This Week in Ontario Edublogs


There was some good reading once again this week from Ontario Educational Bloggers.  There were a few more posts related to the recent #ECOO13 conference.  Then, there were some more quality posts that caught my interest.

From #ECOO13…

Reflections from attending ECOO13

Kimberley Flood shared some of her reactions to the keynote speakers.  I think that she spoke for so many when she reflected.

  • Amber MacArthur – she was “furiously bookmarking” through the session;
  • Jaime Casap – storytelling about his childhood youth and how technology can trump poverty;
  • Kevin Honeycutt – made her cry as he reinforced the fact that teachers can be the only positive force in a child’s life.

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Supporting e-Learning Students and Teachers in Small, Rural Schools – #ecoo13

Brandon Grasley shares the reality of working and supporting in a big board like Algoma.

I’ve actually driven it recreationally.  It is a big distance.  How do you support it?  With his work with eLearningOntario, Brandon takes on all sides of the issue.  I can’t help but wonder if these students and teachers won’t end up ahead of the game understanding Blended Learning and Connectivity long before those who work in highly populated areas.  Check out the post for thoughts about this, BYOD, and the whole eLearning environment.

While there, check out his post “I Installed Minecraft Because of #ECOO13“.

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VFTT- ECOO13

Rod Murray interviewed some students from his AQ course who just happened to be at ECOO.  I’m impressed with the quality of filming and the audio.  I can place the setting for the video but can’t imagine the time of day given the background!

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Represent

People for Education released a report on the status of school councils in the province.  Sheila Stewart shares some of her concerns and the balance of the blog post is riddled with good questions that anyone working with school councils need to consider.

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Courageous Conversations

Now, you’ve got to be intrigued by that paragraph from Tracy Bachellier.  The post offers some candid advice that everyone should read and understand.  We all have these conversations but are we ready for them?

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The Behaviour Files: The Neuropsychology of Emotional Disorders

Royan Lee has started a series of posts that he’s calling the “Behaviour Files”.  The series gives him latitude to “I explore ideas, strategies, and experiences educating students identified with behaviour exceptionalities”

This should be required reading and reflections.  It may be the most important reading that you do today.

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Twitter As “Assessment For Learning”

Aviva Dunsiger can get very noisy at times on Twitter.  And, by noisy, I mean in a good way.  Sure, we have our back and forth chats about coffee but when the bell rings, she’s all business and Twitter is the online forum to share what’s happening in her classroom.

In this post, she shows how she uses Storify to capture the discussion and includes all kinds of photos from an obviously very active classroom.  Look at the pictures and you can almost hear the activity.

I think this is a terrific post to share with principals, superintendents, and other classroom teachers who are asking just what it looks like in the classroom.  Aviva’s student teacher is certainly getting a good placement.

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Multiplication & Revising

In the category of pictures supporting and documenting in the classroom, you need to take a look at Erin Little’s blog.  She just finished the multiplication unit and shares it with us.

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Check out the complete posts at the links posted.  Thanks for reading and please bump up their visitor statistics.

You can check out these and all the rest of the Ontario Edublogger collection here.

There’s so much great learning, commentary, and reflection happening daily.

 

About Negative Behaviour


I got a little pushback today when I shared this article via Twitter.  “How To Address Negative Student Behavior in 1:1 Classrooms“.

In the article, the author Keith Sorensen did a nice job of identifying and describing potential areas for behaviour issues.

  1. Technology becomes the distraction;
  2. Distracting other students;
  3. Difficulty evaluating information;
  4. Less interest in the class;
  5. Loss of sleep;
  6. Increased incidences of bullying.

All of these are serious areas of concern, to be sure.

The pushback I got was that the readers didn’t feel that there were enough solutions offered.  So, I’d like to take a few moments here to try and share my thoughts about it.

Turn back the clock to the days when the only technology in your school was the computer lab.  At 10:30 on Wednesday mornings, it might have been your class’ “turn” in the lab.  So, you’d line up and head to the lab to do computer stuff.  It’s been my observation that it really was seldom that something curricularly relevant was ready to be done on computer at 10:30 on Wednesday.  Hence, it became a “computer class” that focused on learning some skill that was probably totally unrelated to anything else that might be happening in the class.  Or, even worse, a chance to play some sort of mindless computer game.

Fortunately, as educators, we matured in our use of the technology that was available and made those excursions to a computer lab somewhat more meaningful.  It got much better with the one or two computers located permanently in the classroom.  Even better, when laptop technology came along and you could use the technology when it was important, not when you were scheduled – and, at your desk.  A superintendent that I worked with had a wonderful phrase that has hung with me – it was called the “technology at the point of instruction”.  Even that became more descriptive when we really understood what was happening when we changed it to “technology at the point of learning”.

We’ve come a long way, getting better and maturing with each iteration.

But the 1:1 or BYOD classroom is a whole different thing.  We’ve got to refine our learning again.

As long as the technology is imported to the classroom or a student has to physically move to a computer, there is an element of control over the whole process.  But, 1:1 or BYOD takes all of that away.

I’m a firm believer that a total rethink of things needs to be done when you move to 1:1 or BYOD.  In fact, I would suggest that the issues outlined in the original article are the result of putting 1:1 or BYOD in the classroom and, at the same time, not really changing what’s happening there.  If students are bored and unmotivated before, you’ve just given them another outlet to demonstrate this boredom.

When I look at successful 1:1 or BYOD implementations, the environment changes.  Students take control of the learning with the use of the technology.  It is no longer an add-on that tries to make the same old, same old appealing.  When that happens, and it’s not easy – nobody is saying this is easy – the behaviours get minimized.

Successful teachers have a way to make this happen.  And yet, there are times when the 1:1 or BYOD is not appropriate.  Just like the old fashioned instruction – put your pencils down and listen, the successful teacher finds a way to make it happen.  One unique way of making this happen was to create a penalty box on the desktop with strips of masking tape.  When technology is not to be used, it goes into the penalty box and alternative class activity takes place.  A quick teacher glance over the room ensures that the technology is where it is supposed to be.

My mantra for these times is “don’t do things differently, do different things”.

Done properly, I think that the issues raised in the first four points can be at least minimalized.  Honestly, I don’t think that there is any solution that solves it completely.  Anyone who claims so should be pushed for their thoughts.

As for the fifth point, now we’re getting into the realm of parenting.  There was a great article the other day.  It takes the concept of the penalty box to the home! Does every family need a tech basket?

The sixth point is probably the most serious and everyone is searching for a solution.  I often wonder if part of the problem is that the person being bullied is ashamed or embarrassed to find themselves in the situation of being bullied and consequently just doesn’t want to admit it.  We’ve got to change that mindset and make it acceptable to come forth and ask for help.  Kids Help Phone is a great step in the right direction.  That should be the first thing that a student see when she/he logs onto a school computer to serve as a reminder that she/he is not alone.

There’s my reaction to the pushback that I received.  I’d be very interested in your thoughts.