Oct 26, 2011
Comments Off on Seth Godin in Poke the Box

Seth Godin in Poke the Box

Somewhere along the way, ego became a nasty word. It’s not. … Ego drives us to seek acceptance, to make a difference, and to push the envelope. If ego wasn’t a key driver in the process, then creative, generous work would all be anonymous, and it isn’t.

Oct 24, 2011
Comments Off on What I Learned at ECOO 2011 + A Few Extras

What I Learned at ECOO 2011 + A Few Extras

The thing about conferences is that it is rarely the presentations that promote the most learning.

Yeah, they are good in stimulating something in the brain, but it generally happens in the times between sessions around the lunch table, coffee breaks and, in the case of ECOO, around the iPad where learning becomes something more than a PowerPoint presentation.

I was lucky enough to have attended the ECOO 11 Conference in Toronto last week. On top of that, I was privileged to deliver two presentations so I could hopefully stimulate some conversations for people.

But the real luck is in the time. I had so much great collaborative time with my co-presenters and others, that I was able to really push my learning.

So, then what did I learn:

  • I learned that there is a need and desire for taking technology conferences and including less about the tools and more about the underlying philosophy that moves education.  I heard multiple times over the days, how we talk so much about the how, we don’t spend enough time on the WHY.  This has me thinking that an un-conference held in Kitchener/Waterloo might be what we need, a sort of companion to ECOO.
  • I learned that the narrative form of video games is far more complex than I originally would have thought. I need to spend time “gaming for a purpose”, which I have not done.
  • I learned that nodding during a presentation is incredible helpful. It made me so much more at ease when I saw someone nodding to the gibberish that was running from my mouth.
  • I learned that technological hardware is fairly stagnant and that the real power is how the software/social media can address so many of the educational revolution ideas.  The changes in software matter more and more.
  • I learned that facilitating a discussion as your presentation, looks messy and may make you question your being there, but it is essential to moving the ball.
  • I learned that authenticity might be my new favourite word when describing where education should be going.

Here are a few of my  tweets from the conference:


 

Delivered: Friday, October 21st @ 9:30am with Anne Doelman, Christy Wood, Dave Lambert and Emily Schmuck

FFP Presentation ECOO

Delivered: Friday, October 21st @ 1:45pm with Daniel Ballantyne

Authentic Assessment Presentation – ECOO 2011

Oct 19, 2011
Comments Off on Annie Murphy Paul (http://ideas.time.com/2011/10/12/the-science-of-how-we-learn/#ixzz1b8VvqX2h) For all those that suggest we can keep on, keepin’ on, stick with the tried and true methods of instruction and learning, need to listen to the science. The educational revolution is not about jumping on the band wagon, it is rooted in an understanding that things are different now. The science of learning has prompted us to say, “it’s time.” The nature of information, knowledge, communication and expression have radically changed and are continually changing. To remain stationary is severely problematic.

Annie Murphy Paul (http://ideas.time.com/2011/10/12/the-science-of-how-we-learn/#ixzz1b8VvqX2h) For all those that suggest we can keep on, keepin’ on, stick with the tried and true methods of instruction and learning, need to listen to the science. The educational revolution is not about jumping on the band wagon, it is rooted in an understanding that things are different now. The science of learning has prompted us to say, “it’s time.” The nature of information, knowledge, communication and expression have radically changed and are continually changing. To remain stationary is severely problematic.

We need a learning revolution: in the schools, at home, and in the workplace. Although the science of learning has made enormous advances over the past decade, its discoveries have remained restricted to academic journals and conferences. It’s time to liberate this knowledge for the good of learners everywhere.

Oct 19, 2011
Comments Off on Annie Murphy Paul (http://ideas.time.com/2011/10/12/the-science-of-how-we-learn/#ixzz1b8VvqX2h) For all those that suggest we can keep on, keepin’ on, stick with the tried and true methods of instruction and learning, need to listen to the science. The educational revolution is not about jumping on the band wagon, it is rooted in an understanding that things are different now. The science of learning has prompted us to say, “it’s time.” The nature of information, knowledge, communication and expression have radically changed and are continually changing. To remain stationary is severely problematic.

Annie Murphy Paul (http://ideas.time.com/2011/10/12/the-science-of-how-we-learn/#ixzz1b8VvqX2h) For all those that suggest we can keep on, keepin’ on, stick with the tried and true methods of instruction and learning, need to listen to the science. The educational revolution is not about jumping on the band wagon, it is rooted in an understanding that things are different now. The science of learning has prompted us to say, “it’s time.” The nature of information, knowledge, communication and expression have radically changed and are continually changing. To remain stationary is severely problematic.

We need a learning revolution: in the schools, at home, and in the workplace. Although the science of learning has made enormous advances over the past decade, its discoveries have remained restricted to academic journals and conferences. It’s time to liberate this knowledge for the good of learners everywhere.

Oct 16, 2011
Comments Off on Can I Expect Him to Learn Today?

Can I Expect Him to Learn Today?

*** Today is Blog Action Day.

Since 2007, Blog Action Day has focused bloggers around the world to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included water, climate change and poverty.

This year, Blog Action Day will be held on October 16, which coincides with World Food Day, so naturally our 2011 theme is food.

This is my contribution. ****

 

He walked in and asked if I had anything to eat. I didn’t. I had stuffed my face with pizza, fresh homemade salsa, a Diet Pepsi and some cookies just minutes before. I ate every last crumb.

I said, “No, Didn’t you just have lunch? Are you seriously still hungry?”

“I didn’t have any money to buy my lunch.”

“Why didn’t you pack one from home?”

“There is nothing to eat at home.”

The gravity of this conversation starts settling. “Well, did you have breakfast?”

“No.”

“So, you’ve not had anything to eat all day.”

“No.”

And so I wonder, how important are my plans for him today? How important is the assignment, the activity or the group work?

Can I expect him to learn today?

Should I expect him to have focus today?

I started bringing granola bars to class. Always having them in a desk drawer, something to tide my students over until later, even just for a bit. It’s yet another thing to think about as they walk in the door, as they rebuff my attempts to help them acquire the skills they’ll need. It’s yet another thing to think about as they struggle to focus; when he’s irritable.

And I know he’s not alone. He’s the one I know about it.

It may not be everyday, it may have been an aberration. But it’s not.

How can I expect him to learn today, if he can’t expect to eat today?

Oct 15, 2011
Comments Off on When Arbitrary Decisions Affect Learning

When Arbitrary Decisions Affect Learning

Lately, I have been struck by the arbitrary.

75 minute classes.

10% essays.

180 day school years.

Age-based class division.

Mandatory subjects.

Exams. Essays. Grades.

Arbitrary, arbitrary, arbitrary.

We recognize that these things are often/sometimes barriers to student learning, yet we set them up year after year.

I am not an educational historian and in fact, I’m sure someone could rationalize these decisions and these procedures. But I’m left feeling some unease. The unease is our unwillingness as a system to recognize the nature of these choices and change them. Our reluctance to acknowledge the mountains of research that may in fact, direct these decisions in the opposite direction.  But because we’ve done them, we do them.

Although, I am a shameless idealist, I’m not naive to the fact that there are other things influencing these decisions. The economy, politics, and society’s reluctance to change have all affected student learning. I appreciate that with a system this large, there is much more nuance in these decisions. But they remain ill-explained and ill-advised for an encouragement of rich learning opportunities.

But what about in a classroom? What about in my classroom?

I’m left asking myself how many decisions do I make, that are arbitrary, that influence the nature, direction, and efficacy of the learning?

I need to become more conscious of the decisions I make and ensure that they are not made flippantly, but rather they are reasoned and purposeful. After that statement, I feel like I must defend myself, saying, most of my decisions are made with purpose and are reasoned with evidence, however, I know there are a host of little “seemingly” insignificant arbitrary decisions that I make or I allow to be made that affect learning.

So where does this all leave me? I feel that many of these decisions are so out of my control, that I shouldn’t bother worrying about them. Much like the baggage that a student walks through the door with, acknowledge it and work with it, but I do. I worry about these things very similarly. I wish I could make them go away and students would have an opportunity and environment that enriches their learning at every turn.

Oct 14, 2011
Comments Off on Gratitude and Generosity

Gratitude and Generosity

Shameless Idealist

The two tenets of education should be:

  1. Have gratitude.
  2. Be generous.

These should permeate every action public education is involved in.

This is what a teacher should always exemplify. You have skills, knowledge, the ability to learn, now give it away.

Show students how it works.

Be thankful, share what you’ve got.

 

Oct 13, 2011
Comments Off on Derek Sivers in “Anything We Want”

Derek Sivers in “Anything We Want”

Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

Oct 13, 2011
Comments Off on Derek Sivers in “Anything We Want”

Derek Sivers in “Anything We Want”

Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

Oct 11, 2011
Comments Off on Seth Godin in “We Are All Weird” When we remove this moral myth of compliance, how does it change our understanding of authority? If it is not moral to comply, why comply? Without compliance, what are we left with? So many great things in Seth Godin’s book.

Seth Godin in “We Are All Weird” When we remove this moral myth of compliance, how does it change our understanding of authority? If it is not moral to comply, why comply? Without compliance, what are we left with? So many great things in Seth Godin’s book.

We believe it is moral to comply.

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