#EduroChallenge Day 4: Enjoying the FAIL process

#EduroChallenge Day 4: Enjoying the FAIL process

There is nothing better to practice FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) then buying a house. Just about a year ago my wife and I moved into a new home here in Seattle. It was built in 1927 and well….it was built in 1927. It’s been a project, to say the least, both inside and out. Below are pictures from a first learning for me. The first picture is of the hot tub deck that was in the back yard when we moved in. I removed the decking and then raised it all up to one level to make it a functioning deck. The added bonus was reusing all the wood and decking to do it. The only thing we purchased for the deck was new railing and new screws. Building a deck from scratch is one thing, having to repurpose a deck from materials you have was a the first attempt for me. The second picture shows the outcome of the deck with the two wrap-around planter boxes that use to be stairs.   Learning something new like this takes time. The process I went through followed the engineering design cycle very closely. I found myself often reflecting on the work and the process and how it applied to what we want to see students doing in school. Authentic Purposeful Work (APLE: See Kim’s post and resources here). The learning wasn’t easy, there were failures along the way and a ton of learning that I applied to the next project…the upper deck. How do we help students to understand that your First Attempt In Learning is that just that…an attempt….and from there you learn, grow, and attempt again. How do we change grading systems to allow attempts at learning instead of mastery of learning? Big questions that we need to start asking if we want to truly embrace FAIL in our...

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Google Slowly taking over my life

Google Slowly taking over my life

    This morning I woke up at 4:30am to call my bank back in America to do a wire transfer for our Winter Trip to Tanzania (Hiking Kilimanjaro, a Safari, and Zanzabar…yeah….we’re stoked!). I decided to use Google Talk via my Gmail account as I have become increasingly frustrated with the quality of Skype calls and I notice the other day my Google Voice account is now accessible here in Thailand. When I called my bank I let them know I was calling from Thailand, the bank assistant on the other end couldn’t get over how clear the call was. “Are you really in Bangkok, cause this is clearer than most calls I get locally.” There was no delay, no feedback….it was a crystal clear fantastic call. Then at 7:30am this morning I had a Google Video Chat with some students in a Plymouth State University class (the same class I use to teach online and is now taught by one of the students I had in the program Kim Tufts). Again perfect audio and perfect video. As I reflect I find that Google is slowly taking over most of my online life. There are already over 1000 people following me on Google+…by far the fastest professional network I’ve grown (more on Google+ changing my network later).  Is this a good thing? I hear people say all the time “I don’t like trusting one company with all my information”. But don’t we do this often? Most of us only have one bank….we trust them with all our financial information. Most of us only have one doctor….we turst them with all our medical records. Most of us have a credit card….we trust them with our credit history. I choose Google because it works and I trust them. Am I a Google fan boy? Yes….I’ll admit it…I love their products and there overall approach to innovation. They excel at “Failing Forward” and they’re willing to fail in the name of progress and innovation…..and that excites me. Here’s a recap of my Google Life: 3 Active Google Apps Accounts: Personal, COETAIL, School Professional Network: Google+ Voice over IP: Google Voice Video Chat: Google Hangout/Gmail Chat Phone: Android HTC Incredible S Do I trust Google with all my information?  Just as much as I trust Apple iTunes with my music, books, and podcasts and Amazon with my online purchase history.  At the end...

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A Year in the High School

As the school year draws to a close (one week left for us here in Thailand) I find myself reflecting on my first year here in the high school. The accomplishments I’m proud of, the failures to celebrate and the future that is so exciting.  Accomplishments: by Aidan Jones First and foremost are the relationships I’ve built this first year. This really is the foundation to a Technology Integration position. Whether your first year in a school or just a new division building relationships, understanding the systems, and building trust and confidence with the facutly is in essential part to the first year.   I feel I had an advantage coming into the high school this year as teaching the CoETaIL Program for two years at ISB allowed me to meet and collaborate with faculty from all three divisions. So transitioning into the high school, I wasn’t coming in as an “unknown” person from the elementary. It helped that I had some established relationships but I still had to “prove” that I knew what I was doing in the high school. Overall, I feel like I’m getting into departments more and have laid some great ground work to take the use of technology to a new level next year. Building on the back of those relationships I was able to support teachers in taking some risks and rethinking some aspects of their teaching. Jim Fitzgerald, who I’ve blogged about before, took on the reverse instruction challenge, and we saw great success in redefining the role of the teacher and student engagement. The ideas that we proved posible in his class are now slowly spreading through the rest of the English Department and into other departments as well….a great foundation to build on for next year. In December I was given 5 minutes at a faculty meeting to talk about technology in the high schol. The timing was right having been able to build relationships first semester and proven myself. I challenged teachers with ideas of small changes they could make that might just lead to great learning gains. One of those challenges was to think through how we have students present information. Dave Krocker, another English teacher, took on the challenge and together we looked at the presentations students were doing in English class. We decided that there was learning in the process of making a presentation that we...

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