You are cordially invited to attend a Promethean Lunch & Learn at ESC-20 this coming from to (this will take place after Curriculum Forum so time may vary by a few minutes).
The topic will be Four Strategies to Get Kids Thinking (based on Marzano’s Effective Strategies for Teaching and Learning). Bring a smartphone or other mobile device, join us for lunch, pretend you were the student in a digital classroom, and have fun!
Registration is free but required at http://tinyurl.com/PrometheanLunchLearn
Special thanks to Peggy Reimers for inspiring this blog post with her TCEA Lunch & Learn Webinar, Engage Learners with Infographics:
My blog post, which speaks to my experiences as an art-challenged youth (and adult), appears at the TCEA blog. Here’s an excerpt:
I don’t remember how it happened or what I was working on, but the “F” in Art on my kindergarten report card painted its own picture. And that “painting” hangs on my mental wall of shame, a constant reminder that I am terrible at art. In fact, we probably all need to be a little more conscious of grading policies that are letter-focused and their negative effect…
Then, I explore a bit about the grading injustices we have all encountered in our lives. After that, I reference Peggy Reimers and share the 3 strategies:
Strategy 1: Voice and Choice
Strategy 2: Start with a specific topic
Strategy 3: Use easy tools
They seem pretty obvious, but it’s what comes after each strategy that is pure gold…not because I wrote it, but because it arose out of the dynamic conversations that happen when people (myself included) are learning!
“The mission of the public education system of this state is to ensure that all Texas children have access to a quality education that enables them to achieve their potential and fully participate now and in the future in the social, economic, and educational opportunities of our state and nation.” [TEC Sec. 4.001]
Source: Dealing with School Vouchers
Growing up, I attended private Catholic schools. The effects of Catholic education on my life can’t be overstated. For example, consider these long-lasting changes:
- Praying for deliverance from strict, ruler-wielding nuns helped me develop a healthy respect for clergy, especially nuns. One of my favorite movies is Lilies of the Field, showing how one can play with humor with people who have committed their lives to the service of others.
- My wardrobe usually falls into “uniform” type dress. I like to wear the same shirts and pants, and if they are all alike, I’m OK with that. It definitely prepared me for a life of uniformity.
- Being organized, having a plan to bring order to the chaos of human life…well, that’s definitely a plus coming out of private schools.
I stumbled on Jay Greenlinger’s blog earlier today and bookmarked his blog to revisit and subscribe via Feedly.com. In his blog entry on 5 Things We Have to Stop Pretending, he writes the following:
1. Teachers should be completely in charge of student learning.
2. Technology is the answer to our problems. (Yes, I am a Tech Director)
3. Large scale testing provides us meaningful information about a student, classroom, or school.
4. We need to have an adopted curriculum in order to have a coherent curriculum.
5. Change in pedagogy and curriculum can be incremental.
I immediately had a knee-jerk reaction because I read these as assertions of what Jay supported. Then, a moment later, I realized, he meant the opposite of what was written:
- Teachers should NOT be in charge of student learning. Instead, students could be.
- Technology is NOT the answer to our problems, but probably should be a significant part of MOST solutions.
- Large scale testing does NOT provide us with meaningful information about a student, classroom, or school, but there’s no reason why meaningful, authentic assessments couldn’t do that…right?
- A quality curriculum that makes sense doesn’t have to be an adopted one.
- Changes in pedagogy and curriculum happen suddenly.
Still, if I had to pick ONE of these items, I would hope that people stop pretending that large scale testing provides us meaningful information. High stakes testing is the greatest boondoggle perpetrated on school systems.
“The attitude of “why can’t we all just get along?” has no place in the academic community: validity of arguments come from questioning and the constant, rigorous challenge of debate.”Source: Geoff Cain’s blog entry on Siemens and Downes
In exploring the academic disagreements between George Siemens and Stephen Downes (I regret I found the kerfluffle boring, a sure sign of my roots in practicality or at least, shallow thinking), Geoff makes the point shared at the top of this blog entry.
There’s no reason why debates and disagreements can’t be civil, but I know that the more violent and flowery language that is used, the more interesting reading it is. Consider this excerpt from an engaging piece by Carol Morgan:
Elections have consequences and unfortunately those consequences are leading to the death knell for Texas’ public education system. Texans have thrown away their right to a public education system (which is guaranteed by the Texas Constitution) because they elected fools and charlatans like Dan Patrick, Donna Campbell, and Larry Taylor to the Texas Senate.
These three political prostitutes got where they are today through the love and determination of a teacher and free public schools. How dare they criticize the institution that bestowed the opportunities they enjoy today! They should be thanking teachers rather than criticizing and belittling with the words “godless” and “monstrosity”. Source: Carol Morgan, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Online
Aside from that dramatic open line, I loved the fun implied in the next paragraph about political prostitutes, daring criticisms asserting godlessness among Texas public school teachers. Now, that’s discontent you can sink your teeth into!
Reasonable discourse isn’t necessarily a goal when it comes to politics, which is why it should be kept as far away from education as possible…but facts–like those Carol Morgan cites–can illuminate aspects of the conversation:
- Around 8.2 percent of public school campuses are classified as failing, but nearly 17 percent of charter schools are designated as failing.
- In fact, within three years of being included on the low-performing list, only seven out of approximately 8,500 traditional public schools are still designated as failing.
- If you are mathematically inclined, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all Texas public school campuses are rated IR or AU for more than three years.
I find it a great jumping off spot for revisiting something the authors of Crucial Conversations describe as The Sucker’s Choice.
Either / or choices are Sucker’s Choices. The best at dialogue refuse Sucker’s Choices by setting up new choices. They present themselves with tougher questions that turn the either/or choice into a search for the all-important and ever elusive and.
In Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler write about how to search for the elusive AND. (Source: Refuse the Sucker’s Choice)
Content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.
Looking for the right content curation tool to organize and maximize your own learning, as well as make content easily accessible to others? There are now many tools that we can take advantage of. In the early days, we relied on social bookmarking tools like Delicious.com, Diigo.com and others. Many of us also adopted Evernote–before they shut down their RSS feed feature for Notebooks, added complexity upon simplicity, making it cumbersome–and a host of other curation tools that allowed us to collect, organize, then share.
Over the last month or so, I have been using OneNote as a content notebook. Here’s how I do it:
1) On Mobile and/or computer, I bookmark an item using Diigo for Education or Read It Later’s Pocket. I’m increasingly going back to Diigo because it allows me to bookmark items, creating an RSS feed from a tag.
2) Once in Diigo, IFTTT.com makes several other things possible:
- All my public bookmarks in Diigo are auto-tweeted. That’s right, if I bookmark something, it is automatically dropped into my twitter feed.
- Depending on the one word description (e.g. tag) I add in Diigo, that blog entry ends up in my OneNote notebook in the appropriate section. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? You can see those show up online in the Tutorials section. It’s pretty amazing…saves tons of work in trying to curate content for others.
- TCEA Connect! – http://ly.tcea.org/connect
3) Diigo also gives me the option to drop content in a Diigo Group, which can make content curation a collaborative event for a trusted group of “sharers.” While I realize that Diigo Groups is evolving into “teams,” Diigo Groups represents the easiest way to build an online community that facilitates sharing. After years of looking for better ways, I haven’t found one that is so easily done.
Give Diigo a try again, don’t turn your nose up at it even if it’s been around for 10+ years! (Hard to believe!). Vicki “Coolcat Teacher” Davis has a great series of Diigo video tutorials. The benefit of old technologies like Diigo is that they are well-established but I bet most folks aren’t taking advantage of its RSS feeds for tags and easy group sharing!
“We’ve had years, if not a couple of decades,” says Tim Stahmer (Assorted Stuff), “of research questioning the effectiveness of technology in schools.” In a previous entry, Can Education Keep Up with Tech World?, Tim asserts:
…teacher-controlled delivery of information, paired with curriculum-approved context doesn’t work anymore, no matter how hard we work to graft technology into it. Our traditional system is not one that will prepare students for a world “moving too fast for the political and legal process”.
Jose Vilson puts it succinctly, when discussing education reform, and what is educational technology but a form of reform?
…we’re all getting a little tired of this … crap we call education reform.
Source: The Jose Vilson Blog
Who isn’t tired of the edtech arguments? Asking someone to pour new wine into old wineskins–that is, show teachers how to integrate technology–is ludicrous. Put another way,
“You can’t put new ideas into old mind-sets. You can’t get new results with old behaviors.” (Source)
These days, if you’re a teacher and you’re NOT getting connected and learning how to blend technology, you’re just someone taking up space. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but why should anyone waste their time?This are old, tired arguments. Either education isn’t changing fast enough, or technology is being used to support old paradigms, or tech is a catalyst for change (usually, just big investments in hardware that lasts as long as the current administration needs it to).
For some, it’s about putting the power back in teachers’ hands:
A survey conducted by a teacher marketplace and an education technology “accelerator” found that while only 38 percent of teachers currently have a role in the decision-making process of ed tech, 63 percent want to be in charge of those decisions. Right now, almost half say those choices are decided by education leaders at the school, district or regional levels. Source: Dian Schaffhouser, THE Journal
But you know what? That’s like putting the power to turn the lights on or off on the Titanic in the hands of the passengers after the ship has already hit the iceberg. The ship is sinking, and turning on the lights may work for awhile, but…so what?
In spite of that fact, we have to persevere. We have to keep the faith.
The following are my notes from Chapter 1 of Tony Wagner’s The Global Achievement Gap. This is certainly powerful stuff!!
- All schools are now obsolete–even the ones that score the best on standardized testing–because the world has change.
- All students need new skills for college, careers and citizenship.
- Teaching all students to think and to be curious is much more than a technical problem for which educators, alone, are accountable.
- New sought after skills in employees:
- The ability to ask the right questions
- People who can engage in good discussion. You have to know how to work well with others.
- “You also have to know how to engage the customer, to find out what his needs are. If you can’t engage others, then you won’t learn what you need to know.”
- Global Achievement Gap is the gap between what even our best suburban, urban, and rural public schools are teaching and testing versus what all students will need to succeed as learners, workers, and citizens in today’s global knowledge economy.
- Seven Survival Skills for the 21st Century:
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:
- Asking good questions, critical thinking and problem solving go hand in hand in the minds of most employers and business consultants.
- The way work is organized now is lots of networks of cross-functional teams that work together on specific projects. Work is defined by the task or problem you and your team are trying to solve or the end goal you want to accomplish.
- Teams have to figure out the best way to get there–the solution is not prescribed.
- Since no one is telling teams what to do, they have to figure it out–critical-thinking and problem-solving.
- Employees need to sift through an overwhelming amount of information in order to figure out what’s important and what’s not. To do this you have to think critically.
- Definition of Critical Thinking: Taking issues and situations and problems, and going to root components; understanding how the problem evolved–looking at it from a systemic perspective and not accepting things at face value. It also means being curious about why things are the way they are and being able to think about why something is important.
- What do I really need to understand about this?
- What is the history?
- What are other people thinking about this?
- How does all that come together?
- What frames and models can we use to understand this from a variety of different angles and then come up with something different?
- Yesterday’s solutions doesn’t solve tomorrow’s problem.
- Problems change and so approaches to problems need to change.
- “We need self-directed people who either have problem-solving skills or can easily be trained to think on their feet and find creative solutions to some very tough, challenging problems.”
- “The focus for the last five years has been on thinking skills, as well as emotional intelligence–can they interact and relate, can they come up with new ideas, can they bring these new ideas to the table and work with people in the process?
- Individuals who can see past the present, see beyond, think about the future and think systemically, connect the dots…less linear thinking–people who can conceptualize but also synthesize a lot of data.
- How do you do things that haven’t been done before, where you have to rethink or think anew, or break set in a fundamental way–it’s not incremental improvement anymore?
- Critical-thinking skills include the ability to apply abstract knowledge to solve a problem and to develop and execute a solution–the ability to think broadly and deeply. It means having and using a framework for problem-identification–assumptions and facts, acquiring information, viewing alternative solutions. Another part of critical thinking is surrounding yourself with people who have differences of opinion and who can help you come to the best solution: team-based leadership.
- Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
- Technology has allowed for virtual teams…you’re working with people all around the world on solving a problem. They don’t work in the same room, they don’t come to the same office, but every week they’re on a variety of conference calls; they’re doing webcasts; they’re doing net meetings.
- The hardest thing to change was the behavior of the employees. They didn’t know how to operate individually and then collaborate from afar, and so we had to provide coaching and counseling on how you communicate via email and conference calls.
- Trust is the total number of interactions divided by the number of positive interactions. The higher the number of positive interactions, the greater the trust….how do you provide the opportunity to interact so that employees have the ability ot develop trust?
- As organizations become more global, the ability to work fluidly around the world is a competitive advantage: understanding how to leverage the globe, time zones, where the work can best be done, where there are skills that best match the task, either because of the culture or the training.
- The ability to interact with diverse cultures and religions is important.
- A core competency is the ability to think strategically: to figure out where the work can best be done from both a talent and cost perspective. A greater challenge…how to forge effective collaborative teams and work with people who come from vastly different cultures.
- Command and control hierarchical leadership is a relic of the past.
- Kids fresh out of school lack the ability to influence versus direct and command…the only kind of leadership young people have experienced is one that relies on obedience versus the kind of reasoning and persuasion that is the new leadership style demanded by businesses organized in teams and networks.
- Students have a predisposition toward believing that everythingis clearly outlined, and then people give directions, and then other people execute until there’s a new set of directions.
- How do you solve a problem when people who own what you need are outside your organization or don’t report to you, or the total solution requires a consortium of different people? How do you influence things that are out of your direct control?
- Mantra: Lead by influence rather than authority.
- Agility and Adaptability
- You have to be able to think, be flexible, change, be adaptive,and use a variety of tools to solve new problems. People have to learn to adapt.
- Adaptability and learning are more important than technical skills.
- To survive, you have to be flexible and adaptable and a lifelong learner.
- Managing disruption:
- How do leaders deal with exogenous factors that are going to impact the way they think and lead?
- How do they handle internal disruption–innovation and change management?
- How do they understand disruptions that are happening in our industry space or in adjacent spaces?
- Learners have to demonstrate that they can solve problems in a changing an duncertain world.
- We live in a world where there isn’t one right answer, or if there is, it’s right only for a nanosecond. If you’re afraid, you can’t think clearly.
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Take more initiative and even be entrepreneurial in terms of the ways they seek out new opportunities, ideas, and strategies for improvement.
- We need self-directed people who can find creative solutions to some very tough, challenging problems.
- Help educators figure out how to use technology effectively.
- Leadeship is the capacity to take initiative and trust yourself to be creative.
- Effective Oral and Written Communications
- The ability to express one’s views clearly in a democracy and to communicate effectively across cultures is an important citizenship skill as well.
- Advice for teachers: Teach them to write! Effective communication is key in everything we do–people need to learn to communicate effectively with each other and external communities.
- Young people have difficulty being clear and concise; it’s hard for them to create focus, energy, and passion around the points they want to make.
- What do you want me to take away from this meeting?
- Also important is the ability to create focus, energy and passion.
- Less fuzzy thinking and lack of writing with a real voice.
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
- There is so much more data that people have to synthesize…they can’t just produce a bunch of reports. They have to find the important details and then say, “Here’s what we should do about it.”
- The ability to analyze information in order to discern new challenges and opportunities.
- We have to be able to access and evaluate information from many different sources, as well as evaluate it.
- Curiosity and Imagination
- New and improved knowledge workers: those who can think in disciplined ways, but also those who have a burning curiosity, a lively imagination, and can engage others empathetically.
- People who have learned to ask great questions and have learned to be inquisitive are the ones who move the fastest in our environment because they solve the biggest problems in ways that have the most impact on innovation.
- Be curious…do a system analysis.
- For businesses, it’s no longer enough to create a product that’s reasonably priced and adequately functional. It must also be beautiful, unique, and meaningful.
- Our old idea is that work is defined by employers and that employees have to do whatever the mployer wants. That has not been true in professional jobs for a long time because people have so many ways to influence what they do and how they it that, if they are good, they actually create their work space. Authenticity pays.
- We still think that work is given to people; whereas I think people actually are increasingly taking the work.
|Read the TCEA Blog at http://www.tcea.org/blog|
Here is an excerpt of my latest blog entry published by the TCEA TechNotes Blog:
The following blog entry appeared in TCEA TechNotes and is a collaboration between the editor (Lori Gracey) and I, even though my name appears on the byline:
|Read more online at TCEA’s Blog|
An excerpt from the lead:
“Miguel, I hear complaints from educators about standardized testing almost every day,” said Lori Gracey, TCEA Executive Director, recently, “and I fully understand how they feel. All of those tests take much-needed time away from learning, they’re so 19th century (Scantron sheets and pencils? Really?), they’re unfair in that they pigeonhole students, they’re hard on the kids and teachers alike, and so much more. ”
“Those are all valid complaints,” I responded.
“Yet,” Lori responded, “standardized testing isn’t going away. What we can hope and work toward, however, is that it will change.”
At an Apple briefing yesterday, an assessment expert shared what other states are doing to improve the quality and depth of assessment and incorporate technology into the process. She showed us how technology can enable the tests to go beyond guessing and multiple choice and into the realm of really helping to determine what a student does and doesn’t know. To see examples of some of these type of questions that can be answered using technology, scroll toward the bottom of this page of demos. You’ll find test questions where students must draw or highlight on an image, label a map with drag and drop, sort or order lists by moving items around, plot points and lines on a grid, and much more that cannot be done now with standard paper and pencil testing.
Jennifer Bergland (TCEA) shared this information about this event…For your convenience, please find a brief blurb below:
The day and half agenda provides Future Ready District Leadership Teams with dedicated time to set a shared vision for student learning, make action plans for digital learning, and meet other regional leaders who are engaged in Future Ready. Each summit provides access to experts in the field who will answer detailed questions and help solve specific issues facing each district team. The teams will engage in facilitated conversations, sharing sessions, networking activities, and team planning opportunities
And, from TCEA:
Dear San Antonio Educational Technology and Fiesta Aficionados,
This is a reminder that you are cordially invited to the “Fiesta 2016” GoGuardian Product Demo to be hosted at Ft. Sam Houston ISD on Friday, April 15th from 9:00 – 11:30. Kick off Fiesta right by exploring ways to keep your students safe and engaged on their Chromebooks using GoGuardian! If you have Chromebooks, or are even thinking about getting Chromebooks, you owe it to you and your students to attend.
This product showcase will feature Beau McCoy and Max Porter from GoGuardian and a live look at GoGuardian for Teachers in action! And .. the unveiling of the first ever GoGuardian Fiesta Medal! (Yes, you get one!)
One of my favorite commercials is this funny, if problematic, commercial featuring Cowboys’ coach, Tom Landry:
I was reminded of this commercial when a friend sent me this photo of me staring in rapt attention at my Chromebook while sitting in an Apple’s Austin headquarters:
In the meantime, iOS 9.3 Update shared a whole bunch of great information today. Carl Hooker writes about some of it here, as well as shares a Sketchnote:
I wrote a few blog entries about the information shared, but those are pending publication via the TCEA blog.
From about 7:30pm through 9:04pm, I had the opportunity to encourage and assist University of Incarnate Word (UIW) students in Dr. Lucretia Fraga’s (@lucretiafraga) class on blended learning. What a joy it was to connect with fellow learners, sharing a few tips I have picked up over the years!
|Thanks to Dr. Lucretia Fraga and her class for having me over!|
1) Organizing for the Session – Diigo Outliner
To organize for the session, I decided to go retro and use Diigo, which I recalled had a built-in social group feature that facilitates sharing information and links to group members. What it also had, which I hadn’t seen before until I revisited Diigo, is the Diigo Outliner. They include an Outliner tool that you can drop information in. Here’s what it looks like:
You’ll notice that the items on the left side of the screenimage reflect links that I’ve saved to Diigo, while the right side of the screen shows my outline. The “+” symbol next to each point indicates there is more information. You can see the full outline online–with links–online at http://tinyurl.com/bce2016mg
I also created a Diigo Group to facilitate sharing among the group. Thanks to Diigo for their featuring groups like this as part of their solution!
2) Class Activity
What a joy it was to meet the UIW students, which ranged from 24 years old to retired military men in their 50s. And, what a diverse audience, too. To get them going, I shared selections from Vicki “CoolCat Teacher” Davis’ podcast series, Every Classroom Matters. These were well-received. Rather than do a written report back, I asked them to keep track of 1-2 points takeaways, then introduced them to Voxer.
After the short introduction, I asked them to record their takeaways into a Voxer group I created (Teaching Today’s Learners, or TTL for short at the suggestion of Dr. Fraga). What fun to see them exploring and learning how millenials and Generation Z folks could connect. For some, it was a stretch, but they jumped right in!
Thanks again to Dr. Lucretia Fraga and her class for being such good sports and learners!
In this blog entry, published at the TCEA blog, I explore 3 approaches to using Voxer. Those 3 approaches include the following:
Approach #1 – Enhancing Student Publishing
“The minute kids think their work will be published, they take greater pride in the result,” says editor Susan Meyer (read source). Apps like Voxer allow a teacher to quickly collect photos AND audio collections of student(s) reading their pieces. By going to the web version of Voxer, you can save pictures, video, and/or audio to Dropbox or to your computer.
Approach #2 – Tapping into Students’ Collaborative Potential
“Greater access to technology and computer-assisted learning can be effective in engaging English Language Learners’ (ELL) motivation, developing writing and editing skills,” said Dr. Roland Rios of Ft. Sam Houston ISD at the TCEA 2016 Convention and Exposition (Are you a member yet?), “and tapping into the collaborative potential [technology].” At our presentation, Dr. Roland Rios and I had the opportunity to introduce a roomful of TCEA members to Voxer. Participants learned Voxer, then recorded ideas for how to use Voxer in their teaching and learning situation.
Approach #3 – Participate in Peer Learning Chats
“When we view ‘sharing’ as something that both supports and pushes us to be better,” writes George Couros in Innovators’ Mindset, “the big winner will always be our students.” The quote came from a picture capture on a mobile device, and was then shared via the InnovatorsMindset Voxer Chat.
Ready to give Voxer a try? Join the TCEA Voxer Sandbox!
Read the entire blog entry online at http://www.tcea.org/blog/voxer/
In collaboration with Lori Gracey, Executive Director at TCEA, I was pleased to author the blog entry linked below featuring my dear friend, Dr. Joy Rosseau’s district, Arp ISD. Arp ISD was recently named a “Digitial District,” earning second place in its category! What an awesome honor! Knowing Joy’s work (and having borrowed so much of it over the years! (haha)), it came as no surprise that they were selected.
|Find out more about Arp ISD and other Districts receiving a National Digital District Award!|
Joy has promised more information after she returns from her trip to receive the Award.
Check out my latest blog entry, On the Horizon: Digital Signage, over at the TCEA TechNotes blog! Here’s the lead:
Today’s schools are asking for digital signage: in the cafeteria, in the hallways, near the entrances. Digital signs can be a wonderful tool for getting your message out. But what’s the best solution for providing them? Find out in this blog post. (read more)
|Read the complete blog entry|