Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Law of 2 Feet. What Do You Think?

“Think of the last time you were in a totally boring gathering and ask yourself: ‘Where was your heart and mind?’ Typical answer: Not present. Could be out on the beach, gone fishing, thinking of the next project -- but definitely not there. Only an uncomfortable body remains stuck in a chair -- maybe even snoring.” -Harrison Owen, creator of Open Space Tech (OST) and author of Open Space Technology: A Users Guide
Owen asks an interesting question for innovative educators to consider. While we would like to believe every meeting, presentation, or breakout workshop was meaningful, relevant, and engaging, the truth is sometimes they aren’t.


Owen, whose simple approach was developed more than 30 years ago to help people be more productive, follows up with this question: “How much better for all if you just went and did something useful!?”  


OST employs The Law of Two Feet. It is something we all do, albeit sometimes covertly as in the example above when our body is present, but our brain is not. The Law of Two Feet allows you to use your feet to bring your brain to a place where it would be of better use. If you’ve been to an EdCamp, Unconference, Unplugged, or other progressive, learner-directed event, you are familiar with the law of two feet. If you are unfamiliar, the concept may seem offensive or disrespectful. Read on to understand how this model may be useful to provide a worthwhile experience for those who attend your event, meeting, conference, symposium, summit, or retreat.


Typically, if someone is bored at a meeting or event, they may be seen as rude. But what if we acknowledged and even embraced those who were bored and flipped the situation on it’s head. Maybe the problem is not that someone is bored. Instead, perhaps the meeting or event could be more effective, more engaging, or maybe the person who is bored should not be there in the first place. Perhaps their time could be better spent elsewhere but they weren't given an option.


The Law of Two Feet, takes these considerations into account.  The law says this:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.

A new post takes the lead this week. It addresses a question that often comes up in professional development where teachers learn a tool like Duolingo, Skoolbo, Code.org, Google CS First or Minecraft where students can learn on their own. The question is when students are learning from a computer, how does that change the role of a teacher.  I share my ideas and would love to hear yours. Next up are best practices and strategies I have found successful for some of the most critical issues in digital learning.

There are a few more posts to round out the top including some new tech tools I plan to investigate as well my take on why we shouldn’t freak out about the Common Sense Census which found that teens consume 9 hours of media a day outside of school.  I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Entry
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Nov 15, 2015, 
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Nov 17, 2015, 
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Oct 25, 2015, 
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Apr 11, 2011, 
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Oct 28, 2015, 
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#HashtagFail - 3 Mistakes To Avoid For Success at Your Next Event or Program

Social media is no longer new, so why are schools, districts, organizations, and programs still getting it so wrong. They will spend a bundle on client/community relationships and promotion, but they don’t take the simple steps necessary to get free engagement and build relationships with a targeted audience.


Here are the three big mistakes others make that you should avoid.


  1. Where’s the Hashtag?
I’ve attended events hosted by some of the biggest education providers and businesses in the world. They use a hashtag, but despite all the benefits of using a hashtag at events, it is nowhere to be found. It’s not in the program. It’s not on presenters slides. It’s not on the name tag. Not only that, presenters names and titles are shown without their handles.


  1. Logos are not hashtags.
Another mistake is printing materials from the web that are made for clicking. For example, the handout will say,  “Stay connected with us.” and have logos of popular social media outlets but no handles or links. Not okay. You must include information on how to find you on each outlet. Come on folks. Get with the 21st century already.
Do not print clickable logos without providing links.
  1. Be Consistent.
I can’t tell you how many major conferences, events, and programs I have been a part of where they don’t stick with one consistent hashtag. They think they’re interchangeable, but they’re not!
At your next event, take note. Who is getting it right? Who's not? Share what you find using #HashtagFail or #HashtagSuccess. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Teacher Is Not The Most Important Factor When It Comes To Learning

A familiar refrain I hear among educators is this: “When it comes to learning, we can all agree that the most important factor is the teacher.” Teaching is widely considered the most important when it comes to the education of children. Parents often believe it. Politicians say it. Ed Reformers buy it. Badass Teachers agree -- as illustrated below.

But it’s not factual. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.

A new post takes the lead this week. In it I highlight four ed tech tools I plan to start using. Check it out and let me know what you think of the tools. A close second is my reaction to the new Common Sense census on digital media use by #8to18 year olds. In it I share why adults should freak out. 

There are a few more posts to round out the top including how to use Padlet to put together a visually pleasing reading list and how to talk with administrators about teacher effectiveness in the 21st century classroom.  My final hot post shares some of the new roles for teachers in a tech-rich environment. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Entry
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Oct 25, 2015, 
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Oct 28, 2015, 
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Nov 15, 2015, 
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

5 Critical Issues In Digital Learning - Best Practices + Lessons Learned

Today I will be at Google’s New York office speaking on a panel hosted by Google and HMH where I will share insights and best practices for school district leadership teams to use when developing digital learning strategies. I will be discussing five critical issues. Below are some of the insights I plan to share. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

When Tech Teaches, What Do Teachers Do?

Innovative educators enjoy using high quality digital programs to support learning where they work, but it does mean their role shifts.  There are several changes in environments where technology is used to  teach.
  • Instruction is differentiated based on the pace of the learner rather than all students progressing at the predetermined pace of the class.
  • Instant feedback and assessment.
  • Discussions may be silent and not visible to an observer.
  • Data dashboard provides an instant view into learning.
  • There is screen rather than a teacher in front of the students.
  • Questions a learner has can be answered instant by community members.
So when tech is doing the things teachers did, what do teachers do? Here are some ideas.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.


Holding strong for another week are two posts. One is from my book Teaching Generation Text. This post outlines the building blocks for BYOD success. Next is an article that shares some new ed tech tools I plan to try.

There are a few more posts to round out the top including how to effectively use social media at events, why ignoring is not the only answer when it comes to bullies and tips for teens using social media. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Nicer Way to Put Together Reading or Resource Lists - Padlet

There are lots of reasons to put together lists of reading and resources. Maybe students are keeping track of their readings for the year. Maybe you have put together a collection of readings and resources for students about a particular area of study. Perhaps students are putting together a list of resources.  Whatever the case may be, rather than putting together a list of links, students and teachers can go a more visually pleasing route with Padlet.

The Padlet below is a collection of resources I put together to share with a colleague about some of my favorite writings on using tech in the classroom.  Rather than a bunch of urls, Padlet lets you package them attractively.


What are some ideas you have for using Padlet as an alternative to link lists?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#8to18 Yr Olds Use Media Constantly: Why You Shouldn't Freak Out abt the @CommonSenseEdu @CommonSenseMedia Study

You’ve probably seen the headlines following the Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens. Adults seemed shocked that teens spend 9 hours and tweens 6 hours a day with media. Knee-jerk reactions include a call for a shutdown switch for devices after a set time. No media in bedrooms. No technology while doing homework.



Now take a breath.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.


Holding strong for another week are two posts. One is from my book Teaching Generation Text. This post outlines the building blocks for BYOD success. Next is an article that shares five free tools for those trying to learn a new language.

There are a few more posts to round out the top including one that includes a lively debate on the pros and cons of attending school and another that explains how to effectively use social media at events. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.


Entry
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Oct 11, 2015, 
3316
Oct 4, 2015, 
3156
Oct 25, 2015, 
2578
Apr 11, 2011, 
2356
Oct 18, 2015, 
2276
Oct 13, 2015, 
1926
Oct 28, 2015, 
1729

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Global Awareness Via Social, Rather Than Mainstream, Media. #VibeIsrael My Next Adventure.

Historically, most people didn’t have much awareness of what was happening in other countries beyond what they read or heard in the media.  Of course there is more to a country than what we learn from secondhand sources, but until recently, there have been few ways to access this information.  


Vibe Israel (@vibeisrael), founded by Joanna Landau, is an a-political nonprofit organization based in Tel Aviv, has a plan to change that. They want the world to know there’s more to Israel than news related to the conflict in the Middle East. Their strategy is to use social media to share what Israel has to offer. They do this by inviting five influencers in specified areas (i.e. art, wellness, fashion, social entrepreneurship, sustainability) to visit the country and share what they learn with their followers. This enables citizens, with no political or corporate agenda, who have various areas of expertise, to tell stories to their followers.


I’m excited to have been selected as one of five, global education influencers to visit Israel this December and share what the country has to offer in the area of “education.”


What should I focus on when I’m there to bring back to those in my learning network?  


Here are some questions I’m interested in exploring:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bullies: Let’s Do More Than Ignore


If you’re involved in an education movement or engage in pioneering practices, you have noticed not everyone agrees with your views. 

Effective movers and shakers welcome a challenge. They are ready to take on the discourse that comes from sharing their ideas with a global audience. They understand that inspiring peers and change requires a thick skin. There is a difference however between respectful discourse and those who use their voice and reputation to intimidate and belittle others. Unfortunately, it is not unusual to have a bully who derails conversations and brings the movement off track with personal attacks as well as damaging and demeaning engagements.   Recently, a friend grappled with the issue of online bullying with members of her learning network which included people with many perspectives including those impacted by such behavior. Overwhelmingly, their advice was this: