelling before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up and gives more people the chance to present. [source]

Go to Pecha Kucha Night to see presentations going on around the world. This was designed in 2003 for designers to show their work quickly. Daniel Pink writes about Pecha Kucha in his Wired article...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By Dean Shareski  April 11, 2008 -- 10:26 AM

Empathy: Making Compassionate Choices

By Barbara Bray      January 12, 2008 -- 08:33 AM
Most of us are so busy that we don’t have time to think of another person and their concerns. Do you know how to tune in to another person if you don’t have the time? With all that is on our plates and, especially now with all of our technology, we tend to focus on ourselves and our issues. Daniel Goleman’s talk Why aren't we all Good Samaritans? from Ted.com made me think about how we learn what we do. Maybe it has alot to do with the choices we make.


Educators, as a service industry, are givers and helpers by nature. We want to make a difference. We want our children to succeed. Teachers tend to only learn what they know or what they learned. In the past six years, our focus has been on increasing student achievement scores in reading and math.

Doesn’t it go deeper than that for many of the children at-risk? Children living in poverty have so many more issues to think about:
  • will I eat tonight?
  • will mom come home?
  • why did my brother have to die?
  • how can I understand math when I can’t understand what the teachers are saying in English?
Society blames teachers for poor scores or the parents. Can it be more than that? We may be going into a recession and many more middle class children will be in trouble.

What will we do then?

Social networking should be about connecting and sharing. Is it about showing how many friends you have? Are these real friends? I notice on some of these sites that it is more about who connects to you, who you know. I joined Facebook when I saw you could add causes. However, very few people give.

How do we bring back compassion and really share, help, give? So some questions:
  • How do we help teachers design curriculum that builds compassionate citizens?
  • How do we encourage teachers to share and open their classroom doors?
  • How do we build community service into all grade levels?
   more...
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Trying to define community

By Barbara Bray      January 11, 2008 -- 08:00 AM
I find myself in so many different communities that I am not sure what or how you define what a community is. Maybe there are multiple types of communities depending on the purpose and shared vision of the members of that community. I created a presentation about purpose (Learning Communities for Different Purposes) and plan to keep adding to it. Pretty soon, there’ll be more co-authors adding content about different communities, purposes, etc.

Purpose is important but there are many communities that are just floundering without participation.

My family is my main community. I always touch base ...   more...
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Some fun blabbering

By Barbara Bray      December 5, 2007 -- 07:06 PM
How about Blabberizing your pictures?

Over the holidays, you might want to have some fun. How about Blabberizing your pictures? Blabberize is a free program that lets your pictures talk.

Upload a Picture for your Blabber

Generally you want to pick a picture where you can see a person, animal, or picture of someone or something facing the camera with their mouth closed. As that has gives the best results but feel free to experiment! ...   more...

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Social Networking or Self-Promotion

By Barbara Bray      November 27, 2007 -- 09:00 AM
How many of you post to your blog regularly? Do you put your blog on Technorati or have RSS? Are people commenting on your posts?

I read Steve Dembo’s post this morning Self-Promotion: Where do you draw the line? and it got me thinking. Why do many of the EdTech world blog?

Since funding cycles have changed, the educational technology world is struggling. There is not as much money going around for many of the same people. So Web 2.0 tools (most free) give you an opportunity to publish, share, give your opinions, comment on others, link to and from, and even embed in your blog. Because the power ...   more...
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Framing Change: providing a place and time to wonder

By Barbara Bray      October 29, 2007 -- 09:21 AM
Ben Wilkoff, a 7th/8th grade Language Arts teacher at Cresthill Middle School in Colorado presented Obstacles to Opportunities “Starting From Scratch: Framing Change for All Stakeholders” presented at the K12 Online Conference. Ben designed a school model called The Academy of Discovery.

He shares about framing change for schools, teachers, students, administrators, and parents. If you think of school in its present form, then the thought of any change is monumental and overwhelming. He explains very clearly that you need a new framework of pedagogy and his focus at Cresthill is a singular concept ...   more...
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What's really a Community?

By Barbara Bray      January 3, 2007 -- 10:27 PM
Social networks encourage people to find others via tags. What do most people do when they find others? FaceBook lets you build a list of friends. Some teens have over 800 friends listed. Are these friends that they can call on, collaborate with, share stories a real community?

There are so many cool Web 2.0 tools that let you do neat things: Digg a news article and see it go to the top of the list; view and share videos on YouTube - why watch TV anymore? - you can even embed the videos on your blog; Bloglines lets you keep tabs on any changes on other blogs. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? ...   more...
Comments: 1   Last Comment By small Sheri Barker  February 9, 2007 -- 08:49 AM

Defining Collaboration

By Barbara Bray      December 7, 2006 -- 08:19 AM
I came across Tom Haskin’s blog Grow Change Learn and his post the four phases of collaboration. He writes that it is human nature for strangers to come together one step at a time. Some people never realize the full potential of a collaborative relationship. He mentions Web 3.0 that I wrote about in the previous post. Web 3.0 is the idea of building collaborative communities.

Read his post and please share your thoughts about collaboration.

   more...
Comments: 3   Last Comment By small Russ Knopp  December 26, 2006 -- 01:09 PM

Communities and Collaboration

By Barbara Bray      December 4, 2006 -- 09:40 PM
If people collaborate are they part of a community? Are several different types of collaborations mean building community?

There are different types of communities and collaborations. Everything seems to be based on how members of communities collaborate or if they collaborate. Some example collaborations:

  • A person starts a document in Google docs ...   more...
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Defining Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

By Barbara Bray      October 19, 2005 -- 02:34 PM
What is a PLC?

A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is comprised of people (teachers, para-professionals, administrators, and other community members) who collectively examine and collaboratively work to improve teaching practice. A PLC can but does not have to be situated in one school or district. With the ability to work online from anywhere at anytime, members of the community can connect, find others with similar interests, study and review existing teaching practice, and do action research to improve teaching and learning.

Being a teacher is challenging work and can be isolating. ...   more...
Comments: 6   Last Comment By angelica laurencon  August 9, 2010 -- 05:02 AM

Online Collaboration

By Barbara Bray      June 21, 2005 -- 03:36 AM
My eCoach Online is still a pretty new program  - however, we are being approached by different groups to build collaborative projects for teachers and students. This is pretty big! Adding students means security issues and management issues for teachers. We want to do this right so we are going slowly- planning with the help of our development partners.

We want to see teachers from different states and countries share ideas and resources - possibly co-author projects. There are online programs that provide existing collaborative projects. Many are great!

Which ones work for you?
Do ...   more...
Comments: 6   Last Comment By small Barbara Bray  August 31, 2006 -- 02:41 PM

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