According to the BCTF document Roles and Responsibilities of Teachers and Teacher Assistants/ Education Assistants the role of the teacher includes designing an instructional program, developing IEPs, planning learning activities, determining appropriate modifications and adaptations in line with IEP goals, identifying the appropriate instructional learning resources, and advocating for the appropriate instructional learning resources when required. While this document is specific to students with special needs, I argue that it applies for all learners.
As an educator I frequently suffer from identity crisis. So many roles, often overlapping. One moment I am a surrogate mother wiping away tears, next I am a nurse applying a band-aid, later I am a referee resolving a dispute or enforcing rules. Too often I feel like an elastic stretched way too far. When all goes well I get to be a motivator or muse and that is why I do it.
According to the NMC Horizon Report the role of the teacher is changing to one of curating and
facilitating learning experiences and encouraging student exploration to discover passions. This is a significant shift from the sage on the stage. As Lamier points out, students aren't consumers of facts. They are active creators of knowledge. This is but one of many contributing factors to the changing role of educators.
Along with traditional roles teachers are expected to incorporate technology into one's pedagogical strategies to meet the needs of 21st century learners. The NMC Horizon Report (2016) also states that one in three educators surveys feels their schools do not provide adequate support to help them integrate technology n the classroom. School District #68 has offered some opportunities for educators to develop proficiency with technology such as offering teachers some basic training with Google and Chromebooks with the expectation that they share their expertise. It is a start but only that. It represents only a few small steps in a long journey. For the most part teachers are left to seek professional development opportunities on their own. Compare this to Australia where Queensland’s Department of Education and Training will sponsor “Developing Our Teachers,” an opportunity for educators to increase their digital competencies and discover best practices for teaching STEM subjects. (NMC Horizon Report, 2016)
Incorporating technology into one's instructional design is not the only way that the role of the teacher has changed in recent years. Harrison and Killion (2017) cite ten roles adopted by present day educators. Among these are resource provider, instructional specialist, curriculum specialist, classroom supporter, mentor, school leader, learning facilitator, data coach, catalyst for change, and learner. I assume at least 7 of these roles on a daily basis. My tendency to go to bed early is beginning to make sense. Who wouldn't be exhausted trying to be all those things?
The changing role may require educators and administrators to rethink how education is delivered in their school or classroom in order to make the changing role of the teacher more manageable. The alternative may be premature teacher burnout.
(2017). NMC Horizon Report: 2016 k-12 Edition. . Retrieved 5 February 2017, from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6btfF7n9V
(2017). Bctf.ca. Retrieved 5 February 2017, from http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/Issues/I
Harrison, Cindy and Joellen Killion. Teachers as Leaders:Ten Roles for Teacher Leaders . Educational Leadership. (2017). September 2007, Volume 65, Number 1. Retrieved 5 February 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept07/vol65/num01/Ten-Roles-for-Teacher-Leaders.aspx
Lanier, J. (1997). Redefining the Role of the Teacher: It's a Multifaceted Profession. Edutopia. Retrieved 5 February 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/redefining-role-teacher
Image source: http://www.ctetadda.com/2016/10/role-of-teacher-in-classroom-instruction.html
Image courtesy: Pixaby.com
When the concept of blended learning was first introduced to me in OLTD 502 I was fascinated by it. The concept of merging face-to-face instruction with online instruction was so innovative. I could see the potential. Blended learning is a promising approach with the potential to transform Canadian higher education. To realize its full potential, it now requires strategy, resources and better integration with institutional goals. That’s the conclusion of the Innovative Practices Research Project, prepared by the Collaboration for Online Higher Education Research (COHERE) published in 2010. I did wonder about its applications in early primary with emergent readers still developing the ability to self-regulate and cast it to the back of my mind.
OLTD 511 showed me the scope of blended learning. There were many more models than I had been aware of. Flex. Enriched Virtual. A la carte. Flipped. Station and Lab Rotation. So many options and possibilities! The challenge was how to define such a concept. Clifford Maxwell supplies a definition that corresponds closely to that provided by the Christensen Institute.
Blended learning is any formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; the student learns at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience. (Maxwell, 2016)
Of the aforementioned models, station rotation seemed a natural fit in my class given that I already used a station rotation model for Language Arts instruction through Daily Five. Adding online instruction to the rotation was an easy modification, one that I hope assessments will prove results in greater achievement.
I was also struck by the potential for blended learning to service vulnerable learners who might not otherwise receive the benefits of a full education. This might include students who simply don’t function well in the traditional school model or students who have schedules that preclude them from attending class regularly. The Vancouver Learning Network’s Flex model is a successful, Canadian example of blended learning meeting this need. (Vancouver School Board, 2016)
One distinction that I had previously not considered was the difference between blended learning and a technology rich learning environment. Technology-rich instruction shares the features of traditional teacher-led instruction with technological enhancements. (Tucker, 2016). Simply using technology in the classroom does not equate to blended learning. Some instruction must be delivered online with students accessing it at their own pace. Blended learning requires intentional, effective use of technology. The SAMR model (Schrock) is an effective tool to assist educators in incorporating technology effectively.
In the current day and age there is an increasing expectation for educators to include technology in their instruction. In his book Disrupting Class, Michael Horn predicts that by 2019 50 percent of high school courses will be online in some form or fashion. Catlin Tucker (2016) points out that “Even though many of us don't have technology-rich classrooms, the rapidly evolving education landscape increasingly requires us to incorporate technology to customize student learning. Blended learning, with its mix of technology and traditional face-to-face instruction, is a great approach.”
With an increasing amount of screentime, acquiring effective social skills becomes a priority. Creating a positive school culture, online and face-to-face, becomes increasingly important. The glossary of education reform defines school culture as:
The beliefs, perceptions, relationships, attitudes, and written and unwritten rules that shape and influence every aspect of how a school functions, but the term also encompasses more concrete issues such as the physical and emotional safety of students, the orderliness of classrooms and public spaces, or the degree to which a school embraces and celebrates racial, ethnic, linguistic, or cultural diversity. (Concepts, 2013)
Blended learning may require educators to shift their role from purveyor of knowledge to mentor, assisting with goal-setting, critical thinking and developing life skills. Some will embrace this....some may be resistant. Leadership will determine how this affects the school culture.
Drafting a mock proposal for the design of my ideal blended learning environment gave me pause to consider to consider the constraints - and possibilities - that exist in my current teaching and learning environment. I had not previously considered the impact that the school calendar, bell schedule and physical structure of a learning environment could have. The project also allowed me to apply my newly acquired knowledge about implementation teams, evaluating blended learning models and creating school culture. It made me assess my own values and priorities.
Perhaps the most valuable (and maybe challenging) aspect of the course was researching and sharing articles related to blended learning. We are most assuredly smarter as a collective. My colleagues discovered articles that covered such as wide range of topics and perspectives within the context of blended learning and provided very insightful comments. It provided a very comprehensive and balanced view of blended learning as a whole.
Incorporating technology into classrooms shouldn’t be a goal. It may, however, be the answer to achieving a broader such as reducing the achievement gap with vulnerable learners or providing a cost-effective solution to delivering more personalized instruction through targeted small group and self-paced online instruction. It may be a disruptive innovation that redifines the delivery of education or it may be a sustaining innovation that works within an existing model. In my case it has definitely solved the problem of how to provide my students with meaningful learning activities while I work with a small group of certains needing reinforcement in certain skills while still working within the traditional school model I am part of. I look forward to seeing blended learning become more prolific as sources of oinline instruction continue to improve. Disruption has taken on a whole new meaning for me. It is now something I look forward to, rather than reprimand my students for.
Concepts, L. (2013). School Culture Definition. The Glossary of Education Reform. Retrieved 9 December 2016, from http://edglossary.org/school-culture/
Christensen, Clayton M and Michael Horn and W. Johnson. (2010) Disrupting Class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns. New York. McGraw-Hill.
Maxwell, Clifford. (2016). What blended learning is – and isn’t | Blended Learning Universe. Blendedlearning.org. Retrieved 17 December 2016, from http://www.blendedlearning.org/what-blended-learning-is-and-isnt/
Schrock, Kathy. (nd). Kathy Schrock’s Guie to Everything. SAMR and bloom’s. Retrieved 09 November 2016 from http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html
Tucker, Catlin. (2016). Educational Leadership:Technology-Rich Learning:The Basics of Blended Instruction . Ascd.org. Retrieved 17 December 2016, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/ed
Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. (2007) Schooling by Design. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Deelopment. Alexandria, Virginia.
Anggraeni, H. (2013). Blended Learning: promising innovative practice requires strategic approach | BCcampus. Bccampus.ca. Retrieved 17 December 2016, from https://bccampus.ca/2013/10/22/blended-learning-promising-innovative-practice-requires-strategic-approach/
Vancouver School Board (nd) Vancouver Learning Network Features Online and
Blended Learning at its Best. Retrieved 17 December from https://www.vsb.bc.ca/district-news/vancouver-learning-network-features-online-and-blended-learning-its-best.
Focus Question: In your present educational/teaching circumstances, what level of problem is most urgent to solve and why? What type of team would you need in order to solve it? Who would you place on the team, and who would lead it?
One of my favourite sayings is, “No problems, just solutions.”
Educators face many challenges today. Class size and composition, reduction in funding and services, and the adoption of multiple initiatives involving curriculum and reporting.
In my current teaching position I would identify two urgent problems, or as I like to refer to them - challenges. Challenges provide an opportunity for change and growth, whereas problems infer a force hindering progress.
The first challenge is significant underachievement in literacy and numeracy. Many students arrive with significant deficits and make little progress in spite of many initiatives in place to support them such as guided reading, levelled literacy intervention, numeracy in-service and more.
The second challenge is a significant population of the student body coming through the doors physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially unprepared to learn. In many cases conversation and play that is important to language development is neglected as is building basic numeracy through counting games. Nor is it uncommon for students to arrive at school late, hungry or tired.
The first challenge would likely require a heavyweight team to design and implement a sustaining innovation solution as it crosses grade and subject areas and any initiative would likely impact all staff. Keeping in mind the SMART goals framework (Haughey, 2016) I would recommend a heavyweight team comprised of representatives from primary and intermediate grades, support services and administration and co-chaired by the chairs of the literacy and numeracy committees to be formed to meet at an agreed upon time on a monthly basis to consider instructional models and strategies and present reccomendations at the April staff committee meeting with the intention of collecting baseline data and piloting the recommendations in the 2017-2018 school year with additional data collection and analysis in April 2018 to monitor progress.
The second challenge is one that is not likely to be solved on a school level and would require an autonomous team comprised of representatives from the school district, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Ministry of Child and Family Servies and community groups such as Nanaimo Food Share, Literacy Nanaimo and other stakeholders as a starting point. The systems in place to support vulnerable families appear to be failing and I suggest the financing and delivery models of these services needs to be rethought. I propose that such a committee should be led by an impartial outside party as many of the aforementioned parties are likely to be resistant to the disruptive innovations likely required to achieve the desired results.
It is notable that neither of the challenges identified refer to technology. Technology may or may not be utilized as a solution to these challenges. Horne (2015 ) and Hudson (2013) remind us that the most successful blended learning environments have begun by identifying a broad problem. How to include technology was not the problem. It was the solution. It was a deliberate, intentional choice made in the context of a larger framework.
Much the same as KIPP charter schools use technology to facilitate the implementation of small group instruction and personalize learning, I propose that implementing a station rotation model (which is already used in several classes) can facilitate small group instruction and assist in personalizing and enriching learning and make steps towards resolving the first challenge that exists in my school. Mine is only one voice. The advantage of forming a team is that you benefit from the experience and insight of many minds whose voices may express a potential solution one individual may not have considered.
The second problem will require disruptive innovation that challenges our priorities as a society and will not be a quick or easy fix. The model may be so different from the existing one that I cannot begin to predict the form it will take. It will require a strong advocate with exceptional managerial skills to facilitate. I believe that person is out there and will one day step forward. That is my hope. That is my vision.
Horn, Michael B and Heatyher Staker (2015) Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. San Francisco. Jossey-Boss.
Haughey, Duncan (2016). SMART Goals. Project Smart. Retrieved 22 November 2016 from https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.php
Hudson, Tim. (2013). How to Implement a Station Rotation Blended Learning Model. Retrieved 21 November 2016 from http://www.dreambox.com/blog/thoughts-implementing-blended-learning-models
The factory-based model referred to by Clayton Christensen in the forward of Blended may have been the product of industrialization but it worked well for me. The teacher directed, structured, predictable nature offered me clarity and comfort . I liked the orderly arrangement of desks that identified the classroom as a place of learning with a clear purpose. I absorbed the information given to me and successfully demonstrated the retention of that knowledge to my teachers through tests and assignments. I graduated with high marks and some awards to my name.
The question remains, how would I have fared in a school with a more project-based approach or one that was student-centered approach that included blended learning? And did other students fare as well as I did?
Reflecting on my ideal learning experience I would likely include blended learning. I am self-motivated and enjoy working independently and would have appreciated the ability to move at my own pace and do some of my learning outside of the classroom setting. In Math, a subject with which I had particular difficulties, the opportunity to watch instructional videos and review them over again with an opportunity to apply those skills in class under the guidance of a teacher, as modeled in the flipped classroom, may have resulted in higher achievement for me. Opportunities and access to different tools to demonstrate my understanding, rather than exams and conventional essays, may have increased motivation and resulted in deeper understanding of content.
Like many others I learn best by doing. To maximize my achievement my model would include opportunities to apply my knowledge in practical situations as encouraged by the tell, show, do, apply model. For this reason group work would be minimal as delegating part of the work to another individual would deprive me of an opportunity to learn that particular skill or knowledge for myself.
I recognize that my tendency to work independently is not always healthy. Education requires a social element. A face-to-face element must be included. Whereas I am not an advocate of group work, we can become inspired or enlightened by the work of others and there is truth to the adage that we are smarter together. Alternating between sharing sessions where students showcase their learning and “think tanks” where students and teachers collaborate to conquer challenges that arise would would satisfy the need fort he face-to-face element incorporated into the blended model. The site for my face-to-face component of my education would include structured, traditional classrooms with Smart boards, and wi-fi for instruction with other areas designed for collaboration (break out rooms) with tables, quiet independent work or reflection with wireless connections for personal devices and comfortable seating and appealling decor, a well-stocked library, a makerspace area for creation and discovery to incorporate inquiry based learning, a welcoming outdoor space or indoor arboretum to create a connection to the environment, and auditorium for assemblies and guest speakers, and a gym to take body breaks
The day would be scheduled with certain blocks designated for lessons, and others set aside for independent study. Supervising teachers would be involved in creating daily to-do lists (or more realistically weekly) and monitoring student progress.
The final touch would be an affectionate therapy dog or irresistibly adorable class pet added to the mix to relieve anxiety when feeling overwhelmed, because fur is the fix.
Horn, Michael B and H. Staker (2015) Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. Jossey-Bass. Danvers, MA.
Tell, Show, Do, Apply: The Anatomy of Good Instruction - eLearning Industry. (2013). eLearning Industry. Retrieved 8 November 2016, from https://elearningindustry.com/tell-
Match 7 - 11 was Open Education Week. This was news to me. Even participating in a post-secondary program focused on online learning and teaching this event passed without recognition or even notice. That in itself is testimony to how important such events are to increase awareness of the open education movement.
One aspect of open education that was seen to have much promise was MOOCs (Masive Open Online Courses.) These courses, offered free to any individual, anywhere, with access to a computer and Internet connection originated in Canada.,The Pedagogy Of MOOCs reports that the first was rolled out in 2007.. The goal was to reach as many people as possible, measured by the number of students enrolled.
This makes one pause to consider the pedagogy of MOOCs. Face-to-face instruction values small class size. Would servicing larger number of students in an online setting sacrifice the quality of the instruction? In an environment where students have access to online articles, videos, discussion forums, and video conferencing with professors, experts and peers, should MOOCs be presented in a different manner than classes in brick and mortar setting? How should assessment look?
I liked how Dave Cormier presented a simple, yet comprehnsive plan for success in his video: Orient, declare, network, cluster and focus.
But even following this plan, will all students be successful? Dropout rates for MOOCs are notoriously high. Why is this? Are they not valued because they are free? Are students who are familiar with traditional learning models unprepared for an online learning experience? Are the selected platforms for delivering instruction poorly designed or not being utilized to their full potential?
In her video Koller presents many of the advantages of MOOCs such as those in Coursera. These include making it accessible to anyone regardless of their financial circumstances, large peer groups being able to help problem-solve in a timely manner through forums, easing the burden of grading through automated marking and peer assessment and the ability to review material whenever and however often the student likes.
In his article Bates argues that MOOCs have not been successful in providing higher education to the intended underprivileged population because many of the people in this demographic do not have access to computers or the Internet and the certificates granted by Coursera and other MOC providers are largely unrecognized. Bates states that MOOCs remain a " second class form of education."
Bates also argues that the predominantly behaviourist pedagogy of most Coursera courses is obsolete. He also points out that Koller's camparisons to face-to-face instruction are limited to lecture models and don't take into account the inovative practices that many educators are using in their classrooms today.
In his article Legon questions the quality of many MOOCs. He states that because many MOOCs afre being delivered by experts in the field it is being taken as a given that the content and delivery would be of a high quality. "This assumed connection between content expertise and a mature grasp of the challenges of online teaching, however, has not been demonstrated in MOOCs." (Legon 2013) Transferring a lecture-based program to a digital platform simply isn't effective and being an expert on a certain topic doesn't necessarily equate to being able to deliver instruction on that topic effectively.
The next generation of MOOCs (MOOC 2.0) are focusing more on instructional design . One example is NovoEd. Amin Saberi, a Stanford professor is quoted as saying "With this transition from brick-and-mortar classes to online learning, you shouldn’t lose the social, collaborative aspects of learning, It should be able to enable it."
I feel that while MOOCs have extraordinary potential, they will not be the solution to the problem of educating the masses until more thought is given to instructional design, all students have equal access to technology and the Internet and the learning is recognized by on-ground institutions.
Bates, Tony. Online and Learning and Distance Education Resources. What’s right and what’s wrong about Coursera-style MOOCs. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/08/05/whats-right-and-whats-wrong-about-coursera-style-moocs/ (10 June 2016)
Cormeir, Dave. Success in a Mooc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8avYQ5ZqM0
Koller, Daphne: What we're learning from online education. http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education. June 2012.
Legon, Ronald. Inside Higher Ed. MOOCs and the Quality Question. 2013. REtrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/04/25/moocs-do-not-represent-best-online-learning-essay (10 JUne 2106)
New, Jake. Chronicle of Higher Education. New MOOC Provider Says It Fosters Peer Interaction. 2013. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/new-mooc-provider-says-it-fosters-peer-interaction/43381 (10 JUne 2017)
Stacey, Paul. edtechfrontier.com. The Pedagogy og MOOCs. May 11, 2013
Have you ever experienced that feeling as you approach the end of a journey? That feeling of anticipation mixed with a tinge of sadness because as exciting as the destination is, arriving there means the journey is over?
That is how I feel this week.
I am excited to have accomplished my goal of completing the training and am able to reflect on how much I have learned. I also feel a sense of loss, a void of sorts, as a result of having no new challenge to take its place as of yet.
This last leg of my journey focused on YouTube. I had always considered YouTube a somewhat frivolous phenomenon that fed on humanity’s narcissism. I had not considered its potential as an educational resource.
I was wrong.
I can now see its value as a resource in accessing and evaluating information and sharing learning. I learned how to search YouTube, upload videos, create and share playlists and much more.
I will not make the mistake of allowing preconceived notions to prevent me from exploring the potential of a popular resource again.
Check out my brief tutorial on creating a YouTube playlist as well as the screencasts of my final unit tests to glean some insight into what you could learn by taking advantage of Google's free training and using some of Google's many apps in your practice.
Reflecting on my learning journey I realise just how much I have learned. I have discovered apps that I didn't know existed and seen the potential they have for enriching my students' learning and increasing my own efficiency.
The first week of my learning focused on digital citizenship and keeping yourself safe and secure online. It also covered Google Calendar Google Hangouts, Google Forms and Google Keep, I was excited to embark on this journey and was amazed by the array of apps contained in the suite and the potential they had for transforming education.
My second week explored Google classroom as part of a Professional Learning Group. While I did gain as much experience with the apps as I wold have liked, building a network will prove extremely beneficial next year when I start using these tools myself and sharing them with the staff at my school At this time.I also took the opportunity to explore Google Calendar more. This week's blog post contains a Flipagram of adding a goal to Google Calendar. Students will love demonstrating their learning with Flipagram!
Week Three of my learning journey was filled with frustration. I was learning about all these wonderful apps but didn't have access to them to apply what I was learning. I was also unsure of how to make my learning more visible. This frustration is expressed in the second episode of Visible Learning.embedded in my blog post at http://onlinelearningjourneyofchantelle.weebly.com/my-learning-journey/staring-across-the-abyss.
Week four of my learning was centered around Google Slides and Google Play for Education I relished actually being able to play with these apps and gain real experience. This is when I discovered just how helpful YouTube could be in my learning, and how it could benefit my students as well.
As detailed in the beginning of this blog post, week five was all about YouTube. I experienced a real shift in thinking regarding this app that I had previously seen as a time suck and platform for those cursed with excessive vanity. I can now see its full potential and value. Providing students with an audience gives them purpose and motivation and knowing how to access and evaluate videos on YouTube provides them with access to more materials on a broader range of topics and helps them become critical thinkers
While the official Google training comprised the largest component of my learning, YouTube videos also proved very valuable, particularly in learning Google Keep (Flipped Classroom Tutorials) and playlists for YouTube (David Walsh Online).. Screencasts of people performing certain tasks using given applications proved very helpful to a visual and linear learner like myself.
In conclusion I feel confident that I can use Google Drive to share documents with colleagues and students, use Google Calendar to stay organized, use Google Slides to create presentations with animations, transitions, embedded YouTube videos, hyperlinked text and presenter notes, use Google Sheets to record student grades and create graphs, and use Google Classroom to post and collect assignments and share announcements and I am happy to share these skills with my colleagues. In fact, I am excited to share!
I am a goal driven purpose who thrives on challenges. My next challenge is taking my level one Google Certified Educator test in preparation for assuming the role as my school’s EdTech mentor. Maybe I’ll continue on and take the level two training. One thing’s for sure. It won’t be long before I find a new challenge to replace the one I have just finished.
If my learning project for OLTD is to be compared to a game of baseball I would say that in the last two weeks I have been getting walks. I was progressing but it wasn’t particularly satisfying. I lacked the tools to apply my knowledge and gain practical experience.
This week I feel more like I hit a home run.
This week’s training focused on Google Slides and Google Play for Education. Thanks to a YouTube video produced by Teach 101 I discovered how to access Google Slides and Google Sheets which I had previously been unable to locate. Bam! The hands-on experience I had been anxious for. I was even able to download the apps onto my iPhone! You would have thought I had won the lottery I was so excited.
I took the opportunity to record my first attempt at creating a slide show using Google Slides. It turned out to very simple to use and had most of the features that I was familiar with from PowerPoint, such as transitions, animations, themes, embedded images and videos. I am excited to play around with it more and explore some of the more advanced features such as audio. hyperlinks and Word Art. I know how impactful PowerPoint presentations can be and with students having the ability to create presentations in Google Slides and upload them to Google Drive to share with their teacher or classmates it is another way for students to demonstrate their understanding. That is always a good thing. More choices. More students engaged in learning.
Yes, my AdministrayGoogle Slides Screencast
With the free online training offered by Google and the other open resources available to me, I am gradually becoming more confident that I will be successful in my leadership role as Ed Tech mentor at my school next year (yes, my principal is putting my name forward for the position) when Google Apps for Education is rolled out in my district. After all, I aced my unit 10 exam :-)
Unit 10 Screencast
Homerun photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.0File:20060825 Barry Bonds follow through.jpg
Created: 25 August 2006
This blog post is brought to you by the word Corollary
In my classroom (and most elementary classrooms) students are encouraged to share. . The only exceptions are food (possible allergies/sensitivities/dietary restrictions) and answers during an activity designed for assessment purposes. Sharing is an act of empathy that demonstrates the ability to recognize and fill a need of another person.
So why do we revert to two year-olds who want to claim everything as “mine” when it comes to creative works? Why do we abandon our childhood teachings?
In his Video Sharing: The Moral Imperative Dean Shareski shares Ewan McIntosh’s statement
“Sharing, and sharing online specifically, is not in addition to the work of an educator. It is the work.“ Shareski further states that “When we focus on protecting our own work we are in some ways the antithesis of a teacher.” Strong words, which he admits. But there is a ring of truth to them.
As teachers we share our knowledge with our students. We often share a particularly inspiring lesson with a colleague. If we adopted Dan Meyers’ attitude that the more people we share our work, the more the effort seems worthwhile, perhaps this would occur even more than it already does. As educators we also share our students’ work with the school community on bulletin boards. I have seen the audience effect mentioned in Terry Heick’s article When Student Writers Learn That They Must Make Their Audience Care in action when students know they will be sharing their work with their classmates or others. They are much more motivated. Like many educators in elementary schools I have not yet taken the leap into having my students share online. Why not? I admit that the estimated amount of time required to produce materials I deem worthy of publishing so publicly is a deterrent. Privacy issues are also a valid concern. By allowing these concerns to influence my practice am I sacrificing my students’ education? This is a question I had not considered before.
In this day and age sharing with a large audience is not difficult. Access to the Internet makes it relatively easy. This means that not everything is of the same quality. Heick (2014) states that there is access to so much it is “an ocean of dreck, dotted sporadically by islands of genius.” This begs the question, is it worth the time and effort sifting through the dreck to find those rare gems? I don’t have the answer to that question.
Perhaps it is not the content of what is being shared so much as the process of sharing that matters. Even a poorly presented idea can spark innovation in someone else. In his article How Successful Networks Nurture Good Ideas: Thinking Out Loud Clive Thompson states that “Failed networks kill ideas, but successful ones trigger them.” As educators one of our primary objectives is to foster ideas. This makes me inclined to agree with McIntosh and Shareski that we do have a moral imperative to share.
Coming soon to an Internet accessible device near you...the work of my students!
Heick, Terry. When Student Writers Learn That They Must Make Their Audience Care. (December 7, 2014) http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/students-wrote-no-one-cared/
Shareski, Dean. Sharing: the Moral Imperative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELelPZWx7Zs
Thompson, Clive. Wired. How Successful Networks Nurture Good ideas: Thinking out Loud. (September 17, 2013) http://www.wired.com/2013/09/how-successful-networks-nurture-good-ideas-2/
Visible Learning: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cDhUrEiiRA
This week I feel like I am standing at the edge of an abyss. I have all the materials I need to build a bridge to cross to the other side…except one. The pivotal piece that is essential to making the bridge hold together. Without this integral piece I cannot cross to the other side.
The online training offered by Google has provided me with a good grounding in each of the apps included in the Google Apps for Education Suite. I understand how they work and what they can do. Unfortunately without access to all of the apps (which will not happen until the fall) I am missing the essential piece to attain mastery…..hands on practice. The past week's lessons focused on Google classroom and Google Keep. The only access I have had to Classroom was for one hour at a Google playtime session organized by some staff piloting the suite at their schools. Text and video tutorials, such as those found on YouTube can only take me so far.
Without practical application I am left standing on the other side of the abyss amongst a pile of essentially useless bits and pieces with the potential to one day become a bridge.
In the meantime, I am taking every opportunity to practice with the apps that I do have access to (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google Keep.) I was excited when I could add due dates from the course I am test-driving in Coursera to my calendar with a single click. I was also pleasantly surprised when Calendar added a map to my appointment when I included an address and Siri proceeded to giver me directions when I tapped it. For such a seemingly simple app it is proving to be amazingly efficient and effective. I hope and get as much background knowledge in the other apps as I can so that I am prepared to explore their practical applications when I finally have access. I am a kid who cannot wait for Christmas.
One of the best resources for learning something new is people. This week I joined some fellow educators in the district wanting to get a headstart with Google Apps for Education. I had my first experience using a Chrome book and got some hands-on experience with Google Classroom. We practiced viewing posts and commenting on posts and sharing Google docs in Google Drive. Many of these features were already familiar to me but the experience still had value. I also learned about a very cool extension called Google Read and Write. It is a voice to text and text to voice app. So cool! It is available at no cost to all teachers. I recommend checking it out if you haven't already.
I also learned that the district has engaged in in depth discussions with other districts and Google representatives to help work out issues associated with he Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act. These concerns are the reason for the delay in implementation and why some districts have not yet bought in. So far it is looking good.
Each school will have an EdTech Mentor to help with the transition next year. I am hoping to fill that role at my school. I am hoping that my enthusiasm and vision of the possibilities the technology presents will be contagious. I have not been inclined to take on a leadership role in the past but the timing and topic seems right.
I also took the opportunity to play around with the Google apps that I have been introduced to so far. Google Keep is new to me so I was excited to give it a try.
I also played around with Google Calendar. . I loved it so much that I created a Flipagram, something else that was completely new to me. You can enjoy it at: https://flipagram.com/f/qHzkHu3FWE