Tag Archives: professional development

What Do We Mean By Learning Anyway?

A Connected Educator Month 2015 Event starting on October 1st!

Join Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen in a collective, month long, discussion to:Cloud Computing Small text

  • extend and deepen our understanding of the term learning
  • participate in a knowledge building approach to collaboration
  • model deep practices for our professional learning environments (colleagues and/or classrooms)

Brief Description (see full site for details)

We will spend the month exploring, unpacking, and discussing what we mean by the term learning. This will include:

  • building background knowledge through sharing and reading resources related to the topic
  • introductory Twitter Chat
  • co-creation of a slidedeck of our ideas
  • reflective Twitter chat
  • contemplative rewriting of our slides
  • culminating creation of reflection statementsVector illustration of two communicating people

We will use a knowledge-building approach to this event.

“If Knowledge building had to be described in a single sentence, it would be: ‘giving students collective responsibility for idea improvement‘.  In Knowledge Building, students work together as a community to build and improve explanations of problems of understanding that arise from the group itself.” (We will be the students in this project!)


So please join us! Go to What Do We Mean By Learning Anyway? for all the details to get started!

Sincerely,

Peter Skillen & Brenda Sherry with the support of OSSEMOOC

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Thinking About Professional Learning

If you were not able to join us live this evening,  the session recording is now available [here].  A summary of some of the thinking we shared, and some of the questions that arose from the discussion are captured below.  Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments.

I’m not sure we answered any of the questions we used as provocations this evening, but the discussion was rich, and it led to more questions.

We began with this question:

“How does a shift occur from a mindset where learning is provided to a culture where learning is sought?”

This applies to students and teachers.  It’s a big shift!  But we are seeing a critical mass now believing that this must go forward.  Consider this link shared this evening: http://mltsfilm.org/

Or, consider this story about China telling its students to quit school: http://zhaolearning.com/2015/01/22/china-encourages-college-students-to-suspend-study-and-become-entrepreneurs-and-innovators/ .

Raghava KK spoke eloquently on this very topic last weekend at #Educon.

Agency, or ownership of learning, is a powerful concept when we consider both student and adult/educator learning.

We know that parents need to be involved in the shift.  They are products of a system built in the 1800’s, but it is the system they trust.  How do we bring them into the conversation of what education needs to look like in the year 2015?  How do we address their concerns about “preparation for high school” and “preparation for university”?

Is the inertia of higher education a brick wall preventing change? Is the focus on marks as the filter for higher education opportunity stifling learning?

What is the importance and impact of “tradition” on the work we are doing in trying to change to a culture of learning?

Student teachers exist in the higher education system.  How does this affect their thinking about what education can be?

We hear university professors complain that students don’t have the critical thinking skills they expect, yet the entry filter into university is a two digit number that may have nothing to do with critical thinking skills.

Will our elementary students in Ontario today be the drivers of change?  Will they stand up for quality opportunities for inquiry over memorization and test taking?  Will they resist a system that forces them to memorize answers instead of encouraging them to ask questions?

How much curiosity will they be able to retain?

How can we disrupt the thinking around professional learning.  Do we need a new name for PD days?  What might that look like?

PL (Professional Learning) Day? SD (Self-Directed) Day? PLC Day?

Do you believe that all educator professional learning should be directed by what knowledge and skills the data indicate that students need to succeed (i.e., that all professional learning is based on student learning needs)?

Can professional learning be based on the passions of the educator?

Are you working in an environment where your colleagues challenge your practice to make you think deeply about what you are doing?

Are we valuing professional capital (Fullan and Hargreaves) enough?  Sal Khan says that the nations who will be strong in the future are those who have nurtured innovation and creativity among their people, as we shift from and industrial to an information society (http://mltsfilm.org/).

Do you think that “Professional Development” creates a culture of learned helplessness? Have we taught educators to wait for someone to teach them?

Have we done the same for our students?

Is this the only PD really needed: “The opportunity to learn where to find something when we need to learn about it”?

If we want kids to explore and learn, why would we sit back and wait for someone to teach us?

Should schools create a culture of teacher-learner agency?

(From Wikipedia, “In the social sciences, agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices”.)

We’d love to hear your thinking about this.  Feel free to comment, and please join us live next Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST for more thinking and learning on this topic.  More details will be posted here.

January 27, 2015: Thinking About Professional Learning

The OSSEMOOC Tuesday Night Open Mic session (January 27, 8 p.m. EST) will focus on some of the key conversations from Educon on the topic of Professional Learning.

Click  [here]  to join the meeting room anytime after 7:30.

If you check the #hackpd hashtag and the #Educon hashtag, you will see some of the rich conversations that happened this past weekend at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.  We want to bring your thoughts on this topic into the conversation.

Here is our key question (originally posed by David Jakes and Kristin Swanson at Educon 2.7):

 “How does a shift occur from a mindset where learning is provided to a culture where learning is sought?”

 

To dig into this, we will focus mainly on the role of the educator.

 

Here are a few of the questions we are posing for this week:

 

1. What do well-designed learning experiences for adults look like?

 

2. Do you believe that all educator professional learning should be directed by what knowledge and skills the data indicate that students need to succeed (i.e., that all professional learning is based on student learning needs)?

 

3.  Should school and system leadership support teachers in the design of their own learning experiences?  If so, how can they do this?

4. Should schools create a culture of teacher-learner agency? (From Wikipedia, “In the social sciencesagency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices”.)

5. Do you think that “Professional Development” creates a culture of learned helplessness?

 

6. A conversation around this provocation:

 

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We hope you will join in the synchronous conversation, and continue to add your thinking to the #hackpd , #ossemooc , and #ontedleaders conversations online. Resources:
1. Solving the Professional Learning Crisis
2. What Counts as Professional Learning?
3. Effective Professional Learning

 

Digital Storytelling with Darren Kuropatwa

@dkuropatwa led us through some awesome tools and ideas to share our stories today.

Here are the results of our first activity. Remember, we are all in different parts of Ontario.

 

Building Content Knowledge: Collaborate and Curate

Sylvia Rosenthal-Tolisano (@Langwitches) is one of my favourite bloggers.  She does visually represent the learning in incredible ways, and I have a number of her posters hanging in my classroom. BUT, it is her teaching through her blogs that I so appreciate.

In this post, “Building Content Knowledge: Collaborate and Curate”, she includes video, images, and annotations to help her reader really “see” the Digital Learning Farm (Alan November) in action!

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Tolisano never forgets the role of technology in the teaching and learning cycle. Skill-building in reading for meaning, gathering information, and note making–all key components in the research process–are front and centre here without the traditional teacher lecture and notes for students and in ways that support students’ acquisition of information literacy skills.

Take some time to explore Langwitches’ Blog. It will be worth your while.

Shared by: Julie Balen, High School English Teacher,  Wikwemikong Board of Education (@jacbalen)

 

30 Days of Learning in Ontario: What Did We Learn Today?

As the 30 Days of Learning in Ontario OSSEMOOC project comes to a close, we want to thank, and congratulate, all of the educators who took the opportunity to share their learning.  For some, it was their very first time posting their thinking in the blog format.  We thank you for taking the time to let others learn from you.  We hope that you will continue to share your learning and connect with others doing the same.

Thank you as well to everyone who took the time to comment on the blog.  You shared your response and your feedback, and kept the thinking and conversations going.

Special thanks to Deb McCallum for creating a flipboard magazine with the content here: https://flipboard.com/section/ossemooc-b4GnnY

One of our goals in OSSEMOOC is to have people connect and then create, to go off and learn and share, to sustain those connections and that learning.  We were excited to see Deborah McCallum’s efforts to collate the 30 Days of Learning in a new format.

 

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Collaborative blogs give ownership to a group rather than an individual.  As co-owners, we all anticipate the next learning.  We are motivated to comment and continue the conversation as we are invested in this community of learners.  Collaborative blogs encourage new thinking, invite new participants, expand our world and our learning.  They give us a focus for reading and sharing.

We learn by watching others.  We teach by modelling the practices we value.  Collaborative blogging allows us to model the action of making thinking visible.

We all have a story to tell, and we learn from each other. Together we are stronger and wiser. Connected learning takes many forms: observing, reading, asking, reflecting, writing, speaking, audio, video and collaborating. Connected learning and leading is a participatory culture. It takes time, time to jump in, time to create new routines and time to build comfort. Courage is needed to put yourself “out there” and find your voice. It is worth the risk to gain insight, broader perspectives and recognize that “the smartest person in the room is the room”.

In our technology enabled learning environments, connected students need connected teachers and leaders. As educators, I believe each of us owns nurturing those around us and role modelling. As pointed out in one of the blog posts, value encouragement and supporting each other with “just right” feedback is important for adult learners too.

Each of the 30 days of learning bloggers has taken the leap of faith, put themselves “out there” to share their reflections and ideas. Congratulations to all for openly participating in the collaborative learning process.

We often wonder why it is so hard to change thinking in education, to bring people into the world of connected learning.  We learned from Tim’s comment that perhaps focusing on the changing world, while validating the work that has been done, is a key component of making this change happen.

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This comment on Stacey Wallwin’s blog helped to reinforce the understanding that what you do has impact that you cannot always see.  Comments like this are the sustenance we all need to keep doing our work to Change the World #CTW

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It’s hard to hit publish.  But opportunity can be fleeting.  Don’t be afraid to share.

Be more dog and grab the frisbee when it comes your way.  Carpe diem!

Mark Carbone and Donna Fry

OSAPAC Co-Leads for #OSSEMOOC.  

Change The World #CTW 

 

30 Days of Learning in Ontario:

The Lead Learners Who Modelled the Importance of Sharing Learning and Thinking

Our model pre-April blogger: Rodd Lucier @thecleversheep

1 Mark Carbone @markwcarbone

2 Cathy Beach @beachcat11

3 Brandon Grasley @bgrasley

4 Aviva Dusinger @avivaloca

5 Heather Theijsmeir @HTheijsmeijer

6 Jonathan So @mrsoclassroom

7 Louise Robitaille @robitaille2011

8 Julie Balen @jacbalen

9 Jac Calder @jaccalder

10 Scott Monahan @monahan_scott

11 Emily Fitzpatrick@ugdsb_missfitz

12 Deborah McCallum @bigideasinedu

13 Paul McGuire @mcguirp

14 Bea Meglio @megliomedia

15 Lindy Henderson @hendylou

16 Andy Forgrave @aforgrave

17 Brandon Grasley @bgrasley

18 Donna Fry @fryed

19 Mrs. Lewis @mrslewistweets

20 Heather Touzin @heathertouzin

21 Mark Carbone @markwcarbone

22 Daniel Pinizzotto @mrpinizzotto

23 Brenda Sherry @brendasherry

24 Michelle Parrish @mproom31

25 Kellyann Power @kellypower

26 Heidi Siwak @heidisiwak

27 Doug Peterson @dougpete

28 Rita Givlin @ritagivlin

29 Stacey Wallwin @wallwins

30 Denise Buttenaar @butden

Day 23:Leaping Ahead With Our Own Learning

Written and shared by Brenda Sherry.

The original post can be found here: http://bsherry.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/otrk12-and-google-summit-learning/

OTRK12 AND GOOGLE SUMMIT LEARNING

My friends Donna Fry and Mark Carbone, co-creators of the #ossemooc  have put out a call for us to share our learning during this month of April and, as always, it takes me a little while to get my posts onto the blog!

Luckily for me, I had two great experiences last week,  one at the #otrk12 conference and one at the #gafesummit in Waterloo.   Starting withStephen Hurley’s examples of passion-based learning at OTRK12 was wonderful and I enjoyed presenting to the e-learning teachers about creating dynamic virtual discussions and seeing Jaclyn Calder’s presentation about the Grader App for D2L with awesome options for providing differentiated and timely feedback to learners.   It’s wonderful to see what an amazing teacher like Jaclyn does with technology!

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While I could share all the tips and tricks that I learned at #otrk12 and the #gafesummit,  I think I’d rather share a few observations that I have mulling around and arising from these 2 great learning events.

A principal from my school board approached me at the Google Summit a little distraught that she had perhaps purchased the wrong technology this year. She has provided her teachers and students with a variety of tools like  ipads, laptops, desktops and Chromebooks.  She seemed a little worried that she had made a wrong choice and should have bought more Chromebooks.  I reminded her, that regardless of how ‘feel good and for the cause of all children and teachers everywhere’ this event undoubtedly was, it was also a Google event after all,  and their mission was to make her feel as though Google products were the bomb. Obviously – they succeeded!

I assured her that an effective technology ecology in her school would also include some higher-end media creation tools like her computers and her ipads, and that she’d want to remember that the ability to do some computing with computers is also a really important skill for our students today.

I remember when Nicholas Negroponte from MIT started to predict that ubiquity would be a game changer in our adoption of technology but that rather than getting simpler, as they should over time,  there was this interesting phenomenon with computers called ‘featuritis’ whereby software developers keep the software getting more complex and complicated (bloated and expensive) rather than cheaper.  Google seems to have figured that out.  Make the browser do most of the work, and the machine could remain inexpensive,  although not as robust.   Maybe robust is not what we are looking for in education anyway.  Easy (for teachers)  seems to be the preferred approach when it comes to technology.   I’m not in complete agreement with this, but I’m learning to accept it.   It is what it is.

People often ask me if I think things are suddenly changing, and while I’m hopeful,  I’m still cautious because I’m not sure it’s the technology that has been holding us back.   We’ve been able to connect our students around the world with blogs since about 2005 and with global projects using forums and list serves since the 1980s.  How many of us jumped on board?  We’ve had extremely rich sites sharing how-to’s of authentic learning and Project Based Learning for more than two decades.   Were we on board then?

We have had Ministry Licensed products that allow multimedia creation and assistive technology for our students for another decade or so.  Were we all making use of these?  When I tell people that my students and I were blogging with other classrooms across the world almost 10 years ago now, and we did this by taking turns all throughout the day on two desktop computers,  they sometimes look at me strangely – like they couldn’t imagine doing that without the Chromebook cart rolled down to the classroom or students 1:1 on their own devices.   They complain that there isn’t enough technology, and yet their classroom computer is often sitting silently in the corner reserved for teacher email.  What’s up with that?

I’m reminded that early adopters will always be willing to put in the countless hours that lead them to mastery of technology tools (and other things) if they feel that will  transform their classrooms – that hasn’t changed much since computers were first introduced into classrooms.

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Despite my observations, and my confusion about slow progress in educational technology, I refuse to become cynical.  Instead, I’m telling myself that it’s the ubiquity and access that will make the difference this time around.  Now that educators can leap ahead with their own learning through connected networks, they are not bound any longer by the limits of their own school building or in-services for learning…they can connect with and  support each other and learn not only how to use these tools, but what effective use looks like.

Now that we can share our success stories and connect more widely through social media and through networks like the #ossemooc there is no reason to ‘wait for the learning’ – we can just go out and get it!  It was exciting to see so many educators at OTRK12 and GAFE Summit finding their community and learning together!

Brenda Sherry is an education leader from UGDSB.

She shares her learning here:

Presentations, workshops and publications
On Twitter @brendasherry
www.diigo.com/user/bsherry
http://delicious.com/bsherry
http://www.slideshare.net/bsherry
www.tech2learn.wikispaces.com

 

Day 17: Using Twitter for Professional Learning

Written and shared by Brandon Grasley

About a year ago I wrote a blog post called “How I Use Twitter Professionally – Updated!“. Since then I’ve refined or changed my use a bit more, so I thought it was worth refreshing the post again. So, the content below is the same as before, but with current stuff.

My tweets are public.

I’m trying to encourage conversation and collaboration, so my tweets are globally accessible. This also means I don’t make statements I wouldn’t be comfortable with anyone reading – my family, my students, my employer….

I don’t follow a lot of people.

I currently follow 292 people (that’s a big increase in the last year; about doubled), of whom about 200 are actively tweeting (let’s say at least weekly). Some of these aren’t related to education; for example, I follow The LEGO Group (@LEGO_Group).

I can’t read all of the stuff they tweet. I’m relying on my tweeps to retweet the really good stuff so I have a better chance of seeing it, or to mention me if it’s something they think I ought to notice.

I accept anyone as a follower, pretty much.

Except for a few obvious accounts, I let anyone follow me. Since my tweets are public, anyone can read them (even without a Twitter account), so letting people follow me doesn’t reveal anything extra. Plus, it’s easier when you don’t have to approve people.

I don’t follow back as a courtesy.

Before I decide to follow someone, I take a look at their tweet history. Is their stream of tweets going to enhance my experience? Will I learn from them? Or will I only learn what they had for breakfast?

I’m a fan of some personal stuff on Twitter, but if you post 300 times a day just to talk without conversing, I don’t need to see it. It’s not about you, it’s just that your use of Twitter doesn’t fit with mine.

Today I noticed that I have 3 fewer followers than I did a few days ago. Since there were a few new followers recently that means that more than 3 cut me off their list. That’s totally expected, and is actually pretty great. I think your lifestyle on Twitter should be like the Law of Two Feet: if it’s not working for you, move on.

I don’t accept Direct Messages (DMs)  from people I don’t follow.

This cuts down on the spam. Now it’s just mentions, and there aren’t too many of those. This is a good idea for anyone, so I thought I’d list it here.

I follow hashtags for a while.

Recently I followed #OTRK12 (our annual conference in Mississauga) and #GAFEsummit. I don’t follow the very busy tags, although I sometimes apply them to my posts (#D2L, #onted, #blendedlearning, #edtech).

I try to follow the people in Northern Ontario. We face many of the same issues, and perhaps we have solutions to help each other. I like that idea.

I don’t cross post to Facebook anymore.

I tweet too much. No one on Facebook wants to read all of that stuff. The handful of FB friends who do are also Twitter users and teachers, so they just go to Twitter to find me. When I write blog posts WordPress will publicize them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, and I’m certain that’s plenty for the FB crowd.

I use Tweetdeck; it rocks.

Chrome has TweetDeck as an app; I like that I can have columns for a variety of things I want to look at. Currently I have my Twitter timeline, my Twitter Interactions, my Twitter Messages (DMs), columns for #edCampSault, #OTRK12,  #OSSEMOOC,  @timrobinsonj’s eLC list@MeglioMedia’s Tech Enabled Learning list@ColleenKR’s SGDSB list, and #niprockart. It’s great.

I say things for myself, and I say things for others.

I tweet things that I want to remember or revisit (great for “note-taking” at a session/workshop/conference). I also tweet things to inform others or start conversations. My tweets (of links and such) aren’t endorsements, but since people sometimes view them that way I try not to share stuff that I’m not at least familiar with.

I talk a lot, but not too much

I try to ask questions and help out when others ask questions. I’m proud to say I am included as an honourary member of the SGDSB educators list because I help out the teachers up there, so I think my contributions are valued.

More importantly, I’m developing relationships with these distant folks, and the growth of my PLN has helped me out in my work as well. It was very exciting recently at OTRK12 to meet people whom I knew only through Twitter, and it was surprising how natural the face-to-face interactions felt. We were already friends. So thanks, tweeps.

If you want to follow me…

I’m @bgrasley. No pressure, of course. Use Twitter however it works best for you!

Brandon Grasley is the eLC for Algoma District School Board and the chair of the recent OTRK12 Conference.

Day 14: Words That Resonate – Inspiration from Google Summit 2014

Created and shared by Bea Meglio

Bea’s Piktochart can be viewed here: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/1671747-words-that-resonate

Screen shots of the graphic can be viewed below.

Please take the time to comment. Do you agree? Start the conversation!

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Bea Meglio, with over 25 years of classroom experience, is a passionate advocate for empowering teachers and students to always strive to reach their potential. Currently as an Education Officer with e-Learning Ontario, she works towards supporting digital opportunities for all learners.

Follow Bea on Twitter: @megliomedia

Day 13: Our First Edcamp

Whole-Hearted

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one of three workshops put on for our first Edcamp

How can we possibly find the time to give teachers opportunities to learn about new technology?  There is no question that we need to find a way to change the way we deliver PD.  Teacher learning needs to be embedded and easily accessible so that everyone can keep up with all the changes being brought on through Google, Apple, chromebooks and apps apps apps!

We are experimenting with a version of the edcamp model. To do this, I gave over our regular meeting time (once per month) and allowed teachers to sign up for three 20 minute workshops.  Fortunately, we had three staff members who were willing to present.

I don’t think this is how a regular edcamp would work, but we were dealing with limited time and no more than 15 staff.

The model needs some work, but…

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