Collaborative Novel Writing Presentations for MPTC

This is the presentation that I gave today for the MPTC Div II and III.  Collaborative ideas for all three sessions are in this post as well, so find your sessions ideas and get writing, due date is Friday March 14th.  If you have questions or concerns, please email me!

Class Novel for Division II & III

From the High School session this morning:

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From the Division III session this afternoon:

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From the Division II session this afternoon:

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Create a Buzz in Your Classroom {inspirational teaching, project-based learning, fun in the classroom}

Look, I know we many of us want that perfect room where anyone could walk in at any time and see peace, hard work and learning evident on the focused faces of our diligent students.  When I started teaching that’s what I thought I wanted, but the reality is so much more than orderly information dissemination.  In my classroom these days, the only time my students are quiet is when they are reading, and only because they can’t do that any other way.

Learning is messy stuff, and the best kind of learning requires some noise and movement to occur.  Think about the times when you really felt involved; either in learning, planning or at a meeting.  Were you sitting passively learning, or were you passionately debating, yearning for your ideas to be incorporated, arguing fiercely for your perspective? I am inclined to think the latter is where most of us fall.  So how can we argue that students will learn better with a litany of rules and a passive learning structure? I would argue that the best learning is done on one’s own terms, and with as little direct guidance as is required.  Enough background to understand, or know where to look, read, watch or develop the ideas, but also enough freedom that a student can go ask another student for support, can change the assignment to fit their interest, and a path to learning that can light a fire, not cause narcolepsy.

Take the time to ask what you can do with the curriculum, not how to cover it.  I would rather have my students take a step back from 200 lines of ‘must do’ items and tackle one ‘could we’ item that keeps them up at night thinking of the possibilities.

Like lighting a fire though, you must have suitable materials for learning, including a solid relationship with and knowledge of each student, otherwise you will have no idea what will strike a cord with them.  Also, you must know your curriculum, the expectations on you and your students, so you know how big the ‘dream project’ must be to encompass it.  Finally, you must let go of your fear; you won’t do it all right every time, but I can guarantee that quiet kid at the back who never gets in trouble because he is too busy with something creative in his desk didn’t get everything his teachers put out there either!

Thanks for reading!

Derek

A Pedagogic Oath – What if we had one?

Upon their entry into the practice of medicine, doctors take an oath dating back to Hippocrates that has guided their service through the centuries.  As I was completing my Masters work and reading the works of Dewey, Vygotksy, Coelho and other educational thinkers, I began to wonder what an educational, or pedagogic oath might look like.  Here was what I believed to be the essential components of education.  What would your pedagogic oath look like?

A Pedagogic Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

of those teachers in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to

follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of children, all teaching methodologies that are required, avoiding those twin traps of personal bias and judgement.

I will remember that there is art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh standard testing or ranking systems.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed to support student learning.

I will respect the privacy of my students, for their learning needs are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of assessed learning or grades. If it is my honor to facilitate great learning, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to harm a student’s self-esteem and self-value; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own inconsistencies.

I will remember that I do not teach a curriculum, a concept or an idea, I teach a human being, whose learning is linked to and affected by their community and experience, and that learning in our classroom may affect the student’s family, economic future and connection to society. My responsibility includes these re- lated areas, if I am to teach adequately any student.

I will create inquiry whenever I can, for curiosity is preferable to drill or rote learning.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those of higher education as well as those with more practical learning.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of teaching those who seek my help.

Derek Keenan
Developing Education

Leave a comment with your thoughts.  If you like the oath and you would like a more polished PDF version, head over to my resources page to download a copy.  If you are willing to take the oath, grab this badge for your site:

Pedagogic Oath

Simply copy the following code into the HTML on your website or blog:

<a href=”http://developingeducation.ca/a-pedagogic-oath-what-if-we-had-one”><img src=”https://mrkeenan.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/oath.png&#8221; alt=”Pedagogic Oath” border=”0″ /></a>

…and yes, that is Dewey’s moustache.

 

Shifting Conversations: iPads in Education

I am quite amazed at the transition that is taking place in education. After attending the Florida Education Technology Conference, and reconnecting with many of the amazing educators I have had the pleasure of getting to know on Twitter and elsewhere, I have noticed the depth of conversations about the integration of technology and particularly iPads has shifted. While I am sure that there are many educators out there who still have not used iPads in education, the ones who now have a year or two of integrated use of these devices have shifted their analysis of the value that they bring to education. Generally, the initial conversations were theoretical and dealt with the surface level outcomes to be reached. As conversations have moved forward, there is more of a blend of pedagogy, curricular outcomes and real assessment of the learning processes that students are are engaged in. I have seen amazing lists of apps sorted into Bloom’s taxonomy, but going even further I have seen highly developed criteria for assessing the value of an app.

In my current school, we are looking at taking a significant number of apps off of the iPads, as they aren’t meeting our developing need to use these devices in a more focused and less ‘edutaining’ way. We are developing a committee and criteria to do this, a way to maintain the educational integrity of this technology and move the iPad fully from toy to tool in the classroom and move out of the ‘wow’ factor and solidify its position as a regularly accessible technology.

On the converse side, the concept of gamification of education is taking hold and maintaining traction in education. I don’t think that this is an either/or scenario. I really think that true gamification, the use of game design and immersive game-based learning is a far different thing than using edutainment to rehearse a concept as a worksheet might. Gamification is not about a device, but rather an environment, and is really quite distinct to using a tool like the ipad educationally. I will write more about both of these concepts soon, as I am completing more research on game-based learning, but in my research and mind, I see iPad implementation as significantly different, even as the depth of gamification increases as well.

I’m curious to know if others are seeing this shift as well, and whether you have seen your own conversations around iPads in education changing. If so, let me know what you think the key takeaways are, and how you are distinguishing the valuable apps from the ones that are less about learning, and more about entertainment.