Monday, April 27, 2015

5 Things We Have To Stop Pretending

I accepted this challenge from +Lisa Nowakowski as part of the #MakeSchoolDifferent Challenge started by +Scott McLeod.

Here is my list of 5 things we need to stop pretending so we can improve education.

  1. Students learn best in classrooms of 30+ students with one teacher. Seriously, it is time to get creative and create learning environments that support student needs. A single teacher can't possibly support all learners, even with technology.  I know we can't renovate every school, but we can take down walls and make better use of our classroom spaces and let teachers collaboratively teach.
  2. Teachers will just 'figure out' how to teach effectively with technology. Teachers are learners too and need time learn how technology can be used to improve student achievement. Too many teachers are given devices, a couple hours of professional development and expected to make magic happen. It takes a lot of time, research and practice to transform teaching into the digital age.
  3. Students working in table groups = collaboration. Preparing students for the global world we live in means we have to provide opportunities for them to reach out and talk with people everywhere. A student in a classroom who doesn't communicate with anyone outside of the classroom is at a serious disadvantage. Every group project should require one team member from the global community. Imagine that!
  4. Completing assignments that ask for a right answer promote learning. A worksheet is a worksheet whether it is on paper or on a computer. A right answer limits creativity and critical thinking. If a student can Google the answer then why are you asking the question? Where is the learning?
  5. My students can't do that. I have had teachers tell me that their students can't to do things like create digital books, come up with genius hour ideas or create videos to teach others. Students can do amazing things, quit limiting them with your fear. Stop it already.
I challenge the following five people to create their own post about what we have to stop pretending in order to #MakeSchoolDifferent +Charlene Knowlton+Tracy Campbell+Rick Phelan+Angie Marshall+Matthew Weld 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Check out these teacher's new blogs!

This week I finished teaching an online course called Teaching in the Digital Age. I built this course as a personalized learning opportunity for teachers in my county. The course was an adaption of the Leading Edge Digital Educator course blended with some of my own content. After eight weeks of learning together, the teachers have impressed me with their growth and insights. 

The class was closely aligned to the ISTE Standards for Teachers and particpants tracked their learning throughout the course. One requirement was for them to create professional blogs to respond to weekly reflections and post their work. They produced a variety of creative works during the course, but their blogs are my favorite. Several teachers mentioned that they plan to keep blogging now that the course if over and I hope that they do.  Please take a look at their blogs listed below and follow and comment on them. Teachers need comments too! #Comments4Teachers

Thank you to the final nine educators that completed the course. Keep sharing your learning.

Below are some other highlights from the course.
+Victoria Schoonover's Sketchnote on Modern Learning Environments made with FlipInk
        +Angie Marshall's reflection on her progress with the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Infographic built with