This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s March Break for most educators in Ontario so we would excuse folks from their blogging duties, right?  Not so.  There were some great blog posts.  You can check out all of the Ontario educational blogs that I follow here.

Consultants and SATs
The Blogg’u’ca’tion 2 blog talked about the challenges of professional development and technology use in schools with limited access to resources.  The description for the PD session given (I’m assuming just before the break) Tags: , , forms the basis of this blog entry and there is a list of the online resources that were accessed during the session.  Read on to determine the take of the SAMR approach for this session.

Trustees, Higher Education
Melanie McBride’s most recent entry was about a concept in the classroom that she calls Gamification.  The term was new to me and a reply to the original post allowed Melanie to expand upon the concept even further.  This isn’t an easy read; I’ve read it perhaps 4 or 5 times and I’m not convinced that I know exactly the message.  My concern about gaming and the use of games in the classroom is that often it isn’t seen as as serious activity as others and consequently less attention is paid to the design of the activity.

It is, however, an area that I don’t think gets all of the academic rigour to it compared to other pedagogies.  Melanie continues to be a good read that helps me think deeper about gaming.

Principals, VPs, and Administrators
Peter Skillen made an observation that makes perfect sense when I think about it but, quite frankly, I’ve never thought of it the way before.  His post was about the importance of the "First Follower".  In particular, it was his second point that hit me right between the eyes.

"The first follower is the one who creates a leader"

Think that one through and read the other elements of Peter’s post.  He never fails to push my thinking.  While the words illustrate an insightful concept, it’s the impact of it all that has me thinking.  Don’t forget to enjoy the video that he’s attached to the post.

K-12 Teachers
Or, probably more correctly in this case, teacher-to-be.  You can’t go far wrong in a post that includes a quote from Dag Hammarskjold!  In this case, Shauna Daley, a student teacher at Brock University takes the time to reflect on her past week of student teaching.  At this juncture, she’ll be awfully close to completion of her education year (assuming a consecutive model) and so she really should be "getting it".  From the entry, that seems to be try.  I think back to my times practice teaching and it’s really a nervous experience.  In this blog, though, I’m hearing a strong teacher voice.  For those of us who are experienced teachers, take a read and see if that doesn’t take you back!

Please take the time to support these and all the Ontario Educators who are taking the time to share their learning with you.  Good things are happening throughout the province.

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One thought on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Thanks for engaging my post Doug. Your own thoughts – that games ought to be taken seriously – are present in my post as well so clearly there is some connection. I agree that practices need to be similarly sophisticated – though, not necessarily complex. The thing I have the most problem with though is how many classroom teachers go from “topic A” needs to be taught to “how do we teach topic A” … and not, “what is topic A? what do we understand or not understand? How will we all learn more about this? where ought we learn about this? etc” This is partly because many educators regard things like games as “texts” rather than communities. Or a piece of hardware/HCI with particular technical affordances – we talk about “themes” (content) and interfaces. What’s missing from this is COMMUNITY — games as part of complex social learning cultures. The same goes for transmedia convergence culture – it’s not about the texts so much as affinities, community behaviours and social interactions that emerge around these texts that fans and players are engaging in (same with Facebook to some degree – again, it’s not about the affordances of an interface but the nature of the social interaction that takes place within and the reasons why it is located there and not – in the classroom).

    Appreciate the time you spent trying to engage my post and appreciate your comments that it is unwieldy but I suppose it is a reflection of my own struggle with the complexity of ideas I’ve recently been presented with in my research – ideas I myself hadn’t really engaged in quite the same way prior to my exploration of gaming scholarship and the larger community of developers/creators and players I had only marginally inhabited as a gamer. But I think the question of gamification (an already somewhat complicated one) is made even more complicated by the tensions between different pedagogical practices and the larger question of what/why we situate certain kinds of learning in the classroom – and not elsewhere. While it may seem these issues are disparate, they are, in fact, quite interrelated – and you cannot address one without looking at the others. Thus the different points I was trying to unpack. Unfortunately, much of what I need to say is going into long form papers – stuff I’m currently working on that won’t be available for months. But I wanted to take a stab at it in my blog.

    I think the most difficult concept to unpack – though I’ve been doing so in my last 5 or so blog posts – is situated learning in informal affinity cultures v. formal learning. This is going to be very challenging for many teachers who are invested in formal education as their only model of teaching and learning. However, those teachers who already participate in genuine affinity spaces where “teaching” (by unqualified) and learning occurs – by those with a passion and mastery of their particular domain that rivals or exceeds that of the “trained” or qualified professional. Maker spaces, etc. Situated learning has always been with us and existed outside of formal education. Unfortunately, the learning that occurs in those spaces is not accounted for within formal education – except via PLAR and co-op programs, which are themselves in question as meaningful models of accounting for situated learning.

    I’ll be writing about this more – and hope to make sense of it in a way that is more accessible (if it isn’t). In the meantime, just watch the two Gever Tulley videos in TED – his tinkering school is a metaphor for the kind of model I’m talking about.

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