Category Archives: Teachnology

Teachnology: Using technology “differently” (TBT Remix)

When we ponder how, when and why to integrate technology, do we consider how learners might use digital tools as instruments of self-assessment, feedback, and tinkering to learn?

Last week I was “schooled” in using technology by a first grader.

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She was invited to write for edu180atl.  Her post was published on 5.2.12.  To draft her post, we selected two pictures to use as inspiration.  She wrote a story for each picture and selected one for submission.  HOW she used technology to write was a HUGE lesson for me.

She took my computer from me and wrote 3 sentences.  There was a word that had a red “crinkly” line under it.

 

The instant feedback transitioned the technology to teachnology; it caused her to ask herself questions.  Finally, she asked me how to spell inspired.  Then, she read her 3 sentences out loud and decided that she needed another sentence in between two of the current sentences.  (Do I do that when I write?)

She was determined to have 200 words, not 198 words or 205 words.  She wanted 200 words exactly.  She learned how to use the word count feature since both stories were in the same document.  She read out loud and deleted words.  She read out loud again and added words.  It was awesome to watch.  She chose to ask to have a “peer” editor.  “Are there 2 words that I can delete? I want exactly 200 words.”  How much more confidence would I have about my writing if I had published articles and ideas when I was younger?

This experience with my first grader makes me wonder about learning – well, anything – with technology.  What assumptions do we make about what learners will and won’t learn if we put technology in their hands?

“How can we focus on what we do best without missing new opportunities to do better?” (Davidson, 17 pag.)

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Davidson, Cathy N. “I’ll Count-You Take Care of the Gorilla.” Introduction. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. 17. Print.


LEARNing: Using technology “differently” was originally posted on May 14, 2012

Connect, extend, challenge: using digital tools, tinkering to learn

How do we use technology to learn and grow, make mistakes and try again, test and revise?

In our EduCon “do and dialogue” session, Doodling the C’s: Creativity, Comprehension, Communication & Connections, Shelley and I used the Visible Thinking Routine: Connect, Extend, Challenge as a reflection and discussion tool after each round of doodling.

We have been using the following side in previous learning sessions.

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Not bad, but not a doodle.  Shelley produced the following awesome doodle to help learners engage with this routine as they reflect on their learning.

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Shelley asked me to add color.  Here’s where I learned something new and exciting.  I took a picture of Shelley’s doodle with my iPad and imported it into the Procreate app.

Using the app, I could try color, undo when I didn’t like it, and try again.  I do not have the ability to undo when using my favorite pens.  Using undo and redo gave me the opportunity to test, assess, and revise until I was happy with my additions to Shelley’s great doodle. Here’s the version I pitched to be the final.

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We immediately agreed that the question mark’s yellow was not what we wanted.  If I’d used ink on paper, we would not have been able to revise and play with color without a complete redraw.

Together, we removed the yellow and tried several other colors.  Finally, Shelley suggested that we just continue the green them for challenge.

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When we ponder how, when and why to integrate technology, do we consider how learners might use digital tools as instruments of self-assessment, feedback, and tinkering to learn?

Participating in Each Others Stories: Global Connections & Microlending (TBT Remix)

If shown a world map, could I find Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, or Ecuador?  Do I have any idea how to connect with someone or something in a country that I can’t even find on a map?  How will I find content to promote global citizenship while teaching content that falls under my responsibility?

So I joined Bill Ferriter (@plugusin), Dan Sudlow, and three of their students, E, C, and J, for a webinar discussing their Kiva Club and how they use microlending to help people in developing countries throughout the world.

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E and C are 6th graders and J is an 8th grader. With expert and supportive facilitation from Bill and Dan, these young learners taught us about microlending through their experiences and stories. Worth emphasizing…I learned about microlending and integrating content and relationships that connect us to the larger world and the world to us from these three young learners.

The connections to math and geography are obvious to me, but I still have questions.  You can read more about microlending on Bill’s blog The Tempered Radical.  In High Tech High’s video What Project Based Learning Is, Jeff Robin strongly suggests to be successful with PBL you need to “do the project yourself.”  While the math and geography seem obvious to me, what will be learned from a microlending project?  So, I have taken the challenge to learn by doing.  I am participating in funding multiple loans.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 6.07.24 PMI have a better idea of where Kyrgyzstan, Uganda and Ecuador are when I look at a map, and I have the opportunity to connect to these women’s stories.  I also know more about Kiva.  Listen to and watch this beautiful story from Jessica Jackley about poverty, money, and love:

In her talk, Jackley says

The way we that we participate in each others stories is of deep importance.

I collaborated with 18 others across the world to help Carlina improve her business and family income.  Her dream is to have a well-constructed house; her current home is made of reeds.

Each of the green pins in the map represents the location of a lender.  The map and pins tell part of the story, but while informative, it is not very personal.

Don’t you think there is a big difference in seeing the pins in the map and seeing the faces of the lenders?  The faces show humanity; the faces share more of the story.

If integrating “content and relationships that connect us to the larger world and the world to us” is an essential action, then what do we do? What actions do we take? How do we “do the project” ourselves?  How will we practice? What will we learn?

Still wondering how social media can be used for learning, leading, and serving?  Read One Tweet CAN Change the World from The Tempered Radical.  I cannot physically take my young learners on a field trip to Uganda, Ecuador, or another part of the world.  Social media (blogs, Twitter, YouTube, iChat, Skype, etc.) affords us  opportunities to “connect us to the larger world and the world to us.”

Let’s experiment.

Let’s learn by doing.

Common denominators – “Let’s see why”

Everybody knows that you must have common denominators to add fractions, right?  Do we know why? If asked to construct a viable argument, could we? Can we draw it (i.e., communicate why visually)?  How mathematically flexible are we when it comes to fractions? From Jo Boaler’s How to Learn Math: for Students:

…we know that what separates high achievers from low achievers is not that high achievers know more math, it is that they interact with numbers flexibly and low achievers don’t.

Today’s Building Concepts lesson: Adding and Subtracting of Fractions with Unlike Denominators, had our young learners working to show their understanding of adding and subtracting fractions in multiple ways.

Kristi Story (@kstorysquared) used a phrase today that has really stuck with me is “Let’s see why…”  It immediately reminded me of Simon Sinek’s How great leaders inspire action.

And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.

I wonder if, when young learners struggle with numeracy, it is because they do not see why.  Have they been so concerned with “getting the right answer” that they have missed the theory, reasoning, and geometry? photo[1]

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What if we  leverage appropriate tools and use them strategically? What if we use technology to personalize learning and offer every learner the opportunity to see why?


#LL2LU draft for use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions.

Level 4:
I can solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers.

Level 3:
I can solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.

Level 2:
I can add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators, including mixed numbers, by replacing given fractions with equivalent fractions.

Level 1:
I can understand addition and subtraction of fractions as joining and separating parts referring to the same whole.

I can recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, and I can explain why the fractions are equivalent using a visual fraction model.


#LL2LU for I can apply mathematical flexibility.

  Level 4: I can analyze different pathways to success, find connections between pathways and add new strategies to my thinking.

Level 3: I can apply mathematical flexibility to show what I know using more than one method.

Level 2: I can show my work to document one successful  method.

Level 1: I can find and state a correct solution.


#LL2LU for I can construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others.

Level 4: I can build on the viable arguments of others and use their critique and feedback to improve my understanding of the solutions to a task. 

Level 3: I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Level 2: I can communicate my thinking for why a conjecture must be true to others, and I can listen to and read the work of others and offer actionable, growth-oriented feedback using I like…, I wonder…, and What if… to help clarify or improve the work. 

Level 1: I can recognize given information, definitions, and established results that will contribute to a sound argument for a conjecture.

#BrightSpot Ethnography and #Buoyancy using Twitter – Learning Together

To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. (p. 45, Heath and Heath)

…“buoyancy”— a quality that combines grittiness of spirit and sunniness of outlook. (Pink, 4 pag.)

What if we broadcast bright spots of learning? What if we intentionally observe our community and culture through a lens that some might call rose-colored? How might we collaboratively and creatively tell the story of what is most important? What if we document and share small moments?

As we have seen, even the smallest moments of positivity in the workplace can enhance efficiency, motivation, creativity, and productivity. (Achor, 58 pag.)

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At the end of this 1-PLU course, each learner should be able to say:

  • I can contribute to the bright spot ethnographic data collection of our learning community using Twitter.
  • I can use the power of positivity to elevate the learner and learning in and out of school.
  • I can bright spot learning in our school and inform the larger community of the myriad of learning experiences that happen daily.
  • I can foster and develop connections with other educators and experts to expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

How might we learn more about our community and each other? What if we continue to develop a culture and a habit of positivity, bright spots, and buoyancy?


Achor, Shawn (2010-09-14). The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike, 2011. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. (2012-12-31). To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (p. 4). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

#TrinityLearns integrated studies (week 3)

When we have the opportunity to see what happens in other parts of our community, we begin to connect ideas and experiences.

Alpin Hong and Jun-Ching Lin surprised our 6th graders with visit and a brilliant lesson on harmony, color theory, and superhero theme music.

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It was Fitness Friday in First Grade. How great is it to combine math and fitness? Don’t you just love that two of our PE team lifted the work and learning of both the student-learners and the teacher-learners in 1st Grade?

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If you read #TrinityLearns Community (week 2), you know that we are teaching each other new ways to communicate learning.  Last week many of us learned about the app Pic Stitch which quickly combines multiple images into a collage.  (I asked Amanda Thomas, and Joe asked Jedd Austin.)  Notice how Kathy bright spots Brian’s work with our 2nd Graders.

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This week, Melissa Walker embedded her class’s twitter feed on her Haiku page.  This seems to be spreading through the 5th and 6th grade Haiku pages so that our families have another view of what happens at school. Amanda bright spots Melissa’s work.

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We’ve also seen our young learners making connections between math and science.

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Perhaps two of my favorite tweets – because they helped me connect in person – were from our 3s and Pre-K classrooms.  I could sit down with these young learners at carpool and ask them good questions.  They could describe details about their day, their interests, and their learning. I now know we need a rocket ship to rescue the balloons that got away.  I learn more and more each day about the interests of our learners.

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What will we learn about, for, and with each other as we continue to learn and share?

There were many more beautiful, rich learning experiences for all learners in our community.  A digest of our Tweets from the 3rd week of school is shown below.

Job-embedded PD: Twitter for Learning

To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. (p. 45, Heath and Heath)

What if we each broadcast three learning bright spots every school day for four weeks? Will we learn more about our community?  Will we learn more about each other? Will we create a culture and a habit of positivity, bright spots, and buoyancy?

From an email sent to our community:

Several faculty and staff have asked for additional learning about Twitter.  The School Improvement Division of GADOE has approved awarding  1 PLU for completing the course Twitter for Learning: #BrightSpot Ethnography and #Buoyancy.  This course will officially launch the week after Labor Day.  However, each participant may choose a start date.  As an experiment in online learning, this course is set up to run any time from September to January.  Many of you will have accomplished the tasks in .Week 0 – Setting Up (the first two hours of this course) if you complete the Getting Started course form and the Know your School’s Social Media Policy form.  Contact Jill if you want to meet for a face-to-face session with a small group or individually.

Twitter for Learning is a series of 1-PLU credit courses designed to increase understanding and engagement in the use of social media for learning.  Each course is designed around challenges to grow learners in the use of Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter and Storify to learn and share.  

Twitter for Learning – Course 1: #BrightSpot Ethnography and #Buoyancy using Twitter

    • I can contribute to the bright spot ethnographic data collection of our learning community using Twitter.
    • I can use the power of positivity to elevate the learner and learning in and out of school.
    • I can bright spot learning in our school and inform the larger community of the myriad of learning experiences that happen daily.
    • I can foster and develop connections with other educators and experts to expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Shelley Paul (Director of Learning Design at Woodward Academy), a.k.a @lottascales, and I have collaborated to design a job-embedded professional development course for teacher-learners to learn and grow together.  We offer 20 challenges (1 per day) to inspire community members to learn and lift others in our community.  Using the power of positivity, we embrace the bright spot philosophy from Switch.  We strive tweet things that are working that we want to do more of in our schools with our colleagues using the hashtags #TrinityLearns and #WALearns.

What will we learn about our school, our colleagues, our students, and ourselves if we leverage technology to learn and share?

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Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike, 2011. Print.