If You Build It, They Will Come

Welcome to Our New Home!

Well readers, it’s time for Social Juggernaut to move to a self-hosted site! In the essence of growth and development, I’ve decided that it’s time to become a serious blogger. I have already migrated your subscriptions (email subscribers) to The Social Juggernaut. Social media followers will continue to see new posts as always. Soon, I will redirect all traffic from this blog to the new one. New readers may subscribe here. [mc4wp_form id=”2197″]

Meanwhile you are more than welcome to go ahead and look around!

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Rest assured, all of the posts from this site are already there.

What’s new?

  • There’s a featured blogger’s area there (RSS Feed). This month it goes to SOUTHERNMOMJD!  I cannot thank her enough for pushing me beyond my limits.
  • Joan McCullough Photography finally has a (temporary home). I’ll be building a site for it to stand alone later.
  • I’ll also honor requests for featured bloggers (any of you) who would like to submit posts!

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I am officially challenging all of you to write! We’ve all been writing something our entire lives. You’d be surprised at how liberating it is to put your thoughts “down on paper.” If you’re not sure how to get started, ask me.

So please enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Get Out of Your Own Way: Closing the Diversity Gap in EdTech

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I just sat down at the Blogger’s cafe´at ISTE 2016 amongst some common Twitter acquaintances known as the #Educolor movement. Their mission is to close the diversity gap in Educational Technology by raising awareness across the country.

It’s funny. I’ve been thinking about the diversity gap since I’ve been in Denver this week. Lunch today was confirmation that I have a voice and I’m going to raise awareness among my readers.

Below, are three major barriers (in my opinion), and these barriers lie within us! Once we break these within ourselves, THEN we can look at the outside obstacles that hinder diversity in EdTech.


Technology isn’t just for geeks, nerds, recluses, or the majority. It’s no longer an optional skill to pick up. It’s a necessity for survival for all races and personality types.

Each year, I come home from this conference, excited and talking about the Twitter connections I’ve made, blogging, and trending practices in EdTech, only to be met with shaking heads and blank stares from many…

Note to self: Joan, check YOUR mindset. I realize that it has a lot to do with exposure and what a person seeks to accomplish with social media and technology in their professional practices. However, I would like to be a change-agent that leads people to the reality that we are living in a time warp.

For example, educators often rely solely on the school district to provide all the training we need in order to learn new things. Honestly, I have learned more from the people I follow on Twitter than I ever have in a year’s worth of  workshops at work. I am not saying that those sessions are any less than invaluable. However, if that’s my only learning source as a professional, I essentially limit the number of people I can learn from in a given school year to about 10 fairly local presenters (in a good situation) compared to the thousands I have access to on social media. Those thousands are a part of my personal learning network (PLN), and @jovan367 is a part of theirs.


I hate to use the cliche´, “People fear what they don’t understand,” but I just did. I have discovered that if I’m coaching teachers and my dialogue is way over the top, instead of encouraging them to want to learn what I know, I scare them. Their minds go into auto pilot because they cannot envision themselves diving that deeply into the technology. This morning, I talked with Dr. Boni Hamilton, author of Integrating Technology in the Classroom. She gave me a signed copy of her book and some very useful advice:

“You have to find out first what teachers are comfortable with. If they can only use their phones, then ask, ‘What kind of apps are available for your phone that can help you with instruction?’ or if they like taking pictures and know how to use a digital camera well, ask, ‘How can pictures benefit or enhance your lesson or learning outcomes for your students?’ They don’t care about what you know, Joan… They want to know how to use what they already know more effectively, first.”


Let me say this: If we can lurk around on Facebook and search for all the good gossip, see who’s fooling around with whom, and screenshot that information and share it with any and everyone else, then we certainly can lurk on professional, educational, and creative user pages, twitter profiles, and Pinterest pins, screenshot and share THOSE things and actually use social media as a learning tool in the process (I think I heard somebody say “PREACH!”).

I digress. To each his own. I just want you to know that you already have the skills. It’s all about using those same skills when it comes to your personal learning (if you choose to).

So, Brian Smith from lunch walked up to me about four paragraphs ago and said,

“I just read your post from your tweet about writing a letter to your former self…Truly AMAZING. I loved it.”

That’s what makes it all worth it to me.

If I can help anyone become more comfortable with technology, drop me a line. I’m @jovan367 on every social media platform, and Joan Sharpe on Facebook. I’d be glad to assist! That reminds me, I’ve gotta get my auntie on Facebook when I get back to NC! If you see her around tell her I’m working on it!

Come again, and remember that your feedback keeps me writing! Take care.



Digital Literacy: Climbing the Ladder, One Rung at a Time

Blogging Begins to Take Root

Students at Bertie Early College High School are reluctantly taking the plunge into the blogosphere. We’re also asking a few to ditch the old spiral pads and create digital notebooks. Among them are a few kids who can see the benefits of it, excited about what it means for their writing. I feel a bit like a dentist in some cases, but there’s one young lady who is embracing the idea.

A few weeks back, I gave a couple of science classes a rather compelling spill about blogging and keeping digital notes (my Oscar is in the mail). Fortunately, the teacher is the person who jumped on board first! She’s still got to get the hang of it, but her students are well on their way!

Vanessa Hernandez

Vanessa Hernandez

Today I sat down with Vanessa Hernandez to talk about how WordPress.com and Evernote has changed the way she thinks about writing and taking notes in school. Here’s what she had to say:

Me: Vanessa, your Earth/Environmental Science class recently started blogging. How has it changed your classroom experience?

Vanessa: With blogging I feel like I can express myself more in my work and it will be a lot easier to turn in my work.

Me: What’s the name of your blog and the URL? Continue reading

Students Explode Onto the Blogging Scene!

We all know it…it’s very difficult sometimes to get high school students excited about writing (and almost anything else these days). We proved this week however, that once you give them a voice, add a dash of guidance, and a splash of technology… viola! We’ve got kids writing like crazy at one high school.

This week, three classes at Bertie Early College  were exposed to training on blogging. Mr. Michael Everett allowed me to come into his Creative Writing class and conduct a workshop for his students on Evernote Web, Evernote Web Clipper, Clearly, and of course, WordPress. The kids were enthusiastic and engaged!

Let me tell you just a bit about what started the blogging revolution. Earlier in the week, I visited with Ms. Rhonda Taylor’s Earth/Environmental Science Classes. Their task was to research an event relative to human’s impact on the environment, and summarize their findings (on paper). This assignment needs some pizzazz, I thought. TechChic to the rescue! Continue reading

5 Things to Say to Someone Who Hates Tech

Home and still reeling from an awesome ten-day conference tour which featured a presentation at NC New Schools, and my first experience at ISTE in Atlanta, it finally is easy being green, Kermit! I had a chance to have lunch with one of my favorite colleagues, an elementary curriculum guru, in my opinion. Our conversation was astonishing!Kermit

Thanks to Hurricane Author, our workday was abbreviated, so we were able to go on and on about education theory, best practices, and of course, TECHNOLOGY. She’s not a techie. She didn’t go to ISTE. She doesn’t (GASP) like technology. In fact, it makes her want to cry. I tried desperately to identify with her. What she said reminded me of my experience in Calculus IB At Elizabeth City State University.

It was the spring semester of 1996. Dr. Sachdev appeared in the doorway of his office and welcomed me in for tutoring, and to retake a test that I completely bombed earlier in the week. Aside from the fact that I could barely discern what he was saying with his middle eastern accent, I just didn’t get complex mathematics. After about thirty minutes of review, he gave me the test.

I took it, and handed it in. Dr. Sachdev went back into his office to grade it. I waited patiently, hoping that I had redeemed myself. Soon he reappeared and handed the test back to me, and another blank test. He said, “Take again.” After about two more times, he looked at me with weary eyes, put his hand upon my shoulder and said, “No more for today. Go on and get some rest. We try again another day.” I cried. Continue reading

10 Takeaways From ISTE 2014

20140701_102350The 2014 ISTE conference in Atlanta GA, was indeed an eye-opening experience. If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the #ISTE2014 on your feed for the last seven days. I got off the plane ready to take in all of the information, and I boarded the flight home afraid that my brain was going to ooze out of my ears! Therefore, it’s taken me a few days to wrap my mind around the many things I learned while in attendance. So, here are 10 takeaways from this amazing national conference!

1. Technological Savvy requires a personal commitment.

Let’s face it. After attending ISTE 2014, it became very clear to me that there are far too many tools and strategies for one to ingest and regurgitate all at once. If I were to rely solely on the presenters and materials I encountered during the conference, and tried to remember every word spoken, I’d fail miserably at retaining valuable knowledge. Thus, it is my personal responsibility to go back into my notes, research the many links I’d written down and QR codes I’d scanned, and embed those concepts mentally, according to the needs of my school district. Continue reading

PBL Role Descriptions For Beginners

Assigning Roles In PBL Is Important

Now that Project Based Learning has taken shape in education, there is one major area of emphasis that must be stressed. Roles and descriptions are vital if Project Based Learning is going to work for you. Each team or group that you assemble to carry out a project, has to be assigned specific roles within the team in order to function properly. There is a vast difference between “group work” and “collaborative grouping.”

Some teachers are still trying to secure their footing when it comes to PBL. One common gripe among them is that groups have a tendency to perform in this manner: one member does everything, two comply and participate variably, and one does practically nothing. Yet, they all receive the same grade.

Give students the autonomy to choose in which capacity they will work within their group. Below is a standard list of roles and descriptions to get you moving in the right direction. Present this list to your students in the early stages of the project so that everyone is clear on what to do. Continue reading

Twitter For The More Advanced

Use a Dashboard and Expand Your Twitterverse!

Are you still trying to follow along with various Twitter chats, stay abreast of all the breaking news, and keep a watchful eye on your kids’ tweets all on the official Twitter website? It can be mind numbing trying to flip back and forth to all of those pages. This is when a dashboard comes in very handy! Today’s post features TweetDeck, prefered by many to use specifically with Twitter. Unlike Hootsuite, you can only manage your Twitter accounts and no other social media like Facebook or Instagram. However, if you are only looking to supercharge your Twitter experience, this may be the dashboard for you! Click here to see a Thinglink graphic with tags and explanations!

Just a little tidbit as we move into summer conference season. Be armed with a dashboard and Tweet Like A Boss!

Share this and subscribe! As always, thanks for stopping by!

Never Lose Your TechEd Resources Again!

We’ve Expanded!



As I coach teachers each day, I think it is essential to gather the strategies and resources provided, and house them in one location. Sharing simple tools for keeping up with endless bookmarks (Diigo), annotating and saving texts for later (Evernote, Clearly), or creating the world’s best blogs (WordPress, of course!) can mount up, and it’s easy to lose track! So to stay organized, I decided to expand to a web hosting site that I’ve grown to love: Weebly. My space was previously active, since I launched a website for my students back in 2012, and I thought it would be a shame to let it go to waste! Now, it’s totally revamped and packed with resources for technology integration and Project-Based Learning.

Screenshot 2014-04-24 10.20.35The links are organized into a webmix created powered by Symbaloo. Personally, I like the functionality of the tile squares rather than incredibly long lists of links. However, with your feedback, I’d be glad to consider adding descriptions below the webmixes for those who need more information. Soon I’ll upload a screencast showing just how handy this tool can be! Plus, it’s visually attractive.

In fact, my undying committment to Symbaloo® is what prompted me to expand my “tool shed” to Weebly®, because WordPress.com does not permit embedding webmixes into this blog.

TechTools TabJust in case you navigate away from this post and explore some others here, you’ll be please to know that there’s a direct tab up above, to take you straight to the Tech Tools you need! Once there, you’ll find a tab to bring you right back to Social Juggernaut.

Ease of use is the name of the game when it comes to helping teachers with tech infusion.

In addition to the resource pages at Tech Tools for Teachers, there’s a Tutorials tab where I will post all of the screencasts I produce in the future. Check back often!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, This post was totally about self promotion! Kind of, but the more teachers this blog can help, the more students there are to gain from those teachers, and it’s a win-win situation. In all things education…remember, we do it for the kids!

Speaking of helping, please share this post with your friends and colleagues. Subscribe to get email alerts for each new post, and who knows? If you take a moment to leave a comment, then I can possibly become a better blogger, and most importantly, a better support for the teachers I serve.


STEM In Rural Schools: What Kids Want Us To Know

Robotics Adds Value To Learning Outcomes

Bertie STEM High School Robotics Team Members (from LtoR): Trekell Scott, Jaikeim Mosely, Dashawn Hayes, Tyshawn Hayes

I walked into the media center at Bertie STEM High School in Windsor, North Carolina and saw the most beautiful thing: Children were making presentations to their peers about something great they learned, and the product they created! As Principal, Daphne Williams looked on, the presenters were all well versed in robotics, and were equally proficient in controlling its actions. I thought to myself, people need to know that there are some GREAT things going on in Bertie County! This district is among the lowest in the state socioeconomically, however students are reaping the benefits of a 1:1 environment on the high school level thanks to the Golden Leaf Foundation.

I caught up with a couple of the team members, Jaikeim Mosley and Kiani Strong, to ask a few questions about how Robotics has impacted their learning. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading