Failure to Launch

Failure to launch… it’s a complex problem, that can end with catastrophic results.

I have been hooked on these space analogies lately because they seem to fit the education space so well. The concept of “failure to launch” is one that is so real for us in classrooms across this nation.

The disastrous results that are outlined so profoundly in the video above equate to the struggle that many educators, schools, districts, and administrators, like myself, deal with on the regular. #thestruggleisreal

Imagine with me for a moment that our students are the rocket. Schools and districts play the role of design, engineering, manufacture. States and the Federal Government, they are command and control.

When these systems do not work together…

141029045534-nasa-rocket-explodes-on-launch-virginia-00003006-story-top

Disaster.

Mars Ready

Are our systems aligned so that our students are Mars Ready?

I recently was speaking to a group of educators at the Future of Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida. During my talk I outlined, as I often do, that our students change by the second. They do that as a form of survival. The world around them changes so quickly that they are forced to adapt.

Sadly, one area that has greatest impact (and on in which they spend a great deal of time) on our children – schooling – has not really experienced major changes.

Lets look at recent history.

The United States launched the Space Shuttle Program into service in the early 1980s. Thousands of technological advancements took place in the decades that the program was in place. After the Program was shut down, private companies, driven by many young innovators, do things like this…

SpaceX… launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral and landed that same first stage rocket back to Cape Canaveral less than 15 minutes later.

My question is – are our schools and districts using systems that are build up the future innovators that will take us to Mars? Or, are we on a path to “failure to launch”?

Is your school or district getting your students #MarsReady?

Our schools and districts need to reflect on how we engage kids; how we immerse them in technology rich, problem-based environments; how we align systems to avoid “failure to launch”.

At the surface, there are easy things that we can do. Like I shared with my friends at FETC we can begin exploring tools that can engage students and help us take them to higher levels.

Check out my 60 Instructional Technologies in 60 Minutes Master List here.

At deeper levels, these questions lead us to a path of reform. A path that will force us to reflect on how we do school.

A path that will prevent “failure to launch”?

Are our students #MarsReady?

mars_2445397b

And… will you help me get us there?

Michael Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

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Michael Meechin is a high school principal, writer and speaker. Mike works with schools and districts by providing grassroots professional development, high impact speaking topics, and consulting services on education reform initiatives. For more information check out our Work, or Contact Us.

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Why You Mad Bro?

I speak often with educators about the incorporation of technology into their classrooms and curriculum. During these convos I often share tools as well. What always leaves me perplexed is when I share out a great technology and the response I get is; “Why are we teaching them the easy way out?”

My response: Why you mad bro?

As I get ready to tackle FETC 2015 this week – I am excited about the conversations and connections with tech-savvy and not-so-tech-savvy educators. I am also reminded about those that are not as accepting of the tools that are used by the digital natives that populate our schoolhouses around the nation.

So, I challenge you to open your mind. We cannot be mad that our students have access to technologies that are effective (and way cooler) at bringing information to their fingertips. Encourage our students to use these tools to engage in the work they do for you in your classroom.

I am reminded of a Seth Godin quote; “Open book – look it up. All the time.” Our students have access to information in ways that we did not. Now it is time to shift the way we teach to challenge students in ways that we were not.

If you are out at FETC 2015 – and I hope that you will be – stop by and say hello. I have two sessions and I will be sharing many great tools that you can put into practice the very next day.

Jan 23, 2015

Sixty In Sixty: 60 Instructional Technologies in 60 Minutes
10:00A | S310GH

Technology for Schoolwide Impact
01:00P | S310EF

Why you mad bro?

Hope to see you in Orlando.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

What We’re Doing With Remind101

I have the privilege of working with some amazing educators in my schoolhouse, and I wanted to share what we’re doing with Remind101.

Remind101 is a technology that allows educators to provide one way communication to students, parents, etc… via text message simply and efficiently.

My teachers began using Remind101 last school year in sporadic fashion. So, this year we focused on bringing Remind 101 school wide and ensuring that our teachers were taking advantage of this powerful communication tool. But, that wasn’t enough for us…

We felt that there were other areas that we could use Remind101 to communicate in several ways with our students and parents. We would like to outline a few ways that we are making Remind101 work for us @poincianahigh.

Remind101 Stakeholders via School Website

We have posted our Remind101 subscription code on our school’s website that allows stakeholders to subscribe to our feed. We publish important school information, announcements, and shout-outs on our Remind101. The feedback we have received has been great. Stakeholders really enjoy receiving the information via text message and we love the ability to be able to schedule reminders ahead of time.

State Assessment Review

EOC ReviewAs a school, we were looking to engage our students outside of the classroom to encourage them prep for state assessments. We also wanted them to use technology… enter Remind101. My Science Coach developed signs that outlined how students could Remind101 Biology End of Course Assessment practice right to their mobile device.

We posted signage throughout the school that outlined the quick how-to. After that my Science Coach would Remind101 practice questions to our students enrolled in the group. Students would have to come and explain the answer to us during lunch. Students ate it up – they were coming down and having higher level discussions about Biology during their lunch. The response was impactful for our students – we like that.

Attendance Intervention

Remind101 Wake UpLike most at-risk schools, we have attendance issues. We decided after reading about and idea on the Remind101 blog to use this technology as an intervention to address our attendance issues.

What we did was use data to identify our most at-risk attendance issues. We met with these students and enrolled them in our Remind101 wake-up program. We send out three reminders each morning, beginning at 5:45A, waking our attendance issues and hopefully encouraging them to get to school.

Our reminders are witty comments or inspirational quotes meant to motivate our students to get to school that day. We follow up our first Remind101 with two additional wake-ups each morning. We like the data that we are seeing in return. In our first semester using Remind101 for this purpose, we got an increase in attendance for 83% of students in our pilot cohort – we like that.

These are just some of the ways that we are using Remind101 @poincianahigh. I hope that this helps you to use this powerful technology in your school, with your students.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
@mikemeechin

FETC 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again. The Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) is right around the corner with it’s 2014 version.

I will be presenting again this year and could not be more eager to connect with fellow like-minded tech-saavy educators from around the country and the world. You will find me at the front of three sessions for FETC 2014; all of which you can find listed below. New friends, old friends… I look forward to connecting with you there.

My FETC 2014 Sessions

01.30.14 | Digital Assessment: Using Mobile Devices for Assessment
8:00 AM (Ticketed BYOD Workshop)

01.30.14 | 60 Instructional Technologies in 60 Minutes
10:00 AM (Get there early… this one was at capacity in 2013.)

01.30.14 | Blogging with a Purpose: A Different Approach to Assessment
1:00 PM (Common Core focus)

You can find full descriptions for each and every session offered at FETC 2014 at http://www.fetc.org.

Until then you can find me on the Twitter @mikemeechin.

See you in Orlando.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.
mikemeechin (at) gmail.com
@mikemeechin