Tag Archives: George Couros

What’s Best For Kids?

For the past 24 hours I have been participating in the rich, immediate conversations in The Innovator’s Mindset Voxer Group.

Last night, we were thinking a lot about the challenges of innovating from the middle.  When we challenge leaders to innovate their practice, we are seen as “rogues”, as troublemakers (I can’t tell you how much this reminds me of bright, creative children in a classroom!)

In response (at 1:30 a.m. I might add), George Couros generously jumped in and said that it is important to do “what is best for kids”.

And this is exactly where I see the problem.

As educators, we all want to do what is best for kids.

Perhaps “what is best” for a child is passing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test so that he might graduate.

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In that case, the “best for kids” strategy is to teach the child to write a news report, and to practice it over and over again so that they might pass the test necessary for graduation.

An innovative educator might suggest that in a world where media companies are failing, and people are getting their news through Facebook (CBC Radio Noon, Feb. 4, 2016), Buzzfeed, Twitter, etc., that writing a news report is a ridiculous bar for graduation from secondary school.

What is “best for kids”?

Until the structures in the system align, until we can clearly articulate what school is for, what is “best for kids” will be blurry.

We need even better arguments to insist on innovative practices to meet the needs of our learners in 2016 and beyond.

Please join The Innovator’s Mindset Voxer group and keep the conversation going!IMG_2004

 

 

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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?

Your Friends Take Amazing Pictures! – 2/10

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 do we model “network and remix” for our students?

I adore the images my friends post online! Just this morning, I woke up to this in my Flickr feed, contributed by my friend Alan Levine.

Image shared by Alan Levine @cogdog under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.
Image shared by Alan Levine @cogdog under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

So many of my colleagues generously share their work through a Creative Commons License.

Image shared by Darren Kuropatwa under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
Image shared by Darren Kuropatwa under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

As a blogger and presenter, I want to share their beautiful work with the world.

I make it a priority to choose images created by people I learn with when I am creating a presentation or a new post on my blog.

How do I do this?

I have quickly screencasted the process below.

 

When our students are creating in online spaces, and we encourage them to use sites like Pexels or Pixabay for images that are free of copyright, we are taking a step in the right direction in helping students understand the importance of ownership of creative work.

But how are we enabling students to license and share their own work?  How are we showing students how to network with others who are also creating?  How are we enabling students to promote work they enjoy, and to use what others have made to create something new?

The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5715
The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5715

We promote networking and remixing by modelling it in our professional practice.

Your friends take amazing pictures.  Why not encourage them to license them, share them online and let you use them in your work?

And why not share a few of your own beautiful creations with the world while you are at it?

Image shared by Dean Shareski under a CC-BY-NC-2.0 License. Great socks!
Image shared by Dean Shareski under a CC-BY-NC-2.0 License. Great socks!

 

 

FEATURED IMAGE: Happy Birthday Danika!

Image shared by Andy Forgrave under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

 

Resources:

Are Teachers Taught About Creative Commons?

Stages of Being A Maker Learner – Dr. Jackie Gerstein

The Innovator’s Mindset – George Couros

The Innovator’s Mindset Book Club – OSSEMOOC

Alan Levine – For Barking and Wagging and being Top Dog 4ever! (love your work!)

Darren Kuropatwa – Forever Walking and Learning

Andy Forgrave – Forever dedicated to creativity and sharing!

 

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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.

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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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“Engagement” is a Low Bar

Have you ever experienced so much learning that your head hurts?

Tonight, amid the beautiful sunset, the lightning show and the Perseid Meteor Shower, many educators are reflecting and thinking about today’s amazing learning at #CATC15.

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I started to write some notes about today’s learning, but why should I hide those ideas away in a notebook that nobody may ever look at again?

Image shared by Sylvia Duckworth BY-NC-SA
Image shared by Sylvia Duckworth BY-NC-SA

Besides, the Innovator’s Mindset is about creating something with that learning, right?

I’m thinking a lot tonight about the conversation I had with George Couros and Mark Carbone today about the focus schools have on “student engagement”.   “Engagement” has been a buzz word in Ontario for a long time.  I remember a similar discussion at Educon in 2014 with David Jakes and Bill Ferriter about how engagement is not enough.  It’s a start, but empowerment is a much more important goal for learners.

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Shared by Bill Ferriter under a BY-NC CC license

 

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Shared by Bill Ferriter under a BY-NC CC license.

 

Last March, Andy Hargreaves explored thinking around student engagement with education leaders at #uLead15.  Mark digs into this more here.

As George Couros said today, “engagement” still requires someone or something else to create the learning environment.  Without the entertaining venue, the learning stops.

How are we ensuring that our students truly become self-directed curious learners?  How do we empower learners to truly own their own learning?

 

 

Resources:

Should We Be Engaging or Empowering Learners?  Bill Ferriter’s blog

Disrupting Content Delivery in Ontario

We have come a long way in Ontario from the idea that eLearning required a “learning management system” to deliver content, to the understanding that building relationships is at the centre of all learning (f2f or at a distance).

Slide shared by Dean Shareski http://www.slideshare.net/shareski
Slide shared by Dean Shareski http://www.slideshare.net/shareski

 

Slide shared by Dean Shareski http://www.slideshare.net/shareski
Slide shared by Dean Shareski http://www.slideshare.net/shareski

As we work with eLearning teachers through their collaborative inquiries into best practice, I often wonder about how best to “spread” some of the  great online pedagogy I see around the province.

Then yesterday, I saw this tweet:


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It’s a quick post, an idea that came out of some work with  #GEDSBLead, and a great catalyst for sharing, connecting and elevating online learning.

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Shared by George Couros here: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5093

 

So what if we change this a bit?  What if every eLearning teacher tweeted one thing they did each day in their online “classroom” to the hashtag #eLonted – and then took 5 minutes to read each others’ tweets?

We know that connecting online educators works.  We know that networking online educators is essential.  We know that eLearning teachers want to share their practice.

This could help us do all three.

Are you in?

 

Answering Questions Leaders Ask About Blogging

Today I was fortunate to be part of a group of Ontario leaders* learning through a series of webcasts sponsored by CPCO/ADFO/OPC.  George Couros returned to talk further about how we can use blogs as a personal portfolio.

I was particularly interested in the kinds of questions people were asking about blogging, and how we might be able to provide some more robust responses without the time constraints of the webcast.

Here are a few.

1. How do I get started?

#OSSEMOOC has prepared an extensive outline to help leaders start blogging here: https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-22-making-thinking-visible-through-blogging/

2. How do I know what the best site is for blogging?

#OSSEMOOC has posted a comparison of blogging sites for educators here:  https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-23-yes-its-time-to-start-your-own-blog/

3. Aren’t you afraid of making your opinions public and then having them online forever?

Why not start with blogging facts instead of opinions?  When we scaffolded the blogging process for Ontario leaders last year, we asked them to simply share, “What did you learn today?“.  Are you reading a book?  Share what you are reading.  Did you go to a conference, or sit through a webinar?  What did you learn?  There is nothing controversial about simply sharing what you learn with others.

*NOTE: Nicole Hamilton wrote this post last night after attending an OSSEMOOC open mic session.  It is the story of her learning at the session. If we all told the stories of our learning, imagine how much more learning everyone would have access to! 

4. How do you possibly have enough time in the day to do this?

Do you have 10 minutes to devote to your own personal growth?  OSSEMOOC has a series devoted to becoming a connected leader in only 10 minutes a day.  Start here, and stick with it!

5.  How do we get more followers?

Write your blog for yourself.  Post your learning so that it is searchable.  You will never lose your notes again!  Then, share it with OSSEMOOC to post on our site, and share it through other social media.

6. How do I keep my blogging from becoming essay-writing?

Check out other blogs.  See what style works for you.  You can see school and system leader and teacher blogs on the OSSEMOOC website – all in one place.

7. Why do I need to do this?

That requires a post all of its own: https://fryed.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/why-do-we-need-connected-leaders/

Leaders in the webcast were also asked these questions.  What do you think?

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*leader in the informal sense of the word, not the formal “title”.  If you are working to move your practice forward in education and to model the learning you want to see, you are a leader.  Some questions about the use of the term “instructional leader” can be found here.