The Digital Backpack: Your Resource for Online Learning

The Digital Backpack: Your Resource for Online Learning

By The Digital Backpack
About
The Digital Backpack, powered by Michigan Virtual, is dedicated to sharing tips and tricks for teachers as they navigate their journey through online and blended learning. Join the host Jeff as he discovers new tools and resources for classroom use, talks to practitioners who are doing great things with their students, and has some fun! (Formerly known as "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning".)
More places to listen
The Digital Backpack, powered by Michigan Virtual, is dedicated to sharing tips and tricks for teachers as they navigate their journey through online and blended learning. Join the host Jeff as he discovers new tools and resources for classroom use, talks to practitioners who are doing great things with their students, and has some fun! (Formerly known as "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning".)
michiganvirtual.org/podcast

More places to listen

Digital Well-being
In this episode, we chat with Keith Tramper about digital wellbeing. We discuss what digital wellbeing is, how it relates to our lives, and how teachers and students might benefit from being mindful of their own digital wellbeing. We also review apps from  Apple and Google that help support digital wellbeing goals and Stacey Schuh joins us to help us unpack the conversation with Keith. Here are some notes about the episode: Keith talks about the concept of a mentoring gap that exists between children and adults in online spaces. Carrie James is part of Harvard's Graduate School of Education. She discusses the mentorship gap in Disconnected: Youth, New Media and the Ethics Gap. Keith learned about this concept through Digital Citizenship in Action by Dr. Kristen Mattson. Here's the relevant excerpt from page 10 of Mattson's book: In online spaces, we have come to accept a mentorship gap between children and adults. As noted by James (2014), we feel an obligation to tell our students the "rules of the road," but policy, fear, expectations, or curricular priorities keep us from jumping in the passenger seat and guiding our students as they navigate new digital terrain. So how can we close this mentorship gap? How can we ensure that we are teaching all aspects of citizenship, digital citizenship included, through life experiences and not solely through lecture? As educators, part of our responsibility is to create time and space for this type of learning to occur. Keith shares that he’s part of a Digital Wellbeing Project to support teachers and students. If you’re interested in helping out, express your interest in the Digital Wellbeing Project Interest Form. We mention that a middle school in Jeff’s past school district has started a new student cell phone policy this year. The school is Stevenson Middle School in the Wayne-Westland Community School District. WDIV Local 4 Detroit reported on the policy. Keith mentions that he attended a session that I facilitated at the 2019 Lake Michigan Tech Conference. Supporting Learning with Student Agency in Mind is the name of the session. The article Part 1: What Do You Mean When You Say “Student Agency”? heavily influenced my design of the session. Here's a good primer on well-being in general and a video about the PERMA model of positive psychology. Podcast PD is a great way to extend your learning while listening to the Digital Backpack. Have thoughts about something you heard on this episode? Leave a voice message to tell us about it! Your voice message could appear on a future episode. Make sure to subscribe to listen to future episodes!
1:09:56
September 23, 2019
Strong Student Relationships in Online Courses
In this episode, Jeff chatted with Kevin Santer, Lead instructor with the Career & Technology department at Michigan Virtual. Kevin shared his story about coming to education after a successful career in the computer science industry and how he’s been able to build meaningful relationships with students as a fully online instructor. Here are some notes about the episode: CatCat is a web app that Jeff reviewed in the episode. It offers learning pathways and the means to curate learning pathways, which feel like short courses. It can be used to curate pathways for teachers or students as learners. Jeff concludes that its biggest plus might be for professional learning. Shortly after his interview for this episode was recorded, Kevin Santer was named 2019 Michigan Virtual Online Teacher of the Year. Much of our discussion this episode centered around what it’s like to teach secondary students online. The Teacher Guide to Online Learning might be a good read if you have little or no familiarity with online learning and have an interest in helping online learners be more successful. Kevin discussed developing his own chrome extensions to support his team and, eventually, all educators. Chrome extensions are small software programs that customize your browser’s abilities in some way. To get thinking about how you might use chrome extensions, House of #EdTech podcast episode 15 Must-Have Chrome Extensions for Educators 2019 offers a good intro to using chrome extensions for education. Have thoughts about something you heard on this episode? Leave a voice message to tell us about it! Your voice message could appear on a future episode. If you like listening to this podcast and want to apply and explore the concepts a little more deeply, consider joining us in Podcast PD (Screencasting, the Future of Education or Google Forms, Failure-Free Failing & CBE). Make sure to subscribe to listen to future episodes!
59:29
August 23, 2019
Student Agency and Google Classroom
 Welcome to Digital Backpack! In our first Digital Backpack cast, we chat with Traci Smith, a high school English teacher at De La Salle. She shares some gems about connecting with students, creating an atmosphere of trust and how she uses technology to help with all of it!   In our first cast, we chatted about… Updates to Google Classroom — more specifically the comment bank feature! It’s a great way to save commonly used feedback and save you time while still providing feedback to your students.  Creating an advisory program to build community within a school and across grade levels.  Frequently asking for feedback from students and colleagues, processing the data and then discussing results with key stakeholders. Traci had some great insight into how this builds support in her classroom and school.  In our “morning announcement” we share how a high school PE teacher is working to integrate technology into his PE class! If you like listening to this podcast and want to apply and explore the concepts a little more deeply, consider joining us in Podcast PD  (Screencasting, the Future of Education or Google Forms, Failure-Free Failing & CBE). Make sure to subscribe to listen to future episodes!
52:21
February 21, 2019
Engagement Hoopla
This episode was originally published on November 16, 2018, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode, we chat with our colleague Emily Sicilia about engagement in the classroom. We explore how to define engagement in the classroom and chat about Hoopla, an app Emily shares that has changed our reading lives! [Full show notes] Attribution: Up From Here - Scratch Cut by AsIsBeats is used under an open Attribution License. Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snips from Warriors (1979) and Whoomp, There it is! (1993) by Tag Team. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
54:57
January 23, 2019
Power With, Not Power Over
This episode was originally published on May 15, 2018, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode, Jeff and Erin chat about the concept of “power with vs power over” (a conversation that stemmed from a recent book study of Jim Knight’s High-Impact Instruction), have a great interview with the always amazing Val Capel, and ask listeners to share about their student-teaching experiences! [Full show notes] Attribution: Up From Here - Scratch Cut by AsIsBeats is used under an open Attribution License. Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snips from Warriors (1979) and Whoomp, There it is! (1993) by Tag Team. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
51:57
January 23, 2019
Live Episode @ Rebel U
This episode was originally published on February 15, 2018, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode, Jeff shares some audio from a recent teacher professional development session on... you guessed it podcasts! Then, Jeff and Erin chat about facilitating learning with teacher and how they utilize their classroom teacher experience to shape professional learning experiences. [Full show notes] Attribution: Up From Here - Scratch Cut by AsIsBeats is used under an open Attribution License. Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snips from Warriors (1979) and Whoomp, There it is! (1993) by Tag Team. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
23:53
January 23, 2019
Anchors Away!
This episode was originally published on December 11, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode, a podcast about… podcasts! Jeff and Erin discuss a cool tool for recording podcasts (Anchor.fm) and how teachers might think about using podcasts in the classroom. [Full show notes] Attribution: Up From Here - Scratch Cut by AsIsBeats is used under an open Attribution License. Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snips from Warriors (1979) and Whoomp, There it is! (1993) by Tag Team. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
25:18
January 23, 2019
FlipGrid & The Great Chicken/Egg Debate
This episode was originally published on November 8, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode, Jeff and Erin share about Flipgrid and how they ‘dig’ using it with students and teachers alike. They also engage in the great chicken/egg debate of educational technology: what comes first, the technology tool or the learning? [Full show notes] Attribution: Up From Here - Scratch Cut by AsIsBeats is used under an open Attribution License. Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snips from Warriors (1979) and Whoomp, There it is! (1993) by Tag Team. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
31:47
January 23, 2019
Putting Students in the Driver's Seat
This episode was originally published on August 31, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   After a summer hiatus (or a summer full of professional learning opportunities with teachers), we’re back! In this episode, we have the opportunity to chat with Sharon Murchie, a high school English teacher with Bath Community Schools. She provides a look into her classroom and how she helps to empower her students to demonstrate their learning in different ways. We also flip the table and ask you to answer this episode’s #campfireQ! [Full show notes] Attribution: Up From Here - Scratch Cut by AsIsBeats is used under an open Attribution License. Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snips from Warriors (1979) and Whoomp, There it is! (1993) by Tag Team. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
49:11
January 23, 2019
The End of Swiss Cheese Learning with Dan Spencer
This episode was originally published on April 26, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode we chat with our guest, and friend, Dan Spencer. Dan is a high school science teacher turned tech integration specialist turned high school science teacher. He brought some great insight, not only from his classroom, but to education in general! We also chatted about a few MACUL takeaways and our latest tech fave: Loom. [Full show notes] Attribution: Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snip from Warriors (1979. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
57:26
January 23, 2019
Talking Marginalia With Rachelle
This episode was originally published on March 28, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode we got into some deep conversations with Rachelle Wynkoop surrounding literacy, explored a new tool for us that linked up with the tips Rachelle gave us and talked about finding the balance between digital and paper reading. Oh and trivia … there was trivia. [Full show notes] Attribution: Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snip from Warriors (1979. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
1:19:43
January 23, 2019
Failure-free Failing
This episode was originally published on February 21, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."   In this episode we chat with Erin Mastin, a 3rd grade teacher in Boyne City, Michigan. She shares with us her growth mindset approach to her classroom and how she is working on shifting her classroom toward a competency-based learning environment. Erin tells how her students set their own goals, track data, and use STEM activities to keep learning! We also chat with each other about how much we love the Google Suite of products and even pull in our local competency-based education expert and colleague, Kelli Hixon! [Full show notes] Attribution: Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snip from Warriors (1979. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
1:06:30
January 23, 2019
Shirley Temples With Ben
This episode was originally published on January 27, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."  In this episode, we chat about our favorite tool this week: Quizizz, a gamified quiz site; spend some time conversing with one of our favorite ed techs, Ben Rimes — hear about what he’s up to — and even convince him to play a round of Mad Libs with us; and respond to our first official #campfireQ question from Twitter. [Full show notes] Attribution: Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snip from Warriors (1979. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
56:53
January 23, 2019
Talking About, And To, A Wonder Woman
This episode was originally published on January 15, 2017, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."  In this episode, we’ll chat with elementary school teacher, Sandy Freeland about how she uses technology intentionally in her classroom to ‘break down’ her classroom walls. We also dive into the tool, Actively Learn, a site that allows you to support students while they read informational text, and chat more about blended learning. [Full show notes] Attribution: Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snip from Warriors (1979. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Warm Up Suit by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
1:10:36
January 23, 2019
Getting Wizer Just P-Cuz
This episode was originally published on December 6, 2016, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning."  In this episode of Campfire, we’ll chat about a cool new tech tool (Wizer), gather around a metaphoric campfire to hear the stories from Ben Pineda’s 8th grade social studies classroom, and discuss blended learning and why we love it and think it’s so powerful for classrooms. [Full show notes] Attribution: Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fair use audio snip from Warriors (1979. Mell's Parade by Broke For Free is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Fair use clip from Sesame Street: Cookie Questions Prairie Dawn. Blown Out by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
49:48
January 23, 2019
Chubby Bunny Teacher Challenge
This episode was originally published on December 6, 2016, when the podcast was called "Campfire: Igniting Education with Blended Learning." It might be a little chilly to gather around a campfire this time of year, but we’d love for you to grab your coffee and get cozy while you listen to our FIRST Campfire Podcast. We want to bring you a different style of education podcast that serves educators, administrators, tech coaches and ANYONE who has an interest in education! [Full show notes] Something Elated by Broke For Free is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 United States License. Tawny Owls 2.wav by Benboncan is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by Dynamicell is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. Digging1.wav by cameronmusic is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License. 
13:22
January 23, 2019
Justin Bruno
This episode was originally published on December 15, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Justin Bruno is a Research Associate for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, a division of Michigan Virtual. Justin is a colleague and, for the past year, a fellow podcast host. The Virtual Viewpoints podcast features interviews with K-12 online and blended professionals. Conversation centers around how the power of applicable research enhances the quality of teaching and learning. Justin talks with practitioners, policy makers, administrators and researchers from around the nation, giving them a platform to share their stories. Justin and I reflect on the conversations with the guests we've had on our podcasts over the past year. We each chose clips from past guests that we felt were thought provoking, important to the profession or simply interesting to us to guide our own new conversation. We hope you enjoy and we both look forward to chatting with new guests in the year to come.
53:08
January 23, 2019
Ashlie O’Connor
This episode was originally published on December 10, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Ashlie O’Connor is an Instructional Technology and Data Coach for the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District and Alcona Community Schools itself. I met Ashlie this past summer at the Boyne Tech Conference. We both presented sessions in the same room. I really enjoyed her fast-pace presentation style and the practicality she brought to demonstrating EdTech tools. Since that time we’ve had a handful of deep educational conversations. My mind gets a good stretch with each one. In the podcast we talked about her efforts to help teachers establish digital communication channels with parents and we spent at least half of it getting practical about student data collection, interpretation and the practicality of personalized learning with it.
50:00
January 23, 2019
Erin Luckhardt
This episode was originally published on October 14, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Erin Luckhardt is an 8th-grade social studies teacher at Boyne City Middle School. She’s one of the organizers of the Boyne Tech Conference which has been held the last two years in late June after school ends. If you haven’t been up before, there are a lot of great sessions led by teachers sharing their best practices. In our conversation, we talked about the components that help support effective technology PD, how to sustain learning beyond the initial PD session and applying competency-based learning at the classroom level. 
1:00:16
January 23, 2019
Andrea Zellner
This episode was originally published on September 1, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Andrea Zellner is a Technology Integration Specialist at Oakland Schools, working exclusively with the Pontiac School District. She is also a Ph.D student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University, a Red Cedar Writing Project disciple, a former high school English and biology teacher and a self-proclaimed “shenanigans instigator.” Andrea told me about the Tech Cafe, a drop in professional development center they’ve recently established in Pontiac where teachers can receive educational technology support. We spent a great deal of our conversation thinking about the impact of social media on teaching and learning. We also talked about the kind of informal learning that can happen in social media, while also exploring the value of anonymity and disposability as well.
1:03:04
January 23, 2019
Rachelle Wynkoop
This episode was originally published on August 26, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."    Rachelle Wynkoop is the Supervisor of Secondary Curriculum and Professional Development at the Port Huron Area School District. She is an active member of the #michED community and a regular presenter at education conferences throughout the state. Rachelle’s also a remarkable champion for the benefits of blended learning as a companion to great teaching. 
1:00:49
January 22, 2019
Cresta Wright
This episode was originally published on April 30, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."    Cresta Wright is the Instructional Technology Coordinator at Pennfield Public Schools in Battle Creek. Her career in education started in Pennfield as a classroom teacher where she was dabbling in blending learning before the phrase had much buzz. Between her Pennfield tenures she was a Technology Integration Specialist at Union City Community Schools. Cresta and I talked about shifting from a consulting to coaching mentality while working with teachers, how growing up in an agricultural environment shaped her understanding of teaching and learning from an early age and the unexpected learning that can happen when you share your work, no matter how good you think it is.
49:10
January 22, 2019
Sarah Wood
This episode was originally published on April 22, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Sarah Wood is is an Educational Technologist at Godfrey-Lee Public Schools in Wyoming, Michigan. She works with K-12 teachers to utilize the technology resources that the district has available. There is no such thing as a “normal” week in her role, something she enjoys. Over eight years she says her responsibilities have morphed as technology has evolved. I was excited to talk to Sarah about Godfrey-Lee’s Rebel U event, their own educational technology conference that takes place during teacher days in August. We also chatted about how she approaches using tech integration to meet district-wide goals.
29:24
January 22, 2019
Kerry Guiliano
This episode was originally published on April 15, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Kerry Guiliano is a Technology Integration Specialist at Oakland Schools. As part of the intermediate school district’s shared services model she works exclusively with Southfield Public Schools, helping educators to use technologies thoughtfully for teaching and learning. Before Kerry’s current role, she was a Spanish and technology teacher. As an elective teacher she worked with an incredible range of students from a young fives program all the way up to 12th-graders. Kerry shared her story as an educator and described her transition from a technology using teacher to more of a blended facilitator. We also discussed her coaching relationships with teachers and how she’s helping administrators to start providing professional development using blended strategies.
48:46
January 22, 2019
Kit Hard
This episode was originally published on April 8, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Kit Hard is an Education Technology Specialist at Marysville Public Schools. Part of his professional responsibilities are to provide training and support to teachers, which he focuses predominantly around blended learning instruction and formative assessment. He’s also a Universal Design for Learning evangelist, a Maker movement supporter and a #michED leader. I love having a conversation with Kit because he’s always got exciting news about projects that he’s working on with teachers in his district and it’s fun to hear him share very detailed stories of the learning that’s taking place in Marysville. This time we chatted about the collaborative PD community that he’s helping to cultivate with teachers and his role in building up teacher capacity to use blended learning strategies with their students. Particularly, I found the way he’s using the station-rotation model as a starting point for lesson design and adaptive curriculum packages to off-load some of the content creation responsibility to be a really practical approach to support teachers just beginning to blend their classroom.
47:17
January 22, 2019
Elaine Mantinan
This episode was originally published on April 1, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Elaine Mantinan is a Spanish teacher at L'Anse Creuse High School - North in Macomb, Michigan. When her principal approached her to be among the first educators in L’Anse Creuse Public Schools to pioneer their blended learning initiative, she was excited to take part. Over the past two school years she’s been designing, building and teaching a blended Spanish course. We chatted about the infrastructure and course design considerations necessary for this new course type. We talked about the culture building that needed to happen for students to acclimate to a blended learning environment after years of traditional schooling. Elaine also shared her thoughts on proactive and reactive designs for differentiated student learning. She’s really skilled at creating conversations that flow between the online and face-to-face environments that encourage interactions that deepen language learning.
36:54
January 22, 2019
#MACUL15
This episode was originally published on March 25, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Attending the MACUL conference is one of the biggest highlights of the year for Michigan educators. Over 4500 attendees descended on the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit to soak up sessions put on by teachers throughout the state as well as international thought leaders in the field of EdTech and innovation. Jamie, Brandon, Roman and I attended MACUL, representing Michigan Virtual as presenters and connecting with folks at our booth in the vendor area as well. We enjoyed connecting with lots of #michED friends, making new connections and engaging in deep thoughtful conversations on the whole. In the days following the conference, we’ve been trying to unpack and share our reflections as so many others do. Personally I was having a bit of writer’s block. Brandon suggested we do a podcast so I booked a meeting room and put a mic in the middle of the table. I didn’t have guiding questions but I think the four of us did a pretty good job of improvising. There is a lot of merit to planning and preparation. We are deeply thoughtful people. But sometimes you just need to jump and trust that you’ll do well. Listening to the recording now, I like the rawness and I’m glad that we captured these thoughts for us to do something with them in the future. Ironically that’s the power of reflections, to look forward as you think back.
53:18
January 22, 2019
Chris Stanley
This episode was originally published on March 3, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Chris Stanley is a 21st Century Teacher with Fraser Public Schools. This is an interesting position that the district has created: part instructional coach, part classroom teacher. Primarily he supports secondary level staff and students in integrating technology to enhance learning. In fact, he is currently working exclusively in this capacity. Yet as recently as last semester he was also teaching two ELA classes at the high school, a content area that he’s taught since 2008. We chatted about personalized learning strategies that strike a balance between proactive and reactive differentiation, which led us to talk about the power of structuring learning around inquiry and his early impressions of using a competency based learning approach with his students.
1:11:08
January 22, 2019
Ann Smart
This episode was originally published on February 24, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Ann Smart is an instructional coach with Adrian Public Schools, the same district she attended as a student. After completing her bachelor's degree at Adrian College in 2002, she developed her craft as a high school reading teacher and literacy coach in Colorado for a year and the state of Washington for six. In 2010, she returned to Adrian to teach reading at the middle school, before transitioning into her current role as instructional coach. She is in the midst of her third year in this position. We discussed her favorite aspects of being an instructional coach, her work with teachers in implementing inquiry based learning strategies and the district’s exploration of learning environment design as part of their model classroom initiative. This is her story.
47:46
January 21, 2019
Tara Becker-Utess
This episode was originally published on February 17, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  We had the pleasure of talking to Tara Becker-Utess about how she began to explore blended learning as a result of connecting with the Michigan flipped classroom teaching community, and how her class has continuously evolved and improved as a direct result of the feedback she has received from her students along the way. With more time to engage with her students in the classroom, as well connecting with various personal learning networks, she rediscovered her love for teaching. Follow Tara on Twitter (@t_becker10)
22:27
January 21, 2019
Angela Mellott
This episode was originally published on February 10, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."   Since 2007 Angela Mellott has been a teacher at Brandywine Community Schools. Brandywine Junior/Senior High School serves grades 7-12 and staff is shared between the middle and high school grade levels. Identifying opportunities to differentiate learning for her students, Angela began to explore blended learning in April 2014. She chose to work with Michigan Virtual to support her growth in applying blended learning strategies to her course design. The course that she chose to blend, her Advanced Business course, consists of 13 Juniors and Seniors who have completed the basic business course that Angela also teaches. Angela mentioned that many of these students maintain jobs. With this in mind the school decided to implement a three-day onsite, two-day remote, weekly schedule in order to provide greater flexibility to their school/work balancing act. Our partnership has been unique, due in large part to the full access she has given me to her curriculum and the open dialog we’ve been able to have in regards to pedagogical choices to meet learning targets. Our conversation focused on her continued growth as a blended teacher, but I was happy to also capture some of the brainstorming conversation that we regularly have when discussing her students’ learning. My hope is that by having these conversations in the open, you can better understand the nature of our work together. This is her story.
35:10
January 20, 2019
Andrew Shauver
This episode was originally published on February 3, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Andrew Shauver began his teaching career in 2006. After going through the struggles of a first-year math teacher, he sought to create opportunities for his students that focused more on value and less on one-size, fit-all tasks. Before blended learning was a buzzword, he was developing online environments that gave students greater control over place, pace, path and time. In his career as a teacher with Webberville Community Schools and Pennfield Schools, he continued to seek out designs that increased the accessibility of learning. There was a theme that flowed through our conversation, one of open learning and collaboration. The unpredictability of how learning objects will be used in a digital space is interesting to both of us. We discussed how we see this in the blogosphere, in social media, and in classrooms. This learning ethos is built upon learning in the open, contributing ideas with the expectation that they will be useful to others’ learning. But another key aspect of this ethos is that learners engage with the ideas in their own personal ways. I visited Andrew on the Ingham ISD campus to record our conversation. In November of 2014, he signed on with the ISD as an Instructional Technology Specialist, tasked with assisting teachers and schools throughout the county in their educational technology endeavors. We explore his approach to leading teachers in this capacity, Ingham ISD’s vision for developing a county-wide framework for blended learning as well as a teacher learning network to foster collaborative idea building throughout the county. This is his story.
1:02:23
January 18, 2019
Mary Wever
This episode was originally published on January 26, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories."  Mary Wever has been teaching elementary school students since 2007. Currently she teaches a great group of third graders at Whitehills Elementary School, East Lansing Public Schools. We recorded this podcast during Mary’s plan period and then had the opportunity to teach Mary’s students about the recording equipment that we had set up. We talked with a lot of students. You can hear more of these clips on the other side of our conversation with Mary. We know Mrs. Wever quite well after visiting her classroom last year in addition to connecting with her through social media and at conferences. Mary taught at East Lansing’s Red Cedar Elementary until it closed last year. She relocated to Whitehills for this school year. Mary has utilized the opportunity of moving to a new building to explore the design of the physical learning spaces of her classroom. She was a finalist in the classroom cribs challenge in the fall of 2014, recognizing the way she designed the interiors of her room to compliment the students’ learning needs. We also discussed how curriculum mastery informs her blended learning choices, the state of teacher education and professional development and the tweaks that could be made to improve these systems, and she offered a fascinating self-analysis of her leadership style. Follow Mary on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeverWorld
32:44
January 18, 2019
Melody Arabo
This episode was originally published on January 8, 2015, when the podcast was called "MyBlend Stories." Since 2002, Melody Arabo has been a third-grade teacher at Keith Elementary in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District. In May, she was named the Michigan Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year. Literally overnight, she became the lead voice of educators throughout the state. We talked about blended learning strategies, building a culture of collaboration in education and got a sneak preview of her new book, “Diary of a Real Bully.” Follow Melody on Twitter: twitter.com/melodyarabo
50:10
January 18, 2019
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