Showing posts from November, 2011

Through the Technology Looking Glass

“[Alice] ponders what the world is like on the other side of a mirror's reflection. Climbing up on the fireplace mantel, she pokes at the wall- hung mirror behind the fireplace and discovers, to her surprise, that she is able to step through it to an alternative world .  …Upon leaving the house (where it had been a cold, snowy night), she enters a sunny spring garden where the flowers have the power of human speech”, Wikipedia Nov 27, 2011 . I participated earlier this week in an #edchat where people from all around the world weigh-in on a topic via twitter.  It’s kind-of like some other world, it’s not “real” rather it’s a virtual exchange of ideas.  It’s an exhausting experiencing trying to keep up to the rapid stream of ideas and to contribute your own.  I dropped in a bit after it started so am not entirely sure of the specific topic but I believe it was a question of whether technology improves or is essential to learning, teaching, and assessment. I also dropped in on a 1-

A Purpose for School

This fall I have been supervising morning recess for Kindergarten to grade 5 kids at a nearby elementary school. Although this is a disruption to my day and an inconvenience to how I schedule my work, it’s also an interesting experience. When the bell rings, hundreds of little people converge on the play ground and field with smile filled faces, energy, noise, and a determination to have fun. It’s hard to explain but this positive energy transfers quite well and I feel energized because of it. I sometimes wander into one of the Kindergarten classes to see what they’re up to. The other day, I saw lots of paper (painted) worlds hanging from the ceiling. Some of the kids told told me they learned what was inside and outside of the earth. I asked if the inside was made of “cheese” or “chocolate”, and one little person confirmed it was “chocolate”. I apologized to the teacher for messing up her lesson for that student. :-) There is relentless talk and endless books telling us of needed ch

Ideas and Innovation

Take pause for a moment and consider the vast sea of ideas active in our world right this second…  Can you picture it?  At any given time, billions of people collectively generate billions of ideas.  Unfortunately, most ideas never leave a person’s head or are only ever shared with a family member, or perhaps one or two close friends.  Ideas die prematurely every day because they are not able to take root in “fertile ground”.  Ideas need to mix with other ideas and they need to encounter support and experience conflict to survive and grow. In our increasingly digital world, ideas have never had it so good!  When a person chooses to enter in and engage with others in online spaces, it’s like a veil is lifted for them and they see what was hidden from them previously, a connected sea of ideas.  You can see the mixing of ideas take place through Twitter, Blogs, Wikis, Youtube, TED, Google +, Facebook, and hundreds of other interesting spaces. I’ve just started to read “Where Good Idea

Learning Exposed

I’m impressed with how quickly the K-2 teachers involved in our District’s Making Learning Visible project are becoming both skilled documenters of early learners AND skilled users of digital tools for documenting.  Their purpose with this work is to collect and record learning events and experiences, to build a narrative from documentation to reflection.  Some of the purposes for digital documentation they are working with include: stimulating and supporting narrative illustrating a point providing evidence of learning opening up a conversation sharing an experience understanding a situation more deeply asking questions such as “What is going on here?”, “What have I missed?”, “What do I need to explore?”, “What’s the next step?” Digital documentation is “more than decoration”, “more than posed photographs”, and “useful in formative assessment”.  These teachers have had rich conversations about supplementing and / or replacing formal reporting to paren