The Student Reporting Labs of PBS Newshour has been going strong for years. Now is educators’ chance to usher in a new era of reporting.

Journalism needs us now more that ever. With the blistering attack that the media is getting from the left and the right, whether it’s the non-stop sputtering of Hillary’s emails, or Sean Spicer unloading “alternative facts” in a White House press briefing, the role of the journalist has never been more in question. At the same time, good journalists have also never been more necessary. We need people who aren’t afraid to ask tough questions, learn how read between the lines, and get to the heart of a story.

We need good journalists.

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Image via NBCnews.com

On my wish list would be scientifically literate journalists, ones that can look at facts, data, can make inferences, then report on those facts. Ones who don’t just take people at their word, but do their research, look at pictures, data, interviews, and look for evidence to back up their facts. …


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Image courtesy of Spacex.com

Helping teachers to grasp new technology has, over the years, been a challenge, as any school technology coordinator will tell you. Sitting in staff meetings when the proverbial naysayers question the direction of technology in the classroom is a routine part of the process. You listen, and continue to point the train toward the future.

In my role as STEAM Coordinator and tech educator for that past 10 years, I’ve seen classroom technology evolve from webquests to Web 2.0 to collaborative documents spearheaded by Google Apps (now known as G-Suite). Google Apps were all the rage in 2009, and I got accepted into the Google Teacher Academy that year as a Google Certified Innovator. …


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President Obama, in a presidential proclamation, proclaimed the week of June 17th, 2016 as the “Week of Making” all across the United States.

Having just returned from The White House for the kickoff to the Week of Making and witnessing the Champions for Change event, celebrating makers from all over the United States, the winds of change are moving in the direction of creating community makerspaces.

What is a makerspace, might you ask? A makerspace is a gathering place for creatives, business developers, tinkerers, do-it-yourselfers, artists and more- to design and build things. It’s a place where people from the community can work on their ideas, use 3D printers, laser cutters, woodwork, metalwork, design. It’s a place where budding entrepreneurs can come to flesh out their ideas, collaborate, and build the next great idea. Imagine you had an idea for a new kind of toothbrush- you could walk down to your local makerspace where a facilitator would help you design it and print out a prototype. For example, in Chicago at the Chicago Industrial Art and Design Center (www.ciadc.org), …


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Image from https://pixabay.com/

Twitter ignored how its small, dedicated communities were using its service, and now it’s suffering because of it.

We’re reading it everywhere right now: Twitter is dead.

One of my favorite writers and tweeters is Mathew Ingram, a writer for Fortune and one of those journalists who makes themselves extremely accessible on Twitter. You can usually expect him to respond to your tweets, like a modern journalist does. It makes what you’re reading even that more interactive when you’re able to chat with the author.

This is why I love Twitter.

I follow Mathew on Facebook, but there, Mathew’s profile is not public where just anyone can comment on one of his articles. He clearly favors Twitter as the place for his public conversations. His latest article about Twitter claims that even he wishes the “old Twitter” would come back. I agree. …


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Photo via TheVerge.com

This holiday season is turning out to be a great season for Virtual Reality. Verizon stores are giving away free Google Cardboard headsets. What is Google Cardboard? It turns your smart phone into a virtual reality headset! You can’t beat free, and you can’t beat VR!

Why is this important? The amount of new immersive content available on YouTube (and other apps) related to science, STEM, and more is an opportunity for our kids to be whisked away to new planets, solar systems, jungles, and experiences. And with a 360 Degree camera- we can also create immersive content.

This is certainly one way you can get Cardboard into your kids’ hands, but if you’d like to give them something a little more snazzy there are even more…


Brace Yourselves for a New Wave of Classroom Integration

By Daniel Rezac

Every year in the last days of June, twenty-thousand educators gather for what could be known as the “Auto Show” of education technology. The ISTE conference, as it’s known, showcases the latest innovations happening in the ed tech space. Students, teachers, exhibitors, and district leaders share their strategies, their struggles, and their triumphs in the classroom with these many new tools.

If you’re a parent, you don’t have to care about this event, but rest assured- what happens at ISTE, like a Paris fashion show, is going to trickle its way down to your students’ classrooms in America and abroad quite soon. Screentime, digital citizenship, iPads, Chromebooks, classroom “SMART boards” - what happens at this event matters when it comes to students, policies, and the devices and tech students use in the classroom. …


For those of us who aren’t educators, Twitter for teachers is an entirely different beast. It’s not about celebrities; it’s about connecting and sharing.

There was a time a few years ago when, for the tech-education zealots, Twitter was the thing. Every education conference had its own hashtag (and still does), and the promise of sharing- the ease of sharing using Twitter was hard to resist. For many- it was addictive.

These “techucators” jumped on Twitter, connected, shared, and waited in droves for their school Personal Learning Networks (PLN) to explode. They did workshops, created all-school hashtags. And they waited. And waited. And…. today? …


This post is also cross-posted to my blog HyprFocal.com. You can connect with me there or follow me @drezac for more about education and the media.

Sometimes it’s good to get a dose of reality.

Last April I stumbled upon an EdSurge post entitled, “Twitter Exec Reports that Educators Dominate the Twitter-sphere.” I kind of sat on that news for a while, waiting for educators to uproariously respond to it, either positively or negatively. That… never really happened. The National #ConnectEd movement, at least as it’s been promoted by Ed.gov was in full swing for over a year, however, the connected educator movement began (roughly) back in 2007 with just a handful educators tweeting and sharing. …


It Breaks Every Time

Just listened to This Week in Google with Jeff Jarvis and Leo Laporte. Great show, which is getting to be less and less about Google, and more about Jeff’s increasingly innovative ideas about how we can change journalism and the news.

I find it fascinating how Leo Laporte’s model for Tech News Tonight and Tech News Today goes completely contrary to his co-host Jeff’s new vision of news. …


The Alternate Life of Billy Joel: A Mirror Universe Biopic

Billy Joel is a star. That’s undeniable. He’s The Piano Man. He’s sold 150 million records.

But he could have had another life. A different life.

He’s often said that his inspiration for “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the popular song from 1989, was that he was a “history nut,” and he’s quoted as saying “at one point I wanted to be a history teacher.

What if he was? What if, because of Mr. Joel’s own known personal demons, life took a different turn, and he had not become the famous pop artist that we all know and love? What if he became…a teacher? Would music still play a part in his life? Would he regret not being a professional musician? The question this movie poses- is success pre-determined? And what makes a “star” a star? Would Mr. Joel be as successful in the classroom, as he was a musician? …

About

Daniel Rezac

Education Community Manager @ Tynker.com, Maker Faire Producer, EdCamp Illinois Organizer, Illinois Computing Educator. Proud Maker.

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