At the 2014 NWP Annual Meeting, a group of us participated in a "messing around and geeking out" session on Playing with Open Designs for Professional Learning.
The idea of this session was to think about how connected learning meets professional learning through open play experiences.
This collection of resources demonstrates the ways that middle school teachers at a high needs middle school in Eastern North Carolina are transforming their professional learning and teaching practices with Connected Learning frameworks.
As eBooks and immersive, web-based texts continue to proliferate, many of us still wonder how to approach this type of reading, both for ourselves and our students. Even as librarians, teachers, and readers debate the quality, availability, and just plain fun of ebooks, we know that more and more of our students are experiencing them. In this collection, we explore a variety of formats for and questions about ebooks and immersive texts.
What does it look like when young people are writing on their own terms, in spaces outside of school? What new ways of composing do digital media tools open up for us, and what does that mean as it relates to literacy pedagogy and writing instruction inside of schools? This collection features resources written by Hip-hop & spoken word artists & entrepreneurs who work first-hand with youth on initiatives that center youth production and literacy.
Popular culture has changed. No longer just television and movie franchises created by large Hollywood conglomerates, popular culture can be formed by the students in our classrooms. Our students are now both consumers and producers. Sure, they watch the latest blockbuster, but they also spend time making Youtube videos and mashups. This shift is an important one for educators to recognize when incorporating popular culture into their pedagogical practice.
Featured tag CL.tv
YOUmedia is a teen learning space in various libraries, museums, and afterschool spaces throughout the country. This Case Study focuses on the flagship in the Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia is...
Quest2Learn is a pioneering public school in New York City that offers a promising new model for student engagement. Designed from the ground up by a team of teachers and game designers, and firmly grounded in over 30 years of learning research,...
They wondered: Why it was that in every school, in every city, kids couldn’t wait until the bell rang at 3 o’clock.
Why everyone -- teachers and students alike -- couldn’t wait until the weekend, or summer, or vacation, or graduation....
- personal story
- connected learning
- case study
- professional development
- Student Inquiry
- teacher inquiry
- American History
- public spaces
- Maker Movement
- turtle art
- middle school
- Codecraft Lab
- computer science
- computer programming
- computational thinking
- Walk Our World
- LRNG Grant
- flat classroom
- Harry Potter
- literature circles
- young adult literature
- multimodal composing
- technology tools
- spoken word
- College Ready Writers Program
I like to think I am always open to new technology for my young writers, and I am not afraid to beta test or try out new platforms that show possibilities for my students. I do make sure I try things out first on my own. As a sort of mental checklist, I consider a few things before bringing a new tech idea into the classroom:
This collection of seven personal stories showcases educators who are trying to reimagine both the role of educators as learners and develop new methodologies for teaching students in this increasingly digital age.
This collection of ten personal stories features individuals who use their personal passions to engage with their communities.
When I first heard the term “cosmopolitanism” my mind immediately flashed to a scene from my favorite TV show, Sex and the City. I envisioned Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte sitting in some swanky Manhattan restaurant wearing the latest daring fashions. Little did I know that the term cosmopolitanism was actually a philosophy, one that, as a teacher, proves very valuable.
This collection of six personal stories documents the different ways that educators are utilizing aspects of both design and play in their curriculums. Their hands on approach to learning allows students to physically manifest their ideas by constructing, designing, and executing a plan to create something new either on their own or as a collaboration.
"Children should be seen not heard."
How many of us feel like this was the mantra when growing up?
This collection features four case studies that showcase after-school learning spaces, both in the form of online or in-person opt-in special interest courses and open learning spaces where students can pursue their passions outside of the classroom.
This collection of five case studies features a selection of schools, organizations, and collaborations focused on using a connected learning approach to educational and social outreach. This collection spotlights communities of learners and educators developing unique programs that can expand educational experiences beyond the four walls of the classroom.
In my classroom, math is organized into three stations. Generally, one is captained by me (A) and is the focus lesson for the day, another (B) is based on pencil and paper review/games/problem solving, and the third (C) is computer based using various websites designed for practice or review, such as www.xtramath.org, www.tenmarks.com, and www.everydaymathonline.com. This week, station “B” centered on the next phase of our inquiry project. Over the past couple of weeks, students have played the game we “invented,” given me feedback through their performance and conversation, and the game has been modified. Our conversations centered on making the game more fun, even though they seemed to be having a pretty good time already! Based on their input, we discussed the attributes of a “good” game. According to them, games need to seem like a challenge, yet...
A pop-up, unofficial, experimental #clmooc make cycle
To Teach Digital Writing, You Just Have to Color Outside the Lines
It used to be easy, neat, and contained. Like an old fashioned coloring book where you knew to stay inside the lines. But staying inside the lines is hard. And every time you strayed outside those lines, you swore not to the next time. But deep down you knew that to express yourself effectively, to make the most of what you needed to say, to make your message and meaning clear, you had to go outside the lines. And it would be messy.
I recently wrote a blog post sharing my reasons for assigning infographics, but the more I think about teaching with infographics, the more I realize there are a wealth of advantages for every level and every content area. So this week’s Notable Notes will be devoted to what others have to say about using infographics to support learning in classes from social studies to science and so much more.
In “Navigating in the Age of Infographics,” Troy Hicks points out that in today’s world visual literacy is important to teach, learn and understand as well as describing ways that infographics can be used for personal, professional, and creative expression.
I learned something new this week. Yet another reason why teaching is such an awesome job. Actually, I learned lots of things as my students are wrapping up their class projects, but one thing I learned is specific to teaching and that thing made me think again about how and why I grade with badges.
YOUmedia is a teen learning space in various libraries, museums, and afterschool spaces throughout the country. This Case Study focuses on the flagship in the Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia is dedicated to the interests of young people, and supported by librarians and mentors with expertise in digital media production.
Quest2Learn is a pioneering public school in New York City that offers a promising new model for student engagement. Designed from the ground up by a team of teachers and game designers, and firmly grounded in over 30 years of learning research, Quest to Learn re-imagines school as one node in an ecology of learning that extends beyond the four walls of an institution and engages kids in ways that are exciting, empowering and culturally relevant.
This post will include some ideas and resources that I hope will inspire writing among students and people of all ages. My notes were inspired by Jay Silver’s recent post, “The Future of Education Demands More Questions, Not Answers.” I agree wholeheartedy with Silver’s call for a pedagogy of questions. I want my students to question, we need our students to question everything from our pedagogy to the status quo to our humanity. This focus on answers, specifically the “right” answers as determined by some corporate weenie with no pedagogical training, makes me crazy. However, I would like to expand on Silver’s idea and suggest that what we need is a pedagogy of reflecting on those questions, specifically reflecting through writing. I offer four ways that teachers can engage their students in writing about the important questions facing humanity.
As I’ve written before. I love six word stories and regularly use them in my classes for a variety of purposes (ice breakers, for example). Many teachers are familiar with the concept of six word memoirs, but have only used them for personal writing. I do enjoy using six word stories for personal expression; however, I love using them to support content knowledge as well.
When I help my students build larger projects or papers, I frequently use a series of six word stories to help them review what we have discussed in class, summarize readings, clarify ideas, and identify questions. These six word stories can help them organize their ideas and/or their sources as well as the paper they are writing.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my students finished the year with a unit on blogging. It was a great opportunity to teach argumentation and the rhetorical situation. During this political season, I had no dearth of subject matter.
Maybe because I’ve been hip deep in contentious subjects for six weeks, I have been drawn to stories of harmony and humanity. During my morning commute, two stories from NPR caught my ear.
When my students started blogging, they started thinking critically about the world, themselves, and their voice. My new year's wish is that they find balance in their thinking and harmony with others.
This is the question I challenged my students to think, write, and talk about this week. Their next assignment will be to write literacy narratives, but as we embark on that journey I want them to think about much more than the traditional alphabetic literacy so many consider to be the alpha and omega. I challenge my students to think about information literacy including network literacy, visual literacy, media literacy, cultural literacy, and so much more. However, before we can really dig into those ideas we need to unpack a lot of baggage about schooling and education.
This week that meant asking questions such as:
This week (or so) my first year students will be working on literacy narratives. I think literacy narratives are awesome tools for thinking about learning and writing – and a great place to begin a writing class. I wrote this blog post about why I teach literacy narratives, 10 Ways Literacy Narratives Will Rock Your World (or at least your writing classroom), almost two years ago and I am still a fervent believer.
Jack Rothman of the Huffington Post argues:
American education has been under constant criticism since the middle of the last century. A galaxy of reforms has been mounted to address the issues, but these have not produced noticeable results. We live in a permanent environment of educational reform and educational failure. The reforms focus on fixing things within the schoolhouse, but the fundamental problem that needs fixing lies outside in the broader society.
In my blog post, Starting The Year Off Write, I noted some of my favorite ways to kick off the school year or semester using writing to break the ice and set the stage for the work we will do together. This post will share some great tips from my professional learning network about starting the year off write.
This semester I started everyone off with six-word stories as I usually do. I just can’t help it…I love them so much and they are so very useful. I did put off my idea for a critical thinking ice breaker until next week. In part because I haven’t gotten the official go-ahead from the powers-that-be and also because I think it will take some time and I didn’t want to dominate the first class with too much “work.”
Today is the day after Thanksgiving and you know what that means: just 10 more coding days until Computer Science Education Week. For the third year in a row, the organization Code.org encourages educators at all grade levels to to spend one hour of the week introducing students to coding, or computer programming, in an effort they call the Hour of Code. In the last couple of years they've had celebrities ranging from the Miami Heat's Chris Bosh to none other than President Barack Obama make promotional videos explaining the importance of learning to program a computer. In recent years, they've boasted that this initiative has exposed more girls to programming in one year than in the past 70 years combined, (a stat I'm citing from memory but which has been removed from their site.)
How do you start things off with your students? I used to dive into the horribly, tedious syllabus review session on the first day. Big mistake! Not only is it boring for everyone, but it also makes a terrible first impression. I don’t want my students to think my class is all about rules (especially since my institution makes us put lots of CYA statements, policies, and rules in our syllabi). I want my students to create and invent, learn and grow, and for that type of class to succeed we need to be a community – so that is where I now begin. I give them a quick overview – usually creating some sort of highlights list or more recently an infographic just to satisfy their most burning questions and then tell them where they can find the more detailed syllabus. Then we dive into community building.
This post focuses on one important idea central to learning – reflection. I have always believed strongly in the power of reflection as a pedagogical tool and apply this practice to my own life as well. My blog is about reflection and, in fact, this is the second Notable Notes focused on reflection. However, I was inspired to post again about reflection by this great piece from Edutopia by Glenn Whitman “4’33” (Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds): What Our Brains Need” about the importance and power of reflection. Perhaps the most compelling point he made is this: “Our brain never stops working, even in our sleep. But it needs time to catch up, to think and ponder.
(Originally posted at the Creativity Lab.)
I think we all like making for different reasons. For some of us it might be driving a curriculum, and for others it might be just the thrill of getting messy, or exploring new technologies. Looking back on my year with the Creativity Lab, I think I’ve probably gone through cycles of areas that really excited me. I’m definitely a cardboard kinda guy. Then the laser cutter took hold of me. Paper circuits, I like those. But no matter the material or the technology, I love projects that inspire me to raise the ceiling.
The apps and extensions that help power our Google Apps for Education paperless classroom
This is the third in a five-part series about favorite apps and extensions for Google Chrome and Google Drive.
The apps and extensions that help power our Google Apps for Education paperless classroom
This is the second in a five-part series about favorite apps and extensions for Google Chrome and Google Drive.
In the first post in this series, I covered some essential tools for managing the new apps and extensions that you’ll want to add to your Chrome browser. In this post, I’ll share the tools that my students and I have found to help writers be better writers.
This was originally posted as a blog for Making Learning Connected 2014, otherwise known as CLMOOC. These reflections and connections come from the fourth week's Make Cycle focused on Hacking Your Writing by Erica Holan Lucci and Mia Zamora of the Kean University Writing Project.
This was originally posted as a blog for Making Learning Connected 2014, otherwise known as CLMOOC.
I teach an elective course at Glenbrook South High School, in Glenview, Il, called Media Collage. The course gives students a chance to explore how to use the internet, social media, and digital technology in positive, creative ways--how to be a producer instead of simply a consumer. And it is definitely student-centered regarding projects. In fact, this past semester, students were really interested in trying out different video editing tools: YouTube Editor, WeVideo, iMovie. After working on a number of different videos, the class decided they wanted to try one final group video project. My main requirement was that the projects needed to revolve around one of our big concepts: having a productive digital routine, crafting a positive online identity, using social media to be generous, kind, and thoughtful.
This was originally posted as a blog for Making Learning Connected 2014, otherwise known as CLMOOC. These reflections and connections come from the first week's Make Cycle focused on creation of How-to Guides by Chris Butts and Rachel Bear of the Boise State Writing Project.
Rikke Toft Nørgård, Assistant Professor at the Center for Teaching Development and Digital Media at Aarhus University in Denmark, practices something she calls "gelatinous pedagogy" in which she tries not to enforce a detailed curriculum from a fixed syllabus and rubric for all students but acts, in her words, "more like a jellyfish that's adjusting to the students, rather than making the students adjust to my teaching."
Building on my experience as a parent, I realized how important it was for me to work with kids with learning disabilities. As a mother of two children, one with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and the other with Attention Deficit Disorder, I found raising them was both rewarding and challenging. I have first hand experience with the frustrations that children with learning disabilities face on a day-to-day basis. I know I cannot save all of the kids in the world, but by planting the seed and providing it water we can make that difference in a child’s life. Creating a stable and nurturing environment was a high priority for myself not only as a parent but as an educator. I was not aware of the multitude of resources that were available to parents in situations similar to mine that would help with these real- life struggles.
This is my first year teaching at 6th grade science at E. B. Aycock. E. B. Aycock is a Middle School located in Greenville, North Carolina. The demographics of the student population is 64% African American, 25% Caucasian, 5% Hispanic, 3% Biracial, and 2% Asian. Sixty-four percent of the students receive free-and-reduced Lunch. My classroom demographics really reflected the schools' overall demographics. My classroom also was very diverse in academic abilities. Each class averaged about five AIG students. I also had two classes that were designated for EC inclusion and one class was Autistic inclusion.
Bloodshot eyes. Deadpan, drooling faces. Communicating in shrugs, grunts, and moans. This is not a scene from the popular AMC zombie-drama “The Walking Dead,” but a typical scene from many classrooms across the country. In the technological, fast-paced, ever-changing, social media-based society we live in, educators are constantly struggling to keep students interested in what is happening in the classroom. How can we change what we do in the classroom to get students excited about their work? Before we examine how I came to try conquering the challenge of creating interest-driven projects, let’s look at how I got here. (We will come back to the idea of zombies later!)
I was involved in the Tar River Writing Project Connected Learning MOOC (#trwpconnect) beginning in February 2014. I was excited to learn both what it was and what we would be doing together. The first thing we "made" as part of this experience was a user guide that helped the other participants see who we were and how we best learned. We had the flexibility to make it using any technology or using any medium we chose which was hard because I am used to a defined assignment. Like most teachers, I like to do things right, and I was worried I wouldn't meet the facilitators' expectations. That, coupled with my own lack of computer knowledge made it much more time consuming and uneasy for me to complete this make. This is when I began to reach out to others and understand the value of peer collaboration or peer-to-peer networks, as they are called in Connected Learning. In the end, I got by with a little help from my friends.
In the first month of school, I was wondering how to introduce connecting learning in my classroom. Do I start with informing them of the concept, or do I let them explore at their own risk?
Our students need activities that mean something to them. Whether they relate to their experiences, interests, or simply their peer culture. I enjoy implementing activities that I feel that my students are highly engaged in and actively participating in. I have noticed that teaching with inquiry captures the students attention and allows them to utilize their higher order thinking skills.
As a first year teacher, still enthused about the idea of teaching language arts to a group of 100+ eighth grade students, I was quickly saddened by the lack of interest that the students seemingly shared with each other. At E.B. Aycock Middle in Greenville, North Carolina, we serve students who come from two completely different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. We certainly have our share of gifted students, but we also have our share of students who are simply doing well for themselves just to get to school everyday. And as a first year teacher two months after I graduated, I was positive that I was going to come in and effect positive change in the lives of these students whom I had not yet met. I was eager, excited, confident, and completely naive.
Which came first? Visual Art or Literature? I relate more to a cave man drawing on the walls than Shakespeare writing a sonnet. But both tell a story. Stories throughout history have inspired visual art (Ex. The Last Supper). But how many times have I asked my students to create a visual art piece that is an interpretation of a piece of literature? Not very often.
This project was successful because it tapped into not only student interests, but peer culture as well. They were able to examine events and people who lived hundreds of years before them and bring them to life in the present. Had I attempted to lecture about this information, I likely would have put them to sleep because of how “boring” it was, but allowing students free reign to create their own product allowed them to present what they perceived as “boring” information in a fun, creative, and new way. My experience in the #CLMOOC and #TRWPconnect made me realize that it is not important to have explicit instructions.