It's been said and discussed often here and many places that a real shift for educators is moving from teacher to learner. Not so much moving, we still need teachers, expertise matters but until we see ourselves as learners and intentionally show are students we can't be the educator our students need us to be.
Last week I began my ECMP 355 course with largely freshman pre-service teachers. My usual introduction to my course reminds them that they are the winners of education. They were successful students because they were largely compliant and knew how to survive and thrive in a system that values a "mind your own business" style of learning. Do what you're told, when you're told to, and you'll be fine. Learning isn't very self directed in this system. Students wait to be told what to learn.
I'm trying to get them to consider something new. I truly believe that the best coaches in sports aren't usually the best athletes. They are often the bench players, backups and lesser known players who end up becoming the best coaches because they truly understand and can break down the subtleties of the game. Understanding not only how … Read the rest
It's that time again when we get busy calculating grades to determine the winners and the losers. I realize few if any teachers think of it that way but to many, that's how it comes across. You can argue that it's simply a celebration of hard work and excellence. Maybe. Maybe not.
It's been over a year since one of my students wrote a very heartfelt post about his younger brother. The aftermath of this post was quite powerful and led to a big change. Read the comments, a few of which aren't very nice to get the full picture. Kyle handled himself with integrity. I continue to point to this post as a great example of the power and potential of blogging. But the whole grading and honour roll thing continues to be problem-some, at least for me.
All my kids have been on the honour roll. For them the grades were motivating and to be honest, they didn't really work all that hard. Sure they studied and put in the effort but I know many students who worked much harder with poorer results. School came pretty easy for them. In the end, the real winners were the … Read the rest
This post sounds alot like this one but I don’t care.
Technology doesn’t make you a great teacher. But in my experiences those that do, seem to be among the best. I had two examples today that supports my hypothesis. First I was at a conference today with most of our school administrators. During a lull in the conference I checked my twitter account. (There were several lulls) and saw a primary teacher from one of our schools posted a picture of her students learning. Her principal happened to be sitting nearby and I showed him the picture of the kids. Another principal asked him who the teacher was. His reply included the phrase, "she’s an awesome teacher".
Today I taught my pre-service teachers and brought in over 20 teachers from across Canada, the US and even New Zealand to introduce themselves and share what they might want my students to do in their classrooms. Each teacher took a couple of minutes to introduce themselves and describe their classrooms. It was absolutely exhilarating. This had nothing to do with the technology they deployed but their passion for teaching and learning. One of those teachers was in her 37th year of teaching. … Read the rest
One of the most powerful things I’ve been part of recent years is the opportunity I’ve had to connect pre-service teachers with experienced classroom teachers via an online mentorship. This has transformed many young people and offered them an experience to work with great teachers from around the world and observe first hand what it means to use technology to amplify and enhance learning through technology.
This video illustrates one example of what happened last term as Carey Pohanka and one of my students worked together. If you were one of those students or teachers impacted by this mentorship program, please feel free to leave a comment as well.
I’ve written about it before here so I won’t go into any more detail other than to invite you to be a part of this experience from September to December. If you’re interested, fill out this form and I’ll get back to you. Thanks.
As readers of my blog know, I’ve been teaching part time at the University of Regina for the past few years. I teach an introductory course to pre-service teachers on technology. I’ve had the freedom to more the curriculum to a much more broader look at technology in our schools. It’s been a wonderful experience for me and my students.
For the past 3 terms I’ve had my undergrads hook up with classrooms from around the world. Over the course of about 2 months the range of interactions is anything from skype conferences where my students teach lessons to commenting on blogs to working closely with students in collaborative projects. I’m been reluctant to make it much more structured since I want to honor teacher’s time and access. My student’s express a variety of levels of satisfaction. I usually have the connect with 2 classrooms both to give them some variety but also to insure a greater chance of interactions. Two months is a very short time to build a connection with a class. Amazingly, some of my students made this happen and for many it was the best part of the course. Others were frustrated by communication … Read the rest