Read Write Respond #008

Read Write Respond #008


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I have continued settling into my new job this month, with a particular focus on communities of practice. I was lucky enough to work with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach for a few days. I have also had the opportunity to visit a few schools. It is always fantastic privilege to see different environments and speak with leaders about their beliefs around learning and leading. I remember reading John Goh talking about the power of school visits, he is not wrong.

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

What do ‘quality teachers’ do? – Deborah Netilicky unpacks what she conceives represents quality teaching. What is useful about the post is that she provides a range of resources for those wishing to go further.

As teachers, schools and systems have conversations around how to improve the learning of students by improving what happens in classrooms, it’s important that we continue to attempt to build a shared understanding of exactly what we mean when we say things like ‘quality teaching’.

7 mental models you should know for smarter decision making – Sean Kim provides a series of mental models to help with the process of making important decisions.

Whether it’s trying to figure out which job you should take, deciding to quit your job to start a business,move to a new city — these decisions are never easy. Yet there are people who we can learn from who make highly impactful decisions on a regular basis, and they’ve developed mental models to help them make smarter decisions.

Word Cloud Tools: Raising the Bar – Eric Sheninger puts the spotlight on word clouds. He shows what they offer in regards to reflection and formative assessment.

Enter Mentimeter and AnswerGarden. Both tools can be used for formative assessment.  Responses to an open-ended question of your choice can be used to create a word cloud.  Each is simple to use and will only take minutes to set up.

Io808 – A virtual TR-808 drum machine that runs in the browser.

Vincent Riemer has made a TR-808 drum machine that runs in the browser, complete with all twiddly controls, the classic turn-of-the-eighties color scheme, and all the cowbell you can handle.

Funklet – A visual guide to various funk drum beats, useful for exploring rhythm.

Funklet is an educational resource. Some of my students learn quicker with Funklet. Some don’t. One doesn’t even like drums, but saw them on TV – where they were much quieter – and dug the look. She’s five.

Name Your Perspective – Tom Barrett shares the strategy of zooming in and zooming out in order to gain different perspectives.

Perhaps the challenge is not just zooming out to think in an abstract way or zooming in to consider the concrete actions, but more precisely how effectively, fluidly and quickly we can move between those perspectives. Another layer to this is of course how synchronised our perspective is with others we are with. 

Amplify Reflection – Silvia Tolisano provides a number of resources to support the act of reflection.

We need to take a closer look at amplifying reflection by sharing our reflection transparently (learning how to articulate and make our thinking visible to others and the learning benefiting ourselves AND others). By sharing our reflection beyond a teacher or a classmate, we acknowledge our voice as learners and the role that it can play in the learning process (our own process or the one of others).

Edtech

In the Clutches of Algorithms – Chris Friend applies a critical lenses to algorithms and the internet of things, warning that we must not loose sight of the human impact involved with all of this.

We must remember that, as Jesse put it, “the Internet is made of people, not things.” We must also remember that the things we use have the ability to control us or connect us. We need to know which is happening with each device we use. As educators, we must help our students learn to question how their devices, tools, technologies, apps, and games help connect them or control them; how those things collect and share their data; how their free apps and services turn them (or their data) into a commodity as a form of payment.

Visitors & Residents: navigate the mapping – Dave White provides a number to resources to support the mapping of how we use the internet. 

Myself, Donna Lanclos and Lawrie Phipps are delighted to release a facilitators guide and slides for running the Visitors and Residents mapping activities (a workshop format for reflecting on, and responding to, various forms of digital engagement). These resources were developed for the Jisc Digital Leaders Programme but can be edited and adapted for different audiences.

The Dwindling Promise of Social Media – Mike Caulfield reflects on some of the changes in regards to social media and the failure of platforms like Facebook, which focus on identify, to foster a culture of connected learning.

What we come up against here is the idea that four years or six years or eight years of education is sufficient to what we do. But unless we graduate our students into a professional learning network that can get the right information to them as our knowledge evolves, tragedies like this will happen time and time again.

Not All Screen Time is Equal: Some Considerations for Schools and Parents – Jose Picardo explores the conundrum of screen time, suggesting that maybe sometimes this is the wrong question.

School clearly have a responsibility to explain more clearly and justify how technology is being used to support great teaching and learning. Are the children reading and writing more? Are the children learning maths more easily? Is it easier to learn a foreign language? Can teachers feedback more effectively? These are the really important questions that need an answer. This is where researchers need to be focusing their research. ‘Are the children spending more time on screens?’ is a valid but much less important question, since it’s what they are doing on those screens that matters.

When it’s Your Googopoly Game, You Can Flip the Board in the Air Anytime – Alan Levine reflects upon the demise of Hangouts-on-Air and unpacks the various changes involved in moving the service into YouTube.

Today Google owns a big game board on the internet where we put our effort, building, hoping for good draws of cards. But it’s totally their board. And who knows if it’s boredom, but they seem to get bored too, and just flip our little plastic buildings and fake deeds in the air. 

I Want My Stager TV – For those with a day to spare, Gary Stager has provided a broad collection of videos unpacking much of his work.

The following videos are a good representation of my work as a conference keynote speaker and educational consultant. The production values vary, but my emphasis on creating more productive contexts for learning remains in focus.

A Domain of One's Own in a Post-Ownership Society – Audrey Watters responds to Maha Bali’s wonderings about ownership in relationship to a Domain of One’s Own.

To own is to possess. To own is to have authority and control. To own is to acknowledge. It implies a responsibility. Ownership is a legal designation; but it’s something more than that too. It’s something more and then, without legal protection, the word also means something less.

Storytelling and Reflection

10 Questions in Pursuit of Learner Agency – Edna Sackson reflects on Clare Amos' post on student agency wondering if we can develop a culture of agency.

Can we create a culture of agency, where decision-making, choice and voice, reflection and metacognition, exploration and inquiry, risk taking and resilience empower our students to live their learning, rather than ‘doing school‘?  Below are some key questions that need to be considered in developing a culture of agency. 

What If High School Were More Like Kindergarten? – Ashley Lamb-Sinclair touches on the difference between learning and being educated. After spending some time in Finland she wonders the place of play and exploration within High-School.

So I will take my experience in Finland and the inspiration I have found in American educators’ classrooms to my own classroom this fall. I will strive to stretch the “Yoda” philosophy and put a little bit more kindergarten into my high-school English class. Hopefully, my students will be a little less educated and much more inspired in the end.

The Land We Play On: Equality Doesn’t Mean Justice – Gregory Phillips and Matthew Klugman unpack some of the complexities associated with indigenous power and place within AFL, making comparisons with the practices of various other sports. It is a lengthy post which asks many pertinent questions.

As a corporation concerned with making money off a national story of sporting prowess, how will the AFL acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories in a social justice rather than an inclusion narrative? How will they acknowledge that Aboriginal people have shaped and reshaped the way the game is played? How will they acknowledge they stuffed up, and genuinely seek to make things right? How will they acknowledge the land they play on?

Chance Favours the Connected School – Jason Markey reflects on his connected journey and why it is so important that we provide opportunities for our students to clash their hunches with others.

If chance can favor the connected school then we owe it to our students to give them an environment full of opportunity.

This Is What I Have Learnt and Try to Practise About: Admitting My Mistakes Paul Browning continues with his series of reflections on leadership, this time touching upon admitting mistakes.

The reality is that we are all human. We are fallible. Even the very best leader makes mistakes. However, contrary to our rational thought, people won’t think less of us if we acknowledge our errors. They will actually think more of us because humility and honesty are qualities admired far more highly than arrogance. 

Lessons in Leadership: Mind Your Language! – Riss Leung reflects on the power of language in defining the culture within school.

The language of a positive school culture costs nothing to use yet, used over time, can pay big dividends. It’s time to get the megaphones working for you!

Conditions for Innovation – Steve Brophy reflects on the process of working collaboratively to tackle the question of innovation in schools.

We defined innovation as the following: New, exciting and uncharted improvement as a response to need, blocks or crisis. How does that definition sit with you?

What's Worth Learning in School? – David Perkins elaborates on what he means by lifeworthy, a key concept to his book Future Wise.

Instead, we should be moving away from an understanding of something — the information on the test, the list of state capitals — to an understanding with something. With the latter, he says, students are able to then make connections to other things. For example, rather than just learning facts about the French Revolution, students should learn about the French Revolution as a way to understand issues like world conflict or poverty or the struggle between church and state. Without those connections, Perkins says he’s not surprised that so many people have trouble naming things they learned early on that still have meaning today or that disengaged students are raising their hands, asking why they need to know something.

Dear Kathy … – Bec Spink finds cause for celebration in a educational dialogue that is often filled with cynicism and pessimism. This in part reminds me of the debate that brewed up around Will Richardson's post about revolution verses reformation. 

There are schools and educators out there that are pushing the boundaries of the traditional system, that are asking questions, that are making change. Let’s share and celebrate those stories. The more we can do of that, the more others will notice, perceptions will change. If you disagree with the last sentence, then I am so happy you have chosen a different career pathway. The minute I become cynical or pessimistic about the work I do is the minute I will know it is time to move on. I hope it never happens.

Relevance Amplifies Learning – David Truss shares the story associated with a couple of senior students creating a mobile platform as a part of their curriculum.

When learning is relevant, criteria is far less important than when students are doing work to meet the needs of an assignment. I felt that my job was far less to teach, and far more to ‘stay out of the way’ of what was happening.

FOCUS ON … Seymour Papert

The father of educational technology, Seymour Papert, passed away on the 31st July. Here is a collection of posts and resources celebrating his life:


READ WRITE RESPOND #008

So that is August 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?

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