With any major change, there are always hurdles that have to be overcome. Our Board has done a pretty significant about face, and has gone from not supporting or allowing personal devices of kids at school to adopting BYOD as the new policy for all schools K-12. This is awesome, but it's a big board, and things are going to take time.
Here's what went well the last couple weeks:
I managed to make my library orientation interactive using Poll Everywhere. I'd ask a question, students registered their vote, we looked at the results, and then I talked about how that question related to the library. So the awesome fact is that every single class in the school has had an opportunity to use their devices or use our school netbooks AND I had a chance to remind every class of the expectation re. the netbook use.
Here's what I'm hoping to get going this week.
Our ten iPads are almost ready for sign out. We really want them to be used for production more than consumption, and encouraging this kind of thinking with some staff members is tough. Some of the staff just see the iPad as a tool for browsing the Internet. We're going to continue to remind everyone of the SAMR model, and hopefully, that will be enough. When iPads are signed out, they're going to be taken for a day at a time, and hopefully that will encourage some creativity.
Library RapThis was fun. If I had more time, I'd like to write my own, and get some kids to perform it and play the back up beat using the iPads, but it's not going to happen this week!!! :-(
.Most days, I don't make it to my Twitter feed. I mean to, but then there are just too many things happening, and before I know it, the hours are all used up, and the day is done. Wen I finally do find some time, it's akin to trying to take a sip of water from a firefighters hose! The gush of information can just about knock you over. Typically, I dip in, find something, and then withdraw to digest the gem. That's exactly what happened here: I found this awesome cyber bullying info graphic created by Lisa Nielsen, and now I'm going to spend some time appreciating it.
So thank you Twittervese, and Lisa for sharing.
Cyber bullying Infographic
I love how a simple video (granted one that probably took one heck of a long time to compile) can spark so many discussions and activities. Watch your life in jellybeans and then come back to this post.
Here's some of the questions that arise from just one viewing.
1. How do they KNOW that people spend the amount of time on the things they say? (How was the data collected, and what was done with it? How big was the sample size?
2. How do WE know its accurate OR trustworthy statistics?
3. Why count out 500 and weigh them? Why not more or less?
4. How long would it take to create just one visualization? How long did the entire video take?
5. Is it an effective way to represent and communicate the information? Why or why not?
6. Does watching the video make you want to change anything about your current practice, and if so what and why?
7. Where have you seen similar but different spatial/visual representations of data? What made them more or less effective than this one?
8. Could you find some data that lends itself to a visual representation, and create a similar product of data visualization for another classroom?
9. If we gather the data from ten different countries will the results be very different?
10. Assuming the data came from one area, what country do you think collected this data and why do you think that?
11. Out of all the jellybean representations which one was the most surprising? Which one shocked you the most?
That's what I came up with just watching it briefly, once! Who knows what questions might arise if I watch it a second time or open it up to a class to create inquiry questions.
True confession time. If I wasn't a teacher, one of the things I'd like to be is a movie maker. Not great epic films, just short powerful videos done professionally enough that they make people really think. Like this one, which I wish I'd made.
Amanda Charland, an awesome teacher and resource hunter, sent me this a while ago, but I'm just getting to it now, and I love it. I can think of SO many things I'd like to use this for that my head is spinning. Hope it inspires you too.Earth Video
I just read a blog post by Pernille Ripp
which was a follow up to a previous post. (She's one of the only bloggers I read lately due to the rapidly diminishing number of summer days that remain and my increasingly anxious desire to not "waste" the hours on anything that isn't highly beneficial.) She has taken the time to embed several videos which she feels will be inspirational for the start of the year and IMHO they are awesome. "Brave" is just one of the videos she shared, and it is absolutely the perfect video for me to share with my LA class, because with some guidance and discussion afterwards, it is EXACTLY one of the messages I'd like to share with them. It speaks volumes about how I want our class community members to act. If they don't understand something, I want them to be brave enough to speak up. If they see something happening that doesn't contribute to the climate we want in our school, I want them to be brave enough to do something about it. If they have a secret hidden talent, or even one that many people know about, I want them to be brave enough to use it.
I'm embarrassed to admit however, that my first thought, when I watched the Brave video was that I didn't want to share it because then there would be a chance that students would walk into my class and groan, "We've already seen this." I had to give myself a BIG talking to! When did I get that sucky attitude?!? What does it matter if my colleagues show it to the same class I teach? Wouldn't that just reinforce that it's something all of us want for our students, and wouldn't that help drive home how important it is to be brave? What if Pernille Ripp had my same horrible thoughts - "I'm not going to share because..." then I wouldn't even know about the video at all and I'd still be searching for how to start my class!
I'm going to continue the ripple effect and consciously make it one of my professional goals to continue to share the gems that I get so excited about finding. (I usually DO share things - I just had this crazy impulse of feverish knowledge hoarding desire when I watched the Brave video). I'm going to try hard NEVER to act like one of those gold rush prospectors who found a nugget and then worked hard not to let anyone else know where the gold was.
I just read a recent post by Grant Wiggins which can be found here:https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/better-seeing-what-we-dont-see-as-we-teach/#comment-9815
and it really resonated for me. I've been fascinated for a long time by what people are able to attend to, and what they just don't see. Some teachers never seem to notice when their students leave a room a disaster, yet others notice if a single chair isn't pushed in. I guess the other reason I loved the article is that I do have a dog who barks, usually at odd moments like when people are leaving. She gets highly anxious and really misbehaves when people are going out the door. Today however, when our visitor left, our dog didn't go nuts, and I have to find out why not, since it could be the solution to everything! However, I digress.
Two years ago, I tried an oral variation of the written exit ticket.
I would randomly pick one student each class. At the end of the period, they recorded a 30 second voice memo for me, telling what the important part of the lesson was, or what they learned that class. I used to post the recordings to a posterous site where parents and other students could hear that child’s rendition of what they thought was important or what they had learned that class. It was very fascinating, in a horrible way, because what I thought I taught was NEVER what they told me they’d learned. I cycled through every student, which took about a month, and then I'd start again. It is a super valuable experience, although quite humbling to realize that the lesson you thought you did is not what was received. Even posting learning goals in the class, co-constructed with the students, led to interesting results. If I took the goal down, and then asked, why did we do what we did yesterday, MANY of the students couldn't tell me, which was disheartening, but good to know. THOSE are the students I need to concentrate on. I need to focus my energies on the ones who can't answer why are we doing what we're doing? Read the Wiggins article. It's a fantastic reminder for the start of the new year.
25 years ago, I regularly marveled at the technical expertise of others. It seemed liked everyone, even students, seemed to know more about technology than I did, and I felt like I'd never EVER reach a point where I could enjoy independence. And so, I just kept on listening and watching, asking and trying and failing, and trying again and again and again.After countless hours with Apple User groups, ECOO conferences, hundreds of magazine articles, and subscriptions and manuals and innumerable courses and workshops and PD weekends, tutorials and webinars, edcamps and
chat sessions and time spent geeking out with fellow enthusiasts.... I realized JUST TODAY,
(when I was writing some help instructions for a colleague) that I have finally
reached that tipping point where, more often than not, I can figure stuff out, and make technology work the way I want it to. There's a great quote the sweat of hard work is not to be displayed. It is much more graceful to appear favored by the gods but it almost doesn't apply since my journey never really felt like hard work. It was so much fun and continues to be so incredible learning to create and imagining how to use technology to help students learn. I can only shake my head when I remember how tough things were; learning to write computer code for a choose your own adventure story, or using a spreadsheet to generate a random number to select my students without needing a can full of Popsicle sticks. One year I spent an entire summer trying to figure out how to output a video from my computer onto a VHS tape. (It was one small checkbox that I'd missed checking!)It's been one heck of a ride and I know it's not over, but I now realize that I've put in enough hours to make the remainder of the journey quite pleasant. I know they say 10 000 hours is the magic amount, but I think I"m way beyond that... and now there's research saying 10 000 hours might not be enough - http://healthland.time.com/2013/05/20/10000-hours-may-not-make-a-master-after-all/
It is a great idea to take time to reflect on how far you've come... sort of like scaling a mountain and pausing in your climb to look back and admire the scenery of where you've been... there will still be more summits, but for a brief moment, enjoy the view.The low battery picture is there because I often start to play with a new app or read some RSS feeds or Twitter posts on a device with a fully charged battery, and then I don't stop until I'm down to 5% battery life.
And in that moment, just before the device shuts down, and forces me to take a break, I realize how fully I've been "in the flow" of the moment, and just how much fun it is to have arrived.What about you? When did you reach your comfort level? Can you remember your own arrival on the land of "I can figure it out" or did your competence just sneak up on you unexpectedly?
Regardless of when it happened, congrats. If however, you're me, twenty five years ago, don't sweat it! Those experts are not nearly as genius as they appear; they just never stopped learning and neither should you. And if you need any help... I might even be able to be of some assistance or I can at least point you to some great mentors.