Tag Archives: @fryed

Where’s the Beef? – 6/10

When we talk about “Visible Learning” and “Visible Thinking”, can we now focus more on the Thinking and Learning than on the Visible?

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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Recently, I was sharing some learning on Twitter with a colleague from the Early Years Division.  I did my homework, and decided to show her my favourite hashtag – #FDK (full day kindergarten).  This demonstration never fails to bring smiles to peoples’ faces, as it is filled with young children doing activities in kindergarten.

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But this time, my colleague said, “I see lots of activities.  What about learning, how do I find that?”

It made me think, once again, about that word value.

There is lots of “noise” on Twitter.  How do we help educators find the value through all the “noise”?

How do we ensure that we are not looking at flashy “busywork”, but that  we are engaging in online examples of visible student and educator  learning?

This book excerpt from Eric Sheninger caught my eye:

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Excerpted from the book, “UnCommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids,” by Eric Sheninger, published by Corwin, 2015. http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/01/14/how-to-determine-if-student-engagement-is-leading-to-learning/

Just because we see pictures of kids doing cool stuff in blogs and on Twitter, doesn’t mean learning is happening.

Last spring, Andy Hargreaves performed an experiment with the audience at #uLead15.  He showed portions of images to the audience, and asked whether the students appeared to be engaged or not.  The demonstration showed us that we need to question our understanding of the word “engagement”.

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The appearance of student engagement does not necessarily mean that learning is happening.

Seeing “engaged students” on social media prompts questions about whether we are looking at real engagement, and whether or not learning is actually occurring.

Shared by Bill Ferriter under a CC-BY-NC-2.0 license https://www.flickr.com/photos/plugusin/12188001525/
Shared by Bill Ferriter under a CC-BY-NC-2.0 license https://www.flickr.com/photos/plugusin/12188001525/

Perhaps when we are viewing “visible thinking”, we need to focus more on the thinking than the visible.

Not all that is visible on social media is learning.

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Featured image by Dean Shareski, shared under CC-BY-NC-2.0: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shareski/3537232931/

After writing this post, I noticed that George Couros is thinking along similar lines.

… and that David Truss is looking at learning here: How Do You Know When Students Are Learning?

Enabling Educators to be Learners: 1/10

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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How can we enable our colleagues to access the rich professional learning opportunities available online?

 

We want to own our own learning.

We want to self-direct our learning.

In 2016, it has never been easier to do this.  The abundance of open, accessible resources is overwhelming.  Learning to manage and organize the information is a new competency.  Learning to reflect, to share, to find, to converse, to connect, to adapt – we are doing this.

Or are we?

We all know colleagues who don’t participate in learning in digital spaces.

For those who provide learning opportunities online, the sphere of influence has a definite, distinct boundary.  They cannot reach the individual who does not engage in digital spaces.

Online teachers struggle to help students who refuse to log into the course.Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.07.59 AM

In the same way, it doesn’t matter how rich, how engaging, how simple to use or how valuable online learning is for educators  if they don’t know where to look for it or how to use the tools that will allow them to access it.

I think that we have done very well in providing digital resources and learning opportunities for teachers.

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Thanks to Julie Balen for collating this year’s #ontwordont

How, now, can we work to enable the educators who still do not access the rich professional learning environment online?

As someone who self-directs their own professional learning online, how can you help one colleague this month to see some value in engaging in online learning or using online resources?

Leverage your PLN to ask for help.  What is the best starting point for one colleague? What can you show them that will help them see the value in engaging in online, self-directed professional learning?

Resources:

OSSEMOOC

Twitter for Absolute Beginners

Leveraging Twitter for Rich Professional Learning

Ontario Edublogs

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It IS About the Tools

How will, and how do, our students navigate an exponentially changing world?

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How do they manage workflow, information, projects?  How do they know which type of social media best suits their message or their purpose?

How do they know where to find out about job openings, certification opportunities, concerts?

Managing our lives personally and professionally in 2016 requires knowledge of the tools available to us, and the ability to think critically about how to use those tools to best manage ubiquitous information.

Ira Socol has written extensively about this.  Toolbelt Theory is very clearly explained here in an easy read that is well worth your time.

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Last week, I had lunch with some of my colleagues who are also knitters.  What did we talk about? First, “What are you making?’, and then, “What is that you are working with?”.

For example, as I learn to knit wool socks for my granddaughter’s rapidly growing little feet, I need different tools from my other projects.  If I want a sock that fits (task), I need to determine how I will try it on her, and when I will work on it (environment), how much I need to learn about this (skills) and then what TOOLS I need to accomplish the task.

knitting socks

 

Little Chloé lives far from me, so I need to carry an outline of her foot with key foot and ankle measurements, enough pure washable wool for the project, tiny dp needles, and my ipad for the video of how to knit custom toe-up socks (skills).  These tools allow me to complete the project.

If I am knitting thrummed wool mittens, I need different tools.

knitting mitts

Because I fly every week (environment), I can’t use scissors or a knife to cut thrums (airport security will take them) so I make sure I have something like nail clippers to cut the 3.5 inch thrums, stitch holders for the thumb work, several dp needles of different sizes a needle size template so that I don’t choose the wrong needles while working, and a pattern book because I have not internalized how the pattern works yet (skills).

If I am missing any of these tools, I cannot complete the task.

Knowing which tools to choose, based on what the task is, where I am working, and the skill level I have for that project, will allow me to complete the task.

Similarly, I am always rethinking how I manage personal and professional information, and how I share back with my colleagues.

What tool do I use to gather information quickly?

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What tool to I use to organize ideas?  More recently, I have been using Google Keep for quick links and for short notes.Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 7.11.05 AM

I tend to put my learning notes in “Notes”, and both tools migrate seamlessly across all of my devices.

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How do I communicate over distances? I use Google Hangout with colleagues 24/7.  I just finished Facetiming with my daughter and granddaughter.  Yesterday I Skyped with a colleague in Arizona. And each week, I have a number of scheduled  phone calls and teleconferences.

I have many tools for many purposes available at my disposal. Choosing the right tool for the task (conversation, share documents, visuals, collaborate), given the environment (office, home, driving, airport, cab) and the skills (are colleagues familiar with collaborative documents or Skype?) is a decision I have to make many times every day.

In 2016,  our students need to develop the ability to critically analyze a task, and to choose the tools that are best for them in that situation. This isn’t about “offering choice”, it’s about applying critical thinking skills to the completion of a task.

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to spend time with my Early Years colleagues, and as we talked about the work they are doing around “How Does Learning Happen?”, they expressed their own interpretation of Toolbelt Theory as it applies to young learners.

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They asked me why we thought that it was okay to tell older students that they were to do this task on this computer, using this program, at this time.  How did this way of thinking respect individual abilities?  How did this type of task allow students to demonstrate their learning in the best way they knew how?

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As we consider TELT (Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching), how are we ensuring that students are becoming competent in the key digital literacy of understanding tools, and choosing the tool that is most appropriate for them to complete the task?

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Resources:

Toolbelt Theory – Ira David Socol

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years

In One Tweet – What I Learned in 2015

Sharing learning is a core value of my professional practice.

This space – this blog – is my rough work.  It’s a place to put out the raw thinking and learning and invite comments and challenges so that I might continue to learn and to rethink how we do education.

In a nutshell, here is what I learned in 2015.

January:  Create Value

Before people will believe your message, they have to see value in what you have to offer.

February: Enough with the conceptual – move into the concrete.

What does learning look like in this time of exponential change?  We need a clear idea of what our goals for our education system actually look like, sound like, feel like – not just buzzwords like “21st Century Skills”.

March: Teach Less, Learn More

Let students own their learning. Teachers think their role is to spend hours planning learning for their students, yet the one doing the work is doing the learning. Pak Tee Ng’s explanation is here.

April: #makeschooldifferent

Worldwide, educators know we need change. In April, we named it and shared it. What do you think we need to stop pretending?

May: Learning is Sought, Not Provided

When you see a catalyst, a desire, a realization of the need for change, take action to support it. We need to design the environments that encourage curiosity at all levels of the system.

June: Beware of “Enthusiastic Amateurs”

In the same way that a physician with enthusiasm but no skill is dangerous, not everything that is self-promoted in social media is good practice. Leaders need to be skilled in the use of technology so they promote good practice, not just any practice that uses a device.

July: Support all learners in reaching full potential

Our students arrive in school as creative, curious learners, and that’s what we want our graduates to be many years later.

Do no harm.

August: Digital Fluency Matters

How are we ensuring all of our students are digitally fluent?

September: Education is a HUMAN System

Change only happens at the speed at which each individual changes personal professional practice.

October: We are in an age of Exponential Change

Can leaders really say, “I’m not ready”, or is this now malpractice?

November: Status Quo is a Loser (Michael Fullan, YRDSB Quest)

How do we challenge the status quo safely? Are educators integrative thinkers?

December: Challenge Everything

Dip into the data pool constantly. Shift thinking based on evidence. Unlearn.

Summary

Learning will only be sought if there is perceived value. We learn what is relevant and interesting when we are curious.

No conclusion is final – you have to keep “dipping in” for new evidence.  It’s growth mindset, it’s integrative thinking, it’s removing labels on people and practices.

We are in times of exponential change, and we need to challenge our thinking about everything.

Remove the roadblocks that keep others from reaching their full potential.

In one Tweet, here is my learning from 2015.

Tweet for 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

Notes Instead of Thoughts – From 3 Rules to Spark Learning

When talking about Digital Portfolios, both Dr. Alec Couros and George Couros talk about the place where you do your messy work and then the place where you put your best work.  Below is some of my messy work.

Sometimes you know you just need to keep things around to refer to and to think about.  I hope others will read and think about this too.

While flying this morning, I watched a 6 minute TED Talk from 2013 called 3 Rules to Spark Learning by Ramsey Musallam.

Right now, one of my personal inquiry questions is, how can we convince parents and our communities that the status quo in public education is a loser (to quote Michael Fullan)?”

How do we engage in questioning the current system of assigning two-digit numbers to our children, sorting them top to bottom?

How do we focus on creating cultures of learning, not cultures of schooling and filtering?

Dean Shareski responded here that we need talking points.  We need a clear message.  I am looking for those messages that will resonate with the public.  We need messages that will resonate more strongly than a Fraser Report or a PISA ranking.

Ramsey Musallam shows me that we can have powerful messages in 6 minutes.  His talk is engaging and entertaining and worth watching.

There were a few points that resonated with me.  I am simply note taking here, and sharing the notes, so that I am not alone in thinking further about these rich statements.

“Questions and curiosity are magnets that draw us toward our teachers, and they transcend all technology and buzzwords in education.”

Our greatest tool as teachers is our students’ questions.

Lectures can be dehumanizing chatter, flipped or not.

If we have the guts to confuse and perplex our students, then we can tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction. (Just “blended learning” on its own isn’t engaging – it still needs inquiry, questions, trial and error, investigation)

“Snap me out of pseudo-teaching.”

“Students’ questions are the seeds of real learning, not some scripted curriculum that offers tidbits of random information.”

At this point I am reminded of the frustrations over the past two years in Canada, when it seemed impossible to get anyone to ask questions about the destruction of scientific data and libraries, the closing of top-notch research facilities like the Experimental Lakes Area, and the removal of environmental protection for our waterways.  If we want engaged citizens, we need to embrace the importance of asking questions.

Three rules for lesson planning:

  1.  Curiosity comes first.  Questions can be windows into great instruction, but not the other way around.
  2. Embrace the mess.  Learning is ugly
  3. Practice reflection.  What we do is important.  It deserves our care.  It also deserves our improvement.

Can we practice as though we are surgeons saving lives? Our students are worth it, and every student is different.

Four-year-olds ask why about everything.  How will their future teachers embrace and grow this?

Dropping out of school comes in many different forms.  

Students do not have to be out of the room to be checked out.

Graduation rates are a low bar, a false measurement, because there is no evidence of any engagement in learning.  Students who hate school and students who have learned to hate learning can walk across a stage.  

We need a different measurement of our success as a system.

As educators, we need to rethink our roles.  We are not just disseminators of content, but cultivators of curiosity.

Resources:

Three Rules to Spark Learning

What’s the Professional Reading List for Educators? The Shift…

“The reading isn’t merely a book, of course. The reading is what we call it when you do the difficult work of learning to think with the best, to stay caught up, to understand.

The reading exposes you to the state of the art. The reading helps you follow a thought-through line of reasoning and agree, or even better, challenge it. The reading takes effort.”

Seth Godin

 

What do we need to read to stay caught up in our profession?

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The Ontario College of Teachers sets out the Standards of Practice for the profession in Ontario.

One of the Standards is Professional Learning:

Ontario College of Teachers: https://www.oct.ca/public/professional-standards/standards-of-practice
Ontario College of Teachers: https://www.oct.ca/public/professional-standards/standards-of-practice

 

Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html
Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

Do you know where to go and what to read to keep up in your profession?  Recently, Seth Godin commented on this.

Many leaders in education will tell you that they most certainly do know what to read to stay current, and to share with other educators.  Books, research – all important to the foundations of our learning for our profession.

But we also must be willing to be disturbed in this thinking, because in 2015, we need to be much more agile and flexible in our learning, as thinking changes and innovation happens much faster than books can be published and research papers can be finished.

This is Seth's Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html
This is Seth’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

 

In choosing what to read, we have to consider,

“What is the core role of a teacher?”.

Catherine Montreuil, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education in Ontario, explains this better than anyone else I know.

Our role is to ensure learning – that progressing toward learning goals –  is happening.  It is not okay for any child to be stuck and not learning.

We do not have to do this alone, but we have to ensure that we are doing everything we can for every single child in our care.  We know our best practice.  When that isn’t working, we have to find our next practice.

 

Finding our “next” practice: Our ability to share our practice with others has changed exponentially over the past decade.  Our ability to find out what others are doing – the practices that are working elsewhere – now requires digital literacies, the ability and understanding of how to leverage online tools to access the curated stream of information that can lead to our next practice.

In the same way that we once had to learn to use the card catalog in the library, we now must know how to access digital spaces to find the content we need.

This is Seth's Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html
This is Seth’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

 

The reading list for educators has shifted.

The reading list now includes the blogs where other educators are sharing, and the tweets where other educators curate and share the information that is valuable to them in their professional practice.

And the culture is participatory.  

If you are an educator, there is a moral obligation to use your digital literacies and share your practice with others, so that all of our students benefit from the collective work of our profession.