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I’m an educator by training and by practice. I also struggle to maintain mental health. What began at the end of 2010 as a place to discuss education issues, education reform and policy has, as I suppose is natural with any personal blog, become a place to post my random musing on many topics; however, I aim to stay as true to the course as possible, focusing on issues of import to education. That said, you will find mental health, literacy, and technology discussed here.

If you tweet, follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Advocate (I’m a bit more random there, and more inclined to tweet about mental health and literacy)

I also write for Suite101.

Thanks for looking. I encourage comments and feedback. While comments are moderated, I will approve any comment that directly refers to the topic; however, I reserve the right to edit. Approval of comments does not imply endorsement or agreement.

Richard Millwood

Richard Millwood (Photo credit: samscam)


Richard Millwood of the UK has created a graphic that purports to be “A visual overview of every single learning theory.” That would seem to be overwhelming and almost impossible, but I think Millwood has truly captured it all and presented it in a graphically appealing way. Here is the graphic.


For more about Millwood and his work, visit




Interactive Whiteboard for a fraction of traditional cost

The Interactive White Board App available from Splashtop can be implemented in the classroom for a mere fraction of the cost of traditional interactive whiteboard technology. If you own or have access to a tablet, the only other requirement is the very inexpensive app available for iPad and Android. Follow the links to learn more.

Link  —  Posted: October 7, 2012 in post
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Yesterday after hearing this report about the middle class on Minnesota Public Radio’s Marketplace, something clicked for me, and I had to get those thoughts out of my head no matter how crude the form. The opportunity presented itself today when I commented on a friend’s Facebook post. Here is my take-away from Krissy Clark’s excellent reporting:

The education gap and the income gap are very closely related at present. I heard a report on NPR yesterday that really brought clarity to this subject. Briefly, we are currently at a crossroads. My friend Erik Hare knows all about economic cycles and writes quite a bit about the economy. I think some conversations I’ve had with him have touched on each aspect I will mention, and maybe he’s already put these pieces together, but it didn’t resonate for me until after I heard the report.

OK, back to the crossroads. We are in the midst presently of just about all of the historical economic cycles from 2500 year, to 500 year, to generational, etc. During our lifetimes the US economy has shifted from a large unionized production labor force to a largely “at-will” low wage service sector work force. Going back to the turn of the last century we were in a similar position: the middle class of farmers had decreased drastically and new “at-will” low-wage factory workers were leaving the ranks of the middle class to become the working poor.

My own great-grandfather was among the “robber-barons” and elite at the turn of the last century, much like our top 2% in this country are increasing their wealth enormously while real unemployment is in the 15-20% range and those of us who are working are losing ground. The Great Depression hit and some other tragedies struck and my forebears lost their fortune, but at the same time new policies emerged that created a new education system (the one largely in existence today) to train people to be “good factory workers.” Other policies and actions raised the standard of living of the poor production workers so they could become the “new” middle class. Times have changed. We no longer need compliant factory workers. We haven’t yet fully adapted our education system to reflect that. In fact, we still haven’t changed our system to reflect that we are no longer an agrarian society, and we pay heavily for that with “the summer slide.”

In order for things to change both within education, and change we must, and within the ever widening economic gap, we need to change how we think about the reality of the economy and how best to educate people to become adept and skillful service sector workers. Higher education is not the answer. 70% of Americans have no college degree. The price tag for higher ed is staggering, and the jobs available to most when they graduate just aren’t paying well enough to justify the expense, so we need to develop a system whereby our students can develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills as well as to be adaptable to the ever-changing requirements of the service sector, and we need for students to develop these skills before they graduate from high school. It isn’t happening right now for the majority of them.

There’s much more to be said about this topic, and I hope to be able to converse more about it with Erik. I don’t have all the answers, but it seems pretty clear that most of the folks currently governing us don’t have *any* of the answers. We need to adjust our education system and our policies to recreate a new “service sector” middle class. If the minimum wage had increased concurrently with increased productivity, we wouldn’t have this problem as our lowest paid workers would be earning in excess of $19 per hour and our top couple percent wouldn’t have increased their own personal wealth at such a rapid pace.

I confess to being less than a novice when it comes to coding, but I also confess that I can never learn too much and I love to get my kids excited about new things. That’s why I didn’t protest too much when my son asked me if he could create his own Minecraft server. Instead, I just asked him to write up a proposal regarding the project. How would he accomplish the goal? How could he ensure the safety of my home network? What skills and knowledge would he have to acquire in order to bring his project to fruition?

Now that he has operated his server for 9 or more months, he has become the “go-to” guy for his friends when they need assistance. He talks about wanting to learn some code and being able to do more with his server and his game. I encourage him to learn what he can, but games can only take him so far. That’s why I got really excited when I learned about Mozilla’s “Summer Code Party.” Through the Summer Code Party links I learned about “Code Academy” and have even created my own account to learn about some of the basic principles behind coding.

I mentioned the Summer Code Party to my son, and now I have begun thinking about organizing a “MozParty” table event at my home for my son and his friends to get together for a little summer learning, fellowship, and coding fun.

Whether you have kids or not, you are never too old to learn something new. If you’ve ever thought about learning some of the principles behind coding, I encourage you to check out the Summer Code Party. Happy summer fun and summer learning!

HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

Posted: May 22, 2012 in link

America’s “Mental Health Channel”:

Looking for trusted and timely information regarding mental health topics? Look no further than HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs.

Are Adults with ADHD Limited to Only Certain Types of Work?

Some therapists think that people with ADHD “have no business” working in certain fields, yet people with ADHD have found success in a variety of arenas from professional sports to medicine. I know a successful primary-grade teacher with ADHD. There are successful entrepreneurs (Richard Branson anyone?) and M.D.s with ADHD.

The link below explores how to find satisfying work for adults with ADHD.

Finding the Right Work for You: an ADHD Guide | Living with Adult ADHD.

I’m excited to begin a new part of my journey in life as one of the bloggers for’s “Living with Adult ADHD” blog.

My hope is to share personal experiences, strategies, and hope for adults diagnosed with ADHD, like me….

I recently learned that as many as 50% of all school age children with ADHD are never treated. Apparently, I was one of them. My parents wondered. I fit the classic example of “not working up to potential.” Sigh. That was then. Having a diagnosis has been helpful, but it has not been without its pitfalls. These are all things I’ll discuss on the blog.

If you or someone you love is an adult with an ADHD diagnosis and the struggles that come along with that, I’d love to connect with you at Until then, best.Image


Carol Dweck on the “Accountability Movement”

Carol Dweck, perhaps best known for her “Mindset” research and the book by that title, has written a piece for Education Nation questioning whether the accountability mindset under which US public education is operating is really positive for creating innovators.

Link  —  Posted: April 23, 2012 in post
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New Season, New Reasons

Posted: April 4, 2012 in link

New Season, New Reasons.

A reblog of Erik Hare’s “Barataria.” Check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

Online Quiz - Asean Quiz 2012 #quiz #smslabuan...

Online Quiz - Asean Quiz 2012 #quiz #smslabuan #smsl #sbp #aseanquiz (Photo credit: Roslan Tangah (aka Rasso))


During the past several years you’ve no doubt heard somebody mention Google Docs and the ability to create online quizzes. If you’re an “early adopter” or relatively tech savvy, maybe you’ve even tried your hand at creating a Google Docs quiz online. Maybe you’re not there yet either, and that’s OK. But, sooner or later, you may want to try creating an online quiz, and there are several great reasons to consider it:

  1. You’ll save a few trees.
  2. You won’t have to worry about your cat eating someone’s paper…OK, maybe I’m the only teacher who’s had that problem, but stranger things have happened!
  3. It saves the burden of toting papers to and fro.
  4. Students can access the quiz on their own time if they’ve missed it during class.

I’m sure you can think of many other advantages and reasons to try online quizzes.

I encourage you to try out Google Docs and the Flubaroo app that makes grading objective assessments a snap, but Google isn’t the only game in town when it comes to creating free online assessments: I’m sure you’ve heard of Adobe. Adobe has some great (and free) online tools for comunication and collaboration. One of those free to use tools is Adobe’s “FormsCentral.” Forms Central has a variety of templates for a variety of purposes, just like Google Docs. It’s pretty simple to use, and all you need to do is create a free account at to get started. Before you sign up, why don’t you click my link and check out my sample quiz. Then try your hand at creating your own.

Again, sooner or later you’ll doubtless want to try online quizzes. When you do, remember that Google is one option, but it’s not the only option you have.

Update: 3/26/12: Since posting this, I have learned that Adobe FormsCentral allows the user only *one* free quiz with only fifty responses. If your school or district happens to be an Adobe subscriber, you may be in luck; however, for the rest of us, it’s not a great deal. That said, there are any number of free apps and services in addition to Google Docs that will allow you to create quizzes. One app that I like is called Socrative Teacher and essentially replaces the “clicker” systems with smart phones of either the Android or the iPhone type. If you search “create free online quizzes” you will receive a number of hits. I can’t comment as to what sites are the best for creating quizzes without having tried a number of them, so if you have experience with any sites, comments would be greatly appreciated!

Update II: March 27, 2012: One of the fun things about writing on a new topic is updating. After making the discovery that Adobes Forms Central might not be as good a fit for teachers as I had initially thought, I did some further investigation of Google Docs where I found a couple of great blog posts demonstrating how you can create your own “self-grading quiz” using google forms. I won’t go into detail on that here since some other bloggers have already done an exceptional job of covering the requisite skills. (I’ll include links, don’t worry!) It does require a bit more tech-savvy than using a pre-made script like Flubaroo, but one of the bloggers describes what you need to do step-by-step.

First, here’s the Sample Quiz I made. You won’t see the auto-grade elements, but you’ll get a taste of the variety of questions that may be asked and graded. Next, here are the links I mentioned regarding how you can create your own self-grading quiz:

This first blog provides a step-by-step tutorial. From “Planet of the” —Google Forms: how to create a quiz or a test that automatically grades itself in Google Docs.

Here’s a jing video for those who would like visual guidance: Self-grading quiz visual guidance.

I hope these are helpful to you. Let me know!

Link  —  Posted: March 24, 2012 in link, post
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