Category: Uncategorized

supporting teens’ exploration of identity

During the spring 2016 semester, I guided six teens to explore Jewish identity through images. They created 13 photographs and explanatory captions. The Museum of Jewish Peoplehood in Te, Aviv, Israel, hosted this project and have curated since July 2016 an exhibit of a selection of the photos they received from Jewish teens in the U.S., Mexico, Argentina and Israel.
Brianna P has continued to work with teens with this project of using photos to describe and define Jewish identity.
You can visit
to see the outcome of this project.


Devices, Creativity, Interactions

Balancing our Use of Devices with Face-2-Face Interactions & Creative Moments

Having noticed the past few months the increasing tendency of drivers to be holding their mobile phones as they drive, or people in stores & public spaces engaging in conversations with others in different locations, as it is now so feasible, provokes the question of how to achieve this balance.

Since 2013, pediatricians and early childhood educators have been emphasizing the need for parents to become more mindful of how their child is using an iPad, or to manage or limit the time a youngster is using these devices. With touchpad screens, using these devices becomes so automatic and engaging. Perhaps it does encourage some level of problem solving, as we have to backtrack to arrive at what we want when what we have selected on the touchscreen does not yield what we anticipated.

I wonder what needs to happen to individuals for people to recognize the need to take time to be with others, in a digital-free zone?

Will we regain our conversational skills, idea generation process, opportunities to be collaboratively creative to address common concerns?



Functioning during rapid change



The beauty of this gardenia requires time and care (based on thought and knowledge). The rapid changes in our society and glut of information can be overwhelming. Are we taking time to think about the outcome of all of these changes? Are we using these innovative options to derive true benefit? 

Are we prepared to encourage others to slow down and consider the implications of what they are creating and offering others as tehy launch more and more innovative tools or apps? 

Do we have adequate time to learn these tools and determine the best way to incorporate these tools in our lives for ongoing benefit? 

Even though the devices and applications can bring us closer together, are they really bridging communication gaps? Have we forgotten the art of face-to-face conversation and personal interactions? 

Can we put our devices to the side as we drive, or walk, or wait for something else to happen? 

Sir Ken Robinson’s perspective

“Teaching is an art form and we can’t improve education by alienating the people who do the work so let’s support, rather than vilify our teachers, and support them to inspire their students with a sense of their own possibility”.
Sir Ken Robinson recently shared this comment during his 2013 address in the UK: How to change education from the ground up.
Here is an article about this gathering in the UK:

There will be an edited video of Sir Ken Robinson’s address (which was approx 1 hr 5 min long).

on digital badges

Erin Knight and many other innovators have described multiple ways our educational system is transforming in response to other changes in our society.
We have other expectations as learners, workers, and people; simply step back and consider all of the adaptations many of us have accepted in our daily lives.

Education is starting to catch up; digital badges and the interest in MOOC’s are 2 of several examples.

Innovation can either be defined or managed by us, or individuals can be controlled by innovative practices that others have designed and determined as required (technological determinism).

So many desirable skills, useful for participation in the workforce, have yet to be organized into formal degree programs, the model we have used for so many decades. These skill sets are periodically changing due to the rapid evolution of technology or digital tools. Digital badges appear to address the need to formalize individuals’ mastery of such desirable skills.
The paradigm is shifting. Through experimentation, documentation and analysis of these experiments we can design and control innovative practices. We can determine how to structure learning experiences that are responsive to individual interests and meet the needs of societal forces.

Also shared on the – an online space to share ideas on lifelong learning.

Others’ ideas on digital badges:  (Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition) (Jason Siko, Member of AECT-TED, sharing his experiences using digital badges with pre-service teachers)

Bridgeland & Bruce – The Missing Piece – importance of social and emotional learning

Bridgeland and Bruce’s summary of their ideas, based upon their analysis of prior research, supports other educational psychologists’ research on the role of attitudes, habits and traits that enhance academic performance and lifelong or workforce success. I noted that they cited the work of Joseph Zins and his colleagues, on social and emotional learning (SEL), a concept not often explored in teacher education courses or professional development sessions for in-service teachers.
Joseph Zins, a faculty member in the Special Education Department at the University of Cincinnati, died suddenly (spring 2006) while writing additional articles on this very topic. He happened to be a member of my doctoral committee at the time. In the interim, I have also read the research on self-regulation strategies, of Barry Zimmerman (CUNY Graduate Center), Lynn Corno (Teachers College), Dale Schunk, and other Canadian and European researchers. They also provide evidence of how self-regulation strategies enhance students’ academic success and completion of tasks with desirable outcomes.
It would be ideal for more teacher education programs to introduce future teachers to these concepts and strategies, considering how the business community and stakeholders are valuing skills that self-regulation and social and emotional learning nurture (collaboration, problem solving, project management, creativity, communication).