I like the concept of the Teacher TwitterBrain, a lot:
I think there are likely two components as to why this ended up working the way it did:
1. You have created a community as your audience. The people reading your blog or following you on twitter, genuinely care about you and your work. They want to see good ideas, but they also see you as a human being and not some faceless teacher imposing assignments on kids. This community is a support structure just as much as it is a learning one. I think that calling out the fact that you have probably cultivated this community over years of your work is important.
2. You shared it in a collaborative way, specifically requesting feedback. You could have easily shared this assignment as view-only. You could have easily made it into a PDF and then sent it out. But, you didn’t. This was a collaborative process of sharing with multiple entry points (throughout the assignment folks could comment on different things). This means that you are much more likely to get the kinds of outcomes you are looking for. So, while I agree with your last paragraph that “sharing is caring.” It really matters how you share too. If you share something static, you will not see the power of the Teacher TwitterBrain. If you share something open and honest, then you very likely will.
via He’s the Weird Teacher: Harnessing the TeacherTwitter Brain.
What kind of learning can happen in an “open space”?
I found the comparison of home and learning spaces to be quite compelling. While I would never advocate that we treat schools like home in their entirety, I do think there is a lot of value in seeing just how much comfort and care we can build into our learning spaces.
“Open spaces create more opportunities” is a wonderful way of looking at our classrooms and our learning commons. But, I think the converse is something we must grapple with too. “Closed spaces” are holding us back. The more walls we put up or stuff we pack into a space, the less room there is for learning and creation to happen. Let’s build these mini learning commons. Let’s make them as open as possible.
Figuring out how the Pieces Fit … – Home – What is the Environment for Learning?.
Everyone should read this blog post. Thank you for the “no thank you.”
This is one of the more wonderful ways of dealing with the negative viewpoint of teachers currently in existence. I love the way in which you have framed everything as a choice to accept or reject this narrative.
The “no thank you” I most want to hear, though, is the one that we can say to those who would deny the voice of those closest to kids, the teachers. Those that would seek to silence your words or deny their value I would say, “No thank you.”
This is the narrative I want. This is the voice that I want to hear. Always.
via Reflections : No Thank You.
Students should have a say on what PD their teachers receive…
I love the way in which you have framed this question to students, as they are the ones who most directly are going to be served by better PD.
One thought I have, though, is how we might take this further. Could we, for instance, allow students to specifically request “better teaching” in a specific area when they run into an issue within their school? Could they provide feedback on more systemic issues they see for how teachers might improve their practice?
I’m also intrigued by just how many of these kids talked about better collaboration between teachers. It is as if they are the only ones that see how arbitrary the separations of the different subjects are. How can we make good on these requests?
Again, thank you for sharing the viewpoint of your students about professional learning. It is my sincere hope that we include students much more in these kinds of conversations.
Student Centered History: Technology and Critical Thinking: From My Students: What Teacher PD Should Focus On.
We need a Brave (New) World:
What resonates with me most about this post is when speak about the world being weak:
“It is this world that we live in that can be weak. This world that is too afraid to embrace change. This world that is too afraid to stand up and speak up for those who are not able to. This world that would rather talk about apps and computers and Twitter than use those things to talk about how to make our schools safer for all of the people inside of them.”
I find this infinitely true. We are afraid and we are weak. We find it easier to put everything into little boxes that fit into what we believe school is or should be.
However, the narrative that I think is most at odds with us making schools safe for all teachers is the one that claims teachers don’t have a life outside of schools. If we admit that teachers don’t only exist between the first bell and the last, we have to accept that they are complex enough to have personal lives. If we stop believing the only purpose teachers have in this world is to grade papers and plan lessons, we would have to think hard about how they are human, and they are us.
As an educator, we are brave when we deny this narrative. As a non-educator, we are brave when we see teachers as complexly as we see ourselves. We all deserve this brave world. We all deserve to see people for who they are, and not merely the roles they play within our small corner of the universe.
Thank you for showing that teachers are people and for sharing your complex and wonderful story with others. There will come a time when the world is brave enough to accept this from everyone, but until that time, I am glad you are thinking and writing out loud.
via Please Don’t Call Me Brave: For Those Who Continue to Teach From Within the Closet | Crawling Out of the Classroom.
Finding EdTech Unicorns is one of my favorite things:
I find data ownership (by the learner) to be such a mythical creature in the world of EdTech. The ability to “carry my data with me” in a digital backpack should be what we are developing toward, but instead we keep on making lots of lockers for people to store their stuff within.
I would also want to think through how the “online” components of these communities aid and influence the offline components. So, meetups yes, but also twitter chats (or their equivalent). Also, capturing real-life learning and reflecting upon it online.
I also believe that we need better ways of organizing our curated information. If we continue to simply stack information or pull it together in piles, we will get very similar results in terms of overload. If we can find intelligent ways of creating small networks of information in the same way that we create small networks of people, I think we will do more to curate and create the future.
I’m not so sure that technology is neutral. I’ve seen tools that enable things that were not previously possible and I’ve seen tech that holds back a learner. Tech is not a panecea, but it’s choosing the right tool for the right purpose and showing that it can transform the learning environment, if done right.
via The Mythical Unicorn of Ed.Tech — The Saxifrage School — Medium.
Why Gossip can suck the culture right out of a school:
The part of this post that really caught me off guard was this: “A large number of teachers haven’t ever really left school.”
I think that this is absolutely true. It is both amazing and difficult to swallow. Gossip is definitely a byproduct of this system, but so are the ways in which perpetuate “school” in other ways. The ways in which we are taught influence so much the ways in which we teach. Especially if we have never learned within any other system.
The questions I have is these: What does it take for someone to question the system that created them? Is it just realizing that what you have always done is no longer working? What does it take to stand up to not only the gossip, but the other ways in which our system is resolved to just keep on going?
I don’t have answers to those questions, but they haunt me. Thank you for calling attention to this. I am glad you are standing up to this gossip, and I am glad you are looking for ways to change “school.”
via Standing up to gossip | Time Space Education.
There really is a difference in the way you approach student access to social media:
I really like the way that you have framed this as a case of “modeling” rather than of “gatekeeping.” I don’t see the need for a digital content ‘license to drive’ as much as the need for really great use of digital content within learning experiences.
I also think it is important to think about the idea that great use of any medium (paper, video, etc.) doesn’t happen all at once. The first few hundred tweets I sent were mostly rubbish until I figured out what social media was all about. Can we allow a space and time for kids to be able to experiment and get better, rather than expecting them to be experts instantly?
Lastly, I think your point about making connections is an important one. The difference between social media and traditional media is that it about building a conversation and connecting with those that previously lacked connection and context. We are enabling a “citizenship” that isn’t just about being informed. It is about informing others and sharing in the process of information. The digital contribution is how we get there.
Nocking The Arrow: Does Digital Contribution Trump Digital Citizenship?.
So, I’m not sure if I am in love with this model or if it is just an idea that I would love to explore if given the chance.
The Learing Rhythm: Inspect. Adapt. Iterate.
The Learning Rhythm is inspired by the same process the most innovative STEM organizations in the world today emply to compete and adapt, such as Google, GE, and the military. The Learning Rhythm is composed of a specific set of events that are all performed within a timebox (1 period up to 4 weeks) called a Learning Iteration. Once a Learning Iteration ends, another begins, repeating itself. Learning Iterations weave a dense fabric of feedback loops that enables classrooms to frequently inspect and adapt, accelerating learning and rapidly growing capacity for empowerment and collaboration. Each event in the Learning Iteration serves elastic constraints to grow empowerment and collaboration within, so that one can throttle empowerment and collaboration for the right level for your classroom. It provides a reliable and repeatable learning framework so students can being to start driving their own learning.
via Agile Classrooms | Learning Rhythm.
Other worthwhile links to explore on the topic of Agile or Scrum-based classrooms:
Special H/T to the amazing and wonderful Jessica Raleigh, who already knew all about this!
An amazing piece from a teacher who is trying something new in the classroom and feeling understandable pushback from students and parents:
I think this fear is absolutely understandable. You are doing something amazing, and that is scary.
My favorite thing that you have done about this fear is face it WITH your students. You have admitted to them that it exists and you have called it out on these wonderful posters.
It is my hope that you recognize that not one of your students will forget this year. It is theirs and yours together.
Your entry does have a point: You are learning out loud, which is just what you are asking your kids to do. Is there a way that the EdTech (or Medium) community can help support you in this work?
What if you asked students to post their work online for each other to comment on (or for fellow educators/classrooms) to respond to? What if we could all grapple with the duality of love and fear?
Idle Confessions of a Teacher Trying Something New — Teaching, Learning, & Education — Medium.