You Should Follow – Number 8

Matt B. Gomez

I met Matt at #EdCampOmaha a couple of years ago. He had traveled all the way to Omaha from Texas and hung out with us at a pizza place during the Friday night tweetup. He immediately struck me as a dedicated, passionate educator, as well as someone with a keen sense of humor. Plus he ordered the G-Unit pizza… it only seemed fitting. We attended a couple of the same edcamp sessions that Saturday, and I loved hearing about his teaching experiences.

Since then, I’ve followed Matt through his blog, Twitter, #kinderchat, Facebook, and Instagram… all contributing to learning more about this incredible educator and family man. He is someone I admire and respect immensely, and not just because he is the Team #NoCuteCaptain. We’ve seen each other again in person at different conferences, including ISTE, and I’m lucky to call him a friend.

Oh, and he teaches Kindergarten, and that makes him a superhero in my book!

You can follow Matt on his blog, and he tweets as @mattbgomez.

You Should Follow – Number 7

Note: I REALLY want to keep up with the #365greattweep recommendations, and I REALLY feel like a blog post should accompany each recommendation. I’m just not good at blogging every day. I started this series in October and am only now picking it back up.

So… I will have 365 recommendations, but it might take me more than a year to finish them all. (Better than not doing them, right?)


Summer Howarth

I started following Summer on Twitter a couple of years ago and then met her at ISTE12 in San Diego. She is instantly likable, and her passion for education and kids is really contagious.

Summer is fearless – she jumps at opportunities to share what she is learning and pushes herself to broaden her experiences. As an Australian enamored with the junk food of America, she also willingly ate cheese from a can. (That’s more bravery than I can muster.)

I don’t know if a person’s name influences his/her personality or not, but Summer seems like pure sunshine to me. Sorry for such a sappy phrase –  but if you know her, you understand.

Summer blogs at A View From the Middle and tweets as edusum.

You Should Follow – Day 6


Philip Cummings

As is the case with so many Twitter friends, I can’t even remember when I first met Philip in person. I think it was either ISTE or EduCon, but that doesn’t really matter. Philip is the kind of friend with whom you start a conversation, and then an hour or two passes by without either of you even noticing. He is incredibly kind, giving, creative, and brilliant.

Philip is a wonderfully gifted teacher, and he shares on his blog some great ideas of how to innovate in the classroom. He is extremely dedicated to his family, and he shares about them just as openly as he does his teaching. Want to hear some great stories about his kids? Ask him about Daddy Camp!

Philip tweets as @Philip_Cummings and blogs at


You Should Follow – Day 5


Mary Beth Hertz

Several years ago, I started following this amazing blog, Philly Teacher. The teacher who wrote the blog shared great resources for teaching in the 21st century, even in a building that was quite literally falling apart. Her posts were so incredibly honest, and I remember thinking how much I wanted to meet this teacher!

In 2010, I met Mary Beth at a pre-ISTE retreat in Estes Park, Colorado. At first, I didn’t even realize she was THE “Philly Teacher!” Mary Beth is super smart, genuine, and always inspiring. One of my very favorite things about Mary Beth is that she always shares so much of her students’ work. She is not only a very connected educator, she is a very involved educator, and I respect her so much for that!

She knows all the best places in Philadelphia, she has a crazy cool cat (and I’m not a fan of cats), and she even has a Foursquare check-in dedicated to her “sunburn” in Estes Park.

Mary Beth tweets as @mbteach and blogs at

You Should Follow – Day 4


George Couros

Chances are you’re already following George. If not, you really should be.

About four years ago, two of my Twitter friends, Alec Couros and Dean Shareski, started asking their followers to add Alec’s younger brother, George to their networks. I admire Alec and Dean greatly, so I started following George. His enthusiasm and passion for education was immediately apparent and extremely contagious. George became an instant friend, and when we met face to face in Philadelphia the first time, it felt like we had already met. (This happens, by the way, with Twitter friends more than you might imagine!)

George is an amazing leader in his role as Division Principal in Parkland Schools in Edmonton. He leads by example and empowers the people he works with to learn and share their inspiring stories. He shares his own stories, both personal and professional, and is very open about his struggles and successes. Through his work, he shares the importance of connecting and relationships for educators. He also has initiated or has been involved in Connected Principals, School Admin Virtual Mentor Program #SAVMP (administrator mentors), ConnectEd Canada, and I’m sure more that I’m forgetting at the moment.

George started the #365greattweeps idea. He’s always thinking of new ways to get people motivated and inspired to learn and share.

More than anything, George is an invaluable friend. On so many occasions, he has been there for me to give advice, lend an ear, or just make me laugh. I can’t even begin to thank him for that.

Oh, and he can rock a microphone at karaoke like none other.

George tweets at @gcouros and blogs (a LOT!) at

You Should Follow – Day 3


Erin Couillard

Two years ago, I started planning to go to ConnectEd Canada. One of the organizers was Erin Couillard. I started following her on Twitter before I went to the conference and was in awe of all the amazing things she was doing at Calgary Science School. I read more and more in her timeline and became even more excited to attend ConnectEd. Erin was so patient and  incredibly helpful with the excessive amount of questions I had about attending.

When I arrived in Calgary, I met this wonderful, incredibly positive person who is dedicated to educators and students in so many ways. I knew instantly that Erin would be someone I would continue to learn from, but also that we would become fast friends. Erin is brilliant, witty,  extremely talented, and she knows how to get things done.

Every time we see each other in person now, it feels like we are picking up right where we left off. Erin has a truly caring heart, and I am so grateful to call her my friend.

Erin tweets at @ErinCouillard and blogs with colleagues and students at

You Should Follow – Day 2


Paul R. Wood

I think I started following Paul Wood in 2009. I remember sitting home during EduCon that year feeling extremely envious of all the incredible conversations I was missing and vowed to myself to get there the next year (which I did). One person’s name kept popping up in my stream of EduCon tweets, and I recall thinking, “I have GOT to meet this man!”

We eventually met, but now I can’t recall exactly when it was. I think we met briefly at NECC/ISTE 2009, but came to know each other better when a bunch of friends decided to have a pre-ISTE get together in Estes Park in 2010.

I learn so much from Paul every day- through his words, but most especially his actions. Paul has made me a better person for knowing him.

Paul is encouraging, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and an incredible role model. He is one of the first people who comes to my mind when making decisions: “What would Paul Wood do?” He is such an amazing friend, and the best part is you get a 2 for 1 with Paul: his wife Diane is smart, funny, and an all around wonderful person. When you hear someone use the term “good people,” there’s a photo of Paul and Diane as an example.

Paul tweets as @paulrwood and blogs at

Diane tweets as @DianeEWood.

You Should Follow – Day 1

Yesterday, my friend George Couros started a new hashtag on Twitter – #365greattweeps




I really like this idea more than the #FF – Follow Friday recommendations. Those tend to be lists and are often the same recommendations every Friday. While I believe those still have a place, I really like the idea that George started, because he also includes the “WHY.” Why should you follow someone I recommend?

This got me thinking… if I could choose anyone to recommend right away – someone whom I followed and then met “in real life,” who would it be?

I knew instantly that I wanted to share my friend, Rafranz Davis. I had followed Rafranz for a while on Twitter, but only just met her in person at ISTE this past summer in San Antonio. Wow! What an amazing person!

Rafranz has a passion for learning and sharing! Every day, I see her tweet something that makes me really think. Her blog posts are direct, poignant, and from the heart. One in particular left me in tears – and that doesn’t happen very often for me.

Rafranz also has a smile that goes on for days, and she is such a positive person to be around.

I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to meet some of my Twitter friends at conferences here and there, and meeting Rafranz was definitely a highlight of ISTE for me.

I hope you follow her on Twitter – @RafranzDavis and read her wonderful writing at ! #365greattweeps



July 2008 Think About-Digital Literacy and Administrators

Discussing Digital Literacy with educators usually brings about a list of excuses why they can’t implement teaching digital skills in the classroom:

1. I have too much curriculum content to cover, and I don’t have time to teach anything else.

2. I don’t know enough about Web 2.0 (or even what that really means) to help kids… besides, the kids already know more than I do, right?

3. Is anything about digital literacy on the ‘tests?’ No? Then I can’t teach it.

4. My administrator doesn’t support anything that isn’t research-based or a tried/true approach.

… and the list goes on. And for most of them, these are valid reasons for being hesitant, especially #4. But I’ve never really heard a good list from administrators. And without administrative support, classroom teachers can’t really move ahead either.

Jeanette Johnson is a principal who is also a blogger. About a year ago, she posted a top ten list of “not so good reasons… why educational leaders don’t embrace digital technologies.” It’s worth reading, whether you’re an administrator or not.

I’ve been saying for quite a while now that our kids don’t have time for the adults to catch up, but at the same time, I need to be empathetic to the needs of administrators and teachers. Do administrators need to step up? How could they even begin? My suggestion to many has been — start doing something that you haven’t done before:

1. Do you blog? If not, start by reading other educators’ blogs. If you’re reading mine, check out my blogroll on the right side of the page. I’ll be adding more later today.

2. Have you ever ventured into social profiles? They’re not all bad, even though there’s a lot of garbage out there. Jump into one, or better yet, have a kid show you what they do. That’s the best way to introduce yourself.

3. Find an educational podcast– or any podcast that you find interesting– and subscribe to it.

4. Talk to kids about what they do when they’re not in school. How much time do they spend on the web? Do they satisfy a direct need from what they do on the web? Or is it simply communication to them? How many of them post videos to sites like YouTube? Are they involved in any groups in MySpace or Facebook? Why? Do they podcast? Do they listen to podcasts? Why?

5. Think about the websites that are blocked by your school’s internet filter in the name of “safety.” How many of those sites are really unsafe for kids, and how many of them are considered a nuisance by you and/or your faculty? Brush up on the CIPA requirements and then compare your blocked list. And then… ask kids what they think.

Will kids think you’re weird or old school for not knowing about these things? Probably. But they already think you’re old school, right? So what’s the harm in asking?

21st Century Learners need educators who understand them and know what they need to learn to be prepared for their world. Educational leaders have to help their staff members to be prepared to teach 21st Century learners. If our leaders/administrators are behind, who will help them?