Filed under: Instructional Leader | Tags: Basketball, Deliberate Practice, Learning, NBA, Personal Learning Networks, Professional Development
I have been wanting to write this post since I read this New York Times article, entitled, “The Evolution of a Point Guard” in February. Now that I have some time over the holidays I’m able to finish this post up. The article describes the 18 month transformation of Jeremy Lin. Since then Lin signed a 3-year, $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets. This makes his story even more legendary. As an educator, I find the story to be inspirational. The article by Howard Beck explains how Jeremy Lin went from being undrafted and cut twice in two weeks to an NBA superstar. Over 18 months and hundreds of hours working with assistant coaches, Jeremy Lin, reworked his jump shot, bulked up his body, strengthened his legs and developed a “sharper view” of the court. He did this through deliberative practice and hard work.
Howard states, “What scouts saw in the spring of 2010 was a smart passer with a flawed jump shot and a thin frame, who might not have the strength and athleticism to defend, create his own shot or finish at the rim in the N.B.A.” While the article highlights his “perseverance, hard work and self-belief”, I was inspired by the entire story because it was a team approach. Lin was certainly dedicated but without the help and support of coaches and trainers, his success would not have been possible. For me there were three important takeaways.
1. Recognizing the potential in each student - Coaches along the way recognized that Jeremy had the potential to be a talented player in the NBA. Lin was known for getting into the paint off the drive and being able to see the floor well. These were two key skills that are essential for point guards and the coaches felt that he could build upon these areas of strength.
2. Clearly identifying the skills, knowledge and attributes that students need to improve on – For Lin, he and his coaches determined that his real issues came from not being strong enough to maintain balance and direction and he lacked the strength to explode and raise up into the air when getting into the lane; his ability to shoot the outside jump shot; and his ability to read different situations and then deliver the correct pass. It was in these areas that Lin spent hours on the court, and in the weight and film rooms working on. He was deliberate in his approach to improving and the coaches helped him monitor his performance along the way.
3. Finding the right people and/or resources to support individual students – Lin worked with several NBA coaches and each one had their specialty areas. He found a Bay area high school coach to help him with his shooting and he sought out strength coaches to help him develop the right types of muscle mass. There wasn’t one individual who helped him develop in all of these areas. He relied on specialists who had access to the appropriate knowledge, expertise, and resources.
When these three things happen the results can certainly be powerful and transformational for all parties involved.
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Leadership, Modeler | Tags: blogging, Communication, Learning, Teaching and Learning
This year I’ve embarked on a project to promote the work of our teachers and students through the Graded High School Blog. The blog was inspired by Patrick Larkin’s Learning in Burlington and George Couros’s work with the 184 Days of Learning in Parkland Schools. The blog is designed for the Graded high school community to share information and ideas on education. To date, the blog has 5,717 hits which is more than the total number of hits that the high school articles in our weekly Gazette have gotten. It’s an excellent start to sharing learning with our community. It has not been a place where members of our community have engaged in dialogue. Aside from the What’s our stance on weighted grades? (a total of 6 comments) post there have been very few comments. The challenge now is to increase engagement so that teachers, students, and parents use the tool for online communication.
Anyone have examples of school blogs where the community is actively participating in the discussion? If so, I’d love to see them. Also, what ideas do you have for increasing community participation?
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Modeler | Tags: blogging, Communication, Learning, Modeler, Seth Godin
I have always been an infrequent blogger, but this past year I’ve been pathetic about sharing my thoughts. It’s sad because I know that my blog posts are an important part of my learning. As Seth states, “the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the meta cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say.” While it’s always nice when someone comments on a post, I stopped worrying about that a long time ago. Over the years I’ve come to realize the importance of organizing my thoughts and ideas into these posts. It took me awhile but I now understand how valuable it is for me to share my ideas with a wider audience and to expose myself. It may seem like a bit of a risk, but I think that the benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences. As a school leader I think that it’s important for me to model this type of learning.
I write this as I begin to prepare for a workshop on how leaders can use social media to promote learning in their school communities. The workshop is part of the Innovate 2013 Conference. I’m going to be promoting blogging even if you’re not one of the Edublog Award Winners. I’m going to share this short video from Seth Godin and Tom Peters at the session. In my dreams I keep thinking that I’ll get better at blogging so that others will see it, but in reality, that may not happen.
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Leadership, Modeler, Visionary | Tags: 21st Century Schools, change, Collaboration, Learning, MOOC, Personal Learning Networks, project based learning, Teams
Fairly early on in this MOOC we had to form teams. I’m very interested in how this process works because it seems quite different than how we typically assign groups in the classroom. Note that I used the term “assign”.
Below is detailed information on the assignment, team formation and suggestions for teams. Are you using any of these during your team or group work? Do you provide the groups/teams with detailed information? Can the kids self -select? Are the students coached on selecting teams based on interest and complementary skills and knowledge?
The Following information was taken from the Designing a New Learning Environment, Professor Paul Kim, Stanford University
- There is no deadline to form a Team, but it is an important step to complete so that you can begin meeting, working, and innovating together!
- Anyone may create a team. When you create a team you are the Team Leader.
- The Team Leader can add new members by contacting classmates and asking them for their registered email addresses.
- When creating a Team, use detailed descriptions and information so that others will be able to thoughtfully consider whether your Project idea and interests may be a good match.
- If you have started a Team and are looking for members, you should use the Students menu (under Community) to find recruit your classmates.
- If you are looking for a Team to join, you should use Teams menu (under Community) to search for different teams. Use the contact button on the team page to contact all Team Members the Team Leader to join the team. Every time somebody invites you to their Team, you will receive a new invitation under your Conversations, Team notifications tab. That message contains links to accept or reject an invitation.
- Team formation has a very open dynamic, at any point you can decide to leave a Team and join a new one, without penality. The Team Leader can decide to remove inactive or uncooperative members from the Team. (In that case the member will receive a team notification about this decision, and if you think that the Team Leader has made a mistake, you can appeal Team Leader’s decision. If half of Team Members agree with you; you will be added back as a member of the Team. If a Team Leader chooses to leave his/her Team, he/she can assign Team Leadership to another user. Continuity among Team Members will be important to successful execution of the Team Project, however all users have the option to switch a Team that is not a good fit for them.
- The recommended Team size is 4-7 people.
- You may only be a member of one Team at a time.
- One of most important variables in Team composition is shared passion about the project idea / topic area. We suggest that Teams be made up of people with a range of backgrounds and technical skills, but ultimately a shared interest in the idea is what will support project momentum and involvement. It is useful to think about geographical considerations in a variety of ways: if you are considering an educational innovation for primary education in Tanzania, for example, it would be very useful to have a team member from, or knowledgeable Tanzania, to help inform analysis of needs, barriers, implementation, and sustainability. However, geographical considerations, such as time difference, may also come to play when collaborating or scheduling Team Member tasks. We encourage you to think and be transparent about these in terms of what is important for your project and for your working style, while also demonstrating the flexibility and generosity of spirit that will help us grow from each other’s perspectives and experiences.
Getting Started with Your Team:
- Start communicating about your Team Project idea. Complete and maintain your Team Profile with an up-to-date (brief) Project Description (these may start simply as general interests, and may change or evolve over time).
- Every Team has a Team Journal. You should feel free to write on it about your Team activities, post pictures of your meetings or collaboration strategies, and write about your new ideas or progress for the Team Project. The Journal can also be used as a discussion tool. Your classmates will be able to follow your team blog and receive updates.
- Teams will design a new educational technology or learning environment catering to 21st century environments and learners. Designs should include interaction activities and learning support features in ways that are effective and appropriate for today’s computing and communication devices, and that consider the classroom, school, and community ecosystem in which it will operate.
- Presentation of your design should include details about the users, environment, and educational objectives of your design (the “who? what? when? where? why? and how?” questions).
- Your presentation should also address how your designed innovation would implemented and sustained, including considerations about idiosyncrasies with various learning devices (e.g., web, iOS, mobile devices, and Mac/PC) and infrastructure requirements (e.g., cellular network, wi-fi, Bluetooth).
- Your team should create and defend a business model (non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid) for the launch and scale up their solution.
- You will not need to conduct an actual needs analysis or develop an actually functioning technology or solution. You may describe a hypothetical solution in detail through text, visual mock-ups, and prototypes.
- Additional consideration will be given to teams that come up with system feature ideas presenting meaningful learning interaction and performance analytics.
- The Final Team Project will undergo the official Peer Review process.
- The Final Team Project is due at 11:59pm (Pacific Standards Time) on Sunday, December 16.
- The broad criteria for Final Team Project Evaluation (these will be addressed further later in the course):
1) Creativity and originality of the system design (Is the design substantially distinguishable from existing and conventional solutions?);
2) Educationally sound (Does the design promote higher order learning or generate learnable moments?);
3) Engagement and interactivity (Is the design engaging and interactive for the learner?);
4) Accessibility (Is the design accessible for people with disabilities or for people living in underserved communities?)
5) Scalability and sustainability (How sound is the implementation plan and business model?)
- At the end of the course, you will also be evaluated by your other Team Members on your contribution to the Team efforts and Team Project. In addition to your Assignments, this peer evaluation will affect your Rank in the course.
Intellectual Property and Confidentiality Considerations:
- Some of the major goals of this course are to instill the mindset for thinking about innovations aimed at improving education, and to create a space for developing those ideas into thoughtful designs. We would like you to continue to develop your work and Projects beyond this course into the real world. The Intellectual Property rights relating to your Individual Assignments, Team Assignments, Journal entries, and other materials created by you remain with you (and with the Co-Creators for Team Assignments and Jointly Authored Works)–they are not Stanford’s, not Venture Lab’s, and not Dr. Paul Kim’s.
- At the same time, this space is public to others in the course–all Journal and Forum posts, as well as all Assignments will be visible to all others enrolled in the course. Viewing and learning from each other’s discussions and work products will expose us to new ways of approaching different problems and will help us develop a more critical eye for the benefits and limitations of technology solutions. Because all projects are shared with other DNLE-ers (strictly for educational purposes), an idea or product requiring strict confidentiality or formal business agreements would not be a good candidate for a Final Team Project. Please consider this when creating or joining a team.
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Modeler | Tags: Collaboration, Disruptive Innovation, Learning, MOOC, Personal Learning Networks, Professional Development, project based learning
A colleague of mine and I are taking “Designing a New Learning Environment” course taught by Paul Kim, Chief Technology Officer and Assistant Dean, School of Education, Stanford University. I have no idea how many thousands of students there are but I’m looking forward to the experience. The course is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which theoretically sounds really cool.
I signed up before I read the MOOC Guide.
“The effect of a MOOC is not to be taken lightly! Many of the participants who went through a MOOC experience have had a powerful learning experience which in some cases resulted in strong personal or professional projects with impact. On the other hand the drop-out rate in a non-credited MOOC is high and some participants simply do not like the approach of a MOOC for it has specific dynamics. The diversity in appreciations and feelings is not new: the playground felt like a mental warzone to some and a great adventure to others.”
The topic is of interest to me and if it works I will be able to:
After the completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Identify advantages, disadvantages, limitations, and potentials of at least 10 interactive learning models and solutions.
- Describe how online communication, collaboration, and visualization technology play a role in the behavioral, cognitive, constructivist, and social dimensions of learning.
- Describe the major components and processes involved in development of interactive education systems.
- Communicate rationales of learning technology design approaches through team-oriented collaborations.
- Evaluate the value of ideas, principles, and techniques used in educational media or systems.
While we have lectures to watch, assignments to complete and discussion forums to contribute to, our major assessment is a team project that is due at the end of the semester.
Let’s see how this learning experience goes.
Filed under: Change Agent, Instructional Leader, Visionary | Tags: 1:1 Laptop Programs, 21st Century Schools, change, cpchat, Learning, Technology, Vision
- We have been planning for our 1:1 rollout for the past year and a half and the event finally took place last week. Graded is fully 1:1 in the middle and high schools. During this time it has become clear to all of us that all of our talk about 1:1 was just a head fake. Randy Pausch described the “head fake” in , “Last Lecture: Achieving your Childhood Dreams”. Dr. Pausch talks about the indirect learning that happens when you’re involved in an activity. One example that he offers is from parents wanting their children to play football.
“We actually don’t want our kids to learn football. … we send our kids out to learn much more important things. Teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance, et cetera, et cetera.”
For all of our talk about becoming a 1:1 school, we didn’t just want teachers and students walking around campus with machines. We learned quickly that what we wanted was so much more. This is where the commonly heard expression “it’s not about the technology” fits. Sure, we planned for electricity, software, bandwidth, polices and procedures, but the real learning came with those bigger questions that we are still tackling.
Finding the answers to these questions is where the real learning occurs and this is why our journey will continue.
- What skills and knowledge do our students need to learn for now? Future?
- Is the culture of learning different today?
- “How do I help teachers bring authentic assessment and real world problem solving to the classrooms?”
- With the technology in hand, what new resources will help with learning?
- “How can we balance the teaching-learning process both on-line and face to face mode in a 1:1 program?”
- “The relationship between new learning and old learning – is it a paradigm shift or a continuum?”
- “How do we manage student learning as we encourage more outside/digital interaction/play?”
- “What is the best way to change structures at Graded to support learning outside of traditional classes…and should we?”
We know that we have just begun the journey and that it’s going to be an exciting one for our entire community. If was really just about moving to a 1:1 environment we’d be done and we could check that task off our list.
Filed under: Instructional Leader | Tags: 1:1 Laptop Programs, 21st Century Schools, Vision
Spread the word. Graded high school is looking for video testimonials from students who are learning in a 1 to 1 laptop school. This idea came about when one of our students said that we should try to appeal to our student body in ways that will appeal to teenagers. You can help us kick off our 1:1 rollout in August. Create a short video telling us about your experiences in this environment and share it with us on Youtube. Consider telling us about the following:
- Why we should be excited about learning in a 1:1 environment.
- How your learning has changed.
- Your personal story about experiences.
- A story about your school’s 1:1 journey.
- What we have to look forward to.
- Anything else that you think Graded students will find interesting.
We hope to be able to connect with students from around the world. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Leadership, Modeler | Tags: change, Collaboration, Modeler, Risk taking, Technology
A couple of weeks ago our lower school academic technology coordinator, Jennifer Peterson, and a 4th grade teacher, Maranda Schwartz, were grappling with whether or not to use Google SketchUp on the medieval unit on castles. Maranda had heard that 4th graders at another international school were using it so Jennifer decided to test it out. In the process, Jennifer learned that Google SketchUp is an extremely powerful tool that takes time to master and understand. She consulted online tutorials and used trial and error to create her own castle. Maranda and Jennifer were not sure that their idea was even realistic. There was little time for them to prepare and students only had a few sessions to create their castles. At one point the two of them were going to scrap the project in favor of traditional castle building. At the last minute they decided to test it out and see how it would go. Jennifer presented the tool to the students but made sure that they knew that she was not going to be the expert with the tool and that they would all need to seek online resources and help each other out. What happened then, surprised everyone. Many of the kids picked up the tool much quicker than Jennifer and Maranda had expected. The students helped each other out and they sought out resources for their learning. In the end, the project turned out to be a success.
Imagine if Jennifer and Maranda had decided to not take a risk to introduce this to students. It would have been a lost learning opportunity for the everyone. This story got me thinking about how often we decide to not do something because we think that the students can’t handle it or that we don’t have enough time to become the experts. One of the most powerful learning experiences from this example came from the teachers not being the experts. They were just learners alongside other learners. Kudos to the both of them for taking a risk that benefited the students.
Check out the final projects to see for yourself.
Filed under: Instructional Leader | Tags: Back Channel, Collaboration, Communication
In May of 2011, I wrote about my experience using backchannel at one of our schoolwide assemblies. A few weeks ago I was so happy to see the tool used in one of our English classes. The teacher used it during a Socratic Seminar on John Updike’s short story, “A & P”. The twist is that the student seminar leaders and the teacher were backchannel chatting during the discussion. The original purpose behind the use of the tool was to archive notes for students who were out for school trips. While they were able to archive the notes, they found out that it was helpful in other ways.
The seminar leader and the teacher were in the circle and both had access to TodaysMeet. There were two other students who are adding notes to the backchannel and they were outside the circle. The other students participated in the seminar and they were not able to see the chat.
Prior to visiting the class the teacher told me that one of the unintended benefits was that the co-leaders were able to use the chat to coach the leader during the seminar. In this situation the teacher prompted the leader with the following:
IB English A2 Aims
- communicate clearly, fluently and effectively in a wide range of situations
- understand and use accurately the oral and written forms of the language, in a range of styles and situations
- understand and use an extensive range of vocabulary and idiom
- express ideas with clarity and fluency
- structure arguments in a focused, coherent and persuasive way, and support them with relevant examples
- engage in detailed, critical examination of a wide range of texts in different forms, styles and registers
- appreciate the subtleties of technique and style employed by writers and speakers of the language
Filed under: Change Agent, Instructional Leader, Leadership | Tags: 1:1 Laptop Programs, 21st Century Schools, Action Plans, change, Learning, Risk taking, Technology Plans
In December 2009, I used this photo in my Leadership and 1:1 Bus post and last year I used it with the Graded faculty to describe our journey to provide students with a relevant education for today and the future. This journey includes going 1:1 in August 2012. For me the photo conjures up excitement and fear. And while some people are adventurous enough to sit on top or hang on the side, others feel more comfortable inside. It doesn’t matter where one sits, the important thing is that we’re all together on the journey.
When is it exciting and often magical? When our students are using technology for learning, creative and original thinking, communication and collaboration, research and information literacy and critical thinking and problem solving.
When is it a bit scary? When we are uncertain of what is coming next or when we have to step outside our comfort zone to try something new.
We have so much to be proud because we have traveled so far in such a short amount of time. This year we have done the following to prepare for a full 1:1 rollout in August.
- Support professional development at conferences by providing faculty with the opportunity to attend the Laptop Institute at Lausanne Collegiate and Unplugged at the American School of Bombay.
- Provided all of our teachers and administrators with laptops so that we all get used to working anytime, anywhere.
- Using digital tools to help us with our work and our learning. The idea is that we will experiment and figure out what works as we do the same in our classrooms.
- Created PLCs around assessment in today’s digital environment.
- Reviewed and redesigned our curriculum in science and English with a 21st century lens.
- Encouraged students to bring in laptops to ease the transition for August.
- Defined our Information Communication and Technology standards that will be integrated schoolwide next year.
- Provided teachers with a full-time academic technology coordinator to support them with integrating technology and professional development.
- Developed our acceptable use policy and LARK guidelines so that our community members can be responsible digital citizens.
- Developed a digital toolkit that will provide us with some software standardization in our bring your own laptop environment.
- Upgraded facilities so that we have electrical power throughout the campus.
We realize that the journey is not over yet. In reality, we’ve really only traveled a short distance. The key is that we are well on our way to transforming the learning experiences for our students.