Category Archives: School Reform

We’re Different – And Why?

How do we successfully navigate the chasm between “progressives” and “traditionalists”?  The RSA Report (March 2016) Creative Public Leadership suggests that creating a compelling argument is the first step.

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For those of us who have been learning online for nearly 20 years, creating a compelling argument might seem redundant.

We wonder why it seems so hard to convince those higher up in the education hierarchy that change is an urgent need.

Perhaps the work of Roger Martin can help us understand the chasm more clearly.

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STANCE

If I am an educator and/or education leader, and I believe that I am doing excellent work, I have no reason to look for new tools to change my practice.

If I believe that I am a learner, and that my practice can always improve, I look for tools to help me organize my thinking, to learn more about the world and to connect with others in like roles.  These tools include traditional learning materials like books and research papers, but they now also include digital tools and social networking opportunities.

TOOLS

How I see myself and my purpose influences my choice of tools.  If leaders use traditional tools like books and articles, they might insist that I do as well.  But if I am an innovative thinker, I will stretch beyond what my leadership team is modelling and engage in digital tools that might lead me to online conversations and learning – to building a powerful network of online learners who challenge my thinking and invite me to participate in a whole different level of learning.

This begins to change who I am, and my thinking about what tools are best for my learning.  We can see already how this begins to conflict with the thinking of education leaders who have not used the vast array of today’s online tools for learning.

EXPERIENCE

Choosing digital tools creates opportunities for unique, personalized and deep professional learning, outside of what has been prescribed by education leaders.

This changes us.

Our thinking about our practice is now influenced by educators from around the world, not just those in our hierarchy.  And those “above us”  in our deeply hierarchical education systems may have no clue that this learning is possible, thereby devaluing its importance.

We liken this to coming out of a cave, realizing that the paucity of learning “in the cave” using traditional tools is not what we need in this *VUCA world.  We recognize that the vastly expansive and rich  learning opportunities and the tools that support and leverage them are critical to the success of our students today.

We are changed educators. But when we jump up and down and try to make others see this (invisible) world we have discovered, we are often met with disappointment (or worse).

David Truss, in 2012, described it beautifully here.

Seth Godin asks us today:

It’s far easier to worry and gripe about insufficient authority, about those that would seek to slow us down, disrespect us or silence us.

But we live in a moment where each of us has the power of influence.

What will you do with it?

Seth Godin, More Powerful Than You Know

*VUCA=Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity

Featured Image by Carl Jones: CC-BY-NC-2.0

RESOURCES:

David Truss: The Lone Wolf

Heidi Siwak: The Very Strange World of Adult Problem Solving

Seth Godin: More Powerful Than You Know

Roger Martin: The Opposable Mind

The RSA: Creative Public Leadership

Canada’s Digital Talent Strategy for 2020

Harvard Business Review: What VUCA really means for you

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#InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop 4: Resources on Assessment for Learning

It’s March Break, and while I am taking some time away from thinking hard about innovation and education, I have been collecting some great resources that I will use to write a response to this blog hop question in a few days.

The provocation:

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Here are some of the resources I have been reading to prepare for this weeks’ blog hop.

One of the most powerful paragraphs comes from Will Richardson:

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Is the best measurement that which determines how motivated a student is to learn more?

Further Resources:

Joe Bower: Assessment and Measurement are NOT the Same Thing

The RSA: Re-imagined System Leadership

 

Michael Fullan: How testing does not align with our education goals

Danger of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner and Robert Compton

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing out Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith

Most Likely to Succeed (the movie)

Working at the Edge: Kinds of School Leaders

OECD: The Nature of Learning

Chris Wejr: Are we Marking Assignments or Assessing Learning?

Dean Shareski on Exemplars

BBC: Stress and Teens

BBC: Robotics used to give financial advice

Pedagogical Documentation (Ontario)

The Gap Between Educators

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

 

When Will You Be Ready? 9/10

Are we preparing our students for the world we grew up in or the world they are growing up in?*

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This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina!

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This image of disruptive technologies caught my interest this morning.  I see that John Mikton has written further on this image here.

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Over and over we see images of the fast pace of change in the world.

Over and over we hear that schools are becoming irrelevant because they are not changing fast enough.

Over and over we hear about goals for student achievement that include no technology integration whatsoever.

Over and over we hear stories from parents – my child spent four nights at the kitchen table colouring maps this week, or my child got a 0 because one word was spelled incorrectly.

Over and over we hear from leaders and educators that they are “not ready” to integrate technology into their practice.

Where are the rights of the children in these scenarios?

Tina Zita asked this recently:

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I responded with a link to Tom Whitby’s post here.

How do we stop illiterate educators?

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Is educating our students for their world a priority in your school?

Resources:

What Drives Student Achievement?

*With special thanks to Patti Pella, Thunder Bay Regional Manager, Field Services Branch, for asking this question in one of our learning sessions: “Are we preparing our students for the world we grew up in or the world they are growing up in?”

We Don’t Think Differently (or do we?) – 7/10

Do we think differently, or have we just learned differently?

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina!

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Silence.

You’ve felt that right?

You know, it happens when you say something like, “Why would we not just share that openly on a blog for everyone to see?” – and the room goes silent.

For those of us in the Lone Wolf Pack, this is our normal.

We are told that we “think differently”.

I’m not sure I buy that.  I am not sure that I believe we “think differently”. I wonder if we have just been through very different learning experiences.

We have been learning as networked, connected learners for years – decades in fact.  We have been learning in spaces yet to be discovered, yet to be respected, yet to be acknowledged by the status quo in our profession.

We have been learning different content.  We have been learning through ideas.

Ideas just pop into our network all the time.  Seeing and exploring new ideas daily, hourly, but the minute almost, is what we do.

We have had the time to share, converse, think through, research, challenge, ask about – to form thinking about – millions of ideas from around the world.

Then we throw out one of these ideas f2f,  and silence.

We are called names, like “rogue“.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 9.14.05 AMIt’s not so much that we might think differently, it’s that we learn differently.

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We learn through education 3.0, in a profession that is talking 2.0 while remaining firmly entrenched in 1.0.

 

 

And that’s the problem.

 

Shared by Dr. Jackie Gerstein under a CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/experiences-in-self-determined-learning-moving-from-education-1-0-through-education-2-0-towards-education-3-0/
Shared by Dr. Jackie Gerstein under a CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/experiences-in-self-determined-learning-moving-from-education-1-0-through-education-2-0-towards-education-3-0/

 

Featured Image: Shared by Dr.  Jackie Gerstein  under a CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license

RESOURCES

Dear Lone Wolf by David Truss (@datruss)

 

We Feel Lost – by Will Richardson

35 Years Later – by Tina Zita

 

Katie Martin: 5 Reasons Professional Development is not Transforming Learning.

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http://katielmartin.com/2015/10/05/5-reasons-professional-development-is-not-transforming-learning/

Let’s UNLEARN a Few Assumptions About School

Many teachers teach the way they were taught.

The B.Ed. program would do well to emphasize the unlearning of wrong assumptions about schooling – like “sit up straight” and “sit still” and “look at the teacher”.

Change won’t happen until we all deeply question our assumptions of what school should look like for kids.

Thanks to Joël McLean for sharing this video on Twitter yesterday.

 

 

#FutureLearning – Students Wonder What School Could Be

I was so fortunate to be asked by the students of 3UU at Cameron Heights School in Kitchener, to sit on a panel to discuss with them the Future of Learning.

Here is a wonderful explanation, written by the class, of what their class is about:

“3UU is an extraordinary class, it is a Future Forums style class (a WRDSB initiative) that is worth two credits combining English, Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology. This class allows us to express the way we learn and present our thoughts in our own personalized way of showing the knowledge we possess (through different mediums, such as videos, class discussions). We learn at different paces and take in information in various ways, therefore it’s easier for us to understand. In this environment, we function in a more self – directed style. Finally, we work more on developing skills that will help us in the future, rather than just focusing on what will help us pass this class.”

This is what they were hoping to achieve:

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from an email from the Cameron Heights school 3UU class, November 16, 2015.

Thank you to teacher Ms. Jamie Reaburn Weir  (who shares her reflections on her work here) for the invitation to join the panel.

Other panellists for the event included:

Geoff Williams

Dean Shareski

Karen Beutler

Brenda Sherry

Mark Carbone

The Storify of the event is here.  The recording is below.

I will add links to all of the mentioned resources later today.

 

Resources:

OECD publication – The Case for 21C Learning

What is School For? Stop Stealing Dreams (Seth Godin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intergenerational Digital Literacy

This past week, I read a blog post by Jennifer Casa-Todd: Childrens’ Rights in a Digital World

It is based on this UNICEF publication: Childrens’ Rights in the Digital Age

This is the quote that first attracted my attention:

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“… digital literacy across generations..”

I immediately thought of Ontario’s Renewed Vision for Education.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 9.34.37 AM “Our children, youth and adults will develop the skills and the knowledge that will lead them to become personally successful, economically productive and actively engaged citizens. They will become the motivated innovators, community builders, creative talent, skilled workers, entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.”

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/about/renewedVision.pdf

When children attend a school, their experiences should not be limited by the knowledge and skills of the adults in the building.   The educators, as digitally literate, connected professionals, should be able to bring the world to the children.

[Edit: Please see the comment below suggesting a rephrasing of the above statement – 

My thinking: “The educators, as digitally literate, connected professionals, SHOULD BE ABLE TO FACILITATE THE CHILDREN’S LINKING THEMSELVES TO THE WORLD.”]

 

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The school building can be a community hub for all to access the world outside the community.  This concept of connected learning is well-explained in the short video below.

The importance of being part of a connected world is emphasized in a recent OECD Report – Connected Minds: Technology and Today’s Learners.

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From OECD: Connected Minds: Technology and Today’s Learners http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/connected-minds_9789264111011-en#page23 (Page 23)

So how do we help adults improve their digital literacy?

Earlier this week, HWDSB Grade 1 teacher Aviva Dunsiger led a discussion in the OSSEMOOC session demonstrating how she empowers the parents of her students through the use of technology.

Aviva uses technology to share her students’ learning throughout the day, and provides parents with simple suggestions for how the learning can be extended at home.

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From Slide 15 by @dajbelshaw (Doug Belshaw) http://www.slideshare.net/dajbelshaw/sssc-digital-literacy-workshop

During the recent Google Education On Air Panel Discussion (14:00), Zoe Tabary (from The Economist, Intelligence Unit) reminded us that there is no “extra” time in the school day to add digital literacy. Digital Literacy learning must be integrated into the current curriculum (Sean Rush, Junior Achievement Worldwide).

The recent report (Driving the Skills Agenda) from The Economist states that only 44% of the students surveyed (ages 18-25) feel that schools are providing them with the skills they need to enter the workplace, and while teachers report that technology is changing the way they teach, 77% of students report that schools are not effective in using technology for instruction.

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from Driving the Skills Agenda: Preparing Students for the future. http://www.eiumedia.com/index.php/latest-press-releases/item/1853-education-systems-are-not-arming-students-with-21st-century-skills-eiu-study-finds

How, then, does Digital Literacy for all become an integral part of learning in our schools?

If we are educating learners in our communities to be full participants in society, digital literacy must become a priority.

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From Slide 22 by @dajbelshaw (Doug Belshaw) http://www.slideshare.net/dajbelshaw/sssc-digital-literacy-workshop

Further Resources:

Critical Literacy: Is the Notion of Traditional Reading and Writing Enough? (Langwitches Blog)

Literacy Redefined (Jennifer Casa-Todd)

Driving the Skills Agenda (The Economist)