Tag Archives: teachnology

community, Community, COMMUNITY? (TBT Remix)

To which level of community are you and your learners connected:  community, Community, or COMMUNITY?  How connected are you and your learners to a community, any community?

This week I attended the Trinity School 60th Anniversary Speaker Series featuring Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs since I am invited and included in this learning community.  Dr. Jacobs asked

“Who owns the learning?”

How do we use technology to broaden the learning community for the children in our care so that they own their learning?  How do we use technology to broaden our own learning community so that we continue to learn and grow?

I’ve been thinking about the literal meaning of being a member of a community which has inspired me to ask:

  • Do the learners that assemble in my classroom form a community?
  • Do the learners in my school form a community?
  • Do the faculty in my school form a community?
  • Are our learners’ parents part of our learning community?
  • Are our learners’ parents part of their child’s learning community?
  • What about the authors, teachers, learners, etc. outside my school – are they part of our community?
  • Are the teachers that learn with me at conferences part of a community of learners that contribute to the success of my learners?

I have to ask myself if my learners are in a community that is restricted only to the 26 people that assemble during Xnd period.  Are my colleagues or the parents of my learners invited to be in our Xnd period learning community, creating Community?  Are our national and international colleagues, friends, and experts invited to join our Xnd period community, creating COMMUNITY?

How will learners own their learning, and how will they encounter opportunities to question, to reason, to express themselves, to discover and pursue a passion?  With whom will our learners question, reason, express themselves, discover and pursue a passion?

How open are we, really, to these ideas?  What actions do we take?  How are we modeling learning and owning our learning?

To which do we belong: community, Community, COMMUNITY?

To which should we belong: community, Community, COMMUNITY?


community, Community, COMMUNITY? was originally posted on September 30, 2011.

Maybe we need to think of it as teachnology rather than technology. (TBT Remix)

The time with our learners is limited.  We have to make some very important decisions about how to use this time.  We must consider the economics of our decisions based on the resources we have.  Is it cost effective, cognitively, to spend multiple days on a learning target to master something that a machine will do for us?

Is what we label as problem-solving and critical thinking really problem-solving and critical thinking or is it just harder stuff to deal with?  Can we teach problem-solving and critical thinking in the absence of context?

Do we have a common understanding of what good problem solvers and critical thinkers look like, sound like, and think like?  If we are teaching problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity, shouldn’t we know what that means to us?  Shouldn’t we be able to describe it?

Does technology hamper or enhance a learner’s ability to problem solve and think critically?  I think I might be back to the struggle of using calculators to compute and a spell checker to write.  Do we even know enough to make a decision about technology until we experiment and learn by doing?

If you have not read Can Texting Help Teens with Writing and Spelling? by Bill Ferriter, stop reading this right now to read Bill’s post.  It is a great example of leveraging technology to promote creativity and critical thinking using technology.  Read about having students write 25 word stories.  This is teachnology, not technology.  Tweet, text, type, write on paper – it doesn’t matter – unless you want to publish your work.  The technology, Twitter in this case, aids in the critical thinking; you are restricted to 140 characters.  The technology offers the learner a way to publish and see other published work.

My ability to transport myself from place to place is actually enhanced and improved because of my truck.  I have no idea how my truck works other than gas goes in, step on the brake to stop, R means we are going to go in reverse, etc.  I do not need to understand the mechanics; I can have that done.

I do not need to understand the mechanics; I can have that done.   I don’t need to know how to change the oil in my car.  I need to know that I need to have the oil changed in my car.  And, very important, I don’t need to learn this lesson by experience.  It is too expensive to learn experientially why I must have the oil changed in my car.

Isn’t it too expensive to spend 2-3 days on some topics that we traditionally teach?  Are we getting the biggest bang for our cognitive buck?  Often our learners can’t see the forest for the trees.  They never get to the why because of the how.  Don’t we need to learn when and how to use technology not only to engage our learners, but to increase our cognitive capital?

How can we learn to ask

  • Why are we learning this?  Is this essential?
  • Will technology do this for us so that we can learn more, deeper?
  • Does this have endurance, leverage, and relevance?
  • Shouldn’t we use technology to grapple with the mechanics so the learner shifts focus to the application, the why, the meaning?

Maybe we need to think of it as teachnology rather than technology was originally posted on January 26, 2011.

Teachnology: Using technology “differently” (TBT Remix)

When we ponder how, when and why to integrate technology, do we consider how learners might use digital tools as instruments of self-assessment, feedback, and tinkering to learn?

Last week I was “schooled” in using technology by a first grader.

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She was invited to write for edu180atl.  Her post was published on 5.2.12.  To draft her post, we selected two pictures to use as inspiration.  She wrote a story for each picture and selected one for submission.  HOW she used technology to write was a HUGE lesson for me.

She took my computer from me and wrote 3 sentences.  There was a word that had a red “crinkly” line under it.

 

The instant feedback transitioned the technology to teachnology; it caused her to ask herself questions.  Finally, she asked me how to spell inspired.  Then, she read her 3 sentences out loud and decided that she needed another sentence in between two of the current sentences.  (Do I do that when I write?)

She was determined to have 200 words, not 198 words or 205 words.  She wanted 200 words exactly.  She learned how to use the word count feature since both stories were in the same document.  She read out loud and deleted words.  She read out loud again and added words.  It was awesome to watch.  She chose to ask to have a “peer” editor.  “Are there 2 words that I can delete? I want exactly 200 words.”  How much more confidence would I have about my writing if I had published articles and ideas when I was younger?

This experience with my first grader makes me wonder about learning – well, anything – with technology.  What assumptions do we make about what learners will and won’t learn if we put technology in their hands?

“How can we focus on what we do best without missing new opportunities to do better?” (Davidson, 17 pag.)

_________________________

Davidson, Cathy N. “I’ll Count-You Take Care of the Gorilla.” Introduction. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. 17. Print.


LEARNing: Using technology “differently” was originally posted on May 14, 2012

Engaging every learner – #AskDon’tTell #TrinityLearns

Do you ever worry about student-directed learning? Does it mean that the teacher is not engaged?  How are we supposed to teach if we don’t tell them stuff?  What if we asked our learners to show what they know before we teach and reteach? Are we assuming that they know nothing because they are, well, young?

When our friend Grant Lichtman (@grantlichtman) was here last week, he talked about game changers for education.  Number 1 on his list was idea paint.  What if we offered the opportunity for every child to show what they know instead of having them raise their hands and wait for the chance to respond?

Here’s what that looks like in practice:

  • Is every child engaged in this lesson?
  • Is every child working collaboratively to show what they know and, at the same time, learn from others?
  • Is every adult engaged in this lesson?
  • How many opportunities for personalized learning, formative assessment, and practice are there during this lesson?
  • Who owns the learning?

Here is additional information and context for this collaborative first grade lesson from Marsha Harris’s (@marshamac74) lesson plan:

How might we engage more learners simultaneously, offer visible opportunities to show what they know, and personalize feedback, intervention, and enrichment?

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words…

Can we use a photo to inspire learning and interdisciplinary studies? What if we start with photographs from our campus? Can we collaboratively design a lesson or series of lessons around something on our campus to implement together? How can we easily have learners contribute digital photos, ideas, and creativity? Can we will brainstorm and prototype together with photos to develop place-based learning lessons?

Lisa Nielson details how to share photos using Flickr in her post Using Flickr to Collect Images Captured on Cell Phones.  Using her advice, it is easy to set up a Flickr space for participants to share photos via email.

Bo and I use a Posterous space with our Synergy team to collect their observations and photographs.  We like Posterous because it offers our learners the opportunity to contribute images and video along with their questions about community issues.  Richard Byrne’s Try Posterous Spaces for Private Classroom Blogging will help you get started with Posterous if you are interested in collecting observations and questions along with images from your learners.

In our T³ International conference session today we started off with two photos from my campus. Details for these two photos can be found on Handicap Ramps: Connecting Ideas and Experiences to PBL – apply what you’ve learn and Connections: Questions, Photographs, Algebra Graphs, Perspectives, Environment.

_________________________

Session Details:
Saturday, March 3, 11:15-12:45
90-Minute Hands-On • TI-Nspire™ CX Handheld, TI-Nspire™ CX CAS Handheld, TI-Nspire™ CX Navigator™ System


Participating virtually – schedules and spaces that fit learning

My child, A-Sunshine, has not been able to go to school for the past two days.  Yesterday, my schedule allowed me to work from home in the morning while her dad taught his classes.  We then traded locations so I could work while he took care of our girl.  A-Sunshine was mildly annoyed with both of us because by lunch she felt better and wanted to go to school. (She is SO my child – I always want to be at school.)

Alas, still under the weather, she could not go to school again today. Our schedules were not so flexible today.  We both had to be at the same meeting at 7:00 a.m.  I stayed home with A-Sunshine but attended all of my professional obligations using technology.

I participated in our PLC-F meeting at 7:00 this morning via Skype.  We are in the midst of developing a common lesson on PBL for our PLCs.  We used a Google doc to collaboratively plan and document our developing lesson which gave me the opportunity to contribute rather than just listen and interact verbally.

When the meeting ended, I continued collaborating with one of our Math/Science PLC facilitators on the lesson plan for today’s meeting as well as her current project with her student-learners in Science.  Then, Bo and I took a few minutes to adjust our class plan and homework assignment for our Synergy team.  Continuing through my “planning” period, I answered lots of email and took 2 phone calls from colleagues to plan projects.

During the 3rd period of the day, I arrived (virtually) in the elementary school for our weekly CTIS meeting with the Deans of IT.  I joined this team meeting via iChat.  We used several Google docs to do some brainwriting and other gamestorming to think, share, and plan together.

I attended the History PLC meeting via iChat and Google docs during 4th period.  We discussed cryptography, World War II, and numeracy as we continue to work on this team’s SMART goal to integrate numeracy into U.S. History.

Lunch with A-Sunshine was next with an announcement that she wanted to go to school.  “I am not sick; you need to go to Synergy, Mommy!”  Sweet and true.  All of the color is back in her face, and she is very active – art, math, reading, money, and fashion show.  So we are off to school so that I can learn with my Synergy team.

During this week last year we were all at home because of snow and ice.  Part of our Learning for Life vision statement calls for an essential action that utilizes 21st Century Learning Environments.  I don’t feel absent from school today.  I have participated in every activity planned for and by me today.

If we were to have a “Snowcation” again this year, how prepared are we to have class virtually?  Have we considered what tools and strategies we would employ?  Do we have a plan for contacting our student-learners, and do they know the plan?  Have we checked our online presence to make sure our learners know how to find all class resources?  Are we using our technology as teachnology?

community, Community, COMMUNITY?

To which level of community are you and your learners connected:  community, Community, or COMMUNITY?  How connected are you and your learners to a community, any community?

This week I attended the Trinity School 60th Anniversary Speaker Series featuring Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs since I am invited and included in this learning community.  Dr. Jacobs asked

“Who owns the learning?”

How do we use technology to broaden the learning community for the children in our care so that they own their learning?  How do we use technology to broaden our own learning community so that we continue to learn and grow?

I’ve been thinking about the literal meaning of being a member of a community which has inspired me to ask:

  • Do the learners that assemble in my classroom form a community?
  • Do the learners in my school form a community?
  • Do the faculty in my school form a community?
  • Are our learners’ parents part of our learning community?
  • Are our learners’ parents part of their child’s learning community?
  • What about the authors, teachers, learners, etc. outside my school – are they part of our community?
  • Are the teachers that learn with me at conferences part of a community of learners that contribute to the success of my learners?

We talk at length about community.  Being a community member is highlighted in our Best Practices Statement, our Vision Statement, and our Mission Statement.

In our faculty’s Best Practices Statement we say:

“As members of our school community and the wider community, [our] faculty strive, individually and collectively, to be teachers that model lifelong learning, joy, professionalism, and integrity.”

From our Learning for Life Vision Statement:

“We begin knowing we must model and promote lifelong learning in a global community.  We commit to use technology and research to help us learn these essential skills.

From our Mission Statement:

[We are] a Christian, independent day school for boys and girls, which seeks to develop the whole person for college and for life through excellent education.”

From our Philosophy:

“Throughout their school experience, young people encounter opportunities to question, to reason, to express themselves, to discover and pursue a passion, to risk, and sometimes even to fail and to learn from that failure.”

I have to ask myself if my learners are in a community that is restricted only to the 26 people that assemble during Xnd period.  Are my colleagues or the parents of my learners invited to be in our Xnd period learning community, creating Community?  Are our national and international colleagues, friends, and experts invited to join our Xnd period community, creating COMMUNITY?

How will learners own their learning, and how will they encounter opportunities to question, to reason, to express themselves, to discover and pursue a passion?  With whom will our learners question, reason, express themselves, discover and pursue a passion?

How open are we, really, to these ideas?  What actions do we take?  How are we modeling learning and owning our learning?

To which do we belong: community, Community, COMMUNITY?

To which should we belong: community, Community, COMMUNITY?