Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tool 11 - Final Reflection

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

This is very much like asking a food addict to name their favorite food…Although not showcased in the 11 Tools program, the tool upon which I most heavily rely is Symbaloo. Although one could argue that this platform is just about structure and management of a PLN, I believe that it makes the PLN come alive and have meaning. Each of my students has a Symbaloo account for the purpose of gaining a structural approach to their school day PLN. I plan to rededicate myself to developing the PLN concept using this platform.
The platform that I get the most use of in managing a classroom is Google Apps. In addition, I think it is perhaps the most effective tool we have for students to LIVE 21st Century learning and outcomes. Two aspects of the Apps domain that I plan to re-visit are Stupeflix and Forms. With the former, it is both easily accessible and operable and yet terribly underused. Concerning the latter, I have toyed with the idea of assessing student learning by having them create their own tests using QAR strategies (Question Answer Relationships). I would like to see Google Forms used in that fashion and/or in creating Book Club assessments.
Another platform not specifically mentioned in the tools is one that I have grown fond of is Collaborize. I hope to become more adept at devising strategies to continue to engage and provoke students into deeper discussions, but also to manage and assess the responses.
Without doubt, I plan to devote a substantial amount of energy into facilitating the production of video artifacts as assessments via the plethora of iPad apps available.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?

I actually feel I have been on fairly solid 21st Century Learner/Outcome ground for some time now. I think the 11 Tools program has served a validating function more that a true learning one. I have felt that I have been this lone edu-wolf, a stranger in a strange land being that thinks and speaks in a different language from those around me. My hope is that feeling of isolation will be less noticeable until it disappears altogether. The workshop operation of my classroom will continue and with the addition of some new tools on a permanent basis, I am sure there will be a number of streamlining/management changes that will take place. I do know that this will be an ongoing process of trial and error, but that is what makes the job an adventure!

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Not to say that I did not learn anything new, but 11 Tools was very much less challenging that what I have experienced in the other programs I have participated in over the years. That said, I think the program was beautifully designed and presented for the intended audience. I only hope that completion of this program not be considered a terminal degree. To me it is only a beginning. The needed aspects of action planning with content, teacher, and student specific outcomes, actual classroom performance, collection of outcome artifacts, and evaluation by peers and students should be next. I hope the decision to withhold the tools until completion of the using the tools course, the after contract hours for posting reflections rule, and the wholly inadequate number of professional development hours will be revisited and revised.

Tool 10 - The Digital Citizen

Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.

First and Foremost is to impart a genuine understanding of citizenship. We teach it in terms of belonging to a society or organization. These are the issues of rights and responsibilities. It is a give and take dynamic. Rather than being just an island, free and beholden to no one, free to starve and die from the elements, we benefit from social relationships. In return for the benefit we are beholden to others and owe certain responsibilities. Digital citizenship is therefore primarily about responsibility. This manifests itself in being responsible for ones level of knowledge about the workings of the Internet environment. It is not responsible to accept as fact anything or the first thing one encounters. Conversely, it is not responsible to discount the veracity of an item or fact just because it came from the Internet.

The pre-Internet communities to which we belonged were basically small and confined to a small geographic area. Post Internet communities have no geographic boundaries or limitations. Anonymity is built in as is malicious purposeful subterfuge. One’s protectors and filters are not available to do their job. Digital Citizenship is secondarily about safety. Yes there is deceit, dishonesty, and outright danger on the Internet. There is also the largest, most updated/updateable, and democratically managed information source ever devised by humankind. Just as bad information is plentiful, so is the good in abundant supply. Perspective is paramount.

An aspect of both responsibility and safety is the concept of empathy. The absence of geographic boundaries and the advent of asynchronous communication that transcends time zones requires the responsible digital citizen to be cognizant of cultural differences and the permanency of Internet content. This involves the nuances and limitations of language translation as well as the wide range of normalcy concerning gender roles, religion, economic status, and political sensibility. In its advanced stages this requires the development of a broad world view that replaces an entrenched ethno/geo centricity. Initially, it is a lesson in basic manners applied to a world devoid of face to face interaction…Netiquette!

Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.

Through participation in the Digiteens project and the Flat Classroom Certified Teachers program, both created and facilitated by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, I have delved fairly deeply into this topic. It would be hard to imagine a day working with students in an online environment that some aspect of Digital Citizenship is not touched on if not discussed directly. As a language arts or literacy arts facilitator, the concepts of intellectual property, copyright, and creative commons licensing are vital to what I do. When you add a vibrant element of social media to the mix, the responsibility for one's safety and to the larger society in which you place yourself become constant considerations. I have used the Atomic Learning offerings with students as well as many of the artifacts posted on the Digiteens wiki as instructional tools. The new semester brings both expository and persuasive writing projects and with those a new flurry of instructional activity surrounding fair use and proper citation protocols. I have considered having student complete mini-projects including video artifacts on such issues. Where once the importance of citation was one mainly concerning form, I believe today's students need dedicated and persistent direct instruction on the ethical foundations behind the rules and formats.

Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.

I have extended invitations for self viewing and held evening sessions with parents to discuss Digital Citizenship issues. I use the Frontline series of documentaries on the issues of Internet Safety and how growing up in a digital age has impacted, both positively and negatively, the way students learn. These efforts will be revisited again in January as we prepare to participate in the Flat Classroom Project. I find this to be an issue that parents are genuinely concerned about and are grateful to have the opportunity to discuss it with other parents and their children.

Tool 9

Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?
Without a recognizable and planned for outcome, the technology is irrelevant. How this is done is at the heart of the pedagogical paradigm shift towards 21st Century outcomes. With the Technology Integration of decades past, technology was an enrichment added as another objective activity. The shift demands that objectives are arrived at through the 4 C’s – critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration

Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?
Without accountability for something resembling a desired outcome, why bother to do anything besides play? The question is not why but how. This is a problem that is exacerbated by larger class sizes, more classes, and less time per class period – Space and Span Issues 3.0!

Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
Of the sites that I was unfamiliar, I think I like StudyLadder and TesiBoard with a fair dose of cautious skepticism. While there are positives and negatives to be sure, my central fear is that the used as a station, both of these may become busy work stations. I have played around with Thinkfinity in the past, but have never really considered it as a platform to be used as a station. My preference has been to teach a set of skills using various tools and having students apply them to a self-designed product that attempts to demonstrate some desired level of competency. While that is still my preference in the use of new tools, I have to admit that the management and accountability piece can become thin and fuzzy. I like the record keeping/tracking features of StudyLadder, but am concerned that the time factor in creating tasks would become unmanageable. Still, I think there is great potential benefit in trying a set station approach.
I like the idea of having students record their daily progress in some form irrespective of whatever the substantive feature of a station might be. I think the idea of a video or audio accounting of the progress, but as always, am concerned that the sheer amount of such documentation is simply unmanageable. I like the idea of a Google Doc or spreadsheet for each class, but am concerned that other students could (maliciously or not) alter or erase another student’s comments. If such a document was shared with each individual student, then the problem of overwhelming unmanageability looms once more. A possible way around this is a weekly workshop inventory where a student records her work daily for the week. This will require some thought and experimentation

List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
Big Huge Labs – I am pleased to be re-acquainted with this fabulous tool! I discovered this a while back, but it got lost in a sea of PLN generated “other cool things”. The options available are very well suited to my style of facilitating wide and deep student choice within broad project parameters. I see students working in groups on individual projects sharing ideas and skill sets. I will have to get more experience with using this creativity toolbox to see if creations can be shared for product flow exercises.
Creatly. Bubbleus, and Mind Mapping – I was so very disappointed when the district dropped Inspiration. Even the very old version we had was very useful. I have the next to the latest version at home and use it frequently for personal project mapping. I have used MindMiester and NovaMind and they are Fabulous, but expensive. Contrary to the info in the app/link database MyWebspiration is no longer free. This is unfortunate, because it is a great collaborative tool. There are numerous other platforms for this type of tool, but I plan to give Creatly and Bubble.us a try with student project creation and task analysis. Others platforms that I plan to experiment are: Pages, Poetry Creator, History Buff, Mind Mash, and Lexipedia. (My students currently use the Visual Thesaurus tied to Dictionary.com)

From the Google+ aspect of my PLN, I came across Kathy Schrock’s Bloomin’ iPad. It is a matrix of free apps for the iUniverse. The apps she has selected are not only trustworthy, but lead to so many related apps. I think initially, I will have this as the substance of a station and ask students to try and critically review an app of their choice. These reviews could be written and shared with the all the students as a writing or presentation assignment. This same format could be applied to the district’s ultra-fabulous database. The outcome would be that students can hone their writing, speaking, presenting, and sharing skills while broadening their exposure to available creativity/productivity tools.

What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station.
I see the iPads as Creative Production Workshop Stations. One of the Workshop pieces could be to create a movie or image collage or one of a gazillion products tied to explaining, analyzing and/or evaluating ANY topic the student chooses. That these products could be created in conjunction with another project for another subject/teacher is true bonus for student engagement and interdisciplinary connections. I am so excited to see what the students will create in their exploration of the movie production apps! I will need a raise!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tool 8 - Polemics and Procedures

I learned that the teacher will be responsible for multiple syncs for all OS and app updates for each device. This is not unexpected, but it adds to already overloaded plate. Syncing new apps is not all that is involved as there will be regular updates required for each app. The more edu-bang with the iPads lies with width and richness in the variety of apps. The more apps the longer the updates will take. Although it is recommended that OS updates not be done very often, my experience has been that new versions of apps require an OS update and these often take a fair amount of time. This issue may be a welcomed and valuable opportunity to develop and enlist a cadre of student experts to help with the management.
With regard to the Netbooks, I will be interested to see how these units will hard connected to the network for periodic pushes with only 2 drops (actually no drops at present!). Connecting to the drop used for the phone on an overnight/weekend basis would not be a problem, but using the drop dedicated for the network printer would prevent, in my case, 6 teachers from printing from home. Perhaps the district will provide a switch for this purpose. That issue aside, the new Netbooks don't seem to be appreciably different from the COW mini-dells we have been using. I think the webcams will prove to be a wonderful upgrade.
I look forward to deeper training on the use of the iPads to better streamline the process of hunting, using, and maintaining a rich array of apps.

Streamlining

This issue of streamlining equipment and processes is HUGE. By far, the lion's share of blogosphere posting is devoted to tools and their application in isolation of the other factors that occupy the Space and Span of the classroom.
Space has become a major consideration when you consider classes of 30+. The literal placement and movement of bodies is something to be managed. As problematic as this can be, there is within the space component the concept of equity management. Creating rotations to manage student use of too few resources is an absolute nightmare. On the one hand, it is good for this issue to be student run. On the other, it runs head long into the inequity of giving deserving students the additional time they actually do need and the issue of the technology wall flowers who by design never advocate for themselves. The only real answer to the equity issue is a 1:1 set up. This is where the app revolution and the near 100% access to hand held devices is the real savior. Space issues will always be a problem in classrooms designed for 19th century learning.
As problematic as the Space issues are, the Span issues are what make 21st Century learning seem near impossible to pull off. Even the best managed class of 55 minutes is really only about 45 when you consider bean counting duties, near constant administrative interruptions, and necessary student movements. You add an online access glitch here and a reiteration of instruction there, a trouble-shooting issue here, and the putting away and counting of equipment there....not to mention the vital relationship building and differentiation that MUST occur, you can easily find yourself at the end of the period with almost nothing accomplished. At some point, the BigWig bean counters who insist on pounding their Utopian square pegs into the reality of the classroom's round holes will realize that their outcome expectations simply do not match the outdated physical plants the taxpayers demand and the impractical-to-learning re-mastered schedules the bureaucrats command. This administrative inertia - the tendency to overload the plate without ever questioning the plate itself renders 21st century learning/outcomes a pipe dream.
Two possible solutions: walk out in disgust or innovate around the madness. In my past mind, the answer has been PBL - (Project, Problem, Passion Based Learning) Under the public school regime, this is very much akin to beating one's relatively soft skull against the hardest wall of imagination. The answer to my present mind, like PPPBL, is a real pedagogical shift - one that has been argued for at length for decades - the workshop model. The difference is that it is doable and it produces bean-countable results. The vision outline for the learning that takes place is initially planned and executed by the classroom teacher - one that KNOWS (and by design HOPES)the plan will be changed. It is very little lecture, listen, regurgitate and very much outlining parameters, encouraging risk, discussing creative departures, and creating safe spaces and spans for confusion, failure, perseverance, re-thinking, re-doing, and finally independent learning....Another discussion. Suffice it to say, there is more than ample research to support the notion that the workshop approach is not only congruent with 21st Century outcomes but conducive to achieving them.
The workshop model with our new tools is the answer for one simple axiomatic fact: it expands the span - it adds time - actually it adds the illusion of expanded time. The trick is managing the pieces - or as my valued colleague and workshop mentor refers - the "Rocks" of the workshop. It is an upgraded return to elementary centers. Each teacher should have her/his own set up. All that is important is that the tools available are always in use. My situation will consist (ideally) of 7 stations: 1) ActiveBoard - word work, peer editing, model analysis; 2) Student PC's - Google Docs - individual or team; 3) Netbooks - research, creative image and video endeavors; 4) iPads - interactive apps, creative endeavors; 5) Small Group Instruction - Teacher Facilitated - ad hoc groups based on anecdotal/formative assessment or student request ; 6) Small Group Work - Student Facilitated - still don't get it student reteaching ; 7) Work - Individual or Group - Just need some space and time.

Tool 7 - Classroom Walls: Demolition and Reconstruction in Stages

Last Summer I completed the Flat Classroom Certified Teacher program. As a part of that certification, I designed the project below. It is probably over-ambitious, but it is doable, if only in stages. The fall 2011 semester was supposed to be devoted to stage 1 - the inter-classroom book club. Due to a construction error and inter-entity bureaucratic ridiculousness, I lost about 5 weeks time that could have been so devoted. Consequently, I only began the nuts and bolts planning in mid November. Through Skype's education network, I found 8th grade classrooms in Illinois and at Spring Branch Middle willing to participate, but the semester just got away from us. In addition to these classrooms there others in the Flat Classroom community that expressed interest in participating. The project was designed to encourage and accommodate student direction and alteration. I have used a variety of tool/skill acquisition exercises to identify students that may have the interest and ability to participate in such an endeavor. As I consider the limitations of the next few months, I have decided to take a serious look at participating in an already proven Flat Classroom project either focusing on the flatting factors of Tom Friedman's "The World in Flat" with participating inter-continental classrooms or the EdGen Project that focuses on topics more aligned with future studies trends and issues. Regardless of which project I take a leap into and with whom, I am determined to offer my students a real opportunity to acquire the following skills: Synchronous and Asynchronous writing and editing; project/product flow across time zones; and online conferencing and presentation. In addition to the skill experiences and connections made with folks who have real Flattening experience in the Flat Classroom Certified Teacher program, I have the actual and painful (and as it turns out - Necessary) experience of failure in projects of this type. I attempted a Flat Classroom designed project called Digiteens last year with a small group. I learned that I failed miserably in understanding what I wanted the students to learn, in providing the amount of direct instruction and scaffolding required to actually produce the products indicative of the learning, and allocating and managing the most important aspect of ANY project: T I M E !!! I will likely discover new ways to fail, but those 3 will not be repeated. SO, here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!1


Classroom Walls: Demolition and Reconstruction in Stages

Overview: The project is designed to hit 3 large and complex curricular birds with one multifaceted instructional vehicle stone.

The curricular birds are: English Language Arts TEKS, genuine Technology Integration with emphasis on 21st Century standards (NET-S, T, A, and TC), and PBL methodologies utilizing UbD and H.E.A.T (LoTi) principles.

The Instructional Vehicle Stone is a project that builds, in stages, skills necessary for successful participation in a global project while teaching required curriculum pieces. The project is integrated into required practice. Therefore it is NOT an add-on that either does not get the necessary amount of attention to ensure a rewarding and valuable experience or does not get completed at all.

It is presented backwards, starting with where we want to end up and followed by each of the 2 preceding scaffolding pieces.

Project Stages

Part 3 – Classroom Walls: Demolition and Reconstruction - Global Perspectives on Future Trends

Guiding Questions:

What are the problems?

What are the issues that make it a problem?

What are the available solutions?

What approach is being taken towards solutions in your Nation/Culture?

Students from around the globe will collaboratively examine future trends in a variety of areas for the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of the complexities of global issues and the fashioning (with a view towards implementation) of solutions to those problems.


1. Students will collaboratively develop a position or “white” paper regarding the topic/problem in consultation with experts and decision makers in the respective topics utilizing available means of synchronous and asynchronous communication. The final written product will follow professional guidelines regarding format/citation and will be submitted for publication to an appropriate publisher.
2. Students will collaboratively design and implement a summit to disseminate the results of the research, their proffered solutions or paths toward solutions and to attempt to draft a formal summit statement.
3. Students from each of the participating classrooms will develop a local community based project that either implements a proffered solution to a particular problem or serves the interest of service towards a solution the problem.
4. Students is the local groups will develop a forum to publish/present the projects to their respective communities (campus, district, neighborhoods, etc)
5. Each participating student will create a reflective product that captures their personal feelings toward the problem studied, the strengths and/or weaknesses of the solutions offered, the positive and/or negative aspects of the project, the process, or other developed by the students. This will include the manner and methods of sharing their product to the other participating students and classrooms, governmental entities….the world and beyond!
Relating to the following topic suggestions:

Hunger– Food Production and Distribution

Thirst – Water availability, quality, distribution, and access

Wellness – heath care delivery: quality, delivery systems, and access

Living Space – Living in a Hot, Crowded, and Flat World

Power - Who gets what and how? – The Structure and Functionality of political decisions - local, national, global, and inter-planetary (?)

Energy – Types, usages, costs, access

Transportation – Methods, Modes, and Destinations

Economy – How will production, productivity, consumption, distribution, exchange, and interaction occur?

Education – What will be the focus(es)? How will it be accessed? What will it look like?

Goal: Have at least one classroom on each of the 5 inhabited continents – Africa, Australia, Eurasia, North America, and South America. Place students and teachers on a matrix of related topics with each topic having a member from each of the participating areas. Those participating members will meet to discuss the topic and develop the group’s guiding questions and goals. All product and assessment rubrics, operational procedures and discussion methods, and celebrations are to be developed by the participating members and agreed upon by project leaders. (Preferably a small group comprised of students from each participating area and 1-2 teacher advisors/facilitators.

Part 2 - Classroom Walls: Demolition and Reconstruction - Future Trends Primer and Global Project Skill Building

Guiding Questions:

What is meant by Future Trends?

What are the major themes of futuristic novels?

Are there common threads discussed in the field of futures study; of future trend thinkers and writers?

What is meant by Global Project?

What skill sets are needed to fully and effectively participate in a Global Project?

What does collaboration look like?

What are the skills needed to collaborate – to collaborate effectively?

What methods are available to facilitate collaboration across the boundaries of the classroom, the campus, the district and…the world?

What issues and/or obstacles are raised as the collaborative distance is broadened?

Students will address the guiding questions in the format of distance book clubs. A cohort of teachers will be formed to discuss and refine the project? A list of futuristic teen novels will be made for students to select and form groups around. The goal is that each book club will be comprised of students from other (distant) classrooms. Once established, the clubs will internally set specific goals, timetables, assessment and product rubrics, presentation and celebration plans with the assistance and advice of their teacher advisors – within broad project parameters set by the participating teachers.

Learning – Students and Teachers


1. Use and operation of Wiki type platforms
2. Use and operation of Skype
3. Use and operation of Blackboard Collaborate, Go to Webinar, or other online group meeting platform
4. Creation, editing, management, posting and distribution of video products
5. Authentic opportunities to apply “school” work to the “real” world
6. Authentic experience with reverse mentoring principles
7. PBL Methodologies
8. Experience with concepts of learning at a distance, 21st Century standards and skills, work flow principles, Conceptual Age aptitudes, etc.
9. Experience the potential of H.E.A.T in terms of acquiring proficiency in both curricular concepts and marketable skill.
10. Wicked Fun of Learning!
Learning – Primarily Teachers


1. Creation, use, and maintenance of Classroom Management Portal creation, design, and maintenance
2. The general nature and pedagogy of PBL, global projects , and UbD principles
3. Reading, writing, and presenting pedagogy in the context of a global (distance) project
4. Possible “Curriculum 21” upgrades of traditional ELAR concepts in light of collaborative (distance) project possibilities
5. Introduction to the concept that students might have a valuable voice in terms of defining pedagogy and best practice.

Part 1 – Classroom Walls: Demolition and Reconstruction - Book Club Mechanics and Operation

Guiding Questions:

How do we transform our classrooms into University Level Courses in Life? (Book Whisperer)

How do we deliver the required curriculum skills (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, and Presenting), adequately and effectively assess the understanding of concepts taught AND instill a love of reading in our students such that they become lifelong readers?

How can we insure that every curriculum piece (TEK) taught, every lesson and/or activity used to instruct, is tied to an application assessment of student selected independent reading material? (Including the every 6 weeks required portfolio pieces)(Book Whisperer)

How do we structure our daily classroom procedures to foster adequate time for independent reading? (Workshop models + reading expectations/requirements – both quantity and genre)

How is the enjoyment of reading and development of reading skills enhanced by the book club format?

What are the skill sets necessary for an effective Book Club experience?

How are these skill sets taught most effectively and efficiently?

How are effective Book Clubs created, structured, operated, supported, and maintained?

What data should drive these determinations?

How does the Book Club structure affect our reading conferences and small group instruction?

What do effective Book Club assessments look like?

Tool 6

Perhaps the greatest benefit of participating in a vibrant, supportive PLN is the "leg up" one can receive. But one example of this is the world of online discussion platforms. The notion of Web 2.0 feedback is actually central to the concept of what Web 2.0 is all about. Whereas feedback was once limited to solitary grading of paper products and the student dreaded red pen or the equally dreaded chalk on blackboard, we have at our fingertips instant feedback. It was not too long ago that we were involved in activating our ActiveVotes and planning lessons for technology check-off walk throughs. With one simple and long overdue policy change, the ActiveVotes have been relegated to permanent placement in the expensive case - enter the ubiquitous cell phone, and the Smart Phone. Talk about a family funded 1:1 classroom.
I have found the use of TodaysMeet is better suited to a larger lecture format than what should be an more intimate and interactive classroom discussion. As far as instant assessment, a polling platform is preferable. Although the numbers are declining rapidly, I still have 5-10% of a class that does not own a cell phone. For 100% participation, the ActiveVotes are preferable. In the 55 minute limitation, actually verbal discussion is the ticket! Stepping away from the 55 minute box is where these tools really shine. OK, back to the PLN benefit. I received a message 2 years ago regarding the online discussion platform Collaborize. At that time, I had experimented with Google Forms with poor results. By that I mean in addition to the limitation of just percentage data, I experience too many technical issues. I wanted a way for students to dig a little deeper in their thinking AND be able to translate that depth in their writing. Because I had most of an entire year to play with Collaborize and in the process devote a fair amount to webinar training in that platform, by the time the district rolled out its Edmodo domain, I was already too invested in Collaborize to switch. Of course, a standard Blogger blog can accomplish the same substantive result that on online discussion platform can, but the students seem to enjoy being able to post their own topics and I like being able differentiate discussions to specific groups and be able to generate discussion statistics and reports. This past semester we used Collaborize to practice Brush Strokes and Voice Lesson as homework assignments. My goal being threefold: to teach access and operation of the platform, to get away from one/few word answers in favor or nuance and complexity of answers, and to model and create actual teachable examples of Netiquette and Digital Citizenship. Collaborize made realization of these goals seamless withing the context of delivering curriculum objectives. This coming year in preparation for participation in both the Flat Classroom project and, if the Goddess of Time allows, a global project of my own design, our class will embark on a Book Club project that will involve both intra and inter classroom components using both Collaborize and Skype. These two online discussion platforms allow the the merging of classrooms in a teacher's schedule, within a team, a department, a grade level, a campus, and other campuses.

Tool 5 Commentary

I have used Stupeflix in the past, but have had limited success getting students to use it. I think this is because of its similarity to PhotoStroy. I have pushed it over VoiceThread and Animoto becasue of the lack of a time limit. I like Animoto, but the free account is virtually worthless. For the $$ it is extremely limited for effectiveness in a classroom. I have long wanted to add Glogster to the classroom tool mix, but the cost was prohibitive. Since the district enabled its use, I have had fairly good results in having students use it for presentations. My students have used Glogs to supplement book report presentation/critiques for ELA and for Propaganda Posters for US History. It will see the most use of Glogster this coming year. I tried MixBook for this Tools assignment and I really think it holds great potential for student use in both of the applications mentioned above. I can also see using these tool to teach a lesson on application of a particular tool to a curricular item.
Last year, a colleague and I experimented with StoryBird and had a brief bit of fun with it. This year, I hope to revisit this tool in both the original story portion of the ELA curriculum and to recap a unit in US History. Although I didn't use it during this year's Poetry Unit, I can now see that it would have been a popular piece to our poetry project. The tools used in that project were primarily Google Presentations, PowerPoint, Prezi and Google Sites.

Tool 5_2 - MixBook

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Learn About Mixbook Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Tool 5_1

Tool 4

For the past two years our team has shared documents for a variety of reasons including team planning documents, road mapping, posting models for student writing, and the general sharing of ideas. Also for the past two years, I have made numerous attempts to engage other teams and departments in the use of the platform for team building and as exemplars of the power of sharing and collaboration. When those attempts have been met with silence, I have offered numerous opportunities for training on setting up a mechanism for use within a faculty for administrative use, within a team, and most importantly how to facilitate its use with students. Due a pervasive lack of interest I have focused those efforts exclusively with my students. I now operate in a paperless classroom. Students routinely not only share documents and presentations with their peers for comment and/or editing, but work collaboratively on writing and presentation projects. We only print final draft documents for placement in the student portfolios. Beginning in 2012, each student will use Google Sites as an electronic portfolio.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

11 Tools 3_Video Resources

I almost exclusively use YouTube for either popular commercials for propaganda study, shrt dramatizations of stories, or movie clips. I have recently become interested in SchoolTube not so much as a video resource, but as a housing site for student video. I see now that it is a good source. I plan to spend some time re-thinking teacher tube. In its infancy, it was very limiting. I very much look forward to routinely attaching clips to the iPads for group work. I found the clip tool Tube Chop extremely helpful. I have always just manually "clipped" what I wanted to show. This will make it much safer to preview clips that are worthy of a classroom discussion, but contain material that is not. My quest is figure out ViewPure. I post video on the class blog from YouTube for students to view and comment on, but this has required home viewing. This is the same issue when posting to Collaborize for extra class discussions.
I have posted videos on the blog, but have moved towards other on-line platforms for this purpose - the one posted now is the Alfred Hitchcock treatment of Roald Dahl's Lamb to Slaughter.
I think the copyright issue is something that must be taught within the larger context of Digital Citizenship. I didn't find anything new in this inquiry.
There have been many cloud based "collections" platforms I have tried and found that I didn't really use them. I have relied heavily on the 2 Google Docs account that I use: the SBISD Google Apps domain and my private "Big" Google account. I have Cloud Connect on the district laptop but it auto-merges any MS application to my Big Google account. I actually created a DropBox account on a tip from the PLN, before this tool assignment. I am interested in it's use as way to "collect" a variety of teacher instructions and models to take the place of numerous individual documents in Google Docs. I am more interested in having students use it as a more portable and accessible e-portfolio including an images and video collection.

Lamb to Slaughter

11Tools 2_The PLN

My PLN consists of a Symbaloo account where I categorize and store the resources that I use regularly or need easy access for experimentation, an iGoogle page with selected feeds that link to and are fed by both Google Reader and Google +, I use Twitter (@eduheretic, @litartscoach) and Tumblr and have begun to experiment with a Netvibes CMP (Classroom Management Portal. A CMP is really a Classroom Cop for assisting students in establishing both individual and collaborative PLNs. When blogging and the use of wikis with and among students/classrooms becomes a reality, the CMP is vital for both safety and accountability. In addition, it has the potential to become a PLN within a PLN.
There are 2 distinct sides to a PLN - Pull and Push. The key is have a fairly equal balance. Most people are adept at the Pull side, we e-lurkers. The PLN doesn't really rise to its potential until the equation is balanced with the Push factor. While the necessary first step is to start pulling, the establishment of a Push factor to a web presence is the essence of the PLN. As for pull, nothing quite works as efficiently as Twitter. Rather than RSS (Really Simple Syndication) it is ESSoD (Extremely Simple Syndication on Demand)Using RSS feeds from the heavy hitters out there can be rewarding in terms of inspiration. But when one realizes that a diet consisting only of formal feeds does not approach the nutritional level the informality of Twitter and Goggle + provides. Through informality one realizes the sincerely helpful nature that is found in online communities.
These days I am primarily a Puller. The sources that I rely on are the Flat Classroom community. Following these folks is satisfing not only in terms of solid How To information, but Inspiration as well. Vicki Davis' Cool Cat Teacher blog and San Antonian Miguel Guhlin's Around the Corner are as prolific as they are knowledgeable and inspirational. In the blogosphere they are both Super Heavy Hitters with literally tens of thousands of followers. In person, they are just plain friendly helpful folks. I tend to follow the folks that follow them and find that these are just plain folks willing to learn and share and help - just teachers.
On a daily basis I benefit from widely read reblogger David Kapular - Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero. In addition, I receive a mountain of potentially great resources from the Diigo communities - Google Apps in Education, Classroom 2.0, and Project Based Learning. Again, just regular folks that have found a Push groove. In essence the PLN is not really about the sources used or the tools aspect, but about what you do on the Push side of the equation.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

11Tools_Blog Creation

I have used Blogger for a few years now and it is just one of literally hundreds of platforms in which to "blog". Bloggers have gone from being geeks with an attitude or fatheads like me that only "think" that the blogosphere cares a wit about what I have to say or think, to really challenging the structures of power and control be it political, informational, or economic. It is actually changing the way social movements occupy or move into new ways of being. It used to be that folks like Cramer and Kudlow and Gorman literally OWNED the financial advice biz. They are being pushed out of the arena by ordinary folks that possess something the former gurus (self appointed gurus at that) do not, real problems and experience and with something tangible to lose. This really is a microcosm of the paradigm shift going on in the edumakation arena. The essence of the 21st Century Skills/Outcomes paradigm shift is that when, not if realized it will cause pain for those caught napping and even more so for those that see the debilitating weight of the shift looming over antiquated practices and are are fighting back with all the inertia fed force they can muster.

"Oh, a change of heart of heart comes slow,
It's not a hill it's a mountain
As you start out the climb
Do you believe me or are you doubting?
We're gonna make it all the way to the light"

The fact that we are approaching the 12th year of the Century we are supposed to be prepping our charges to compete in is not only a little sad and terrifying, but so accurately indicative of not only the tremendous power of our institutional inertia, but of the REAL depth this particular shift represents. This is a game changer and the game will be bloody and the body count high....just like all such shifts.

As a general rule, Tools approaches, 11 or 32,000 do not work on a grand scale. The reasons are many, but the primary one is that we don't need any more tools on our belt, we need a new job to do. The tools plate and job function plate is full, has been for some time. The bean counters and bureaucrats, keep adding to it, but will do NOTHING with the design of the plate, much less expand it or re-shape it. Heaven forbid that we even discuss the concept of breaking the plate and designing a whole 'nuther container/vessel/structure/function.

"Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Pity the nation that won't listen to your boys and girls
'Cos the sweetest melody is the one we haven't heard
Is it true the perfect love drives out all fear?
The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear
Oh, but a change of heart comes slow...

It's not a hill it's a mountain
As you start out the climb
Listen for me, I'll be shouting
But we're gonna make it all the way to the light
But I know I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight!"

In speaking today to a valued colleague, it came to me: The essence of this 21st Century Outcomes shift comes down to a leveling of the control mechanisms of the classroom. It is very political - the re-ordering of who gets/does what in any institution be it international to the family refrigerator. What make me literally SCREAM inside my bony head, is that I don't get the resistance. Given the choice of being a dictator, comfortable in my control, or being a partner in co-creation, I'd take the latter any day! To some, my choice is a weakness based lapse of classroom management. For me it is refreshing light of day...chaotic by design and necessity, but light of day nonetheless.

So let's hope that in exploring these "tools" that some thought is put into what this is really about - breaking plates and the process of the breaking. Unfortunately, this process will not magically appear through reflecting on "tools" one is told they have to complete. Sadly, experience with these mandatory, carrot/stick initiatives have the opposite effect. Without a curricular/teacher specific plan + implementation WITH students + a hard, honest reflection on the expected and necessary failures, inertia will continue to hold sway. Just sayin'....

"It's not a hill it's a mountain
Listen for me, I'll be shouting
Shouting to the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light
You know we'll go crazy
You know we'll go crazy
You know we'll go crazy, if we don't go crazy tonight..."

We crawl, stand, toddle, before we run....We begin!

Sorrow - Poetry of SOUND

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Workshop Classroom: Workshop Rock - WishList

The Workshop Classroom: Workshop Rock - WishList: "I began with a year-long linear wishlist to move toward a defined plan and time line.(You should see the drawing!) Workshop Rocks Wish Lis..."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reinventing School Invitation

Reinventing Schools - Invitation
I am participating in a course designed by Brendan O’Keefe entitled Reinventing School. The course consists of 33 lectures and assorted challenges that are housed on the Udemy platform. What’s it all about?
Mission: Fix Boring Schools, Not Kids Who Are Bored.

The Reinventing School Challenge is a project that uses design, collaboration, technology, play and social media to engage and empower young people to effect positive change in their school community. We invite students, teachers, parents, subject matter experts all to to collaborate. Form or join a team and research, ideate, design, remix and prototype new possibilities and reinvent the school experience.

The first challenge begins Sept 12 and submissions close Nov 7. Winners will be posted here on Nov 28 2011. You can register a team now and we’ll give you your very own page here on this site. Read More…

I want you to join me in creating a team to participate in the discussion on Re-Inventing Schools. My goal is forming a team of students, parents, teachers, administrators, superintendents and other experts and decision makers to tackle this challenge. There are differing positions on how schools should change, but I don’t think it can be reasonably argued that schools will not change. I believe that those invested in the success of the education enterprise should be involved in the process. One way to maximize the effectiveness of involvement is to be well versed not only in the complexity of the issues and processes, but in the actual design of our future schools. Who is a better position to be the designers of reinvented schools– educators or politicians?

What actually caught my attention to this course is the incorporation of Daniel Pink’s philosophy. A major thrust of his philosophy centers on transitioning our economy from the Information Age to what he refers to as the Conceptual Age. Preparation for participation in that economy requires a shift in the way educational institutions operate. Due to Abundance, Automation, and Asia (globalization), in order to maintain our standard of living, we will have to excel in the area of creativity and design. Our institutions of learning must prepare students for this type of work. More…

Take a look around Udemy, Reinventing School site, and the Course – (You will need to register, but can be done without obligation). The Reinventing School course contains a fabulous Design Thinking Tool Kit and incorporates a number of Design Exercises to assist participants incorporate design thinking. Not only is this very cutting edge stuff, it will likely be outstanding professional development and a ton of fun!

I hope you will consider joining me. Let me know. If it’s not for you, maybe you know someone that might participate, so forward away! Either way, thanks for your time!

Kenneth Jones
Spring Forest Middle School
Houston, Texas
eduheretic@gmail.com, Twitter - @eduheretic

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quiet Desperation No More

This summer I have experienced a number of things that leads to this post. These events were a union convention, a parade, a sermon, and an activist workshop. It may be more of the same mildly interesting blather no one ever reads and even fewer care about, much less become motivated by. On the other hand, with some nurturing, a fair dose of collaboration, a heap of hope and positivism, through persistence, this just might become the great manifesto that ushered in a new order.
My basic premise is that the “Left” is presently a loosely and vaguely defined and organized collection of issue groups that will never accomplish any of its varied goals unless it comes together around a single issue and message that appeals to a majority of the electorate. I propose that the issue be campaign finance overhaul and the message be Restore Democracy – Power to the People!
The Order of Things
Let’s look at the present order of things, what I think of as the era of Quiet Desperation. To call this an era congers up an image a space along a timeline like the roaring 20’s or the favored 60’s. If so, the era of QD pretty much takes up the whole dadgum timeline! As a people, perhaps as a species, we strive for quiet. We like to enjoy life simply without muss or fuss. True, we know that any moment can and eventually will bring some measure of calamity and strife and ultimately an end. Still, our primary goal is simply to get by without unnecessary conflict. I have come to believe that this is fundamental and crosses all strata of culture and class. What we all seek is quiet – give us the basics of what we need to get along and we’ll get along and own our quiet. I am not knocking quiet time. Actually, my big mission is to spread quiet like wildfire – in the long term.
Of course this notion of the basics required for quiet varies widely across culture and class. To many, basic consists of clean water, minimal nutrition, and the ability to respirate a few more moments. For others basic is a six thousand square foot living area nestled in several acres of rolling hill, under shady tree, along clear stream. In between lays the majority of the folks I am hoping to reach: the Great Bread and Butter of Society, the revered Middle. I like the middle, I find my quiet there, always have and always will.
In the middle, though we have no real empathy for the poor bastards scratching for subsistence, we would like to, but let’s face it, we have our own problems. For those few that sit in comfort on the high point of Shady Acre Estate, we actually have no empathy either, but we so badly long to know and feel like they do. This intense longing rages along fueled by jealousy and envy. For a few these emotions transfer to resentment, frustration, anger, and action – activists! (Sheesh, who has the time? More on that!) But for most of the middle, we channel our longing into hope that one day soon we can take our place at Shady Acre. If we play our cards right, if we believe our cultural lessons of hard work, clean livin’, and God fearin’, we will eventually arrive.
Hey, I’m not knockin’ any of those lessons. I have learned my lessons well and have tried to apply them. It’s not the lessons, it’s not the values they presume, and it’s not even a distaste for Shady Acre livin’! OK, then WHAT is the PROBLEM? It’s that the entry game is rigged, the rules are stacked high against me, and the playing field is not open. I can handle an unlevel playing field, but I have to be able to get on the field to play. The Shady Acre field is CLOSED and it is not ever going to open – at least on its own!
The Playing Field
For centuries we slugged it out with bigger and better clubs and spears. Then we moved to clans and tribes and turf battles. Then we trudged through monarchies and larger turf battles. Finally, with the arrival of the radical notion of human rights we arrive at a system based on fairness, justice, and the value of the individual voice. One Human, One Vote = Fairness. Majority Rule + Minority Rights = Justice. Individual Voice to Assembly to Legislation = Democracy. Think of the real, raw power this concept wields! One voice can change the world! An idea can take root to grow and thrive! Of course, being a human system, it is not without flaw, but it’s a pretty darn good idea. While we deeply value democracy and applaud its growth, it is under attack – always has been, always will be. Today the threat is not from any external menace foreign or domestic. It comes from our tendency toward Quiet Desperation.
Since its inception, the Democracy playing field has been under the process of un-leveling. Powerful interests enter the playing field, holding the predetermined, democratically created rule book and play the game. The game is played to fashion a working order in which the society will operate. As problems arise with the rules, the players may rightfully make adjustments. If those adjustments facilitate desired outcomes of particular plays or of the entire game itself, so be it. If I don’t like that outcome, particular plays, or the rule adjustments, I can speak up. I can garner support for my position. I can enter the field, make my plays, and realize an outcome that suits my interests. This dynamic is a very good thing. In fact, it is the foundation of free society, the essence of democracy.
This a great playing field with decent rules and I will fight to the death anyone that desires to replace it with another. This is happening as we speak. The playing field we treasure is being closed. Having rightfully manipulated the game and the rules to advantage, a minority of interests have turned the game on its head. If it were Minority Rule + Majority Rights = Democracy, that could be dealt with according to the rules. In fact, this, or at least the appearance of this, happens all the time. Unfortunately the powerful are uneasy with this dynamic. They have grown far beyond weary with these incessant ebbs and flows, tits for tats, see - me on top, saw – they’re on top – Enough!
Power Talk:
“Look, resources are getting scarce; we only have the one pie. Our pie has only so many slices, and these folks – these…Voters, want their own pieces – My God, they want to be the Slicer! They think it’s THEIR pie AND it is only going to get worse! If we don’t change this dynamic now, we never will!”
The game is becoming Minority Rule + Majority Compliance = Oligarchy – and in we are allowing it happen with Quiet Desperation.
Hope and Optimism vs. Gloom and Doom
There is plenty of room and opportunity to attack my words as hyperbole and typical lefty polemics. I admit that much. What I think cannot be reasonably debated is that our society is in the midst of a fundamental shift in the body politic. We have gone beyond the long standing arena of decision making where reasonable minds may differ. This arena has long handled our society’s important decisions.
In regard to Social Security for example, the debate has revolved around our reasonable differences in how we structure, fund, and dispense services of a publicly controlled apparatus that exists under the mantle of performance of a social contract between successive generations. The bargain struck is that the young will pay into a system and the old will be cared for within some commonly acceptable minimum standard. The details of that system’s operation are and should be debatable. The underlying social contract has not and should not be debatable. Yet, presently and persistently, that is EXACTLY the debate. Privatize the social contract is the palatable way of framing the debate. Eliminating the social contract is what is being discussed. In Quiet Desperation we allow ourselves to be distracted. If we follow the thinking here, we have to question the impetus that fuels this agenda. Certainly, it is about lining the pockets of “those that brung ya” in terms of the vast number of private retirement accounts created, funded, and serviced. OK, what’s new? It is the manner and means of controlling the operation of those accounts and by whom. Elected representatives are taken out of the mix and replaced with corporate boards, that by the by have been rendered completely “unaccountable” to anyone. It is a David and Goliath set up - Grampa vs. ACME Multinational Inc. Is this contest fixed?
Wait, David wins that battle. How? David chose not to exist in Quiet Desperation. David decided, ENOUGH himself. He chose to take the only weapon he had and faced off against a clearly physically superior adversary and changed the game on ole Goliath!
Grampa has a tried and true weapon to slay the privately held, Gods among themselves, Goliaths of the world. Democracy! Collective action! We should despair that this fight is over before it has begun. We have to remember those that came before who refused to despair, whose very lives gave us the opportunity not to despair! What the Goliaths of the world have accurately counted on is the inability of the left to act collectively.
A recent sermon I heard put part of this in my mind. The gist was that pessimistic, gloom and doom messages, rather than intuitively spurring caring folks to action, actually diminishes ones capacity to act. I am still working through this, but my initial thoughts are that it has merits.
The Painful Glitch of Optimism
I recently joined an obscure political party that hasn’t had any measurable effect on public policy in 75 years or so. It exists solely to say it exists. Its name is a very dirty word in American politics – Socialist! I don’t think it’s a dirty word, but then I was one of the say, 1000 or so in a nation of 300 million to “come out” for something we actually believe in. I carry my card with me. It gives me a sense of pride that I, ME, stand for something! I get to pat myself on the back and have meaningful conversations with people that position themselves on the edge of mainstream – margins if you will. And there I operate at the margins, shouting to earless rooftops, outside the real debate. I ask myself why? Why did I choose this path?
One feasible answer occurred to me this past weekend. I attended the Houston Peace and Justice Center’s “Power to the People” day of training. The sub title was “Saving Democracy through Strategy, Timing and Turnout”. I was pleased by the size of the turnout. I’d say close to 75 or so folks dedicated to preserving democracy. Although those 75 would very likely agree on a number of broad propositions in the “progressive” repertoire of issues: universal healthcare, collective bargaining in the work place, supporting promoting civil rights of minorities and the disenfranchised, et. al. I feel safe in declaring that the one thing equally shared would be the “general” defeat of the right wing ideologies would be a very good thing indeed.
My sense is that each has their own agenda in terms of issue focus, method of operation, and electoral strategies. This is anecdotal of course, but one of the publications focused on Peace issues, had a one half page section on the various groups operating in Houston that could be considered sympathetic if not like minded. There were at least 50 separate groups listed with names announcing the focus and meeting times and locations. They will each operate issue politics and peel off a few supporters here, a few support dollars here, and occasionally notch a few successes to keep the process going. Consistently, however, they will continue to lament their dissident position in the political arena and continue to vie for the scraps from the table at which they are denied a seat!
Now the right has its share of splintering to be sure. However, I would argue that the right has an underlying and more cohesive message. Yes, they want to outlaw abortion, prevent same sex marriage, rid business of regulation and legal liability, reduce or eliminate taxation, on and on. The difference is that those groups have quietly but loyally agreed to channel their pet issues onto a single path. They have looked at the arena in which they operate and determined just what the problem is that prevents them from realizing their goals – Democracy! Those pesky numbers! They don’t have the votes! They KNOW this and it terrifies them! Message: Dilute Democracy in the Name of Democracy!
You could attend a Tea Party rally and get all types of wing nut declarations without any real focus – They are MAD, that’s it! Mad is code word for SCARED. Their justified fear has been skillfully and willfully manipulated into a clear message that screams, “You’re values, faith, and standard of living is in danger from the terrorists, the socialists, the liberals, the immigrants, the unionists, and the teachers! Fight Back! Be Against! Be Against This!! Get Your Government Hands Off My Medicare! Give Me My Machine Guns! Deport those Freeloaders! Hate the Poor! Get Rid of this BLACK President! Ask them why and mostly what you’ll get is the same litany of unfocused, unsubstantiated, unjustified rants. These are not evil folk. These are bread and butter, salt of the Earth Americans, in short Good People! Their fear and uncertainty has been skillfully managed into following, supporting, and electing those that support a radical agenda that I am confident they don’t realize is against their interests.
What is common among those that owe their elections to those wing nuts? There is only one issue: dilute the power of the people to determine public policy. One only needs to look at the attacks of public workers unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states to see a clear focus on that issue. If you think about it, this is a very logical first step. Unions operating in the private sector have CONTRACTS….and those blasted athletes! Don’t mess with the Atheltes…yet!
Until the left arrives at an issue that appeals at a gut level to a wide swath of the electorate, our hopes of realizing ANY of our various issues are slim to none and slim has packed up and ready to leave town.
The Answer
Many progressives have a very jaded, even cynical view of the electoral process. This is completely justified. Even if they have a political friend elected, eventually the rubber will meet the road. The rubber is the constant need to raise funds and the road is the system that requires large amounts of money to be raised in order to be elected in the first place and then to remain in office. This is nothing new. We KNOW it is the reality. Congressperson X is a friend of the poor and disenfranchised. If X is in office, she/he will work tirelessly for her constituents. Madame Y desires to replace X – rather the interests that X has royally pissed off desire Madame Y in office. It might very well be that Y is a good person that really wants to do a better job that X, but how? Y seeks support from the interests that X has alienated and she gets it. Y fully intends to be independent and maintain her principles, but not be so pushy as X and certainly give access to other interests. Would she like to remain in office for more than one term? If so, she does what is necessary – she dances with them that brung her! Around and around we go.
What if the left coalesced around the issue of campaign finance…change. If we get the money out, we can give the greedy bastards the boot. Despite all the Tea Party polemics, there is a deeply felt and widely held view across our land that politicians are bottom feeding slime. That was implicit in the Contract for America and the Tea Party successes. We are watching!
The left could bring back a favored slogan – “Power to the People”. It is, in fact, closely aligned with “Don’t Tread on Me”. The all powerful Left Leaning Liberal Media Machine certainly has its share of skilled message framers and ad folk. Surely we could craft a gut grabbing message. It would not be about right or left, it would be about democracy, the right of the individual to have a realistic chance to affect change. It is the re-leveling of the playing field; it is about the fundamental and conservative value of playing by the rules – fairness. It is something we could build majorities around.
If we were successful in restoring the level playing field, we would be viable players in the game. Would we win all our battles? Probably not, but if we are right as we profess and really do speak for the interests of the people, we should win most. When we stop representing those interests to the satisfaction of the voters, we get kicked out. Just as it should be!
Restore Democracy – Power to the People!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Global Project Notes

Global Project: What Do Our Futures Hold?
Part 3 - Tearing Down Walls: Global Perspectives on Future Trends
Guiding Questions: What are the problems? What are the issues that make it a problem? What are the available solutions? What approach is being taken towards solutions in your Nation/Culture? Students from around the globe will collaboratively examine future trends in a variety of areas for the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of the complexities of global issues and the fashioning (with a view towards implementation) of solutions to those problems.
1. Students will collaboratively develop a position or “white” paper regarding the topic/problem in consultation with experts and decision makers in the respective topics utilizing available means of synchronous and asynchronous communication. The final written product will follow professional guidelines regarding format/citation and will be submitted for publication to an appropriate publisher.
2. Students will collaboratively design and implement a summit to disseminate the results of the research, their proffered solutions or paths toward solutions and to attempt to draft a formal summit statement.
3. Students from each of the participating classrooms will develop a local community based project that either implements a proffered solution to a particular problem or serves the interest of service towards a solution the problem.
4. Students is the local groups will develop a forum to publish/present the projects to their respective communities (campus, district, neighborhoods, etc)
5. Each participating student will create a reflective product that captures their personal feelings toward the problem studied, the strengths and/or weaknesses of the solutions offered, the positive and/or negative aspects of the project, the process, or other developed by the students. This will include the manner and methods of sharing their product to the other participating students and classrooms, governmental entities….the world and beyond!
Relating to the following topic suggestions:
Hunger– Food Production and Distribution
Thirst – Water availability, quality, distribution, and access
Wellness – heath care delivery: quality, delivery systems, and access
Living Space – Living in a Hot, Crowded, and Flat World
Power - Who gets what and how? – The Structure and Functionality of political decisions - local, national, global, and inter-planetary (?)
Energy – Types, usages, costs, access
Transportation – Methods, Modes, and Destinations
Economy – How will production, productivity, consumption, distribution, exchange, and interaction occur?
Education – What will be the focus(es)? How will it be accessed? What will it look like?
Goal: Have at least one classroom on each of the 5 inhabited continents – Africa, Australia, Eurasia, North America, and South America. Place students and teachers on a matrix of related topics with each topic having a member from each of the participating areas. Those participating members will meet to discuss the topic and develop the group’s guiding questions and goals. All product and assessment rubrics, operational procedures and discussion methods, and celebrations are to be developed by the participating members and agreed upon by project leaders. (preferably a small group comprised of students from each participating area and 1-2 teacher advisors/facilitators.
Part 2 - Tearing Down Walls: Future Trends Primer and Global Project Skill Building
Guiding Questions: What is meant by Future Trends? What are the major themes of futuristic novels? Are there common threads discussed in the field of futures study; of future trend thinkers and writers? What is meant by Global Project? What skill sets are needed to fully and effectively participate in a Global Project? What does collaboration look like? What are the skills needed to collaborate – to collaborate effectively? What methods are available to facilitate collaboration across the boundaries of the classroom, the campus, the district and…the world? What issues and/or obstacles are raised as the collaborative distance is broadened?
Students will address the guiding questions in the format of distance book clubs. A cohort of teachers will be formed to discuss and refine the project? A list of futuristic teen novels will be made for students to select and form groups around. The goal is that each book club will be comprised of students from other (distant) classrooms. Once established, the clubs will internally set specific goals, timetables, assessment and product rubrics, presentation and celebration plans with the assistance and advice of their teacher advisors – within broad project parameters set by the participating teachers.
Learning – Students and Teachers
1. Use and operation of Wiki type platforms
2. Use and operation of Skype
3. Use and operation of Blackboard Collaborate, Go to Webinar, or other online group meeting platform
4. Creation, editing, management, posting and distribution of video products

Learning – Teachers
1. Creation, use, and maintenance of Classroom Management Portal creation, design, and maintenance
2. Nature and pedagogy of global projects in general
3. Reading, writing, and presenting pedagogy in the context of a global (distance) project
4. Possible “Curriculum 21” upgrades of traditional ELAR concepts in light of collaborative (distance) project possibilities
Learning - Students
Part 1 – Book Club Mechanics and Operation
Guiding Questions: How is the enjoyment of reading and development of reading skills enhanced by the book club format? What are the skill sets necessary for an effective Book Club experience? What do effective Book Club assessments look like?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Classroom Management Portal


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flat Classroom 1


Prezi Training