Quote of the Week – On Education

“I’m not suggesting that every autistic child is a prodigy, or every typical child for that matter. But if you fuel a child’s innate spark, it will always point the way to far greater heights than you could ever have imagined” – Kristine Barnett

If you are a teacher who embraces a strength-based philosophy, check out The Spark: A mother’s story of Nurturing Genius – by Kristine Barnett. You can also learn more about Jacob Barnett by watching his TEDxTeen talk.

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Student Blogging Challenge

Edublog Awards

Amy – www.amymshs8.vic.edu

I would like to nominate Amy under the student blog category.  Her blog is very creative and included a variety of different posts.  I especially enjoyed her piece about Albania.  I learned a lot about blogging from her and enjoyed the dialogue that we had throughout the blogging challenge.

 

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Student Blogging Challenge

At the end of August I signed on to be a mentor for the Student Blogging Challenge.  Over the next ten weeks students of all ages will develop their blogging skills by participating in a variety of hands-on lessons and activities. I now have 25 students ages 13-14 who I have connected with and will learn alongside them over the course of the challenge.

 

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Be Mindful of the Words You Choose to Label Things

My 15 year old daughter told me that when I have my own classroom I should have a poster like this one on the wall.  I agree!

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Becoming a Connected Educator Might Require a Change in Mindset

I am currently reading Mindset – The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. The author believes that we each have a particular mindset, fixed or growth that creates our whole mental world.

Fixed Mindset

  • Ability is static
  • Reach early plateaus
  • Concerned with being judged
  • Focus on outcome
  • Always proving you are smart
  • Effort is a bad thing because it means you are not smart

Growth Mindset

  • Ability is learned
  • Enjoy consistent growth
  • Concerned with improving
  • Value what you’re doing regardless of outcome
  • More concerned with stretching yourself and learning new things
  • Effort is what makes you smart and talented

When my professor introduced Dweck’s work in EDUC 401 – Issues in Teaching and Learning he made the comment that your mindset as a learner will often be your mindset as a teacher.  How many current teachers were schooled in a time when a fixed mindset was encouraged or rewarded?

Last week in our breakout group of The Connected Educator Book Club someone made the comment that people in the book club were already part of the converted and they are frustrated by their work colleagues who fail to embrace connected learning.  Perhaps these feet draggers have difficulty jumping on board because they operate with a fixed mindset.

These might also be the same teachers who never change schools or grades, give students the same lessons over and over each year without making modifications for student interest or ability, participate in PD because they are required to and do not advocate for sessions that would move their practice forward, or are concerned about being the “best teacher” or having the “best class” but there is no visible risk taking by the teacher nor the students.

One of the outcomes of a PLN is personal growth with a focus on self-development, self-motivation and taking personal responsibility for your own learning.   In order for connected learning communities to flourish we might need to “unlearn” our belief in a fixed mindset and “relearn” a belief in a growth mindset.

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My Six Word Story

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ankor2/

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Quote of the Week – On Education

Whistler in Summertime

 

“Education is not a linear process of preparation for the future: it is about cultivating the talents and sensibilities through which we can live our best lives in the present and create the future for ourselves.”   – Sir Ken Robinson

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Is Lurking Such a Bad Thing?

I am curious to know who coined the term “lurking” for someone who reads the messages on internet chat rooms or blogs and never contributes and why they chose to give it such a negative connotation?

Lurking, as it has been defined, seems cowardly and passive and conjures up images of someone hiding out in a dark computer room with the blinds shut tight.  Consequently, there are probably a lot of people out there who are either afraid to admit that they lurk on the internet or, even worse, choose not to participate at all because they don’t want others to pass judgement on them.

I am a lurker and am not afraid to admit it because lurking is the way in which I learn. For me it involves:

  • Listening to the conversations that are going on
  • Understanding other points of view
  • Reflecting on big (or little) ideas that I have been exposed to
  • Keeping up with the constant stream of new and exciting ideas
  • Inquiring and asking questions about topics that excite me
  • Noticing what issues resonate with people and that I should pay more attention to
  • Gaining confidence to move from being an observer to an active participant

If we want people to embrace connected learning then we we need to encourage people to participate in whatever way they feel comfortable and not make them feel that they are non-participants because they are not blogging, tweeting or commenting on someone’s post.

As people become more familiar with the forum that information is being presented and comfortable in the online world they will begin to participate more actively, because they will see value in the connections that can be made.

My journey into connected learning has been slow and a bit overwhelming.  Until now, I have used the computer as a tool to communicate with friends and family, organize bookkeeping files, or create word documents.  I have been more of a consumer of information than a producer, so I find myself with a steep learning curve as I get comfortable with all of these web 2.0 tools.  I struggle, get frustrated, put my computer aside for awhile, try again, learning something new, plod on.

Despite my shortcomings, I persist, because I recognize the importance of integrating technology into my practice and I need to acquire these skills.  Initially, I tried to do this on my own through this blog; however, through lurking I discovered the Powerful Learning Practice website and Connected Educator month.  Suddenly, I found a place where I could develop my skills in a purposeful and meaningful way, while getting connected with educators from around the world.  I now feel empowered, not  overwhelmed or defeated, and each week I find more of my voice.

Since August 8, I have been participating in an online bookclub to discuss The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall. During the first two sessions I remained quiet, trying to get a handle on Elluminate, following the rapidly scrolling chat stream, struggling with participating in the interactive activities like putting my initials on a comfy chair visual on the whiteboard(never did figure that out)…so many new skills to learn.  I have plodded on, had a few “aha” moments and learned a great deal.  Next week, I think I will be ready to grab the mike.

We talk about having a common vocabulary for what it means to be connected learners.  What word can we use instead of “lurking” to describe how we acquire new knowledge and become part of a community of connected learners?

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The Pregame is Done, Now What Did I Learn?

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a Do-It-Yourself Web 2.0 Online eCourse through Powerful Learning Practice and after posting my last reflection today earned my first PLPeep badge that I added to the sidebar of my blog.

If you are a new to web 2.0 and want to get comfortable using these tools yourself before introducing them to your students, sign up for this class.  You won’t be disappointed and you will begin to move your practice into the 21st century.

Here are a few of my new discoveries:

  • I actually know more about web 2.0 tools than I previously thought and am already incorporating many of these things into my current practice
  • After working through the various plays I understand the importance of connected learning, blogging, wikis, RSS, social bookmarking, video sharing, personal learning networks, and Twitter, and am now able to share my newfound knowledge with other newbies like myself
  • It takes time to become comfortable with these tools; however, once you do they can add immensely to your growth as an educator
  • Do-It-Yourself  eCourses are an excellent way to learn because you can invest as much, or as little time as you want, and you can move at your own pace.
  • Time + Effort = New Discoveries.  Well worth the investment!

Now that the pregame is done I have found another great self-directed resource, The Connected Learner Starter Kit, to enhance my knowledge of web 2.0 tools and will continue to use my blog to reflect my new discoveries.  Check it out, you too might find it useful!

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