Artwork by Josh
I got an email today. It was one of those you dream about getting. So here it is (with permission)...
Hey Garth, long time no talk!! Hope all is well your way!
Just a heads up: I have the 2nd round of my interview tomorrow for a High School Art position. They are requiring I teach for approx. 20-30 min. and I am using the lesson plan I developed in your class. It's a lesson that requires the students to collaborate on a drawing with another student overseas via Skype, email, and Google Docs... I created a new prezi for the lesson, uploaded it on my class Wiki, and will be able to "show it off" tomorrow...
I am really geeked out about it, because during the 1st interview they mentioned they are currently in a period of transitioning to a policy of "bring your mobile to class". They are all about integrating tech. into the classroom and I hope I impress them not only with my knowledge and ability as an art teacher, but my openness and familiarity with emerging tech. and its' application in the classroom.
Thank you for making the Technology class at the UofA the best education class I attended!!!
Wish me luck!
Now, I remember Josh. He was a very engaged student who wanted to learn all he could. He was and is awesome--someone I would be very happy to have working in the building with me. However, what is really cool about this email is the fact he wants to high light his tech skills for an art position. Not just high light them, but use them in the interview process (google docs/skpye/prezi/email). That takes guts and it shows something to the people he is interviewing with: He is willing to take "risks" and find what works to engage kids in the world they are living in. I am proud of him and I hope the people watching his lesson today see the value and scoop him up. He will impact education for years to come.
Good Luck, Joshua and I hope tomorrow you have an art job!!!
Below you will find the PowerPoint Garth and I will use today. Please feel free to search the PowerPoint and the web while we talk. Ask questions, challenge our beliefs and take what you hear back to your buildings. Our contact information is in the PowerPoint, as well. Do not hesitate to Tweet, email or call us in the future.
A few weeks ago Garth and I talked with some people attending some PD through SiOtA. We were discussing the digital textbook the students have worked on for seven or so years. As is almost always the case during these things, a thought came to me. We have all heard of the $1,000 pencil problem, in fact I think that has become so cliche and outdated that it isn't even worth discussing further.
The way I see it, the new problem is the $1,000 textbook. I'm referring to the push of districts to create ebooks...of all sorts. Now it may not cost $1,000 up front, but when you factor in (1)device to create, (2) PD to train people to create, (3) time invested in creating, and so on, you very quickly see the cost of ebook. Just like digital pencils, the problem with ebooks is that they do not change teaching and learning. So WOW your kids get to their textbook via a device instead of physically flipping pages. What's that? You can push updates as curriculum and standards change, NEATO! You say this eliminates the excuse of "forgetting" your book, GOOD for you!
Okay, enough with the dry whit. What's the point of ebooks in your school? ....If you answered anything about 21st century skills, cost efficiency, or CCSS then you shouldn't be making an e-textbook. The creation of digital content was awesome in the hands of teachers up to about three years ago. The curve we are quickly falling behind is allowing students to crate digital content. Our students should:
1. Own their learning
2. Leave a legacy
3. Publish original content
4. Go back, possibly years later to edit and reflect on their work
5. Collaborate, write, draw, link, connect, correct
And so fourth.
Digital textbooks should be created by students, for students and with students on mind. They should not receive points, grades or any other tangible rewards for their efforts. They should be sold on the idea that there is an intrinct good to learning. Students née to be motivated to help others and leave digital footprints worth following.
If your district is considering considering ebooks please think about a few things:
1. Who owns the content?
Are you using an app or paid service. If you are then there is a good chance your intellectual property is no longer yours. 2. Who creates the content?
Should teachers be involved? Should students be involved? How much will be done by each?3. What is the purpose?
Are you creating a new culture of teaching and learning? Do you just want to save money? Are you giving students ownership of their learning?
A few weeks ago, Garth created a thinglink
of his classroom. I decided it would probably be cool to have my room up there too.
Welcome to NEOtech 2013. Garth and I had the honor of being the Keynote presenters in 2011. During our Keynote, we strived to change the idea of a keynote by empowering our students to create a digital diary of the day. See below to view the videos made by our students. They shot all the film in the morning and edited the final videos in the afternoon.
Empowering students is our goal as teachers. Today's presentation (Just under this post!!) is titled "Autonomous Mastery Learning". That's a lot of big words and a ton of big ideas, so let's break it down....The point of all of this is to put your head before your hands. The idea of changing teaching and learning at a philosophical level is imperative to everything done in the classroom through technology. What Garth and I are doing with the thoughtful integration of technology is empowering our students to own their learning.
The WebQuest presented today is constantly under re-development based on the constant feedback of our students using GoogleForms. This is the 3rd year using the WebQuest and each year we change and rearrange elements based on student surveys. We want to provide students with the digital resources necessary to dig deeper into our curriculum, learn at their own pace and create a digital footprint that shows mastery, passion and an intrinsic desire to learn. This presentation is not about a specific tool, or even a handful of tools. We have chosen the tools we use based on the philosophical principal that students that DO the most, LEARN the most.
What you will not see in this presentation is the months of culture building that goes into our world history class. Our students are the same as students all around this country, with one exception. Our students are making the transition away from grades and points. They are beginning to see that their learning legacies can influence how other kids around the world learn. They have developed a sense of themselves in the world. They have created videos with over 30,000 hits on YouTube, they have worked over seven years to create a digital textbook used regularly by schools in three countries and they continue to reflect/collaborate/re-imagine their work in our seventh grade class well into their high school careers. Please feel free to explore this site and any of the links in the presentation as we talk and thank you for attending!-Mike & Garth
Smore, is a free website that allows you to make free flyers. Now, I am not really interested in flyers, but Smore does much more that then. With a simple drop and drag feature, you can make attractive classroom notes with video, images and more.
I was able to make the one below in about 15 minutes with no prior knowledge of this software. You can as well. Let me know what you create.
Below is the PowerPoint we will use during the presentation. We will not cover every slide, so feel free to browse through it at your leisure. If there are specific elements of digital textbooks and/or technology integration you would like to explore, try using the search bar at the bottom of the window. Thank you for listening.
My Thinglink.com channel
I wrote a post a week or so ago about the power of bring still images to life
using Thinglink.com. I really have enjoyed using it and the students (without any "PD") are really doing nice work with thinglink.com to include on their blogs. Mike and I are often asked what our classroom looks like. I was thinking about this and thought why not bring an image of our classroom to you. So below you see an average day of what is going on in our classrooms (Friday March 1, 2013). I used an Olympus camera to take a panoramic shot of class and then upload to thinglink and got started. I tried to note what each student was doing when the image was taken, so you can "see" the differentiation going on in any given day. You might say the "Choice" students have in our rooms. In the end, I hope this give one snapshot of a normal day in our classrooms. Let me know your thoughts or ideas. Cheers, Garth
Just place your cursor on the image below and watch it come alive.
Student created 20 mins after post
I have known about Thinglink.com for at least a year. But it has been blocked at school and I never really saw a need to push the issue. However, yesterday I was thinking about a mini lesson that I do on Middle Ages art for our Middle Ages Quest (see it here
) and realized that several kids will be out when I begin that lesson next week. As I was wondering how to handle that, Thinglink came to mind. I had seen it but never used it. I emailed the District Office and they opened Thinglink.com in about 20 minutes. So, today I spent about an hour making the two below. I do think I will get better and faster at it, but I also have a feeling that I will not need to do many more, as the students will take over.
I posted a short blog on my school website
about Thinglink, and within 40 minutes a student showed me the one above. He had used google earth (which I used with them yesterday to tag different Cathedrals all around Europe for the quest) and he made one for his blog post as a Knight. He is writing his blog about taking a pilgrimage to a Cathedral in first person. If he built one based on a post without any pushing...most students will love using it and all I have to do is show them how and pick out the best. They rock!
A few things to remember:
-Easy to upload any photo or use flickr photo's
-In edit just click and add text, links, images, podcasts and even youtube's directly in the image
Thinglink.com is fun and a great way to bring images to life. Not to mention a great teaching tool for our visual students. If you make one, leave a comment and a link to your Thinglink.
Click all the buttons for a feel of what you can do.
I have to admit something. I am obsessed with survivalist shows. Survivorman, Dual Survival, you name it and I love it. I watch them with my step-son. He is nearly 16 and an loves the outdoors. I wrote the rest of this post (below this paragraph) first. Then as I was about to publish it, I thought about why I felt compelled to write it. You see, I watch survival shows because it reminds me of growing up. I went to Red Oak Summer Camp from the time I could stand. My father, uncle, brother and eventually myself worked at camp. I also was fortunate enough to go on rather lengthy summer camping vacations as a kid. These shows spark in me a curiosity I had about nature, not just the world's, but human nature. It was a love for this kind of learning that drove me to pursue a life of science when I first went to college. I quickly found, as a freshman at The Ohio State University, that my love for science and learning did not fit into the Universities idea of science education. Further, there was no room for adapting my personal interests with my college track. I dropped out. Kyle loves these shows because they are teaching him things that are interesting and more importantly, useful. He understands that there are plenty of staged events and situations, but at the root of these shows is the idea that there is way more out there to understand then we are taught in school. Kyle's love of these shows has inspired his learning in other areas of life. He wants the freedom to camp, start fires, shoot guns, etc when he grows up. He has began to plan his future around careers that allow him this freedom. He has learned technology, saved up for an iPad and started his own YouTube channel because of his love to learn and share. His grades at school are average, but like most kids in school, it is boring because it doesn't relate to his life. I find that the politics of my job are no longer relating to my life. Making a difference. Changing the status quo. Placing the best interests of the student first. And any other number of educational cliches are becoming just that...cliched, white-noise, easily ignorable. Inspiration for me is becoming harder to find. Road blocks are becoming more common. I feel as frustrated as those that I know that took 20 years of teaching to become frustrated with the system; I'm only on year 6. So the remainder of this post is really a bit of advice that I hope the teachers in this world pursue. It isn't about changing education anymore, that is an impossible task. What it is about is saving our kids desire to learn and teach others for the simple sake of the soul-filling fulfillment that it brings.
I suggest reading the post directly below this before you continue....or click hereSo know that you are familiar with "Lollipop Moments
", let's look at the totality of what we do. By we
, I mean teachers. We have a definite responsibility to the social/emotional well being of our students. We also have a definite responsibility to instill a sense of intrinsic learning in those students. We must, know more than ever, personalize our curriculum and sell our students on the importance of learning. Beyond testing, college and the rest of our institutionalized systems; there is still the human-side of learning. Our human nature pushes us to understand. We have an almost innate drive to "make sense of the world". It runs our businesses and government, it pushes human achievement and it is the single most important factor of ingenuity.As those in the education game, mostly the ones not directly in the classroom, drive standardization and common-ness among the classroom of this country, please do not forget the individual-ness of what we do.
Talk with your students. Talk with other teachers. Change how you teach. Try new things. Ignore the old paradigm of departmentalized learning. Don't allow grade-level, reading-level or cognitive-level to undermine how you teach.Teachers should not only create and recognize "lollypop moments"
, they should be the recipients of them. We
make a difference. We
make a difference. We
make learning relevant. -Mike
"I've always been attracted to more revolutionary changes. I don't know why. Because they're harder. They're much more stressful
emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you've completely failed.". -Jobs