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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast
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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast


Developing a Learner's Culture: Badging in a Makerspace Class

Create a Stage to Showcase
Creativity, Focus, Persistence, and Achievement

Ace fighter pilots with kills on the nose of their plane, Boy Scout and Girl Scout sashes, wrestler belts and olympic medallions; we have long celebrated achievement and excellence in human history with badges.

Changing Classroom Culture With Badges

As mentioned in many educational circles (and previous Shupester post) providing achievement badges is very meaningful in a personalized learning classroom.

Digital or Physical?

Digital badges have become a thing in online games and in many learning systems. When you level up in a game, or take a short course and pass a test, we have digital badges and micro credentials.

Unfortunately, digital badges are only visible when logged into that particular learning system and often require you to navigate to each individual's profile rather than being showcased in the learning community.

For this reason, I decide to take digital badging back into the physical world.
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Some say the first badges were scrawled into cave walls by brave hunters millennia ago.

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    Decades ago, a keynote speaker at an education conference noted how education institutions at all levels celebrate achievements in athletics, and sometimes the arts (theater, band, chorus). Aside from the honor role – we did very little to showcase individual learning gains and achievements. I committed that day to find ways to provide a stage for learning achievements.

    That became a focus of our school news program, Stone Students Rock! Web Blog, Facebook page, and Badging program.

    the Shupester

Visualize Your Strengths

Developing A Healthy Self-Image

When I began working with Carol Anne McGuire on her website (Rock Your Strengths), the teacher in me could immediately see the value of Gallup's StrengthFinder® for our teaching staff and students. Honestly, I had taken the Strengthsfinder test decades ago and just past it off as feel-good soft science. But this time, I began to generate ideas of what this might look like for the classroom.

Here is the story of one STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activity for creating stronger students.

Early in my teaching career, I heard students say things such as:
  • I am not good at (subject area).
  • I cannot do (subject).
  • This makes no sense to me.
  • I am not a (subject) person.

The students had reached a self-image wall:
Their self-image had gone from Let's Try! –> to –> I can't!


Culture & Identity- "On the SpaceCoast of Florida"

When my students were asked to participate in Rock Our World last fall, one of the first things I did with them was discuss branding. We spent a bit of time discussing what a brand is and how important it was to differentiate yourself from everyone else. I thought that this would be an easy exercise as I asked them,

What is the one thing that makes our school system different from every other school in the world?

They couldn’t come up with anything significant.

Maybe it was just the fact that I was born in Melbourne Hospital, the son of a space engineer who had begun working on the SpaceCoast in the early 1950’s. The first thing that leaps to my mind was that WE WERE THE SPACECOAST! And I got to stay up late to see Neil Armstrong on the moon.


Maybe as a nation we have had so many things that our media tells us we should be ashamed of, that we have forgotten what we should be proud of.
Maybe our entertainment / virtual reality movies, games, tv shows have become so good that we have lost a sense of being amazed when solid rocket boosters hurl living beings several hundred miles above the earth.
Our sense of adventure in space was seared by the last two shuttle accidents.
The many benefits of Space Exploration and the
inventions of space related-technologies (velcro, metal alloys used in sporting events, insulating blankets, etc.) have virtual no popular association with the Space Program.
Our culture’s heros have changed. We no longer honor our astronauts as explorers and hero’s, we only see them in the news when they are part of a scandalous love triangle.

I don’t really know what it is... or maybe it is all of those reasons and more. All I know is that the students never identified the brand of their school with the location of being on the SpaceCoast. And now we are down to a very uncertain future as the SpaceCoast. Two more launches of the Space Shuttle are scheduled and there is no manned launch program in the plans. In fact, the once proud US of A is going to rent seats on a Russian space craft whenever have a need to get to the Space Station or the Hubble.

What seemed like a futuristic, high tech name for a blog has become a historical reference of antiquity. Maybe I need to reexamine my brand...

Ed Tech Thoughts from the Spacecoast


Technology = Amplify Capabilities

Bookmark and ShareAt the Apple Distinguished Educator Summer Institute last summer, we were challenged to “Create Your Own Brand - the Brand of You”. Now in some ways this may sound egotistical and self-indulgent, but it certainly can be a useful exercise to consider who we are, what are our talents, our experiences and what we have to offer others. It helps us grow to think about what we are good at and what we can get better at, what brings us job satisfaction, what we can be passionate about.

For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.

Shaul, Letter to the Romans

So I set down to come up with three words that describe what I do, who I am. I decided to go with Amplifier, Truth Seeker, Visionist. I am not even sure that Visionist is a word, but I don’t really think of my self as a visionary, and visionist was the closest I could come to describe myself as one who watches trends and changes and looks for solutions beyond the current reality. Truth Seeker, betrays the cynical, scientific mind while honoring the deeply spiritual interests I carry. And Amplifier, well amplifier describes that part of my career and personal path that I get great satisfaction from.

I hope to help others enrich, improve, and experience greater results as they learn. And this is what an amplifier does, it takes a small thing and makes it bigger and hopefully better. A amplifier is faithful to produce that which it is amplifying, with the nuances of individual components of the original truth receiving equal attention to detail. A good amplifier is very efficient and productive with little wasted energy, virtually no distortion and faithfully reproducing all that was already present in what is being amplified. Amplification, properly used, can be tailored to the audience’s needs- it doesn’t have to be obnoxiously loud, and it can be adjusted to the context of the room or environment, so that all the characteristics of the subject can be appreciated.I hope to help others enrich, improve, and experience greater results as they learn. And this is what an amplifier does, it takes a small thing and makes it bigger and hopefully better.


Facebook Surprises

Yesterday marked another year of being the shupester. I spent a good part of it preparing and participating in the finale of Rock Our World #11. As I reflected on my day and changes in my life, I couldn’t help but be surprised at how the landscape of my world has changed.

I am a pretty ‘local’ guy in many respects. Although I love traveling, I live within several miles of where I was born. In spite of job offers, I am teaching (and doing the Tech Director thing) in the same room that I started my teaching career in 27 years ago. Although I never expected to be living where I do, I still live in the first house my wife and I bought almost 25 years ago.

As close as my birthday is to Thanksgiving, it is even more natural to be in the thankful heart mode on December 5th. I was both surprised and humbled by the many happy birthdays from friends and colleagues, more than I ever remember receiving.

There were the regular close friends and family, members of my spiritual family... but then there were many, many that I had not expected. That steely-cold, impersonal, binary world of technology had done it again. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Plaxo, iPhones, etc. have not only made my life’s events more accessible, but made it easy to acknowledge from afar – instantly!

So rather than isolating, technology bridged large gaps between years (junior high friends, college roommates), generations (students, former students), intellects and skills (a wide range of education, social position and talents) – broadening my world and the richness of my social experience. I was simply shocked by the variety of people that took time to send me birthday wishes. Once again, technology has amplified my life experience.