Category Archives: blog

futureofeducation is Closed:

I have changed my name on twitter from futureofedu to TobyFischer. Why?

  • I am not the future of education, we all are.
  • I am tired of introducing myself as AKA futureofedu on twitter. I would have never guessed in a million years I would have met so many of you face to face.
  • My blog, and wiki, are no longer active. I am now doing my writing and resource sharing at
  • It gave me a reason to write this post and get back into the swing of writing on my blog. Hopefully I will continue the writing.

I look forward to continued conversations with you all.

Earlier today I was listening to an Episode of Shift Our Schools podcast. In the 35-minute episode they were discussing the topics of self-direction, technology, project based learning and much more. I strongly recommend all educators who want to get a better idea of why we are teaching ‘21st century skills’ give this a listen.

One item in the episode that caught my attention was when they mentioned this IB chemistry Blog. It is quite impressive.  The post are very content rich(and over my head). What is most impressive are the comments students are making back to each other. Many are more detailed than the original post.

For teachers, the about page has a great listing of what students can blog about. If you are ready to dive into student blogging, or just want to expand what you are already doing, this is a great resource.

We Need More Admins Like This

I just came across this interview with David Sherman, the principal of South Park Elementary School in Deerfield, Illinois. I’m sure he gets plenty of cracks about “South Park”. One statement he made stood out to me;

…I believe that I must model the use of Web 2.0 tools for the staff and parents. I feel that it is my responsibility to keep learning about these tools, which I do mostly through RSS feeds. I am confident that the teachers now know enough about Web 2.0 tools to start using them, so I am starting to “push” a little harder at the individual teacher level whenever the time is right. I spend a lot of time talking with teachers about ways to incorporate these tools into their teaching. Often, these discussion come from my classroom visits and teacher observations.

I don’t expect all administrators to as tech savvy as David Sherman, or others such as Chris Lehmann. What I would like to see is all administrators to have a basic understanding of technology, specifically web 2.0. I want them to understand the role technology plays in an effective 21st century school. I want them to be able to employ these technologies to increase student achievement in their district/building . When I say administrators, I mean superintendents, principals, directors and any other personnel in a position of leadership.

Once the administrators take on this role as a technology user, then more teachers in their district will take steps to do the same. At that point we will be able to push the way David Sherman is. Getting his teachers to a new level. If the teachers are moving to a new level, just think about the places they must be taking their students. I hope I can play a role in helping my district reach these new levels.

Back to Work in the New Year

Today is the Sunday many educators dread. After two great weeks of celebrating the holidays and being with our loved ones, we must now cram in all the work we have been putting off the last two weeks. I am no different. I have four videos to create for a presentation to district administrators this Friday, I need to create a wiki for a central Ohio technology integration collaborative I am working to create, come up with a 15 minute how to session for elementary teacher centered around Word, update my materials for Ohio Etech Presentation, and reply to all the emails I have received the last two weeks. So, why am I writing this post?

One of my goals for 2009 is to blog consistently. This means I may have to force myself to procrastinate some of my other work in order to write (wish my high school teachers could read that line, they would pass out from the shock). I believe I have some great ideas to share, and it is time I put my thoughts out for the world to see.

I am going to start 2009 with a series of post about what a 21st century school should look like. Few of my ideas are going to be original, but I hope it to be another place to start a conversation. The first post later this week will be about assessment in the 21st century. It is time to end standardized testing and put the technology that is available to work. From there I will branch off and discuss; taking bells out of the school, integration across curricular areas, writing, research, the use of course management systems, web 2.0, etc. By the time I’m done, this may be a 30 part series.

I’m looking forward to doing the research and hope to see what the educational bloggers think and have to share.

Admins are the Key

A while back I wrote that my new goal was to get administrators to model the use of web 2.0 tools so staff members would see their value. Since I wrote that post, I moved to new district. I have a different set of administrators to try to convince. I envisioned this could go two ways. I could walk into a dream school where the administrators were ready to go day one. Dream is the key word.  The other way was more realistic, it would take months or years to build trust and relationships before we would really make any changes. To my surprise, it has been a little blend of the two.

My working partner and I were meeting with HS admins a few days ago. We were giving them some updates as to what we’ve been doing and where were going next. Then out of the blue the principal asks us if we can teach him about blogs and wikis. He is a great leader, an excellent principal, but not very high tech. For him to jump into the 21st century will be a huge boost to our efforts to create a 21st century school district.

The next step is to actually get him into the training. Not only does he want trained, he wants to do it along side his teachers. I went to the Language Arts department head today to see if his department would like to take part in this event. Sounds like we are a go.

I am starting to see a little bit of light through the trees. We have a long way to go till we have a 21st century school, but the first step is to have teachers and administrators walking down the same path we are.

Back in the Saddle

After a long layoff, which I will explain in a future post, the “Future of Education” Blog is back. As I start writing again, I want to truly focus on the title of the blog and its tag line. What is the future of education and where are we going?

In my writing, I am going to focus on educational change and 21st century skills. That is the future and the direction we should be going in.

In the area of educational change, I want to reflect on what is good in education today as well as what is not. I will not list the problems schools have. I will talk about solutions. In some post I will be seeking out solutions. I have many answers. What I hope this blog becomes is a way for my answers to become better ones with the help of a community of readers (assuming I build a group of readers again).

With 21st century skills, I will share; successful examples of 21st century learning I see, resources to help educators in the 21st century and links to blog to other sites that do the same.

It feels good to get the keyboard clicking again. Hopefully you will join me in moving education into the 21st Century here at the Future of Education blog.

Student Voice

I have been thinking about a way to get the students in my building blogging more and better. I have convinced a few teachers to create blogs where they post a topic or article and the students comment. They are doing this once per nine weeks. Good start, but not truly the idea behind blogging. Here is my first step toward the answer. Maybe it is a coincidence I thought of this the same week the Student 2.0 blog came out and I am writing this after reading David Jakes’ Post The Kids are Alright.

“Many educators want to change education, and have been looking for a way to do that-looking for that next great conversation that will make all the difference. Wouldn’t it be ironic if they’ve created just that, without realizing it, by teaching their third grade class to blog?So if you are someone who wants educational change, look no further. Change is coming, and it will ultimately rise not from us, but from the voice of our very own students.”

My idea is to give my students a voice by: creating a blog, in Moodle (I am using Moodle due to our districts blogging policy). I will post prompts for students to comment on their learning.  I will ask questions such as “how social networks could be used productively in schools?” I may get some junk answers, but the good ones could help us give students the voice they deserve.

Since the blog will be private, I will paste the good post on here once I get it started. It will most likely be in January since we start vacation in one week. Woohoo! Any and all prompts for the students are welcome.

Professonal Development Course Ideas

I am getting ready to create an online professional development class for the teachers in my district. It will be worth one semester hour college credit. I am currently trying to figure out what the content of the class will be.  I will be using Moodle to teach the class. In our district we use Moodle for our blogging, wikis, online classes, etc… Last year I taught a class that covered a wide range of topics (Inspiration, blogging, digital photography, photo editing, teacher webpages). It went well, but I want this class to have more of a focus. My thought was to center the class around “using web 2.0 tools in the classroom”My question is, with the numerous tools out there, what is best to focus on? Any opinions would be appreciated.

I will have to use this as my first Twitter question. I finally took the time a few nights ago to create an account. I now have to find a few more people to follow me. If you are a Twitter’er (what is the correct term?) my username is “futureofedu”

Evaluating One at a Time

Nine months ago, I wrote One at a time. After reading David Warlik’s post, My Apologies, I revisited my post to evaluate how successful have I been at my “One at a Time” theory? The reusults:

  • Three teachers, who I never thought would get on the blogging bandwagon without a fight, came to me and got the ball rolling.
  • Four others, who I expected to hop on board, are blogging. 
  • I have another teacher ready to use a wiki to post a summary of his class each day. He isn’t going to post the summary, the students are. The students will also have access to the unit assessment on a wiki. They will be allowd to make changes to the assessment to make the questions better fit what they have been taught. We are just developing this, I will write more about this in the next month. Thank you to Steve Dembo for this great idea.
  •  We wrote group research papers using wiki’s in a language arts class. (Each kid wrote a section and the group worked together on the into and conclusion.)
  • Outside of web2.0 tools, all 400 of our 8th graders used Photostory 3 to create a video on the life-cycle of a star. I love digital story telling and if you haven’t seen it, Photostory is one of the best tools to date for simple videos. (side note…i didn’t work with a single 8th grade science student last year)

I’m not a patient person, but when I think about it, this isn’t bad. My next step is to get a pilot 1to1 team going. Anybody have some money they want to donate to a good cause?