Project Based Learning Video

This post was last updated on April 24th, 2010 at 12:54 am

I’ve been working with several teachers over the years in our district on the using project based learning. We’re by no means experts but are doing some nice work. These three high school teachers have taken the bull by the horns and restructured the school day to provide some learning not easily done in our traditional 40-75 minute classes. This 5 minute video tells part of their story.

From a storytelling perspective, I struggled with this one. I have about 90 minutes of footage including about 65 minutes of interviews. Trying to edit that down to something that captures the essence of a story without leaving out any key ideas is challenging. I also had difficulty finding a style that would work.

As you can see, I decided to write a short narrative to provide some background at the beginning and also included another short description in between. After spending the hours I did on this over a 4 month period, it’s hard to tell if you’ve communicated the message you intended. I hope I have.

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Advocating for more Transparency

This post was last updated on September 27th, 2011 at 10:16 am

Everyone once in a while I read a blog post that gives me a bit of a shiver. When something resonates so deeply with me that I’m compelled to respond right away.

Of course I subscribe to Will’s blog but it wasn’t until someone tweeted it again, did I go back to re read it, or read it properly. As I read it I realized I needed all our administrators to read it too. We have a division weblog of sorts that gets used primarily by me but felt that’s the best place to post the idea.  I’ve been pretty gentle with talking to teachers and administrators about sharing. I’ve hinted at the idea that it might be their professional responsibility, but Will’s post made the argument more compelling.

…there is certainly much I could learn from them if they were sharing. But most of them are not.

In this same vein, I have more and more of an expectation of the teachers and especially the administrators in our schools to lead transparent lives. The fact that they are veritably “un-googleable” in terms of finding anything they

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Connecting the World

A teacher asked me if I would be able to connect her to some people who could talk about where they are from and how they use wireless technology in their work and their lives.  You don’t have to ask me twice.

One email later to three people and the deal was done. Lee Kolbert was gracious enough to let us use their Adobe Connect as a platform which proved to suit our situation well. Tom Barrett would be able to chime in from England and Tim Lauer would have to grab an early Starbucks but was ready by 7:30.

Students asked questions, we gave some answers. Easy squeezy.

This is how classrooms ought to look. Learning from people.

If you generally think of the Internet as a place to look up stuff, you’re missing the best part.

This is not just about “wow is this ever cool”. This is about learning. Learning from someone who:

  • has a lemon tree and grows lemons
  • can see Mount St. Helens
  • lives in the city famous for Robin Hood

Do you see how this might make a difference in classrooms? Is there some potential here? Those of you who do this everyday … Read the rest

How it’s going

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

It’s always interesting to hear from others how they promote and support learning in their school district. Here’s my story.

My district is 3 years old, an amalgamation of 7 small districts into 1. Building culture, unity and morale has been challenging but in many ways is going really well. The big challenge I have is that I’m the only person really focusing on technology, outside of our online classes, supporting 35 schools and 7,000 students. I’m good, but I’m not that good. 😉 We previously had some level of instructional support at the school level but staff cuts have pretty much reduced to zero at most schools. So how can I possibly help teachers make the shifts necessary to develop rich, relevant learning for students?

Although I’d love more support, I recognize that’s not likely to happen. What I do have is a group of administrators who for the most part want to push the envelope and provide teachers with everything they can to make them better.

We have a number of administrators committed to changing schools to providing authentic, relevant and connected classrooms. They challenge

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