Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2013

Drafting 7 PLN Game Changers

On the evening of the NFL Draft, I began contemplating what it would look like if I had to "draft" the folks that make up my super, awesome personal learning network. Here is what my "PLN Draft" would look like, rounds 1 - 7.




ROUND ONE - Edudemic (Jeff Dunn & Katie Lepi)
Twitter = @edudemic
Google+ = +Edudemic

Scouting Report:  A steady stream of helpful information for improving education, improving teacher effectiveness, and enhancing learning for students.

ROUND TWO - Edutopia (A George Lucas Foundation)
Twitter = @edutopia
Google+ = +Edutopia

Scouting Report:  Daily posts that are rich in detail and support material.  Covering a wide range of educational topics.

ROUND THREE - Mindshift  (Tina Barseghian)
Twitter = @MindShiftKQED
Google+ = +MindShift+Tina Barseghian

Scouting Report:  Posts hit my email inbox first thing in the morning.  I retweet 3/4 of what MindShift sends me.  High quality information with wide-ranging topics about learning and innovation in ed…

Does a Teacher Need to be Connected to be Great?

Thanks to +Pernille Ripp for putting words to a question that had been brewing in my mind for roughly the past year. It was about a year ago that I decided to make a concerted effort to strengthening my PLN. Fresh off of feeling the buzz from connecting and learning with others, I tried to persuade some of my favorite colleagues to join me in the waters of the world-wide classroom. On came the familiar excuses that included thoughts of fear, apprehension, apathy, and the ever-present, lack of time.

Pernille Ripp's post, "Do you have to be connected to be a great teacher?" clearly and concisely raises an interesting question. I especially appreciate the thoughtful string of comments that follow her post. In speaking with several of my tech savvy, connected colleagues, their responses were very similar to the comments found at the end of Ripp's post, with some passionate arguments being voiced on both sides of the fence.



It is my opinion, and I am admittedly biased on th…

How Can Your Students Create a Learning Legacy?

For those teachers looking to "disrupt" learning for their students, I recommend reading "Who Owns the Learning" by Alan November (@NLearning). American socio-economic emphasis has shifted from agrarian, to industrial, to technical, to informational, to connected. Have our schools adjusted to these economic shifts? In too many cases, the answer is NO. In his book, Alan explains how teachers can provide roles for students to contribute to learning communities. He calls this the Digital Learning Farm.


Contribution roles provide students with purposeful endeavors that allow them to solve authentic problems and prepare them to participate in a globalized economy. The book provides direction and examples to help teachers develop more meaningful learning experiences for their students.

As we have discussed previously, applying a layer of technology alone does not guarantee a transformative or "disruptive" student learning experience. (1:1 is not Enough)

Many t…

The Classroom Experiment - Strategies to Promote Engagement and Learning

Dylan Wiliam is a prominent educator in the United Kingdom. His ideas and strategies are consistently mentioned in education reform circles. On an uncharacteristically quiet evening at home, I stumbled across these BBC videos, The Classroom Experiment. Although it took nearly two hours to get through the videos, I came away thinking that the teacher is certainly the most important factor in student learning, and that student learning can be improved with persistence and a willingness to become better at failure.



For those folks that feel that teachers can be replaced by technology, these videos suggest otherwise.
The Classroom Experiment - part 1 (58:00)The Classroom Experiment - part 2 (59:00)Dylan Wiliam at The Schools Network Conference (38:00)Here is a summary of the strategies and changes that Dylan Wiliam instituted to increase student engagement and advance student learning.
No raising of hands - use Popsicle sticks, or some other mechanism to randomize the selection process for …

The Blogging Pyramid

Blogging is widely considered one of the best activities to support connected learning.  However, many people don't realize the degrees of involvement that blogging has to offer. This "Blogging Pyramid" came to mind during a conversation at a Starbucks yesterday, and is my interpretation of how educators and students can get involved with blogging on various levels. The pyramid also reflects my daily usage of social media. or blogging tools. My school is a 1:1 learning environment supported by iPads, so that is my focus for this post. Other blogging tools may be more appropriate for your audience or learning environment.

Ultrablog - eBooks - iBooks Author, more length detail and evidence of research or knowledge.  eBooks should include interactive features to enhance the reading experience.  eBooks are living documents that can be expanded and revised to include current information and upgraded features.Blog - Blogger, includes posts that are typically longer and more det…

21st Century School Supply List

I recently received a parent newsletter containing the suggested school supply lists for the coming school year. These lists looks strangely similar, dare I say, almost identical (sans graphing calculator) to the ones I remember as a kid - nearly four decades ago. But how can this be? With all of the disruption and pedagogical shifting going on, shouldn't the requisite school supplies be different that they were even five years ago?

I have fond memories of the 8-count jumbo Crayola crayons.  Do you remember their waxy smell? But of course, 8 wasn't enough. After a few steps up the color ladder, I had the 64-count box with the onboard crayon sharpener. How about Elmer's paste? That also had an interesting odor. I enjoyed getting ten packs of new Ticonderoga #2 pencils draped in the familiar yellow with pink (chewy) erasers. My brother and I were careful to pick out folder / binder designs that were fun, but didn't make us look silly or uncool. Sports themes, Star Wars, a…