Tag Archives: teaching

Are You Really Willing to be Disturbed?

Today is my day to participate in the #OSSEMOOC Pic and Post, where we encourage learners to pick ONE piece of learning, take a shot of it, and share it with others.

Got something to share? Of course you do!

Here’s how to make your learning visible so others can learn too: http://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/collaborative-blogging-2/

If nobody shares, nobody learns!

Are You Really Willing to be Disturbed?.

Focus on Beginners: What do you Need to Start Connecting?

OSSEMOOC

As we have travelled throughout the province this week, we have heard loud and clear that we need an easier entry point for our education leaders to start the connecting process.

Last Tuesday, connected leaders met to discuss how they became connected leaders – the catalyst that got them started.  Here are some of the things we learned.  Which of these do you need?  Which of these can you bring to a leader you know to help them connect?

1. TIME!  When can we possibly find the time to connect?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76818399@N00/4536146692/

Educators are busy.  Nobody disputes that!  But could connecting actually make your life easier?  YES IT CAN!  You can pose a question on Twitter 24/7 and get an answer in minutes.  We have heard many stories with this theme.

Learn to make time.  Start with 15 minutes each day.  Some of us do “Tea and Twitter”,  some of us start…

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After #EdCampWR ~ Where To Now (Part 1)?

What an exciting day!

Educators gave up Saturday to meet in a school and learn together, and shared the learning online for all who wanted to join in the conversation.  It’s powerful stuff, and as we all reflect on how best to meet the needs of all learners in the system, these success stories move our thinking forward.

What did I learn? Lots!  Here is part 1: the morning…

First, Mark and I learned lots about technology.  Mark has been playing with combinations of video and livestreaming, figuring out how he can be a catalyst to spread this f2f learning around the province and indeed the world.  As we know, the one doing the work is doing the learning, and Mark did most of the tech learning, but I still needed to figure out how to best follow the day on my end.

There is other learning that is easily overlooked.  Just seeing the board showing the sessions helps me to understand what people want to learn about.

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As I watched the LiveStream for the first session, I heard someone talk about the immensity of the difficulty to effect change at the system level.  Where do you start?  How can you be effective?

Mark and I texted about this thinking and we believe this would be a great #OSSEMOOC question.  It’s also a terrific topic for a blog post – something to reflect on current thinking, then build as I learn more and as my thinking evolves.

And here is a key point – *access*.

Access is vital.  Fullan, in “A Rich Seam“, often cites internet access as the critical piece in moving to “excellence”.  WRDSB obviously understands this.

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I was able to listen to/watch much of the Digital Citizenship discussion and these are my key learnings:

edcampwr digcit stream

  • Students have capacity. Student voice must be central in our work on digital citizenship.
  • The concept of digital citizenship continues to evolve and change. It is not static. We need to keep up.
  • So much of our work in #digcit is reactive.  Let’s make it proactive and positive (including modelling) instead.
  • How do we support/create digital leaders in our schools?
  • Where do we start on all of this at the system level?

(Incidentally, I curate #digitalcitizenship resources as part of our ongoing OSAPAC work on creating a valuable #digcit resource for Ontario teachers.)

My Definition of Good Pedagogy Includes Technology

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Last night during the Learning 2030 rebroadcast, one of the tweets that came across my screen was a statement that said, “Technology does not replace good pedagogy”.

I see this quote quite frequently in my work, and I worry about it a bit.

I worry because in the same way that “good” standardized test scores can be used to keep technology out of classrooms, I think that this quote can be used by educators to justify avoiding change.

Let me explain…

It might surprise people to realize that there are classrooms, and in fact entire schools, where technology is not being used in learning.

classroom

Night Owl City via Compfight cc

How to help those teachers, schools and school boards embrace technology-enhanced learning is the topic of much discussion and much interest.

I have said many times, that I don’t believe in 2014, that our kids can possibly go to school and not have access to technology.  I won’t go into the arguments why right here – that is another blog post – but technology needs to be there.

When a teacher who is not using technology in his or her class sees this quote, they can use it to justify what they are doing.

“Oh yes, I am a great teacher, so I don’t need technology in my classroom.”

It’s the same as seeing entire schools misuse standardized  test scores to justify avoiding change.  “We have great test scores so we are doing everything right, we don’t need to change.”

Quotes like this are dangerous.

I would ask the question, “In 2014, can good pedagogy exist without technology?”

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I would also ask the question, “Does technology replace poor pedagogy?”

I think we need to be very careful about our choice of words.

When we look at the SAMR model, we see that technology-enhanced learning can be so much more enriching.

If we are not allowing our learners to connect and build learning networks, what exactly is our excuse?

#etMOOC +1: The Power of People

As we celebrate the first anniversary of #etMOOC*, I am overwhelmed with the stories of growth and sharing and learning.

* For those who hear about how MOOCs are a trend, a fad, a failure or a passing phase, here is the kind of MOOC I am referring to:

#etMOOC connected people.

It wasn’t about content.  It wasn’t about assignments.  It was about experiencing the world of people out there who care about learners, who advocate for change, who take risks, who share their learning every single day.

It was about creating together, playing together, learning together.

I am fascinated by how the experience blurred our professional and personal lives.

We didn’t draw a line between the two.

We allowed, and continue to allow, our best traits, our life experiences, our travels and our learning to inform our time together, be it online or f2f.

We learn together whether we are “on the clock” or “on the road”.

We model what learning can be: self-directed, shared, always available.  Supported, stretched, generous and courageous.

#etMOOC brought out the best in us.  #etMOOC brings out the best in us.

Happy #etMOOC anniversary.  Keep learning and sharing.

Should Kids Hate School?

I don’t know anyone who would answer “yes” to this question.  So why is the myth that “kids hate school” so pervasive?

Last week, buses were cancelled in Muskoka (yes, there is only one Muskoka!), and the television announcers made a huge deal out of how happy kids would be because they didn’t have to go to school.

If kids shouldn’t hate school, why would they be so happy to miss it?

We need to shift away from the norm of “hating school”.  There are probably reasons why people hated school in the past (perhaps being in the “Bluebird” reading group?).

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But why joke about this with kids today?  It’s outdated thinking.  Kids should never hate going to school.

Let Me Play

School is a place where students go to learn, to collaborate, to be healthy. It should be an optimum environment to promote growth, not something that they hate.

 

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And if they can’t get to the building, there is no reason* why kids (in Ontario) can’t be learning at home.  Blended learning and e-Learning are available in all publicly funded Ontario schools.  A cancelled school bus means kids connect with their classroom digitally and there is no interruption in learning.

“If we took seriously the need for kids to feel known and cared about, our discussions about the distinguishing features of a “good school” would sound very different. Likewise, our view of discipline and classroom management would be turned inside-out, seeing as how the primary goals of most such strategies are obedience and order, often with the result that kids feel less cared about — or even bullied — by adults.”

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/duh.htm

As adults, we sometimes forget to question “norms” from times gone by.

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Let’s be mindful of our sphere of influence.  Showing that we hated school can have a powerful influence on those hearing the message.  And if a child doesn’t want to go to school, it’s not okay.  Find out why.

 

 

Further reading:

“That so few children seem to take pleasure from what they’re doing on a given weekday morning, that the default emotional state in classrooms seems to alternate between anxiety and boredom, doesn’t even alarm us. Worse: Happiness in schools is something for which educators may feel obliged to apologize when it does make an appearance. After all, they wouldn’t want to be accused of offering a “feel-good” education.”
http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/feelbad.htm

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/07/in-digital-age-schools-that-succeed-are-schools-that-connect/

Why do we need to write papers in every course? http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2013/12/college_papers_students_hate_writing_them_professors_hate_grading_them_let.html

*We are not doing an adequate job of ensuring internet access to all learners.  Many remote and not-so-remote areas have sub-standard or no access to the internet (or public libraries).