Sonoma County Office of Education

21st Century Learning

21st Century Learning Blog

21st Century Learning BlogThe intent of this blog is to empower, inspire, and support teachers as they incorporate 21st century learning with the Common Core Standards and technology. The blog will share resources, ideas, and events and highlight what’s working in education in Sonoma County and around the world.

Author | Matt O’Donnell | Email | Follow on Twitter
Guidelines | SCOE Blog Protocols (pdf)
See also | Web Tools for Educators (Google doc)

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Documenting the Community Response to the Wildfires

Back to School Night

Sanitizing White Supremacy
When I first started teaching twenty years ago, I worked in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Not far from where I lived was the popular tourist attraction of Stone Mountain Park. Many of my eighth grade students would talk about the “cool laser light show” there. Families would bring a picnic and watch the laser show which included cartoon depictions sports figures and American flags; the show was accompanied by patriotic music. The light show also included glorified renderings of three Confederate figures: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I was especially shocked that people would bring their families to celebrate those that rebelled against the United States in defense of slavery and white supremacy. New generations of children were being told a sanitized version of history, for nowhere in the laser light show was shown the institution of slavery nor the dark history of Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain was the site of the rebirth of the KKK in 1915. One year later, the Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned a relief carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson into the side of the mountain. The KKK was given perpetual rights to meet on the mountain until the State of Georgia purchased the property in 1960. Now the park is the most popular tourist attraction in Georgia. As teachers and as parents it is easy to fall victim to the sanitizing of our history through what we include and what we leave out of our lessons. From the outfits students create to celebrate Thanksgiving in kindergarten classes to the textbooks we have our students read we risk continuing to sanitize white supremacy. Covering all content in a superficial way can actually give students a worse understanding of history. Read More...

Learning From Pittsburgh's Maker Community
We visited Pittsburgh last week to deliver a keynote at the Pittsburgh Fab Institute and to connect with maker educators in the area. We had heard of the amazing things happening there over and over again and wanted to see it first hand. Pittsburgh has a vast network of connected makers including libraries, universities, museums and schools. Read More...

Game Based Learning at the Pacific Coast Air Museum
On June 6th, fifty seven educators from Sonoma County visited the Pacific Coast Air Museum as part of the 21st Century Summer Institute hosted by the Sonoma County Office of Education. The teachers were engaged in a week of learning and designing focused on creating a climate of possibility in classrooms and schools by incorporating creativity, innovation, and student voice. To kick off the week, the participants competed in teams to win a scavenger hunt at the museum. Read More...

5 Minute Film Festival Video Recap

It is Time to Ditch the Projector
As more and more schools move to 1:1 environments the need for an LCD projector is quickly declining. While it is nice to display documents on a screen in front of the room, there are several shortcomings often present with this approach. Many of the classrooms I visit have an LCD projector that is on a cart or on the teacher’s desk with cords going everywhere making it difficult to move around the front of the classroom. The teacher or student presenting often moves in front of the screen causing viewing problems. These projectors are often too close to the whiteboard (or screen if there is one) which makes the viewing area too small for students in the back of the room to see. Read More...

2017 5 Minute Film Festival
The Sonoma County 5 Minute Film Festival is back for the third year and this year’s theme is DISCOVERY. The festival is open to all Sonoma County students grades TK-12. The deadline to submit films is March 17, 2017. Please visit for more information. Read More...

Virtual Reality With Google Cardboard
Creating VR content is a great way for students to showcase learning and experiences that take place outside of the classroom. Students can create VR content about different ecosystems they visit and share it in science classes and with other students anywhere in the world. Teachers can create VR content at historical or literary sites for virtual field trips; the curricular opportunities are unlimited. Read More...

Videos from the reMAKE Education Summit
Last month 250 educators from around the country came to 180 Studios in Santa Rosa, California for the first annual reMAKE Education Summit. Here are the videos from the general session keynotes. Read More...

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