THE BLOG
01/27/2016 06:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Global Search for Education: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs - Remembering Joe Bower and His Love of Learning

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Remembering Joe Bower 1978 - 2016

We miss our Top 12 Global Blogger Joe Bower very much. Joe, a progressive and gifted educator from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada recently died of a massive heart attack at the age of 37. Through his regular contributions to the Top 12 Global Teacher Blogger series each month, Joe inspired our team enormously as well as thousands of educators around the world.

On a personal note, I was delighted to discover I shared a mutual passion with Joe when I worked with him on our November 2015 blog that focused on games that really help students learn. During the back and forth on his article, he asked me if he could write about board games (versus video games). He explained that he'd been working in a Children's Inpatient Psychiatric Assessment Unit, and he found that board games were a great way in the first instance to establish a trusting, caring relationship with an emotionally challenged child. Being a lover and believer all my life in the many merits of board games, Joe's idea completely resonated with me. He wrote in his "For the Love of Learning" blog on this topic and noted that beyond being an important relationship builder, this form of play was also "a great way of assessing children's skills including their creativity, collaboration, adaptability, resiliency, critical thinking, problem solving, patience, literacy and numeracy."

And so Joe - thank you for your amazing mind, your compassionate soul, your ideas, your commitment to education - all of which will live on through your legacy. "For the Love of Learning" from you and from each other, so that we may ultimately help learners everywhere to shine, we shall continue to share teachers' perspectives each month as I know you would want us to.

This month, we posed this question to our Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers: What lessons can teachers offer to designers of software for the classroom? New learning tools can mean new ways to engage students, but this month our experts from classrooms around the world have shared their ideas and feedback on this topic. So listen up Silicon Valley!

Richard Wells' (@EduWells) book on New Zealand education will be released in 2017. In his blog this month, Richard emphasizes the importance of making technology adaptable to the learner's needs saying, "successful apps need to reflect a world where everyone expects to be able to personalize their own experience." Read More.

Pauline Hawkins (@PaulineDHawkins), author of Uncommon Core: 25 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed In a Cookie Cutter Educational System, notes that students are not easily fooled: "Students are not impressed with cheesy gimmicks or things that try to imitate what they like but in an "educational" way." High school students in particular are sophisticated consumers and should be treated as such by tech manufacturers. She also says that students learn at different rates and educational programs should be easily adjustable to different complexity settings. Read More.

In his blog, Adam Steiner (@steineredtech) observes that while there are great programs that give students the power to create amazing multimedia content, "what has lagged behind are tools that support specific subject areas. There are too few options for maximizing student engagement in social studies, English, science, and math." He urges education tech companies to never overlook the importance of content. Read More.

Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) brings to light the important fact that different kids have different achievement motivators. Some students value socialization or exploration while others need success markers like status upgrades and leader boards. She also emphasizes the consideration of aesthetics: "Face it, many education technology platforms need a face lift." Read More.

Todd Finley (@finleyt) believes that a good way for tech companies to make sure they meet the needs of students and educators is to actually invite education researchers, kids, and teachers to help the design team. He also thinks that software should not distract or take away from learning. "Software should be intuitive enough for instructors to learn quickly. More importantly, the tool should not add to students' cognitive load." Read More.

In his post, Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) calls attention to the social needs of students. Students are human animals with the strong urge to interact with each other. They are best engaged by technology that consists of some form of communication. Read More.

Tom Bennett (@tombennett71), Joe Bower (@joe_bower), Susan Bowles (@FloridaKteacher), Lisa Currie (@RippleKindness), Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher), Todd Finley (@finleyt), Pauline Hawkins (@PaulineDHawkins), Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz), Karen Lirenman (@KLirenman), Adam Steiner (@steineredtech), Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) and Richard Wells (@EduWells) are The Global Search for Education 2014 Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers.

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Remembering Joe Bower 1978 - 2016

Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Geoff Masters (Australia), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
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C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.