“Why Aren’t More Schools Using Free, Open Tools?”

open software

Penn Manor School District in Pennsylvania is exploring what it means to use open source tools rather than closed systems whenever possible.It has seemingly led to more student ownership over devices and their learning. “While we have the ‘must do’ layer, there’s also that little bit of subversion here, giving kids that little bit of creativity and maybe a ray of hope,” Reisinger, the district’s technology director, said. “I want them to learn that learning is not all about what someone else preordains for you. It’s OK to tinker and play with things.” How might using open tech turn students into creators rather than consumers of technology while also meeting rigorous standards?

“Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing”

tinkeringGreg Toppo says, “Good teaching is not about playing it safe. It’s about getting kids to ask questions, argue a point, confront failure and try again. More teachers might be willing to embrace technology if they saw it as a way to inject more of the dangers of learning into their classrooms.”

Read on to hear from game designers David Langendoen and Spencer Grey – they have seen surprising results in how students engage with their Mission US game at home versus at school and when those students are willing to take more risks.

“13 Barriers to Education Innovation”

barriers to edu innTom Vander Ark shares his opinion on the top thirteen barriers facing innovators in education. The list includes little R&D in schools, limited capacity, and a compliance mindset rather than an approach of getting it done no matter what. A common theme is the fear and lack of acceptance around failure to learn.


On the flip side, Carri Schneider shares 12 Education Innovation Mindsets for Leaders.

Which barriers are you challenging in education?

“American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist”

world doesnt exist According to Edwards, “We ‘learn,’ and after this we ‘do.’ We go to school and then we go to work. This approach does not map very well to personal and professional success in America today. Learning and doing have become inseparable in the face of conditions that invite us to discover.” Edwards posits that the key change we need for our students and ourselves is renewed focus on discovery wherever we find it and learning by doing.

“Veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned”


Alexis Wiggins shares the self-proclaimed terrible mistake she made – waiting so long to shadow students at her school. Wiggins shares her experience of seeing the school day through her students’ eyes. She has three key takeaways and many changes she would make in her classroom immediately from developing empathy with students


Have you shadowed a student at your school for a day?

“A Lesson In How Teachers Became ‘Resented and Idealized'”

teacher wars

“A Lesson In How Teachers Became ‘Resented and Idealized'” by Dana Goldstein on NPR discusses the controversial role of teachers and their close connections to the development of social movements over the last 200 years. She also highlights the importance and value of keeping innovative educators in the field – we agree!

Her book, “The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession,” was just released on Tuesday.

“Innovation Requires a Little Crazy”


MIT has a reputation as one of the most innovative higher education institutions; it is continually pushing to reinventing itself. Here are the key ingredients for innovation in higher education according to MIT – a few are “a willingness to take risks, to try something ‘crazy,’ to learn from failure and keep going” What’s the last risk you took to learn?