The joy of explaining to students and staff intranet and internet navigation.
Please… No More Professional Development if you are going to do it the way it has always been done.
- Do not read to me, I can read.
- Do not pull out a Popsicle stick and ask me for the answer you want, I do not perform on command. And, you might not want to hear my analytical assessment of answers beyond your limited question. I am a thinker not a fill in the blanker.
- Do not ask me to join a group of other people, that is not my learning style. Adapt your style to me. That’s what most of us have to do for the kids we teach.
- Do not assume one size fits all. I am not your size and you have not stopped long enough to know me or figure out my size.
- Do not speak so fast that you have to cover all the material you think you have to cover, I have digital tools, send me a link to your material. I will continue to learn well beyond your prefab session. Remember, it is what you say, not how much you say.
- Do not hand out paper copies only, I have digital tools, send me a link to your material. My learning goes well beyond your simulated speech.
- Do not tell me to put up my digital tools so I can focus on you, I use digital tools to focus on you.
- Do not assume that “seat time” is the same as comprehension. I can sit in your session, but that does not mean that I comprehend what you want me to.
- Do not assume you know everything. I can Google faster than you can speak.
- Do not assume that the “I am bored out of my mind look on my face” is a statement of actual boredom. It may be and most likely is, but I think. I think about what you say. I think deeply about what others say. My mind delves deep into multiple subjects and is most likely outpacing your ability to keep up with my thinking.
- But most of all, Please, Please, Please…Do not treat me like an adolescent, I am an adult learner. And, I have been in the learning process for longer than many of you are old.
Setting: Third Period
Me. Hello, how is your day going?
Me: What have you learned today?
Student: I don’t know.
Me: What did you have First Period?
Me: What did you do?
Student: We used Kahoot!!!
Me: Great. What did you learn with Kahoot?
Student: I don’t know.
Reminder to self: It’s not about the tools, it is about the learning.
What does it mean to be a coder today? The answer isn’t so simple. With technology as the backbone of our economy, everything from entrepreneurship to art galleries to medicine is affected by code. That means the ability to read and write code – even at a fundamental level – can not only make you a valuable team member, but can also help you communicate and better integrate your ideas into the final product.
For the past couple of weeks I have tried something new with 6th graders and the LMS I am assessing for our District. Each student is on one computer, they log into the assignment on the LMS, go to the day’s lesson, and then follow the directions for that day. The assignment consists of reading a brief set of directions, watching three brief videos on the topic assigned, writing a six sentence paragraph explaining the topic on a Google Doc and then uploading their work back to the LMS.
As a part of formative assessment I will ask the class to explain to me in “kid words” what the topic means. For example, one of this weeks topics was coding. The simple concept that they should have been able to explain is that “code is a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do”. When asked what code is, no one could explain. Some students did not respond and had absolutely no clue and the Pre-AP students began to read from their paragraph statements from the videos that they had transcribed verbatim. Yet no one seemed to comprehend the topic, understand the topic, synthesize the topic, and explain the topic.
This caused me to re-evaluate and re-think the process of what was going on. Things like…
- What am I doing wrong?
- How can I better present the material?
- Did I choose the correct material?
One aspect of improvement that came to mind was a set of guiding questions that would stimulate thinking and guide the students through the videos. What to be alert for, what to take note of, and what to consider including in their summaries. If I want to have students comprehend, understand, synthesize, and explain, then I will need to provide them with the correct stimuli to do that.
One other thing that I noticed is the videos themselves. Not all videos are created equal. Just having students watch a video on a subject or topic does not necessarily mean that they will retrieve the material that they need. I quickly noticed the need for repetition and reinforcement. If the take a way is that “code is a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do”, then the material used must state, define, refine, and reinforce the concept. Not many videos do that. Simply choosing an online video will not get the job done. Many videos may be great for introducing a student to a topic, yet they do not lend themselves to comprehension, understanding, synthesizing, and explanation.
Some quick take aways as we move students to online learning.
- Information is abundant, but the analytical ability to comprehend, understand, synthesize, and explain needs guidance.
- Outcomes rely heavily on the inputs that are designed.
- Online alone is not an acceptable replacement for a directed pedagogy.
- In a “click and move on” culture, learners of all ages (pre-K through adult) do not take the time to read (even brief sections) of instruction. They are looking for something visual to move them on to the entertainment.
Never underestimate the value of the Google Doodle and never assume that everyone knows about it.
The 155th Anniversary of the Pony Express sets the stage for an Interactive Google Doodle. It also provides the opportunity for kids to play the app and ask questions. Questions like “Why are those guys on horses”? Questions that have me responding, “I am glad you asked”.
Food For Thought. Have your students explore a Google Doodle and then write a six sentence paragraph, or a six slide presentation, or an info-graphic, or any other digital composition about the Doodle of the day topic.
More Food For Thought – Tell another teacher about it and they will think you are a genius.
Traditional start of the year training for faculty and staff is typically nothing more than a brief introduction of limited information hoping for lasting results. The sessions tend to overload the participants with information and then assume that everyone comprehended everything and that everyone knows everything that they need to know. I can not remember how many times that I have heard the proclamation after an introductory session, “Now you are trained”. True Professional Development should include pre-information, initial introduction of information, and a continual deposit of information available 24/7.
Edutopia addresses an idea for Administrators concerning Staff Presentations. Their idea is a digital copy of the upcoming event.
Providing a digital copy of the upcoming staff meeting to be reviewed independently could alleviate some stress throughout the building. If you are looking for feedback from staff members, include a Google Form or host a Google Hangout to answer any questions. Source
Thinking of all the upcoming staff presentations to soon take place it would be great for Administrators and Presenters to move beyond the pre information and presentation information to actually include a permanent depository of information available to participants. Professional Development and Training would greatly be enhanced by participants being able to have continual and updated information presented in the start of the year PD.
A continual presence would move beyond the typical email or paper handouts. Even placing PDF’s on a District Server is better than paper handouts and emails, but why not kick it up a notch. Google Docs allows users to create shared folders and those are even better, but let’s move it up one more notch by using Google “Sites”. Administrators and Presenters can upgrade their traditional start of the year trainings by creating Google Sites for participants to have a continual resource to refer to as the need arrives.
One such depository of resources that I have begun is located here. EduTechie Resources.
“Sixty percent of today’s students will have careers that don’t exist yet, which speaks to the challenge schools face in preparing them for their future. So, what are the skills they will need to be successful?
Experts generally agree that the “4 Cs”—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—and a strong foundation in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math are the keys to success in a technology-rich, information-based economy.”
“We know that content memorization must no longer the goal of our learning programs; what our goal must be is that students can make the most sense of the voluminous and fast-accelerating quantity of information which will forever be at their fingertips, and about which they must be able to think critically, to select, to evaluate, to apply, and to amend as they tackle challenging problems. ” Jonathan Martin