4 Lessons Learned from 2014 Ed Tech Failures

Tech failures STICKERI recently found an article called 4 Lessons from K-12 Ed Tech Failures of 2014. (It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one who occasionally fails!). The educational use of technology evolves, grows and improves just as the technology itself. But growth does come with bumps and bruises. This was a quick easy read, but in case you’re crazy pressed for time, here are the four lessons shared in the article:

  1. Plan for digital initiatives centered around the learner, not the device
  2. Bring all learning initiatives under the umbrella of digital transformation
  3. Put privacy protections in place for student data
  4. Find sustainable ways to fund digital projects

Have you ever had an ed tech failure? What did you learn from it? Comment below!


Horizon Report K-12 Edition (Educational Trends)

Tech Trends STICKERWhat’s on the horizon for K-12 education? The NMC Horizon Project has published the 2014 edition of their annual NMC Horizon Report to answer these questions for you! The NMC Horizon Project, established in 2002, is a comprehensive research venture that identifies and describes global, large-impact key trends, significant challenges, and emerging technologies in education. Below is an outline of the report. If you see something interesting, click on the links at the bottom to learn more!

 Key Trends Accelerating K-12 Ed Tech Adoption

Fast Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in schools over the next one to two years
Rethinking the Roles of Teachers
Shift to Deep Learning Approaches

Mid-Range Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in schools within three to five years
Increasing Focus on Open Content
Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs

Long-Range Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in schools in five or more years
Rapid Acceleration of Intuitive Technology
Rethinking How Schools Work


Significant Challenges Impeding K-12 Ed Tech Adoption

Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities
Integrating Personalized Learning

Difficult Challenges: Those that we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Complex Thinking and Communication
Increased Privacy Concerns

Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
Competition from New Models of Education
Keeping Formal Education Relevant


Important Developments in Technology for K-12 Education

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Cloud Computing

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Games and Gamification
Learning Analytics

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
The Internet of Things
Wearable Technology


Click here to view the preview of the report (11 pages).

Click here to read the full report (55 pages).

Squarehead Teachers on Google+

Hello friends and readers! I just joined Google+. I’ve created a page, but I still don’t know very much about Google+, circles, etc. I would be very grateful to hear any tips or suggestions you’ve got about how best to use it and what the best aspects/features are. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.  Thank you!

Here is my page: google.com/+Squareheadteachersblog

Cool Math Website

Check out this cool math website:  http://www.math-aids.com/

“This is a great math website for generating a math worksheet on just about any math topic.  You can customize it to be easy or hard, to say how many problems, etc.”

(Submitted by a 2nd grade teacher)

Know of a cool website you’d like to share? Let me know!


BrainPop Educational Videos

If you’ve never heard of BrainPop, you’re missing out! It’s a cool internet resource with games, review videos and other stuff for kids. There’s a paid membership available, but you can find tons of stuff for free without it. There are many free, animated movies (available for all content areas) that seem to appeal to kids. many of the review videos include a cute story line and dialogue between Tim and his robot friend, Moby. Click here to view all the free BrainPop stuff

Technology in our Lives

Technology in our lives STICKERI made this a few days ago for a friend. She teaches 2nd grade, and need a way to teach an AZ science standard (standard 3 concept 2) about technology in society. This seemed like a good way to start the unit. Each idea on the page is something the students are probably already familiar with. Kids match the picture with the benefit/use of that technology.

Click here for the free printable PDF: Technology in Our Lives

Free DVD for Teachers

The following was submitted by a fellow teacher: “Izzit.org is a website that gives teachers a free DVD once a year.  You do have to log in and set up a free account.  But free is free!”

This piqued my interest (I’m all about free stuff!), so I did some research.They have a free membership and a paid membership. Here’s what you get in the free membership (as quoted from their website):


  • A FREE video each year: Receive a FREE video, complete with Table of Contents, Teacher’s Guide, Discussion Questions, Quizzes, and more, each year for as long as you teach! Just provide feedback after using the video in your classroom.
  •  Educational Standards Alignment: See how each video meets your state standards, or search for which of our videos meet a specific standard. Now includes Common Core Standards.
  •  Current Events: Two daily lessons with news articles and stimulating discussion questions.
  •  Student Zone: Allows your students to access Current Events, games, and other resources.


I couldn’t find details about exactly what free DVD you get every year, but it’s worth investigating!  There are always resources seeking your money and there are plenty of awesome teacher resources out there for sale. But if you’re like me and don’t have the luxury of extra funds, this might be a cool option. Here’s a link to the FAQ if you want more information.

Have something you’d like to share on Squarehead Teachers! Let me know!

10 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online

Internet SafetyI recently read the following article on Nanny Websites and thought I’d share it:

“When used in a responsible and safe manner, the Internet can be one of the most powerful research and educational tools at a child’s disposal. It can expose him to a wealth of knowledge that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, help him experience other cultures and ways of life and encourage him to learn about the world around him. When used irresponsibly by children that have not been adequately taught about the potential dangers, however, the Internet can also be one of the most powerful tools at a predator’s disposal. These ten tips can help you keep your kids safe without depriving them of the valuable knowledge available online.

  • Take an Active Role in Monitoring – While you’ll want to provide your child with a certain measure of trust and freedom, it’s also important that you maintain an open policy about Internet and social media use. Make sure that you’re keeping tabs on what he’s doing online, and that you’re doing it in an open, honest manner that doesn’t seem like covert spying to your child.
  • Be Honest About Use of Monitoring Software – Monitoring software can be a very effective method of keeping up with what your kids are doing online, but it can also send a very clear message about your lack of trust if it’s used on the sly. Let your children know that there is monitoring software installed, rather than accosting them with evidence of misbehavior out of the blue.
  • Use Content Filtering Features – Web browsers, anti-virus software and search engines all have some level of filtering capability built in to them, so it’s wise to take advantage of those features to block questionable or mature content. Kids can inadvertently stumble over nudity, pornography or violent content without actively seeking it out, and these features make that a bit less likely.
  • Keep Your Computer Located in High-Traffic Areas – When your child has her own computer, she’s free to do her homework or study without tying up the family computer. She’s also able to access questionable content with some degree of privacy. Keeping your computer in a high-traffic area allows you to see what she’s looking at during her browsing sessions.
  • Limit Social Networking Use – Social networking sites are among the most popular on the Internet, but they’re not always a safe place for kids. Make sure that security settings on your child’s account are locked down, that he understands not to accept friend requests from strangers and that his social networking use is kept to a minimum.
  • “Friend” Your Child – While there are filtering options and lists that will allow a determined child to post and share questionable content without you seeing it, not all kids are that tech savvy. Insisting that your child send you a friend request as a caveat of social networking use can be a major deterrent from unsafe and risky behavior online.
  • Talk About Illegal Downloads – Kids don’t always understand the harsh penalties that can come along with copyright infringement and illegal downloading, which is why it’s important for parents and kids to have conversations about the repercussions of breaking the law, even if the Internet seems like a largely anonymous space.
  • Emphasize Values, Rather Than Tech-Savvy Tips – Kids will almost always have technical knowledge that outstrips that of their parents, which is why it’s important to emphasize a set of values over technical methods of staying safe. Talk about what is and is not okay to post online, how to handle scary situations and how to comport themselves rather than how to work the latest safety feature.
  • Keep Tabs on Gaming Devices – Most parents know that their kids’ cell phones and computers are sources of constant connectivity, but may not realize that their gaming consoles also connect to the Internet and put kids at risk of encountering predators. Make sure your little gamer knows never to share personal information with people he plays games with, and that you understand just how much outrageous “trash talk” is normal in the gaming community.
  • Maintain an Open Dialogue About Online Safety – It’s not enough to have one conversation about online safety and to leave it at that. Instead of having a single conversation about safety, establish an ongoing dialogue about what he sees online, what’s okay and what’s not okay.”