Category Archives: Education

Education

Blended learning assessed…

http://www.christenseninstitute.org/does-blended-learning-work/

When we talk to education leaders about blended learning, we often hear the question, “Does it work?” What they want to know is, “If I fund a blended learning initiative or implement a blended learning program in my schools, can I be confident that it will improve student learning?” Typically, these education leaders can see the potential that blended of aviation history demonstrating that fact.
…student-centered instruction, which in turn can produce strong student learning outcomes. Many schools today are testing and refining their blended learning models in order to figure out how to achieve increasingly stronger student learning results. The success of any blended learning program, however, depends on how well school leaders design and implement it with clear goals in mind
…”

( Arnett)

- See more at: http://www.christenseninstitute.org/does-blended-learning-work/#sthash.vE54TmgW.dpuf

From
Al Smith
twoloons@icloud.com @literateowl

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http://www.christenseninstitute.org/does-blended-learning-work/

Arnett. “Blended Learning.” N.p., Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. .

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Filed under Education, Professional Development, Reflective Learning, Teacher Professional, technology

Clay Shirky, just banned technology use in class…

Why a leading professor of new media , Clay Shirky, just banned technology use in class – The Washington Post

Stanford professor Cliff Nass discusses his research on multitasking and its effect on the brain in 2009. Nass was a professor of communication at Stanford University, co-creator of the Media Equation theory. He died last year. (Stanford University)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/09/25/why-a-leading-professor-of-new-media-just-banned-technology-use-in-class/?utm_content=buffer17d96&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

“….despite these rationales, the practical effects of my decision to allow technology use in class grew worse over time. The level of distraction in my classes seemed to grow, even though it was the same professor and largely the same set of topics, taught to a group of students selected using roughly the same criteria every year. The change seemed to correlate more with the rising ubiquity and utility of the devices themselves, rather than any change in me, the students, or the rest of the classroom encounter….(Straus, Washington Post)

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Straus, Virginia. “Why media professor banned technology from classroom”. Washington Post. 10/04/2014.

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Filed under Censorship, Education, Media Literacy, Teacher Professional, technology

Maker spaces?

As many progressive teacher-librarians are introducing spaces and activity opportunities for creation, most of us should also evaluate the efficiency and worthiness from a learning perspective. It’s not just about any experiential rewards but also about the outcomes that attempt to meet our curricula. I believe there is implicit value in exploring and challenging but there are boundaries as to whether the activities are justified, worthy and cost effective. ‘Play’ -at any age has terrific value but like any decisions professionals make, we must weigh any virtue with our goals.

“Kids have always made in my library.
We encouraged digital and visual and dramatic and rhetorical creativity before, during, and after school. But for a while, I’ve questioned the value of using already heavily used real estate to randomly carve out space for a 3D printer, electronics stations and sewing machines. I had my doubts about the makerspace movement in school libraries.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to chat with Amos Blanton, project manager of the Scratch online community, and a member of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab. On his profile Amos notes: I design and sustain creative learning environments for people with agency.” ( Valenza )

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VALENZA, Joyce. ‘Neverending Search’. Sept. 09-24-2014. (Online)

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Filed under Education, Personal Learning Network, Professional Development, School Library, technology

Owls are Leaders that endure.. @bccancer

I think we all should hear about some positive school news because there isn’t to much lately.

BC Cancer Foundation (@bccancer) 2014-06-03, 3:02 PM @kelowna_owls have raised $300,000 for cancer research since 2001! So proud to have you as our partners in discovery! pic.twitter.com/CNIlOPSBoR From Al Smith – @kssreads

I usually reserve this blog for library and learning concepts or issues but heck what is more important than building the sense of community service in students and social commitment than cancer campaigns and science research?

At KSS we lived it with cancer victims in our student body. We still live it with cancer survivors on our faculty. Students, fit wives of PE teachers, Fine Arts teachers- librarians; no one is untouched. At KSS, our Rec Leadership Program includes several classes of teens led by teachers Fane Triggs and Tony Sodaro. In addition to the instruction pieces they volunteer loads of energy and hundreds of extra hours each year to package projects like the KSS CANCER WEEK event. Not just one activity but a comprehensive multi-event/multi-day campaign. It’s not just a letter home. It’s a full scale real world exercise in community service and fundraising. Car washes, breakfasts, HEADSHAVING , Golf tournaments, rallies, …more.., The school has supported the event over the years, as they do so many other large KSS projects because we strive to provide our students with opportunities and experiential learning that includes people skills and learning by doing and sharing the experience as a team. These mostly extracurricular events cannot be easily run in small schools and they cannot be a success without many teachers ( and admin support) working voluntarily in the evenings and during weekends. Big projects mean many extra teachers need to be away from their own children in order to dedicate themselves to KSS students. They don’t do these talks for any extra money. They don’t do it for promotions. They don’t do it for for any other reason than a sense of professionalism and a bond to Owl culture and tradition.

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The Cancer Week campaign is now part of our school culture. It’s part of our yearly planning and conversations. I’ve come to be proud of how so many teachers annually dedicate time and energy on various extracurricular projects at KSS that drive community partnerships. We’ve seen how our school can plan and execute large events with notable excellence. Teachers have worked with well with administration, district staff, patents, students and the wide community to build a school project like four decades of Western Canada Basketball, or the notable Encore Music or hosting Debate or BC Provincial tournaments or Student Leadership Conferences… Etc.

These events take heart. They take teachers with skills and volunteerism that very few people understand- especially the Government. Wondrous events like the KSS CANCER WEEK campaign that endure and built hope beyond the classroom walls exist because teachers like Triggs and Sodaro chose to be as resilient as any survivor and don’t lose hope.
………..

Ps.
Think of the positive impact to thousands students over a dozen years? Who may become future Foundation chairpersons?

Think of a school project that averages a donation of $25000 EACH year?

Share this with those who think ‘those who can’t -teach’ . Those of our community who may be the most gifted and dedicated to people and certainly children- are teachers. That’s worth something!

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Filed under Education, KSS Student Body, Reflective Learning

Personal and Professional vs. Public and Private | Reblog

The Principal of Change blog post by George Couros is a thoughtful and purposeful overview of the common social media concern of privacy in the public online space. I particularly appreciate George’s thesis of teaching students the distinctions and role of ‘public’ content. I have two profiles for Twitter and I’ve reflected on how useful that can or cannot be as a teacher. We do function in particular public profession and also have to be privacy advocates for students. Us king social media as we provide learning opportunities that teach concepts such as ‘public’ has to be a wise consideration.

> http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3432
>
> During my time over in Australia, there was a lot of talk about the notion of having both a “personal” and “professional” identity on social media.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker

> The “personal” account would be one that is used with friends and family, where as the “professional” account would be one that is used with the work that you do in school. Although I understand the notion behind what is being said here, I don’t know if this is what I would really be focusing on when working with students or educators. We should really be focusing on the notion of “public and private” and how that works in our world.( G Couros )

Reblogged by Al Smith

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Filed under Education, Media Literacy, Personal Learning Network, Professional Development

Teaching is more than a prescription or curricula

So, the BC Government just released a grocery list of Curriculum amendments. After last years’ BCEdPlan there remains very little consensus. About direction. Consultation was superficial and clouded by election campaign and a severed teacher’s negotiation. Education for a decade since contracts were torn up and policy, designed around Fraser Institute reports, has been in turmoil. Year2000 Royal Commission long forgotten. Despite this, BC public education has excelled. Our children have been served pretty well compared with other global jurisdiction. Spectacular special needs integration, economic crash, teacher relations upheaval and some major social change have all been adapted into schooling as best could be expected.

Perhaps the only trend now I’m sensing is a big disconnect between the stakeholders. Our students don’t follow all the hoopla and are essentially not informed or asked. Perhaps children shouldn’t be consulted either? They are children after all. Professionals and parents should be leading, guiding, parenting- the village should be raising them. Perhaps we have already gone too far already. Helicopter parenting and an enabling school system that is creating a generation of very anxious and neurotic youth. ( medical experts claim so) Some say our children are spoiled, other say they are neglected. I see both every day. I also see beauty and wonderful gifted youth.

Government and parents have a paradoxical love hate relationship. School boards and the Ministry try hard to make parents happy with policy tweaks yet major erosion of services and funding has caused grievances. I say funding because while budgets are large the 21stC has also seen private school underwritten with substantial monies and this has impacted the distribution of resources. A squeeze if you like. The recent CUPE contract to point. Costs have to come from current district budgets. Something in public school service to kids has to give. Duh.

The teacher stakeholder group is indifferent, frustrated if not disheartened. After decades if teaching, I have never seen teachers work so hard and tackle so many variables inside and outside the classroom but my real thesis today isn’t the hardships but the uniqueness of our plight. Teaching isn’t about curriculum or pedagogy or new prescriptive methods discovered in fain land or Louisiana( BC educators are already some of the most skilled and innovative already) it’s about relating to students as people.

I had a young woman drop by our KSS learning commons today and ask for Mr. Smith. :-) Our loyal on the job library assistant Mrs Kole naturally directed her so she could find me. As a hundred times a day, I expected some kind of inquiry about books or technology or whatever… Today was different. Today I was reminded about why teachers and direct relationship building is vital. Connected learning and blended learning is fine but education is greater than the sum of its technical pedagogical parts.

The young lady wanted to know about a few of my acrylic paintings I had recently displayed in the library. On a whim and encouragement from some art students I hung my own art projects in the library. She asked, “someone said you have paintings here, can I see them?” I felt honored if a little embarrassed. I’m not used to that kind of personal inquiry but we had a delightful talk about art, personal motivation and why we try new things.

You see I just started painting this spring because some grade 12 kids coaxed me. I was a quasi fine arts patron at KSS setting up a gallery in the library and trying to help out whenever I could, . visiting shows etc. This delightfully mature girl was on a mission of inquiry. She was seeking a spark of interest. She was reaching out for the human experience. Taking risk. Building personal relationships of exploration and trust such as this, big or small, are priceless investments in our youth. No curriculum or trendy political motivation or school of thought will change that. We need to invest in our people- in our children, not shiny new things. Years ago I liked the expression Hi-Touch over Hi-Tech. I think it still applies more than ever.

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Filed under criticism, Education, KSS Student Body, Reflective Learning

EDcampOK13- the unconference invades the valley

The Okanagan valley often has a problem of confronting noxious plants, alien weeds and foreign animals invading our delicate desert ecosystems. Some drastic actions are often required. Today the education unconference known as EDCamp was transplanted from lower mainland and other regions by @carolyndurley @clairethompson @naryn . Some trendy transplantation from foreign lands are toxic. EdCamp Okanagan had nothing noxious about it. It was a valuable and enjoyable way to engage with new colleagues. Thanks everyone.

20131102-155911.jpg So why would this old teacher and @literateowl bother to spend a Saturday indoors doing free pro-D? Well, firstly it’s free. It’s organized and driven along by teachers but mostly it allows free flowing discussion of big ideas that rarely get the time or light of day. Ideas like Genius Hour, Assessment, Chromebooks, social-emotional considerations, collaboration models….

We often work and even think in isolation. Twitter and Google+ etc have helped provide me valuable insights and knowledge about teaching but some face to face sharing in smaller groups was a worthy experience. It gives me insight and context when I’m planning or questioning my practices. It is a joy to listen and share to professors, superintendents, consultants, directors, kindergarten teachers, or private school math teachers. It is a joy to finally meet nose to horns, with colleagues from our neck of the woods, but who I know only virtually online. It’s also fun to affirm that my virtual perceptions of them were close but so completely inferior to meeting them in person. It renders hope that connectedness enriches us but doesn’t replace the value in gathering once in awhile face to face. OMG I met @nsearcy17 librarian !

I shared a book, Quiet, by Susan Cain, because I know some introverted and quiet types can get drowned out by well-intended extroverted bulls like myself sometimes. EDcamps do help bring a smaller setting for some. Participants can respond or add to Twitter stream if they like. I think we could do a better job of generating some silent writing or sharing out methods next time? Maybe a Google form? Or a EdCamp blog invitation? It would be good to find some small way to compensate for the noise bull moose like myself might make while we stomp up and down the professional landscape foraging on the great education topics voted on by teachers :-)

If you get a chance, attend an EDCamp near your neck of the woods.

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Take Away:

1. Chrome books
@paulkellybc from Heritage Christian
Thorough demo and explanation of his school rollout of Google apps and $250 Chromebooks for senior students. Pretty sweet integration and student management opportunities. Nb. Also uses Moodle for courseware. Parent Permission forms. 25% of usual Tech service costs.
We discussed OS, platform, privacy, FOIPPA , apps issues.
#messyed great hashtag
Bottom line. They work very well for 90% of student activities.

2. Collaboration in schools. Don -District Admin. Penticton.
How to build teaching innovation, skills and capacity in collab way ? Culture? Set up Teams by topic:. Using collaborative models TF and others…. Adjust bells to build block times for teachers. Using 2 August days for early dismissal afternoons. Including some form of teacher created consensus and accountability important. School had mix of Short term and long term goals and time lines. See @nsearcy17 the collaboration deer

3. Integrating Technology . With Claire. Penticton district helping teacher.
Diverse group. Passionate topic and ideas for many. It cab empowering yet many teachers are overwhelmed with choices and technical obstacles.
Range of services from school to school and district to district a concern. Have or have not.
BYOD brings a need for planning.
Issues around Tech Dept vs Curric Dept. The need to have a curric road map is vital but difficult. Planning and skills dev tricky with rate of change. The average user/teacher now has computing power in his hands but not sure how to best use it? Not confident how to handle self-regulation/ devices with class management: there are mixed messages and value opinions in the community. Who’s job is it?

4. @Math_Johnson sucks ;-) LOL just kidding.

Reference

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Broadway Paperbacks, 2013. Print.

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Filed under Education, Personal Learning Network, Professional Development, Reflective Learning

Bill Gates, Ken Robinson, and TED Are Coming To PBS

Bill Gates, Ken Robinson, and TED Are Coming To PBS.

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Filed under Education, Media Literacy, MultiMedia, Professional Development, Teacher Professional, technology

Pink Shirt Day Feb 27 in the Oknagan

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs are once again renewing our stand against bullying by marking
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 as this year’s Pink Shirt Day in the Okanagan.

We hope you will join us!
Pink Shirt Day 2013 will once again be an opportunity to increase public awareness in the Okanagan, and to demonstrate that we are all a part of the solution and won’t tolerate bullying any longer. The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs will be joining this National movement for the fifth year in our valley, and together in partnership with our schools, families and with other community partners we are working to create an environment of respect year- round to make our Clubs, schools, and streets safer.
Please join with us by purchasing your new 2013 designed Pink T-shirt and wear it to work, school, and out in the community to make your statement. (See order form attached.) All proceeds from T-shirts sold will help support anti-bullying initiatives throughout the year within the Okanagan
Boys and Girls Clubs.

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Filed under Announcements, Education, KSS Student Body

Lights out- April 22 school board challenge…

Climate change is already being felt around the world, with the world’s most vulnerable people shouldering the brunt of its consequences. Do your students feel empowered to take action?
Lights Out Canada (www.lightsoutcanada.org) is an annual event, during which schools turn off their lights and follow lesson plans we provide on climate change and how youth can take action. Our materials seek to engage students with the science of climate change andempower them to take action. Participants lend their efforts to a national movement for change involving hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and administrators across Canada.
This year’s Lights Out Canada will be held on April 22, 2013.
Our resource packages (K-12) are available online in English and French and will be sent to registered schools. The materials include posters, a press pack, lesson plans and step-by-step instructions for how to organize Lights Out. We understand if turning off the lights is not possible in darker areas of your school.

Register online at http://bit.ly/Acp0O1 for the 8th annual Lights Out Canada, to be held onApril 22, 2013. The full Lights Out project summary and more information can be found at http://www.lightsoutcanada.org under “Downloads”.
School boards across Canada are challenging all of the schools in their districts to sign-up. Why not be the one to lead the challenge in your district?

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Filed under Announcements, Education, Global Informed, Media Literacy