NoodleTools & Connected Educator Month 2016

Working in a large school district has many advantages and disadvantages. One frustrating disadvantage is the slow response to educational technology requests. Let me begin by saying I am very proud of my current district’s educational technology team. Together they have come a long way to address teacher concerns since I began with my current district in 2005. But, educational technology requests are problematic. A teacher’s individual concern might be high priority to him or her, but the individual concern might be low priority for the entire district. This mismatch of perceived concern then creates a different perception on the speed of resolution; the teacher wants a quick response while the district will prioritize it differently. I urge teachers to try a third option this month, Twitter.

This school year my district began using NoodleTools research and citation software (which I love), but I was unable to sign into the iOS app. When I inquired about signing into the NoodleTools app, I received no response. Today, three weeks after the initial request, I received a half-response, a work around really. The district answer directed me to use the mobile website version of NoodleTools, not the iOS app. Again, I’m not blaming my district or personnel for not addressing my individual issue. In our district, I bet less than 1% of the teachers have the same concern about NoodleTools as I. I am suggesting other teachers in my position follow my next course of action.

Frustrated, I took my request to Twitter. October begins Connected Educator Month, and I cannot believe I forgot the power of asking my ed tech questions on Twitter. I received a response in 14 minutes!

Amazing, right? Kudos to NoodleTools for their lightning fast response, but their quick response makes sense. The incentive for NoodleTools to respond to my specific, individual request was much greater than the incentive for my district to respond to my request. NoodleTools can leverage my request to highlight their product and improve all customer performance. My district works tirelessly to resolve requests, and finding an answer to my individual request does not have the same immediacy or benefit to other teachers.

Lesson confirmed; when you cannot receive a quick ed tech response from your district personnel, ask your question via Twitter. You will likely be amazed how quickly you get a response.

Specifically, how do you log in to NoodleTools iOS app with a GAFE sign-in?

  1. Log in to NoodleTools on your web browser.
  2. Click the “My Account” button in the top right corner and select the “My Profile” option from your drop down menu.
  3. Once the “My Profile” page loads, on the right half of the screen you should see a “Companion Key” alpha-code. Mine is six characters. This key serves as your password for your iOS app.
  4. Open your iOS app and use your common username for NoodleTools, but use this companion key as your password.
  5. When you first load the iOS NoodleTools app, you will be prompted to set up a device password. So, you won’t need your companion key again, but you will need this device-specific password.

Thanks to the NoodleTools Twitter team who so quickly helped me with my request.

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Why I Blog.

A colleague asked me today why I blog.  I shared with her I feel like I have to.  As a public education teacher who firmly believes America needs to provide quality, free, equal education to all citizens, I feel I must stand and speak for the profession.  Like the Lorax, I feel if I don’t no one will and public education will disappear.

A few years ago I would have laughed if you told me public education was under attack.  But, through my doctoral program, the global network of teacher I read through social networking, and via the constant stream of 24/7 news, I am confident some are out to ruin public education.  Most of these challenges come from honest reform efforts that are misguided.  I let some of those critiques slide because at least their motivation is noble, however misguided.  However, other critics simply want to dismantle public education. They do not see it as important to the American republic.  Perhaps this is because American education is broken or because public funding for education does not fit with their political view.

No matter how I try to rationalize what is happening, the end is the same.  Public education is under attack. Like all other subjects, the news media loves to report what is wrong with education.

I write because I need to stand up for what is right in education.  I am called to defend my profession.  I write so others can critique my reform efforts, so I can perfect my practices and sprint toward the reform our public schools need.  I actually write because I feel if I don’t, I won’t be a teacher in 20 years.  Rather, I will be an administer of state assessments and standardized curriculum.  Standardized ANYTHING isn’t education.  Education happens when individuals have an invested interest in a topic, preferably of their choosing.  Students learn when engaged in a problem that needs solved.  I feel if I do not stand up for my job, it will disappear.

Education reformers need to stand together, connect socially, perfect best practices, and RESIST POOR TEACHING PRACTICES.  From your colleagues, from administration, from school boards.  Ill-conceived, poorly researched, and untested teaching practices will have no effect on education but to worsen an already weak system.

As educational reformers, caring teachers, parents, neighbors, and voters in a democratic republic, we need to stand together to keep a public education system in America.  Such a system needs a violent, quick change to remain relevant.  Together we need to make these changes.  I blog because I have a voice and together we need to be heard.