New Teachers Won’t Save Us

New Teachers Won’t Save Us

This is going to come as a shock I know…but pre-service education programs are not preparing teachers for a technology rich classroom teaching experience. Or to put that another way the classrooms of today. According to a Project Tomorrow Report …principals concluded that they want to hire new teachers with creative ideas about how technology can be leveraged to create authentic and differentiated learning experiences. But student-teachers report that their tech training focuses only on simple management tools. At the same time, the report concludes that those who have the biggest influence on new teachers — veteran educators –  don’t always embrace new ways of using technology to engage students. ~MindShift This is an issue and one I have seen first hand. I have had the privilege of meeting with pre-service educators in both undergraduate programs and Master’s In Teaching programs…mostly here in the State of Washington. Now some of these programs are doing things different, trying to do things differently or bring a different approach. However, for the most part what I’m finding is technology is still an afterthought in these programs and not a true representation of what is happening in schools. One of the main issues I see is that technology, in many programs, is a separate course and is not integrated into each of the subject/classes that a pre-service educator takes. History teachers….as part of their program should be required to know how to use all the amazing layers found in Google Earth. Math teachers should know about things like PhotoMath and how you could leverage this in the classroom. English teachers should study and understand how writing has changed over the years and have students practice writing in mediums that apply to 2014. Blogs, Tweets, Status Updates, images and videos. Those are the writing tools of today and of the future. Or how about just on an professional level. I wonder how many pre-service program cover things like: How to respond to an upset parent over email How to respond to an upset student over email How to respond to colleagues professionally over email How to write a professional email that conveys your message and will be read How to handle a situation in which a parents sends you a DM on Facebook about their child (yes they can…yes it happens) How to handle yourself professionally when everyone has a camera in their pocket...

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Flipping History

Flipping History

By Stefan When most people think of the flipped classroom model or reverse instruction, which ever term you like best, they automatically think videos, screencasts, and when you get down to it lecture based instruction.But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact every time I have helped a teacher flip their classroom in the high school it has never involved videos. Instead it involves students actively finding information, making sense of it, and then coming to class ready to discuss with the teacher what they have learned, what questions they have and, what it is they still don’t know/understand. Currently I am working with a history teacher who came to me with some “really dry historical content” that he needed to cover in his 11th grade Thailand and Southeast Asia history class. We discussed some options and settling on following a similar set-up that I used in a English classroom last year. First we came up with an essential question to focus the students. That essential question will be the summative assessment in some form or another when we finish this unit. The essential question: How does the past influence the present? Next the teacher came up with sub-questions to help the students focus their research and transfer of knowledge. What is the relationship between the ‘modern’ and the ‘traditional’ in this time period? How was the Thai nation conceptualized or interpreted during this time period? That is, how was the notion of ‘Thai-ness’ or what it meant to be ‘Thai’ defined in this time period? Did it change over the course of this time period? If so, how and why? Analyze the evolution of social forces during the time period. For example, what is the relationship between the ‘old’ order and the ‘new’ order during this time period? How did different social forces try to make use of the machinery of the Thai nation-state during this time period in order to control or influence state power? What is the role of Western influence, both direct and indirect, within this time period? What is the Thai response to such influence? by Sailing “Footprints: Real to Reel” (Ronn ashore) For this specific unit the students are studying Thailand History (required class for all students in Thailand) from 1932 – Present.Next we listed the skills we wanted students to gain through this unit of study. Become better searchers of...

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Flipping for Mr. Bennett

brian bennett The more presentations I give and see the more it takes to impress me. I’m constantly looking for that teacher that is doing what I believe the Internet allows us to do…that is flip the classroom. Otherwise known as reverse instruction.  There are a couple things that really get me excited about Mr. Bennett who I met for the first time today.  He’s only in his second year of teaching! Which means he’s young, full of energy, and when he says things like “Just upload it to YouTube” the rest of the audience looks at each other. He’s the next generation of teacher and he gets the power of the connection….what’s not to get excited about. He sharings EVERYTHING he’s doing His vodcasts (iTunes link) His Notes (Class site link) How his class works His YouTube Channel He’s connecting himself and creating a PLN  The Flipped Class Network His Twitter Account He’s constantly changing and modifing his lessons He’s willing to put in the time on the front end, knowing/trusting it will pay off later. You know a presentation is good when people are leaving the session with remarks like, “He’s got to much energy” and “I don’t have time to create all that stuff”. It was fun to watch the audience react to what he was saying….nobody disagreed with his pedagogy or approach…what they were disagreeing with was the time it takes to do it right. Yes….good teaching takes time, reverse instruction takes time, but the payoff comes in the quality conversations you have with your students. Conversations you can’t have when you’re busy teaching content.  I strongly recommend you watch his 3 part YouTube videos on how he runs his classroom. Well worth your time…and a great conversation starter in departments. I have to say….it’s hard to break into my RSS reader and make it into my must read section…but I added Brian’s blog before I left his session today. Looking forward to learning more from this new international...

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Learning through Presentations

“How many of you have done the 18 minute, right before class, copy and paste, plagiarized, bullet point, turn and read off the screen PowerPoint Presentation? Be honest.” Every hand in the room goes up. We know it as educators, kids know it as students. The presentation really is about finding information, putting it on some slides, add some transitions and then telling the rest of the class what it is you found. Then there is the audience who is suppose to take notes on the information. A.K.A. copy the bulletpoints in bulletpoint format onto a piece of paper. Because there is so much learning in copying words from the slide to paper….NOT……and of course as you are busy copying the words you’re not listening to what the presenter is saying…not that it matters they’re just reading the words off the slides anyway.    What if there was a different way? What if the presentation was a story, a journey, an in-depth look into some aspect of a book, a time period as told through images and the research of the storyteller. What if the preperation of making the presentation was about learning? What if it was about crafting a story and understanding a topic to the point where you could stand and without notes, without bulletpoints tell your story.  That’s exactly what I’ve been working with in partnership with one of our high school English teachers. Let me give you the outline. Students in 9th grade English are reading To Kill a Mockingbird. A classic read for many students in high school. To help students understand the novel and the time period in which it takes place. Each student researches some aspect of the 1930’s. Students are given a list of topics or are free to come up with their own. Some topics include, Adolf Hitler, Fascism, The Great Depression, FDR, Women in 1930 America.  Students have free range to choose a topic (Autonomy) as long as they can tie it some how to the book, or how this might have affected the characters in the book in that time period.  Once they have chosen their topic and had a conversation about the angle they are going to take with it and how it ties to the book, they are set free to research (Mastery).  The Purpose is to craft a story on how or why they feel...

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Fishbowls and Chat-rooms

I wanted to follow up on the reverse instruction lessons I’ve been working with teachers on.You can read the first blog posts here on the outline in English and U.S. History. Here’s a bit of the chat conversation: ‹Alex› what if there was no external validation? wouldn’t we all become crazy? ‹TK› we cant live alone isolated within ourselves ‹Holden Caulfiel› yes, by definition ‹Jenna› @TK, well thats because we were brought up that way ‹jutecht› @Alex….yes ‹Holden Caulfiel› a crazy man is one who lives in his own reality ‹Stporn Mint Nit› @Alex – we kind of “create” our own life. we think in some way. we act in some way. and we face consequences according to our actions. however, the existence of others may also affect the way we think in some cases? ‹Holden Caulfiel› however, the reality he lives in, is his own ‹Holden Caulfiel› therefore, he sees everything that everyone else sees, but his perception is skewed ‹Jay› Do we have the right to say someone is crazy then? ‹Jenna› so then a crazy  man can also be an existentialist? That’s only a snippet of a chat-room that involved 8 students that was very intenses both in speed and in depth of thinking. This was the first time any of these students have been in a chat-room for this type of learning and the feelings where mixed about whether or not they liked it…..let me rephrase that. They all loved the chat-room but they were split on it’s relevance to the fishbowl discussion. “I felt like I got sucked into the chat and wasn’t listening to the discussion in the fishbowl.” “I liked it….it was great to grab something that they said in the middle and have a deeper discussion about it.” The students felt they were missing the conversation in the middle of the fishbowl being so wrapped up in their chat. However, they all agreed that the learning/discussion in the chat was just as valuable…the problem was they wanted both! by Flickr ID: ChrisDownUK Debriefing with the teachers afterwards we found about what I expected. That some of the quieter students in class discussions shined in the chat-room. Whether is was just more time to think and write, or not being overshadowed by more vocal students, both teachers found shining moments for some of the more shy kids in the class in the chat-room. Some of the shyer students even asked if they could just...

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