Category Archives: Leading Learning

Thanks for the Follows!

For the past year, I have been copying most of the posts on my new site to this older blog.  I have encouraged followers to move from this site and subscribe here instead.

I will no longer add more content to this site but I will continue to maintain the resources and content found here for your use.

Please take the time to follow Learning about Learning here.

Thanks for your support as I worked to understand the process of documenting and sharing my own learning.  I believe strongly in the importance of owning my own space on the web, and that is why I have moved to my own domain here.

I hope you will continue to learn with me and challenge me as I try to make sense of what learning needs to look like in this exponentially changing world.

 

 

Featured image by Matt Jones on Unsplash

Advertisements

#ONEWORDONT #ONEWORD2017

*Please note that this blog has moved to http://blog.donnamillerfry.com/*

(Please follow the blog at that site.  This site will disappear soon!)

__________________________

Back in August, Carlo Fusco invited me to speak on his podcast about my education passions, and the things that were keeping me up at night.

(The podcast can be found here)

In the podcast, I quickly outline my concern about the gap between what I see happening in schools, and what we need to learn to thrive in 2017 and beyond in the digital economy.

However, it was later in 2016 that I listened to Audrey Watters and Kin Lane in the Tech Gypsies Podcast, when they talked about each and every one of us being responsible to learn the things we must learn to make sense of the world, and to make good decisions.

The entire podcast is worth your time, and I highly recommend listening to it regularly.  If you only have a few minutes, begin around 35:00 (36:45 if you are really short on time, and Caution: Language can be explicit at times)

We need a more digitally literate society.  There are so many examples of why this is true, and I will be exploring those further this week.

Fullan's 6 C's don't require technologyEven when we consider the thinking around 21st Century Learning, and the 6 C’s (or 4 C’s) that we so readily accept, we are missing the part where digital literacies are critical to making good decisions for ourselves and for our children.

Throughout 2016, I worked to craft careful messages to influence others about the importance of digital literacies.

In 2017, rather than a focus on trying to convince others that digital literacies are important, I am committed to providing an open structure where others can learn more about technology with me.

I am convinced that in this world where facts are difficult to find, each and every one of us needs to find our voice and lead learning that will ensure that our connections are creating positive change in our world.

My focus word for 2017 is

LEAD

[rhymes with seed, feed, need]

This spoken word piece, written and performed by Chinaka Hodge at TEDWomen 2016, pushes all of us to find the leader inside ourselves.

Learning Network Leadership – A Path Forward

*Please note that this blog has moved to http://blog.donnamillerfry.com/*

(Please follow the blog at that site.  This site will disappear soon!)

_________________________________________________________________

If we are to build an effective learning network,

what will it look like?

An effective learning network is complex, changing, growing, shrinking, morphing over old, new and evolving platforms.  It reaches into classrooms and across the globe, held together by personal learning networks (PLNs) that continually build new connections, cultivate new relationships and learning while allowing others to dissipate.

It centres on individual connections and actions, yet provides far-reaching value.

It allows learning to reach the student desk more quickly than our old structures.  It puts an end to the geographic privilege of access, builds collaborative efficacy over distance, normalizes collaboration as a way of professional practice, and amplifies promising practices.

Individual Workflow – Personal Learning Environment or PLE

An effective network is composed of educators who work openly by default.  Their daily workflow (Personal Learning Environment or PLE)  includes personal learning that comes not only from traditional sources, like books and research articles, but also through efficient searching for educator blogs, tweets (microblogs), ebooks, audio books, webcasts, videos and exploring other online digital content that takes them into classrooms and into the minds of educators.  

Content is organized and shared back to the community in a format that will reach their audience (parents, teachers, ECEs, leaders, community).  They connect online with people in similar or different roles to have discussions, share strategies, consider ideas, connect thinking and stay in tune with what is happening in the world of the people they serve.  They bring in the experts they need to ensure student outcomes are improving.

And, as they learn, they document that learning in a way that is valuable to others, considering audience and format, privacy and purpose.  They share that learning back to their audience in a way that models digital citizenship and celebrates the work being done in their schools.

  1. Collecting Information – Leaders dedicate time for professional learning and develop competencies in effectively exploring and organizing relevant content, including blogs, podcasts, discussions, monographs and articles shared by others through social media.  They share these information and knowledge collecting strategies with peers, teachers, students and the community.  They understand how to access the information they need by leveraging the capabilities of the network.
  2. Connecting in Physical and Digital Spaces – Leaders value their connections to others and the learning that comes from conversations in person and online.  They continue to nurture and build connections, bringing value to their organizations and those they serve.  They model the importance of connectivism for students and other educators.
  3. Curating and Sharing Important Learning with Others – Leaders streamline the flow of information by filtering, packaging, and sharing in a way that mobilizes knowledge for targeted audiences. This is a complex skill that all of our students should also master. 
  4. Creating and Providing Value to the Network – Leaders contribute what they are learning and make their thinking visible to others. This involves documentation and sharing skills, modelling them openly for others in the organization.  Networks are only as valuable as the people in them and what they create and share with others.

Documenting Learning: Capturing the learning (and lack of learning)

  • Understanding a process/protocol for documentation (for example, Documenting for Learning)
  • Choosing an appropriate tool and product (text, blog, image, video, webcast, podcast, report, etc.)
  • Developing expertise in editing products (audio and video editing, website development)
  • Technical expertise
  • Reflecting (what to share, what audience, when?)
  • Modelling all of these for those you serve in the organization (students, educators)

Sharing the Learning (Openly as the Default)

  • Consider the privacy protection of those involved in your learning
  • Consider the intellectual property rights of any work you have used or remixed (develop a deep understanding of Creative Commons Licensing)
  • Consider the most effective and appropriate place to share based on desired audience (with open as default) – online open, online internal, conference, learning session. It is understanding the shifting differences and similarities among platforms, and where audiences reside at the moment.
  • Develop visual media, web and information literacies as well as global literacies
  • Amplify the practices that are making a difference.
  • Contribute in a positive way to the network, modelling this for others in the organization.
  • Where are other learning networks you can leverage?

This view of network leadership presents many entry points, and a shifting variety of digital literacies and skills needed for successful participation in networked learning.

Some of these skills are outlined here.

 

*Featured images by Giulia Forsythe CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

Resources:

Langwitches Blog: Digital Citizenship and Documenting Learning

Harvard Business Review: Are You Network Literate?

The Digital Skills we Must Teach our Children:  World Economic Forum, 2016

The Tipping Point to Transformation: David Culberhouse

 

Retweet or Share?

*Please note that this blog has moved to http://blog.donnamillerfry.com/*

(Please follow the blog at that site.  This site will disappear soon!)

______________

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook make sharing easy, much easier, in fact, than reading the full content or discovering the real source of the post.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-12-56-pm

An algorithm, which you have no control over, determines what content reaches your eyes.

There is no human to complain to when that goes wrong.

Facebook makes money through likes and shares.  It wants you to be engaged and share what you see.  Critical thinking, truth, facts, none of these factor into the profit equation.

In what is now referred to the Post-truth era, it is disturbing to think about how much false content is circulated as fact.  Students struggle to determine the difference between truth and fiction.

As parents and educators, how are we modelling practices that promote facts and reliable sources over clickbait and sensationalism?

On social media, liking, sharing and retweeting  shows others the content that is meaningful to you.  It is a reflection of who you are, and what you believe in.

A decade ago, I used to retweet fairly indiscriminately.  If it looked like a good resource, I shared it.  Then, Ira Socol took the time to question my retweet.  I realized that retweeting is actually a form of curating.  If I want to create value online for others, I need to critically evaluate resources and ideas, and share them with descriptive comments.

What I choose to share reflects my professionalism.  What I choose to share is the value I am creating for others.  Before sharing, I carefully evaluate the source, and I often highlight (in my comments) the part I find most valuable.

Fortunately, I have a loud PLN that will quickly question almost anything I share openly.

Other curators help me sort through the unfathomable amount of information on the web.  Stephen Downes, Doug Belshaw, and Audrey Watters are examples of thought leaders who filter, curate and share information regularly.  I know that there will be value in their curations.

More importantly, what do we do when we encounter colleagues and friends sharing misleading information or sheer fiction as though it were factual? Do we just turn our heads the other way, or do we take the time, like Ira Socol did for me, and challenge the source or the thinking?

Barack Obama said that we can’t move democracy forward if we don’t have a common set of facts to refer to.  Now that we have seen the impact of the propaganda spread through social media, what will we do as educators to shut it down?

How do we ensure our students can critically evaluate information,  triangulate sources, and distinguish between belief and fact?

Featured Image by Wesley Fryer CC-BY-2.0

An Evening with Dr. Jean Clinton – @drjeanforkids

Dr. Jean Clinton is a pediatric psychiatrist and advisor to the Ontario Minister of Education.  Yesterday she spent two hours at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, speaking with parents, educators and community members interested in the well-being of children in our communities.

How are the children doing?  Is this the major concern and question that it should be in our country? Are we making our children (our future) our priority?

Her message centred around the importance of relationships in raising healthy, creative, curious and learning children.

Children learn through serve and return, serve and return.  They initiate, adults respond, they respond…

How do we become conversational partners in this back and forth?

How are we responding to the cues from children? How are children learning from our language, our facial expressions, our interest in them, our engagement with them?

Caring adult relationships and connections are critical.  So how do we spend our time with our kids?

Do we spend it “almost with them” while we do other things on our phones?

What is our connecting to redirecting ratio?  How much time is just “being with” vs. “directing and redirecting”?

Talk more, tune in, listen and turn off the TV!

While I was there to hear all of her message, I was particularly interested in her take on technology in schools.  Here are my notes on Dr. Jean Clinton’s response to a question about the use of technology in JK/SK and the remainder of the primary division.

“The use of technology in schools is tricky.  We know that we need people who are going to be skilled in technological ability and the best time to start that is, well, we know we can start the concepts of coding very early.  But we have technology now not just as a tool but as an interference.  We are going to need some courageous work, where parents are told not to text their children during the school day, and to trust the system to get in touch because the majority of texts that kids are getting in class are from their parents. 

But I think we need to take a stand and understand how very important technology is, but also how we are going to limit its use in the classroom.  For example, I am not a supporter of using iPads in the earliest years. The development of the brain and how the kids are making connections, they get mesmerized and pulled towards those iPads and it should be later, once the brain has developed further, that they should be allowed to do it.  It’s a tough question.”

We know that being outside and experiencing the natural world builds brains differently.  We know that schoolifying, ranking and comparing children can result in stress reactions. And we know that stress changes biology.

Our kindergarten curriculum rests on inquiry-based learning.  Is this what is happening in kindergarten classrooms?

We have to consider the research on brain development before advocating for the use of screens in the early years.

I know that I have much more learning to do on this topic.

Thank you to Dr. Jean Clinton for travelling to northwestern Ontario, and for sharing so much important information with our communities about how building those personal interactions with children is absolutely critical to their positive growth and development.

Resources:

Dr. Jean Clinton: http://drjeanclinton.com/

Featured Image 

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 9.15.42 AM.png

Extending FSL Learning with Technology: Lakehead University, September 29

Today I was invited to work with pre-service education students at Lakehead University where I learned more about how our FSL teachers are learning to do great work with students in the future.

We explored ways in which they can think deeply about their practice, and how they can continue to self-direct their learning.

Here are our resources from the day.

Slides to organize the conversations:

  1.  Creating a compelling case to use digital tools in the classroom

World Economic Forum: The Digital Skills we Must Teach our Children:

What If? OPSBA 2009

A Vision for Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age OPSBA (2013?)

Robot-Proof: How Colleges Can Keep People Relevant in the Workplace by Joseph E. Aoun 

Canada’s Digital Talent Strategy March 2016

Digital Canada 150

Michael Geist: Digital Canada 150

Automation isn’t new, so what’s the big deal? by Jacob Morgan

Replacing the Professionals: CBC Ideas Podcast with Richard Susskind

The computer that beat GO (video, March 2016)

Learn how to learn

2. Thinking outside the traditional classroom

Using synchronous technology to connect language learners to language experts.

3. Digital Tools

Ministry-licensed Digital Learning Resources for #onted: https://www.osapac.ca/dlr/

School Leader Learning Series: Leading in the Digital Age

Detecting Lies and Staying Safe (by YouTube)

Xpresslab

Antidote

Antidote User Guide (English)

Mindomo

How to use Mindomo (Ministry-licensed in Ontario) video tutorials:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AhjvN01r_wQCogSnJ2_PLVBzrQe3iqJdyNJaD1dU8rc/edit

Printable version to access Mindomo

Using Mindomo (printable)

4. Building your PLN

This morning I put out a general call to my PLN to help me find supports for new FSL teacher in Ontario.  Here are some of the responses.

#FSLChat on Twitter Sunday 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sylvia Duckworth

Connecting with FSL teachers in Ontario (by Sylvia Duckworth)

Beginning to use Twitter: https://twitterforabsolutebeginners.wordpress.com/

Ontario EduBloggers (Livebinder)

5. Pedagogical Documentation

Making Learning Visible Through Pedagogical Documentation

Pedagogical Documentation Revisited

Documenting for Learning (slides)

6. Further Sites

It’s a language class.  Shouldn’t the kids be doing the talking?

Grade 3 Community Inquiry

 

Featured image by Sylvia Duckworth

Most Urgent Student Learning Needs

What are our most urgent student learning needs?

This question is at the centre of tables around the province as boards and schools go through their new school and board improvement process (SILC: System Improvement Learning Cycles).  The new process, evolving from the former BIPSA process, is more agile (faster cycles), more targeted, and more responsive to student needs. The focus is on system improvement, which requires change at every level of the organization, but is only effective if it reaches the level of the student “desk”.

I have two wonderings about the new process.

  1. Where in this process is there an opportunity to truly look outside our walls and see what is happening in the world?  Our urgent student learning needs are not just tied to trailing data on past learning priorities. As the world changes at an exponential rate, who is determining what our students will need to thrive in that world?

“Being willing to constantly disrupt our individual and collective mindsets, if we are to come to terms with the needed disruptions that must occur in our own organizations if we are to truly unentrench ourselves from the status quo thinking that often buries us in practices of the past.

Seeing how ‘next’ practices are also in need of ‘next’ metrics if we are to pivot effectively towards this emerging and more desirable future we envision for ourselves and our organizations.”

David Culberhouse, Sept. 12, 2016

2. Urgent student learning needs are personal.  Every child, every adult in the system has personalized needs that cannot be determined by “average” thinking.

Our thinking, connected teachers, when they have a deep understanding of curriculum expectations, can design personalized learning for every child/student.  Creating this environment for our learners requires a foundation of connectivism thinking.  Teachers need to be able to access and participate in a rich network of support, and use this network to support the individual learning needs of every student.

How are we supporting educators to self-direct their learning through their own Professional Learning Networks?

“…it will not only be individuals that will need to become adaptable learners, remaining agile to our exponentially shifting world we now live in…so must our educational organizations if they are to remain significant, dynamic, relevant hubs of learning, innovation and transformation in the face of these seismic shifts and changes.”

David Culberhouse, August 13, 2016

 

We need to ask ourselves, “What evidence do we have to support the hypothesis that the most urgent learning needs of our students can be found in our data?”.

 

Featured image by Darren Kuropatwa CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0