Am I Treading Lightly Enough?

Tread Lightly

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21317398@N04/6243312715

As I work on writing comments for my students during our teacher workday, I found a link to Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk in a shared Google Doc from the English Departments Retreat last week. I had not seen it so with two browsers open, one for comments, and one for soul food, I listened and wrote. How do I best support my students learning? How exactly did they walk into our collective learning environment? What dreams did they leave at home because they do not get to fulfill them during school? Should I even care?

My day started out with an email from a friend who is opening a new school in August. He has worked on this for a few years and while I no longer interact with him due to a possible conflict of interest, I am happy to see him getting closer to realizing a dream of his. I am jealous a bit in that he has gone for his dream. Not that I haven’t as I am doing a job I love with a school that has all of the learning resources needed at the ready. Yet, I feel like something is missing and maybe it is the change that Sir Ken speaks to and that I think Steve is going to try to foster. My own grandchildren are in school now and I see a melting of the dreams that they once shared with me. What can I do better to nurture all of the dreams of the dreamer, myself included?  

Steve had read a post by Denise Krebs and got to using VoiceThread and remembered how I had told him about how much I like it. You can read more at his blog. 

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

 

This is a quote from the talk when he reads a poem W. B Yeats.

I wanted to read you a quick, very short poem from W. B. Yeats, who some of you may know. He wrote this to his love, Maud Gonne, and he was bewailing the fact that he couldn’t really give her what he thought she wanted from him. And he says, “I’ve got something else, but it may not be for you.”

He says this: “Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with gold and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.

NCAIS Innovate Presentation – Reflection on Year 1 with iPads

hearstpool http://www.flickr.com/photos/95572727@N00/4321052153

I will be presenting at the 2013 NCAIS Innovate Conference titled Make the Connection. More information is available at the NCAIS Innovate website. I am also one of the instructors for VISnets Teaching Academy being held August 5th through 7th at Charlotte Latin School. To register or get more information.

This is the presentation I will be using for my talk about my reflections on our school’s first year with a 1:1 iPad program in grades 5 through 8. I have two slides at the end of the presentation that you are welcome to add your suggestions, comments, or questions either before my presentation or during my presentation. I hope the presentation is more of a conversation between us then my just talking for an hour. 

NCAIS 21st Century Teacher Academy – August 2012

This is the first day of a 2.5 day workshop presented by NCAIS for teachers across the state. I am lucky enough to be presenting a session on Harnessing the Resources on the web for teachers and students. We will be learning about iTunes U, Khan Academy, Edutopia, SAS Curriculum Pathways, MIT K12, TED Ed, YouTube for Teachers, and other resources that teachers and students can easily integrate into their teaching and learning. 

 This link will take you directly to the slideshow if you prefer. http://goo.gl/ydE66

The presentation I will be using is below.

NCAIS 21st Century Teacher Academy – July 2012

North Carolina Association of Independent Schools 1

This is the first day of a 2.5 day workshop presented by NCAIS for teachers across the state. I am lucky enough to be presenting a session on Google Apps, Google Reader and Twitter. We will be working on exposure to the tools and perhaps helping current users go deeper in their use to build a PLN or Personal Learning Network.

 This link will take you directly to the slideshow if you prefer. http://goo.gl/usgHO

The presentation I will be using is below.

Google Reader List of my favorites blogs  http://goo.gl/ymAl3

This link is for a collaborative Google Document I hope to use with the participants. http://goo.gl/i5u8Q

3 Free Tools to Manage Your Social Learning

I will be going to Canterbury School in Greensboro, NC for the NCAIS Innovate Conference where I will present a session called “3 Free Tools to Manage Your Social Learning”. While I do not consider myself a totally connected person, I do have a system that may help someone. Besides, I present at these conferences to challenge myself and my learning.

In the age of information that we live and teach in today, it can be hard to manage the flow of data. In this presentation, I will share with you 3 tools I use and love to manage my data stream. All are free. All work together. All are available on multiple devices. All connect you with others. To take most advantage of the time we have together, participants should come to the session with accounts already created.

Google Reader: Create a Google Account or sign up at http://www.google.com/reader

Twitter: http://twitter.com/

Instapaper: http://www.instapaper.com/

This is the presentation I will be using for my session III at 2:10 in room 117 Armfield Hall. This is the actual presentation.

Raising Cyber-Smart Kids Presentation by Michele Guiterrez

Cyber-Smart Kids

Michele Gutierrez gave a repeat presentation of her earlier talk on how we as parents and teachers can help our students. She offered these links for parents to check out or join.

Common Sense Media – Join Today –  http://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Google Family Safety: http://www.google.com/familysafety/

I would add these two:

Google Good to Know: http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/

How to manage your data with Google by using Data Liberation: http://www.dataliberation.org/

These two standard definition movies will give you the context of Michele’s presentation. They are a bit “yellow” but the message is measured and appropriate. Feel free to share this link with anyone who might benefit from this presentation.

Part 1 Time: 30:29

Part 2 Time: 34:01

Is it studying or learning?

Studying

‘Studying’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/90151774@N00/3349594759

I have blogged in the last year about how I wanted to flip my classroom with posts called When Students Teach Themselves and When Students Run the Class. Both highlight for me how I must adapt the ways I have always taught to the current culture of learning. I am helping to lead a cohort of teachers reading the book: New Cultures of Learning by John Sealy Brown and Douglas Thomas. We meet once a month and have great conversations about learning, future, past, current and our role and place. Read more at the blog. We are reading chapter 5 which talks about personal collectives. So the idea of observing what is going on in the labs and in the classes I teach is at the forefront of my thinking these days. In addition, the digital device project is going strong with near constant daily insights.

So with all of this going on, yesterday I overheard an interesting exchange between a very well-meaning teacher and a group of students. The teacher is responsible for an after-school study hall which is housed in a computer lab. Students sit at computers accomplishing work or sit elsewhere reading. Since it is after-school, most students have out their cell phones and iPods which are not allowed during the school day. There are rules for what students are supposed to be doing in order to maintain a productive environment. One thing they are supposed to have is a book to read if they have no homework I understand these rules and support them, for the most part, especially as the numbers of students has grown from 10 or 12 to over 30 students.

What happened yesterday though got me thinking, what is the difference between studying and learning? Are we in the studying business or the learning business? I believe it is the learning business and even though we are often hard pressed to describe what learning is, most teachers know it when they see it, or do they with the changes? Why is not one of the rules to be learning something and not just studying it since to me that implies the knowledge being gained is coming from a source outside the learner. I think we as educators may not recognize learning in this new form and instead may actually quash it in favor of the view of studying which is more familiar.

Sketchup

So what happened? Two students (both girls which is a whole different post about girls and computer science) just finished my class. In their last rotation they both created incredible SketchUp cities as they taught themselves and each other how to use and create. There was another student who they were teaching how to use Sketchup. Students teaching each other SketchUp has been going on constantly since the last rotation. They were not disrupting the study hall but were working on creating a village of their designs. As the teacher, who is well meaning, asked if they were done with their homework, check, they all were. Then came the fateful question, is what you are doing for a class? The students said no, and were told to quit it then as they should read a book or do something else as they could not “play” on the computer. They did quit and went about doing something different. These are exceptional students. I was disheartened but recognize that what looks like learning to me, looks like not studying to someone else.

As I prepared to leave for the day, the student who had been getting instruction stopped me to ask if she could create a petition to get a technology elective class for seventh and eighth grade students since there is not one. I told her I would support her doing that and asked what tool she would use hoping she would choose a Google form which she did. I gave no instructions on how to do anything but today in my email was a sample form asking for my feedback.

As Alan November states in his Global Education Keynote “Who controls the learning?” I would add, would we recognize it if we saw it or would we attempt to stop it?

Consider Me a Crazy One

FlickrCC  jobs

I sent this message to all teachers at my school this morning and thought I would share it here as well.

I wanted to thank Durham Academy as an institution along with Sheppy Vann and Ed Costello publicly for sending me and others to hear Steve Jobs speak at past MacWorld conferences. His company has impacted my teaching in ways I could never have imagined when I first used his technology in 1993.

I have always liked this message from one of their ad campaigns and I think it is a worthy view of how we look at our students and school.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

The Crazy Ones. Wikipedia. October 6, 2011. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_Different].

The world is emptier today for those of us who push the clouds.

Thanks Steve and Apple employees.

 

Learning in a Networked World – Will Richardson’s Message to Durham Academy

Networked Teacher

‘NetworkedTeacher’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035553780@N01/344832591

Today almost seems like a dream. Will Richardson is in our school talking to most of our faculty. The Middle School will be watching a movie we are creating as they are having Olweus training.  I have wanted this to happen for the last five years but wondered if we were up to the discussion as a school. I was thrilled when Lee Hark, Upper School Director, asked me last year for a list of speakers as he was looking for someone to kick off our school year. Faculty are participating in a back channel provided by Will where our faculty are able to discuss what he is saying. This is a whole day event that will challenge us to engage in a conversation that will help us answer the big questions facing our school and students.

I plan to weave the challenges he is into our Innovation and Learning Cohort that is discussing the book: The New Culture of Learning by David Thomas and John Seely Brown.

Bravo and thanks to Durham Academy for being willing to discuss these challenges.

His presentation is at this link.