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Nurturing Democracy: Whitlam Forum

Darcy Moore's Blog - 1 hour 18 min ago

The experience of an educational exchange to Denmark in 2011 continues to provide professional direction about what’s important in the life of a school.

During my time at Viborg Katedralskole I saw how democratic values were nourished by the culture of the school and of the nation. Denmark is regularly listed as the happiest and least corrupt country in the world. After living in Viborg and working at the school, it was evident to me why.

An anecdote: during one of my first days at the school a student knocked on the rector’s door while we were having a meeting. Helge, the principal (rector) enquired into what he wanted. I was surprised to discover that this student wanted to know how much money the principal was spending on the school webpage and why. I was even more surprised when Helge thanked the student and made a meeting time in his diary to discuss this issue. I am not sure that many Australian students would be so bold.

I have written about the Danish approach to civics and citizenship many times previously and about the lesson learnt while on exchange; that students need to participate, in an authentic manner, in the democratic life of the country. I witnessed student run events out of school hours which invited the candidates in elections to debate each other in a fun and entertaining way. The school hosted political forums for the candidates in school hours and these same politicians were permitted to wander into the school grounds at breaks and distribute pamphlets or talk to the students. The socially democratic and inclusive nature of politics was evident in the school system which appeared much more egalitarian than in Australia.


“When we look back at the impact of Grundtvig on Danish history, a simple conclusion leaps to the fore. Not all, indeed not many, small nations survive and prosper (Davies 2011). The popular and cohesive will of the Danes has most certainly rested on this firm foundation, without which the pattern of the past may well have been different.” *

The context for such an environment and philosophy dates back to the 19th century. The Danes particularly benefitted from the educational philosophy of NFS Grundtvig (1783-1872) – poet, pastor, politician, author and all round polymath – who sowed the seeds of personal freedom, democracy, participation and creativity in the educational and larger life of the nation. He believed that education should be both popular, practical and idealistic in an effort to develop a broader cultural and intercultural outlook that was both humane and scientific. This was very evident from my experiences in Denmark, Grundtvig promoted equality and opposed all compulsion, including exams, as “deadening to the human soul”.  His influence lives on in Denmark today.

“National identity is one form of the even larger phenomenon of identity, plain and simple. Key to the idea of identity is the notion that there can be a disjunction between one’s inner, authentic self and the social norms or practices that are required by the surrounding society. Identity becomes problematic, and a source both of personal anxiety and political contestation, because of a perceived gap between the inner self and outward social practice.” Francis Fukuyama*

This quote from Fukuyama, from an essay about Grundtvig, is profoundly perceptive. Grundtvig understood what was needed to nurture the populace and establish principles of individual liberty of conscience and of speech and give a the majority access to a a progressive education. Paraphrasing SAJ Bradley, Grundtvig – through poetry and song as well as through more direct polemic and action – promoted a nationhood and community that was inclusive and faced outwards to the world that made sense to the people who lived – through accident of birth – in a country that previously had not been even remotely equitable. His success, evident to Fukuyama and anyone who spends time among the Danes, is certainly to be admired.

You may be interested to read more about Grundtvig’s life and ideas here or join me in reading, Building the Nation: N.F.S. Grundtvig and Danish National Identity* by John A. Hall, Ove Korsgaard, Ove K. Pedersen. 

Dapto High

“Our school is located in the federal electorate of Whitlam, or Throsby as it has been known since 1984, covers 1,331 sq.km in the southern Illawarra and NSW southern highlands. Along the coast it takes in all of the suburbs to the south and west of Lake Illawarra in the Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas, including Warilla, Albion Park and Dapto. The electorate also extends up the Illawarra Highway through Macquarie Pass to take in Robertson, Moss Vale, Berrima, Bowral and Mittagong.”  SOURCE

Our own school has learnt much from the Danish model and is actively nurturing democracy with a variety of programs. Our Nurturing Democracy Civics and Citizenship program provides practical experience with the nature of living in a democracy. Students elect their own representative by secret ballot and a team of students assist with counting using preferential voting. The Student Representative Council (SRC) act as polling officials. Students attend forums with federal politicians to propose ideas and have also influence the local council by attending meetings with ideas to improve the local facilities. Increasingly students are participating in forums to support their personal agendas about progressive social change.

Recently, the SRC conducted our third candidate’s forum prior to a state or federal election as an important part of our Nurturing Democracy program to provide opportunities for students to practically engage with learning about civics and citizenship. Five of the six candidates, contesting the federal seat of Whitlam on the 2nd July, participated:

Tom HUNT (The Greens)
Jan MANDELSON (The Nationals)
Wayne HARTMAN (Non-Custodial Parents Party)
Stephen JONES (Australian Labor Party)
Susan PINUTI (Christian Democratic Party)

The process, based on the Danish model, is as follows:

1. The moderator explains the goals and process to the audience while introducing the panel
2. Each candidate has a maximum of 3-minutes to outline his or her vision for the electorate of Whitlam
3. Each candidate has 1-minute to make a point and ask another candidate a question.
4. There is a 1-minute response time for each question
5. The moderator calls for questions from the audience to candidates
6. Response time is 1-minute
7. The candidates make a 1-minute closing statement
8. The students then mingle with the candidates at a BBQ to ask more questions
9. Students debrief with peers, staff and family in the lead-up to the federal election on July 2nd where some of our 18 year olds are voting for the first time.

Questions from the students included:

BEN: What do you believe is the single most important issue in this election campaign for the people voting in Whitlam? Why?

TAYLOR: If elected HOW would your party protect both our local environment and World Heritage sites like the Great Barrier Reef?

EMILY: What other policy areas does the Non-custodial Parents Party feel strongly about besides the issue suggested in your party’s name?

LANCE: How will your party further the knowledge and education of students to contribute to the promotion of a smart and innovative Australia?

ALLY: This question is for all candidates and I would like a YES or NO answer rather than a 1-minute response. Do you support same-sex marriage?

ADELINA: This question is for all candidates and I would like a YES or NO answer rather than a 1-minute response. Do you support the current government’s tough policies towards refugees seeking asylum in Australia?

LUKE:This question is for all candidates and I would like a YES or NO answer rather than a 1-minute response. Does your party support the full implementation of Gonski funding for education?

TIANA: This question is for all candidates and I would like a YES or NO answer rather than a 1-minute response. Do you support Australia becoming a Republic?

SOORAJ: Climate change is mostly being influenced by human activities, what are your plans to reduce this?

TIM: With the rapid increase of car usage over the past 5 decades and the dramatically increasing negligence of our rail infrastructure, what do you plan to do to help both the public and heritage rail sectors?

PATRICK: How does the National Party differ from it coalition partner, the Liberal Party?

PAIGE: Which of the candidates do you support most in Whitlam? Can you rank them from most to least in agreement?

The YES or NO questions are quite effective in highlighting the practical implications of ideological differences in policy areas that the students can easily grasp. When the candidate says NO or YES to an area they are passionate about it helps with formulating their own political positions. Students were interviewed by the local newspaper and ABC radio about their experience of the forum. At our candidates BBQ I heard students discussing a range of issues raised in the forum with the friends. There was also good informal discussion with the candidates.

Democracy was made a little less theoretical and I heard one 18 year old say to a candidate that she would cast her first ever vote for him based on what she had heard in the forum. She hadn’t been intending to bother voting but felt inspired to participate. 

How does your school nurture democracy?

The post Nurturing Democracy: Whitlam Forum appeared first on Darcy Moore's Blog.

Categories: Planet

Emoji vs Language

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 2 hours 51 min ago


  • Apple in its next release of its iOS operating system for mobile devices will introduce a new feature called 'Emojification' that aims to make this new style of communication easily accessible to all. So, what does this mean for the language arts and how might the emojification of language alter the way in which we communicate. - Nigel Coutts

Tags: education, technology, resources, learning, teaching

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

Let’s Catch up at #iste2016 : Here’s how

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 24 June, 2016 - 11:13

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

ISTE 2016 is here! I hope to catch up with so many of you out there. Here’s the schedule of where I’ll be presenting and sharing this year. It is always great to go. Since I only go every other year, it is always extra sweet to see people that I’ve not seen in a while. Say hi!

If you want links to these events to register, go to my ISTE 2016, Presenter Page.

See Vicki’s ISTE 2016 Schedule


  • Fee: $113 ($123 after May 1)
  • [Explore and create: Workshop]
  • Saturday, June 25, 12:30–3:30 pm
  • CCC Mile High Ballroom.3A

Vicki will be talking about mobile app development with Alefiya Bhatia, co- founder of Crescerance. Vicki was one of the educators that recently collaborated on the MAD About Mattering Project, which involved student app development in response to student heartbreaks.

Special Interviews at ISTE

While I’ll be interviewing lots of teachers and educators for the show, I’m also adding something new this year. I’ll be doing a “live from ISTE” set of interviews with some cool companies. This is a sponsored series and will run on the Every Classroom Matters show. I’ll be on the showroom floor taping these (and perhaps a few others) on Tuesday morning.

  • Laurie Nathan the Executive Director National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. They have an excellent free digital citizenship training program for teachers, Netsmartz.
  • Horacio Ochua, the Head of Quality Assurance at Bloomz, Inc.  I use this app for my parent-teacher communications.

Make sure to subscribe to Vicki’s podcast, Every Classroom Matters, to hear interviews taped at ISTE in the near future.

The CTN Playground with Crescerance and MAD-Learn
  • Sun, Jun 26
  • 1:00 PM MDT
  • CCC Concourse E

Alefiya Bhatia from MAD-Learn and Vicki will be talking about mobile app development and web design during this Playground session organized by the CTN Leadership at ISTE.

  • Monday, June 27, 8:30–9:30 am
  • CCC 302

Vicki will be moderating a panel featuring Thomas Arnett, Jonathan Bergmann, Mike Gwaltney, Aaron Sams, and Stephanie Sandifer about the best practices in blended learning.

  • Wednesday, June 29, 8:30–9:30 am
  • CCC 502

Vicki will be moderating a panel of superstar sketchnoters. They’ll discuss how visual learning and sketchnoting can improve learning with co-panelists Carrie Baughcum, Sylvia Duckworth, Judi Holst, Marie-Andree Ouimet, and Kathy Schrock.

  • Wednesday, June 29, 10:15–11:15 am
  • CCC 113

Vicki will be moderating a panel sharing how to create a culture of innovation in your classroom with co-panelists Joli Barker, David Jakes,  Erin Klein,  Karen Lirenman, and  Sylvia Martinez.

ISTE is always so busy but a great time to connect and share. I’ll admit that I’m a bit tired from somewhat of a travel disaster trying to come home from Iowa, but I’ll be around. Please say hello and introduce yourself. Let’s learn together but remember — don’t get caught up in the hype — it is about helping as many kids as possible learn and do meaningful work. We are in the life improvement business.

The post Let’s Catch up at #iste2016 : Here’s how appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Good practice shapes theory

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 24 June, 2016 - 10:18

Michael Fullan has said that good practice often shapes theory not the converse.  A theoretical understanding is necessary but theories don’t always translate into effective classroom practice. Theories don’t provide teachers with the ‘how to’ and although most teachers recognise the need to continually reflect on their practice in order to improve, there is an assumption that they know what needs to be changed.  Too many teachers don’t know what they don’t know; this was highlighted recently in Revolution School on ABC TV.

Not all teachers are created equal and this is partly because not all teacher education programs are equal. One of the criticisms especially in the US and UK is that there is a heavy focus on theory and not enough of practice. We would have a cadre of academics preparing beginning teachers for classrooms who have not been in classrooms for years if not decades.  As John Hattie aptly points out, none of our institutions have ever had to prove their impact. Ironic considering that these institutions send teachers into classrooms where they are now expected to continually evaluate their impact as teachers.

We are moving now from seeing teachers as practitioners to seeing teachers as clinicians. This is not to suggest that the relationship between teacher and student is clinical. Rather, the relationship between a teacher and their practice needs to be.  According to Hattie, clinical teaching is the ability of every teacher to “diagnose, intervene and evaluate.” It is similar to how world-class athletes improve technique and performance and why Shanghai teachers are assigned mentors throughout their teaching careers.

The simplistic assumption that a “teacher is a teacher….” with the same skill sets and capabilities flies in the face of reality. Even suggesting this will raise the ire of many and be viewed as trendy teacher bashing. The end result must be ensuring each child in each school has the best teacher.  We need to build the capacity of all teachers by focusing more on skills than theory. Expertise has to be learned through practice.

Categories: Planet

New Beginnings, New Opportunities

The Principal of Change George Couros - 24 June, 2016 - 08:07

Leaving a school can be tough.  Switching positions within the same school can also be a challenge.

There are many educators who are leaving one school for another this year, and feel in some way, that they are abandoning students from that school.  Or maybe leaving their colleagues a little too early.  Maybe they are even scared of what a new job, new responsibilities, or new colleagues might mean for them.

Change can be tough.

But just some things to consider…

There is no place in the world that kids don’t need awesome educators.  The same closeness that you felt with your former students, you will feel again.  It might not be the “same”, but it will be similar.  Kids all over the world need to be pushed, have their thoughts provoked, and feel valued.

Also, the work in education is never done.  You may feel that those things that you have implemented at your former school aren’t quite where you would want them to be, but I hate to tell you this, education never “gets” there.  Schools are learning organizations, and if that is true, the target we aim for will continuously be slightly out reach.

This is true for both individuals and organizations.  There is always room to grow.

Finally, new environments, whether that means doing something new, or working with new people, both, or more, will challenge you.  All of the opportunities and people you connect with help to make you better, if you let them.  It is okay to be scared about new opportunities, as long as the fear doesn’t hold you back from embracing what is possible.

Change is hard and new opportunities can be scary, but if you look at the kids in classrooms that change grades every year and are constantly pushed in their own growth, we know that this is something that will only make them better, not hold them back. Same goes for the adults.

Categories: Planet

Do We Teach Design for Everyone?

Summer is a time for me to think about how I want to teach better in the next school year. I’m always looking for ideas about this and recently came across this post about Designing Games for Everyone at Microsoft. Now I’ve been thinking about this for a while as part of my involvement with the K12 Computer Science Framework (see k12cs.org) as this issue is a big one for us. It’s being covered in the principles section.

I’ve been thinking about how I teach this in my courses. Of course when we talk about web design and HTML I make a big thing about using the alt tag for images. I talk about why that is so important. And several places in my freshmen course we talk about color choices. Many students have no idea about various color blindness unless we talk about it in class.

I’ve thought about a unit on accessibility but at the same time I wonder if teaching it in context, integrated with other discussions, might not be the best way to do it.

While I’m thinking about this accessibility (dealing with people who have different abilities) is not the only thing to talk about when discussing designing for everyone. There are also cultural issues. Race, color, national origin, and more. This shows up in little things that can mean a lot. For example a shortage of female emojis. (See Google proposes new set of female emojis to promote equality ) Why were they not their from the beginning? Now isn’t that an interesting topic for discussion!

We need our students to think about these things and more. Inclusivity has to be designed in to our software. It can’t be an add on for later. Teachers need to help students see this before they develop bad habits. Doing this better is a goal for me for next year. I’m looking for resources over the summer. Suggestions anyone?

Categories: Planet

Fanning the Flame

The Principal of Change George Couros - 22 June, 2016 - 06:58

I never wanted to be a teacher.

I loved school and enjoyed my time there, but my passion was always in sports and coaching. Teaching was a pathway to that love.  In fact, in one of my interviews, I was reluctantly hired because the principal thought I was more interested in coaching than I was teaching.

He was right.

And although I stopped coaching soon after, I started to referee basketball and that became a love for me.  Teaching was my job, but sports were my passion.

In my career now, I connect with people that had known they wanted to be a teacher early on in their childhood.  Their fire was sparked at an early age, but I was never that person.

But then you cross paths people that change your perspective, and some of the leaders that I have encountered in the last ten years or so, saw something in me that I never did.  They found a spark and fanned it into a flame, and gave me the tools to continue to let it burn.  This is why the topic of “leadership” is so important to me.  Those leaders are the reason I am writing today and more passionate about education than I have been any other field in my life.

Yet some of those same people that had that passion from an early age have lost it, and to be honest, it is because of leadership (or lack there of).  I never think that people intentionally try to kill a fire inside of us, but little things that they become unaware of, turn teaching into a “job” for some people, and it no longer becomes a “calling”.  Bottom line, it is a job.  But great leadership can make a job seem like something so much bigger.

So many blog posts and articles talk about “what’s missing” from education, and I rarely see this as an educator problem, but a lack of leadership.  Now if you are reading this and you are thinking “Yeah…my leaders have sucked my love of teaching away”, you need to understand that leadership is about influence, not position.  You can have that same influence on your colleagues, no matter what your job is.

The beautiful think about teaching is that our legacy is defined in what we give and empower others to do, not only in what we do ourselves.  If leadership is truly about how you influence others, isn’t every person in education, in some way, a leader?  Whether you influence kindergarten students, principals, or teachers, you could be the person that sparks and flames that fire in others.  You could also be the person that douses the flame.

As many educators in North America, look to recharge and learn over the summer, remember that you are, and can continue to be, the one that fans that flame in others.  Legacy as an educator and leader, will always be in what you give and empower in others.

Categories: Planet

Better Comments in Visual Studio

Thanks to Channel 9 I found an interesting extension for Visual Studio called Better Comments. "Better Comments is a Visual Studio extension that gives you the ability to customize the font and opacity of your comments independently of the editor's font settings. It also adds four additional comment classifications, each classification with its own customizable foreground."

What I m thinking is that I will use it two ways. One is to highlight TODO items in starter projects that I supply for students. The different colors and fonts should make things stick out more.

The second way is when I review student's code online. I figure that the question type will make it more apparent with I want to ask questions about their code in their code. When I see code that should be deleted using the cross out comment will be more clear as to why I have commented something out. I'll use the important type to make sure they see specific hints and suggestions.

Anyone else using this or something like it?

Categories: Planet

Interesting Links 20 June 2016

I think my brain shut down when I left school last Monday to start the summer break. While I got a lot of personal business done last week my mind was really not on computer science. Oh I collected some good links (shared below) but I didn’t have much to say myself. So I didn’t say much in this blog. Maybe I’ll get on track this week. In the mean time check out the links to people who were thinking CS.

Learn to Program with Small Basic” a Book Review by Middle School Teacher, Martin Fish. I plan to do my own review soon.

Doug Peterson writes A colourful post  to introduce the RGBChallenge. That’s a fun little game to help learn the numeric representation of colors (or as my Canadian friend spells it colours)

Why Aren’t There Simple Programming Languages?   Maybe there are though. I think some block programming languages may fit the bill. I found the ideas interesting anyway.

Mark Guzdial talks about Five Principles for Programming Languages for Learners in one of his posts. His is based on research though so I take it very seriously.

Getting closer to "all" in #CSforAll: Instructional supports for students with disabilities in K-5 computer science covers an important topic that we really don’t know enough about. He has a link to some of the work by Maya Israel in this area.

Apple, Microsoft and Google race to introduce your kid to coding from CNet. I think Apple is coming late to the game and the Swift based tool is not available until the fall. One would have thought they would have wanted it available for teachers to try it out over the summer.

Microsoft MIE Teacher Academy Trainings  some online  PD for teachers

Having a PLN – Professional Learning Network – another great post by Doug Peterson. 

Categories: Planet

What Is Your Mental Momentum About Teaching?

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

What has to happen before you can make your classroom better

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

We have a problem in the hearts and minds of many educators everywhere.  I’m guilty of it sometimes, too. Sometimes my momentum is not moving forward. I can wish for something that never will be and not do what is right in front of me.

Alvin Toeffler said,

“you’ve got to think about the ‘big thing’ while you’re doing the small things, so that all the things go in the right direction.”

The big thing is that students have changed. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to enjoy it. But we do have to face it if we’re going to teach kids.

People who relate to technology by saying “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” are burning their bridges with kids before they even start the trip.

Most people want what used to be, not what can be. They spend their time fondly thinking of the past instead of dreaming about the future. If we’re going to start thinking about big things, we need to give ourselves permission to head in a new direction, break new ground and try a new way. We have to remember that there is more out there in the world than our way of teaching. We must be willing to get out there and try it out.

For those of you out there trying new things already — way to go. And for those of you realizing that you’re exhausted by trying to push a car with square wheels — no guilt. You can’t do anything about the past. If you know you need to change some things, start today by changing your own mind.

Examine your mental momentum.

  • Are you frantically trying to run back to a past that will never be your present again?
  • Or are you running towards a dream in the future of a better classroom and a better life?

I kind of think someone driving in reverse down the interstate and looking in the rear view mirror would be headed for a wreck. Live is meant to be lived looking out the front windshield, not the rearview mirror.

I love, respect, and appreciate you, teacher. We all have to struggle to grow and learn and have an open mind to new things.

But when presented with a new idea, don’t say “I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work” when you’re just making an excuse not to change. We need to reach every child in our classroom. We may not accomplish that in the end, but if we don’t start with that as our goal, we don’t have a chance.

Just want to encourage you to be forward facing today and to try some new teaching ideas soon.

The post What Is Your Mental Momentum About Teaching? appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

1,000+ Learning & Performance Tools

HeyJude Judy O'Connell - 20 June, 2016 - 19:02

Looking for some new ideas for tools to support your work? Here are the links to the pages in Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning & Performance Tools, which lists over 1,000 tools  in 4 main categories as shown below.

Want to add or amend a tool’s details? You can do so here.

What are your favourite tools for learning? Voting is now open in this year’s Top Tools for Learning survey. Please share your own.

Amazingly, 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Top 100 Tools for Learning list compiled by Jane Hart from the votes of learning professionals around the world – from both education and workplace training. This year there will be a few changes:

Due to the fact that the same tools have dominated the list in recent years, for 2016 the list will be extended to contain 200 tools so that more tools can be mentioned to create the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016

Additionally, in order to understand how these tools are being used in different contexts, three sub-lists will also be generated:

  1. Top 100 Tools for Education (K-12 to Adult Ed) 2016
  2. Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (Training, Performance Support & Social Collaboration) 2016
  3. Top 100 Tools for Personal Learning & Productivity 2016

The results will be released on Monday 3 October 2016.

Filed under: Communication Tools, Innovation & Creativity, Technology and Software Tagged: tools
Categories: Planet

Side-By-Side Learning

The Principal of Change George Couros - 20 June, 2016 - 09:16

Using 30 second video reflections has become one of my favourite ways to share on Twitter.  There are a few reasons why I see this as powerful:

  1. It forces you to focus on what you are wanting to share because of the 30 second time limit.
  2. You become more conscientious of what you are going to share because you know that anyone in the world can see it.
  3. The ability to hear voices and see faces, brings a certain amount of “humanity” to see who is behind the tweet.

It is a very powerful reflection tool, and this quote resonates through this process:

This past weekend, I worked with a group of administrators from the “Texas Association of Secondary School Principals”, focusing both on their learning and leadership.  It was a tremendous opportunity for me to not only share my learning, but to learn from them as well.  I truly believe that the more connected we become, the smarter we all are. We can all learn from each other, no matter our experience or expertise.

One of the people who attended, was Dr. Kenneth Gay.  He is just an awesome person, and he shared his own fear of “jumping in”, and that he wanted to learn more.  So trying to help him see the opportunities, while understanding his own reluctance, we did a video reflection together, side-by-side. Check it out below:

I’m with my friend Kenneth who is signing up to Twitter and is a principal at #TASSP16ELR pic.twitter.com/qS2LedOKdY

— George Couros (@gcouros) June 18, 2016

Sometimes the best way to model the power of certain learning opportunities, is to do them together. And I appreciated this comment from Cindy Kirby.

@gcouros excellent teaching strategy…walk the path, side by side

— Cindy Kirby (@CindyKirby05) June 18, 2016

What was awesome, was as the weekend went on, Kenneth saw the power of connecting through this medium, and ventured out to share on his own.

Here is my reflection #tassp16elr2 pic.twitter.com/ld7JfunhEb

— Dr. Kenneth Gay (@DrKennethGay) June 19, 2016

Throughout this weekend, as with any learning opportunity, there are people at all different levels in the room. What is important is not that they are learn the same thing, but that they learn. As stated in “The Innovator’s Mindset“,

Effective leadership in education is not about moving everyone from one standardized point to the next but moving individuals from their point “A” to their point ”B.”

What is imperative though is that that movement from point “A” to “B” is always the choice of the learner.  Sometimes standing in front and sharing ideas is one way to create this movement, but as Cindy stated, sometimes the best way to learn, is to do it “side-by-side”.

Categories: Planet

Tinkering with Old Technology — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 19 June, 2016 - 17:23


  • As technology evolves and its inner workings increasingly disappear from view, replaced with solid-state parts hidden by glass, aluminium and plastic, our understanding of what makes the world operate is similarly impeded. When machinery from just a few decades ago is viewed a world of moving parts, linkages, cogs and levers is revealed. These mechanical objects contain an inherent beauty and inspire curiosity in ways that modern devices with their pristine surfaces and simplified design language do not. Opportunities to explore devices from the past open our eyes and lead us to new questions of how our devices function, how machines do the jobs we need them to do and how engineers solve problems. - Nigel Coutts

Tags: technology, education, tools, teaching, collaboration, learning

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

Laugh, Cry, and Think.

The Principal of Change George Couros - 18 June, 2016 - 22:13

In what is probably my favourite speech of all time, these words from Jim Valvano as he was fighting his battle with cancer, resonate with me daily:

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

In every “talk” that I do, this is my hope in what I create for the people I am serving. Laugh, cry, and think.  There are so many things that we talk about for today’s schools, but these are some of the “basics” that might not be acknowledged as much as they should.

What if this was a goal for schools each day? Laugh, cry, and think.

What if this was a focus in how we work with our colleagues? Laugh, cry, and think.

I know that it might seem simple, but think of those that have made the biggest difference in your life. The ones that I have connected with the most are people that I have always shared these moments with.

This quote resonates:

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” James Corner

And although I love the above quote, I like how it is framed from the movie, “Jerry Maguire”, just a little bit better:

Laugh, cry, and think.

A very simple concept that means more than the credit we give it.

Categories: Planet

Things Every Teacher Should Know About Digital Citizenship

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 18 June, 2016 - 01:16

Educate yourself to prevent the nightmare

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Picking the wrong technology tool can unleash a nightmare. Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

If you look over the shoulder of one of Gord Holden’s 10,000 students,  it looks like they are playing a video game. They are not. They are learning. They are safe, too. Let’s dig into Gord’s three things about digital citizenship that every teacher should know.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes  Show Notes – Things Every Teacher Should Know about Digital Citizenship:
  • A simple explanation to parents about Internet safety.
  • Why some online spaces are like “Lord of the Flies” and what to do about it.
  • How to use 3D worlds to help autistic spectrum students interact in real life.
  • Teaching French, Science, and Democracy in a 3D world. (great stories!)
  • Nightmare things that have happened when teachers pick the wrong tool! (Oh my!)

Today’s Sponsor: Netsmartz Free “Teaching Digital Citizenship” Course Netsmartz is a free online training program from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This free course is designed to help you teach the latest in internet safety and digital citizenship for your students. It is free. It is online. Learn at your own pace. Most people can complete this course in just an hour.

What is stopping you? Every school and teacher should take the time to go through the Netsmartz course this summer. Just enroll here:www.netsmartz.org/training.   About Gord Holden

Gord Holden @GordHolden has been working in education for 35 years, beginning with using early Apples with Special Education students. He was recruited by Heritage Christian Online School 5 years ago to be the founder and Director of their Immersive Technology (IMT) Department. IMT currently has 12 staff and close to 200 students participating.

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


The post Things Every Teacher Should Know About Digital Citizenship appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

QwikSlides: Presentation creator from ClassTools.net

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 16 June, 2016 - 23:06


  • Create a multimedia presentation in just a few seconds and embed it on your blog, website or wiki! - mbarek Akaddar

Tags: no_tag

by: mbarek Akaddar

Categories: International News

Accelerating Great Teaching and Learning

The Principal of Change George Couros - 16 June, 2016 - 22:22

You are a principal and you have amazing access to see teachers teach, all of the time.  Walking in and out of the classroom, seeing what great teachers do, can make you an amazing teacher, even in the role of the principal.  Great principals take advantage of this.

Yet the process that I have seen shared with many administrators is that they will see something awesome happen in a classroom, and then they will ask the teacher share that practice with others at the next staff meetings.  Sometimes these meetings are two weeks away, sometimes a month, sometimes longer.  You may encourage them to share for ten minutes, but then things come up, and ten minutes, becomes five.  They share that great practice, and we move onto the next thing.

Or you could do this…

See that amazing thing happening in a classroom and ask the teacher if they can share it. Tweet it to a school hashtag using words, images, or a 30 second video.

Amazing practice, shared right now, to everyone.

This creates both a transparency and an urgency for others to move forward.  Still talk and share at your staff days, but this idea is a supplement, not a replacement.

How would we ever expect great practice to become “viral” if we only shared it once every 30 days?

Technology has the ability to amplify and accelerate the amazing things that are happening in your schools. Take advantage.

Categories: Planet

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Quickly Transcribe Audio Files [Video]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 15 June, 2016 - 20:22

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

I have been looking at testing the transcription of a podcast. There are services out there that will do it, but I have concerns about accuracy. So, I’m doing it manually this first time to see if people like it (or not).

After some research, I found a service called oTranscribe that is pretty nifty. So, I made a quick tutorial.

What I love about this service is both the time stamps and how it links to the audio file. I can even have my daughter help me on it and share the file with her. When I’m done, I can export it to Google Docs! Awesome!

The post VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Quickly Transcribe Audio Files [Video] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet
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