The Brainwaves Video

The BrainWavesBob Greenberg has been doing a series of videos called The Brainwaves. In this series Mr. Greenberg, a retired educator, asks educators to provide an interview. He does very little to find out what people are going to talk about. His coaching is also minimal. The result is a video where educators really get a chance to talk about their passion. Some of the names of people he has interviewed are huge in education and educational politics. Some…well…I only have two subscribers to my YouTube channel so there are those of us who are not so big. In his interview series, though, we are all equals.

Check out his channel and my recent interview embedded below!



Short Notes of a Book: How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools

Today I spent quite a while catching up on research articles themed around LGBTQ discrimination in education. Since I am taking notes I thought I might as well share some summaries here. Besides, LinkedIn and my Blog make for easy searching compared to the vast vault of my hard drive and Google Apps accounts.

Each of the articles includes a citation at the beginning and my thoughts following in italics.

Cover of the book: How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools: Use Social Architecture to Prevent, Lessen and End Bullying.Goodstein, Phyllis Kaufman. (2013) How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools: Use Social Architecture to Prevent, Lessen and End Bullying. New York: Routledge.

In general I dislike the use of bullying as a term to describe the marginalization of a student or group of students. First I will need to ignore this categorization as most articles will use terms, like bullying, that invite excuse making (my major problem with using terms like bullying and victimization. The categorizations of the forms the bullying (read: marginalization) and outcomes in the first half of the article are actually something I would love to build an infographic on. The language would be useful and easily translatable to a variety of audiences and facilitate greater dialogue. It was the second half of the article which I really found interesting.

Goodstein describes the use of social architecture theory and social scaffolding as a method for creating social change. Actually it is more of guide for educators and others. Teachers stand as role models and set up systems for pro-social classroom behaviors. There is also a description for bystanders and upstanders. The section on encouraging bystanders to become upstanders deserves more consideration as those models may apply to the design of a game intending the same outcome. To support teachers and upstanders there are two major components described by Goodstein: incompatibility and intervention. Incompatibility means creating such an environment of kindness, expectations, service learning, projects, and other things so as to make the school climate incompatible with bullying. Intervention focusses on making sure educators and upstanders, parents, and the community, administrators, and policy all take action when marginalization occurs as inaction relates to a lack of condemnation rather that “ignoring something so it goes away.”

I really enjoyed the metaphor of a broken window. If a window is allowed to sit without repair then additional windows will be broken. The same applies to marginalizing behavior. If no one intervenes and there is not a social stigma applied to marginalizing behaviors then what can be expected to occur? Maybe the broken window would be a symbol for a video game…or graffiti on a locker.


Queer Coffee: LGBTQ Apartments for Elders Article


New Jersey & Elizabeth Morrow School

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This building in New Jersey, sorry about the blurry image, just radiates charm and welcome with soft music and a hubbub of conversation below while a lone light shines above.

Previously on Rurik lives on the East Coast: “New Jersey? No thanks! Traffic and madness!!”

Currently on Rurik lives on the East Coast: “New Jersey? Bicycling around and to work at a wonderful school this summer! Also, New York City is soooo accessible!”

I always enjoy when my prejudices, whether towards a concept, group, or inanimate object, are challenged. Maybe not during the challenging. The entire time I was moving here I did it heels dragging. Post-challenge I love it. Moving to New Jersey has caused some major growth and a new appreciation for this state that I previously thought of as densely over crowded and full of frustratingly limiting highways. Fast-forward ten years and I am biking around quiet North Jersey villages and crossing the George Washington Bridge whenever I want some city life.

This experience has reminded me of when I watch a reluctant educator approach technology. At first there is trepidation, then some basic use. If they keep it up they have problems and need support but eventually they get to this place where that “new-fangled device” is an unconscious tool in their daily practice. As an educational technology coach I try to keep this in mind and build more playful environments for the initial experience. Elizabeth Morrow School did the same for me. What a great group of educators and adults!

Wanna Win a Free Book?

Instagram Image of the authorI have never done this before but for the ISTE Conference I have been afforded the opportunity to give a prize as part of my blogging/vlogging efforts. I value silliness so here how this will work.
Take a selfie with me either at the conference or by searching Google Images or my blog for a picture you think goes well with your hair or edutech rockstar self. Most entertaining selfie as voted on by a panel of me, myself, and that other person wins.

What do you win?

Your choice of five new ISTE titles – check them out in the bookstore!
Flipped Learning (Link)
Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age (Link)
Bring Your Own Learning (Link)
Web 2.0 How-to for Educators 2nd edition (Link)
Teach Math with the Wii (Link)
Be sure to post your selfie to instagram and hashtag it BOTH #iste2014 and #rurutheruiner. Check out the competition on the sidebar as these thing heats up!
I will contact the winner through their account with directions for collecting their prize and feature their Instagram Profile on my last conference post for ISTE 2014.

Guest Appearances!

This is going to go down as my favorite week for blog connections. While my own blog (this spot here in case you are confused) enjoys unprecedented neglect, one friend, Amanda, decided to include me in her xoJane Post and I am guest blogging for the International Society for Technology in Education. A confluence of my identities, something I am striving towards, seems imminent!

Nevermind, it has occurred:

One of my professors/mentors/colleagues included a brief mention of me in her recently released book. Check out Olivia Murray’s tome entitled Queer Inclusion in Teacher Education: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice. Click the link to help support my V/Blog delusions as well. If you buy it for me as a gift I promise to go vegetarian for a week.

I have to thank Amanda for re-locating these praise worthy images of me as well:
Image of the author looking goofy with a green plastic halo, plastic star glasses, and a rainbow feather scarf.

This is my serious look.

I swear I am dancing but it looks like I am lifting a leg to go potty, dog style.

It looks like I am in need of a fire hydrant.


In better news, my totally serious vlog post for ISTE is complemented with a marginally useful 460 word ISTE EXPERIENCE REVOLUTION!!! Alright, maybe more along the lines of, “Ideas for educators interested in games for learning.” Check out below for an excerpt and video!

I am excited about games in education. Games offer a learning environment that privileges creativity, problem solving and collaboration. It is true that some educational games act like worksheets in terms of repetition and compliance. Despite this less-than-engaging genre, games — especially those designed by students — offer a unique space for constructivist education. This year in my research I explored unique applications of game principles in gaming and non-gaming contexts. ISTE will play a big part in my future direction.
Using 3DGameLab, a platform represented in the exhibit hall at ISTE 2014, I taught faculty, teacher candidates and students. While not as intensely exciting an experience as Marianne Malmstrom’s teaching with Minecraft or the use of World of Warcraft in schools through the visionary efforts of Peggy Sheehy — both presenters at the conference this year — this let me experiment and discover how deeply I appreciate the potential of games in education. I also realized that gamification was not enough to feed my passion for games in schools……   (READ MORE)