Showing posts from March, 2012

Learning Designed for Students

Thinking back to when I was a student I’m not so sure the learning was designed for me or for students in general.  From what I remember, we were all moved through content and skills in lock-step.  The teachers were on a mission to get us to the next grade by covering what was on their list.  Now this was back in the day when content didn’t change much and the skills that we needed were tried and true.  That model isn’t really fit for today or the future. An elementary school in our District has adopted an educational model called Universal Design for Learning or UDL.  Although UDL is not about technology, implementers have found that technology makes it possible to use the approach efficiently.  Our elementary school has embraced the use of special software, laptops, and SMART Boards to support this approach to teaching and learning.  I share some quotes with you that the principal shared with me for how the UDL approach makes a difference in the lives of kids… “increase ‘acce

Personal Vision to the Future

I wonder how many of us wander through life somewhat aimlessly?  We finish high school and maybe go to university, trade school, travel for a while, get a job, do charity work, or even ‘do nothing’.  Eventually most people land in a career or a job that sustains them.  Many will marry, have kids, and ‘live life’.  Some people seem then, to go through life without any particular goals.  Some seem to wander along with a cloud over their heads.  You know, the people that when they are in your presence or enter a room, suck the air and energy out of the room.  I wonder if they just never got around to creating a personal vision?  On a personal note, I really enjoy the outdoors, and was pretty focused on downhill mountain biking (have switched for safety reasons to XC).  The picture shown here is of me a few years back living life to the fullest in the woods on my bike :-)  A quick a-side, I read this article by Michael Hyatt yesterday that you might enjoy on how to become a happy person p

Designed to Change

There is something seriously wrong with the way some things are designed.  My wife and I were away yesterday and I get a text from one of my kids saying “the fridge isn’t working”.  Sure enough when we get home later, it’s dead!  This is our second fridge in just over 10 years (our first was relatively expensive, the second inexpensive – didn’t seem to matter).  When I mention this to others most often people suggest that 5 years is pretty normal for a fridge.  I think fridges are designed to fail.  So, after I write this blog post we’re off hunting for a new fridge, oh joy…  I probably shouldn’t be writing this post right now in my less-than-happy-about-my-fridge state of mind. However, as you know this is not limited to fridges and not just to products that stop working.  Think about the consumer electronics business.  Cell phones, for example, seem to be designed to be disposed of within 3 years.  Actually, even 3 years is a long time now when you look at the amount of change that

Complex Classrooms

I have the pleasure of regularly going out to visit with teachers and students in classrooms.  This past Thursday I visited two classrooms: a Kindergarten and a Grade 1 class.  In the Kindergarten class I was video recording a learning documentation process the teacher uses to support her students story writing.  The students came up one by one to share their pictures and in some cases, also written stories.  They were very motivated and proud to be able to do this.  The teacher used her iPod Touch to record each student explaining and/or reading their story.  The teacher then plays back the students reflections in the quiet of her home and provides written feedback in each students journal.  The kids loved that I was recording them telling their stories! While this was going on, one of her students had a bit of a melt down.  This particular student is designated as having certain special needs and a special education assistant (SEA) was present.  This student caused quite a bit of d

Self Regulation in an Always On World

The need for people to be effective at self regulation has always been important.  However, I believe its importance is greater today and increasing given the “always on world” we now live in.  When I was a kid, self regulation involved behaving properly, using proper table manners, putting my hand up in school, and being home for dinner on time.  I think things have become a little more complicated in these technology transformed times. “Self control should increase with age due to the development of the sensory system. As the sensory system develops, people's perceptual abilities expand. For instance, children do not have a concept of time, and in this sense, they live in the present. However, as children age and develop into adults, they gradually gain the ability to comprehend the future consequences of their actions.”, Self-control. Wikipedia March 4, 2012 . Self-regulation (aka self-control) needs to be learned early on and it’s encouraging that this is something that, I u