I am proud to have been named to the eSchool News Top 14 Trailblazing Educators on Twitter. In reflecting on my years on Twitter, I can’t help but think of all the passionate educators that I have met along the way while sharing our learning. Years of rethinking education have shown me that while there is much to do, the schools of America are full of the best kind of people.
Category Archives: general education
While I have not been good about posting to this blog in the last year, I have still stayed very busy traveling and presenting. Last week I delivered a keynote at the San Diego Innovation Summit titled “Behind the Science of Innovation: Bringing About Significant Positive Change.” Co presenting with Beth Holland, our goal was to look at the actual science and research behind innovative teaching. We look at what the research says and what the implications are for teachers in the age of information.
What is the life cycle of student work in your class? Does it look like this?
When was the last time that a student ran into your class eager to go through a pile of student work? It is my fervant belief that important work does not end up in piles. If we want to increase the importance and validity of student work we need to extend it’s life cycle and allow individual learning to be shared, with the class, the school and the community.
There are any number of ways that this can be done. Where bulletin boards used to showcase classwork temporarily, now it is possible for classes to document their entire learning process over the course of the year and for teachers to save work from one year to the next.
Imagine the power of such archives to show growth and share the incredible work being done in a school. Imagine the message that it sends to your students to value their work in this way. Whether through blogs, social media websites or just through an LMS, the is great power in offering what your classwork to the world.
So what are you doing to Extend the Life Cycle of the work done in your classroom?
p.s. Below is a video I made that explains a simple way to share all of an entire classes work with one simple link.
This article originally appeared on Mindshift/KQED.
“And it’s here, in these seemingly disjointed moments, that the expertise of the teacher is crucial to uniting the class’s learning. Teachers need to create the dynamic that transforms individual moments into a broader experience where the class benefits from the complete range of learning that has taken place.”
Excerpt: In the past, teachers gave life to learning for generations of students — no different than today. But they were operating in an environment of scarcity that would make today’s teachers cringe (and they do, every time the Internet is down for more than just a short while). As the information available and our ability to access it increases, this new economy of information is transforming the practice of teaching and the roles of both teacher and student.
Creating an effective 1:1 program is not so simple as distributing devices. schools will need to make the devices part of their school culture, socialize their students for appropriate use and commit themselves to working with teachers to redefine effective teaching practice. This post reflects on the how the role of the teacher is effected by the abundance of information in their classroom.
This article was originally posted on Edudemic on February 20th, 2014. See the original post here.
When students write a paper, it goes without saying that they must cite the sources that they use in creating it. For generations, students have created note cards to document and organize these resources and/or submitted a bibliography page with their finished work.
In the modern classroom, student research and creation has taken on a new look. Before, when students created a poster, and then separately handed in a bibliography page to the teacher, justice was done and fair credit was given for the ideas used.
However, as widespread sharing of these projects becomes more common, and the internet allows students to reach an audience far beyond the school or classroom, we need to re-evaluate this procedure and address our responsibility to share these sources – not just with the teacher or school, but with all who might consume the project.
Without readily available sources to review, the audience cannot truly evaluate the validity of the project. They are left with what might be a beautiful and elegant project (the product) without knowing the sources used to construct it (the process).
Sharing sources with an audience is how we can focus on the PROCESS of creation rather than seeing only the PRODUCT.
Sharing Sources of Student Work
1. Include citations for individual pieces of information within the products themselves. This method has the advantage of sharing the sources with those who are consuming the project. For a classroom, this further engages the class in evaluating the sources that are used and allows them to ask “is that a valid source?” or “does that source have a perspective or a bias?”
2. Have students create a traditional bibliography page in Google Drive and include a link to it on their project. This will increase the likelihood that students will explore sources and evaluate projects at a deeper level. The same could be done with Evernote or a shared document in Dropbox.
3. For traditional paper projects, science fair projects, posters, mobiles or other display work, have the students provide a shortened URL to let others find and explore their works cited as they view the product. This will also work for electronic work such as Prezis, Glogsters, Popplets, Google Presentations or online videos. Shortnened URLs can be created at tinyurl.com or by using chrome extensions such as goo.gl URL shortener.
3. In place of a Tiny URL, use a QR code to link viewers to works cited. QR codes can be created for free using QR Kaywa or QRCode Monkey. QR codes are an image file that can be easily added to online projects, and are equally effective when added to the end of videos.
In our information-rich world, accessing information is a daily activity, making it essential to credit the sources being used. This is no less true in elementary school, high school or college. The “Culture of Creation” that emerges in connected classrooms makes this even more important, and putting it at the forefront of creation will allow for a healthy and necessary evaluation of how classwork is created and the ideas used to do so.
“If educational technology and 1:1 education are going to thrive, school leaders must be focused on constantly employing the best practices and tools in relation to the most pressing needs of their students. Managing and sustaining these programs means that the big choices don’t stop after a platform has been selected. Getting devices in the hands of students is just the beginning.”
I have listened to and been a part of many discussions or debates about the specific platform that schools should use for their 1:1 program. At some level most of these discussions end with people listing the benefits of their preferred choice. Spending too much time focused on choosing “the” device can narrow the focus on what the purpose of having the technology is in the first place.
While I can’t republish the Mind/Shift article here in its entirety, here is a link to the full article.
I participated in this webinar yesterday on the topic of Creativity. it was great to chat with outstanding Aussie educator Paul Hamilton. My only regret is that I was not able to chat more with the amazing Kiwi educator Richard Wells. Both are innovators and blazing new trails for effective use of iPads in the classroom.
This topic of creativity has begun to consume more and more of my thinking. Though transitioning to a 1:1 classroom is what began the process, I see that while the devices are wonderful mediums for expressing creativity, the classroom procedures and policies that go along with them do just as much to encourage students to create.
Though the title refers to iPads this video would be no less helpful to those with other devices. The conversation trended to creativity in general and how to encourage and foster it.
1. Manage the Technology: In addition to learning and completing assignments students have an array or responsibilities simply in managing the device. The device needs to be charged, apps and programs need to be updated so that they continue to function correctly. At first students and perhaps parents may scoff at the idea that these tasks are part of learning. It can be hard to keep them accountable for them, but just as important as it is to have paper, a pen, a PE uniform or safety goggles, having a functioning device is key to being “ready to learn.”
2. Make Learning Choices: The volume of data being evaluated and sifted through and the freedom for students to construct ideas with their own information make 1:1 powerful. One roadblock to this is the “Tell Me What To Do?” mindset that many students have. This is not something reserved to struggling or resistant students. Many of the best and the brightest students are not used to having choices and being held accountable for making them. At first many students will get stuck when they get to a fork in the road. Teachers need to help students get past the fear of deciding. Making clear goals for lessons and having a set of class values to guide those decisions will help. For choosing sources my classes have developed a series standards for what is best. Is the source reputable? Do you know who the author is? Can we identify potential biases in the writing? Does the source list its sources so that we can evaluate them? The same types of procedures are necessary for choosing the format for their products as well. How does the platform enhance or support the ideas that you are trying to convey? With help and time, students learning to not only embrace, but be excited by the choices and possibilities. They are more comfortable with bigger decisions about how they will learn.
3. Problem Solve Together: There is a big difference between working together and problem solving together. My 1:1 classroom has taking problem solving to a completely different level. Often we invent assignments together as a class. As a result the students have to create a plan for completing them. It is common to have a problem that leads to debates and sometimes even disagreements. Working through these common roadblocks is a ubiquitous part of my classes today. More and more I am able to stand back and let them work it out.
4. Protect Their Data: There are few things worse than watching a student who has worked hard lose all of that work, effort and time due to a technology glitch. Several students this year lost 12 weeks of work, all of which could have been saved with a few simple steps. Blaming the device is often a natural reaction. The reality is that we have to assume that the technology will fail us and take steps to protect our data. If the work that we are doing is valid, authentic and important it is going to hurt, and hurt badly to lose it. Tools like Dropbox, Evernote and Drive make protecting work easy. Other apps and programs take a bit more time and effort. That time and effort is time well spent.
5. Teach the Teacher: Independent student work means that I am often listening to students explain how they came to a conclusion, solved a problem or worked through a technology issue. Listening is a bigger part of the 1:1 teachers day than it used to be. It can take a while before students see the value in these explanations. Many students still see school simplistically: Get assignment, complete assignment, turn in assignment. Eventually classes begin to enjoy hearing how people did their work. this is especially true when we are sharing projects. Selfishly this change makes class more exciting for me too. I constantly learn new tricks and tips to share in the future. Here is an example of a Venn diagram assignment that became a lesson for me on stop animation. I’ve been excited to try it ever since it was turned in.