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You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as lesson ideas, personal stories, and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice. If you have any thoughts or comments about these blogs, please don't hesitate to let us know.

EdutopiaApril 29, 2010

When we visited YES Prep North Central in Houston last spring, students in the junior class were already talking about their Senior Signing Day. On that day, amidst much fanfare, they would become the first in their families to enroll in college.

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Betty RayApril 29, 2010

Many would agree that Americans tend to view education as the pathway to success. In school we're taught rags-to-riches tales about individuals rising to the top as a result of their academic success, regardless of their race, income level, or gender. There's an inherent belief that our education system should create equal access to a quality education for all.

However, those aspirations don't match the reality. Many children, in fact, do not have equal access to quality education. These issues set the stage for this week's #edchat on Twitter.

Many educators argued in the chat that disparities in funding cause this inequality, while others argued that the true cause of inequality lies in the hands of administrators that filter innovative technologies/teaching methods that have the ability to combat funding deficits. Whatever your opinion may be, one has to ask the question: "As educators, should we engage in the politics of education to truly make a difference?"

We asked Tim Furman (@tbfurman), a tech specialist, who shook things up in #edchat to summarize.

--Betty Ray, Community Manager (@EdutopiaBetty) and Elana Leoni, Social Media Marketing Coordinator (@elanaleoni)

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Elana LeoniApril 28, 2010

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending DrupalCon, an annual developer's conference highlighting the open source content management system (CMS), Drupal. For those of you not familiar with the term "open source," it generally refers to a collaborative movement in which developers work together to create usable code that is made available to the public at no cost.

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Betty RayApril 26, 2010

Editor's Note: Our guest blogger today is Eric Sheninger, principal at New Milford High School in New Milford New Jersey. His school produced an innovative and green (and *fun*!) alternative to the spending frenzy of prom season.

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Bob LenzApril 25, 2010

Finding high quality, mission- and vision-aligned teachers is critical for any school or school system. Since Envision Schools have redesigned the high school experience for students and teachers, the process of finding the right match is even more important and complex.

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Betty RayApril 23, 2010

As is often the case with any large group online, #edchats can be impossibly frustrating for anyone who isn't ADD. With tweets flying everywhere and asynchronous discussions peppered with @,#, and !, it looks more like a cartoon expletive than any sort of useful dialog.

It is to help translate all of this that we've been offering these short summary blogs. But, as I found out this week when our guest bloggers fell through, it becomes a bit like the blind men and the elephant. The summary below is what I got out of it. Someone else probably heard an entirely different set of discussions. Thus is the chaotic beauty, stilted poetry and maddening non-linearity of Twitter.

But Twitter - like the Edutopia community, and Facebook, and myriad other online communities - can also be a powerful tool to facilitate communication within a "personal learning network" or PLN. One's PLN consists of colleagues and contacts around the world who offer support, feedback, and collaboration. Or, one could argue, instigate reform. But how?

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Suzie BossApril 22, 2010

In project learning (PL), plans that look spectacular on paper can go awry when students enter the picture. During the implementation phase, students may decide to head in directions their teacher never anticipated.

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Jason FlomApril 21, 2010

Editor's Note: After nine years teaching upper elementary school, today's guest blogger Jason Flom is quite adept at getting schooled by 21st century learners. Fortunately, his years as an outdoor educator at The Mountain Institute and North Carolina Outward Bound School gives him one advantage over his students -- an awareness that such a thing as nature existed. As a result, Jason levels the playing field through Service projects both near and far. His students often have over 100 hours of community service during the year with projects ranging from longleaf pine ecosystem restoration to water testing.

Why do we celebrate Earth Day?

1. Because we can.

2. Because we should.

3. Because it's fun.

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Elena AguilarApril 19, 2010

One summer, I spent weeks planning the following year's curriculum. By the time school started, I had rough plans for a culminating project: a living museum

One summer, I spent weeks planning the following year's curriculum. By the time school started, I had rough plans for a culminating project: a living museum Read More

Heather Wolpert-GawronApril 16, 2010

I recently introduced Costa's Levels of Questioning to my students. We have some teachers at my school talking about these triggers of metacognition, so it compliments everyone's efforts to enter this discussion in the classroom.

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