Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Promoting Student Creativity - "Marker Spaces"

At Monticello High School in Albemarle County (VA) high school the traditional library has been transformed into space where students can design and create their own work. The idea is to provide students with a place to gather, collaborate, study, read and do other creative work. For example, part of the library is now a music studio. Elsewhere they created a "hacker" room for computer programming, and a "genius bar" where students help one another fix problems with their computers. Students can use these spaces before and after school, during free periods or during lunch.

It's a program called "Marker Spaces" and the staff reports that the library has become the hub of the school. It's a place where students can pursue their own interests, different hobbies and activities and collaborate on creative activity like music composition and TV or video production.

Details about the transformation are described in an article from a local television station. I'd enjoy hearing from you about your response to "Marker Spaces."

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Using Social Media for Instruction

One of the fastest growing trends in education is to encourage students to bring, and use, their own technology---smart Phones, tablets, laptops. Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs are underway across the country. The most notable challenge with these programs is that students know far more than most teachers about how to use the devices for tasks. Often educators focus on the misuse of technology but the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that most students use their devices appropriately. That's let many schools to encourage teachers to incorporate technology and various forms of social media as a way to both motivate and engage students. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently showcased the efforts in several Wisconsin schools to use Twitter and other social media, once banned, for instruction.

It's a rapidly growing trend and recognizes the powerful ways technology can transform teaching and learning. Howard Johnston and I wrote about the trend and how social media can be used with 21st century learners to improve their academic experience. Our book, The School Leader's Guide to Social Media, is available from Routledge Education, at and

I'd enjoy hearing from you about how your teachers are using technology and social media to improve instruction.