Reflections on “Misconceptions about Progressive Education” Video

I’m not sure where I found this video – at some point I put it into my YouTube Watch Later playlist – but when I sat down with my lunch one day and watched it, I was blown away by how spot on it was.

After researching a bit, I discovered that this video is from Green Acres School in Maryland.  The gentleman in the center with the beard is Neal Brown, who appears to be their Head of School.  To his right, with the dark hair, is Dan Frank from the Francis W. Parker School.  To Brown’s left is Robert Shirley from Charleston Collegiate School.  There is a series of videos from this event that I intend to watch in the future – probably over a turkey sandwich, bowl of cottage cheese and some Doritos – but for now I’d like to reflect on my favorite parts of this one.

Check out the video and then meet me in the space below the video to see some of my thoughts. Continue reading Reflections on “Misconceptions about Progressive Education” Video

EdTech Insight from Google’s Cyrus Mistry on The Chromebook Classroom Podcast

In the first episode of The Chromebook Classroom podcast, John Sowash interviews Cyrus Mistry, Group Product Manager, Android & Chromebooks for Education.  The episode is full of interesting nuggets about the history and future of Chromebooks, but my favorite part was something that Cyrus said about education in this information age.  It happens at about the 20 minute mark:

A teacher that used to have a section on learning the 50 capitals of the U.S., steps back and says “You know what? having all of these kids already have that answer makes me want to give them a different type of skill: maybe more problem solving, maybe more critical thinking, maybe less memorization, maybe . . . ” Maybe it reminds them, that when the kid leaves or when they graduate, they’re all going to have Google in their pocket and the answer to every question.  So what they won’t have, though, is that ability to critically think and to analyze . . . We see [the teachers] moving to higher order learning.”

I think this is a really powerful point. Educational technology is not an opportunity for substitution.  It is not an opportunity for augmentation.  Nor is it an opportunity for modification.  It is  an opportunity for redefinition. (SAMR Model)

Check out the full episode below and follow John Sowash at @jrSowash.

STEM Fun at the Akron Children’s Museum

Akron Children's Museum Logo image
Akron Children’s Museum Logo image from http://www.akronkids.org/

The Akron Children’s Museum is a great place.  I love spots that give my kiddos a chance to play, pretend, explore, discover and learn (Plus, the fact that they’re not making a mess of our house helps).

As an advocate for STEM learning, I am especially drawn to the activities that relate to engineering.  So, in this post, I’ll share about those activities at the Akron Children’s Museum.  They also have a lot of other fun things that involve pretending, climbing, playing and having a blast.  I recommend checking it out if you’re in the area! Continue reading STEM Fun at the Akron Children’s Museum

My Favorite Podcasts . . .

I’ve added a new page to my website, “My Favorite Podcasts.”  I really enjoy listening to podcasts on my daily commute and I think that you may enjoy some of them too.  Check out my favorites here.

BFF’s: ⌘+W and ⌘+Shift+T

Use Ctrl W to close your top tab and Ctrl Shift T to open your most recently closed tab (or window).

Video included at bottom of the post.

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to be a little more efficient.  Two of my most used in Google Chrome are:

  1. Ctrl+W (or ⌘+W on Mac) for closing your “top” tab (the one showing on your screen).
  2. Ctrl+Shift+T (or ⌘+Shift+T on Mac) for opening your most recently closed tab.

#2 is probably my fave.  Not only does it open your most recently closed tab, even if you closed it hours ago or even before shutting down Chrome, but it can open an entire window full of tabs, if you closed them.  But my favorite-est part of it?  Well, it has an educational aspect of course:

Ever walked by a student and seen them quickly close a tab before you got there? Ctrl+Shift+T to the rescue! Just imagine that student’s face when they find out that their teacher is a Chrome Keyboard Shortcut Ninja!!

(mem)e-mail

As a Technology Integration Specialist, I end up sending the staff that I work with lots of emails.  I work really hard to only send what’s important and to keep it brief.  Occasionally, the things I send out are necessary and/or require some sort of response or action step.  As you can probably guess, if my response rate was a test score, there’d be a red F written next to it.

And I understand, educators are uber-busy people.  But I still need those action steps taken.  So?  I use some silly tactics.  There are 2 in particular and here’s the first . . .

Memes & GIFs in emails

If I can get someone to open the email just because a colleague told them there was a ridiculous meme or GIF in there, well, that’s half the battle, isn’t it?

Here are a few that I’ve used recently.  Got any others you’d like to suggest?  Put them in the comments or send them to me @JakeMillerTech.

A word of advice if you decide to adopt this tactic: only use it sparingly and when you really need to draw in your recipients… a fun and novel approach ceases to be fun and novel when it becomes overused and annoying.

Good ol' Lumbergh.
Image from MakeAMeme.org.
Pretty Please?
Image from QuickMeme.com

Be Honest with Yourself

One of the most difficult things to do as a creator of content – lessons, activities, blog posts, videos, art . . . anything that has an audience – is to be honest with yourself when you’ve created something not worthy of your audience’s time or attention. 

Tonight I spent 10 minutes recording a video and 45 minutes editing it before I realized . . . my intended audience doesn’t want this. It was longer than necessary and “clunkier” than I should accept. 

So, what did I do?  

I clicked delete. I was honest with myself. 

Have high standards. Self-assess. Give yourself real feedback.  Evaluate things honestly. Judge them based on quality and value, not the amount of time you put into them. I could’ve said “it’s not my best work, but deleting it would mean that I just wasted an hour.” First off – if we see it as an opportunity for growth, that time wasn’t wasted. And second – if it’s not your best, go back to the drawing board. Make it your best. Be honest with yourself. 

Levels of PROFESSIONAL Learner Engagement

The Levels of Professional Learner Engagement

Presenter: What brought you to this professional development session?
Attendee #1: I needed contact hours for my IPDP.
Attendee #2: This is something that I wanted to learn more about.
Attendee #3: My administrator said I had to come here.
Attendee #4: I want to be a better educator.
Attendee #5: I needed the credit hours.
Attendee #6: There were no other sessions that I was interested in and I had to choose something.

I was thinking about PD for educators recently and realized . . . we’re just like our students.  We have varying levels of interest and, therefore, varying levels of motivation.  It reminded me of Schlechty’s 5 Levels of Student Engagement.  And then it hit me . . . these are also the 5 Levels of PROFESSIONAL Learner Engagement.

  • Authentic Engagement—the educator is engaged and sees the PD as valuable, applicable and exciting.  They want to learn this.  They can’t wait to apply it in their classroom.
  • Strategic Compliance—the educator needs credits or contact hours in order to receive a benefit, likely in the form of a step up on the pay scale or recognition from their peers or administrators for taking the initiative to participate.
  • Ritual Compliance—the educator needs credits or contact hours in order to keep their license and/or job.
  • Retreatism—the educator attends the meeting, but does not pay attention or engage in the content.
  • Rebellion—the educator checks their email (or performs another task without hiding it), refuses to participate and/or complains.

Now, it may seem like I’m bad-mouthing the educators, but I’m not.  I’ve probably been at each of those levels at least once myself.  We all probably have.  So, what does that mean?  It means that I’m bad-mouthing the PD.  Who can blame them for not being “authentically engaged” in the professional development?  Authentic engagement is not a choice.  Either the activity engages them authentically or it does not.

So . . . what do we do?

We give these professionals a say in what they learn.  We give them time to explore the possibilities.  We give them an opportunity to investigate what may be useful for them.  We give them Dan Pink’s 3 factors of motivation: autonomy, mastery & purpose.

Why?

Because it’s what’s best for the kids.  And that’s all that matters.

 

Learn more about the work of the late Phil Schlecthy at schlechtycenter.org.
Learn more about Daniel Pink’s phenomenal book Drive and his other work at danpink.com.

Educational Duct Tape Quote

Don’t use duct tape just because it’s shiny. Use it because something is broken and duct tape is the appropriate tool to fix it.

Don’t use Kahoot just because it’s fun. Use it because you need to do a formative assessment and your students need to self-assess.

Don’t use a HyperDoc because you learned about it at a PD.  Use it because it’s the appropriate way to organize content and create a learning opportunity around a certain standard.

Don’t use VR Headsets because they’re neat. Use them because your students need to understand a rainforest habitat.

Educational Duct Tape:

Educational Duct Tape

Educational Duct Tape term, quote and infographic created by me, Jake Miller.  Feel free to use them, but provide attribution.