Tears

One of my Yr 5 students spent time today out of the class planting native trees for Arbor Day. He returned around lunch time, but I didn’t really really get a chance to talk to him about it this afternoon.
So I saw that he’d just tweeted a “Hey”.

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Four little words… “I’ll make a doc”. It’s been a long week and I know I’m tired, but that’s not why I welled up with tears.

Powerful stuff this motivated, independent learning thing.

[update] He shared the doc with me via Twitter DM because he wasn’t sure how to spell someone’s name. I wasn’t sure either so I texted a colleague. He waited… until I forwarded the texted answer. Sorted.

This kid is 9. Tweets and follows me with parental permission. Love it. 🙂

People, People, People

Saturday was my third #EduCampAKL and well worth the caffeine fuelled  drive up from Hamilton to Epsom Girls Grammar School. There were lots of new faces, plenty of familiar ones and a few online friends that it was great to meet face to face for the first time.

Full House at Epsom Girls Grammar School

It was a full house, populated by eager teachers/learners who saw the value in giving up their free time to connect with like minded colleagues from across the education sectors.  It was a day to further our understandings of third millenium pedagogy and the new tools that might be used to engage students and promote effective learning.

PD is often seen as something that is done to teachers (not always the case IMHO) but EduCamps/Barcamps are different. There are no reluctant participants; everyone who is there wants to be there. Twitter once again proved itself the WD40 of social oils and made it ridiculously easy to slip into conversations with strangers previously met online.

Ultimately though, the day was about people*. People sharing and discussing their thoughts, their successes, their pitfalls and reflections. A group of likeminded educators all willing to join with others to connect and collaborate. I wondered again what it would be like to work in a learning environment surrounded by these people.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

Next… EduCampBOP …see you there!

 

*and I got a choccy fish 🙂

 

Speaking of QR Codes…

It seems my time is spent on Twitter these days, but here’s a new post for my edublogs blog. I saw a link from Mashable on Twitter today and it gave me an idea for a class project.  Here’s a quick video I made to explain.

Of course it needn’t be the student’s own face that the talking mouth is added to.  It could be a character from a book, an historical character or anyone/anything else that suits.  I didn’t use a QR code on my image, but if you use a QR Code generator and upload videos to YouTube you can use the same QR enabled device for many different objects.

The original Mashable post is here.

And this is me… (click the image to embiggen)

QR Me

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Education Reset

reset

Just a note before you start reading.  I originally wrote this full of expletives.  To get the real feel of what I mean you can substitute the “f***ed-bomb” wherever I’ve used “messed”.

We need a reset button.  A reset button for education.  We need to try turning it off and on again.  Somewhere along the way we messed up.  I mean the collective we of course, the multi-generational we that has systematically messed up education and reduced it to a numbers game; a  keno with a few winners and many more losers.

A reboot wouldn’t be enough though would it?  We’d still have the same guts in the machine.  The same ghosts of mass education’s factory fodder origins.  The same targeted curriculum areas, same bias, same old same old.  Same shit, different day. And still messed up.

I’ve lost count of the number of curriculum review meetings I’ve been to.  You know the ones.  Where we sit around with pens and paper, cutting and pasting learning outcomes, achievement objectives, rubrics and processes until they look different, but say the same.  Maybe we’ll plug in an ICT component, you know, so it’s integrated.  A semantic shuffle and same old messed up same old.

So a reset for education isn’t enough.  We need something bigger, more drastic.  It’s messed up and we keep trying to  fix it by narrowing focus, shaving corners, bolting on new subjects and reordering others.

Sir Ken Robinson and others talk about a learning revolution, but what does that mean?

Given a clean slate how would you set about creating a new education system?  Would it be location based?  What role would institutions play, if any?  What would you include, how would it be weighted, what would its purpose be?  There are plenty of posts and ideas about personalized learning, creativity based learning, pull vs push and lifelong learning, but what would any of these look like?

Or am I wrong?  Is education not as “messed” up as I think?

This One’s For You II

Watch the video….

Primary PLE Please

Hi Steve, your reimagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.
That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills? Integrate it and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?
At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.
Maybe…
It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use? Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.
There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.
I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m seriously coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.
Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

PLE

I originally wrote this as a comment in response to this blogpost by Steve Wheeler/@timbuckteeth, but it was rejected for being too long.   So here it is, exactly as the comment was written.

Hi Steve, your re-imagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.

That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills?  Integrate and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?

At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.

So maybe…

It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use?   Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.

There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.

I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.

Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

teachernzandface.jpg

Paperless Day

I signed up for paperless day (April 22), but sadly wasn’t in class.  I kept my side of the bargain and my co-teacher ran a paperless programme for the day (and I most of the next day).

Students are busy working on movies, slideshows and blog entries about their day ( they’ll appear on the class blog), but here’s a taster of what Room 13 did.  Made entirely in Google’s Picasa with a soundtrack created in Aviary’s Myna audio editor.

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