The Future of ‘Minecraft’ Was Unveiled at E3, and You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

The Future of ‘Minecraft’ Was Unveiled at E3, and You Won’t Believe Your Eyes.

Just imagine the uses that can be had in the classroom! We are not just talking about architecture folks. For those who believe that the classroom of the future will never change, you must open your mind to open up the classroom experience.

We are no longer limited by subject matter and experience. The walls of the class are no longer limiting the experience a student can have. Travel, Math, Reading, Science, etc…. can all be a new experience for every single child!

We are at an exciting time in education!


Educational Reform- Let’s Start HERE!


There are many thoughts and ideas about improving the educational system in the US, and with that, there have been many to take the podium on how to properly fix it. We have gone from individual state standards to the present day implementation (almost) of the Common Core State Standards. We went through No Child Left Behind, which, unfortunately, pushed every student ahead- whether they were ready or not. Sometimes the answer to a problem is so close that we actually look past it. We have made educating our kids much to complex- from standards, to Higher Order Thinking Skills- we have forgotten  that in its simplest terms, it needs to be ALL ABOUT OUR STUDENTS!

Don’t misunderstand my message. It is great to have standards, it is great to provide Higher Order Thinking Skills, and it is great to even have Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, none of these items will be the constant that provides success to our students in today’s classroom and the future educational system. These are all tools to build upon in delivering an environment in which a child can be successful in, but we have lost sight of the true foundation it must be built upon. So while we are implementing these policies, the foundation upon which we build continues to crumble.

AThe foundation to learning for any individual is to have them inspired and passionate to learn. If we were able to create the perfect environment where the CCSS were implemented with properly trained teachers who had the best of the best content materials, both digital and in print, there would still be no guarantee that a student will learn. What has been forgotten is the power and influence a teacher can have on a student. While most say that teachers do a lot more than babysit, there is no denying that it is all teachers are given credit for. With that being said, I will be dedicating my blog to tell stories from fellow teachers and myself regarding some of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of how they personally touched the lives of their students and how students touched their lives. While each and every person can name the teacher or teachers that most influenced us in our lives, how many of us can do the same for a textbook, standard, politician, or trending reform project? The truth is that teachers are the backbone to our educational system, and we have to get back to focusing on supporting the power within each teacher to inspire the students they educate!

If you are a teacher or a student with an inspiring story that you would like me to include in the series: Please send me your story along with a picture to


Thank you- and as always, please Share, Like, and Comment.

Focus- A New Concept Saving Education?

It has been almost 3 years since I personally left my classroom. In that time, I have learned that the disconnect between the educational classroom and the real world is much bigger than I ever thought possible. The influential experts in the real-world, most who have little to no experience in the classroom itself, are truly on their own agenda and have lost complete focus. Between the political government and the educational agenda influencers, there exists a public relations nightmare for each and every one of our classrooms and each and every one of our students. The propaganda of failing schools and the decline of the American Educational System has spread like the plague from sea to shining sea. Our focus has been diverted to testing and data that is irrelevant and skewed rather than solving and providing the proper solutions for the needs of our teachers and students.  Below are just a few thoughts I have had in the past 3 years:

1. International Comparisons- China has ranked #1 for the last two PISA reports, so shouldn’t we then copy what they do to be successful? Well, if you understood that China selects a targeted group who are then taught simply to be successful test takers of the PISA- then you would understand how idiotic that would be. I’m not saying we shouldn’t pay attention to PISA testing, but to use it to say we are failing because we are not #1 is ludicrous. We never were #1, and as a matter of fact, we have fluctuated around the same number every year on average: Math=30th, Reading=19th, Science=23rd. It is a measuring stick for us to use, but what we should be doing is learning from other successful nations and look to incorporate ideas that help to make them successful into our system. Hmmm, simply allowing COLLABORATION of different but successful educational systems?

2. Common Core- If you knew that students in New Jersey were given an advantage for post secondary acceptance that would lead to better job opportunities over the students from say Alabama, what would you say? What if you lived in Alabama and learned that your adopted State Standards simply weren’t as rigorous as those in NJ? This inequality exists today. The Common Core State Standards have been blurred by negative propaganda that clouds what the initial goal was to be: National Standards for every student across the board to level the playing field. It also brought a better system of less standards for deeper mastery, or in learning terms, spending more time in areas of need to allow true knowledge, thinking, and understanding rather than memorization. Hmmm, provide students the opportunity to not just learn, but truly understand concepts with multiple ways of thinking- while leveling the playing field for all students in the US?

3. Technology- Today’s students are “Digital Natives” who must learn on technology in order to be successful for future jobs that will be created, right? If this statement is true, then how is it the my generation is able to be successful in a technology infused world when we did not learn on technology? The main objective for any teacher is to best support their students to be self thinkers who are motivated to be successful and think outside the box. From the textbook to the TV, there have been many examples of innovations that were going to provide a better education to our students, yet many fail to realize that these are simply tools to support education, not the answer to. Technology, whether tablets, laptops, or data analytics, should also be looked at in the same fashion. They will support learning in the classroom for both the teacher and the student. However, it has more potential and possibilities in supporting our teachers and students. One that can supply individualized learning with adaptive software that can meet each student with work that will challenge and support exactly where and when the student needs. It is not the use of technology in the classroom that can provide a better education, but rather the data from the use that can be collected and analyzed on a student and teacher that can help. Hmmm, use technology to collect data, analyze, and report correlations to standards and learning per individual student and teacher to provide both with relevant information and path to improve from?

4. Focus- International Comparisons, Common Core, and Technology seems to be the focus of everyone to improve the American Education System, and were the first three concerns here. If our focus to improve our system are on these “outside factors”, then we will never be successful through any lens. The media and politicians have allowed the focus to be drawn to data that truly has no bearing on student success or failure.  The focus should be on the students. This truly is a simple concept of which the research has backed up consistently. Students who come from stable homes with good socio-economic environments are more likely to be successful in school. Students attending properly funded schools who feel supported by teachers, staff, administration, parents, and surrounding community are more likely to be successful in school. Students who are properly cared for with three nutritious meals a day, proper grooming, appropriate physical activities, and a safe home to sleep in are more likely to be successful in school. Students who feel safe in their school environment, especially in their classroom are more likely to be successful in school. Hmmm, focusing on supplying supportive environments at home and a safe environment where students feel supported in schools can help student achievement?

Education has always been about the Student. Education needs to focus on what counts and what truly matters. If we lose focus on the student, it is they who become lost! While the PISA scores are important to track for comparison, focusing on raising the scores will not result in positive gains. While the implementation of Common Core State Standards can provide better guidelines and a better baseline for comparisons, focusing on standards will not raise scores either. While technology has the potential to change the classroom as we know it with exciting and engaging possibilities, it is worthless without a student who is inspired and supported to use it.  Should we focus on developing the best educational environments, both inside and outside the brick walls, focus on providing the supportive environments at home, and focus on supporting the student mind to think freely and engage in learning- We will deliver students who are successful in life! Hmmm, focusing on students so that they can be successful in life……….Is this a new concept?

Who Suffers Most in Education Today

Education in America is in a fight for survival. Whether its Common Core, Technology, or Bullying, Education is at the forefront of many discussions. Visit your nearest water cooler, or turn on the 24 hour News channels, sit back and enjoy the experts discuss what is wrong, and what would be their solution. You just might hear, “Bill Gates built an enterprise like no other, we should listen to the group he has formed to help education.” “Common Core is a mess and asks students to show abilities that are above their developmental level.” “Digital technology is the best avenue for our student success”, and yet “it is also the worst.” “Our attack on Bullying is weakening this country by raising sissies.” Heard any of this?

One of the hottest topics is how American students have “fallen” behind our international competitors. You will hear some say they believe we led the world in education when they were growing up in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Really? You will hear how our students are ranking in the range of 20-30 and how China now ranks #1 in the world! Sadly, the facts are all being taken out of context. Do you know that International Testing (PISA) was initiated in 1997 with the first test being given in 2000 and every 3 years after? Would it change your view to know that we have ranked around 20-30 every year? Even as more countries join the testing? Would it help to know that China only lets certain kids in Shanghai who prep for the test to take it, and first joined testing in 2009? Does it really matter?


Ladies and gentlemen, let’s make one thing perfectly clear, Education around the world is changing. Our mentality of being scared of change has opened a huge door for critics to attack our educational system. Unfortunately, it may lead to the false claims becoming true. The ones who have been able to keep our Educational System afloat are being attacked from the flanks and it is quickly weakening their positions. As a teacher of 15+ years experience, I have seen, first hand, the damage that these attacks are having on the profession. The negativity has relations from teachers to parents, students, and community strained and continues to force the very best of educators to leave the profession they truly love. More importantly, it is tearing down the structural integrity of the classroom and the control a teacher can have. History has shown that the most damaging of attacks take place silently without detection. We must be very conscious of the damage that the wave of adult negativity can cause in the structure of the educational system, especially in the classroom, as it eventually filters into the eyes of the students.

We are undermining every teacher’s effort in the classroom and thus weakening the educational system. The true power of our Educational system lies in the influence our teachers can have on our students. The so-called experts don’t understand this. Bill Gates and any other “non-experienced” expert can talk about studies and research, but there are instincts and factors to teaching that just can’t be measured. Yet, we listen to these experts tell us that our teachers are failing? In reality, it is THEY who are failing our teachers! Mr. Gates and his committee have produced the Common Core State Standards (they may be a great step forward), but did they train and equip the classrooms and teachers to perform to these new standards and way of learning? NO. Did he follow the same “business plan” with Microsoft by setting new standards of work for his employees, but never equipping them with proper training and material to do so? Did he tell his Secretary to produce documents in Microsoft Word by giving her a user’s guide, however keeping her on a typewriter? Of course not. 

Education is changing around the world. The difference is that the rest of the world continues to show respect for their teachers. The best of the best are known to openly respect all teachers on the same level we respect doctors and lawyers. So while they also go through the shift with technology, their framework around the classroom is solid and supported by the surrounding community, parents, and students. We, the American community, must not continue to damage the structural integrity of our classroom, for a collapse will be on our teachers, leaving our students alone to fend for themselves. Be careful America, when we begin to listen to experts in the field of business on Education,you must ask, What is more important: My child’s education, or the Bottom Line?

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13 New Educational Terms Defined in Pictures (New? Teachers Don’t Think So!)

1. Blended Learning- Whether defined as a mix of Technology and Paper/Pencil or a mix of Learning In and Out of School (watch a TV Special at home/ write a summary), students have been a part of Blended Learning for years…..


2. Flipped Classroom– Students learn subject matter at home to provide more discussion for understanding time in the classroom………hmmmmm


3. BYOD- Bring Your Own Device……parents have been providing devices for years….


4. Reform- Term to define when politicians and their cronies discuss their ideas to improve education and provide a revolutionary plan.


5. Charter School- (See #4 Reform)…..when you mix business and politics with education…..the question is what is more important- the bottom line, or your child’s education?


6. CMS- Course Management System……says it all…….


7. Inclusion- to include all students in activities? Now there’s an original idea to education……


8. Interactive Whiteboard- a giant board where a student can work out or demonstrate a solution? Who would have thought……

Inter board

9. Open Educational Resource- a place where students and colleagues can share teaching/ learning materials…….


10. Small Learning Community- Revolutionary idea of working in small groups…….

Small group

11. Tier 1-2-3 Intervention- The idea that students may need little, some, or lots of extra help…….


12. Learning Environment- Whether it’s the school or the classroom, the Learning Environment lives on……

learning envir

13. Performance Pay- As if the expression of “I got it” wasn’t enough, simply put a letter of thanks confirms a teacher’s performance is above and beyond……

letter1 letter2

Obviously, this was written with a bit of sarcasm. Contrary to what mass media is promoting, there are many dedicated teachers who have been doing an OUTSTANDING job of educating our children. Using new terms to describe ideas already in place can only fool so many. I am not against technology. On the contrary, I wish to promote it in education. However, it must be understood that technology is another tool that can make the teacher-student relationship more effective when used properly. Simply replacing a hammer with a nail gun does not make a better carpenter, and in the same mold, better technology tools do not guarantee a better education. Don’t believe the hype– Education in America is strong, and will continue with our move to Technology!