Evaluating technology for education… Trend is wrong!

New teachers… Seasoned Veterans… Educators talk a lot about the importance of knowing what you want to do with the technology before implementing it. I have said it!.. Decide what you want students to do and then find the technology to do the job well. Technology is a tool and we need to use the right tool for the right job… Right? Does this philosophy hold us back at all though?

As a result of the work that I have been doing through the IEAR.org community and as a District Technology Faciliator, I continue to think that this philosophy holds education back in many ways. While I remain convinced that we need to define what we want our students to do, we also need to continue to appreciate that we understand how to use technology better when we just use it as well!

Over the years, I have had numerous interactions with educators in which the person has an excuse/reason for not doing something with technology because they already do something without it or with a different form of technology. Too often we have predetermined ideas on what will work well and we prevent ourselves from “change” or “improvement”. I once had a librarian tell me that she would never purchase any “e-book” capable devices or books in her library because she loved holding a book in her hand. She couldn’t imagine people not having that feeling. Isn’t it interesting to note that Amazon is now selling more digital books than it is wood, paper and pulp books! While school teachers and staff interact and does more workflow over custom apps like EdQuants to reduce paperwork and be able to organize more info in less time. Sometimes we just need to try something different and explore what is being offered! Continue reading

SMeech.net – Who is Scott Meech?

Scott Meech began teaching full-time in 1995.  While Scott began his teaching career in Social Studies, he quickly realized his greatest educational interest was in the transformative nature of technology.  Scott was an early adopter and was regularly the test pilot for any and all new tech initiatives. Scott’s teaching quickly transformed from a traditional teacher-centered paradigm into a constructivist student-centered approach.  Meech earned his masters in education in curriculum and technology in 2005 and an educational leadership certificate through Johns Hopkins University in conjunction with the International Society of Technology and Education.

Scott is a founder of several online initiatives. EdReach.us is an Education Media Network dedicated to giving educators a bigger voice. App of Approval is an app development company focused on producing the most engaging and unique apps for children and education. I Education Apps Review is a community of educators helping each other by reviewing for iOS and Android devices.

Scott has been the recipient of several awards and recognitions including Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Teacher. He is a Illinois Computer Educator Conference Co-Chair and a co-chair for several Students in Technology conference sites.

While he has a myriad of interests, his favorite pastime besides spending time with his wife and three daughters is studying the impact technology is making and can make on education. He believes that education is on the brink of major change and that technology will finally fulfill its promise.

App of Approval

App of ApprovalScott Meech is the founder of App of Approval. In 2009, Scott started I Education Apps Review as a means for helping educators to discuss, share and find the best apps available for education.  Throughout that experience, Scott has learned that the best apps are those that allow the user to create and to engage users with the uniqueness of mobile devices.  This experience has always been dedicated to sharing, providing advice, and to improving other designers’ apps.

Scott believes that we can do better and based on that expertise, we think it is time to produce our own apps that Scott gives his stamp of approval!


Scott Meech is one of the founders of EdReach.us:

We all want one thing- to take education forward. As much as we may argue, we still want what’s best for our future thinkers and creators.

Education has never gotten the voice that it’s truly deserved- just check any online newspaper and look for the education section. Keep looking- because you won’t find it there.

The Ed Reach Mission:

To take education forward, by bringing voices together

The Ed Reach Vision:

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Director of Technology – DG58.us

Scott currently works as the Director of Technology in Downers Grove District #58. He has a department blog that he works on it with the district Technology Facilitator and it is focused on improving our district’s integration of technology into the learning process, where you can find tips like:


I asked different groups of teachers in a quick activity to come up with 20 reasons for teachers to have a classroom web page. Here are our responses. Yes, some groups went over 20!  Do you have any other suggestions?  What are your must haves?

Twenty Reasons Why……

1. Post websites for kids
2. Communicate to parents
3. Homework assignments
4. Parent Resources
5. Parent Handouts
6. Curriculum Handouts
7. Pictures
8. Videos
9. Link to wiki page
10. Save paper
11. Communicate suggested books to read
12. Communicate example games to play for math
13. Replace E-board
15. How-to videos for parents and kids (instruction/flip classroom)
16. Post updates and reminders to parents
17. Post forms/lists/important documents
18. Post songs/podcasts
19. Discipline plan
20. Access 24/7 for families!!!!!

Another group … 

20.  Communications with parents
19.  Calendar of class events
18.  Student information center
17.  Homework assignment board
16.  Links to curriculum websites
15.  Photos of class events
14. Videos  of lessons
13.  Surveys to reinforce curriculum
12.  Principal “check in”  to see what’s happening
11.  Posting important documents (worksheets, fieldtrip permission, district policy)
10.  Link to classroom blog
9.  Good way to collaborate between classrooms
8.  Reading lists and challenges posted
7.  Book reviews from students (could include video or podcasts)
6.  Definition and links to various leveled readers for guided reading
5.  Links to PTA/ Community Events
4.  Shows personality and unity in your classroom
3.  SEL lessons and morning meeting suggestions
2.  Correlation to common CORE standards


The top reason is:

1.  It just makes us feel cool & tech saavy!

Another group...

Parent Newsletter/Communication
2. Student resources
3. Class Calendar
4. Blogging
5. Student/Teacher Ownership
6. Teaches tech responsibility
7. Classroom Updates
8. Homework
9. At home practice capability (math facts, etc.)
10. Highlight student work and accomplishments (pics, videos, podcasts, etc.)
11. Creating class community outside of the classroom
12. Sharing resources with teacher community
13. Potential of having a flipped classroom
14. Creating a classroom archive
15. Communication with students outside of your community
16. Enhance curriculum!
17. Allows students to show and tell
18. Promote online district resources (subscriptions, MIF access, etc.)
19. Parent resources
20. Good PR for teachers and school!
21. Built-in assignments to work on in class
22. Book List

Another group...

1.  Efficient communication – everyone can access the same information, including staff, students, parents.
2.  Motivational, as a positive image for the group, or specific classroom.
3.  Convenient access for internet resources at home and school.
4.  Extra review for subjects with slideshow, powerpoint, summary of concepts taught.
5.  Homework as an assignment notebook tool.
6.  Calendar of upcoming projects, assignments, tests, events.
7.  PDF’s of forms and assignments for parent and student access.
8.  Enrichment activities
9.  Classroom journal or blog discussion.
10. Scrapbook of what’s happening in our classroom with photographs.
11. Access to online catalog for LRC to check book availability, or put book on hold.
12. Community link to explore activities which relate to curriculum.
13. Helpful hints for study skills, organizing, or taking notes.
14. PTA Connections and updates
15. Professional Development
16. Celebrations- classroom rewards earned,etc.
17. Reading Ideas – Book Lists
18. Reflections on a reading assignment
19. Teacher newsletter
20. Sharing apps or resources with parents for extra help
21. Room mom tab to organize parties, or search for chaperones.

Do you have any other suggestions?  What are your must haves?

I Education Apps Review – IEAR.org

I Education Apps ReviewCommunity and collaboration is the most vital aspect for improving education. Technology is really at a point where we can make a difference as a collective body in so many ways. Sometimes we just need a spark to ignite a movement.

I started I Education Apps Review for a few reasons. IEAR.org was my attempt to start making sense out of the app revolution and how apps and mobile learning may or may not make a difference in the classroom. When I first began doing reviews, I was overwhelmed by the shear number of “bad apps” under the educational category. I still am to be honest… I found myself overly impressed early on with weak apps because they had potential. As I became more critical and poignant with my reviews, app developers began to take more notice. Several applications were improved because of this feedback. There is a lot of potential there as we all want to make a difference. I repeatedly would state, “if only we could talk with the developers to improve the effectiveness of these apps!”IEAR.org was born…

Apple Distinguished Educator

I was honored with the distinction of becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator and I attended the 2011 ADE Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.  This was one of the best learning experiences that I have had the privilege of being a part of.  If you love to learn and you believe that technology can play an important part in the learning process, I suggest you apply for the 2013 institute.

Find out more about Apple Distinguished Educators.  I have learned so much from this community and I am honored to be a member.

Google Certified Teacher

In 2008, I was honored to be nominated as a Google Certified Teacher and I was privileged to attend the Chicago Academy. I am proud to be a member of this fine community as it consists of some of the best in the field of education.

The Google community is very active and it continues to teach me every day.  I am very thankful for all of the connections that I have had and continue to make through this program.  I highly suggest others to investigate the possibility of becoming a Google Certified Teacher.

Integrating Technology into the Classroom

I believe every teacher has the responsibility to promote an open, safe and positive classroom. Three things that a teacher would need to know about their students to help create the type of classroom that I desire is knowing the students’ ability level, their discipline issues, and if they have any disabilities.The student’s ability is the broadest of issues. Student ability includes technical skills, reading and writing ability, communication, and any class specific skill. In order to truly teach a student to the best of their abilities, you have to know where they are at prior to your teaching.
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