Wednesday, June 3, 2015

EduTECH Day Two - Heidi Hayes Jacobs: Bold Moves / Thoughtful Leadership

Every time you have a meeting imagine a student in one of the seats. Every decision you make, every thing you discuss must be in that student's best interest. 

Classical teaching is timeless and timely. 

- Antiquated (what to cut)
- Classical (what to keep)
- Contemporary (what to create)

Our learners need classical and contemporary teaching. 
Cultivating "right now" personalized learning experiences. 

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it" - Allan Kay

Four Program Structures: 
- Time - physical and virtual 
- Space 
- Grouping learners
- Personnel configurations 

How can we move this along. 

An aside - I think Heidi Hayes Jacobs needs to come visit HPSS and out awesome SLLs. 

We don't need reform, we need new form.

We teach to the time we have. We need to consider time as currency. What's a good use of 20, 40 or 60 mins of time. 

Why does end at the same age? We need to rethink our 12/13 years of compulsory schooling. 

We need to make better use of virtual time and virtual learning. 

Biggest shift we will see more personalized learning and moving from inquiry to quests. We will also move from subjects to topics or contextualized problems. 

The students need us to step up. 

Apologies for slim post. Running out of blogging steam. 

Check our her work here:

and her TEDx talk:

EduTECH Day Two: Digital Leadership with Eric Sheninger

He's quite shouty, which coming from me is really saying something.

What is truly possible in education?

There is always excuses to not move forward. We need to stop making excuses and make a difference and make changes. 

Leadership is action, not a position.

This brings to mind what we tried to achieve with #hackyrclass Every teacher can be a change agent, regardless of what's happening in the wider school.

Check out the Hack Your Class project here:

Are we seeing the fundamental shifts in schools that we are seeing beyond school.

As an aside - how long do we need to keep talking about this before we get a critical mass doing it??

What does school really teach students? Sheninger shared how he was a Principal doing what he thought he had to do - focusing on control and compliance.

March 2009 Sheninger got in Twitter and connected with people who helped him to take the blindfold off. It was time to make sure the school wilted better for the kids than it did for the adults...not the other way around.

Pedagogy first technology second.

Couldn't agree more. Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator. This aligns beautifully with my thoughts around how we can use Teaching as Inquiry as a mechanism for leading meaningful and manageable pedagogical change. 

You can read an essay I wrote in the topic here:

Sheninger then went on to share how he observed his teachers, five times a year. Ensuring all lessons had a clear learning outcome. Opening up and making practice transparent and visitors came, observed anyone as long as they have him feedback, things they could improve. Students could learn anywhere. The whole campus was the classroom. School was an extension of the real world.  

You need to make school a place kids want to be. Free wifi, device charging stations, free coffee and thinking games. Sounds like school I know rather well...

Great leaders hire people smarter than them. 

Give people autonomy, give the space to be different...and better.

Check out New Milford High School's Maker Space:

Milford High went 1-1 devices give years ago, even when many warned against it. But you get on with it. You do it. 

Engagement does not always equate to learning. 

It's got to be great learning. 

We can no longer be disconnected nomads.  We need to all be collaborative learners. 

Every educator needs to be part of a personal learning network. 

Anyone and everyone can lead their own professional learning in the way and own time as suits them.

I'm not smart, I'm resourceful - Eric Sheninger 

Be digitally resilient - nice message.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

EduTECH Day One: Open Schools for globally connected learning

David Price is the author of the fabulous book Open and Larry Rosenstock is the director of High a Tech High.

Autonomy is the new mantra.

Price spoke about the fact that the need for change is escalating, referring to examples such as global warning as an issue showing the need to address wider world issue before it's too late. 

2020 50% of all jobs will be freelance. 

2030 47% of all jobs will be automated.

How are we preparing our students of today for this very real and close future? 

Education Change Deniers! 

I love this term. The term to describe those that want to sell future focused education as a needless left-wing conspiracy - I know of a few of this in NZ!

What we need is OPEN learning. 

Open learning is:
1. Outward facing 
2. Highly creative 
3. Done with not to students 
4. Driven by purpose

If you haven't already, make sure you read David Price's book - OPEN 

Larry Rosentock shared a clip from Most Likely to Succeed. A documentary about the need to change education do as to keep up with the rate of change in wider society. I can't wait to see it in full!

Check out the trailer for Most Likely to Succeed here:

Rosentock talked about presenting students with a problem and letting them solve it. 

He then shared a student project where students collaborated to create massively complicated gears/cogs as a way to learn about different ancient civilizations and demonstrate theories born out of those civilizations. Learning massive amounts about Maths, physics and design along the way. Work is then shared through public exhibitions. Sharing learning is an integral part if the process. 

Students selected by blind lottery. 

To learn more you can even do a MOOC on coursera. 

EduTECH Day One: Super Awesome Sylvia - The Power of Making

Super Awesome Sylvia certainly lives up to her name - she is certainly is awesome. An awesome role model for our learners and an important reminder to educators as to how students are capable of not only leading their learning, but also teaching others. 

Check out her website:

It would be great to see this happening in class rather than just at home. A great argument for all classes to not only be maker spaces publishing suites. 

I also like this website she mentioned: where kids can teach other kids. Encouraging them to not only make but to also share, learn and teach! 

Sylvia also demoed her WaterColourBot demonstrating an awesome intersect of art, Maths, robotics and computing. Man I hope HPSS produces legions of young people like Sylvia!!

I also loved that she was brave enough to do live demos, rolling with the hiccups and being an awesome example of why she should take risks and embrace failures as part of the learning process!

Make sure you buy her book:

Her tips:
1. Baby steps - start small
2. Cheap is good
3. Failure happens
4. Be the student (not just the teacher)
5. Don't sweat the small stuff

EduTECH Day One: Eric Mazur - Assessment: The silent killer of learning

Eric Mazur is a physicist and educator from Harvard University

Mazur kicked off with an anecdote about meeting a woman on a plane who developed flash cards...for phones. It was clear from the outset that this man doesn't value memorisation and rote learning - I think we are going to get on.

He was quick to point out that memorisation is only about passing the test. After a few days only 35% of that information.

Today he is arguing something I feel passionate about - our assessment practices are outmoded and outdated. Really only designed for ranking students.

What is the purpose of assessment? 

He gave us 90 seconds to list purposes of assessment...I got:
Checking understanding
Monitoring progress
Needs for future learning

Others might value:
Ranking students

Personally really only value assessment FOR learning. 

His list:
Will post when I have better wifi!

He identifies a key issue. It is often inauthentic problem solving. Couldn't agree more! This is my problem with external examinations! Why in this day and age would we use artificial testing of understanding when we can and so already measure understanding in authentic contexts when the students are actually with the practice. 

At this point Mazur puts up a traditional written Maths problem students might be presented with in an exam and steps us through how this takes students right to the bottom of the blooms taxonomy - remembering. Why would we focus on this when computers do this so much better than us. Why aren't we focusing on authentic problems? But of course this involves taking risks and students are risk adverse. Assessment also kills creativity.

He then shares a photo of a typical exam room and asks what we see, then states the word - isolation! When do we do anything in isolation in the real world? Why are we testing students in a way they will ever experience in the professional lives??

Traditionally exams have been a high stakes assessment. Something for which students cram, which results in little more that short term memorisation. 

Assessment produces a conflict - are we the coach or judge? 

Teachers hide behind a thin veil of objectivity. 

And then there is grade inflation and cheating. Cheating is not a problem with our students, it is a problem with our assessment.

How can we improve assessments? 

Let's mimic real life - let's have open book exams.

Moving assessments online and give access to Google. Any assessment that have answers that can be googled is not an effective assessment. We need to go beyond the ungoogleable question and move to the ungoogleable assessment or exam.

Website worth visiting - Team Based Learning

At this point he shows a video of students taking a collaborative exam. 50% of the assessment is individual, 50% done as a team.

The videos shown as this point what I feel like we are seeing is not just "assessment for learning" but "assessment as learning"

Another suggestion he makes is importance of assessment feedback, this aligns with what we probably think of as assessment for learning.

Next point - let's focus on skills not content (take note AGS).

Mazur shares the work of Grant Wiggins and - Learning by Design. Think about the outcomes.

How might we resolve the coach/judge conflict. Make the assor a different person than the teacher/coach. We also need more peer and self-assessment.

Mazur suggests using calibrated peer review. 

We must rethink assessment! 

If we don't we continue to prepare students for the past, not the future. 

Couldn't agree more: I published this article last year.