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_blank matters

September 8th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

Unplugd 2011 Conference in Canada where they got together in Algonquin to figure out what matters.

An experience for networked learners to come together and connecting face to face without other connections

#unplugd11

They discussed what matters.  Fill in the blank, _______ matters.

Search this on google

unplugd.ca

Matter together because people matter.

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Here

September 7th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

Have arrived in Shanghai and found all social media that I use blocked other than my blog.  This will be where I post notes and reflections from the conference.  Looking forward to a great few days of learning.

Categories: ProD, Random thoughts Tags: , ,

Supervisors' role in developing teachers

November 10th, 2008 Dennis Harter 2 comments

Both administrators and teachers are busy.

(Phew, I got that out of the way.)

Many of the ideas we share in the edu-blogosphere revolve around new ideas (for education) and new practices.  Embedding technology into the classroom no longer means making sure that students word process, do spreadsheets, and “do PowerPoint”.

Thank goodness.

Instead, we now want teachers to understand that best practice technology use should be “transformational” (Alan November’s word).  The use of technology should be to do things we couldn’t do without a computer.  Kids should be collaborating, communicating, and managing information in ways that simply weren’t possible before.  Even using technology to provide efficiency to allow for greater depth of reflection and understanding is powerful.

We know this.

But teachers are busy.  How can they begin to learn and know all of these practices?  Who will “develop” their skills with technology and learning?

The tech folks?  Sure, but it’s an uphill task and let’s not forget that “busy” thing.  If teachers are expected to spend time developing their pedagogy involving technology one of two things need to happen:

  1. They get it.  They see the need and they believe they need to learn it so that their students will learn.
  2. It needs to be made clear that this is valued by their administrators.

I wrote before about the need to get administrators on board with the necessary shift in education.  This is important to school-wide change.

But administrators are busy too.  How can they possibly keep up with best practice?  They can’t know it all, but they can know enough to ensure that they are fostering positive professional growth in their faculty.  Using their supervisory role as an opportunity to see what teachers are using technology for and sharing what they value by asking questions, teachers are more likely to reflect upon their use of technology and make changes with the help of their tech people.

I recently presented at the EARCOS administrator’s conference on this very idea.  Titled, “Looking for Learning – How supervisors can foster best practice technology use,” I shared various best practice “things to look for” in how a teacher is using technology in their classroom. (I’d share the slides, but in doing it “presentation zen”, without the talking, they don’t read particularly well – a curse of “the zen”.  I did include a handout on my presentation wiki, but forgot to tell my audience.)

The goal: give administrators enough knowledge to do more than check off a box that indicates whether a class was “using technology” or not.

Give them enough knowledge to ask reflection-provoking questions and professionally grow their faculty.


Photo by Stephen Poff
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Here’s what I presented…

Physical space:

  • Does desk layout foster collaboration (kids on computers are isolating enough)?
  • Can a teacher move around and see all computers and all students?

Classroom Management:

  • When the teachers wants attention, do they have students lower the lids (so simple, yet so under-used)?
  • When students are working, is the teacher in front of the room only able to see the back of the laptops? (walking around checking on student understanding and work has ALWAYS been best practice)
  • When beginning class with instructions and learning outcomes, are the teachers saving time by having their machines logging in?

After sharing these simple tips in how teachers use physical space and manage a class of students on laptops, I offered some key suggestions for what can be different with best practice use of technology.

Great pedagogy with technology can provide:

  1. audience
  2. voice
  3. connections
  4. collaboration
  5. communication

All ultimately leading to important learning.

I then shared several questions for that post-observation conference:

  1. In what ways did the technology enhance the learning?
  2. Who were the students’ audience?  What feedback will they get?
  3. What other audiences, could enhance the learning?
  4. What technology skills did you expect students to have in order to be successful?  Did they have them?
  5. What technology skills did you expect students to acquire if successful?  Did they get them?

Equipped with these questions, administrators share the thinking that goes into best practice technology use.  They encourage reflective pedagogy and consideration of what matters when selecting technology to enhance a lesson.

I hope it struck a chord.  I hope it leads to better instruction and more importantly better learning.

I hope we all continue to professionally grow.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

This Week – Learning 2.008 – woo hoo!

September 15th, 2008 Dennis Harter No comments

The Learning 2.008 Conference in Shanghai, China is later this week. Continuing ISB’s dedication to always improving learning, we are sending a large group of teachers to the conference.

Awesome.

Keynote and other presenters include (does this look like a who’s who of blogrolls or what?!):

Just to name a few.

In addition to thought-provoking sessions, one key element to the event are the “un-conferences” where conversations develop in pre-determined time blocks about anything.  The conference will monitor Twitter tweets to determine what unconference sessions will occur and then people will just “join the conversation”.

This year, I won’t be presenting – which I did do at last year’s Learning 2.0 with colleague Justin – so my focus is really going to be on learning from others.  This conference is always a tough one because there are always 3 or 4 sessions you want to go to in the same time slot!

I have quite a few former colleagues in Shanghai as well, so it’ll be great to catch up with them and to continue the great networking that this conference brings face2face.  Looking forward to meeting Brian Lockwood and Jenny Luca (all the way from NZ) who are a big part of my Personal Learning Network.

See you in China!

(man, this international education gig is good!)

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Online Safety is for Teachers Too

April 30th, 2008 Dennis Harter 5 comments

Ian Shapira from The Washington Post has written an article this week describing how many young teachers in Washington DC have Facebook accounts that are publicly accessible and are filled with content that represents them in inappropriate ways. Essentially, they are being young adults, but in a way that they don’t realize is in the public domain.

It’s almost like Googling someone: Log on to Facebook. Join the Washington, D.C., network. Search the Web site for your favorite school system. And then watch the public profiles of 20-something teachers unfurl like gift wrap on the screen, revealing a sense of humor that can be overtly sarcastic or unintentionally unprofessional — or both.

The article goes on to ask whether teachers should be judged on their out-of-school lives if it doesn’t affect their effectiveness with students:

Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don’t see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials?

In states including Florida, Colorado, Tennessee and Massachusetts, teachers have been removed or suspended for MySpace postings, and some teachers unions have begun warning members about racy personal Web sites. But as Facebook, with 70 million members, and other social networking sites continue to grow, scrutiny will no doubt spread locally.

Whether they “should” or not is a big discussion point, but whether they “will” or not really isn’t.

In today’s society where political correctness reigns and public scrutiny and “moral” standards are held in front of everyone’s face, there is no doubt that Washington DC will follow the other states in removing teachers for social networking behavior.

Do adults need to be re-taught what privacy means since it’s meaning has changed with the coming of the internet?

Do they know how to manage their own Facebook accounts – never mind teach students how to protect theirs?

Like several other teachers interviewed, Webster said she thought her page could be seen only by people she accepted as “friends.” But like those of many teachers on Facebook, Webster’s profile was accessible by the more than 525,000 members of the Washington, D.C., network. Anyone can join any geographic network.

Are young teachers in training ready to defend their Facebook profile in an interview?

“I know for a fact that when a superintendent in Missouri was interviewing potential teachers last year, he would ask, ‘Do you have a Facebook or MySpace page?’ ” said Todd Fuller, a spokesman for the Missouri State Teachers Association, which is warning members to clean up their pages. “If the candidate said yes, then the superintendent would say, ‘I’ve got my computer up right now. Let’s take a look.’ “

Ultimately, the lessons of cyber-safety and responsibility that we teach our students needs to be shared with our teachers too. It should be included in their professional training (along with learning to use web 2.0 tools to enhance education of course).

All students, no matter what future profession they go into, also need to see the importance of knowing what they share and how they share online. And what better way to model this for a teacher than to share the very impact it has on our own lives and how we are perceived through what we and others share online.

Too many believe that the rules of public behavior are abandoned in Facebook. Here’s a terrific video which makes this very clear. Thanks to Brian Lockwood for the link to this on Twitter.


Presenting in Kuala Lumpur

March 26th, 2008 Dennis Harter No comments

It’s ETC time again.  This year the conference is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – my old stomping grounds.  Lived there 8 years, got married there, and 2 of my 3 kids were born there.  It’s going to be fun to be back.

etckl_main.jpg

At the conference I will be presenting the new literacy curriculum ideas that Justin and I started and blogged about in a 5 post appearance as guest bloggers on Dangerously Irrelevant and here (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) on Thinking Allowed.  This work in its initial phase was presented at the Learning 2.0 conference in Shanghai in September.

Since then, other great minds (not that our own were great) have contributed to refining it to an awesome starting point for an embedded technology curriculum that focuses on thinking rather than technology.  We have formed an ISB21 team to build it, support it, and enact it.   We still have work to do, but it’s coming along nicely.

Kim Cofino, from Always Learning is part of that team and will also be presenting in KL on “Developing the Global Student: Practical Ways to Infuse 21st Century Literacy in Your Classroom”.

If you are going to be in KL this weekend for the conference, I hope that you can swing by that session and my own workshop:

IT Curriculum 2.0, Session V, 11:45-12:45, Johore Room.

How does and information and technology curriculum stay relevant and meaningful in the 21st Century? In the face of exponentially changing times, old I.T. Scope and Sequences became outdated the moment they were printed. Schools need an embedded I.T. curriculum that ensures that the way students learn with technology agrees with the way they live with technology. It must focus on habits that provide students with opportunity to succeed not matter what their futures hold. This session shares a new model that speaks to these habits and makes 21st Century Learning accessible to teachers and students. Begin the conversation here and continue it at your schools.

Hope to see you there, if not at the workshop, perhaps at the pub!

The way to 21st Century Learning

March 12th, 2008 Dennis Harter 5 comments

Will Richardson suggests that we need to get educators on board with the read/write web, before we can really hope to make widespread change in education. I commented on his post (as the 100th commenter!!!) that while this is incredibly important, real change can also happen as we continue to engage students in this way.

Of course, a full faculty of web 2.0 fluent teachers is bound to lead to engaged student learners writing and collaborating online, but a growing student group trained in the power of the tools, versed in the possibilities of a world wide audience of readers, writers, and collaborators can also force change.

Secondly, Will also points out that those without a voice online are losing “credibility” with him. His reading is online, his network is online, and he learns online, so if you aren’t online, then do you have something of value? Will is a very smart man, which I’ve said before, but in this case I have to disagree or at least tread lightly. He takes an extreme position to make a point, but in truth there are a lot of educators who don’t blog, wiki, or twitter, but who do in fact engage kids and TEACH. And they get that these tools can be powerful learning devices.

To undersell that voice in a learning network that should include personal contact and professional learning opportunities at our own schools is to miss out on real voices positively influencing children.

On a final note, what I think about most about after reading Will’s post is what to do next?

Will is right…we need to get teachers on board. We need administrators who prioritize this alongside the other priorities of a school, rather than an add-on from the tech guys. But our voices are starting to echo in the spread out, but still small world of the edu-blogosphere.

We blog, therefore we buy-in (for the most part).

The big ideas are good. We agree to complain about the same issues.

Now it’s time to bust out of our discussion of those big ideas that we wonder why people aren’t doing…and start talking about how we are going make it happen.

  • What are the best ways to get teachers on board?
  • How can administrators be convinced of this need?
  • How can curriculum be re-shaped without stepping on the toes of existing content curriculum?

We all agree…let’s start working on the ones who don’t.

Image: Change Direction by Phillie Casablanca, found at Flickr Creative Commons

Steve Hargadon: "Aha!" Moment on Adoption of Web 2.0 in the Classroom?

March 20th, 2007 Dennis Harter No comments

(originally posted on harterlearning on Jan. 9, 2007)

Steve Hargadon: “Aha!” Moment on Adoption of Web 2.0 in the Classroom?:

“The light bulb went off for me. There is no way that teachers are going to be able to bring this technology into the classroom without support from the administration. So, the key would be to help the administrators experience the personal educational benefits from the read/write web technologies. And how would you do that? Maybe not providing them with just more information on the benefits of the read/write web, but actually providing them with some kind of training that actually helps them use these technologies in their jobs. They then would experience what happens, and can either promote or be more supportive of these technologies.”

Steve speaks of what it will take for technology to really be embraced and used in schools. He finishes the article with a little downside pessimism, but is he on to something here? Our administration is hoping that this is the case. Training the leadership team in not only what technologies are out there and can be used but also on what kind of teacher to recruit that will embrace these technologies are powerful forces that our Leadership Team supports. We are lucky that way, but Steve’s idea here can be the way to increased support and increased use by teachers. Ultimately, the leaders of a school set tone. This type of knowledge and understanding would definitely set the tone for technology use as well.

Categories: Leadership, ProD Tags: , ,