In his book Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson discusses those who through the use of various applications and devices capture every aspect of their lives. He highlights the impact that such practises have on our social life, as well as the supposed over reliance in technology that this creates, taking over what we would have done for ourselves in the past. However, what really stood out was what was uncovered in regards to memory. Through these various examples of life journals, Thompson is able to show that the way we remember things isn’t necessarily the way things actually were. Clearly, this is a Pandora’s box and in many respects is nothing new, but what it got me wondering was whether the education that we feel we grew up with really was the way we remember it. For example, was Mr Tracey really as harsh as I remember and were lessons really as cumbersome and chaotic as I thought they were. how much of this representation of the past is merely a construct of the present?
My Month of April
It has been another exciting month. Started off attending the inaugural Melbourne West GAFE Summit at Manor Lakes. I presented sessions on Slides and Drawings, as well as attended a session by Heather Dowd on Presentation Zen and Suan Yeo on Google Expeditions.
At school, I have been working hard to finish up a few things, such as reports, before I go on long service leave for half a Term Two. Really looking forward to spending some quality time with my children doing the daddy daycare thing.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:
Three Lessons Learnt from Using Social Bookmarking – A reflection on using social bookmarking and Diigo.
An Introduction to Google Docs and Hyperdocs – An exploration of the different possibilities associated with Google Docs, including a focus on HyperDocs.
An Expedition into @GoogleCardboard – A post unpacking the different possibilities of virtual reality in the classroom.
Collaboration, Autonomy and a Culture of Thinking (SITJAR) – A case study I wrote exploring self-determined learning and professional development. It was recently published in the Southern Institute of Technology Journal of Applied Research.
REVIEW: #SchoolOfThought by @DanHaesler – A short review of Dan Haesler’s new book.
A Lean Education – A reading of Eric Ries The Lean Startup through the perspective of education.
Reading Texts is Easy, especially When You Listen to Them – A reflection on listening to texts via mobile devices.
- REVIEW: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by @Rushkoff – A review of Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book which calls for a move from economics of extraction to one of exchange.
REVIEW: Program or be Programmed by @Rushkoff – A review of Douglas Rushkoff’s book exploring programming. One of the best books I have read on why coding (or programming) matters.
Fluency, Feedback and a Search for Authenticity with @TouchCastEDU – A reflection on the use of TouchCast in the classroom.
Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …
Learning and Teaching
The Hyper Island Toolbox – Along with Laura Hilliger’s resources associated with Participatory Learning Materials, this collection from Hyper Island is full of ideas to support collaborative and creative learning in and out of the classroom.
This is a resource for anyone who wants to do things more creatively and collaboratively in their team or organization. It’s a collection of methods and activities, based on Hyper Island’s methodology, that you can start using today.
Coding a LEGO Maze – A different approach to coding where students make a maze using Lego and then develop the physical code required to complete it.
There are so many baby steps involved in learning how to think like a programmer. Throughout the past several years, I’ve programmed in at least 6 different computer languages (C, C++, Java, Fortran, Matlab, and Python). For a beginner, what’s important is not the specifics of a language (called the syntax). Rather it’s better to understand the commonalities between languages which are the building blocks of any programming language. These LEGO mazes, which can be solved with “code” using paper rather than a computer, illustrate 4 levels of difficulty and include a variety of programming concepts.
Student Engagement: Is It Authentic or Compliant? – Peter DeWitt questions whether students are really engaged? To support this, he provides some strategies to help find the right mix between engagement and compliance.
In order to build a growth mindset in our classrooms and schools we need to find a better balance between expecting compliance and engaging in authentic engagement. We set up a dynamic to truly engage students through strategies like flipping our classrooms, metacognitive activities, using engaging short video clips, setting instructional goals with students, providing time to go through questions with a small group of peers, and providing time where students get to ask questions of us as much as we ask questions of them.
Reading Conferences with Students – Pernille Ripp discusses the challenges of reading conferences within a limited amount of time and provides some thoughts and suggestions.
While the 45 minutes of English class will never be ideal, it will never be enough, it will never feel like I can provide each child with the type of learning experience they deserve, it cannot hold us back. It cannot hold me back. And I cannot be the only one that is trying to do this.
The Secret of Effective Feedback – Dylan Wiliam summarises what works best when it comes to feedback. He identifies a range of elements, including self-assessment.
Looking at student work is essentially an assessment process. We give our students tasks, and from their responses we draw conclusions about the students and their learning needs. When we realize that most of the time the focus of feedback should be on changing the student rather than changing the work, we can give much more purposeful feedback. If our feedback doesn’t change the student in some way, it has probably been a waste of time.
21 Digital Tools To Build Vocabulary – Kimberly Tyson unpacks a range of tools to support vocabulary. The list is divided into references, word clouds, games and digital word walls.
In today’s 21st century classrooms, digital tools must coexist alongside more traditional tools. Online tools, compared to their more traditional counterparts, provide a broader array of information about words and word meanings. In addition, some tools allow teachers to easily customize words so that students can practice, review, and play games with content or unit-specific words.
The science of revision: nine ways pupils can revise for exams more effectively – Bradley Busch summarises some of the research behind different revision activities. Interestingly, listening to music is considered detrimental. However, I wonder what the impact would be of listening to the same track on repeat, as Matt Mullenweg does when he codes.
As research into psychology continues to develop, we learn more and more about how best to help students learn. Revision time can be challenging as it often requires students to monitor their own behaviour when working independently at home. Hopefully, by teaching them about what helps improve their memory, mood and concentration, we can better equip them to meet the challenges head on.
Third Places & Third Spaces – Bon Stewart explores the idea of the third space, a virtual place that carries across time and physical space. An interesting read regards to connected learning.
The Third Space is a potentially transformative space between the roles of student and teacher, a hybrid space where identities and literacies and practices can actually change on both sides.
In Search of a New Resilience for Learning – Dave Cormier reflects on the need to build resilience in online learning spaces, such as Rhizo14.
We need to acknowledge that learning in a network/community/wild space means that sometimes there will be uncontrollable interactions. You will be confronted by what a colleague today referred to as ‘aggressive academic hectoring’. There is privilege always. How do we maintain the advantages of rhizomatic space and still give people the tools to be resilient?
Beyond Coding – Going beyond coding and algorithms, Steve Collis discusses the future of neural networks and artificial intelligence.
Insight into the power of repeated and branching algorithms doesn’t begin to prepare us for what is essentially distributed extended cognition. Incredibly sophisticated artificial intelligence, including neural network computing, is embedded in our lives and progressing in rapid cascades.
The Minecraft Generation – Clive Thompson provides a thorough explanation of Minecraft and its place within the history of technology,
Where companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google want our computers to be easy to manipulate — designing point-and-click interfaces under the assumption that it’s best to conceal from the average user how the computer works — Minecraft encourages kids to get under the hood, break things, fix them and turn mooshrooms into random-number generators. It invites them to tinker.
Educators, GitHub and the Future of Open Ed – Greg McVerry ponders on the place of GitHub in education as a space to share and build ideas. Alan Levine also wrote a good post on the subject too. I must admit I have barely touched the surface when it comes to GitHub.
Educators live in easy to use silos. I can not blame them. First and foremost the tools teachers use have to work easily. Yet when they share resources educators are often using proprietary tools and signing away copyrights to their district. Our ideas have value. We should get to decide how these ideas are owned and shared.
Can MakerSpaces Invent the Future? – Brad Gustafson shares a fantastic makerspace project where students have to design a case for a Sphero using a 3d printer.
It is incredible what kids can do when we believe in them, coach them, and get out of their way! Our students recently participated in a robotics competition that was invented from the ground up by staff and students. We designed and printed 3D “exoskeletons” that fit over our Sphero robotic droids…and SpheroExo was born. The rest is history.
What If Social Media Becomes 16-Plus? New battles concerning age of consent emerge in Europe – danah boyd discusses the law being proposed by the EU to restrict the internet to 16. This is not only important in regards to understanding the impact of the COPPA laws in the US, but also the ramifications for data and privacy of placing more restrictions on the use of the Internet.
What really bothers me are the consequences to the least-empowered youth. While the EU at least made a carve-out for kids who are accessing counseling services, there’s no consideration of how many LGBTQ kids are accessing sites that might put them in danger if their parents knew. There’s no consideration for kids who are regularly abused and using technology and peer relations to get support. There’s no consideration for kids who are trying to get health information, privately. And so on. The UN Rights of the Child puts vulnerable youth front and center in protections. But somehow they’ve been forgotten by EU policymakers.
The dark side of Guardian comments – Looking back on ten years on comments, a group of writers from the Guardian analyse the data.
Even five years ago, online abuse and harassment were dismissed as no big deal. That is not true now. There is widespread public concern, and more support for anti-harassment proposals. But no one is pretending that this is an easy problem to fix.
The Rise of the Chromebook – Originally published in Educational Technology Solutions magazine, Anthony Speranza provides a clear introduction to Chromebooks and their place in schools.
With reduced overhead costs, Chromebooks are a cost-effective option to deploy technology at scale. Many schools are releasing this as an affordable option for closing the technology-equity gap whilst promoting the kind of rich digital learning that we all believe in.
Terrifyingly Convenient – In a lengthy piece, Will Oremus unpacks the rise of virtual assistants and bots. This is a topic that touches on the topics of trust and convenience, and wonders at what cost.
Like card catalogs and AOL-style portals before it, Web search will begin to fade from prominence, and with it the dominance of browsers and search engines. Mobile apps as we know them—icons on a home screen that you tap to open—will start to do the same. In their place will rise an array of virtual assistants, bots, and software agents that act more and more like people: not only answering our queries, but acting as our proxies, accomplishing tasks for us, and asking questions of us in return. This is already beginning to happen—and it isn’t just Siri or Alexa. As of April, all five of the world’s dominant technology companies are vying to be the Google of the conversation age. Whoever wins has a chance to get to know us more intimately than any company or machine has before—and to exert even more influence over our choices, purchases, and reading habits than they already do.Indie Ed-Tech: Review the Revue – Audrey Watters explores many important points relating to ed-tech in her review of Indie Ed-Tech Data Summit. In particular, she touches on the question of funding and venture capital.
Ed-tech need not be exploitative. Ed-tech need not be extractive. Ed-tech need not be punitive. Ed-tech need not be surveillance. Ed-tech need not assume that the student is a cheat. Ed-tech need not assume that the student has a deficit. Ed-tech need not assume that learning can be measured or managed. Ed-tech need not scale.
Used well, the computer extends the breadth, depth and complexity of potential projects. This in turn affords kids with the opportunity to, in the words of David Perkins, “play the whole game.” Thanks to the computer, children today have the opportunity to be mathematicians, novelists, engineers, composers, geneticists, composers, filmmakers, etc… But, only if our vision of computing is sufficiently imaginative.
3 Types of EdTech Baggage: Toolsets, Mindsets, Skillsets – Talking about the diffusion of innovation curve, Doug Belshaw goes beyond the usual discussion about laggards and examines some of the baggage that can get in the way of change.
Many of us are acquainted with people for whom the answer to every technology-related question seems to be a Google, a Microsoft, or an Apple tool. I would suggest that these people have as much of a ‘toolset’ problem as the ‘laggard’ on the diffusion of innovation curve. I’d contend that it’s as dangerous and damaging to have baggage that says one vendor’s products are always the best solution as it is to say that no technological solution is best.
Storytelling and Reflection
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems – George Monbiot gives an explanation to Donald Trump, the Panama Papers and the stock exchange. For a focus on neolibrarlism and education, see David Price’s post on forced freedom. While Will Davies also provides a useful post exploring some of the complexities associated with neoliberalism.
Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.
Liberia outsources its education system – Graham Martin-Brown responds to the news that Liberia has decided to outsource its education system. Along with a few follow ups, Martin-Brown provides a wide perspective on the topic.
Pathways for Creative Leadership – A reflection from Laura Hilliger on the challenges of being creative and the emotions that this sometimes produces.
Who are creative leaders? They’re the people who have ideas to solve problems. Many times they’re the Consiglieri to a manager. They don’t coordinate people, they coordinate ideas. They’re the people who gain merit inside of an organization, but do not “climb the ladder” in a traditional sense – e.g. they don’t move up the hierarchy.
Better Teachers? Better at what Exactly? – Ned Manning questions the mantra around quality teaching and makes the comparison with Finland in an Op-Ed piece for The Age.
Until we are capable of putting our children’s needs in front of anything else, we will continue to slip down the educational league table. It has nothing to do with better teachers. It’s got everything to do with protecting our children from politicians.
Fighting Student Anxiety and Lack of Engagement with Free Play and Inquiry-Based Learning – AJ Juliani unpacks the connections between anxiety, engagement and inquiry, providing different research to paint a clear picture, as well as solutions as to what we can do to fix some of the problems.
What are we doing to add play back into our schools, and back into our children’s lives as parents, teachers, and leaders? When we look at the research, the studies, the medical community’s recommendation, and the real life stories of schools in the US and abroad–it all shows the importance of free play. Let’s go beyond recognizing the need, and start intentionally providing time and space for play.
The Double-Edged Sword of Reflection / Reflections of a Reluctant Writer – Jon Andrews responds to Naomi Barnes post on caring arguing that reflection is essential, but not always obvious.
Reflection is, in my opinion, a double-edged sword. The process of reflecting is a worthwhile one, but it can bring illumination and affirmation in one breath, disappointment and frustration in another. Either way, our work demands reflection of us. Question is, how best to do it, when do we do it and how do we get the most out of it so all benefit?
FOCUS ON … GIFS
With the recent addition of GIFs to a range of applications, here are a few resources to help make more sense of what all the fuss is about:
A Quick and Incomplete History of the Animated GIF – A thorough collection of reflections and resources from Andy Rush
The Animated GIF: Still Looping After All These Years – An analysis from Clive Thompson about the history and place of the GIF in society
If You Have to Say It, Say It In GIF – A detailed account of GIFs and where they maybe heading
How to Create Explainer GIFs – How to explain your ideas quickly and easily using a GIF
Giffing – How to make a GIF using Photoshop, which includes a great collection of examples.
Making GIFs with IMGUR – How to make a GIF with IMGUR
Creating Animated GIFs with MPEG Streamclip and GIMP – How to make a GIF with MPEG Streamclip and GIMP
Soundbitification – A reflection on the rise of the short form from Amy Burvall and its impact on attention
Ooh Ooh Mr Kotter! I Know How To Optimize My GIFs! – Alan Levine provides an explanation as to how he took a GIF and optimised it using Photoshop.
Full Movie GIFs – A Reddit page dedicated to movies told as a GIF.
The Publishing Process in GIF Form – A post from Nathan Bransford unpacking the writing process using GIF images.
Lola Who – Brandon Tauszik talks about the idea of a GIF being a piece of art.
Eight-second videos are long enough to infringe on copyright, says UK judge – A case covered by Glyn Moody which touches on GIFs and copyright.
- Looking at This Viral GIF Could Be the Perfect Way to Cope With an Anxiety Attack – A simple GIF designed to support breathing when stressed and anxious.
Why GIF? – A reflection from John Johnston on DS 106 and the art of the GIF.
READ WRITE RESPOND #004
So that is April for me, how about you? As always, interested to hear. Feel free to respond and let me know if you have any thoughts and/or feedforward for the newsletter.
Also, feel free to forward this on to others if you found anything of interest or maybe you want to subscribe?
As always, stay well.
A link was shared with me today to a new course around a course in clinical teaching. There is something that does not sit right about the idea of being clinical. I reckon that it represents an emotional detachment. To me, a marksman is clinical. A surgeon is clinical. I am not sure if a teacher should necessarily be ‘clinical’? This got me thinking then what a teacher should be?
In my thinking, I was surfing Youtube and came across an interview with Mark Ronson unpacking his record collection. He provided a breadth, appreciation and understanding that really blew me away. In one story, he shared a time when Prince came into a club where he was performing. After racking his mind as to how to get his attention, he dropped an obscure 70’s beat into the middle of his set. Low and behold, Prince made his way up to the stage to find out more about the track.
ThisÂ made me wonder what it might mean for every teacher to be a DJ. That is, to have a knowledge and connection with their audience (staff and students)Â to go far beyond progression points. This as a metaphor might better capture the science and art of teaching.Â
flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) licenseMy Month of March
March has been a weird month. Everything just seems to have flown on by at school. We unpacked mindsets as a part of the instructional model. Intervention kept on intervening, with the highlight being the use of TouchCast and the green screen to support recordings. I also had the opportunity to pitch an idea as a part of an (unsuccessful) job application which was interesting. Wonder why more processes aren't like that?
At home, I am learning first hand just how much students in Foundation grow and learn, with my daughter coming on leaps and bounds. Actually both are flying with the youngest considering taking up the act of crawling.
In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:
Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …
Learning and Teaching
10 Practical Ways to Innovate in Your Classroom – AJ Juliani provides a range of ways to innovate your classroom, including everything from Genius Hour to sharing tutorials online.
I’m calling these 10 examples practical because I believe they are doable. They work in most grade levels, in most schools, in most situations. However, as we talked about in a previous post, you and your students are going to have to be the ultimate decision makers on whether or not any of these ideas would work.
Learner Agency – More than just a buzzword – Claire Amos provides 10 ways you might provide Learner Agency in your classroom or school.
If the world around us wasn't changing so rapidly, we might have got away with sticking our heads in the sand and believing (like certain schools still do) that effective education means little, if any, learner agency and whole lot of control and teacher centred pedagogy. Don't get me wrong, there is still a place for direct instruction and even rote learning, but if you are limiting yourself to such practice, no matter how awesomely charismatic you might be, you are doing your students a massive disservice.
‘I Don’t Know What To Do With This Child … They Can’t Speak English!’ – Anne Del Conte draws on her experiences working with EAL/D students to provide a collection of classroom strategies.
My plea is that our new language learners are not given ‘busy work’; like colouring-in, or childish toys to play with or books to read that are not age appropriate. Please don’t leave them in a corner to fend for themselves and grow bored while both of you wait until the EAL/D teacher comes to withdraw them for their special lessons. If you need help, just ask someone.
Explainer: how is literacy taught in schools? – Stewart Riddle and Eileen Honan provide an explanation as to how literacy is taught in Australia.
There is no doubt that Australia is a literacy-dependent society. The demand on young people is growing within the context of international test rankings and competition, an increasingly globalised workforce and a transitioning economy that requires highly sophisticated literacy skills. As such, it is important that literacy teaching in classrooms reflects the very best approaches that research, policy and curriculum design can provide.
Best Way To Learn Any Subject: Curation – Robin Good not only provides a clear explanation of curation, but a grounding for its place within education.
Rather than diligently memorizing the notions written by others inside his textbooks or the theorems presented to him in class lectures, the learner who curates the subject he wants to learn, develops a true understanding of the subject and a personal opinion about it. I would venture to say that he now “owns” the subject, rather than simply “knowing” about it.
6 Keys to Connecting With the Disconnected – Chris Wejr unpacks a range of solutions for supporting students who have become disconnected.
Connecting is more important now than ever. According to a 2011 study of youth done by the Public Health Agency of Canada, just over half of our grade 10 students feel that they belong and have a teacher that cares about them in school. It is difficult for me to hear this as I know how hard we work in education. How can almost half of our students not feel cared for and a sense of belonging? The question must me asked… knowing this, now what? We know the links between positive school environment and mental health and we know the impact we CAN have on our students so what are we doing about this as educators, schools and as a society?
The Day Began Gently – Jon Harper shares a range of ideas as to how we can better start the day off with ourselves, our students and our colleagues.
Tomorrow morning starts tonight. Plan right now how you are going to make it go well for your students, your staff and yourself. I may not get to lie next to my son as he gradually awakes. But I will hug him and kiss him the first chance I get. He may not run to greet me when I am pulling in the driveway. But I can run to him once I open the front door. And he might not tell me over and over again how much he missed me. But I can tell him.
The Problem with #edtech Debates – Jose Picardo provides a great post adding to the debate over the importance of edtech and place within education (see postergate). It is an important post for the points made, as well as the links to other posts, including his case study of success.
Technology isn’t always the solution, but isn’t the problem either. Let’s have an informed debate. Over to you.
Position on Digital Evolutionary Continuum – Mal Lee and Roger Broadie provide a continuum to help with plotting a school's journey to normalisation.
Before embarking on your school’s digital evolutionary journey you need to know where you are and the likely path ahead.
'I Love My Label': Resisting the Pre-Packaged Sound in Ed-Tech – Continuing to unpack a more personal experience of edtech, Audrey Watters builds on the punk metaphor outlined by Jim Groom and Adam Croom to put forward a vision of the future less dictated by commercial algorithms and more curated by human communities. Jim Groom also provided a thorough summary of his experience at Indie Ed Tech Conference. This is fantastic post not only for Groom’s insights, but the breadth of links attached.
Indie means we don’t need millions of dollars, but it does mean we need community. We need a space to be unpredictable, for knowledge to be emergent not algorithmically fed to us. We need intellectual curiosity and serendipity – we need it from scholars and from students.
Welcome to the Paradox (and Myth) of “Best Tool for X” – In the search for the best collaborative platform, Alan Levine touches on the paradox of deciding on the best tool for a task. The reality is that we only have a limited time to test and therefore often come to depend on others and our own intuition.
This, welcome to Paradox. To really compare them, even a demo session won’t cut it. I won’t really know without putting it to use in a real situation, with real people. The time it would take to do this? And so I have to thus make some hunch guesses based on limited skim by, reviews, and what people I might know who have more experience. And while I understand why people want to know when they ask, and despite the endless flow of listicles that people publish, there can never be a simple answer to “What is the best tool for X?” There are a lot of importance differences between X for me and X for you.
The Overselling of Ed Tech – Alfie Kohn adds his thoughts to the debate on edtech, touching on the various promises made and the true impact of technology, to amplify what is already in place.
We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?” If we favor an approach by which students actively construct meaning, an interactive process that involves a deep understanding of ideas and emerges from the interests and questions of the learners themselves, well, then we’d be open to the kinds of technology that truly support this kind of inquiry. Show me something that helps kids create, design, produce, construct — and I’m on board. Show me something that helps them make things collaboratively (rather than just on their own), and I’m even more interested — although it’s important to keep in mind that meaningful learning never requires technology, so even here we should object whenever we’re told that software (or a device with a screen) is essential.
The New Digital Divide – Cortney Harding examines the digital divide that is occurring between those who have and those who have not. This is not simply access to technology, but access to resources required to protect themselves and their digital presence.
The great promise of the Internet and the new digital world was that it would create a level playing field and allow everyone to access the same information. Unfortunately, it has also created a world where accessing that information has very different costs depending on how much money you make or the color of your skin.
ClassDojo and the Measurement, Management of Growth Mindsets – Ben Williamson provides a thorough discussion of the connection between growth mindset and Class Dojo. In the same vein as Audrey Watters, Williamson makes the link with fixing the individual and the Silicon Valley ideology.
The emphasis of both is on fixing people, rather than fixing social structures. It prioritizes the design of interventions that seek to modify behaviours to make people perform as optimally as possible according to new behavioural and psychological norms. Within this mix, new technologies of psychological measurement and behaviour management such as ClassDojo have a significant role to play in schools that are under pressure to demonstrate their performance according to such norms.
I’ve Seen the Greatest A.I. Minds of My Generation Destroyed by Twitter – The New Yorker provides a great summary of Microsoft's failed Twitter bot.
Why didn’t Microsoft know better? Plop a consciousness with the verbal ability of a tween and the mental age of a blastocyst into a toxic, troll-rich environment like Twitter and she’s bound to go Nazi.
Storytelling and Reflection
Publishing is dead. This is why – Jon Westerberg provides a summary of the state of newspapers, media and publishing. He questions the institutions that still push students through journalism degrees into professions that no longer exist.
Will what we see as publishers now — Buzzfeed, Vox — eventually be seen only as advertisers? And will the profession of journalism one day cease to exist?
Why? – Chris Harte reflects on the question why and wonders if reinstating it at the centre of learning may help to develop a deeper inquiry into life's big questions.
Maybe by engendering a love of the question why? in our children, we can help them to ask the big questions. To disrupt the status quo. To enquire into the depths of the universe and the meaning of life. To question peacefully, truthfully and with the intent of making the world a better place. To stare boldly into the eyes of the heavens and ask why?
#rawthought: What If We…Ditch “Best Practices”? – The ever creative Amy Burvall wonders about the notion of ‘best’ practice and questions whether we instead need to think about what some have termed as next practice.
What if we… stopped being so sure of ourselves and instead became confident in our uncertainty (like Keats’ “negative capability”?). What if we…felt free to explore a host of options to test what works best in the here and now, and in respect of the context? What if we…embraced the fact that a “best practice” is really flexibility and evolution over time?
True for Us, True for Them – Emily Garwitz reflects on learning and suggests that what works for us as teachers should also apply for the students in our classroom.
Here’s something I know to be true: I learn by trying and failing and then trying again. True for us, true for them. I learn through active, experiential learning rather than passive learning. True for us, true for them. I learn through collaborating with others. True for us, true for them. I learn by moving, thinking out loud, getting personalized feedback…true for us, true for them.
Trouble Brewing at Snake Mountain High – Jon Andrews provides a satire reflecting on the current state of education, with the battle between autonomy and edu-businesses. This was also the seed for a whole collection of posts, including The index-cardificationof education, A pedagogy of Astro Boy: education and social justice, The Missing Superheroes and Skeletor Loves it When Planning Comes Together.
I’m not paying you to think. I’m paying you to do. We don’t have time for all this PD guff, collaboration, staff voice and the like. Look, I’ve seen enough. You have your work cut out turning this place around. I want no excuses – from you or the students. I want a return on investment.
How the Tories picked free schools: chaotic, inconsistent and incompetent – It took a three-year legal battle for Laura McInerney to see papers on why some free school applications succeed and others fail. Her story provides an insight into political side of education and the challenges associated with change.
Scientists have discovered that people make fairer choices when they are being watched, if only by a robot. England needs more schools to cope with increasing pupil numbers and I believe free schools can be a solution, but only if people have faith in the process. To make that happen, someone needs to be the robot. So I will keep on asking for information – even if it lands me in court.
How Does Your School Innovate? – Steve Brophy unpacks change in schools, making the case for the iterative process.
Traditionally at schools, the pilot or trial is the go to method to validate the effectiveness of a particular tool, approach or change in practice and I have been a part of many trials and pilots in my career. Some successful, some total failures. My issue with the pilot as a methodology is that we determine the course but often we don’t tend to stray from that original determined path.
Stop Innovating in School. Please – Will Richardson makes a plea to focus on what matters most and that is learning not teaching.
To put it simply, innovation in schools today is far too focused on improving teaching, not amplifying learning. The real innovation that we need in schools has little to do with technologies or tools or products designed to improve our teaching. The real innovation, instead, is in relearning why we want kids in schools in the first place.
Network Leadership – Cameron Paterson investigates leadership in a networked era. He outlines a series of steps needed to move from traditional hierarchical leadership, to one more fluid and agile.
Education is moving from a narrow pipeline metaphor to an incredibly diverse web of outside networks and knowledge is becoming literally inseparable from the network that enables it. Reminiscent of Ivan Illich’s learning webs, knowledge is now distributed across networks of connections, and learning consists of immersing oneself in networks by creating and sharing. The future of learning lies in networks, and networks require a new form of leadership, prioritising peer to peer relationships to build creative capacity.
Playing the Game of School – Edna Sackson shares a great activity to help appreciate what school might mean and how it might feel to be in one.
FOCUS ON … Measuring the Success of Technology
Australian Teaching and Learning Toolkit – Digital Technology – This analysis provides a summary of the effectiveness, as well as an estimated cost per student.
Education Technology or Technology Education? Can computers make an impact in schools? – Oliver Quinlan responds to the question of technology in light of the OECD report.
Using wikis to promote quality learning in teacher training – Steve and Dawn Wheeler report their findings on the use of wikis to add authenticity to the writing experience.
Seymour Papert at Bates College (2000) – A great introduction to Papert’s work, he covers many of the questions raised about the use of technology even today.
Just what are we preparing our students for? – In this presentation, Jenny Luca outlines a vision for the future.
Classroom of the Future – In this presentation, Anthony Speranza ponders the future of learning. This includes the place of technology in regards to learning.
Students, Computers and Learning – An OECD report into the impact of computers in the classroom.
Technology Integration Research – An annotated bibliography collated by Edutopia.
Brightbytes – A platform that supports evidence-based action.
What’s Your Problem? – Steve Brophy provides a review of How to Measure Everything, a guide to not only measuring outcomes, but working out what you are trying to measure in the first place.
Return on Instruction (ROI) – Eric Sheninger provides a perspective from leadership on measuring the impact of technology.
READ WRITE RESPOND #003
So that is March for me, how about you? As always, interested to hear.
Also, feel free to forward this on to others if you found anything of interest or maybe you want to subscribe?
In a recent reportÂ in The Independent, it was highlighted that Donald Trump uses the grammar of an 11. My interest is not necessarily on the quality of Trump’s delivery though, but rather the ’11 Year Old’ who actually represents this standard. Who decided what an 11 year olds langauge was? And worse, how can it not have changed or morphed since Abraham Lincoln? I am left wondering what the langauge of a 35 year old is? Or have I stopped growing?
There is a place for the teacher to support the learner in regards to how to learn, but imagine if we were supported by a teacher ALL of our life, what would that look like? Does it happen now and we don’t even know it? What curriculum would you use at lets say 36? What would it mean to differentiate learning in this environment? Would our approaches be different? Why or why not? As usual, I hold on loosely to this idea. Really not sure.
Often when asked about predictions for the future, I wonder if there will come a time when we can quickly and easily remix music, leaving our own mark. To me, this would need some sort of Audio Track Recognition. I wonder though whether at the same time that such technology becomes available, whether copyright will simply hold us back. This is something Steven Johnson reflects on in his presetnation at Google, it is well worth a watch:Â
Often when I listen to music I wonder what if would sound like if it were mashed with something else? A recent example was listening to Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods:
I was left thinking what it might sound like if it were mashed up with Nine Inch Nail’s Perfect Drug
I will continue to imagine