Top 10 Learning Quotes from this year!

Year 33 as an educator is now in the books!  What could such an old guy still have to learn?  Well…basically everything.  Our cool profession is always evolving, growing, changing.  If we’re doing it correctly anyway.  Because kids are always evolving, growing, and changing.  Their needs and futures are always evolving, growing, and changing.

So should we.  Evolve.  Grow.  Change.

Earlier this year, I put out my Ten Must Read Books for Educators.  Well…following up on that idea, here are my Top Ten Quotes for/from Educators from this year’s learning! Thank you to these wonderful thinkers for pushing my learning!

  1.  “A questioner is driven by wonder, but a doubter is blinded by limits.” – Aaron Hogan, from his new book Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth: 6 Truths That Will Help You THRIVE as an Educator.
  2. “Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?”George Couros.  Innovator’s Mindset.  Best book I have ever read around education, learning, professional learning, kids, teachers, administrators, parents.
  3. Every day, I find myself turning more and more of my experiences into opportunities that I can take to class tomorrow and turn into meaningful lessons for my students.”Instant Relevance: Using Today’s Experiences to Teach Tomorrow’s Lessons.  –Denis Sheeran
  4. “Amazing things happen when a school staff shares the belief that they are able to achieve collective goals and overcome challenges to impact student achievement.” Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning – Jenni Anne Marie Donohoo
  5. “Teaching with technology is about the learning first and the tool second.”Liz Kolb Learning First, Technology Second: The Educator s Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons.
  6. We do our students a disservice when we prepare them for a world that no longer exists and fail to empower them with the skills and abilities they will need to navigate rough and shifting seas. We don’t need students who can fill in bubbles on a multiple-choice test; we need students who can create, innovate, connect, and collaborate. We need students who can identify and solve complex, real-world problems. Changing the way we educate students is not only necessary…it’s a moral imperative.” Don Wettrick,  Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level
  7. “We educators no longer live in a time when our job is to help students memorize a few things they might need someday. A smartphone and quick Google search are better suited to that task. Our job is to prepare students for the future by helping them learn to access and use information in ways that are meaningful to them.”Kevin Brookhouser and Ria Megnin.  The 20Time Project: How educators and parents can launch Google’s formula for future-ready innovation.
  8. “So here’s the message we need to internalize both for our students and ourselves: Failure shouldn’t be feared. In fact, it’s integral to growth and improvement. Improvements are seldom won without risk. Changes come rarely without courage. So as educators, we need to call forth that courage to appreciate the inevitability of failure and the fortitude to overcome it.” -Jennie Magiera Courageous Edventures: Navigating Obstacles to Discover Classroom Innovation.
  9. “As we innovate, we have to make sure we aren’t just automating education or simply making it more efficient. It is critical that we keep our focus on learning, not on technology. Turning a textbook into an e-textbook or moving from delivering a lecture in a class to delivering a lecture on video are not examples of transformative education. To truly prepare our students for their futures, we must embrace pedagogy that gives students responsibility, leads them through inquiry, and allows them to create based on their own ideas.”Diana Neebe and Jen Roberts, Power Up
  10. “Another question that is as common now as it was in 1999 is, “How can I find time to differentiate instruction? It’s hard, and I’m so busy already!” Time and experience have reinforced the only answer I know to give: “Build a career. Plan to be better tomorrow than today, but don’t ever plan to be finished or to be ‘good enough.’” As I once heard a teacher say to a student in her classroom, “Of course it’s hard. That’s why it’s worth your time. And you can do hard things.” Teaching is about learning, learning is about becoming, and making a history is about taking up a profession and making a life.”Carol Ann Tomlinson, The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, 2nd Edition

I can’t wait to see what I learn next year!

Our kids are creating their futures.

Rereading  Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning by Jenni Anne Marie Donohoo. I hit the quote below from John Schaar.  It sure sounds a lot like the world ahead for our students, which then impacts our roles as educators.  We can’t predict the future for our students.  We can recognize the pace of change. Evidence is all around us and in front of us.  We are not doing our jobs if we do not choose to acknowledge these changes.  Of course we can’t possibly distribute all the necessary information to our students.  We need to build opportunities for discovery.  We need to build opportunities to learn how to learn, communicate widely, collaborate broadly, and create new knowledge.

These are good skills with which to arm our students as they create their futures.

Adobe Spark

Hey! 1:1 Schools….check out this book!

In an interview with a couple that had been married for 70 years, the husband was asked what the secret to a long marriage might be. He said that in their marriage he made all of the big decisions.  And so far, there hadn’t been any big decisions.

Recently my wife, a Teacher on Special Assignment in a neighboring district, mentioned a book about which all of her TOSA colleagues were raving.  The book is Learning First, Technology Second: The Educator’s Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons by Liz Kolb

I take from the above successful marriage insight that a smart fellow listens to his wife. So I bought the book and started reading.

Holy cow.


If you are a district implementing a 1:1 program…do yourself a favor.  Have your leaders read this book.  Research based, common sense, practical, and instantly useful.

Here’s an early quote from the book;

“Over the past decade of the digital technology boom in schools, teachers and administrators have witnessed technology being used in superficial ways often enough to know that access to technology in and of itself is not a magic potion. Furthermore, empirical research has also shown that just putting technology into the hands of students does not guarantee improved comprehension of content or learning goals (Conoley, Moore, Croom, & Flowers, 2006; Schackow et al., 2004; Stein, Challman, & Brueckner, 2006, as cited in Filer, 2010). I don’t think educators would argue that technology is a tool that should help students reach their learning goals. In life, we don’t select a tool and then create a problem just so that we can use the tool; rather we select a tool to meet the needs of the problem.”

Intuitively we knew that just putting a device in a kid’s or teacher’s hand might raise the ‘engagement’ level.  It’s absolutely crucial to remember that good teaching practices don’t flee the building just because a kid or teacher has a device.  Good teaching practices are still the most important aspect of the teacher/kid interaction.

Two other strong quotes;

“Authentic engagement is not about using a specific technology tool; rather it puts the learning outcomes first and the technology choices second.”


“Teaching with technology is about the

learning first and the tool second.”