Saturday, September 20, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Every fall, the info technology team (the library media specialist and myself) organize 3 digital discussion times for all ninth graders. The students choose a topic and are put in to small groups. They watch a video, do a reading and then come up with some questions for discussion. They spend the bulk of the class period having the discussion about their topic. We host everything on a site.
This year we have seen a rise in negative behavior around social apps, like Yik Yak which allow for anonymous posting. The content tends to be explicit, and while the use of names is not allowed, students can be targeted by initials or other identifying information. Our "Be The Change Team" has addressed some of the behavior by posting positive messages on Yik Yak, but we are looking for more resources to promote discussion around these difficult topics.
We are using the book Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions as a guide for some of our work. I am looking for more resources either around discussion groups on tough topics or good digital citizenship resources. Previous links that I have collected are here,. If you have something to share, please add to the comments. Stay tuned as we will be updating the site in the next 2 weeks.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
I recently spoke at a conference in New Hampshire. My message was about leadership in our schools. I called it Mind The Gap because increasingly I see technology being chosen to solve a perceived problem or fill a gap. In my opinion, that gap continues to widen.
I want to focus instead on the great teaching and learning in our schools. Being cognizant of the gap is being mindful of how we use technology with a purpose. Here are a few of the questions I asked the audience:
- Is technology a positive force in your school?
- Do you have a set of beliefs that explain your school or classroom culture? Can you connect your work back to the beliefs? Are those beliefs visible so everyone can see them?
- Does your school have a growth mindset?
- Can your community of learners adapt to and embrace change?
- Do teachers have time to learn and share learning? Is the focus on teacher practice, not technology use?
- As technology tools change, is the work teachers and students have already done being honored? Does everyone have to start over every year?
- When designing lessons. are teachers asking if this is the same lesson, only digital? Is your lesson transforming learning? Are you thinking about creativity and innovation?
- Are students able to demonstrate their work in multiple ways?
- Are students picking the right tool with purpose?
- Students may know how to use a device, but do they know how to learn with it?
- Do you survey your students and use the feedback?
- Do students participate in professional development for teachers?
- Is student work celebrated? Do you have cheerleaders for learning in your school? Does your school have a hashtag? A YouTube channel?
As you head back to the classroom, try one new thing. Try it one class or lesson so you can work out the bugs. If it doesn't work perfectly, tweak, remix, and massage. So.... How will YOU Mind the Gap?