Sunday, February 1, 2015

Power Up Goes to Production

Alright, honestly we spent the last five months of 2014 too busy writing the book to blog about writing the book.

Our manuscript deadline was December first, and even though many friends told us no one ever meets those deadlines, we did, sort of. All chapters were done being drafted by 12/1/14. Technically though, our manuscript was not really done. We spent the first half of December pulling together more of the figures and pictures for each chapters. The challenge is when you add a figure you have to renumber all the other figures in the chapter, and many of them are referred to more than once, so you have to find and change all the references, not hard, just tedious.

We also had to review edits from our fabulous editor Holly Holland, who made lots of helpful suggestions. Some were easy fixes of formatting or punctuation, others required adding a lot of new text or rearranging elements of a chapter. We spent on average 2-3 hours per chapter reviewing her edits and making changes.
Diana confers with Tess while Aaron rewatches a previous lesson.
Cute picture right? Unfortunately to "soft" to go to press. 

Holly submitted our figures to production and we found out we needed to reshoot some images. It turns out classrooms are challenging to photograph. We had to be sure we had photo releases from all of the students and add some extra lighting so the pictures would come out sharp enough for publication. Some we had to cut because we could not reshoot them and they were just too fuzzy. We will include them  when we present and I am adding one to this post for your viewing pleasure.

In early January 2015 the book officially went to the production department. It is out of our hands for a while now as the designers, and copyeditor work their magic. Meanwhile we are fielding emails about marketing, upcoming conferences, and author appearances.

Along the way we decided to change the title. Our original title was Power Up: Foundations of 1:1 Learning. The marketing team didn't love it. We kicked around some other choices. and settled on Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning. We really wanted to keep the word learning in there because learning is what it is all about.

We should get copyedits to review again in late February. Once we approve those there will be page proofs, then the files will go to the printer. Whoo, hoo!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jen Ignites the House

Yesterday, Jen gave an AWESOME Ignite talk on predicting the future.  I'm so proud of her for taking the stage like a pro, and powering through five minutes of fantastic predictions, from memory.  I grabbed the text from her speech and pasted it below in case you want to read it.  Have your own predictions? #iPredict

"Hello,  I’m Jen Roberts. I teach high school English with 1:1 laptops in San Diego. But before I taught high school, and way before my students had laptops, I taught 7th grade, and Edgar was one of my students.

 When I taught Edgar and his classmates in 1999, dry erase boards were the latest technology, and my teacher computer weighed 60 pounds. But outside our classroom, Google was getting started, people were beginning to buy small computers called laptops, and Wifi was on the horizon.

 Today, Edgar is a computer professional. I know because he is the webmaster at my son’s preschool. The job he does today did not exist when he was in my class.

 When I run into Edgar, I get a fresh reminder that we are preparing our students for their futures. As teachers, we should be futurists. That’s the nature of the business. And predicting that future is not just our prerogative; it’s our obligation.

 Of course, our predictions won’t be right all the time, or even most of the time, but that’s not the point.  Predicting the future is not about being perfect or even specific. It’s about being open to possibility. You will be wrong, but by how much?

 If I predict that my children will own electric, self driving, cars by the time they are 25 I might be right. I’m just extrapolating on existing data. It could happen.

 If I predict that in ten years schools will have 100 times the bandwidth they have now, I might be wrong. But what if I’m right? In 1964 Isaac Asimov predicted that phone calls would become video calls by 2014. He was right! What comes after video calls? Imagine the possibilities for learning and human interaction.

 And field trips are going to be a whole lot more interesting. Virtual Reality Headsets will let you take your class on a virtual field trip to any place in the universe and any point in time.
The price point on these will come down to the point that every school can have a cart of VR headsets.

 I predict that wearable tech is coming to our classrooms, where it will initially be banned and then eventually accepted. Who would have guessed in 1988 that we would all be carrying cell phones today? Google Glass and others will become just as ubiquitous as cell phones have. What else is coming?

 In 2013 I stepped into a 3D cave and an undergraduate at UCSD walked us through a hemoglobin cell. She estimated the setup cost about 1 million dollars. But a mass produced version of a 3D pod could be commercially available to schools for a fraction of that cost. And I want one.

 As we move into an era where the common core is reshaping curriculum and 1:1 programs are putting a device on every student’s desk, I’m concerned that we will see a growing tension between corporations who want to package and deliver content, and educators who want to create collaborative, productive spaces, for children to grow.

 I’ worried that the next educational divide will be between the students who have the privileges and autonomy to determine their own learning and those who don’t.

 I predict that climate change will impact our kids lives. But, It will also drive innovation as we adapt. It will become a wedge issue in politics because there is no compromise that will stop weather patterns from changing and sea levels from rising. Our students must be prepared to change and innovate to survive. They will need to make hard decisions when they choose who to vote for and where to live.

 I predict that our world will become even more connected, driving the pace of innovation even faster. Students who are ready to join a connected community of innovators will have an exponential impact on the accelerated change coming in the rest of this century. Being a part of a connected classroom community and connecting across the globe with other classrooms is a good way to get started.

 Our kids are going places, but they won’t get there all alone. Artificial intelligence already flies our planes. It will soon drive our cars, boats and tractors.  And AI will help us make decisions from all the big data we are collecting. It may even help us predict…

 Yes, many of my predictions are my own hopes carved into prophecies by raw optimism. I have prophetic dreams, not the kind that show me the future while I am sleeping, but the kind that tell me that innovation and education are a human rights.

 These are the dreams that tell me we can leverage technology to awaken the curiosity in our students and engage them in positive change. Our students are going to be living in the future for the next one hundred years. Predicting what that world will look like is not hard, and preparing them for it is the challenge we’ve already accepted.  

 I predict that many of you will tweet me your predictions for your students. I hope I’m right.
Hashtag #iPredict"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Getting Excited for ISTE 2014

In less than a week, Diana Neebe and I will be headed to Atlanta for ISTE 2014. This will be my third ISTE and Diana's first, but despite being a newbie she is going to rock Atlanta.  Months ago, I encouraged Diana to apply for the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, and though the competition was fierce I'm sure, my awesome writing partner turned in a fabulous application and won the award. As a result of that, our schedule is now packed from Saturday through Tuesday.

Diana will be on the panel for the Leadership Town Hall Saturday morning.  I'll give my ignite session as part of the afternoon Opening Ignite Sessions and Saturday evening Diana gets interviewed onstage in the opening general session.

Sunday we will be eating well at the luncheon for ISTE award winners and then eating well again at a variety of parties, meet-ups, and dinners in the evening.  Monday we have breakfast with Google Developers and end the day with some Edtech Karaoke.

Tuesday we present our own session, Power Up PD: Top 10 Workshops for 1:1. It's based on the workshops Diana developed from the outline of our book and it is going to be a dense hour of learning, we hope, for our participants.

Other highlights I'm looking forward to are the ISTEunplugged events, particularly the Friday unconference, hanging out in the bloggers cafe, walking the exhibit hall, and of course going to at least a few sessions. Seeing friends and learning about what's new are essential parts of an ISTE conference for me. I'm excited to share all of that with Diana.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Confessions of a Second Semester Teacher

Here's the confession: I'm having a really hard time teaching and writing about teaching at the same time.  Maybe the confession should be -- sorry Jen, for missing our last Google Hangout.  I completely forgot, and when you called me, I was on a bike ride trying to get a break from the papers I hadn't yet graded.  Or maybe the confession should be -- sorry, students, for taking an extra few days to turn those pesky papers around.  I was trying to write about assessment and feedback.

Either way, the juggling thing isn't easy.  But (and there's always a but), Spring Break is just around the corner.  I can feel it like a wave of quiet solitude, with lots of space for writing.  It's amazing how much a little mental space -- a little clarity -- can impact my efficiency.  So, until then, I'm going to get back to teaching.  Then, when break hits, I'm on this whole book thing.  I promise, Jen!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Boston, Baby!

Jen & Diana meet the editors of Stenhouse!
Photo courtesy of
Hey NCTE Boston -- thanks for a great three days of learning and connecting, and for giving me and my #1 writing partner an excuse to hole up in a hotel room and write a chapter together.  Chapter 11 on "Becoming a Connected Educator" has its roots in Boston (and the cross-country flights that got us there), and speaks to the power of the links we create within our networks.  And what a network NCTE has been!  Jen and I met at a conference in Orlando in 2010, presented together in 2012, and are now co-signing the same contract for a book that started in conversations at NCTE in 2012.  Now there's the power of network.  It seems only fitting that we met our awesome editor, Holly, and got to attend the Stenhouse Authors Reception at NCTE 2013.  Feels very "full circle."  So, it's official.  We are signed and under contract.  I'm feeling very fortunate that they chose to take a leap of faith with us, and I know that my teaching, and how I'm thinking about teaching, will grow tremendously because of this process.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Proposal Got Accepted!

I'm so beyond excited.  Here's a little snippet of the email I received, called "Cause for Celebration" earlier today in the middle of a hectic day of teaching:

Hi Diana and Jen,
We will indeed have much to celebrate when we meet in Boston on Nov. 21. The editorial team just approved your proposal, and everyone is very excited about bringing you and your book on board!

I knew the editors were meeting today, but WOW, I didn't expect to hear back so soon, and with such great news!! Of course, I immediately called Jen, and we had a little jumping-up-and-down-screaming moment 500 miles apart.  This feels good.  I can't wait to get down to the hard work of writing the book, and sharing our experiences with all of our colleagues out there who are just moving to teaching with 1:1.  We have another chapter to polish up before we meet up in Boston for NCTE, so I'd better get back to it...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Proposal Sent

Book Proposal: Power Up
I hit the send button several dozen times a day, but this one was different. This was an email to an editor at an educational publisher. Now the fate of our book is in his hands.

It was actually ready to go yesterday, but Diana thought it was bad luck to send it on the 13th, even though it was a Tuesday. I humored her and we waited, but hitting send still feels like one of those tiny moments that can have huge consequences.

We sent an outline, several sample chapters, our cover letter, our CV's, lists of similar (but not identical) publications and a link to The Horizon Report. All of it was meticulously read and reviewed by both of us and several friends

We really like this publisher and we hope they like our book, but I know there are others who will want it if we get rejected this first time. So, we will keep writing while we wait for an answer. We know this is a book teachers need and we have to be sure they get it.