Friday, July 18, 2014

What Happened in SY 12-13 and What Are We Going to Do About It?

A wonderful new tool is available to look at various Rhode Island educational data- Advanced Reports from InfoWorks. What I really like is the ability to see the longitudinal statewide and school based results re: student reports and SurveyWorks. In my investigation of the various data points there are a few that stand out to me and have been nagging me for further investigations. What follows below is a few of the data points and the questions that have come as a result.

% of Students Who Report That Teachers Care About Them- What Happened in SY 12-13? Questions Raised by Dramatic Shift in Student Perceptions of Teachers (RI SurveyWorks)

Part I- What happened in SY 2012-13 to cause such a dramatic shift in students perception of teachers caring about students?
What are elementary schools doing that make students feel so cared about?

Part II- What are high schools doing, or not doing, to have seen such a shift? More importantly, what are we going to do about it?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Moving Through SAMR Part 2

While writing the post "Moving Through SAMR" I was extremely frustrated that I was capitulating to the proponents who feel we must ease our way into technology use in the classroom.  Swayed by the desire to: not add fuel to the nay-sayers' fire, or intimidate the tech newcomer, or implement "topdown" mandates and make people feel that tech is "one more thing" that is being put on their already overflowing plate; I felt like I needed to betray my gut feeling and not only allow, but promote an easing into technology integration by utilizing the Substitution and Augmentation of SAMR.

However, I recently came to the realization that the effort needed to Substitute and Augment is far greater than the effort needed for Modification and Redefinition.  Not only is the effort greater, the effort is also placed directly on the educator while the student simply continues to be passive and "complete" assignments.

Take for example a simple worksheet, I would argue that in an effort impact matrix of changing a paper worksheet with SAMR results in something like this:

  • Substitution
    • Teacher- High Effort/Low Impact 
    • Student- Low Effort/Low Impact 
  • Augmentation
    • Teacher- High Effort/Low Impact
    • Student- Low Effort/Low Impact 
  • Modification
    • Teacher- Low Effort/High Impact
    • Student- High Effort/High Impact
  • Redefinition
    • Teacher- Low Effort/High Impact
    • Student- Low Effort/High Impact
Two things:

  1. Obviously the above is an oversimplification, (using a worksheet as a starting point does help skew the argument)
  2. Who is doing the "work" and what type of "work" is being done shifts as we move up the SAMR ladder
So what gives?
It actually has more to do with solid pedagogy than it does the technology integration.  The gains in impact (albeit theoretical) achieved in Modification and Redefinition occur because of the personalization that must occur. Getting to M&R requires fostering individualized relationships and talents between the triumvirate of the designed learning experience- student, teacher, and task. Such a meaningful symbiotic relationship can only occur when we put our efforts into designing experiences that are never just able to be checked off as "complete".

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Food for Thought Shared 4/27/2014


Below you will find "Food For Thought" links shared 4/27/2014. Hope you find them useful. If not, check back next week as the menu always changes!
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/69/Flickr_jef_31871680--In-N-Out_Cheeseburgers.jpg

  1. Cornucopia of "Food for Thought"- TIE2014 Keynote Dr. Yong Zhao- http://youtu.be/MySiTjhN1Ok
  2. Every minute...https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BmLSIGmIEAADEul.jpg:large
  3. No App for That? Then smash it!- http://www.edutopia.org/blog/chrome-smashing-creating-the-inconceivable-beth-holland
  4. Why 20% Time is Good for Schools- http://www.edutopia.org/blog/20-percent-time-a-j-juliani
  5. How to Use Twitter in 60 Seconds- http://edutech4teachers.edublogs.org/2013/02/09/twitter-in-60-infographic/
Background- In my weekly Sunday night email to teachers I end with links to articles, videos, posts and other links that I have curated throughout the week that have made me pause and reflect upon my leadership, my practice, my school, my relationships, and my students.  Awhile ago, a teacher in my building Mr. DeCubellis, shared with me a file of all of last year's "Food for Thought".  Since then I have wanted to curate the materials further myself, beyond an email, and share them with an even larger audience. Additionally, I am still trying to get to posting regularly on this blog and I am hoping that this will provide me with a baby step to getting to at least a weekly post.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Don't believe the hype...even on the day before vacation we are teaching and learning

"We don't do anything on the day before vacation" is a phrase heard by some parents and guardians, invoked by students who want to start a scheduled vacation a day early.  In case you were tempted to believe the hype, thinking that teaching and learning was taking a day off at East Greenwich High School, below are just a few of the activities, assessments, discussions, essential questions, and other instructional methods that students were privy to on the day before vacation.

My best wishes to all members of the EGHS community for a fun and safe April vacation, you deserve it! 
  • All of my classes took tests/quizzes before vacation.  In AP I gave out the test prep book.
  • Mass communications class had an extended discussion about news bias as they reflected on the documentary Outfoxed. Many students provided their personal insights about how they themselves never realized just how much they were manipulated by certain media exploitations. We settled on the essential question "where does one go to get pure, objective news?" and settled on the fact that this may be unattainable in our current society. Thus, it is up to the consumer to be discerning and questioning viewers. 
  • Freshmen classes had a discussion of the movie "On Golden Pond" and provided insight into the deep, valuable benefits of the older generations learning from the young and the young learning from the  older generations. We closely examined why the frustrations of generations generally occur and the ways one might ease those frustrations (through introspection and the need for outside inspiration)
  • honors physics A- began lab to measure the speed of sound
  • honors physics B- finished speed of sound lab and then finished taking notes on ch 12 (sound)
  • Geometry - took the quarter 3 test.
  • Q3 cumulative exam in all classes
  • Hands on lab activity and application of content discussed all week! Students seemed to really enjoy the lab and the opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting.
  • All of my classes were finishing/working projects that were due today. Any students who had finished early were required to work on an independent piece and those were due today as well. 
  • The students in the Life Skills program organized all the school's Lost & Found articles.  They washed, dried and folded the laundry from the Ceramics classroom.  The students copied, collated, stapled and delivered copies to several teachers.  All the pencils that will be used by the guidance department for testing were sharpened, counted and bagged by the students.  Besides all this, the students worked on their math, reading and writing skills and participated in "Snack Shack" with their OT.  Quite a busy and full day!
  • All of my classes took their 3rd quarter exams today
  • Directed learning at a Speech given by Elie Wiesel.
  • Four scenes from Merchant of Venice discussed.
  • Completed Act IV in Henry V with class.
  • Three classes handed in Final Drafts of Research Paper .
  • Deconstructing Swift's ""A Modest Proposal"" -- studying his use of ad hominem attacks and irony to bolster the satire. 
  • Working in small groups to tackle confusing poetic devices...arguing over the differences between metonymy and synecdoche and why a poet would bother with either in the first place. 
  • Algebra 2 - Quarter 3 Common Test
  • Advanced Precalculus - Strategies for Verifying Trigonometric Identities
  • Freshman classes: Took a test and wrote and essay about Chapters 20 and 21 (Slavery and Division of the Union) 
  • Junior Classes: Wrote a Document Based Question  essay about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This was a common core assessment
  • Today all of my classes had a quiz about a particular grammar point.  After that we chatted in Spanish about their vacation plans.  The conversation was all in Spanish and very productive!
  • French V unit test on Cyrano de Bergerac
  • French I instruction and practice on questioning/answering techniques in pairs and whole class
  • French IV discussion of 3 scenes of a Moliere play and introduction to oral proficiency testing
  • French III.  Team work to summarize,present and paraphrase a section of Notre Dame de Paris
  • In chemistry, we discussed the results of the data collected in yesterday's Electrolytes lab. The students completed a graphic organizer characterizing different types of solutions  then shared out with the class. Finally they learned how to analyze a Solubility curve. 
  • Senior Project
  • finish tests, quizzes that are outstanding before vacation
  • DBQ's…common tasks
  • UNIT projects: Regionalization, Satire 
  • Q3 unit math tests
  • Algebra II classes completed the quarter 3 common test today.
  • Test on the food chapters of the Spanish 1 curriculum, quiz on the preterite of the verb ir, quiz on the present perfect, cultural activities in which students made their own "ojos de dios" crafts
  • Worked on the Second Suite in F Major by Gustav Holst, transcribed Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and arranged it for String Orchestra, small group work composing 8 measure original folk songs.
  • Art Studio 2: class critique of current projects
  • Art Studio 1: students worked on finishing their surrealist paintings
  • Foundations of Art: students began final drafts of their still-life drawings
  • AP & Portfolio Art: discussed future plans and art careers, began brainstorming for next projects, visiting artist shared graphic design logo work
  • Students completed a collaborative in class essay using Google docs.  The essay was an analytical thematic analysis on the novel Moby Dick.
  • Students previewed vocabulary such as cerebellum, frontal lobe, & cortex to read, and apply reading strategies, to a book about the curious case of Phineas Gage, the man with the hole in his head. 
  • Rock Identification Lab Practical (lab quiz), physical science
  • "Freshmen English - read and acted out the final scene in Romeo and Juliet, then compared the original text with clips from the 1968 Zeffirelli film interpretation and the 1997 Luhrmann film interpretation.
  • Origins of Fantasy - met in small groups to discuss the Lord of the Rings trilogy; also read a scholarly article and its analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as an example of 'dark fantasy' - watched a clip from Buffy and discussed metaphors, symbolism, themes, etc."
  • Talked about, read primary sources about, and tasted food, all in the target language. All prepared and executed by students, for students.
  • Formative assessment on intercepts and integration, discussion of past quizzes, small group discussion regarding a higher-order question about slopes.  Some new material also presented.
  • poetry salon--students chose, present, and discuss poems
  • review unit terms
  • introduce new concept
  • 9 and 11 PE :  a seeded singles badminton tournament. Each period ended with a  class champion.
  • quarter 3 common assessments
(This post will also be cross-posted eghssuccess.blogspot.com and will be updated as more teacher responses come in)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Food for Thought Shared 4/13/2014

Below you will find "Food For Thought" links shared 4/13/2014. Hope you find them useful. If not, check back next week as the menu always changes!

  1. I have been referencing throughout the course of the year materials by Seth Godin. If you like or appreciate his message, here is a post with links to some of his "greatest hits"- http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/04/some-greatest-hits.html
  2. Gratitude is the New Willpower- http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/gratitude-is-the-new-willpower/
  3. 5 Incredible Ways to Work Smarter Not Harder- http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/5-incredibly-effective-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder.html
  4. 3 Keynotes from conferences EGHS educators have attended this year:
    1. George Couros from "Leading Future Learning 2014" Conference http://youtu.be/EX2tT_SEd2U
    2. Chris Lehmann from "MassCUE 2013" http://youtu.be/KKfCaPyWjUM
    3. Tony Wagner from "MassCUE 2013" http://youtu.be/C2tLMZxKoCg
Background- In my weekly Sunday night email to teachers I end with links to articles, videos, posts and other links that I have curated throughout the week that have made me pause and reflect upon my leadership, my practice, my school, my relationships, and my students.  Awhile ago, a teacher in my building Mr. DeCubellis, shared with me a file of all of last year's "Food for Thought".  Since then I have wanted to curate the materials further myself, beyond an email, and share them with an even larger audience. Additionally, I am still trying to get to posting regularly on this blog and I am hoping that this will provide me with a baby step to getting to at least a weekly post.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I Surrender...to EdCamps!

It's official. 

I am done. 

No more. 

I give up.

Thanks to meaningful, relevant, hands-on, vote with your feet, create the sessions you need, connect with the person next to you and the room, EdCamp model of professional development that I have experienced, (as well as PD/conferences implemented by ISTE, EdTechTeacher, MassCUE) I can no longer tolerate the "let me lecture at you about best practices, even though I am exhibiting none of them" garbage that passes as professional development and gives PD a bad name. 

Now I am not saying that EdCamp is the end all be all model for everyone. "Different strokes for different folks" as "they" say, but after an EdCamp I sure find myself exhausted from doing compared to exhausted from sitting and listening/cringing

But...because manufactured and/or mandated PD will never stop, I will pass along some tips I hope non-EdCamp PD creators will use to win me back. So below is my plea to corporate PD developers:

  1. If you have an inspiring keynote, challenge and help participants to take action or create something after it. 
  2. Provide spaces for people to work in groups or alone quietly.
  3. Let me know in advance the type activity that will occur during a session.  For example, let me know if a session is a lecture, requires technology, or involves a protocol that is going to require me talk to strangers. 
  4. Differentiate your sessions. Have beginner, intermediate, advanced sessions.
  5. Keep the hashtag manageable. Don't use #amazinglearningbroughttoyoubyapublishingcompany2014
  6.  Reduce the price, or at least make sure the hotel doesn't charge me for internet. Also, I don't need, want, or will ever use a messenger bag or lanyard with your logo on it.  
  7. Don't put awards before or after the keynote. I am all for celebrating peoples' accomplishments, but I am here to learn, so make it an optional award session or gathering.
I am sure more will come to me, but that is my list for now. Would love to see what my PLN will add, so please comment away.

Happy EdCamping! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Food for Thought 4/6/2014

Below you will find "Food For Thought" links shared 4/6/2014. Hope you find them useful. If not, check back next week as the menu always changes!
  1. ODEC- Creative Problem Solving- http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results-volume-V.pdf?utm_content=buffer23274&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  2. Great Bloom's Taxonomy with Activities- http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/RevisedBlooms1.html
  3. Post by Mr. Chace after an amazing EGHS poetry slam and reflecting on grades- http://mrchaceeghs.blogspot.com/2014/04/grades-matter.html
  4. We need to talk about TED? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/30/we-need-to-talk-about-ted
    Background- In my weekly Sunday night email to teachers I end with links to articles, videos, posts and other links that I have curated throughout the week that have made me pause and reflect upon my leadership, my practice, my school, my relationships, and my students.  Awhile ago, a teacher in my building Mr. DeCubellis, shared with me a file of all of last year's "Food for Thought".  Since then I have wanted to curate the materials further myself, beyond an email, and share them with an even larger audience. Additionally, I am still trying to get to posting regularly on this blog and I am hoping that this will provide me with a baby step to getting to at least a weekly post.

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Is That a Shovel in Your Hand?

    As an educational leader, given all that we want to do, have to do, and should be doing, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed at times. However, if one is not careful, this constant focus can cause you to fall into a trap. A trap of negativity. 
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Rabbit_trap.jpg/320px-Rabbit_trap.jpg

    I know this trap all too well, because I recently became aware that I have been captured and residing inside of it. 

    The trap of negativity is tricky because it captures you, not with a sudden fall, but with a more cunning and gradual decent. Making it even worse, it is a trap of one's own choosing.

    The insidious part about captivity in the negativity trap is that it shifts your attitudes and interactions with others without you easily recognizing it. Regardless of the cause- the time of year, the plethora of mundane tasks, frustration with things outside of my control; I know I need to counteract this because negative interactions/encounters/thoughts have greater impact than good

    While one can unconsciously and gradually fall into the trap, it takes conscious effort to get out. 

    So I have been trying to reflect on how to make a shift and reframe my thoughts, priorities, and therefore-- my actions.

    Below are a few of the questions that are helping me to focus on what is important. While the reality is that the correct answer may lie somewhere in the middle of poles, I am trying to reset my current defaults. To do so I am trying to see if my inner pendulum has swung too far to one side or the other. If it has, this causes me to: at best- be frustrated, at worst- take action that runs counter to my core values. 


    Reframe Q: Am I feeling or acting this way regarding (insert topic here) because...

    Instruction


    • "I have curriculum to cover" vs. "I have kids to teach"

    Grading

    • "the quarter is ending" vs. "students are ready to show mastery"

    Professional Development (General 1)

    • "we need this PD because it is related to a mandate XYZ" vs. "we need this PD because it can help me help students"

    Professional Development (on Data)

    • "Everyone needs to have PD on Data usage" vs. "We have data that shows some could benefit from Data PD" 

    Professional Development (General 2)

    • "We are going to use this valuable time to sit and listen to me discuss how you can improve" vs. "We are going to use this valuable time for everyone to take action to improve, then I'll sit and listen to you" 

    Statistics

    • "Statistics show that 30% of people CANNOT..." vs. "Statistics show 70% of people CAN..."

    People

    • "Are the source of all of the problems I face" vs. "Are the solutions to all of the problems I face"

    Complaints

    • "Are just noise by people who don't like me " vs. "Are areas that need to be addressed so that we can focus on learning"

    My Assistant Principal, Tim Chace has a saying he uses quite often, "If you find yourself in a hole, put down the shovel." 

    While I have not found my way fully out of the negativity trap/hole, and certain events do cause me to slip, taking the time to consciously reflect and reframe has helped me reset my outlook. 
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Schep.JPG
    More importantly, I have put down the shovel.

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    Food for Thought 3/30/2104

    Below you will find "Food For Thought" links shared 3/30/2014. Hope you find them useful. If not, check back next week as the menu always changes!
    1. Another example of "nothing does as much harm as good intentions"?- When one New Zealand school tossed its playground rules and let students risk injury, the results were surprising- ://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/21/when-one-new-zealand-school-tossed-its-playground-rules-and-let-students-risk-injury-the-results-surprised
    2. Blog post that truly gets why tech is so important in education today- Is your use of technology "Invisible"?- Invisible Technology empowers its user to be independent, collaborative, and truly shift learning into the 21st century http://thetechrabbi.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/the-invisible-ipad-part-ii/
    3. Have doubts about homework? 5 False Claims About Homework- http://www.educationrethink.com/2014/03/five-false-claims-about-homework.html 
    4. Because the idea that we & students can and should "know it all" is helping to kill the intrinsic love of learning in our schools. Here is an idea- Should all courses be "elective"? http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/22/why-all-high-school-courses-should-be-elective/
    Background- In my weekly Sunday night email to teachers I end with links to articles, videos, posts and other links that I have curated throughout the week that have made me pause and reflect upon my leadership, my practice, my school, my relationships, and my students.  Awhile ago, a teacher in my building Mr. DeCubellis, shared with me a file of all of last year's "Food for Thought".  Since then I have wanted to curate the materials further myself, beyond an email, and share them with an even larger audience. Additionally, I am still trying to get to posting regularly on this blog and I am hoping that this will provide me with a baby step to getting to at least a weekly post.



    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Curating and Sharing "Food for Thought"

    In my weekly Sunday night email to teachers I end with links to articles, videos, posts and other links that I have curated throughout the week that have made me pause and reflect upon my leadership, my practice, my school, my relationships, and my students.  Awhile ago, a teacher in my building Mr. DeCubellis, shared with me a file of all of last year's "Food for Thought".  Since then I have wanted to curate the materials further myself, beyond an email, and share them with an even larger audience. Additionally, I am still trying to get to posting regularly on this blog and I am hoping that this will provide me with a baby step to getting to at least a weekly post.

    So now that you have the back story, below you will find "Food For Thought" links shared 3/23/2014. Hope you find them useful. If not, check back next week as the menu always changes!

    1. Download Angela Maiers new ebook "Passion Matters" free- http://www.angelamaiers.com/2014/03/download-my-free-new-e-book-passion-matters.html 
    2. Blog post- Getting a Job is Not the Purpose of School- http://www.teachthought.com/culture/the-purpose-school-is-not-to-get-a-job/
    3. Quick video that reframes adolescents' rebellion as necessary for learning- http://youtu.be/falHoOEUFz0
    4. Choose the right tool for your purpose- http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/03/bulldozers-and-bullwhips.html

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Updated 3-10 Given 30 Minutes & Permission To Play (A Post Re: Our Journey to 1:1)

    Today at the faculty meeting of East Greenwich High School (bolstered in confidence by Tuesday evening's unanimous vote to approve a budget that includes 1:1 Chromebooks for all students 9-12 in SY 14-15 by the EG School Committee) we continued to: explore new technologies, refine our professional practice and collaborate with one another. Today we continued to show the new reality and pertinence of the quote "the smartest person in the room, is the room."
    By harnessing the power of technology and collaboration and given: 30 minutes, our core values, and directions "to go play" with apps in the Chrome Store, teachers at East Greenwich High School created the following doc to help one another explore relevant Chrome "apps"



    *If you are having difficulty viewing, you can see the Google Doc version here- EGHS ChromeAppsforEd Exploration

    I am proud that we did this through play and not through a consultant, a grant, a script, a threat of punishment, or to fulfill a mandate.  Although it is a small glimpse of what occurred this afternoon (it is only a doc & does not show the true level of collaboration, conversations and passion that the educators brought to the "play date") it does provide a glimpse of what committed educators can do when given time (even only 30 minutes), autonomy and the opportunity to collaborate with one another in meaningful way.

    Next up- exploring SAMR and moving beyond S&A.  Stay tuned...

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Snow Day...But the Learning Keeps Rolling!

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Giant_snowball_Oxford.jpg
    As the weather is not cooperating with our scheduled "Choose2Matter" plans for today we will be shifting the schedule of events planned for today to tomorrow. 

    However, we will also continue to learn today.  At 11 AM on Twitter we will have a "Twitter Chat" hosted by Angela Maiers and Mark Moran using the hash-tag #C2M_EGHS . If you are new to Twitter or would like to learn more, here is a very helpful tutorial to get you started- http://www.sophia.org/tutorials/twitter-for-educators (It is geared to educators, but it is a very detailed step by step). The chat's theme is "How Big is Your Brave"- http://switchandshift.com/how-big-is-your-brave

    If you would like to participate in the chat, but are not sure how here is a quick start guide- https://docs.google.com/a/egsd.net/file/d/0B5iaJJyGn1_nMlJVNjl5UFpMVTQ/edit and/or here is a very basic video http://youtu.be/m-sVDJBnTGM 

    Please feel free to participate or just watch the conversation.  We are also working on this great google doc entitled "Thinking Outside the Snow Storm: Innovative Ways We STILL #Choose2Matter #C2M_EGHS" it can be found at https://docs.google.com/a/egsd.net/document/d/1JcMHfadFsRBBxPYhNgdOpxQA1UsBrKNeW-KrxL7PNdM/edit

    I hope you and your family are warm and safe.

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Beware the Polarizing Power of Twitter?

    I had this exchange a while back on Twitter. (Thanks Michelle for agreeing to let me post)-

    This exchange made me reflect on the following:

    • Does interacting with educators on Twitter skew the reality about the readiness of and appetite for systemic reform? 
    • What is important about connecting with educators on Twitter if we are just connecting with those who share our educational core values?
    • Does getting others on to Twitter help convert the "naysayers"?
    • Are we just preaching to the choir, furthering polarizing our belief system and adding to our frustration levels?
    While I have different answers to the questions above, I have come to the conclusion that no matter the secondary effects of being on Twitter, it helps me to become a better leader because I get to connect to educators like Michelle Lampinen (and everyone else at #SBLchat) and then these exchanges force me to confront difficult realities and to stop once in a while to reflect on my school & State's current reality vs. that of the educational best practices promoted throughout the Twitterverse.

    So a bit of advice- build your PLN, connect with others from across the globe, lurk and engage in edchats, follow those who you both agree and disagree with, but remember- not everyone is here...even though they should be ;)

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    My Homework Assignment (From Burlington, MA?) Is Now Yours...

    So I have been tasked (or tagged) by Patrick Larkin, Burlington MA Assistant Superintendent for Learning, with a homework assignment.

    http://www.heiditking.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/keep-calm-and-do-your-homework.jpg
    Now I have never been one who advocates for homework. Never mind accept one from someone who is not my teacher or boss. However, when the assignment is real, relevant, and can connect you to a network of people who share a passion for education, I'd say it more than meets my criteria of a meaningful assignment.

    Additionally, since I have Patrick to thank for urging me to join both Twitter and blogging, I will gladly take on this "assignment".

    Thank you Patrick. Here goes...

    Part I.  11 Random Facts About Me...
    1. I've seen the Dave Matthews Band over 100 times and still look forward to more.
    2. I was born in Atlanta GA, but raised in Barrington RI.
    3. I played rugby from senior year in high school (1993) until I "retired" in 2005 after a trip to the Men's D2 National Sweet 16. 
    4. In Middle School, I was the goalie for at hockey team from the US that travelled to West Germany to play in an international hockey tournament.
    5. I have had 2 ACL reconstructions to show for my hockey & rugby endeavors.
    6. I enjoy camping.
    7. I have been lucky enough to have spent a summer driving cross country and back with my wife.
    8. I hold/held (?) the "sit and reach" fitness testing record at Barrington HS, with +13 inches past toes.
    9. I drove a scooter in High School.
    10. I was in Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Rhode Island.
    11. Both my mother and my wife are educators in Rhode Island.
    12. I am "Substantially Below Proficient" when it comes to anything having to do with cars.
    Part II.  Answer the 11 Questions the Nominating Blogger Has Created for You...

    1. Have you ever been to Massachusetts? Yes.
    2. What is your favorite sports team (college or pro)? Go Pats!
    3. Besides you, name a blogger that you would recommend to others. Tim Chace
    4. When you were little, what did you dream of becoming? Oceanographer and professional hockey player
    5. How far away do you live from where you grew up? 34.3 Miles 
    6. What is your favorite meal? Pizza
    7. If you were offered a free trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hawaii 
    8. Do you prefer Macs or PC's? Macs.
    9. Other than the birth of your children and/or the day you were married or met your soulmate, what was the best day of your life? Breaking through a period of generalized adolescent angst about life by spontaneously deciding to go sliding down a golf course hill in a trash bag during a springtime rain storm with friends.
    10. What is the best movie you've seen in the last year? Pearl Jam 20
    11. What is the last live concert that you've attended? Life is Good Festival (with- Roots/Hall&Oats/others)
    Part III. List 11 Bloggers...
    1. Jeff Delp
    2. A.J. Juliani
    3. Angela Maiers
    4. Miguel Guhlin
    5. Scott McLeod
    6. Shawn McCusker
    7. Chris Lehmann
    8. Rob Mezzanotte
    9. Timothy S. Chace
    10. Justin Tarte
    11. David Hochheiser
    12. And anyone else who wants to play along (please see below)
    Part IV. Post 11 Questions You Nominate to Answer...
    1. Who is your favorite author right now?
    2. What is your favorite season and why?
    3. In your opinion, what is the best TV series of all time?
    4. Who is your favorite teacher from your childhood and why?
    5. If you could have any vehicle, what would it be?
    6. If you could wake up tomorrow and have one thing immediately change about school/education, what would it be?
    7. Dogs or cats?
    8. If you could eliminate/change 1 rule in your favorite sport, what would it be?
    9. If you could become an expert in any field/skill, that you currently have NO experience with, what would it be? 
    10. If you could have a superpower what would it be?
    11. The best part about being in education right now is...?
    If You Were Nominated or Want to Join In Here Are the Guidelines for Your Homework...
    • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
    • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
    • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
    • List 11 bloggers.
    • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
    • Finally- Post back here (in the comment section) with a link to your finished assignment. Go on, you have homework to do.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Do You Do What Google Can't?

    The constant outcry from many an educator about the demise of student learning and work ethic due to kids "Googling" the answers is often deafening.

    However, a question must be posed in return. Could it be that this is what your instruction is teaching your students to do?

    The answer is found within the questions being asked inside of the classroom.  When questioning in the classroom only goes one way, or is strictly about getting information, we are training students to be MORE dependent on Google, not less.

    "Just the Facts M'am"...Not Good Enough!

    In my opinion, poor questioning in the classroom is actually WORSE than just "Googling" the answers, because in that moment in time, the student only needs to ask the teacher and BAM! They get the answer! The student quickly learns from this Q & A routine that no struggle is required, no pondering, no reframing, "just the facts M'am" is good enough. Ask and be done.  Now compare this with a Google search.  When a student performs a Google search they need to find the right words to search, read the search results, and evaluate the quality of the result. Although neither is sufficient, in which scenario is the student more active?

    Now within the traditional framework of teaching, before information was made omnipresent through the internet, this method was not only right, but essential. It was a prerequisite to being a teacher. Students need the information. Teacher has the information. Student asks the teacher question. Teacher gives student correct answer. "Teaching" accomplished.

    But thank goodness no longer.

    No longer is this type of relationship/dynamic essential to one's attainment of an education. Not only is it not essential, it is on a path towards extinction.  As David Houle and Jeff Cobb put it in Shift ED


    "If scarcity creates value, then information in and of itself is rapidly becoming worthless"

    If an individual's instructional schema is one that maintains the teacher as the sole purveyor of information, the teacher is indeed no longer relevant, or even necessary.

    I believe it was Daniel Pink who said "if something can be automated, it will be." Given our dynamic reality where we are fortunate to reside, the pressure to automate education is steadily increasing.  So what is an educator to do?

    Do What Google Can't

    Let's imagine a pretty common occurrence in a typical classroom. A student asks his/her teacher "Mr/s. Teacher, 'Is this answer right?'". Rather than do what Google can do, do what Google CAN'T do...

    • Google can't ask "Why do you think it is right?" or "Why do you think it is wrong?", but a teacher can.
    • Google can't ask "What did you try already?", but a teacher can.
    • Google can't ask "Have you seen what other people are doing to get the answer?", but a teacher can.
    • Google can't say "Tell me what you are thinking and we can work it out together.", but a teacher can.
    • Google can't ask "Are there other potential answers that are just as good?" and "What and why are they?"
    In order to elevate our students, our profession and our own lifelong-learning, schools and classrooms must become the places where we accomplish what Google can't.  For me, Timothy Chace, from his post "Are We Failing Superman... or Can We Be the Heroes?" framed it best when he wrote-

    The best teachers aren't those who know the most, but those who believe in you the most. Who help you to develop the most.  They do this by offering the right challenges at the right time, asking the right questions and providing the right feedback. Books and computers can not coach you, encourage you or help you discover your passions... that's why teachers are so important.

    The best teachers don't give the right answers, they ask the right questions.