Feed aggregator

Failure Week

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 13 September, 2017 - 17:32

There’s been quite a bit of media coverage on the decision by Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School to introduce ‘Failure Week’ as a way of normalising failure. The rationale behind this was a growing concern about student well-being and the negative impact ‘failure’ was having on students’ self-confidence and achievement. Former Labor leader Mark Latham referred to it as ‘another piece of PC nonsense’ and asked what it had to do with the teaching of English, maths and science. Actually, failure has a lot to do with it. Any school that acknowledges and even celebrates failure needs to be applauded but celebrating failure for one week out of a school year is not enough to counter the cultural tide.

What the media coverage has done though is shine a light on one of the biggest flaws in the current model of schooling. Sir Ken Robinson in his TED talk on creativity articulated the problem – we have turned failure into an illicit activity to be avoided at all costs. Our schools have institutionalised failure. We design assessments to sift, sort and judge students’ capabilities and intelligences then end up with this ridiculous notion that students pass or fail NAPLAN or the HSC. In short we are actively discouraging the very thing that schools are expected to do. The answer to the problem is not structural. Sanctioning certain times to allow young people to experience failure in their learning hides a much deeper problem. And this is that we see learning in terms of competition and as with competition, there are always winners and losers. We even believe that we can quantify down to a decimal point, the degree of that failure.

Thomas Edison Uploaded by Bemoeial at Dutch Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

At what point in history did we think it appropriate or valuable to impose limits on learning? Likely well before Thomas Edison went to school. We should not be surprised that Edison was home-schooled because his mother felt formal schooling was too rigid. Edison typifies the value of failure as fundamental to learning. We should be grateful that he never gave up after his 745th attempt at inventing the electric light!

Schools like the Evangelical School Berlin Centre (ESBC) represent a new wave of schooling in which students are encouraged to experiment. They are supported to make their own decisions about the direction of their learning and to see failure as more valuable than success. Schools like these are the 21st century versions of Edison’s research lab where learning is not a pass or fail but a joyful life-long experience.


Categories: Planet

3 Crucial Elements of Being a Change Agent

The Principal of Change George Couros - 13 September, 2017 - 00:15

As I have voraciously read books on “change”, and have had many conversations on the topic,  these are three big takeaways that I always try to focus on.

  1. Show and model change in yourself.  It is easy to tell people to move forward, but it is hard, and more important work, to say, “let’s grow together”.
  2. Relationships are the foundation of moving forward. If people don’t feel that their strengths are valued, they feel you are trying to fix them. No one wants to feel they need to be “fixed”.  On the other side of the spectrum, if people know that they are valued and that you are there to help them get better, they are way more open to moving forward.
  3. Start the journey from where people are, not where you want them to go.  Too often the jump to some extraordinary vision is too overwhelming to many people, but smaller steps from where people are to help them move people forward, will help them build confidence and competence along the way. Help move individuals from their point “A” to their point “B”

As I continue my own learning, what I also know is that there is so much I don’t know.  Not every one of the ideas helps every person.  And not all change is good.  It has to be meaningful or it is change for the sake of change, and could cause more issues than solve.  I also know that as soon as someone says they have all the answers, they are already falling behind.  We can all get better.

Categories: Planet

National Briefing Call on K-12 Computer Science Education

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 12 September, 2017 - 23:25

I'm told this will be very well worth the time. I may even join with my Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles students.

We are pleased to invite you to join an important national briefing call on K-12 computer science education and the Computer Science for All (CSforAll) movement Monday, September 18 at 2:00 pm ET featuring remarks from a very special guest (please join 5 minutes early as our featured guest will be speaking at the top of the call).

We will share important updates and progress towards Computer Science for All from key national leaders; mark the one-year anniversary of the launch of the CSforAll Consortium at the White House Summit on Computer Science for All; and provide a sneak peek into the agenda and speakers at the upcoming CSforAll Summit, October 16-17 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Don’t miss this important conversation on K-12 computer science in the US and the role we all can play in achieving CSforAll. To join, add this call to your calendar using the links below.

Feel free to share this opportunity with your networks. Students and educators are especially welcome.

You can also follow along via social media using #csforall.

September 18 @ 2pm ETConference Line: (888) 946-4716  //  Code: 3267553#


iCalendar  •  Google Calendar  •  Outlook  •  Outlook Online  •  Yahoo! Calendar

Categories: Planet

Yet Another Example of the Importance of Good Names

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 12 September, 2017 - 21:59

A little Tuesday humor. I think I may use this to help students understand the importance of good variable names and other identifiers.

Categories: Planet

Who Wants to be the DNS Server?

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 12 September, 2017 - 01:56

We’re studying how the Internet works in my AP CS Principles course. I wanted a little exercise to help students understand how DNS servers work and maybe through in a bit about address caching.  So I came up with a little role play to try out. I think it worked ok. I’ll try it again tomorrow with some more instructions.

Here’s what I did. I started by taking screen shots of a half dozen or so web sites. The usual suspects: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, CNN, MSNBC, and the school’s home page. I printed them out and assigned students to “serve” each site. An other students was assigned to be the DNS server. I handed him a form and asked him to record which student was “serving” each web site. So the address in this case was a student name.

Another student was assigned as the user and still another was assigned to act as their computer. The computer had their own sheet for looking up addresses (student names) for each web site. As we started it was empty. This would become the address cache for the computer.

The user asked the computer for a web page. If the address was known to the computer they asked the appropriate student to display the web page. If they address was not known the computer asked the DNS server for an address.  The DNS server would return the address which the computer would record in cache and then ask the server to display the page.  We ran through several request to see how this worked.

I did this before any detailed explanation of the process. I followed the role play with a video from code.org called THE INTERNET: IP Addresses and DNS that can be found on their collection of videos. Not surprisingly, this video went into some good detail on the very things we observed in the role play. I’m hoping that the combination of the role play, the video, and in-class discussion will help with both understanding and retention of the information.

What do you think? How would you add or change this? Do you do something similar?

Categories: Planet

Contemplating the consequences of Constructivism — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 10 September, 2017 - 19:21


  • Constructivism is one of those ideas we throw around in educational circles without stopping to think about what we mean by it. They are the terms that have multiple meanings, are at once highly technical and common usage and are likely to cause debate and disagreements. Constructivism in particular carries a quantity of baggage with it. It is a term that is appropriated by supporters of educational approaches that are in stark contrast to the opposing view; constructivism vs didactic methods or direct instruction. The question is what are the origins of constructivism and does a belief in this as an approach to understanding learning necessitate an abandonment of direct instruction or is this a false dichotomy? - Nigel Coutts

Tags: consequences, constructivism, education, teaching, learning

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

“One” Is Not Enough

The Principal of Change George Couros - 9 September, 2017 - 21:43

Before you tweet this quote (because many people will), I just want you to take a hard look at it:

“Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.” Urie Bronfenbrenner

I want to think about some of the math…

How many years does a child spend in school?

How many adults do they interact with?

Based on whatever numbers you come up with for the above, do we really think that “one”, or even five, is enough?

Me neither.

This is why I talk about the idea of “school teacher” vs. “classroom teacher” often.  In my belief, “classroom teachers” know their content amazingly well and are great with their current group of students.  But once they step outside of their classroom, the students they do not teach are “not their problem”. “School teachers” on the other hand, can do all of those things that classroom teachers do within their own classrooms and subject matter, but when they walk out of their room, every child in the school is their child. 

If you see a child walking down a hallway and you do not acknowledge them, that is an opportunity missed.  An opportunity that could have made all of the difference in that moment, that day, sometimes even life.

Always err on the side of positive. Kids need more than a “few” teachers that make them feel they think the world of them.

Categories: Planet

How to Be a Better Instructional Coach

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 8 September, 2017 - 11:13

Jamey Everett in episode 144 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Jamey Everett shares tips on being a better instructional coach based on her wildly popular ISTE 2017 session. We can build trust, be helpful, and help teachers improve learning but it takes lots of work and trust.

Today’s Sponsor: GradeCam is a web-based tool that lets you customize assessments with multiple choice, true/false, number grids, rubrics, and more. You can instantly scan and score answer sheets using ANY device with a camera. You can even transfer grades into any digital grade book with the touch of a button.

Save time and start your free trial today at gradecam.com/coolcatteacher. See how Gradecam can save you time and speed up your grading.

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript


How to Be a Better Instructional Coach

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e144
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Jamey Everett @jeverettPT about making instructional coaching better.

Now, I found out about Jamey by following the #ISTE (hashtag) when I was at ISTE. And so many people were talking about this session.

Why do we need to change the dynamic between instructional coaches and teachers?

Vicki: So, Jamey, you want to change the approach or dynamic between instructional coaches and teachers. What’s the current dynamic, and how do you want to change it?

Jamey: Well, you know, I’ve been doing this for about five years, and I feel like there’s still such a disconnect between technology coaches and what we’re trying to do – and what teachers are trying to do in their classroom. Sometimes I just feel like really what ends up happening is – teachers AVOID me!

And I’ve heard the same stories from other coaches. They don’t want to know the “new thing.” And if you do try to make some recommendations, or give some advice, it ends up creating an awkward situation that no partnership, no collegial partnership should ever feel.

So, I really want to see coaches and teachers working together in an equitable partnership, and one where the coach truly is supporting the needs of the teacher. And it’s because the coach has created a situation where the teacher can be vulnerable, and say, “What’s working in your classroom, and what’s not?”

And then together, they work to solve that problem.

How do we improve the relationship between technology coaches and teachers?

Vicki: So, how do we change this dynamic? I mean, I’ve lived it, too. You know, you try to help, but then teachers are busy, or maybe they don’t know they need help or don’t want any help, you know? They just want to be left to do their job, because they’re busy, right?

Jamey: Right. Right. They’re very busy. And they don’t have a lot of (sometimes physical or even mental/emotional) energy to spend on you, the coach.

Step 1: Deeply understand the teacher’s problem

So, the first place Jen Euell and I say is you have to start with listening. And that is where the design thinking comes into this process. You cannot begin to solve a teacher’s problem until you deeply understand what that problem really is. And there’s no better way than to sit down and listen. You ask questions that get the teacher to reflect more and feel more open about sharing with you. What’s going on in their classroom? What’s working? What’s not working? And from there, the partnership begins to evolve.

Step 2: Work with those who want to be coached

Vicki: What if the teacher feels like they don’t have a problem they need to solve? Everything’s OK.

Jamey: Then you move on. Not everybody wants to be coached. And that is fine. But they will, someday, because I think that word will spread that you are an ally.

There will come a day when they feel comfortable saying, “You know what? I do think I want to try something different in my classroom. Can we sit down, and can I tell you about what I want to try?”

Vicki: You know, my philosophy is that I work with the willing. I mean, I spent too many years trying to help people who didn’t want it. And you can’t push somebody up a ladder. They’ve got to want to climb it, you know?

Jamey: Yep, they’ve got to want to climb it. You just can’t force it.

Vicki: Oh, but that’s so hard because that’s your job. You’re the instructional coach, and the principal wants you to help every teacher become better and use these tools. And what do you say to your principal, when you’re like, “Ummmm… Well, I’m helping so-and-so.” And they’re like, “Well, I need you to help so-and-so.” And that other one, they don’t want you.

Step 3: Talk about the instructional experiences, not the technologies

Jamey: If there is a culture of instructional coaching at a school, I would say that likely won’t happen. I think this is new for technology coaches to be more of an instructional role, to be able to say to a teacher, You know, I don’t want to talk to you about a new app, or how to make your device work. We want to talk about the instructional experiences in your classroom.” That’s a new realm for a lot of teachers and tech coaches.

Step 4: Make working with you a safe place

Jamey: I think really what we have to remember as tech coaches is that we’re not here to change people. We’re not here to make people do things differently. We’re here to create a culture that allows for change.

And so just by the nature of coaching, where people feel like they want to be coached – not coaching when they don’t want to be coached – you’re creating a safe place for people to try new things and do that when they’re ready.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made with instructional coaching?

Vicki: What do you think the biggest mistake is that you made in the earlier years of instructional coaching, that you just make you cringe now?

Mistake Prevention Tip #1: Make sure the timing is right for your help

Jamey: As a technology coach, yeah, just swooping in and saying, “Oh my gosh. I have this great new app that I think you should try.” Or… There were too many times when I stepped in when it was not expected, when it was not wanted. I think, in my particular situation… (sighs)… it just was not expected. And I think it felt very judged. I think the teachers felt judged and evaluated.

Mistake Prevention Tip #2: Keep coaching confidential

There’s also this – the thing about coaching is it has to be completely confidential. That’s one of those things that I think that principals and heads of schools need to understand. I can confirm or deny whether I am coaching someone. But I won’t share with you the nature of the coaching or the relationship. Because that’s between us.

Vicki: Mmmm. I like that. I like that, and I think that that helps build trust, doesn’t it?

Elena Aguilar’s books helped Jamey become a better coach

Jamey: It does. It does. And all of this – I would highly recommend that folks check out any workshops of books by Elena Aguilar. She writes all about instructional coaching, and The Art of Coaching Teams: Building Resilient Communities‎ is one of her books. To me, when I was most frustrated with my position, a friend of mine recommended those books to me. They were therapeutic. It completely changed the way I thought about my role and how to approach other people – and where THEY really were. And how I could better appreciate what they needed at that moment.

Vicki: I so feel this. I’ve these books. Don’t so many of us instructional coaches – because that’s part of the role I play at my school – don’t we want to just be helpful, and doesn’t it hurt when we know we can help but we’re not wanted?

What so many educators want: to make a difference

Jamey: Yep. It really does! And people sometimes say to me, “Thank you, Jamey, for all that you do,” But I always say, it’s not thanks that I’m looking for. I just want to know that what I did was TRULY helpful. Truly meaningful. You don’t need to thank me. Just tell me I made a difference.

Vicki: Now you also use these little coaching cards, at the end. I want to understand what they are, and how they work, because we’re almost out of time, and I think it’s a really powerful tool.

Jamey’s Coaching Cards

Jamey: Sure. It is. So, the idea is that the ISTE standards can be really overwhelming for teachers. There are a lot of them, and the last thing a coach should do is just hand the ISTE standards to a teacher and say, “Here! Choose some.” They don’t really have time to figure out what they mean, they don’t have time to go find the tools for those particular standards.

So, what we came up with are the BYTE cards, which means Build Your Technology Experience. There is an ISTE standard for students on every single card. On the back is a bit of an explanation about that standard with some tools that would help a teacher achieve that particular standard.

Once a coaching conversation is done, the coach would then say to a teacher, “I’ve heard what you said, and I really think that these three particular ISTE standards are what you’re looking for. Take a look at these cards. Tell me what you think. Does this really resonate with you? Am I on the right path?”

And then from there, you work with the teacher to just develop a learning experience based on those specific ISTE standards, not all of them. It makes it much more manageable, more “bite” sized for a teacher, and it’s much less overwhelming and (more) empowering. They know those cards are just for them.

Vicki: That’s awesome. You’ve given us so many ideas, Jamey, to make instructional coaching better. I’ve been taking notes.

Instructional coaches and teachers, there’s so much of teaching in this, for all of us. All of you teachers want to be helpful. But instructional coaching has its own unique challenges, and I so feel the struggle and the frustration and the “upsetness” that many of us feel. There has to be a better way. I totally agree with Jamey. There has to be a better way. We’ve got to step up our game, and perhaps try a different way of being “helpful” that is more coaching and more empowering (with) a lot more trust.

Jamey: Yep.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Biography as Submitted

As a technology integrator and instructional coach, Jamey takes a highly personalized approach when designing learning experiences with teachers. Her goal is to understand the teacher’s instructional aspirations and frustrations, then support the teacher in exploring new learning objectives that are specifically tailored to her or his needs.

Her passion for problem-based, real-world learning has grown out of 14 years in education, as a fifth-grade teacher, an academic technology specialist, and an advocate for design thinking in the classroom.

In her spare time, Jamey loves gardening, taking care of her four chickens and playing with her chocolate Labrador. She lives in Indianapolis with her spouse and two kiddos.

Blog: www.learningredesigned.com


Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. 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 How to Be a Better Instructional Coach appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Safely Involve Students in Social Media and More Student Voice Tips

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 8 September, 2017 - 10:19

Heather Callihan in episode 143 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Heather Callihan’s @hcallihan students help with their Facebook and Twitter using some technology tools. Students can have a voice and you can safely let them help your school share the story. Heather teaches us how.

Today’s Sponsor: GradeCam is a web-based tool that lets you customize assessments with multiple choice, true/false, number grids, rubrics, and more. You can instantly scan and score answer sheets using ANY device with a camera. You can even transfer grades into any digital grade book with the touch of a button.

Save time and start your free trial today at gradecam.com/coolcatteacher. See how Gradecam can save you time and speed up your grading.

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.


Enhanced Transcript Safely Involve Students in Social Media and More Ways to Give Students a Voice

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e143
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking to Heather Callihan @hcallihan from Nebraska about helping kids find their voice in some very practical ways.

How do you help kids find their voice?

So, Heather, how do you help kids find their voice?

Heather: Well, Vicki, I have a passion for digital citizenship and student voice integrated in there. I think one of the things that I try to promote with teachers with administrators, and people within our district and our state is, “How do you allow (this), and what are you doing in your schools to put student voice out there?

So, we have, obviously — across the United States and the world — we’ve got this push for social media and schools sharing their story. I feel like a lot of the stories are shared by administrators or teachers that have access to the accounts. I feel very strongly about sharing stories, but student voices as well.

So, what can we do to get our student voice integrated into those school accounts, like our school Twitter, school Facebook, Instagram? Our students are in the classroom. They’re in the trenches. They are at the activities. They’re at the athletic events. And so, anytime they can post to Twitter or post to Facebook is a good opportunity for them to share the story.

Integrating that into your district accounts or your school-specific social media accounts is an awesome way to share that story. I think districts strive to share their story, but I think there’s just so much power in the student voice.

What tools help us let kids have input into the school social media accounts?

Vicki: How do we do that? I work with our school Facebook page. If a kid posts something on Facebook, usually, of course, it’s private. But if I turn around and re-share that on the school Facebook page, then haven’t I just compromised their privacy? How can we do this without having privacy worries?

Heather: One of the things that we have incorporated (is that) we are currently piloting a tool called Class Intercom. This tool empowers students to be digital leaders, but it also makes the social media easy for schools. Basically, what it does is connect your school social media to the account and allows students access to that portal, where they can create the posts. So they’re actually creating the post for your school account, but as a teacher, I’m the coach.

I coach them through that authentic digital citizenship “opportunity,” I guess you could say, where I get a notification that says that a student posted this, or this picture and this 40-character Tweet. I can hit “Submit” or I can add a comment, change some things. It gives those authentic teaching opportunities – not just for digital citizenship but for simple things like grammatical errors, or anything that would normally come up as far as grammar and sentence structure.

So that’s one of the things we’re doing. We’re using it as a way to share our story through student voice, but also this year we would like to incorporate it into an internship opportunity. We see the push for the marketing positions out there, and they deal with a lot more social media than they used to, and so that is the future of marketing, per se. It’s an authentic way to coach them through those opportunities. We’re kind of at the beginning stages of it, but it’s an awesome opportunity to do that.

How do you give students credit for their work?

Vicki: Is there some kind of notation on the post that’s been written of the student that wrote it?

Heather: No, we haven’t. If they want to, they can, if they want to reference their own personal Twitter account. A lot of times what students will do with that tweet from the Class Intercom portal is they’ll just retweet it on their account, and maybe quote the tweet and say something like that.

Or as a Tech Coach myself, I might retweet something and say we’ve got some student voice coming from our #ginwvikings Twitter account. Thanks to so-and-so, and maybe reference them. Sometimes it can come from a class or an activity, so we might reference the sponsor or the coach or something like that.

Vicki: Wow, you’re blowing my mind! So, our kids can help us with our biggest headache, sometimes – social media — through Class Intercom. Is it free?

Heather: No, it’s not free. There’s a little bit of a cost. But check it out.

Helping students develop their voice through digital portfolios

Vicki: Yeah, we’ll put that in the Show Notes. OK, so how else do you help your kids have authentic student voice?

Heather: One of the other things that we had done was incorporated some digital portfolios. I’m a big fan of having kids create those portfolios, and share exactly what they’re doing in the classroom, or share the great things that are happening.

So, Go Ennounce is also a tool that we’re using, where students are creating a digital portfolio, sharing their accomplishments, and sharing their awards, short little video clips – they can do that. Then when it comes time to do scholarships or when they’re applying to a college, they have a one-stop shop of something to share with employers, coaches, colleges. But it gives that one-stop shop of something to have.

Each teacher has a different platform of something that they’re using to have students curate content or curate things, whether it’s a paper or a blog or whatever they’re doing. We really work to make some seamless, integrated opportunities for students so that when they are seniors or even juniors, and they’re applying for those jobs or things, they have something to share.

So, Go Ennounce is another platform that we are using for that. That’s again, high school students.

Vicki: So, I have my students build a personal website. They’re including those on their college applications. And it’s making a difference!

Go Ennounce – does that let the kids’ content be shared publicly?

Heather: No, it’s actually private. What the students do is have control over where they can share it.

So, if I was going to work with you, Vicki, and I’m a student, I would share that. It would say, “Heather Callihan has invited Vicki Davis to view her Go Ennounce portfolio.”

When the time comes, if I decide that’s not the route I’m going, I can take that privilege away from you. I can send you the invite to look at the portfolio, but I can also revoke it. So students are sharing it with teachers, so then again, it creates those authentic opportunities for students to build their online presence.

The importance of building a positive digital presence

Heather: I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but we know how important it is for students to build that online presence in a positive way. And so as teachers we work to model it, but I feel like there’s so much preaching. You should or shouldn’t do this and this and this – But any time that we can provide that opportunity to show them and coach them as they build a portfolio, or as they build their online presence, it’s key.

Fear of involving students and how to overcome that fear

Vicki: So, Heather, as we finish up, we have time for one more idea, or one more encouragement to teachers to help students find their authentic voice. What is yours?

Heather: I think in education we need to not be afraid of… I think the “F” word gets in the way. The Fear word gets in the way. We’re afraid of what students are going to post, and what students are going to do. We just need to empower them and provide those opportunities, because fear isn’t going to get us anywhere. It’s not going to help the students learn.

Just like in any sport, we coach our kids through the activity, we coach them in their technique so the digital citizenship or creating that online presence isn’t any different. I just think that online presence is so important. As teachers, administrators, school officials, we just need to continue to provide those coaching opportunities in whatever way, and however it looks.

Vicki: Now we’ve gotten so many fantastic ideas to help students find their voice. What I love about these is that these are very practical ideas.

Heather, you have told me about two new things I’ve never heard about before, so you know, we all learn when we talk to each other about what’s happening in different places.

I am going to be checking out Class Intercom and Go Announce. Two cool new tools. We will actually put links to them in the Show Notes and in the transcript.

So get out there and be remarkable. Let’s let our kids help us with social media for a change.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Biography as Submitted for Heather Callihan

I am a Technology Integration Specialist for Northwest Public Schools in Grand Island, Ne. Our district is 1:1 at the high school and we have several iPads and Chromebooks that our K-8 students utilize daily. I am the current NETA Board President Elect.(@YourNETA), Common Sense Graphite Certified Educator, a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified Educator and a GoEnnounce Digital Image Champion. I have a passion for integrating technology in education.

I believe learning needs to be visible and students need to master skills involving Collaboration, Creation, Communication and Critical Thinking. With seamless integration of technology, students have multiple opportunities to experience this and become well-rounded learners in the 21st century.

I believe in sharing your story and maintaining a positive online presence. I have a passion for digital citizenship and sharing with students and adults. I love learning and opportunities to do so. I am always up for connecting, collaborating and sharing with others.

Blog: callihanscache.com

Twitter: @hcallihan

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. 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 Safely Involve Students in Social Media and More Student Voice Tips appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Innovate One Thing

The Principal of Change George Couros - 8 September, 2017 - 09:19

Teachers work extremely hard and the job can be thankless some days.  Seemingly, more and more is being placed on teachers and educators, where they have moved from full “plates” but to full “platters”.

So why do I focus on “innovation” so much in education? Doesn’t this become just another “thing”?

The reality of our world is that we all have 24 hours in the day, but how you use our time is important.  How do we get the most out of it?  Innovation is not about doing “more”, but about doing things “better”.  Time, like money, is a currency, but I believe it to be more valuable. The more we get out of our time the better.

Here is an example…

Kids write in a journal to improve literacy. What I have seen many students do is that they will write into their paper journal, and teachers will take 20 to 25 of those notebooks home to write to each student. But when you look at this formula, who is becoming the most literate? The ratio favors the growth of literacy in the teacher over the student.

But what if you had the students write in a blogging platform and instead of the teacher commenting to every student, you have students comment on five other student’s blog posts? Instead of writing once, they will write a minimum of six times, but probably more, as many would want to respond to the comments they receive.  Yes, as a teacher, there will be some set up to make this happen, but long term, would you not save time and actually have students write more than what they were before?

Maybe this example is not relevant to you or your situation, or maybe you don’t have the access to make this happen to the point that would be beneficial to your students.  Innovation is not about someone else finding the answers for you, but about looking at your own context and finding your own solutions to move forward. Hence the reason I believe innovation is all about mindset, not skill set.

I challenge you (and myself), to look at just one thing that you are doing, ask “is there a better way?”, find that way, and see how it goes. Let that one thing, lead to another thing.

Don’t add time, just try to think different.  It takes some time to get there, but long term, the investment will pay off.

Categories: Planet

Risk vs Reward – Lessons from the Road

Chris Betcher - 16 July, 2017 - 19:02

I spent a few hours this afternoon driving the nearly 200km from Sydney to Bathurst for a day of work in a Bathurst school tomorrow. As I crossed the Blue Mountains and went past Lithgow, the roads open up a little and there are longer, straighter faster stretches of road. On one particularly long straight stretch of road I noticed that my steering wheel hung ever so slightly to the right even though I was driving in a straight line. It wasn’t enough to really bother me, but I started to wonder why it was like that and what it would take to fix it so the steering wheel was perfectly neutral while driving in a straight line. I’m sure the reason had something to do with the camber of the road, and I realised that I do in fact have some level of understanding of how a vehicle’s steering system works. How did I know this? As I pondered the question I remembered back to my very first car and how I had – on several occasions – pulled the steering wheel off and put it back on again.

You might be wondering what caused me to remove and replace the steering wheel on my car.  I mean, who does that? As I tried to remember the reason for why I would be disassembling parts of my car, it dawned on me that I used to take that old 1970 Volkswagen Type III apart and put it back to together again not because there was anything wrong with it, but simply because I could. Yes, I used to pull things apart on that car and put them back together again just for the fun of it and to try to understand how things worked.

There were many times where I pulled my VW apart and couldn’t figure out how to put it back together, and it was off the road for a few days until I could work it out. Back then, that didn’t seem like a big deal. And the value in learning how my car worked seemed a small price to pay for the inconvenience of having it off the road temporarily.  Since the VW I’ve had several other cars that I’ve been quite willing to pull apart and try to put back together, simply because I wanted to know how they worked. Engines, gearboxes, diffs… I’ve had all these things in pieces just because I was curious about what was inside and how things worked.

As I drove along in my current car, a 2015 Mitsubishi ASX, I pondered the prospect of pulling the steering wheel off and putting it back on again, adjusting it by one spline and wondering if that might fix my steering wheel’s droop to the right. As I thought about doing this, I realised that I honestly wouldn’t attempt it on the Mitsubishi, not only because it was probably way more complex than my old VW, but it was more likely to be an expensive repair if I messed it up.  Could I work out how to remove and replace the steering wheel on my current car? Sure. But would I? Nah, probably not.

And I got to thinking about why that is. I’m still a curious person and I still like to know how things work. But the idea of taking my 2015 ASX apart and putting it back together again – for fun – is just not something I’d consider, even though I’ve done it to several of the cars I’ve owned over the years.

What was different? As I thought about this, I wondered if it was the fact that the newer and more expensive the car, the less inclined I would be to tinker with it just for fun. My ASX cost about $26,000. My first VW cost $800.  There was a lot less to lose with the VW if I got it wrong.

This got me thinking about the learning process and about the balance between risk and reward. Unless you are prepared to take the risk of breaking something, you’re probably not going to reap the reward of learning. I don’t really know exactly how the steering wheel on my ASX works because I’ve not attempted to pull it apart, and so I will probably remain fairly ignorant of its inner workings. That’s just a risk vs reward situation I’m going to accept for now. This car is simply too expensive if I fuck it up.

As a teacher, over the years I’ve done a lot of great projects with kids. Some have been amazingly successful and have dramatically changed the way I think about the teaching and learning process. And some have been total disasters. But the value for me as a teacher – as a teacher who wants to continually be getting better at what I do – comes from being willing to take that risk that even if things don’t work out, the value of what I learn from trying makes it worthwhile anyway.

For several years I worked in a fancy high-falutin private school. I won’t say that I was being completely risk averse during my time there, but I also don’t think I took as many big gambles and tried as many radical things as I once would have, simply because the stakes were a little higher if I happened to mess it up. This school had a reputation to protect, demanding parents to keep happy, and there were more policy-driven hoops to jump through to really try outrageous ideas. By contrast, I’ve worked in several schools that had far less to lose, and in those schools it was always much easier to try new ideas because it didn’t matter so much whether they worked or not. Most of the best innovation seems to come from situations where failing is most definitely an option.

It’s nice to be well resourced and have great facilities. But you can do an awful lot of great stuff in a school with very limited resources. You don’t need a lot of money or resources or fancy facilities to be innovative and try new ideas. You just need to be willing to try stuff, and to not worry about whether it works or not.

The other things that struck me as I thought about this idea is that some of the cheapest, shittiest cars I’ve ever owned – the ones I had no issue pulling apart and tinkering with – are the ones that gave me the fondest memories and the deepest emotional attachment. The last few cars I’ve owned have been brand new, reasonably expensive, “nice” cars, but I have very little emotional attachment to them at all. They are just transport. Yes they are comfortable, reliable and pleasant to drive, but that’s about it. The cars I’ve loved owning the most over the years were mostly second-hand, cheap, with lots of quirky flaws yet I look back at the experiences they gave me with such great memories and the knowledge that they even shaped me as a person.  I see some parallels with the classroom there too.

Sometimes you can put that steering wheel back after you pull it apart, and sometimes you can’t. The point is not that everything you do needs to work. The real point is that everything you do should be an opportunity to be a better learner.

Categories: Planet
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners