We Need Librarians More Than Ever Before

It was about five years ago when a boy walked up to me and asked, “Hey Mr. Spencer, can you talk to the district and see if they’ll open up the library over the summer?” “I don’t think they can,” I answered. “But the city library is just down the street.” “I can’t go there. […]

Fake News is a Real Problem. Here’s How Students Can Solve It.

If you like this sketchy video, I encourage you to subscribe to my channel and be the first to see my latest short videos. I used to teach a class called photojournalism. I usually referred to it as “digital journalism,” because people assumed we were a photography class. Students created videos, podcasts, documentaries, and blogs […]

Critical Questions for Making Sense Out of a Connected World

A few days ago, I noticed people sharing a few random articles from Atlas Obscura. I noticed a few of their tweets rising to the top of my Twitter feed as well. As I drove to work, I caught a part of an NPR story with one of the lead curators from Atlas Obscura as well. Why all […]

Getting Started with Content Curation in the Classroom

The term “curate” has become a buzzword in education. I’ve seen it referenced in TEDx Talks and tossed around in Twitter chats. It’s easy to write off buzzwords as trendy. But what if an idea is trending for a reason? We live in a world of instant information, where ideas go viral without much thought […]

Is this the new digital divide?

“Hey dad, can I have a YouTube channel?” my son asked.”What kind of a channel would you create?” I asked.”Maybe a channel showing how to create things in Minecraft. But there’s already a lot out there. What if I had a channel showing kids how to fix things? Or maybe I could test whether or […]

The Real Issue in Tech Integration Is Self-Efficacy

Seven years ago, I did a research project on blended and personalized professional development. There were a few big take-homes that I hadn’t considered before. For example, I learned that “personalized” only works when there is a collaborative and creative component. I also learned that policy issues play a huge role in the connection between […]

Can Technology Transform Learning?

When I was a kid, I remember hearing that computers would replace teachers. I didn’t like this idea, unless they could guarantee that my teacher would be like Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, technologists promised us that computers would radically transform our educational experience. This was a time when our biggest concern […]

What is the best type of technology training?

I’m sitting at a technology training learning about a new app. This is the kind of training I’ve seen people mock. I’ve heard folks say, “You should focus on pedagogy and not technology.” Or people say, “Professional development should be job-embedded.” Or even, “If you’re a technology expert, you don’t need this type of training.” […]

Missing the Connective Power of Technology

You’ve seen the videos imploring people to “look up” and abandon their devices. It’s easy to look into a crowd and say, “They’re not interacting with each other.” But I’ve always had a hard time with these complaints. The problem isn’t the device. It’s the crowd. It’s the urbanization. It’s the packed rooms with people […]