I’m getting pretty sick of Facebook. I come home from work and find myself spending too much time reading cutesy sayings and memes. So it was a surprise that after a full day at ICE13 and getting home after dinner I completely forgot to check Facebook. Not, an I’ll check it later after playing with the kids. I just completely forgot. The day actually didn’t seem like it was going to go all that well. I missed most of the morning Keynote (Wesley Fryer) because of traffic and my own late start. Then I spent most of the time there trying to get connected and orientating myself. It wasn’t until after my first session started that I finally broke down and asked for help. I just handed my computer to a guy with a red shirt (got PLN official tech service personnel) he connected me and handed it back. Literally, the only word said during the entire exchange was thank you.
Connected and ready to learn I finally started paying attention to the session. Embracing Failure by Diana Laufenberg. I missed the tinyurl she put up, but here are three different places she seems to have placed resources for this talk. Mentor Mob, Word Press, Wiki. Takeaways (not necessarily what she said, but what I understood):
- Lessons learned from success are fleeting, but lessons learned from failure last a lifetime – paraphrase from a NASA quote.
- Honda is proud of their failures because it means they are pushing the edge.
- Students should be taught to celebrate failure instead of trying to hide it.
- Her favorite engineering class would cheer when someone failed (in a good way not a mean way)
What we can do in our schools?
- Work with students to build a mindset and skill set to be resilient to failure
- Create a culture that is less about finding blame and more keyed towards praise
What to watch out for:
- When our top teachers stop learning
- Critical indicators of roadblocks
- not communicating on same wavelengths etc…
- People who drain us
- Placing blame on outside forces
Lunch Keynote with Scott MCleod
Personalization – giving students a personal map leading to the point we want them to go. For example an adaptive computer program that pretests students then gives them appropriate problems based on their level of knowledge. Ending when they reach mastery of the goal set by the programmers. Individualization – Allowing students to decide at least one of the four negotiables of student learning from Peter Pappas
Interestingly enough I was in a workshop the next day about Illinois Shared Learning Environment and that was all about personalizing education, not individualization of education. Scott did talk about the SAMR model of technology adoption.
With that in mind I wonder if it is necessary for the majority of public education to make the step of personalization of education before we can as a group move to individualization? After lunch was a bit of a break and then Scott Moderated a
panel on leadership. First suggestion was that we are getting better at professional development for teachers, but we are forgetting about principals.
If we give every student a device doesn’t that mean we they should use it? Scott Meech so Scott Mcleod followed up with, “Can a teacher be a good teacher without technology?” Which of course was slightly misunderstood as can a lesson be good without technology, but in the end the consensus became that teachers should not have a choice. They must incorporate technology , but it is not necessary to force the use of technology. Twitter of course had to join the discussion CLOUDUCATION_: @dendariRelevant post from Scott McLeod:http://t.co/TKuYZv6F6e. Does this happen in any other sector? Should teachers get the right to refuse to use technology? An unqualified no. Some other random thoughts from the session:
- We wrote a responsible use policy and not an acceptable use policy.
- Discussion of technology use was the big conversation of the board in the first year. Second year the conversation was about workflow.
- Use your network to get an idea of what technology might be suitable for use in your school. Don’t go wandering around the vendor hall and let them tell you what you need.
- Social media does not cause problems it reveals them!!!
I was given the opportunity to return using my boss’ registration. Over breakfast I got to talking, this is very unusual because I never talk to strangers, and missed the first session. Beth Grafton, who would later present Using Technology in an Inclusion Classroom, was very interesting. Soon our table mate, Brendan, (how cool is that same name and all) asked a few questions. Something like two hours later we finally broke up and went our separate ways. I did go to see Beth’s session later in the afternoon, but it turns out I had heard the gist of it while she was talking to Brendan. I think it amazed some teachers how she could pull up the revision history of a Google Document and show in detail how she mentored a student from outline, to topic sentences, to paragraphs, and finally a finished paper. It amazed me how well her students responded when she gave them freedom to choose (al la Peter Pappas) and they responded. They responded so well in fact, that one regular ed teacher couldn’t believe her student was capable of turning in the work he did turn in. In between seeing Beth twice I stopped by the ISLE session. Here district 87 and ISBE are working on a virtual environment (inBloom) that will allow employees to have a shared place to house all data that collected about students. (SIS, Tests, etc…)
Teachers will also be able to share lessons tagged with metadata that will allow them to search and match data not just to specific standards, but also to specific classrooms and students based on need. Thus allowing schools to personalize instruction for each child. I think this is a huge step in the right direction. Anyway that we can bring content to students in ways that are more suited to their learning styles is a bonus. Anyway we can learn more about our students, (data) is a good thing. As I mentioned earlier; I wonder if it is necessary for the majority of public education to make the step of personalization of education before we can as a group move to individualization?