Joining EdTechTeacher!

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

It is with great pleasure that I announce my new position with EdTechTeacher

EdTechTeacher is at the forefront of helping schools leverage technology to create innovative, dynamic learning environments.

In my new role, I will be providing staff development for schools and teachers in the region and around the country. My passion is to strengthen our schools and provide students with the best possible education. I believe that includes the effective uses of technology. I am thrilled to be able to continue supporting teachers and schools.  

I leave behind a 20 year career in public education to join EdTechTeacher. I want to thank everyone who has supported me, learned with me and shared with me. Please cheer me on as I move forward with this new adventure. 


Samantha Morra
EdTechTeacher, Instructor & Presenter

Economics and Empathy

I was just reading Richard Byrne’s post Life on Minimum Wage – A Hands-on Economics Lesson. He shared an economics lesson called Life on Minimum Wage. Great lesson! I love that it is in game form. The lesson reminded me of a site called Spent. I used it for both an economics/financial literacy lesson and a lesson on empathy. (Many of you who know me know how I value teaching empathy. I’ll write more on empathy in another post.) Check it out and see how you do. I’m going to guess you will walk away thinking differently about minimum wage.


Don’t Cry Because It’s Over. Smile Because It Happened

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day and I have just resigned after 20 years in public education. 

It has been one of the great joys in my life to work with so many wonderful students through the years. There’s truly something wonderful and magical to see a student grow, change and blossom. I don’t think I could forget them if I tried. They will always be my students. 

I always wanted to be a teacher. There was nothing as scary as the first day of teaching and that door closes behind you with a room full of kids. I got my first job teaching Kindergarten. I thought I would do that the rest of my life. But then, technology came into my classroom that year and since then opened many other doors for me. 

I don’t want this to be an indictment of public education or another “Why I Quit” essay. Things are tough, but I would never discourage someone from becoming a teacher. Teaching is a tough way to make a living, but a great way to make a life. 

Have you ever wondered why they call graduation commencement? Commencement means beginning. For me, this is like graduation day. For the past few years I’ve had the pleasure and joy of working with teachers to improve teaching practices. I’m now going to venture forward and find new ways to support teachers, support students and improve education. It’s time for me to close this door and forge a new path. I leave with a smile.

Who Moved My Cheese-Embracing Change

This was a post I made to a discussion board for one of my grad school classes:

I read Who Moved My Cheese a few years ago when I made the switch to middle school. I had spent 12 years in elementary and thought that was all I wanted. It took a moldy room and a difficult administrator to get me to embrace change and move on. I remember crying just like Hem, “It’s not fair!”

I had to think long and hard about change. I really did envision myself as an elementary school teacher my whole life.

As I left part of my life behind and started running through the maze I had to find words that supported what I needed to do. I too wrote on the walls. Some of the words I used were (forgive me if I don’t get the words quite right):

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” —FDR
“Perhaps it is you who have changed by standing still” —Inherit the Wind
“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving.”—Mame
“The most important thing you can give someone is a chance” — poster in my room (I added “and a piece of chocolate.”
“If you change one life it is as if you have changed the whole world.” —many sources
“Seek out change. It is the only way to learn something new about yourself.” —Me. This became my mantra.

I really think in most ways I am like all four: Sniff, Scurry, Haw and Hem. These days I am much more like Sniff and Scurry seeking out change and new opportunities. However, Haw and Hem are interesting metaphors. Hem is the low point. It can’t get any worse. Haw is moving away from that low point. In many ways, you can’t be Haw without being Hem for a little while. The important thing is to not Hem too long.

Four years later and I realized how wise, and yes, brave I was. I am not saying this out of pride. I am saying this to demonstrate how I empathize with the teachers I work with. This really is the first generation of teachers who are being asked to teach in ways that they have not been taught. It is tough for them to see that they need to change. I use video like “Shift Happens” and “Pay Attention” to get that point across. I also try to provide them with other types of “cheese” to taste, different ways to cover a subject in which the student-teacher dynamic is different from what they are used to. Our social and information landscape has changed. Teachers must be aware of this, embrace change and be supported as they take risks or they and our current system risk being relevant and effective.

Introduction to Twitter Educators

Here is the presentation I gave to a great group of school administrators.

It should probably have been titled “Introduction to Twitter for School Administrators.”

Thank you to everyone in my PLN who discussed this topic with me.

Twitter really is an amazing tool for gathering information, reflection, and collaboration.

Blogs and Wikis Workshop

Great Article
Ferriter, Bill. ” Educational Leadership:How Teachers Learn:Learning with Blogs and Wikis.” ASCD
Review Web 2.0 Playground Presentation
Lisa Thumann
Kevin Jarrett
Vicky Davis – Cool Cat Teacher Blog
List of Blogs
Teaching Degree Blog
School Blog
Class Blog
Montclair Educators Wiki
Cool Cat Teacher Wiki
Classroom Projects
1st Grade Class
Middle School Wiki
New Wiki
Tool For Future Use


This is a response to Scott McLeod and of the amazing educators who responded to Leadership Day 2009 #leadershipday09

I am currently working on getting my Master’s in Educational Leadership. I have found myself in leadership positions too often to not make it official. In 14 months, it will be.

I have often reflected on what kind of a leader I will be.
Will I be pulled into and have to support a system which I believe needs some serious overhauling?
Or, will I be an agent for change, community building and focusing on the needs of students?
Will I be able to lead so that all of the necessary tasks are done and still have time for the things that really make a difference?
To be very honest, it is a little scary.
The only thing I can say is I plan on trying my best.
It is going to be a heck of a ride and I plan to lean on PLN for guidance as I move forward.
I am grateful to all who shared their insights for #leadershipday09.

Happy Holidays!

Gentle reader, this is my first post. Go easy on me. I hope to use this blog to share my thoughts and discoveries as I explore the uses of technology in education.

So, to start with I am going to share some of my favorite sites for the holidays. (OK. I know. What does this have to do with education and technology? I may have trouble encouraging a teacher to use a site that would enhance his/her curriculum, but honestly who does not want to elf themselves.)

Here are some of my favorites:
(Please share of yours in the comments.)