On Monday, May 20 at 7pm Eastern, I’ll be a part of a panel talking about “The Potential of Open Resources for Your Classroom.” Hope you can join this and other V4T sessions and expand your professional learning!
(cross-posted from K12 Open Ed)
ISTE’s Learning and Leading with Technology (L&L) just published an article I wrote about MOOCs.
This article was a step in the progression of some thinking I’ve been doing about deeper professional learning. (Stay tuned for more on that.)
As is often the case with print publications, there were several months between the writing of this article and its publication, and a lot has happened since then! In particular, there are two new MOOCs that are particularly well suited to K-12 professional learning.
The second is Learning Creative Learning (#medialabcourse) from MIT Media Lab and P2PU. This is a course for designers, technologists, and educators interested in creative learning. It includes a fairly traditional program of webinars and readings, along with experiments via the mechanical mooc and G+ communities. (We also have a P2PU group for this going here.)
Best of all, these two MOOCs are both OPEN (in a variety of senses, including open licensed) and CONNECTIVIST.
It’s not too late to jump in and start learning with either of these MOOCs.
Stay tuned for more interesting MOOCs for K-12 professional learning!
Massive and open image: Image reprinted from Learning and Leading with Technology (L&L) vol. 40, no. 6, copyright 2013, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (US and Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Intl.), firstname.lastname@example.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved.
ETMOOC image: Courtesy of #ETMOOC community
LCL image: Courtesy of Learning Creative Learning, MIT Media Lab, and P2PU
I believe that we have a unique opportunity at this moment when districts all over the country are looking at new curriculum and assessments.
We can either see this as an opportunity to innovate and improve learning…or we can just go on with business as usual.
I recently gave a short talk about this at SXSWedu. Here it is. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
(cross-posted from K12 Open Ed)
The second annual Open Education Week is this week, March 11-15, 2013. Open Education Week is a five-day celebration of the global Open Education Movement, featuring online and local events around the world, video showcases of open education projects, and information. Its purpose is to raise awareness of both the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.
Here is a calendar of all the events, and here are a few to make special note of:
- School of Open at Citizen Science Workshop – live f2f event, March 10 in Los Angeles
- P2PU: A Showcase of Open Learning – free webinar, Wed., March 14 at 3pm Pacific
- School of Open launch – lots of great, free courses, ongoing
This is a great opportunity to learn more about open and also to share this info with others in your organization. Throughout next week, I’ll be posting daily nuggets of open goodness.
And in case you missed it, here is a hangout a group of us did for the #etmooc about open learning. There are some thought-provoking discussions here.
I recently helped put together a conference session about the law and filtering that involved a G+ hangout with a panel of remote guests. It took us a while to find the combination of things that worked the best with the room audio so I thought I’d jot some notes down on what worked while it’s still fresh in my mind.
First, we had two computers running, one that “owned” the G+ hangout and was projected for the group (computer A) and one that was for a panel participant/moderator (computer B).
The hangout was started on G+ on computer A. Everyone who was on the panel (including one person who was actually in the room) was invited to hangout.
Computer A was connected to large room speakers. The mic was kept muted.
The person on Computer B used headphones and a mic. When she wasn’t talking, she muted her mic. When she was talking, we muted the big room speakers connected to computer A. (This mostly eliminated the annoyance of her hearing herself echo back through the big speakers a second or so after she spoke.)
We initially had some feedback issues, but doing the above and turning down the speaker volume seemed to resolve it.
We also had another session in a different room watching the hangout and that worked fine as well. (In fact, when we got knocked off the wireless and couldn’t get back on, they were able to continue on without us.)
Below is the end result. (One thing I learned was that when a hangout ends on the initiator’s computer, it will go on with others, but the broadcast cuts off.) Thanks to everyone on our panel and in the audience that made this possible.
Don’t Try This at Home
The initial plan for the hour-long session was to ask people to start by sharing their experiences with peer learning, to share a bit of my thoughts about it, to show a few online tools that can facilitate peer learning (Twitter, P2PU), and then to spend the last 30 minutes on a live #connectedpd tweet chat about peer learning.
Here is the slide deck I planned to use.
I decided to sit out in the room instead of standing behind the presenter’s table, again to try to model a peer driven approach.
I started with my plan for the session and then asked everyone to share why they’d come and what they hoped to get out of it. (I also invited people to leave if the session wasn’t what they were expecting or if they didn’t think it would be useful to them. A couple did.)
When people shared their expectations and previous experiences with peer learning, they were predictably diverse. We talked a bit about PLCs and experiences with district-provided PD, and then a woman in the group said that she was starting a “teacher-led school” soon and wondered if we might talk about that.
My reactions were (a) how fascinating and (b) what a great way launching into this would be to model peer learning. There followed a spirited discussion of what a teacher-led school might look like, administrator roles, what systemic challenges schools have that may limit well-intended administrators, etc.
At some point, the woman expressed a concern that maybe we didn’t want to spend the whole session on this. There were indeed other things I’d planned to cover, but thought it was well worth diverging to experience this kind of peer learning firsthand.
As the scheduled time for the #connectedpd tweet chat approached, I suggested that we continue the conversation but move it to Twitter. I asked who had experience with Twitter and who didn’t and asked people to form small clusters to teach each other the basics of Twitter.
We jumped into the tweet chat with an unstructured format of small groups helping each other and me periodically giving some overall suggestions about how Twitter and tweet chats work.
It was a bit chaotic, but many meaningful conversations were going on. Much of that conversation continued to be verbal in the room, and we were trying to learn Twitter at the same time. At one point I said, “If we say these things on the tweet chat, we’ll also get the benefit of a whole lot more people talking with us.”
And man, was it fun! Afterward, I asked the participants – particularly those who had no previous experience with Twitter – if the format had worked for them. Most everyone said it was a valuable experience. Many of us connected on Twitter and agreed to stay in touch. Learning Twitter in the context of talking about peer learning seemed to bring a new level of meaning and authenticity. I suspect that more people than usual will come back to it after the conference.
At the end, I thought “this was kind of like an un-session!” And I would definitely do this again. I think that every time would be completely different.
I greatly appreciate everyone who took part and took the risk to participate in this experiment, including Claudia at #connectedpd. I hope you enjoyed it was much as I did.
For a long while, I’ve been planning to dive into Scratch, a programming environment where you can make your own stories, games, programs, etc.
Now that I’m in the Learning Creative Learning MOOC from MIT, it’s time!
Here’s an intro video to Scratch. I’ll be writing more about my learning ad making process here as I progress. Maybe some of you will want to play along with me. If so, here are some resources to get started.
Today I had the opportunity to talk about differentiating instruction with a group of educators using mobile technology as a part of ISTE’s Verizon Innovative Learning Schools virtual conference.
At the end of the end of this session (with no time left to respond), this great question came up:
“How do you all suggest differentiating when it comes to kids who don’t work well with technology in a technology based class?”
[wait time...in case you want to think or write about this yourself before I start thinking aloud ;]
Differentiation is all about accommodating different learning styles and empowering learners to guide their own learning. If some learners don’t work well with technology, don’t force it. Instead, help them find strategies that work for them.
(Side note: I think it’s probably worth some time to look with these learners at why they “don’t work well with technology.” Is it certain kinds of technology? Is it certain kinds of content or activities? Are there other factors in play? Do they use Facebook or play WOW? Saying that someone “doesn’t work well with technology” seems a little like saying someone doesn’t work well with paper. I’m not discounting the possibility, but just saying that it merits some exploration. It’s a big world, technology is.)
Depending on the age of the student, I would put equal onus on him/her to puzzle through this. Some exploration about how we learn and taking responsibility for our learning is a good thing for all of us.
Then, if you end up at the same place, accommodate! There are a million ways to learn that aren’t technology-based. When I taught, we had very little access to technology, and so I differentiated in many other ways that you’ve probably all used. I made up independent learning project folders that students could choose from and work on at their own pace. I encouraged individual reading and writing on topics of choice. I tried to avoid a lot of whole class work and to give students flexibility in pacing and had them track and monitor their own progress.
What would I do differently now (but with no technology)? More language support. More use of multiple resources. Less use of textbooks. (There are many non-technology options: magazines, trade books, video, mentors, hands on experiences, etc.) And always more acknowledgement of where students are starting from and working from there, rather than trying to fit a learner into a hole he/she just doesn’t fit in.
And of course, I’d probably try to find some alluring, atypical technology treats to dangle in front of these learners as well.
How about you? What ideas do you have?
I do a lot of work to help teachers and students differentiate and personalize learning. One thing I know about this is that you need A LOT of content to succeed in doing this. Also, mobile technology makes it a lot more feasible.
I also believe that you need a HOME BASE, that is, one central place for all that content to live. This “home base” should be the place where kids know to go everyday to find what they need. (I’ve also found that having this kind of “home base” will prompt students to go and explore areas that may not even be covered in class.) For most schools, this will be a cloud- or network-based place.
There are many options for where this “home base” might be hosted, ranging from something as simple as a foldering system (like Google Drive or even a network drive) to something more complex like a full content management system.
Two important variables in considering the options are:
- Cost (and by cost, I mean not only whether it is free or how much you pay for it, but also by how easy it is for an individual teacher to use without necessarily having district IT help)
- Student data tracking capabilities (This means the degree to which you can see what students access, how long they spend on it, what assessment results they have, etc. This information is obviously very useful to teachers.)
Using those those two variables, I’ve made this graphic to list out some different options.
What do you think? Is this useful? Are there other big content hosting/organization tools or platforms that are missing?
I’ll be continuing to refine this so I appreciate any input.