OTR Links 07/31/2015


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About Professional Development


I was really excited to see the title for this article fly by on my reading this morning.

What Does the Research Say on Professional Development, Anyway?

I’m looking forward to doing the reading.  What works; what doesn’t?  That would be the sort of thing that you’d expect from an article like that.

As I’m reading the results of other research, I see this paragraph.

As I read the article, I got the distinct sense that the forms of professional development that they’re talking about involved activities that are “done to you”.

So, I continue to read with expectation of where it might be headed only to suffer the disappointment that the results wouldn’t be released until August 4.

Until then, we can speculate and guess.  After all, the internet is built on speculation and other treatments of pseudo-truths and opinions.  <grin>

In my mind, I know what didn’t work for me.  I’m thinking the big, mass indoctrination events that teaches everyone everything in one full-day drive-by professional learning session.  At the end, the system can brag “We’ve all trained our teachers about #########”.  As I’ve noted many times, you train dogs, try to train cats, but you don’t train teachers.  You should be helping them to grow professionally.

Or, let’s go with the current in vogue concept of not training everyone at once; let’s train a select few and they can hit the classrooms and coach.  Will this generate the best results?

Or will it be something else?

I fully recognize that my background is in the maths and technologies.  I’m hard pressed to think of any concept that can be fully developed in a single session. I’ve been to training sessions lead by a person who certainly knows her/his stuff but had difficulty reaching and engaging an audience.  Again, with the training. 

I recognize that it’s expedient but is it effective?

I’ve been exposed to many formats on both sides of the professional learning.  My thoughts?

Professional learning works best when:

  • it’s self-selected;
  • the teacher identifies a need and seeks a solution;
  • it’s continuous and ongoing – no one shot deals here;
  • there’s a mechanism for connections with attendees after the formal session for continuous learning;
  • everyone in the room brings and shares an element of expertise;
  • you leave inspired to learn more and change your practice.

What I’m viewing as the most effective way to learn, at present, is an amalgam of a number of things.  For the formal face to face piece, I’m a huge fan of the edCamp model.  I distinctly remember my first edCamp.  It was edCamp Quinte.  I drove all the way to Belleville (after a twitter message to my friend Andy “Headed East”) and I spent the day learning with a group in the Belleville library.  I didn’t go for the personalities that might be there; I didn’t go with a specific learning goal; but I came away with a wealth of knowledge and, more importantly, the inspiration to learn more going forward.  I also went with the full expectation that I’d be a sponge and yet ended up leading a discussion about QR codes in the classroom.  Was it effective because I didn’t prepare a Powerpoint Presentation to step through but instead had a group sitting around a table sharing their ideas and thoughts?  I remember thinking afterwards on the drive home that the total was most certainly greater than sum of the parts.

Even more powerfully, I maintain connections with some of the people that I met there.  The learning and the connections didn’t end just because the day did.

As I talk to folks, this sentiment seems to be very popular.  They recognize that any model for professional learning needs to inspire, invigorate, and provide some mechanism for growth and learning into the future.

So, I’m really interested in the results that will be shared on August 4.  Am I on the right track?  Is there a better way?

We’ll see.

OTR Links 07/30/2015


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Digital Citizenship Resource


Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Tom D’Amico from the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  If you haven’t had the chance to read the interview, I’d encourage you to do so.  Then, why not pass it along to your own principal, superintendent, or director to encourage this sort of progressive, open thinking.

I really like the open concepts and sharing of resources for the benefit of those in the OCSB.  But, the advantage for those of us who don’t work with the OCSB is that the resources aren’t hidden behind some educational equivalent of a paywall.  They’re there for anyone to access and use.  Follow Tom’s Scoop.IT resource to find the latest things that he’s found, bookmarked, and shared for anyone to dig in to.

If you read the entirety of the interview, you’ll see that Tom has given us some insights into how he finds the resources that he shares.  Links will take you to the resources online if you’re interested in following.

There is one link that I think is worthy of special recognition.  In the interview, I ask Tom how the OCSB handles the concept of Digital Citizenship.  I know that’s a big concern for many districts.  Ottawa Catholic has that covered already in a project they’re calling “Samaritans on the Digital Road“.

 

It’s a terrific example as to how a Google Site can be used to collect such a resource.  Many people who have adopted the Google platform in education have created their own resources for these purposes and certainly this from the OCSB shows how to do it.

This complete site addresses the concept of digital citizenship from JK/SK right through Grade 12.

Navigation to a grade is accomplished through a menu on the left side of the screen.

Within each grade, you’ll have a menu to the resources similar to this.  (Grade 12 menu)

You’ll see the actual lesson plan along with SMARTBoard and non-SMARTBoard resources just a click away.

Each of the lessons indicated which of the Ontario Curriculum Expectations can be addressed with the lesson.  As OCSB is a Catholic school district, you’ll also see references to the Catholic expectations addressed as well.

I know that many people are doing summer AQ courses or are already planning for lessons in the fall.  This resource may well serve as inspiration for your own works.

OTR Links 07/29/2015


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Where Have You Been?


If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law and Order, you know the importance of cell phone pings to solve various crimes.  As a phone moves from location to location, it needs to connect to a service in order for the phone to work; that’s just how it works.

Now, Google has a similarish service called Timeline.  Clicking this link should take you to your timeline if you’re logged into your Google account and you have your location history enabled.  I gave it a shot.

The first map that was displayed sort of showed that I’m an Ontario-type of traveller with most of the travelling done along the 401, with a few sidetrips to the Niagara Falls area.  None of this was any big revelation; I know where I’ve gone and I always take my phone with me.  The little red dots that are displayed are cell phone location check-ins as I travelled.

There were a couple of outliers though and those were interesting to check in to.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog or a CSTA member, you know that I was the Program Chair of the recently concluded CSTA Conference in Grapevine, Texas.  That would explain the red dots in Texas!

Clicking a dot reveals the location underneath.

So, it was no surprise that I was at the airport, then there’s the hotel/conference centre, and then a couple of interesting location.  Fireside Pies.  I swear; I wasn’t there.  But, as we were driving around looking for a parking spot for the Mexican restaurant that we ate at, I remember seeing it!  And, the Bookstore at the University of Texas at Dallas wasn’t on our agenda but I remember seeing it as we went to the Computing Centre.  So, I guess close does count in this case!

Google assures us that only we can see the locations in the description of the service.  Of course, those of us who are foolish enough to blog about our trips have already revealed the locations to those who read the post anyway. 

Make it stop!  If this is a little freaky, then it’s probably time for you to check out your privacy settings.  This blog post explains how to do this and more.  In the meantime, on your location history timeline, you might be interested in seeing most visited places.

I seem to have a weakness for parks and ONRoutes.

In the classroom, this would be a very engaging and visual activity for students (they all have cell phones, right?) and a great launchpad to an awareness that there are things out there unseen.

In the meantime, if you’re going to commit a crime, make sure you turn off your phone so that you’re not leaving digital tracks!

OTR Links 07/28/2015


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.