Feed aggregator

App Challenge! Enter to Win $20,000 for your School

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 26 August, 2016 - 21:40

I had an email the other day about the Verizon app challenge. It looks interesting and I may have some students enter this year. The fact that coding IS NOT required opens the door to a lot more students. Anyone else using this with their students?

What is the app challenge?

The app challenge, part of Verizon Innovative Learning, is a nationwide contest in which middle and high school students are challenged to develop concepts for mobile apps that solve a problem in their community. It’s a unique, hands-on activity that teaches collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and entrepreneurship, as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills and coding. It builds on students’ excitement about technology and aims to equip them with skills they need to succeed in the jobs of the future.

Design real mobile apps and your students could win $20,000 for your school. Absolutely no coding required.
Gather your team of students to put their problem-solving skills to the test and come up with a great app concept that helps meet a need in your school.
The app challenge, part of Verizon Innovative Learning, promotes:
— Teamwork,
— Builds character,
— Teaches critical thinking.
Find Out More

Categories: Planet

Cutler-Bell Scholarship Deadline November 1 2016

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 24 August, 2016 - 23:46

Dave Cutler and Gordon Bell have funded an amazing CS competition for American high school students. Last year’s winners had some truly impressive projects. Do you have a student doing some out of the box thinking and building something impressive? Have them look into entering this event. There is money and recognition in it for them.

The ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing is a prize designed to recognize talented high school students intending to continue their higher education in the areas of computer science or technology. The program seeks to promote and encourage the field of computer science, as well as to empower young and aspiring learners to pursue computing challenges outside of the traditional classroom environment.

The prize is a made available through a $1 million endowment established by David Cutler and Gordon Bell. Dr. Cutler is a software engineer, designer and developer of several operating systems including Windows NT at Microsoft and RSX-11M, VMS and VAXELN at Digital Equipment Corporation. He is Senior Technical Fellow at Microsoft. Dr. Bell is an electrical engineer and an early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation where he led the development of VAX. He is now a researcher emeritus at Microsoft Research.

Up to four winners will be selected annually and each will be awarded a $10,000 prize which will be administered through the financial aid department at the university the student will attend.

Eligible applicants for the award will include graduating high school seniors residing and attending school in the US. Challenges for the award will focus on developing an artifact that engages modern computing technology and computer science. Judges will look for submissions that demonstrate ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, and a desire to further computer science as a discipline.

The application period for the 2016 award is scheduled to open May 1, 2016 and close November 1, 2016. The winners are expected to be announced in January of 2017. 

Any questions? Contact us at awards@csta-hq.org.

The Cutler-Bell Application deadline is November 1!

**Click here to apply for this year's award**

Categories: Planet

Higher Expectations

The Principal of Change George Couros - 24 August, 2016 - 10:32

I asked this question earlier on Twitter:

Curious your thoughts…Which sign in school would do more to reduce bullying – “Bullying stops here!” or “Leadership starts here!” – Ideas?

— George Couros (@gcouros) August 23, 2016

(Click on the tweet to see the responses as there are a lot!)

First of all, I do not think a sign will significantly prevent bullying, no matter the school. Do we really think a kid will see the sign and say, “I was totally going to bully today but because of that sign, I no longer will!”

I doubt it.

But that being said, it is the the thinking behind putting that sign up in the first place.  Do we seek kids to be complicit to the rules of school, or to empower them to do something amazing? This is not to say that any school that has signs similar to this are looking to stifle kids.  What I am saying is that in a system that has traditionally looked at compliance as a good thing, we have to be very explicit in our thinking in how we empower our students and look at them through the eyes of the positive, as opposed to assuming the negative.

Now people will say that this might be leading to the “babying” of our society, and make our kids soft.  I actually think it the opposite; the expectations are higher.  It is a lot easier to not bully, than it is to lead.

One of my favourite quotes comes from Shelley Wright:

Are you asking kids to do something important, or simply not do something?

Categories: Planet

3 Ways Classroom Design Impacts Student Learning

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 24 August, 2016 - 08:51

Research on classroom design with Peter Barrett

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Peter Barrett gives us an overview of his classroom design research in today’s show. Peter and his co-authors found a 16% impact of classroom design on the learning of 3766 primary school students in the UK. Peter breaks down the study into individual factors like light, air quality, and nature. But, perhaps the most astounding impact is the power of personalization and helping students “own” the classroom on learning. This personalization aspect impacts all teachers!

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher Today’s Sponsor: Carson Dellosa As you design your classroom, use the fantastic resources by today’s sponsor Carson-Dellosa. As can be seen by the points made in today’s show, we should all check out these tools and resources at Carson-Dellosa. Additionally, they have great tips on decluttering their classroom and a first-year teacher’s guide. This week, Carson Dellosa is featuring a set of interactive notebooks that allow students to show what they know.

Get Classroom Design Info at Carson Dellosa

Show Notes:
  • The studies he conducted looked at primary children in the United Kingdom.
  • To understand the impact of classroom designs they tried to incorporate as many aspects of the classroom as possible. Everything from lighting to air to what’s on the walls, it was all included in the study.
  • They found a 16% impact of school design on student learning in this study.
Questions We Discussed
  • What are the important factors of classroom design relating to the learning of younger children?
  • What is the impact of students feeling like they own their own classroom learning?
  • What is the impact of natural light on the classroom? And isn’t enough just to do big windows can big windows actually decrease learning in the classroom?
  • What is the impact of air quality?
  • What kind of light is best for children?
  • Is there such a thing as overstimulation? What colors are best?
  • How can student personalization of the learning space amp up learning?
  • What are common misconceptions by teachers of younger children on classroom design?
 Who is Peter Barrett?

Peter Barrett MSc PhD DSc is Emeritus Professor at Salford University in the UK and and an Honorary Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Department of Education. After initially training as a surveyor he has since carried out academic research in many areas, most recently around the impact of buildings on people, and more specifically of school design on pupils’ learning rates.

Educator Resources from this Episode You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.

The post 3 Ways Classroom Design Impacts Student Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

FREE WEBINAR: 9 Ways Writing Has Been Reinvented in the Classroom

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 23 August, 2016 - 20:45

Join me, August 25 at 7pm EDT

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Writing has been reinvented. Learn about the tools, techniques and writing tips that are changing everything.

Thursday, August 25, 7pm EDT

Register Now

The webinar is live and free. As with the other webinars, I’ll be recording and posting this on the store.

Check out my book Reinventing Writing.

Reinventing WRiting teaches you about the 9 tools that are changing writing, learning and living forever and how to teach with them.


The post FREE WEBINAR: 9 Ways Writing Has Been Reinvented in the Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

3 Ways to Teach the Way the Brain Wants to Learn

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 23 August, 2016 - 09:21

A best selling neurologist shares how the brain really works

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

How do exercise, sleep, and the unique composition of the human brain impact learning? Today’s guest, neuroscientist John Medina, shares his views on where schools are falling short. Today’s show is a thought-provoking and edgy discussion sure to evoke a lively discussion in your PLC. If you love Brain Rules, listen to today’s show.


Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher Plan an Exciting Student Trip with Rustic Pathways

See Rustic Pathways Student Trips

Today’s Sponsor: Rustic PathwaysThe most memorable experiences in my teaching career happened on trips with students. Today’s sponsor Rustic Pathways can help plan your trip and make learning meaningful. Take time now to plan an incredible trip with your students. Go to groups.rusticpathways.com/cool-cat/ to learn more about the exciting trips you can plan with students. Show Notes:
  • How do schools ignore brain differences?
  • Can you teach to the norm of a class?
  • Why does the current grade structure in schools cause concern?
  • Is there an optimal student-to-teacher ratio according to neuroscience?
  • How do exercise and learning relate?
  • What did a group of engineers do to increase their rate of Mandarin Chinese language acquisition 20% faster?
  • How do you optimize your brain for learning?
  • What impact does the loss of sleep have on student achievement?

Who is John Medina?

Dr. John J. Medina @brainrulesbooks, a developmental molecular biologist, has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School — a provocative book that takes on the way our schools and work environments are designed. His latest book is Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.

The post 3 Ways to Teach the Way the Brain Wants to Learn appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Interesting Links 22 August 2016

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 22 August, 2016 - 20:12
I meet my new freshmen students today. I hope they are as excited as I am. Should be a good year with lots of interesting things to try with my students. It starts with an attitude shown by this cartoon. I want to get them DOING things. New things. Innovative things. Projects that are about them!

And now some links.

Wisconsin eyes model academic standards in computer science actually they are looking for feedback. I hope they look at the CSTA Standards and the K12 CS Framework. 

Scratch now has  Educator Accounts That should make some things interesting and even easier for many teachers.

Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Innovative Educators Experts and Showcase Schools Spoiler alert: I was named an MIE Expert for the second year in a row. Great company to be included in. 

School study of computer science key to Irish knowledge economy  via @IrishTimesBiz People are seeing the need for more CS education everywhere th3ese days.

From Computational Thinking to Computational Participation in K-12 Education Really good and thought provoking post by Yasmin Kafai

Students who are interested in creating apps should check out the Congressional App Challenge

Intel's Joule is its most powerful dev kit yet  via @engadget A bit pricy but looks like it might work for some makerspaces.

Supports for blind CS students: Guest blog post from Andreas Stefik /  via Mark @guzdial as a follow up to a post I linked to in last week’s interesting links post.

Categories: Planet

Redefine the Role

The Principal of Change George Couros - 22 August, 2016 - 11:53

People often say to me, “I don’t want to be a principal…The things you have to do are just not for me.”

My response immediately is, “You don’t have to do what the principal does now…you have the ability to create something new.”

I was reminded of this when I had a conversation with a good friend of mine going into a central office position.  Knowing that he is extremely driven by “what is best for kids”, I know the transition can be tough moving to a place where kids are not around all of the time. My advice was, “go to schools more often and spend more time with students.”

Redefine the role.

One of our biggest dilemmas in moving education forward is that we are creatures of experience. We often teach the way we taught, or recreate what our colleagues do.  Bruce Dixon said to a group that I was in once, “There is no other profession in the world that you watch someone do your job for 16 years before you go do it.”  This really shifted my thinking.

It is awesome to be inspired by the ideas of others, but you are not tied to them. No matter what you role is. focus on what is best for kids, and then decide how you get there. Don’t focus solely on what others do or have done.

It is your legacy, not theirs.


Categories: Planet

Making the most of opportunities for thinking — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 21 August, 2016 - 18:05


  • What should our goal for student thinking be? How do we scaffold student thinking in ways that are meaningful while developing autonomy and encouraging students to think effectively when we are not there? What would success with thinking strategies look like? These were the challenging questions that Mark Church presented to teachers at the most recent 'Cultures of Thinking Teach Meet’ hosted by Masada College. - Nigel Coutts

Tags: opportunities, thinking, learner, education, collaboration

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

The BOSTES Review

Darcy Moore's Blog - 20 August, 2016 - 14:13

The Review of BOSTES (Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW) commissioned by the NSW Minister for Education in March 2016 has been released. Mr Piccoli has accepted all of the recommendations. This will result in a name change with BOSTES becoming the NSW Education Standards Authority or, as the report details, “the Authority“.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday sensationalised aspects of the final report and the Minister acknowledged on Twitter that his choice of words were poor. I have read the detail now and think most of it, in the context of what we currently have in NSW, completely logical. There is much more to analyse and discuss than what can be explore in this blog post but many of the findings, especially when read in isolation or without other contextual knowledge about education in NSW, make a good deal of sense.

When one reads the report with teachers in mind there are a number of important acknowledgements of current issues. I will highlight a couple that are particularly significant for classroom practitioners. Recommendation 9 will interest teachers who have sought accreditation NSW schools since late 2003:

Many teachers have been frustrated with these formal processes and last week I personally endeavoured to have a course, that didn’t fit neatly in a box, formally registered. The managerialism of it all defeated me, at least temporarily. Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching, with Dylan Wiliam, looks brilliant and of course, one can clock-up the non-registered hours but without regaling you with the detail, “simplifying existing processes” would be highly appreciated.

Recommendation 11 is also worth looking at closely:

The ARC (Assessment Resource Centre) website is a really good example of how we are neglecting students (and their teachers) by not providing better support materials. Reinvesting in curriculum support will be welcomed. In the rest of this post it will become abundantly clear to see where the educational reform dollar is being spent.

What’s changed?

The educational landscape in NSW and Australia has changed in many ways over the last decade or so, although much remains the same. Children still arrive at schools and mostly move from class to class when the bell rings, study the same subjects that their parents/grandparents experienced and sit pen and paper exams. Most have a limited experience of technology or control over what they study for most of their school careers.

What has changed is that bureaucrats and administrators are very busy making plans, creating regulatory bodies and evaluating them. Educators have many acronyms to navigate. Most of it appears to make sense when viewed in isolation but as a whole it gives one pause for reflection. There is a constant quest for alignment of standards and processes which stubbornly refuse to work, even when there is the best of intentions, in the real world of students and schools.

Here’s a brief, incomplete overview and timeline of some of the more expensive, important or structural changes in the last few years:

This is, by any measure, a great deal of reform, especially in the last five years. If we talk about measuring there has been, according to PISA and NAPLAN, no educational progress to show for the money or effort in Australia during this time. In fact, we are going backwards at a rate of knots. This is clearly politically and educationally unacceptable.

How could all this reform not be working? André Spicer, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cass Business School, City University London and Mats Alvesson, Professor of Business Administration at Lund University have a few ideas that you may find interesting. The most damning commentary in their entire book suggests that “instead of focusing on the actual work process, schools spend most of their time on ceremonial activities. They develop plans, set up meetings, write reports, develop policy statements, prepare presentations and all the other things a ‘proper’ school is supposed to do”. The years roll by without any logical reconsideration of how all this actually helps educate children or improve the society it serves. Closer to home, highly respected educationalists like Professor Stephen Dinham, have made the point that:

“Australia has on average had one review of teacher education every year for the past 30 years…Each inquiry reaches much the same conclusions and makes much the same recommendations, yet little changes.”

Looking at the timeline above one certainly senses a concerted effort by senior educationalists and politicians to “do something” and one suspects there is a little desperation in it all. The events of 2012 are worth studying in some detail as major policy initiatives were introduced with unexpected funding cuts that led to major organisational disruption. There is a sense of inevitability about the loop where major initiatives are announced with no or reduced funding then a new report, several years down the track, recommends returning to what was previously in place but with significant tweaks in the language (ie literacy and numeracy ‘inspectors’ rather than ‘consultants’).

Teaching children and improving their educational outcomes requires a steady, consistent, collaborative approach. There are no silver bullets. There is a need for reform that is aligned with our societal values. I recommend re-reading the preamble to The Melbourne Declaration which stated these values (2008).

How do we measure educational attainment and improvement?

It is very clear from the Premier’s Priorities that improvement in literacy and numeracy will be measured by NAPLAN and 8% more students need to be moved into the “proficient” bands by 2019. In fact, if you consider now that Year 9 students may establish their eligibility for gaining a HSC by meeting the minimum literacy and numeracy standard (Band 8) from 2017 (see last point on the timeline above) and that very many schools have been listed for the “bump-it-up-strategy” would suggest a very determined approach to focus attention on achieving this goal. One hopes literacy and numeracy improves too.

ACARA, at the Senate References Committee on Education, Employment & Workplace Relations investigation of 2010 noted that “the main purpose of NAPLAN testing is: to identify whether all students have the literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge that provide the critical foundation for other learning and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community”.

Since then the FAQ has changed and now one can see:

NAPLAN is the measure through which governments, education authorities, schools, teachers and parents can determine whether or not young Australians have the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for other learning and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community.

The tests provide parents and schools with an understanding of how individual students are performing at the time of the tests. They also provide schools, states and territories with information about how education programs are working and which areas need to be prioritised for improvement.

In the SMH article from yesterday it is all made pretty clear:

Mr Alegounarias, who will become the part-time chair with a chief executive beneath him in the new structure, cited the highest achieving education jurisdictions globally as a target for NSW.

“It’s about setting our targets against international standards. How do we get to Shanghai, how do we get to Finland?”

Proof the reform has worked would be “a big bump” in the state’s NAPLAN results in the next few years, he said.

I know of no research or data that suggests this is how “Finland” got to where it is (in fact they took the opposite approach to Great Britain and the USA that NSW is following) but suspect that these targets will be met, the system aligned and our society in danger of being left a little educationally poorer in the effort.

Feature image: cover of BOSTES Review

The post The BOSTES Review appeared first on Darcy Moore's Blog.

Categories: Planet

10 Easy Ways To Create an Amazing #ClassroomCulture This Year

The Principal of Change George Couros - 20 August, 2016 - 08:26

Simple things can make a significant difference in our classroom environments, yet we should be intentional about them.  Every year we should strive to make it the best year students have, and if we all did this, school would only progressively get better for our students.

Below are some really simple ideas that can help shape an amazing year for your students.

  1. Greet kids at the door. – There is a massive difference between walking into a room and being welcomed than seeing a teacher sitting at their desk prepping for the day.  This sets the tone for the entire day and reminds kids that we are privileged to have them show up each and every day.
  2. Play music to liven up the day. – This might be something that I am a little biased on, but the environment of a room that I walk into that has lively music playing, as opposed to one that is quiet reminds me of warming up for a game as an athlete.  Music can often bring a smile to people entering the room and is just an awesome way to start the day.
  3. Go out of your way to make your first interactions positive. – At some point, kids make mistakes. As a principal, I would go out of my way to connect with kids, before they were sent my way.  A student that knows they are valued will make the tough conversations a lot easier later on. This time spent is an investment in the child, not an expenditure.
  4. Call parents early…Make sure they know you care about their kid. – I learned this awesome tip from a former secretary at my school.  It is an awesome call (and far too often surprising) when parents hear from their child’s teacher and the conversation is ONLY a positive one.  This is a definite investment in an emotional bank account, and lets parents know that you genuinely care about their child.
  5. Have ideas what you are going to do, but always tailor it to the students in front of you. – Be flexible.  What you did last year might not work this year because these are different kids.  Don’t over-plan; ask questions and learn about your students.
  6. Design the classroom with your students. – We spend so much time decorating the classroom before students show up, and then we call it “our room”.  Something as simple as decorating the classroom together, not only gives students ownership of the space, but it also helps to show that you care about their opinions (while also saving you a ton of time!).
  7. Find out the passions of each student and tap into them. – One of the best way to work with people is by finding out what they love and tapping into it.  The teachers that spent time finding out my passions, made me feel like they had a genuine interest in who I was and what I loved.
  8. Find out their dreams, and try to help them move closer to those goals. – We spend a lot of time thinking about where we want students to be, and not enough time asking where they want to go.  Success is deeply personal and if we know students’ goals and dreams for both in and out of the classroom, and help them work towards achieving them, our impact will last long after their time under our care.
  9. Have them ask questions every single day, and help them find those answers. – As stated in “The Innovator’s Mindset“, if a child leaves schools less curious than when they started, we have failed them.  Let’s ensure that we encourage our students, through different endeavours, find the answers to the questions they pose and are curious about, not just what we are expected to teach.
  10. Love them.- This might sound a little lame, but teaching is a tough job. So is being a kid.  There are so many things that kids deal with while growing up, that they just need to know that someone cares about them.  Go out of your way to show that enthusiasm for them as people, not just who they are as students.

I would love to know the “little things” that you do in your classrooms to make a big impact. No matter when you are starting your year, I hope it is a great one!

Categories: Planet

Why You Shouldn’t Babysit Kids with Tablets! (And What to Do Instead)

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 August, 2016 - 11:02

Advice about Tablets and Young Children: What Works and Warnings from an Expert.

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You’ve seen it. Young children engrossed in tablet devices. But how much is too much? Today’s expert, Diane Levin, gives technology guidance to the parents and teachers of young children.

Check out Tiggly

Parents and teachers need to interact with students. Kids need the real world. Hands-on manipulatives help them learn, as well. Today’s guest helps us with balancing the physical world and the virtual tablet-based world many young children inhabit.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher Hands on Manipulatives and iPad Games with Today’s Sponsor, Tiggly Check out Tiggly. Informed educators and parents are looking for better ways for their children to interact with technology. Tiggly combines the best of physical play with their apps.

Tiggly combines hands-on manipulatives with iPad games. In my opinion, Tiggly strikes the balance that we discuss in today’s show. While you’re on Tiggly’s site, check out the Bonus Segment, Avoiding the Biggest Mistake We Make with Kids and Tablets by today’s guest, Diane Levin.

Show Notes about Kids and Tablets:
  • What risks do tablets pose for young children?
  • What experiences are necessary for a child’s optimal development?
  • Why do children need blocks and manipulatives?
  • What are ways that parents and teachers can engage with kids as they use tablet devices?
  • How can we help children learn to self-regulate their use of tablet devices?
  • How do you select activities and games appropriate for your child?
Who is Diane Levin?

Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston. She is the author of Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood(NAEYC) and So Sexy So Soon. She is a founder of Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment and Defending the Early Years.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) 

The post Why You Shouldn’t Babysit Kids with Tablets! (And What to Do Instead) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Learning is the Job

The Principal of Change George Couros - 18 August, 2016 - 12:38

I encourage people to challenge me in my workshops, and share their frustrations and hurdles that they have to jump to get to the next level.

This one amazing lady shared this with me.

She said, “You know every time I learn something new in my work as a teacher, all of a sudden there is something else new. I get so frustrated because I feel I am always starting over again.”

First thing I said to her, was that I loved her for being so honest. A lot of people feel this, but not all people were open enough to say it.  After that, I told her that I wanted her to think about something.

“What would you say if a grade 2 student said, ‘you want me to learn all this grade 2 stuff just after I learned all of that grade 1 stuff last year?!?!?’  Would you let them off the hook?”

Her and I (and others) both laughed, yet she totally got the point.  A student moving from grade 2 to grade 3 is often excited, yet a teacher making the same transition does not always share the same enthusiasm.

What was amazing was that she openly acknowledged that the thing holding her back was her thinking. A beautiful first step to growth in my humble opinion.

If we think about, learning is the job. How can you effectively teach, if you can’t effectively learn? Yes we will always be inundated with information, and there will always be something new to learn, but let’s expect the same growth from our students that we would from ourselves.

Categories: Planet

7 Important Questions Before Implementing Digital Portfolios

The Principal of Change George Couros - 16 August, 2016 - 11:25

Image from Bill Ferriter (@plugusin)

Digital portfolios are something that are really starting to take off in schools.  There are different software programs that will make “portfolios” easy to share, yet do we truly embrace the power that a digital portfolio can bring into our schools?  Since it is “digital”, we need to go beyond a portfolio that only represents one year of learning, but can show the progression over time.

Here are some questions for you to consider as you look into the process.

  1. Is this a learning portfolio, showcase portfolio, or combination of both? – Does this show the student’s progression over time (learning), or just the best stuff (showcase).  There are huge benefits to both for learning and opportunities over time.  A combination of both in my opinion is best.
  2. Who owns the learning? – Is this a portfolio that only shows “school” work, or does the student have the opportunity to display what they are passionate about, or is it simply for items to be displayed based on what the teacher wants?  Is it a combination of both?  If the student feels no ownership over the process and product, the results will not be as powerful as if they do.
  3. How will it be exported after the process? – For starters, see the question above.  Secondly, if there is no plan to ensure that students have the opportunity to put all of this learning into their own space eventually, you are missing another opportunity that digital provides.
  4. How will you make the audience eventually go global? – A lot of parents and educators are worried about the work of a student getting “out there” (for various reasons), but if the portfolio is only available upon request, we are taking a very “paper” mentality, to a “digital” platform.  This does not meant the whole world has to see everything from the beginning, or the student needs to share it with the world if they do not want to, but the progression plan to share it with the world should be there.  Will the audience  be limited long term?
  5. What brings people to the portfolio? – Is there any mechanism that brings people to the portfolio other than telling people to come? Simple things like email help to build an audience.  Is the portfolio more likely to be seen and more valuable to the learning if it goes to people, other than people coming to the portfolio?
  6. What impact will this have on the learner’s digital footprint?Will Richardson suggests that by the time kids graduate grade 12, you should be able to google them and find good stuff about them (see image at the top of the post). Does the portfolio help in this endeavour when every student we work with now will be googled for jobs, university, or a myriad of other things.
  7. What about next year and other classes? – This is a HUGE question.  If the portfolio only lasts for one year, then you are missing a great opportunity. What professional learning is in place for teachers to support a connection of learning over time for the students?  What will the students work look like over time and how will they be able to google or search for their own learning?  If the plan is not in place to grow this over time, we lose so much from the process.

If these questions aren’t considered, I am wondering if we are just doing a digital version of “school”, or rethinking the opportunities digital now provides for learning in school?  This is more than just thinking about the software, but thinking about the potential of what this process can bring to our students and ourselves.

Categories: Planet

FREE WEBINAR: Differentiating Instruction with Technology

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 August, 2016 - 08:43

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You are invited to attend my free live webinar, Differentiating Instruction with Technology. This is one of my most popular sessions that I share at conferences. This webinar is past! Next week's webinar will be on Tuesday, August 23 at 7pm about how writing has been reinvented. Click here to register for that one.Meanwhile, this […]

The post FREE WEBINAR: Differentiating Instruction with Technology appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Response to Class Project Over 100 BUT

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 16 August, 2016 - 04:49


  • No one e-mail with questions. I added a contest, made instruction clearer.
    Plus I added Turning Points in American History to the projects page.
    Please advise on lack of response, possible changes …
    http://www.textbooksfree.org/walter.htm - Walter Antoniotti

Tags: education, web2.0, technology, tools, resources, learning, teaching, collaboration, video

by: Walter Antoniotti

Categories: International News

How to Unleash Student Intrinsic Motivation from Day One

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 15 August, 2016 - 20:42

Global Teacher Prize Finalist Mike Soskil Shares His Secrets

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You can unleash a student intrinsic motivation from the first day of school. First, you start the school year with authentic connections. Second, you create a culture of learning.  In today’s episode, Mike Soskil, award-winning science teacher and Global Teacher prize finalist, shares his ideas for starting school.

Additionally, he shares secrets for creating a culture that unleashes student intrinsic motivation. While Mike is an elementary science teacher, I learned many techniques that apply to my middle and high school classrooms.

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher Today’s Sponsor: Freshgrade This episode is sponsored by Fresh Grade. Freshgrade has a free tool that lets you create student portfolios. To make them even more powerful, these portfolios can include video, sound, various kinds of media, text and more. In fact, you can even include student and parent comments!

In light of their flexibility, consider using Fresh Grade for your student portfolios. Take time to test out Fresh Grade. It’s free for parents, students and teachers.

Check out Freshgrade’s Portfolio System

If you go to Fresh Grade’s site, you’ll get a bonus episode with Todd Whitaker about The Biggest Mistake Teachers Make When Giving Their End of the Year Grade.”  Show Notes:

  • How letting his students share their learning in more meaningful ways other than passing the test on Friday made magic!
  • How does Mike give students powerful global experiences from the first day of class?
  • What is mystery animal Skype?
  • How does Mike start the school year in a strong way?
  • What do you do and say to develop a classroom culture of respect and learning?
  • Can you help students become more intrinsically motivated?
  • What is the advice Mike would give to himself as a first year teacher?

Michael Soskil @msoskil was a top-10 finalist for this year’s Global Teacher Prize, widely considered the Nobel Prize of Teaching. Mike has been recognized for the innovative ways he empowers his students to use learning to solve problems around the globe. Additionally, he was a 2012 winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Currently, Mike teaches elementary science in northeastern Pennsylvania. .

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.

The post How to Unleash Student Intrinsic Motivation from Day One appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet
ACCE Partners