Ideas that matter from writers who care…

Ideas that matter from writers who care…

Here are some especially great excerpts from just our first four months of content. We can’t wait to see what comes next. Enjoy!

From Arrested (Professional) Development, by Lee Skallerup Bessette:

“The best professional development is participatory and connectivist. It is driven by the needs and interests of those attending and allows for collaboration between the facilitator, the participants, and beyond. It needs to be a space where everyone is open, honest, and ready and willing to work and to try. It challenges us to actually engage with, experiment on, and develop for ourselves whatever approach, tool, or technology targeted by the session. It is, unsurprisingly, much like the learning environments we want to create for our own students.” 

From The Truth About BYOD (Whitepaper), by Bruce Dixon

“Student ownership of the device overcomes some of the misapprehensions about whether the device should be taken home, and it clearly assigns responsibility for all care and maintenance directly to the student. Whether the device is actually owned by the family or is leased through the school or a third party is immaterial; it’s the perception of ownership that is important.”

From Protecting Student Privacy Through More Transparency, by Audrey Watters:

“Schools need not — and probably should not — be passive parties when it comes to data protection and the technologies they’re adopting. While vendors typically do draw up the contracts for their products, schools must ensure that these are compliant with various privacy statutes, certainly. But they can advocate for more, and push vendors to take further steps to protect student privacy. They can also step up and do a better job in communicating with parents and students about data collection and usage.”

From What We Mean When We Talk About Scale, by Vanessa Genarelli:

“The question of scale cuts right to a central fissure in the ed-tech community: the developers of online platforms who require a critical mass in order for their products to succeed, and educators who use technology to connect to each other. One is top-down, the other is emergent. One is “personalization” the other is personal. Whenever you hear the term “scale” it’s important to ask why — who is defining the need for the thing to get bigger?”

From How Video Games Will Save School,  by Dean Groom:

“Games are unique in they challenge our cultural understanding of the value of play itself. To use games, educators have to firmly believe (and publicly declare) play is not the opposite of work, and play will enrich, not diminish schooling. This requires not only proof, but also firsthand experience and courage on the part of schools, administrators and teachers.”

From What a Girl Wants, by Sylvia Martinez: 

“Girls tend to use more collaborative techniques such as building consensus and adapting rules than boys do. Boys more often approach a problem as a personal challenge, and work on it to the point of obsession. In tackling self-directed learning, all these characteristics are helpful, yet in excess, will sabotage the learner. Building consensus through collaboration is a good skill to master, but not being able to make a decision or get anything done is a bad habit. Tackling a problem with enthusiasm is a good thing, but allowing unbounded competition or grinding an unproductive idea to death is a bad outcome. Teachers are the key to making sure that these tendencies are expressed and channeled in ways that support learning for all.”

From How Do We Prepare Modern Learners for College?, by Bryan Alexander:

“If what we teach changes, then how we educate must also become something new.  As of this writing ‘blended learning’ is emerging as a practice whereby faculty strategically integrate digital technologies into their classrooms.  Yet given the prevalence of digital hardware and software, and the steady penetration of technology into learners’ lives, we should consider that unblended learning will shortly become anomalous. The default setting for learning involves both digital and analog resources. College faculty, especially tenured ones, need support in shifting to this model, for which many have been unprepared by their careers to date.”

From Building a Mission and a Vision That Matters, by Will Richardson:

“When I ask teachers ‘What is the vision for teaching and learning in this district?’ too few offer answers that speak to a coherent, clearly articulated sense of what it looks like and the beliefs around learning that those practices are based on. In most cases, the vision is inconsistent from teacher to teacher, and is not based on any collectively understood language around how kids and adults learn.”

From What Can K-12 Learn From MOOCs?, by Verena Roberts:

“Open learning is an attitude. Examples of open learning can be watching your child learn through YouTube or inviting a class to Skype with yours about what they see outside their window.  There is no one way to be “open.” Open learning is about being flexible about new opportunities and discovering what works best for you and your students. No one can tell you how to be open; you have to figure it out for yourself. What K12 can learn from MOOCs isn’t simply that a large number of people can move through courses simultaneously. Rather, the lessons involve building and supporting online learning networks.”

From New Literacies in the Classroom, by Audrey Watters:

“These rise of ‘new literacies’ necessary to wield these new technologies effectively place new demands on all of us – not just on students. We are all expected to move much more quickly to identify problems, for example; to know where to find information to help us address those problems – often on our own; to evaluate and synthesize information from a number of sources in order to try to solve those problems; to communicate with others about problems and potential solutions; and to monitor the solutions we’ve found and stay up-to-date with new issues as they arise. We are increasingly expected do these tasks via the Internet, of course, to address elements of our professional and our personal lives. We do this as students, teachers, workers, and citizens alike.” 

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Will Richardson

Co-founder of and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

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