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I used to think…

I used to think… | Connected educator | Scoop.it
My students are competent to show me what they need. I'm becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.

 

I used to think our current K-12 format made sense. Now I believe it fails so many of our students. I look at students who are in Grade 1 or 2 and struggling to learn to read at the teacher’s pace. For some of them, their little brains just aren’t quite ready yet — all they need is more time. But the current system we have doesn’t allow for it. Kids are pushed along the assembly line and many develop not only large learning gaps, but a lack of self-efficacy.
I see this in high school too. Some kids take longer to develop abstract thinking, and struggle with math and other abstract concepts. The truth is that in high school I couldn’t understand Chemistry. Now I teach it. I could learn it in university, as an adult, because my brain was ready.

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Why I try to follow every teacher I can on Twitter

Why I try to follow every teacher I can on Twitter | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Currently, I follow over 8500 people on Twitter and that count will continue to grow. I rarely look at my “home” column because, as Tony mentioned, it moves way to fast. I use hashtags and lists to find information I am interested in. Every once in awhile though, I take a peek at that home column (interestingly enough, that is how I found Tony’s blog post) and find something amazing, or see someone I follow asking for help. Either I try to help them myself, or “Retweet” them to help them find a connection. If I didn’t follow them, I wouldn’t be able to do that. I do this because so many people have done this for me. Although it is my “Personal Learning Network” it is not just about what I take from it, but also what I can give, not only in information, but in facilitating connections and offering some help. I am, as all educators are, extremely busy, but when I can help, I try to do my best. We are all teachers and we all should focus on what is best for kids.

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Learner Focused

Learner Focused | Connected educator | Scoop.it

If kids didn’t really understand, well, you would have to move on. Getting through the curriculum seemed more important than the kids actually learning.

I don’t do that anymore.

Learning should take on a life of it’s own and my focus is to push people to learn about what they are interested in and help guide them in the process. The process of learning, to me, is much more important than the product of learning. My workshops usually have 2-3 things that we are going to focus on in a day, but I don’t set times anymore because I don’t know where we will be. How could I accurately determine the learning of people if I have never met them? I am not totally there as a teacher, but I am growing and hopefully getting better.

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Guest Post | Three Starting Points for Thinking Differently About Learning

Guest Post | Three Starting Points for Thinking Differently About Learning | Connected educator | Scoop.it
Author Will Richardson suggests three ways to rethink teaching and learning at a time when technology has "upended the basic premise of school."...

Today, there is no doubt that the Web has changed things more than most of us could have imagined way back there at the turn of the century. Every day we have access to more information, more knowledge and more people. In many ways, I can’t imagine there has been a more amazing time to learn.

I also, however, can’t imagine a more challenging time for schools.
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Teaching in the Age of Siri

Teaching in the Age of Siri | Connected educator | Scoop.it

You know the future is rushing towards us when students no longer ask the teacher if they can use a calculator, but instead ask if they can ask Siri. Yes, that iPhone phenom with the sort-of-sultry voice.When I asked Siri, I didn’t just get the answer to my query.

Siri shows me a plot of the equation, what kind of geometric shape it is, and loads of other things that are well above the needs of my 8th graders. I thought the image on my screen looked remarkably like the data one finds at the Wolfram Alpha site. And sure enough, Wolfram is built right into the Siri help menu.

Amazing.

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Important, Intriguing, Beautiful Questions

Important, Intriguing, Beautiful Questions | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Ken Bain:
“ People are most likely to take a deep approach to their learning when they are trying to answer questions or solve problems that they have come to regard as important, intriguing, or justbeautiful. One of the great secrets to fostering deep learning is the ability to help students raise new kinds of questions that they will find fascinating.

 

In the context of questions, schools need a reframing. (Can you imagine an exit test where kids ASK the questions instead of answer them?

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As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity

New research suggests that American schoolchildren are becoming less creative.

 

If anything makes Americans stand tall internationally it is creativity. “American ingenuity” is admired everywhere. We are not the richest country (at least not as measured by smallest percentage in poverty), nor the healthiest (far from it), nor the country whose kids score highest on standardized tests (despite our politicians’ misguided intentions to get us there), but we are the most inventive country. We are the great innovators, specialists in figuring out new ways of doing things and new things to do. Perhaps this derives from our frontier beginnings, or from our unique form of democracy with its emphasis on individual freedom and respect for nonconformity. In the business world as well as in academia and the arts and elsewhere, creativity is our number one asset. In a recent IBM poll, 1,500 CEOs acknowledged this when they identified creativity as the best predictor of future success.[1]

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Meaning and Purpose | Connected Principals

So recently I had the wonderful opportunity to re-read one of of my favorite books, In Daniel Pink’s book, “Drive”, he talks about the power of intrinsic motivation.

 

Pink often talks about how “meaning” is the new money, and I wonder how much we are doing to emphasize this in the contact days that we have with our students. Are we really looking to connect and relate what we are teaching in a way that allows our kids to see the purpose in it…..or the meaning? Are students leaving our classrooms with a better understanding of who they are, and a better sense of who they can be? I know that they are becoming better readers, and scientists, and mathematicians but are they becoming better people? If it’s not a confident and resounding yes!, then I think we should re-evaluate our own purpose and meaning as educators.

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#WhySchool Written by Chris Kennedy

#WhySchool Written by Chris Kennedy | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Will Richardson’s blog was one of the very first educational blogs I followed.  For close to a decade I have been reading, learning and engaging with Will.  In his section on “New School” Richardson lays out six key themes for educators and the system:

 

Share everything (or at least something)

Discover, don’t deliver, the curriculum

Talk to strangers

Be a master learner

Do real work for real audiences

Transfer the power

 

Richardson concludes, “Just imagine the learners they could become if we made these skills [using technology to solve real problems and think independently] the focus of our work; if, instead of passing the test, we made those ever-more important skills of networking, inquiry, creation, sharing, unlearning, and relearning the answer to the ‘why school’ question. Imagine what our kids could become if we helped them take full advantage of all they have available to them for learning.”

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8 Unique Online Presentation Tools for Students| The Committed Sardine

8 Unique Online Presentation Tools for Students| The Committed Sardine | Connected educator | Scoop.it

A great presentation is more than just a vehicle for delivering facts and information. You know this because when you've witnessed a great one you've walked away entertained, refreshed, and inspired.

Chances are you'll remember certain things about it that really resonated with you, and you'll find it much easier to retain the content because it was offered to you in such a unique way. Great presentations are a combination of carefully chosen visuals, concisely plotted information, and often a very simple approach meant to connect to an audience rather than overwhelm them with bullet points and embedded media. In such presentations, everything has a purpose and place.

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Teaching using web 2.0

Teaching using web 2.0 | Connected educator | Scoop.it

If you teach in a 1:1 school I’m sure you have considered closing Facebook, Youtube, Skype and other popular applications/programs. Whenever I give instructions or have conversations with my students I always ask them to close the lid of the computer.

 

By all means, start teaching the students to be sensible users of the internet. But as an addition I don’t see why we can’t use technology to help us stay more focused as well. I have tested some tools that might come in handy. And they are meant to help the students concentrate, not as a punishment. It has to be up to the students if they want to use this. I might tell the students that if they block Facebook in Crome, it will still work in Firefox, and I’m not going to check your computer.

 

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Leadership 2.0 – Open Course #leadership20 | Connected Principals

Leadership 2.0 – Open Course #leadership20 | Connected Principals | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Starting on October 2nd, I am very pleased to announce that Parkland School Division, in conjunction with the Central Alberta Regional Consortium, will be .holding totally open and free sessions on “Leadership 2.0“. This will explore what school leadership looks like in the context of today’s world and how innovative leaders are pushing their schools and organizations forward. The course will be based on the Alberta Principal Quality Standards but these standards are applicable to the success of a school leader anywhere in the world and usually align with most organizational standards.

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What the Web Does and Does Not Scale

What the Web Does and Does Not Scale | Connected educator | Scoop.it

George Siemens writing in a new blog that he’s sharing with Dave Cormier and Bonnie Stewart as they craft a new book about the future of higher education:
“ Our thesis with xEducation is that the internet is happening to higher education and that successful universities of the future will be those that find ways to generate value for its many stakeholders that go beyond content provision and teaching.

 

If our focus is not in developing learners through the face to face nudging, modeling, questioning, feedback that stems from our human selves, that stuff that technology, to date at least, has not been able to provide, then I think we run the risk of irrelevance.

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3 tips for teachers new to Twitter

3 tips for teachers new to Twitter | Connected educator | Scoop.it

A colleague who knows that Twitter is my favorite social space stuck her head in my room the other day with a complaint.. “Bill, Twitter’s not working for me. No one ever replies to any of my questions. What’s the point of posting if no one is ever listening?”

 

1. Spend your early time on Twitter following important educational hashtags

2. Persuade colleagues to join Twitter with you

3. Remember that you build relationships in Twitter one good deed at a time:

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Technology Is Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say

Technology Is Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say | Connected educator | Scoop.it
There is a widespread belief among teachers that digital technology is hampering students’ attention spans and ability to persevere, according to two surveys.

 

The surveys also found that many teachers said technology could be a useful educational tool. In the Pew survey, which was done in conjunction with the College Board and the National Writing Project, roughly 75 percent of 2,462 teachers surveyed said that the Internet and search engines had a “mostly positive” impact on student research skills. And they said such tools had made students more self-sufficient researchers.

But nearly 90 percent said that digital technologies were creating “an easily distracted generation with short attention spans.”

Similarly, of the 685 teachers surveyed in the Common Sense project, 71 percent said they thought technology was hurting attention span “somewhat” or “a lot.” About 60 percent said it hindered students’ ability to write and communicate face to face, and almost half said it hurt critical thinking and their ability to do homework.

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The Digital Realist

The Digital Realist | Connected educator | Scoop.it

If you listen hard enough to discussions about online learning or digital technology in the classroom, you’ll find significant philosophical differences underlying the different positions.

 

The student owns the learning, and I don’t really think it’s appropriate for the teacher to determine how they learn best.” understand the sentiment behind this statement. Like Lisa, I want to give my students as much agency as possible. In one of my favorite books about teaching writing (The 9 Rights of Every Writer), Vicki Spandel promotes giving students the right to choose their own topics, to go “off topic,” to write badly, and to find their own voice. I agree with Vicki – that’s the way I teach – so it might seem that I’m aligned with Lisa’s statement above. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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For Students, Why the Question is More Important Than the Answer

For Students, Why the Question is More Important Than the Answer | Connected educator | Scoop.it
Thinkstock In a traditional classroom, the teacher is the center of attention, the owner of knowledge and answers. What would happen if the roles were flipped and students asked the questions?

That’s the premise of the Right Question Institute and a new book by its co-directors Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana. The book, Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, documents a step-by-step process to help students formulate and prioritize questions about nearly everything.

Coming up with the right question involves vigorously thinking through the problem, investigating it from various angles, turning closed questions into open-ended ones and prioritizing which are the most important questions to get at the heart of the matter.
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The Flip: End of a Love Affair

The Flip: End of a Love Affair | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Most teachers who opt for the flipped classroom strategy are not pursuing a student-centered approach to learning. The traditional model is simply being reversed. As I shifted my classroom from teacher-centred to student-centred, my students began to do lots of their their own research. Sometimes this resulted in them teaching each other. Sometimes they created a project with the knowledge they were acquiring. But the bottom line was that their learning had a purpose that was apparent to them, beyond simply passing the unit exam.

1) I dislike the idea of giving my students homework

2) A lecture by video is still a lecture.

3) I want my students to own their learning.

4) My students need to be able to find and critically evaluate their own resources.

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What are educators' professional obligations to learn from social media channels? | Dangerously Irrelevant

What are educators' professional obligations to learn from social media channels? | Dangerously Irrelevant | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Paul Bogush pushed back (in a nice way) on my recently-popular post, If you were on Twitter. First he wrote about how most educators are too busy to be involved in social media. Then he wrote about all of the wonderful things that happened during the time when he wasn’t on Twitter

 

t’s hard to argue that there is little learning value in social media. There are numerous ways in which teachers and administrators could be using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, online videos, podcasts, online slideshows, and other social media tools to advance their own practice. Whether it’s subscribing to other innovative educators’ feeds, interacting and sharing resources with global colleagues, or consuming and using high-quality peer-created resources, there are myriad teaching ideas, lesson plans, Web resources, conversation spaces, technology tools, reflections on practice, and other pedagogical fruits that are ripe for the picking by online-savvy educators. Peer-to-peer online learning networks can help educators sort the wheat from the chaff and curate what’s relevant and powerful.

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Dispelling the Myths About 1:1 Environments

Dispelling the Myths About 1:1 Environments | Connected educator | Scoop.it
In my last post, I shared what we learned last year during our 1:1 iPad and Google Apps for Education launches. In this post, I’d like to dispel myths about 1:1 environments.

 

I like to quote Chris Lehman anytime technology integration comes up. Chris said, "Technology should be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary and invisible." Technology should not stand out; it should simply blend with dynamic teachers and the engaging curriculum they design. To validate technology integration simply because this generation gets it and needs it is a thin assertion. In fact, many students deemed "digital natives" prefer analog formats for learning and organizing. Integrate technology because you know it is purposeful and helps create engaging learning environments for students.

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7 Ways to Transform Your Classroom | Connected Principals

7 Ways to Transform Your Classroom | Connected Principals | Connected educator | Scoop.it

Transforming Classrooms with Inquiry

Transforming Classrooms with Voice

Transforming Classrooms with Audience

Transforming Classrooms with Community:

Transforming Classrooms with Leadership

Transforming Classrooms with Play

Transforming Classrooms with Networks:

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Why School? Will Richardson tells you why.

Why School? Will Richardson tells you why. | Connected educator | Scoop.it

“What doesn’t work any longer is our education system’s stubborn focus on delivering a curriculum that’s growing increasingly irrelevant to today’s kids, the outmoded standardized assessments we use in an attempt to measure our success, and the command-and-control thinking that is wielded over the entire process. All of that must be rethought.”

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Teaching using web 2.0

Teaching using web 2.0 | Connected educator | Scoop.it
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire lead a cast of stars in a new public service announcement urging young voters to use social media to express the issues most important to them in the upcoming election. Zac Efron, Selena Gomez, Ellen DeGeneres, Jonah Hill and Joseph Gordon Levitt also appear in the Vote 4 Stuff video unveiled Monday, joining other stars in a call to voters to post tweets, photos and short videos about concerns they feel deserve presidential attention. This is a campaign where they aim to use the power of social media to incite bipartisan conversation around real issues, encourage registration and voting in November.”
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Top 10 Secret Features of iOS 6

Top 10 Secret Features of iOS 6 | Connected educator | Scoop.it
Apple released iOS 6 this week, bringing a handful of new features to iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. While they defined many of the flagship features, several were left unsaid. These are our 10 favorite secret features in iOS 6.
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Another Stunningly Bad Vision for Learning

Another Stunningly Bad Vision for Learning | Connected educator | Scoop.it

On another note, I’ve been thinking lately that there’s a whole ‘nother level of problem with the “personalized learning” term. You can’t really personalize learning can you? You can personalize content with the aim that students will learn something. But the learning isn’t fait accompli.Personal learning is just that. Personalized? #notsomuch

Thoughts?

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