Shared by a Parent – Inspired Look at the Future of Learning and the Role of a Teacher

I have been absent from blogging much as my writing is taking place in writing tutorials or helping students and teachers with iPads. I will be posting some of my tutorials from my new favorite app, SlideRocket soon but until then let me share this video from a parent. By the way SlideRocket EDU is free to schools using Google Apps for Education.

Just came across this and wanted to share.
This is so very interesting…

when you have time, watch it…
I love technology.

Thanks Lisa

This American Lie

Retraction | This American Life 1

I feel really bad for the entire This American Life crew who were taken in by the story teller Mike Daisey and his fabricated monologue which morphed into a highly touted journalistic report. Ira Glass does a nice job of talking us through the retraction and as I listened to it, I could hear his anger and sadness for having been manipulated. It is all so easy to get manipulated like this when we are faced with some facts that force us to face something that we had hoped to keep hidden both from view and from our collective conscious. You can read more about what was true and what was story by listening to both of the radio podcasts aired by This American Life. I listened to both on my Apple iPod as I too am a conflicted soul. I love the shiny devices and want to believe that we can keep getting new versions while also having no downsides. That is the fundamental point of consumerism and if we stop believing this, we will both hurt our economy while also appearing to be anti something.

January 6, 2012 show with Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

March 16, 2012 show with Retracting Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Apple does make great products and folks who use them, (me included) love them. This is not a zero-sum game in that we need raw materials to make them that must come from somewhere by someone’s effort. Do we all think that every particle that goes into a digital device has no adverse side effects? Or is it that we no longer care or contemplate where our “stuff” comes from as all we can think about is the desire to have it and how soon can we get it?

I have no answer to these questions, but believe we must give voice, like This American Life and Mike Daisey, have tried in their own way. We are all connected globally by these devices so I think we should connect mentally as well. When you get a new device that was manufactured by someone, think about what their life may be like. How it helps your life is important as well but not the only equation to consider.

Apple is trying to both make great products while also improving the lives of workers who build the devices while trying to improve their lives. They are being more transparent with audit information. How about other vendors who also use Foxconn? How about the Chinese government?

Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball does a great job of tearing apart Mike Daisey’s story and his recent admissions on how what he did is not so bad.

We should also remember our history as this type of selective memory has happened before and will happen again. While trains are not what they used to be, they certainly changed the course of America in the 1850s. I seem to remember that even then we had Chinese workers doing some building for us.

NewImage

 

 

Khan Academy as an App and TED Ed

Khan Academy  Watch Practice Learn almost anything for free for iPad on the iTunes App Store

These two announcemets came in through Twitter (TED-Ed) and Google Reader (Khan Academy App). I think both are huge as potential resources for our teachers and students to use.

Khan Academy website: http://www.khanacademy.org/

Khan Academy App review by Edudemic: http://edudemic.com/2012/03/sneak-peek-the-new-khan-academy-ipad-app/

I played with it this morning and it really is quite a useful resource for students or teachers with iPads. The web site offers the same material but they have done a nice job of integrating most of the tools into the app. I do like how students could download videos for off line use.

Some teachers use Khan Academy to flip their classroom where the students view the tutorials as homework and then work problems in the classroom when they are with their teachers and not without their teachers. While some argue that Khan Academy does not do much that is innovative, in the hands of a gifted educator, this resource could help all students no matter their skill level. I would hope some students use the site to learn things other then what they are studying in class.

TED-Ed will allow teachers to harness the power of TED to take their teaching to a larger audience while also bringing in animators to make engaging resources. I hope it will work as I think many TED talks can serve to start a conversation or spark an interest.

Quote from TED-Ed website. TED-Ed Launches on YouTubeTED-Ed’s mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos. A new site, which will launch in early April 2012, will feature these new TED-Ed Originals as well as some powerful new learning tools.

 

Why SOPA and PIPA are DUMB Squared!

wikipediadark

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_Blackout_Screen.jpg

On January 18, 2012, the Internet began to live up to the collective tool that many of us think it is by unleashing it’s power on Congress. With many sites going dark or putting black banners across their name along with links to Congressional Members many members of Congress withdrew their support. Read more at Wikipedia (if it is not blocked) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act

After you listen to Clay, read about ACTA which is ACT II but on a world stage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement

Reading The Spicy Learning Blog, I came across Clay Shirky’s TED Presentation. Very good for the full story of why SOPA and PIPA are DUMB Squared. (Doing Unknown Mischief Because you are Dumb).

No honest person supports piracy so it is a false argument. As Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Book Publishing, discusses in his post, SOPA and PIPA are bad industrial policy, piracy has always been around and in fact publishing started that way.

But history teaches us that it is primarily a result of market failure, the unwillingness or inability of existing companies to provide their product at a price or in a manner that potential customers want. In the 19th century, British authors like Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope railed against piracy by American publishers, who republished their works by re-typesetting “early sheets” obtained by whatever method possible. Sometimes these works were authorized, sometimes not.

The Internet will not be the Internet if any of these laws are passed which also means that the new ways that learning can be changed by the Internet will not be available as many companies will for certain go dark. Call your representatives and let them know how you feel after you get informed yourself. In addition, this is a teachable moment that our students will connect with more then a historical fact although if you want to do a historical fact on the early printing, you might discuss the piracy that followed the invention of the printing press.

Students Writing and Teaching While Looking for an Audience

Seats

Image: Apple\’s Eyes Studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the last few weeks, more students are looking for audiences for their writing and stop animation movies. Mostly the avenue chosen is to send out email messages individually to students and teachers or to a conference where all students can read the request. I think this is a great indicator of the changes that are taking place not only with our students but also with teaching and learning. As the Innovation and Learning Cohort continues to discuss the book: The New Culture of Learning we run into this shift in each chapter. While we could feel threatened by it, I think we need to realize the power this affords us in our classroom. We no longer have to be the smartest person in the room, but do need to be the wisest. This wisdom will allow us to guide the learning, asking questions that allow learners to go further in their thinking and learning as well as modeling that learning is something that does not stop. The changes taking place in education are thrilling even when I am not sure what comes next.

There will be those who read the student writing below and wonder why the writing is not essay or formal quality. I believe this is a new informal writing that is more conversational then it is formal so while I too cringe at some of the errors, I also believe that we have to allow the students to own their learning and at times learning is, well messy.

I asked the students if it was OK to blog their requests so here they are. If you have a moment, add a comment and let them know what you think.

Ashwin writes:

MORE!!! A observation on blogging by: Ashwin S.January 9th, 2012  Tagged blog, more, personal I’ve noticed over the time I’ve been blogging that most people have the same overwhelmingly feeling. That they want more comments more replies or as I phrased it in my title they want MORE!!! Well you think that I am stating the obvious because who wouldn’t want people to see what they were writing that’s the whole point of blogging isn’t it? Well I think that a lot of people want more comments because of human nature. The more people pay attention to you the better you do in life. Even I am feeling like I want more comments (So please comment) it’s just the way we are. A common phrase I say is the perfect way to describe this observation. That phrase is “That’s just life”. http://pdroom212.edublogs.org/2012/01/09/more-a-observation-on-blogging-by-ashwin-s/

Students in sixth grade have really taken to blogging as you can see from some of their posts. I hold great hope that we can begin to see more teachers use this method of authentic writing with their classes.

Alex G sent out this message to a select group of people both at our school and outside of our school:

You may have already gotten an email message like this from me (Alex G.) or Gus L. but we’re just really trying to spread our stop-motion videos to the world. Me and Gus make LEGO stop-motion on imovie and are going to start using ikitmovie (agreat stop-motion sowtware) which I got a few days ago. I’m currently putting my BEST VIDEO YET on youtube so it will be visible probably tommorrow (thurs. january 12). It’s called The Gang, a LEGO STOP-MOTION and don’t worry none of our or my videos are inappropriate unless you say clay blood  or lego guns are but if i can stand watching it, you probably can too. I’ve sent this to my advisory and many other 6th graders and 5th and 6 grade teachers

If you go to youtube or google (and yes, google) just look up in search: “stopmotionbro alex lego” and some of my videos will come up and in the description of the video, if it says stopmotionbro (me) and doofuzz123 (that’s gus) that means we bothmade it. We’ve only made a few together though. I make them on my own out of lego, clay, caplas, puppets, and on paper. My best Videos will say in the description, used IKITMovie.

This is not chainmail but it would be great if you did send this to or tell other people about our videos. thanks and enjoy the videos!
ps, I CURRENTLY HAVE 999 VIEWS FROM 2 MONTHS OF POSTING VIDEOS SO I ATLEAST WANT 1000 BY THE END OF THE DAY but i don’t need to worry because i get about 50 views a day.
Alex G. 6th grade student

Gus and Ian sent out this message. Clearly Gus is working with many students so must be a good collaborator.

Ian L. and I created a youtube account. It is IGLProductionz. We are uploading videos DAILY, and we hope that you subscribe, as it means a lot to us and will encourage us to make more videos!

So when you hear about how teachers need to harness the passion of their students, this, I believe, is the passion we are talking about. What would happen if these students were directed to create videos for subjects and concepts in the classroom as well as the ones they are passionate about like stop animation and Minecraft? Besides, these students are learning about copyright, fair use, Creative Commons and other 21st Century issues.

Since YouTube is blocked at school, all of this work is taking place outside of school and with their parents knowledge and support.

Here’s to a bigger audience for your teaching and learning.

The Year 2011 by Google with a Thanks to Richard

2011

Image from:http://www.adrdesignonline.com/happy-new-year-from-adr-design/

Quoted From Richard Bryne’s Blog: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2011/12/year-in-google-searches.html

 

“Today, Google launched their 2011 Zeitgeist site. Google’s 2011 Zeitgeist features a menu of the most-searched terms of 2011. You can view the overall picture or use the menus to see the most searched terms according to region, country, and theme. The menus are nice and they reveal some interesting patterns, but the real highlight of Google Zeitgeist 2011 is the year in review video. Like other year in review videos, Google’s year in review video features a lot of short video clips and pictures of the year’s biggest stories. The video includes both serious news topics and lighter stories from the world of entertainment.

Applications for Education

Before showing the video to students ask them what they think were the most searched terms of the year. Then show the video and see which stories they missed. That activity could spark a good conversation about news cycles and why some stories stick in our heads while others are quickly forgotten.”

 

http://www.googlezeitgeist.com/en

My reaction to the movie was emotional as the events fade from memory with each new one that hits the screen.

With all of the changes in the world, it is easy to loose track of what matters most, human interactions and a kind word.

Happy New Year

 

Karl

Are Schools Ready for Post PC Laptop or iPad Programs

Ipadvchromevair pages

As schools, mine included, look to adopt the latest portable or mobile devices, I am wondering if the decision makers are also considering whether or not the school is ready for a post PC device. I know our school is testing iPads in one class while another class uses MacBooks. Granted, the iPads are brand new and the laptops are 4 years old but the differences are pretty stark. I thought about this starkness more after reading the Steven Levy article in Wired on Jeff Bezos about Amazon and the Kindle Fire.

“The iPad’s design, marketing, and product launches all emphasize the special character of the device itself, which the company views as a successor to the PC—complete with video-chat capabilities and word-processing software.” Steven Levy, Wired Magazine 19.12 December 2011

While the Kindle Fire is not an iPad, I do think it is an interesting device that deserves attention. My observations are that I believe there are 3 strong contenders for device choice in schools today. Sorry Wintel machines, but I am first an Apple Fan Boy and second a Google Fan Boy. I have never been a Windows Fan Boy as I learned on a Macintosh and have made my career using Apple devices and Google services.

The iPad is a wonderful device for consuming, creating, learning, reading, and investigating many of the powerful learning apps that are available. I think it takes a teacher willing and able to invest the time along with her students to learn how to add the device to the normal class routines. Many teachers may not have the aptitude, energy, or desire to allocate the time to not only bring in a device, but one that behaves unlike any device that most teachers are familiar with to date. The iPad is both a computer and not a computer since it is a new category of device. We have had success with putting them in the class we are testing them in although we have also had failures as much as these moments of success. See my earlier Google Docs Eureka post for one example. Something so central to what students and teachers do should not be this difficult if the technology is supporting or advancing the learning. The iPad does not fit neatly into the existing system of most schools, but, can be made to fit into parts while opening up new systems.

The trajectory of the iPad will no doubt continue to take it’s users to places we have not seen before, but is it the best device to put into a school that may not be interested in reshaping it’s systems like the iPad is reshaping the PC and other industries? I am of a mixed opinion as I can appreciate the enthusiasm and willingness of our students to test and work with the iPad. The project is helping them in many ways since we are able to unload some of the items from their book bags, but is it a program that can be duplicated or will the teachers be unprepared for the re-thinking that must accompany a device like this demands. No amount of training can adequately prepare a classroom for the time when half of the students were able to do X while the other half could only do Y due to the device. Granted, this is a rich arena for collaborative learning, but is it replicable? I am reminded of William Stites post about the iPad being a consumer device first and foremost. Managing the iPads is at times similar to yoga moves that you watch the instructor do but realize your body just does not bend that way.

The MacBook Air features all of the things we know and love about personal computers with the advantages of being fast and light weight. We all know how it works so when the device shows up, as it already has for some lucky students, the device fits into the existing structure of the classroom. Of course, classroom management training of a class set of devices would greatly aid teachers going from not using devices into a classroom that is connected. Since our school already uses Moodle and Google Apps for Education, the Air just flows into the system without needing to adjust the system to meet the Air. This is a big difference for the time investment of teachers. It also will not necessarily move a school as far as the iPad since the internal system change will be less. How much of a system shakeup is desired should be a determing factor in choice of device.

Google’s Chromebook is the 3rd choice that I see as viable for schools. While new and very different which could compare it more to the iPad, it is still mostly a PC. The main difference is that the Chromebook behaves sort of like an iPad with the familiarity of a laptop. Another big difference is the approach to business between Apple and Google in how users interact with their particular ecosystems. Using the image in the Wired Article, as a starting point for my thinking, I see Google similar to Amazon in that their plan is not device lock-in, but services lock-in which of course is less then perfect in either case. These differences appear to be here for the long term given that each company has invested a lot of money in developing the services. In the chart below, replace Amazon with Google and you will have a pretty close comparison between iPads and Chromebooks except for the Specialized browser since the Chrome OS is only a browser.

Jeff Bezos Owns the Web in More Ways Than You Think | Magazine 1

I am intrigued by what Ravenscroft is doing with their Google Apps and Chromebook project. I think highly of the work that Jason Ramsden has done as he is a deep thinker so the fact they are piloting Chromebooks gives it credence in my opinion. I also listened to an earlier podcast from Ed Tech Talk where he discussed the plan.

Before any school adopts a device based solely on cost or screen size, they should also ponder how it will fit either into the current learning system or how it will propel the learning system to be different.

Flipped Classroom or Blended Learning – How Does it Fit into My Classroom/School

Flipping the classroom is somewhat new although variations have been around for years. My fellow NCAIS Master Teacher Josh Thornton has worked on flipping his Math Class with good success. At the Middle School, various math teachers use Khan Academy to help their students. For the most part, it is not true flipping in that often the class comes to the lab during the school day and still do homework away from school and the teacher. I was reading Will Richardson’s blog post today about his upcoming meeting with the founder of Knewton who he will be interviewing on Thursday. On the Knewton, site I found this info-graphic which I thought was worth sharing. I am intrigued by the concept and wonder if we do a digital device, will teachers be willing to flip their classrooms?

I just started a new trimester class and I am amazed at how many students either have their own computer or share a computer with 3 or 4 other children or adults in the house. I do not think flipping will work unless we can make sure that connectivity and access is solved for all of our learners. I do think older students could greatly benefit from it as could our constant push for more time to teach. If all we do is drop a device into the classroom, we will have not done much of anything that is innovative.

I also like with George Couros wrote on the 24th about Technology being more then a tool. Read his post and look at this infographic as it is today and wonder what it will be in 5 years, 10 years? How will my classroom and my teaching adjust? How will yours?

Often the saying, “technology is just a tool”, is said in the context of schools and learning.  I (vaguely) remember writing a similar comment and being challenged regarding that same statement, but since then I have looked at technology in a different way.  Based on the definitions I have read, and the way I see technology (in many cases) being used, it has the power to be so much more than a website, device, or app.  If technology transforms the way we do things, is it “just a tool”?

Blended Learning

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

 

Digital Learning Farm, Digital Learning, and NAIS Independent School Magazine

Guide to The Digital Learning Farm Flyer | Langwitches Blog

I mentioned this organizational structure yesterday as a way to reconfigure, if you will, a classroom when everyone is connected.

http://langwitches.org/blog/2011/06/21/the-digital-learning-farm-flyer/

Also good is the Globally Connected Learning

http://langwitches.org/blog/2011/06/22/guide-to-globally-connected-learning-flyer/

 

Digital Learning | The Committed Sardine

The concept of digital learning is also in need of understanding. The image above is from a great post on Fluency21 which is a group of educational thinkers founded by Ian Jukes. Read more about this take on digital learning at http://www.fluency21.com/blogpost.cfm?blogID=2288

How do our classrooms help foster or hinder these skills? If we add a connected digital device either as a part of the school or as an organic BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or perhaps just use what we have students hide, where does our curriculum fit within this framework?

The underlying assumptions are core values and processes that enable digital learning to flourish. They are:

  • relevant and contextual curriculum
  • Assessment that is both challenging and transparent (since this lies in a relevant and contextual curriculum, it is also by definition relevant and contextual)
  • An emphasis of higher order thinking skills (analysis and evaluation – creativity is a core aspect of digital learning)
  • Valuing student voice and providing the students with ownership of their learning and assessment.

The author, Andrew Churches works with the Info Savvy Group and focuses on Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT). His bio quote is: “This is about ICT and education. Thoughts & reflections on integrating ICT in the classroom and across the school. I am the Curriculum Manager for ICT and contributor to the infosavvy group. To make a difference we have to change our pedagogy, How we teach, why we teach.”

The above article is from his blog at http://edorigami.edublogs.org Also check out the Edorigami Wiki for a wealth of information.

Independent School Magazine  Fall 2011  Evolution or Revolution

The NAIS Independent School magazine has great articles about change and other issues confronting Independent Schools. In the Fall 2011 Volume 71 number 1 issue Meredith Stewart from Cary Academy and formerly Durham Academy writes with her students about Learning Differently – and Deeply. The entire site is a wealth of resources for all of us in our search for answers to the questions facing our schools and our teaching profession.

Directing the Rider

Direct 1

At our October Faculty Meeting I gave a presentation entitled “Motivating the Elephant” based on the book Switch by the Heath Brothers. See this post for that presentation. At our next faculty meeting, my presentation will be on Directing the Rider which is the second strategy for preparing an organization for a switch. The feedback from my first presentation was mixed in that some colleagues felt that they were doing all they could with what they had to work with while others had concerns that a decision had been made without any discussion. I am attempting to address the first concern with the first slide in the presentation as I was not talking about teachers not doing enough, rather I was talking about the need of our organization to do more. We teachers are often too willing to attach messages to ourselves instead of seeing them as institutional. I can not fully address the decision being made as I do not have all of the information. My sense is that the decision is very much in flux as a group of teachers are traveling next week to Webb School in Knoxville TN to see that school’s iPad deployment. Another school they will visit is Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga TN which recently switched from Windows Tablets to MacBook Airs. Teachers and administrators are going to learn how these two schools utilize the devices in their learning community. Our Middle School Director, Jon Meredith, French Teacher, Teresa Engebretsen, Algebra and Pre-Algebra Teacher, Gib Fitzpatrick, and Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher Patti Donnelly are part of the group. Patti is also one of the two teachers testing out laptops and iPads with their students. I look forward to hearing what they have learned and how it will help our school determine if we want a 1 to 1 deployment of a student device.

I believe my presentation on Monday will help address some of the concerns raised and move the conversation to helping us all use what we presently have available in addition to new ideas and strategies for learning in this modern era. I will be using a Google Presentation but recorded this VoiceThread version ahead of time for colleagues who cannot attend the meeting on Monday.