Defining “Teacher”

We hear a lot about the changing role of teachers (I’m tiring of the phrases “sage on the stage” and “guide on the side”) but in reality students are still looking at the teachers as authorities. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but unquestionably it’s not all that sustainable considering the possibilities of disruptive education.

Content is Everywhere

So when sites like this emerge it simply highlights the reality that students should never have to settle for  second rate educational content.  If I were teaching Physics, I would be crazy not to invite Walter Lewin into my classroom at some point.  An economics or political science class could utilze the works of Alan Blight.  And while it might be easy to say, textbooks also provide a level of expertise, a well-crafted lecture or better yet a live Q and A with the author is a game changer.

So as I ponder what this should and could l00k like, I think about how that changes my role as a teacher. Again, this is not a new conversation but when you have to live it, it truly changes how you feel about education.   I still love to teach, which can … Read the rest

I’m sure I’m doing it wrong

According to many definitions of good teaching, I don’t qualify:

  • I don’t clearly state objectives
  • If I do state them, they are as fuzzy as all get out
  • I have a hard time measuring student progress
  • My course syllabus changes almost daily
  • I never use tests
  • I constantly stray off topic

There are likely a multitude of sins I have not listed.

Here’s what best summarizes my teaching approach:

Me can be swapped for students. Thanks D’arcy for the graphic.

This is what I want for my students.  While I have many shortcomings, I’m good at finding smart people who are willing to spend time with my students and share what they know.  I’m also blessed to have a number of people in my network that willingly comment on my student’s blogs and encourage them to reflect and learn.

As I work with teachers in K-12, I’m bound to work within a structure that values grades, systematic growth, accountability, and to certain degree uniformity.  Without going into all the details of the implications of these values, I don’t discount them all and work to extract the aspects of these ideals that are most beneficial to students. Some days that’s hard.  … Read the rest

The Real Magic of K12 Online

The K12 Online Conference is truly unbelievable opportunity for teacher learning and indeed student learning. This week many of the virtual aspects of this conference became a reality. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach already wrote eloquently about our planning meeting and Wes Fryer and Sheryl offer a full recap of our presentation at NECC.

The more I think about the value of this conference, recall the stories shared during our presentation, I can’t believe what a powerful learning opportunity this is for all educators. While I’m sure others will find fault and criticize some of our efforts and decisions, I will, without hesitation, state that this is by far the best value for a professional learning conference you’ll ever find. I’d say that even if we charged $500 for the event. But it’s less than $500. It’s free.

The real magic of this conference is not only in the presentations. While these continue to provoke thinking and support for learners, here are what I think make the conference as good as it is:

  1. Connections. The story of Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay meeting via the conference and continuing to do the work they’ve done is one example. There are countless other examples
Read the rest

ISTE, What up?

A week from today I head to San Antonio for my first NECC. I’m interested in some sessions but mostly interested in talking and learning with a boat load of people from my network. Knowing that many of these folks are progressive, innovative and deep thinkers makes me wonder why the organization that runs the conference is taking this stance.

It’s already been talked about here, here, here and likely in more place. They’ve all spoke about it in detail and added their own perspectives. I’m sure that ISTE has some legal or CYA reason for doing this but at the same time, why is that Tlt and Northern Voice in fact, encourage folks to record and share content?

Is this a US/Canada thing? Are we Canadians just as litigious minded? What am I missing here?

Maybe someone from ISTE will find this post in their technorati feed and respond.  Seems weird.… Read the rest