People, People, People

Saturday was my third #EduCampAKL and well worth the caffeine fuelled  drive up from Hamilton to Epsom Girls Grammar School. There were lots of new faces, plenty of familiar ones and a few online friends that it was great to meet face to face for the first time.

Full House at Epsom Girls Grammar School

It was a full house, populated by eager teachers/learners who saw the value in giving up their free time to connect with like minded colleagues from across the education sectors.  It was a day to further our understandings of third millenium pedagogy and the new tools that might be used to engage students and promote effective learning.

PD is often seen as something that is done to teachers (not always the case IMHO) but EduCamps/Barcamps are different. There are no reluctant participants; everyone who is there wants to be there. Twitter once again proved itself the WD40 of social oils and made it ridiculously easy to slip into conversations with strangers previously met online.

Ultimately though, the day was about people*. People sharing and discussing their thoughts, their successes, their pitfalls and reflections. A group of likeminded educators all willing to join with others to connect and collaborate. I wondered again what it would be like to work in a learning environment surrounded by these people.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

Next… EduCampBOP …see you there!

 

*and I got a choccy fish :-)

 

This One’s For You II

Watch the video….

Primary PLE Please

Hi Steve, your reimagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.
That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills? Integrate it and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?
At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.
Maybe…
It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use? Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.
There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.
I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m seriously coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.
Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

PLE

I originally wrote this as a comment in response to this blogpost by Steve Wheeler/@timbuckteeth, but it was rejected for being too long.   So here it is, exactly as the comment was written.

Hi Steve, your re-imagining of the PLE fits pretty closely with my interpretation.  I guess you know how I feel about institutional and corporate fingers in the VLE, but I think to some extent it’s unavoidable.  Learners need a framework to hang their learning cloak on and, in many cases educational institutions are best placed to provide that framework.

That is, of course, if you accept that students don’t encounter the PLE/VLE concept or start building it until they reach higher education.  What if we were to start all this in the early years of school?  Scaffold 5 – 11 year old students in their development of a PLE like we do with core literacy and numeracy skills?  Integrate and weave it into their learning experience right from day one.  What would it look like?  Would it be modular, introducing new tools and concepts in tick boxed turns (like the linear learning that many schools seem to still seem to favour)? Or would it be up to the teacher and learner to identify and negotiate the best tool for the job?

At these early ages there is much modeling by teachers, eg., reading to, reading with and reading by students.

So maybe…

It would fall on the the teacher to share and use their own PLE in the classroom to model its use?   Then a co-construction of a “basic” PLE by teacher and student.  Finally the student begins to walk alone…into a world of connected learning, branching out on their own as their learning needs dictate.

There are many barriers.  It depends on teachers having their own PLE, and we know that such teachers are a tiny minority. Not to mention COPPA and the restrictions that web tools put on their use by minors.

I read your posts and see that usually they are aimed at or discussing issues that affect adult learners, but I always try and turn them around and consider how they apply to my teaching/learning, my students/colleagues.  You’ve made me think about where PLEs fit for primary/elementary education and I’m coming around to the idea that to organically grow an effective PLE we need to plant the seed in students as soon as they enter formal education.

Am I being unrealistic? I’ve always  had a Utopian streak running through me.

teachernzandface.jpg

I See TED People

At TED|India the genius that is Pranav Mistry revisits his sixth sense device, shares other human interface devices he’s worked on in the past and shows us a possible future of ubiquitous information and gesture based digital interaction.   He also reveals that the software behind sixth sense technology is to be released as open source.

If you’ve seen sixth sense before – there’s more here, as well as an unusual use for a regular sheet of paper.  If you can’t wait, the real fun starts at about 8:00 minutes in.

Where does this guy get his ideas?

teachernz-and-face-b

Pencils and Crayons to be Banned in Schools


A new law coming into force later this month will require students to check in their pencils and crayons at the office and collect them after school.  Any children caught with pencils or crayons in their possession will have then confiscated and parents will be informed.

“We’ve had enough,” said one teacher, “kids are writing notes to each other in class. It’s distracting for us all.  Besides that, they spend too much time sharpening them when they could be working.”

There have been many reports of children using their pencils to “poke” each other and there have even been arguments about who owns which pencil.

“They’ll have someone’s eye out one day.  It’s only a matter of time before something serious happens,” commented a parent who favours the all out ban.  “Better to ban them all rather than risk an accident – they can be really sharp.”

In some cases pencils have been used by pupils to record their ideas and learning, but they’ve also created problems with their inappropriate use in class.  The introduction of new “coloured” pencils means that children are being tempted to create ever more creative work and the notes passed around now include garish illustrations.

One parent explained his opinion. “Chalk and slate was good enough for us, black and white and easy to read, not a confusing multicoloured mess.  You couldn’t pass notes around without the teacher noticing and the chalk couldn’t be sharpened into a dangerous point.  The greatest danger was that you’d drop it on your foot.  I’d like chalk to remain the teachers’ main tool (along with talk). Let’s keep it at the centre of learning.”

A few teachers are not convinced that the ban is the best policy.  They worry about the effect it might have on student engagement and motivation.

“As soon as they get out of school kids are writing, drawing and passing notes around.  I think by banning the pencil and crayon we risk alienating students and making their time at school seem irrelevant to their lives.”

“Used in the correct way they are powerful learning tools, students (and teachers) need to be trained in their proper classroom use.”

“It seems ridiculous to exclude something that is so readily available outside school and widely integrated into all aspects of our modern society.  They are exposed to these modern implements from an early age and most children use them on a daily basis.  To take them away is erasing educational opportunities.”

No one can argue with the fact that a sharpened pencil can cause injury and that something must be done.  It’s too soon to determine the outcome of the ban.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. There is a rumour that something called a “ballpoint pen” is beginning to gain popularity among teens.  How will schools cope with this new permanent menace?  At least pencils can be erased with the right equipment.

teachernzandface.jpg

image by orangeacid at Flickr

Sweet Tweets

Twitter

I got a new follower on Twitter today and, as usual, checked out their profile to see if I wanted to follow them back.  That led me to a blog post about Twitter and how effective it has been as a PLN and PD tool for @kgustin.

I’ve been meaning to write about Twitter for a while now, but there doesn’t seem to be anything left for me to say that hasn’t already been said by other Tweeters.  Twitter has brought me out of my hole and into the light, connecting me with a network of like minded educators and people that I would otherwise never have “met”.  Thank you Twitter and thank you my Tweeting Twitter friends.

If you haven’t checked out Twitter for yourself yet, I recommend you do.  Give it a little time and you won’t regret it.

Here are a few blog posts that describe the Twitter experience and the benefits of being “connected” much better than I could.
Common Sense Classroom

Durff’s Blog

Steedy’s Blog

Sharing the Addiction