25 June 2013

Stephen Johnson - Where Good Ideas Come From

Interesting thought - Tim Berners-Lee wasn't intending to create the Internet. He meant to invent something that would simply connect documents. However, he invented something that was remixed into the most amazing tool in human history. 

Apple didn't just study other retailers when they opened Apple Stores. They studied something completely different. Connecting to what Will Richardson said yesterday, they didn't do it better, the did it different. This is significant. When we are thinking about education and how to "fix" it, we really need to think differently. Not just better

Great thoughts. I hope this will percolate for a while. 

24 June 2013

What Makes a Good Conference Presenter

Good presenters - 

Know who they are as a presenters
Plan the goals and outcomes 
Know the audience
Anticipate questions
Visualize presentation and attendees
Assess themselves 

Is the presentation for you? Or for the audience? Consider that question when making the planning. Should your presentation tool fit you? Or the audience? 

Abundant Learning: 4 Newish Ideas in Education with Will Richardson

Why are we here at ISTE? Is it to be a better teacher or a better learner? If its not the latter, it's probably for the wrong reason. We all are likely living at the most change-filled moment in education and we must be willing to re-think our educational methods through a different lens or we will be preparing students for a world that no longer exists. 

Margaret Wheatley says "We can't be creative if we aren't willing to be confused. Change always begins with confusion." What am I confused about? I think I'm confused about student motivation. I'm disturbed by a distinct lack of motivation in students. I need to work hard at engaging students and figuring out what I can do to move them to a more intense level of learning. How we get students to embrace the act of learning. More importantly, how do we engage students in designing their own learning AND how do we work on the systems in place to ALLOW that to even happen? This latter question is hard for K-12 and a bit easier for the more autonomous nature of higher education. 

The problem with education is that we are the product of the current system but that system is not relevant to today's students. Students understand the education game. What do I do to be able to "check the box?" 

How do students learn to play (actual) games? They have PLNs and resources that they find/construct on their own! Traditional learning teaches students facts "just in case" but today's learning teaches students how to find information "just in time" and be able to connect that information with other information.  

Think about today's world, who needs a reporter? Reporters are now news aggregators. EVERYONE is a reporter. YouTube is the channel. Even the media markets are beginning to use YouTube. The world is changing. We are now able to print leather and suspect that in the next two years we will be able to print food. We have no idea what's coming. Learning is leaving the institution and is moving into the hands of the learners. Students CAN learn anything, anytime, anywhere - if they are disposed to doing so and have the skills and literacies to do so. 

I think I need to read Mr Richardson's book, "Why School?"

We don't necessarily need to be better. We need to be DIFFERENT. Example, the USS United States (fastest ship to cross the Atlantic in its day) vs the DeHavilland Comet (jet aircraft cut Atlantic crossing to about 10 hours). The ship was better than other ships. But the airplane was different, not just better. 

What is self organized learning? What is networked learning? 

We need to be able to let our kids meet and learn with strangers on the Internet. Think about that. They need to be put into situations that allow (encourage/require) them to connect with people who are not bound by geographical limitations. It's the world we live in. That is what a global market looks like. What if your doctor wasn't/isn't an unlearner/relearner? That's what we need to instill in our students. Make a safe place for students to risk and FAIL. 

The epitome of the honors student is one who is terrified of failure. Students should be encouraged and allowed to fail. 

Check into dual lingo. This site teaches a language and translates the web at the same time. 

Think about the meta-idea of twitter and how that applies to students. It's not a place, an institution, a repository of knowledge. It is a place to make connections with others who have similar interests. This is the analogy of education. Students are learners who need to connect with others to achieve a common goal. This could be worded better, but I think you get the idea. Maybe instead it's a way to connect to team members to solve a problem. To connect to people who are DIFFERENT than they are. Bottom line, it's a medium for connection. 

What is design thinking? Check out designthinkingforeducators.com Discovery. Interpretation. Ideation. Experimentation. Evolution. It's a process that students of through. It's a bit like a pared-down version of the scientific method! The key is that the questions don't have answers. Key component. 

What is the Maker Movement? Good grief I freaking love this guy. We are moving back to the industrial arts classroom and a bit of the cottage manufacturing industry. Students make something as they learn the knowledge. It's a huge shift to students creating artifacts. The skills students learn are the basics of what every student should know.  

I need a 3-D printer. That's my next thing. They are <$2k. I've got to get another Arduino! I may need a Pi as well. 

Guiding question: How do I integrate this into my pre-service science education classes? Small things. Small steps. I can't change it all at once. 

SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC

This is a panel format, where several people share their learned lessons. 

Tom Woodward - Ds106.com has already been mentioned. @mishelleyb and I have talked about that. It's a place that aggregates using RSS feeds. Students create assignments or choose a Pre-made assignment. Use tags to aggregate and see what others have done. A student created a radio show. It also contains a remix machine which will take two assignments and mix them. Also students have created a "best of" where students showed other students' work. 

Unknown presenter name - university gave grants for game-based learning. Looking at the meta-idea of what online communities look like, what discussions look like, and how this learning can "morph into a guild of educators." Lurkers use social network knowledge construction as a way of learning. Just lurking is a way to get the basics and begin to understand. Badges are a way for people who are over achievers to get what they need when they complete EVERY assignment. 

Unknown presenter - international MOOCs being used in emerging markets (limited) but heavily in higher Ed and some are for credit. Emerging markets do not put as much credibility into online degrees as established markets. Business world thinks this is new. But it's constructivist style learning. MOOCs are not as valued now for what they are doing, but more for how they are CHANGING education. 

Unknown presenter - many in education think that the MOOC is a "sky is falling" kind of mentality. 
However, his main point is the constructivist vs Stanford model (connectivist). There is defined content, but the connections made are more important. Khan Academy has delivered >300 million lessons. How do we build a MOOC that attracts students?
Chunk the information 10 minute videos with inline quiz (engages, not grading) requires students to check understanding. Also offers feedback. Cannot proceed w/o "getting it". Informal presence of the instructor. Think about the "lesson" module in Moodle. There must be deadlines. 

Shifted into breakout sessions - I followed Tom Woodard. How does this thing work? Must be open to change because this will evolve over time. The fact remains that we have a group of people who are engaged in something about which they are passionate. What if our OIT were a MOOC which was done as a cohort? The current group is creating content for future groups. That OIT is a free course anyway. We are using people who may or may not be right for online teaching. If they finish, great. If not, they don't teach. This needs to be something done in conjunction with other CCCU schools. 

One interesting idea of this is that these things can snowball and become much larger than the original intent. Sometimes there is a "creative-spiraling" where assignments get remixed. Students work hard when they see other's work and make it until they get it to the point at which THEY are satisfied. Not the point at which the minimum standard of mastery is met. Tom is self-described as "kind of fringy."

At this point I was supposed to switch tables, but I stayed. I'm interested in what this looks like from both the student and the admin side. Tom keeps referring to the "hippy Montessori" style of learning. The big idea here is to write on your own blog/place and tag it and its aggregated to the course through the RSS feed. The other big idea is to have students pitch assignment ideas. They become the course designers. These ideas then trigger ideas in others. This can lead to the "spiral of creativity" alluded to earlier. 

Linear learning is the fastest path, but is it the best? The less structured learning is slower, but maybe it's better? Are each useful in different situations? It seems the less structured way is good for specialization, while structure is more content driven, i.e. mat leave with "these basic skills."  

Big ideas: the things that yield the greatest results require the greatest risks. AND you must be prepared to fail. You must be willing to risk. How does this play out in a K-12 environment? What one person can achieve might not be possible in EVERY place. Work within your boundaries but push those boundaries to advance students' learning. 

Great thoughts. Interesting session. A whole lot to chew on. 

23 June 2013

Opening Thoughts on ISTE 2013

It's the end of June and that usually means the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference for me. This is my 3rd year, although I did miss going to San Diego last year. We are in San Antonio and the atmosphere here is quite exciting. I'm not sure why it seems different this year, but there's a buzz in the air that seems a bit... I don't know, "heightened" is the only word I can think of. 
Michelle and I arrived last night, late. We did something a bit different, we rode the train to get here. We rode down to Fort Worth and then switched to a nicer train for the remainder of the trip. Upgrading to first class (roomette or bedroom) is worth the money. Meals are included on that ticket which basically pays for itself. We ran late, but who cares? I got to nap instead of drive!

The opening session this afternoon was exciting. There was an interesting/funny MC (@shareski) and two groups of 5 who spoke in an Ignite format. If you're not familiar, you have 20 slides and 5 minutes. The slides advance whether you are ready or not. Brilliant. I'm a big fan. We will definitely be doing something similar at the CCCU COT conference next year. Having your own people share their ideas and passions adds a component to the session which is missing when you bring in an "outsider". Most of the 10 speakers today were enthusiastic and interesting. Well-played ISTE. 

The opening keynote is next. Jane McGonigal is up. She's a strong advocate for gamification. I'm excited to hear what she has to say. The keynotes at these always tend to inspire me and my expectation today is nothing short of that.