The following are a few ideas intended to promote future-ready, critically- and creatively-thinking students during the coming school year. They have been rattling around my head as a result of several road and plane trips this summer where I’ve been able to pass the time studying computational thinking, design, innovative schools, etc. Some could feasibly tie easily into content standards in multiple subjects. Others are big-picture, broader actions that involve life skills beyond the scope of subject-area objectives.
In no particular order, every student will have the opportunity to:
help design the most effective learning space possible.
go through a process of creating something, testing it, failing, and doing it better the next time.
communicate with someone in another part of the world in real time.
share an accomplishment or work they are proud of with an audience beyond the walls of their home or school.
study something they choose and do something they want to do with it.
work with a team and, at least once, as a leader of a team.
teach something to the entire class.
ask lots of actionable, open-ended questions.
read books of their choosing from multiple genres, including non-fiction.
effectively defend a viewpoint on an issue of importance to them.
Here are 10 things the innovators of tomorrow should have opportunities to do every single day:
1. Think critically about a real problem
2. Ask questions. Deep, probing, open-ended questions.
3. Communicate/debate the problem.
4. Envision solutions to the problem.
5. Test/prototype the solutions.
6. Solve problems arising from the solutions.
7. Persevere in the face of frequent failure.
8. Regroup and revise solutions.
9. Share what they’ve accomplished and learned.
10. Reflect on the bigger implications of what they did/learned.
More notes from this week’s conference presentations in Cy-Fair ISD. Here’s an ever changing list of some new or fairly new Web 2.0 tools that have captured my imagination.
Google Docs embed a little strangely, so if you’d rather access the document directly, you may do so here.
The video below is a very quick overview of Pixiclip, a free, online whiteboard that is a potentially very useful tool for teachers looking to create online tutorials, particularly for flipped classroom applications. The site allows text, drawing, images, audio, and even webcams to be included in presentations, and it has a very user-friendly interface.
Something I noticed today made me get all reflective…
On December 8, 2006, I wrote and shared my first blog post, something about educating parents about Web 2.0 tools. That’s a quick 372 weeks, 2603 days ago. Since then:
- 265 posts, an average of 1 every 9.8 days or so.
- 25,316 views (Half of which are possibly my mother, I’m sure.), or a little more than 10 per day (since Jun 4, 2007, actually, but close enough).
- 588 comments (not sure how many are my replies–I do try to respond), which is about 2.3 per post.
- 62 pings (other folks’ sites or blogs linking to my posts)
- Visitors from all 50 states and 135 countries
True story: I once bought a t-shirt with this on it. (Pretty much gave up being cool right after college.)
So, what does this mean? (It definitely means I don’t have the most popular blog on the Web, for one thing.) Importantly, that first post on December 8th represented the first day I started building my PLN–first blog conversations, then Twitter, Google+, etc. Too many great, professional and personal conversations to count. Imagine the challenges connecting with even a fraction of those numbers of folks only 15 years ago. That post led to others and to the first reader comment (Thanks, Jeff Whipple–my co-workers still make fun of me for an over-the-top celebration of getting a comment from a stranger.), the first conversations, numerous collaborations, and genuinely close friendships. It also was the start of some healthy and productive reflection. I never liked diaries or journals. Hated ’em, in fact. Yet blogging has somehow been something that I have enjoyed and stuck with, and it has helped me grow as a person and professional. I liken it to people who talk to themselves to sort out their thoughts, only someone occasionally eavesdrops and chimes in to find out what you are talking about.
Over these 7 years, I’ve read opinion pieces saying blogging is dead or has already died. Thankfully, those writers get paid to write nonsense (I do it for free–yea!), and I look forward to doing this for the foreseeable future. I encourage every single educator to give it a shot, too. Professional reflection is a very worthwhile exercise, even if you don’t load up on comments (Don’t discount the possibility, though!). While you’re at it, get your students blogging. It is a great opportunity to apply writing skills, share with an authentic audience, and start putting together a record of their growth as students and individuals. On top of that, it is quite simply a truly pleasurable undertaking. Thanks for reading (not just you, Mom)!
This episode looks at the reasons why our kids need to be exposed to other people and cultures and the technology tools that we have at our disposal to make it happen. I also VERY briefly explain what Kickstarter is, and why I appreciate it so much. It is a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration, and it might just be a useful tool for the project based classroom teacher or students to get their next great idea.