I think John Spencer has many great things to say, but this blog post is incredible: “A Week without Homework Challenge.”

In this, he proposes teachers take a week where they assign no homework. Tweet about it at #weekwithouthomework, check out the Facebook group, and see the Google doc he started.

I wish we could get back all the time we’ve struggled with my daughter, in particular, over homework. She has hated homework since 1st grade. Spelling practice, math drills, worksheets. I totally agree with the premise of this concept that learning at home or working at home is fine. It all depends on who is initiating the work.

For example, I’ve never seen her work harder than she did doing a History Day project. She had a topic that fascinated her. She was able to demonstrate her knowledge in a medium that works for her (she made a 10-minute documentary, as opposed to another multiple choice test.) She loved doing that project, and it showed in the outcome. The multiple choice tests? math tests? spelling tests? not so much.

They mention the parent struggles. We’ve fought with her, we’ve accused her of being lazy, unfocused, and more. I’m not proud of that.It’s been an issue in our family for years. Yet, I watch her doing the things she loves- she’s incredibly focused, works very hard. We always joked that my kids learned more in the summer camps where they were allowed to explore their passions.

Tomorrow, Sunday, she will probably spend 8-10 hours doing homework. We’ll argue, I’ll feel stressed because she’s not done. And what does it get her? another multiple choice test. What does it keep her from? It keeps her from focusing on her music, it keeps her from spending time with family, from getting outside to ride her bike and help with the yard. In the end, it defeats her spirit. And why? “To be ready for college” is what all her teachers would say.

So, please keep up this no homework movement. As a parent, I thank you. I wish my kids were in your classes!


Ran across this blog post this morning, In BYOT it’s the Y and O That Matters, by Peter DeWitt. Wow. It rang true for us. I just have to share a couple of quotes:

I feel that it is our job as educators to teach students how to use something properly rather than ban it because it makes us uncomfortable.

He quotes from a report by Karen Greenwood-Henke, “BYOT: How Personal Technology is Transforming the Classroom.” (MDR EdNET Insight.) I must get my hands on this report. These quotes are powerful, and this is where the Y and O part come from — Your Own.

Personal technology is loaded with your calendar, your contacts, your preferred applications, and organized the way that makes sense to you. Students become better organized, more productive, and have the potential to be self-directed learners when they use their personal technology. “It’s a piece of you” (Greenwood-Henke. MDR. 2012).


While it’s only been three weeks, we’ve really seen this with my son and the iPad we got for him at school. As I’ve said in previous posts, he’s taken true ownership over the tool – and is using it well. He’s found things that work for him. He tested and rejected a couple of planner apps, he’s set up Evernote, his apps are organized in folders in a way that I would never do, but it works for him. While I’m not sure I think BYOT is the best way, I do think a 1:1 is the only way. Shared devices don’t allow the ownership, the personalization, the 24/7 access and the immediacy that 1:1 programs promote. And these are what makes it work.


Called to the Office: The Outcome

As previously posted, our tech experiment resulted in being called to the office because I wouldn’t sign the technology policy because it said that students couldn’t use devices unless directed by the teacher. Obviously, sending an iPad to school with my son violated that rule.

Long story short, my son gets to use the iPad. He has a medical disability that will allow him to have a device as part of his accommodations. (Mind you, I specified “a digital device” — not an iPad — because who the heck knows what it’ll be in 2 or 4 years.)

My son was very eloquent in describing how he’s using the iPad and how it helps him in school (with or without the medical disability.) He demonstrated his planner app, Evernote, Penultimate, all the while explaining how he uses it and why.

I appreciated the conversation, as I learned a bit more behind the school’s thoughts andwe opened the door to additional conversation.

But more, I’ve seen personally  the power in personalized technology and what it can do for learning. My son has taken ownership, experimented, tested, tried new things, thought differently about presenting information. It’ll be an experiment worth watching this year.