Why Thinking About Design in Education is Vital Part 2 #coffeechugPLN

#coffeechugpln

I scribbled a bit on one of the interview titles and share this on Instagram a few weeks back, but I think it raises a very valid point.

How do we get students to take the leap of faith? I should add to this How do we get TEACHERS to take the leap of faith? We need to challenge the boundaries of how things are currently being done. It scares people. There is comfort with staying the course. This is needed to a certain extent, but we have many students and kids that we are losing because they are pushing the envelope and we are losing ground more and more every year.

The first thing that has to happen is to “engender trust”(page 94). This is nothing new, but we have to connect to the emotions of people(students and teachers) and bridge in a quality product(lesson or project). As we push the boundaries we have cannot lose sight of keeping things simple and the focus of the goal. It is easy to fall off the course and make things more complicated than what it needs to be.

As we try out new ideas and push the boundaries we cannot be so narrow in our vision. We must look big picture and figure out how all the “different pieces of the experience need to be fused into a cohesive whole?”(page 97) With this thought I think of staffing. Each educator brings some unique and different to the landscape of education. Not every teacher can be the same. Educators need to make up several different roles. We must learn and figure out how to blend these educators into “Design Teams” that create an experience for each student to gain maximum learning opportunities.

You can read Part 1 here

Part 3 drops tomorrow.

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All this talk about giving students as many chances as it takes, yet it does not…….

work in the real world. I am sorry. Argue with me. Tell me I am wrong.

BUT, the way schools operate you cannot continue to give them chance after chance after chance. Yes, I know the real world gives us many chances. I agree. 100%

But we can only have so many chances. At what point is enough, enough?

I don’t know that there is a magical number to the number of chances a person should get, but I think you lay out the final deadline ahead of time. Make it very clear this is it. Within that that window of time students and work and resubmit as often as they like. However, you don’t budge on that deadline. You cannot make a statement and then not live up to it.

Overhearing a conversation between two students yesterday with no idea that I was listening because they are not in my class, but we were in the library.

This students said, “Yeah, I know right? He just lets us do the work as many times as we want. He does not care about us. He doesn’t care.”

Interesting perspective. I don’t think this is true, but an interesting observation by a quality student.

What are your thoughts on give students as many chances as it takes?

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Mozilla #teachtheweb Course and Coffeechug Journey

I am tackling another online class of sorts right now. This one looks to be a good one.

It is operated and ran by Mozilla which is my go to web browser and online tools company.

I just started the other day. I am currently working on my introductions using some new tools. I have no idea how to use them, but I will be documenting all my learning via this blog and the link list over in the sidebar. Please continue to check things out as they develop. I am a bit behind, but hope to get all caught up this weekend and will share my intro projects as well as week 2 work.

The reason I am documenting all my work is not because I think any of it will be good, but rather to document that I am a Model Learner.

I preach about teachers being model learners and how that is the most important identity that teachers can help to emulate in their classroom. I need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

So, here we go. As I venture down the paths of this course I will always be seeking feedback, advice, and tips.

Feel free to give any as needed.

Check the sidebar and let me continue my journey to learning.

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In the chair of a student: Minecraft learning reverses my teacher role!

Learning how to play Minecraft with the teachings of my 8 year old son has brought me back to my school days. I felt stressed and not sure about myself.

Minecraft CastleAs Aiden rattled off all these keyboard shortcuts, new lingo, how to do this and that all at a blazing speed of an 8 year old excited to show his dad the world he loves, I was out of my element.

Now, I am a nerd. I love computers and games and anything involving technology so it is not like I don’t understand basic game mechanics. However, I needed him to slow down. I realized that his excitement was over the top. I loved it! He was so passionate about what he could create and do.

What I finally had to do was tell him to move on and just let me explore. I had another kid on the server help me at a much slower pace. I felt much better getting instructions from someone else. I felt bad about this, but this is when the light bulb clicked.

As parents, how many times has our children not listened to us, but hear the same message from someone else and it completely sinks in?

As teachers, how many times have we grown frustrated that a child cannot do this or that, but never give much thought to the fact that this may be their first time ever doing the task while we have done it for years?

Sitting in my computer chair I was reminded that I too, need to slow down. I must remember that not everyone operates the same way that I do. I was reminded that as teachers we can be the ones to deliver the same message that they are not hearing at home despite the family preaching it a million times or not at all.

I was also reminded that my brain operates much different. He lives by self teaching through YouTube. I had to download some books as I like to read, take notes, and then apply. Our brains and lifestyles have changed as technology has provided new ways of learning. I hate to say it, but I learn the old school way and he is part of the new school generation.

Despite feeling stressed about learning so much so fast in Minecraft by my son, I loved the experience. It reminded of what he goes through everyday. It reminded that I have so much to learn as there is so much I don’t know. It reminded me to stay involved with the passions of my son and to be sure to share my own passions. All it takes is 5 minutes to listen, even if it stresses us out! It shows we care. And even more importantly he is excited about it.

Instead of harping on him all the time about playing too much perhaps I should embrace that he wants to share his passions with me. If all I do is harp at what point does he no longer share his passions with me anymore?

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Online Tips: Cleaning Up Email Signature and About Me Page

I have been working on tidying up a few things to my online presence. The first thing I needed to clean up was my email signature.

Here is what I had

Amanda(my wife) always makes fun of me for this signature as she cannot believe that I have all this junk stockpiled at the bottom of each email I send out. I thought that I needed to clarify my jobs and duties in the school so I never viewed it as bragging, but more of an obligation to let people know who they were talking to in the emails.
After reading Platform, I decided that it was time to clean things up. I took his advice and used what he shared in the book. Here is what I have now.
It looks much simpler, but really broadcasts everything about me. They can now find whatever they want. I really like this approach. I have made the necessary changes.
The other thing I cleaned up was my About Me page on my blog. I followed most of the advice and tried to clean it up a bit. I did not follow all advice because I just can’t be 100% serious. I have to mix in my personality a bit, but I think I still made some major improvements from before. My old about me page was a joke and really wasted space. I took some of the old and mixed it in with the new and I think it turned out okay. I think it can use some work, but it is on the right track.

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Are you using Google Research Tool in Google Drive?

I have crafted a short video showing the power of the Research Tool within Google Drive. This is something that needs to be explored more by teachers and utilized by students. A major time saver and also a key tool when collaborating and conducting research.
Let me know how you use this in your classroom. I am looking to make this a staple in all of my classes from here on out. 

I have made a video tutorial with some ideas on how it all works. The link is below.

Here’s how it works!


1.     Go to your Google Docs/Drive page
 

2.     Choose “Create” and then select “Document.”

3.     Start by writing your information whether a research paper, script, debate, etc. 

4.     When you get to a word that you need some guidance and help with or it is a place where more research is needed go ahead go to the toolbar. 

5.     Click on “Tools” and then find “Research.” You can see below that I highlighted Twitter in my document and Research already has Twitter researched for me.

6.     You can click the little down arrows underneath your search box in the Research panel to select the options you want

Citing the sources

Web Results:


When you have the resource that you want to use you will get three options to choose from. They are Preview, Insert Link, and Cite

Preview will give you a preview box of the website before you click on it to open it up to see if it is worth your time.

Insert Link will take the highlighted text in your document and make it a hyperlink to that site if that is what you need. In image below you see Twitter as a hyperlink.


Cite will then site the article/website for you and make it a footer.





Images


When searching images all you do is drag the picture and it will site it automatically.
What I like best is the option to find images that are not copyrighted!

These are the two major uses I see with the Research tool in Google Drive. Don’t forget you have many more options within this tool


As stated above I would love to connect with fellow educators who are using this tool to see examples of it in action and to enhance my own knowledge. I think it would be foolish to not use this if your school has Google Drive.

I would love to hear from others who use this, how they use this tool, and any other advice, tips, or ideas.
























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Learning Creative Learning: Week 2 Reflection

This week was a busy week and my reading and videos and thoughts were scattered among the chaos of many things colliding all at once. The two questions we were to think about and answer for this week were the following:

If you are interested in what I read and viewed to get to thoughts that I am sharing please go to my Evernote page to see the listing

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s31/sh/1e647339-9761-477d-977e-4169021710c1/db0658cc7e5b1586136bc6a00eaeeded 

I did not take much away from the videos this week. I took away a few thoughts that were the following:

“If you understand the structure of what the expectations are, what the achievements are, how you get recognized, it really is not that hard to conform if you feel like doing that.” How true is this? 100% true. I know it is true because I teach. If you just show up, breathe, smile, nod, it is impossible to fail. You have to work harder to fail than to succeed.

Onwards to the readings

What did you find most surprising in the readings?

The following statement stood out to me personally as I am working towards a new vision of our gifted education program in our school district. This is taken from the Ito’s blog Formal vs Informal Education

“I wonder how many people there are like me who can’t engage well with formal education, but don’t have the mentors or access to the Internet and end up dropping out despite having a good formal education available to them.”

With gifted education I wonder how many students are left out because of a lack of support structure that did not fit the model of our public education? How often do we label these kids as lazy, problem, talkative, loner, etc. Do we provide a wrong label for something that is not their fault? The bigger question is how do we find the necessary information out to meet their needs?

Public education is not for everyone. I am starting to think that at times it is not even for me as a teacher. Our hands are so often tied up with little details that have such a huge impact on our teaching. I am stuck with kids of the same age….not ability. I am stuck teaching to the confines of 42 minutes….where it sometimes takes me 20-30 minutes to get in a groove personally. I am stuck teaching to the confines of an ABCDF grading system…..not a learning progress. I see issues from both perspectives and understand why there are students who do well in school and others who don’t. I see the issues as a teacher where certain kids just don’t care no matter what opportunities are provided them and what do you do then? It is cycle of questions that don’t always have answers and after so long you plop in your chair and question what is right or wrong because there are times I don’t know anymore.

These questions all flow into a thought pattern that just so happens to be discussed in the next blog post Dubai and Learning about the Unknowable. This post reminds me that I am immersed in education and learning and trying to figure out how to prepare for the next wave in education. In the end none of us know, but we try like crazy every single day of our lives to figure it out. In many ways, educators are living a full out project based learning project by figuring out the best approach to reach the next generation. We have the variables of socioeconomic status, parent influence(or lack thereof), job creation(or job loss), and what will be the next important skill to stay one step ahead of the competition.

With no direct thought connection I still had another takeaway from the next blog post

Reading Joi Ito blog post Reading the Dictionary

All I want to share about this without going crazy is that I connect. My son watches Minecraft videos for hours to teach himself how to do something. It is amazing how he self teaches himself when it comes to something he enjoys. He does not do this for anything else, but with PASSION he will make it happen. Now my daughter is involved in this game and it is amazing listening to them talk, teach one another, and develop strategy on how the accomplish certain feats.

Last, I cannot help but be fatigued by my thought for my assignment

Read Seymour Papert’s essay on the “Gears of My Childhood” and write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you. Share your story in the group. 

I am going to give this assignment to my students. I am intrigued by the ideas that develop from a middle school standpoint. I am struggling. I don’t know that I had an object that influenced me. I was lucky enough to have a life of many tangible objects. I have my choices narrowed down, but none have really completely connected. I will think more on this. I feel like this is an important assignment for self discovery and one in which I feel like I am overlooking something with significant value. I will take the late penalty(I know there is really not one), to stay hungry and do this assignment right so I can discover some self discovery that perhaps is really needed with my swirl of thoughts.

 What did you disagree with or have questions about?

I don’t have anything specific, but I think my thoughts on public education or just education in general fits this question.  I keep thinking of the idea of creating my own school free from rules, regulations, and standard thinking. Instead I would have this atmosphere that would do nothing more than prepare students for self awareness and preparing them for the real world. No schedule, no textbooks, no “set” curriculum, but in the end or should I say graduation they are ready to be one of the best candidates for whatever they want to accomplish. It would not be for everyone. Some people enjoy and are designed to follow rules and always be told what to do. You have to have these people to keep society working, but this school would be for the people who create the jobs for these rule followers. Crazy thoughts, but at the moment all things that feel very real and burning my brain with infusion.

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A Future Problem of Public Education

If schools today are struggling to keep up with meeting the needs and ways of learning for this current generation of students, then how will we ever catch up with the next generation who will be moving along at an even faster rate?

photo.JPG
When my daughter can operate an iPad to meet her needs before she can speak a full sentence, then we are really going to have our hands full as educators.
What is the answer? I am not sure there is one at this point in time.

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The Power Of Flattening Our Classroom

I am currently running a Bald Eagle Project and I wanted to share a blog post written by the teacher who is participating from the Netherlands. It just goes to show how powerful global connections and projects can really be.

http://eagleeyecamera.wordpress.com/

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