Episode 53 – Curtis Wiebe

53 - Curtis Wiebe
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CURTIS WIEBE is an elementary school teacher in Surrey, BC, Canada. He’s interested in the ways that technology augments learning, boosts creativity, and creates new opportunities for learners. Follow Curtis on Twitter @DivisionW and see his work at https://mrwiebesclass.weebly.com/.

In our conversation, Curtis identifies the key to bringing about positive changes in schools and structures in education. He describes why he’s passionate about preparing students to find creative solutions that address real-world problems, and he explains what his learners are doing with makerspaces and robotics. He tells us where he gets his best ideas, and offers us top picks on Twitter, in books, and much more.

Follow Curtis online here: 

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:

  • 0:53 – Curtis describes his current context in education at Crescent Park Elementary School in South Surrey, BC, Canada. Aside from his 7th grade teaching duties, Curtis is a part of the school’s tech team and the district Microsoft Inquiry team. He’s also currently pursuing his MEdL degree.
  • 1:47 – Curtis speaks to the challenges related to bringing about change in schools and structures in education. When we present a different way of doing things, it tends to create friction points and difficult conversations. One key to bringing about change in a positive way is to do so diplomatically, with research and evidence that these changes will positively influence learning – what school is really all about.
  • 4:40 – When asked what he’s most passionate about in education today, Curtis points to the ever-changing landscape of challenges that education can address around the globe. He loves preparing learners to find solutions to complex, real-world problems. He’s also enjoying an exploration of robotics (Check out https://www.vexrobotics.com/ and http://www.flowol.com/Flowol4.aspx) with his students, where he says “the excitement has gone through the stratosphere.”
  • 7:01 – Outside of the classroom, he’s energized by reading about technology, current events, and politics. He’s always interested in exploring current situations but is also intrigued by political philosophers from the past. In the same way, he enjoys looking at where technology has come and where it may be going in the future.
  • 9:43 – A personal habit that consistently energizes Curtis and supports his reflective process is engaging in professional conversations with educator – his wife! He also enjoys the analytical aspects of golf: looking back, thinking about how to improve, seeking to repeat good strokes, etc.
  • 11:05 – His recommendations on Twitter are Jeff Unruh (@Unruh_J) and Michelle Horn (@MsHornDiv10).
  • 14:55 – Curtis is all about robotics right now, so his top picks in the area of edtech are VEX IQ Robotics (@VEXRobotics on Twitter) and Microsoft Office 365 and (@MicrosoftEDU on Twitter). In particular, Microsoft Teams is working well as a point of connection and workflow for his learners.
  • 17:10 – In books, Curtis recommends Trevor MacKenzie’s Dive Into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice. Get to know Trevor on Twitter @Trev_MacKenzie. For a magazine pick, Curtis points to The Atlantic and their education section in particular. For a sampling of their top education articles, start following @TheAtlEducation on Twitter.
  • 18:09 – His top choice for education podcasts right now is MindShift: A Podcast About the Future of Learning. Follow MindShift on Twitter @MindShiftKQED.
  • 18:49 – As a self-confessed fan of all things politics, Curtis’s go-to show on Netflix right now is Homeland.
  • 19:12 – We sign off on the interview, and Curtis gives us the best ways to find and follow him online. See above for details!

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Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

Listen to this episode on YouTube and subscribe for more episodes!

Episode 32: Jeff Bradbury

32 - Jeff Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury has been recognized as an ASCD Emerging Leader, Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, and digital innovator. The founder of TeacherCast.net, Jeff has spoken at TEDx and other conferences, provides training and consulting for educators across the United States, and currently produces ten regular educational podcasts. Simply put, there aren’t many figures in the world producing more resources for educators than Jeff.

In this episode, Jeff talks podcasting, ISTE, funding models for content creators, the Twitter algorithm, how to build a PLN, learning management systems, personal branding, and more. When it comes to creating education content, Jeff advises, make it from a place of personal passion and you’ll never get bored.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @TeacherCast, visit TeacherCast.net to access all of Jeff’s podcasts and instructional resources, and subscribe to Jeff’s Youtube channel.

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below.

  • 0:55 – Jeff tells the story of how he got started with the TeacherCast network seven years ago.
    2:06 – The three areas of focus for TeacherCast: instructional technology, STEM education, and leadership.
    3:40 – I ask Jeff to give us a quick tour of his ten education podcasts.
    5:59 – When it comes to high-powered edtech conferences like ISTE, how do we separate glitter from substance?
    7:32 – Jeff shares about his passion for instructional coaching.
    9:17 – Instead of charging up front for his educational content, Jeff enjoys sharing as much as possible for free and then walking through doors that open for him as a result.
    12:27 – Where should teachers go to start building a PLN? How does Twitter serve educators differently than it did five years ago? Jeff also points new educators to conferences, EdCamps, and TeachMeets as other places to network.
    14:28 – We dive deeper into Twitter’s algorithm and talk about the user experience it creates.
    19:49 – Areas of passion and learning for Jeff this summer: questions around Learning Management Systems, Student Information Systems, and observing his children as they learn to read.
    23:40 – Talking LMSs: Schoology, Google Classroom, FreshGrade, Seesaw, Canvas, etc.
    26:10 – Jeff on building a personal brand and producing online content: make it for yourself and you’ll never get bored. Follow your own passions and questions.
    33:14 – The best ways to follow Jeff and find more of his great content for educators: visit TeacherCast.net and follow him on Twitter @TeacherCast.

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Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

LISTEN to this episode on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE for more episodes!

Episode 18: Lynn Thomas

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18 - Lynn ThomasIn this episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast we speak with Lynn Thomas. Lynn is the department head of English and Library and Digital Lead Learner at Dunnville Secondary School in Dunnville, Ontario, Canada.

In this conversation, Lynn shares candidly about a year of serious family health challenges, crediting the support of administrators that helped her work through this difficult time. She speaks with passion about the power of new technologies to facilitate collaborative learning across great distances, and describes how Project Kakuma is improving education in Kenya. Lynn also offers some solid recommendations for books to read, Twitter accounts to follow, and more.

Follow Lynn on Twitter @ThomLynn101 and at her blog at https://wordsgrow.wordpress.com/.

In this episode, Lynn discusses …

  • 0:58 – her current education situation
  • 1:34 – a low point in her teaching career and how she overcame it
  • 4:12 – what ignites her passions in education
  • 6:36 – learning she enjoys outside of the classroom
  • 7:34 – personal habits that contribute to her success
  • 10:33 – accounts to follow on Twitter: Andrew Campbell (@ACampbell99) and Koen Timmers (@zelfstudie).
  • 14:49 – her edtech tool recommendation: OneNote
  • 16:21 – her book recommendations: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros and Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
  • 18:39 – a podcast recommendation: Stephen Hurley on VoicED Radio
  • 19:14 – a YouTube channel recommendation: TED Talks
  • 20:07 – the best ways to follow her online (listed above)

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

LISTEN to this episode on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE for more episodes!