Joel Speranza posits what makes good professional development:

Good PD is:
– Content-focused
– Involves Active learning for participants
– Coherent with school goals and teacher beliefs
– Long in both hours and span of time
– Collaborative

In many ways, this reminds me of my experience with Disciplined Collaboration:

One of the challenges associated with Disciplined Collaboration is creating the right conditions to support collective inquiry in order to determine success. A part of this is having a clear theory of action, providing staff with the appropriate skills to support collaborative learning, as well as fostering a culture of trust in which accountability for impact is shared.

Replied to Autonomy, Accountability & Self-Regulation in my Classroom – Joel Speranza (

I move around the classroom, answering questions, having conversations, setting up small impromptu groups to run through a question on the board together. This might sound like chaos but it very much is not. I know what every student is doing, where they are up to and how much they are understanding. This is something I never managed to achieve when I taught in a more traditional manner.

And my students. They are in control of their own destiny. They know why I run my classroom the way I do and they appreciate being given this level of autonomy.

Joel, I am really intrigued by your model and how it sits with other teachers you work with? Is it something that is practised across all year levels? Also, is it used in other subject areas, such as English?
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I have always wondered about this Joel. I also wonder about things like ‘Turn It In’ and whether that causes issues when submitting. Ian Guest and Deb Netolicky might have some thoughts.
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I am going to have to give this a try as I am intrigued, especially by the lemon
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Congratulations Joel. I was reading Cory Doctorow’s Homeland today and you reminded me of his discussion of dandelions as a model for spreading ideas , especially with your Maths Video Australia site.

The dandelion doesn’t want to nurse a single precious copy of itself in the hopes that it will leave the nest and carefully navigate its way to the optimum growing environment, there to perpetuate the line. The dandelion just wants to be sure that every single opportunity for reproduction is exploited!

Replied to Embracing Type II fun For Teachers (Joel Speranza)

With the incredibly rapid move to online learning teachers have scrambled. FAST. It’s been tough, it’s been stressful, there’s been quite a few late nights. And in the process we’ve all got a little taste of what mountain climbers call TYPE II fun.

Joel, your discussion of fun has me thinking about Seymour Papert’s idea of hard fun.

It is expressed in many different ways, all of which all boil down to the conclusion that everyone likes hard challenging things to do. But they have to be the right things matched to the individual and to the culture of the times. These rapidly changing times challenge educators to find areas of work that are hard in the right way: they must connect with the kids and also with the areas of knowledge, skills and (don’t let us forget) ethic adults will need for the future world.

Thinking about such ‘fun’ is it fair to say there is always a level of agency and autonomy involved. The choice to use Kahoot! or the choice to run a marathon. I wonder what opportunities can be provided for students at the moment to engage in Type II fun?

On a side note, your discussion of fear and fun reminded me of Kevin Parker discussing his intent to put himself in challenging situations.

Replied to Thinking about OneNote Differently. It’s not a Notebook, It’s a Website. How to Make a Website using Microsoft OneNote. (Joel Speranza)

I’ve used Microsoft OneNote for quite a while now. I use it to teach all of my maths classes and I use it to organize my own materials as well. I’ve also taught quite a few teachers to …

I have seen people do similar sorts of things with Google Slides. I really like the idea of applications like OneNote for sharing ideas and resources, although I am not sure I would trust it as a canonical reference.
Bookmarked A Very Short Free Course In EFFECTIVE Educational Video Creation (Joel Speranza)

So you need to make educational videos. In 12 minutes, this free course will take you from beginner to pro. Guaranteed or your money back.

Joel Speranza has put together a series of instructional videos that unpacks his process of creating instructional videos. This includes embracing mistakes, teaching fast, making shorter videos, chunking concepts, capturing the essence early, showing your face, using the pause button when recording, making a schedule and the different techniques.

For a different take, Speranza also created an infographic summarising how to create video. He also discusses the flipped workflow and how to build a budget lightboard.

I have explored flipped learning in the past, however my focus was in regards to curating content. The more I explore this area when supporting schools, the more I am discovering the power of video. Kathleen Morris has also put together a thorough guide on the topic for Edublog.

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Joel, in trying to create repository based on your blended work published in WordPress, you probably want to use pages if the content is relatively static or structured. You might also want to import this content from an existing site:

Or from YouTube:

I imagine you could use this to really customise the content that you are uploading by working the import files. I had a tinker with this idea, but realised I would need to do more jujutsu with Sheets and XML than time provides

In regards to themes (or anything really), checkout WordPress Beginners for a list of video-based options. Also, I really like the simplicity (although they are not simple) of Alan Levine’s calling card themes. For example, I could imagine you using Dimensions and having the pages represent each of the units.

You also might want to create custom archive pages that captures the different pages. Again, WP Beginners has a guide for that too.

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I think that those almost posts are often some of the best lessons learnt. I guess this is why writing and then sitting with your thoughts can be useful.
Replied to Learning is Feedback: And how to do it online (Joel Speranza)

While you’ve lost what is great about face to face teaching, you have also been unshackled by its slavish adherence to the clock. You are now master of your time, and you can use it to gather as much feedback as you like, however you like.

I really liked this reflection on feedback Joel. The need to move online has forced a reflection on the differences between modes and mediums. I remember presenting on the place of technology to transform learning, however I have really been left wondering about the impact when learning is only online. I really liked your point in your other post about adapting your pedagogy. Some things change, some things stay the same.
Bookmarked Online Learning in the time of a pandemic: What it is, What it isn’t. (Joel Speranza)

Because of the Coronavirus, schools across the world are sending students and teachers home and moving towards online learning. Parents and students are being assured that the learning will continu…

Joel Speranza adds some thoughts to the discussion about the transition to online learning. He argues that this needs to be understood as an emergency measure that should focus on self-paced learning. It is not a time for rethink everything, but instead to be kind to yourself and your students.
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Well said Joel. I think that now is the time for care and kindness, not more fear and self-doubt. Reminds me of
Pernille Ripp’s call to be ‘good enough
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Joel, this reminds me of a post by Kath Murdoch from a few years ago focusing on questions as intentions.

If an intention is framed as a question, we naturally gather data, share and reflect. We can create dot points that easily become success criteria. And it’s not about getting the right answer