UA-5429213-2 thoughts | Ed Tech Thoughts from the Space Coast

Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast

Developing a Learner's Culture: Badging in a Makerspace Class

Create a Stage to Feature Focus, Persistence, and Achievement

Changing Classroom Culture

As mentioned in many educational circles (and previous Shupester post) providing achievement badges is very meaningful and helpful in a personalized learning classroom. Some say the first badges were scrawled into cave walls by brave hunters millennia ago. Ace fighter pilots, Boy Scout and Girl Scout sashes, wrestler belts and olympic medallions; we have long celebrated achievement and excellence in human history with badges.

Digital badges have become a thing in online games and in many learning systems as a result. Unfortunately, digital badges are only visible when logged into that particular learning system and often require you to navigate to each individual's profile rather than having a learning community. For this reason, this initiative is taking a digital badging back into the physical world.
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    Decades ago, I heard a keynote addressing academic achievement in schools. The speaker noted how education institutions at all levels showcase athletics, and sometimes the arts (theater, band, chorus), but aside from an honor role – we did very little to showcase academic excellence.

    I committed that day to find ways to provide a stage for learning achievements. That became a focus of our school news program, Stone Students Rock Web Blog, Facebook page, and Badging program.

    the Shupester
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Do Employers Seek Employees With Soft Skills?

blogarticle-compressor
I recently found myself commenting on an article making its way around the EdTech social media circles.
The blog article that got our attention was Google finds STEM skills aren't the most important skills… really?!!!

We all are guilty of making provocative, exaggerated statements to garner attention for our particular opinion or perspective. And this article does that by first of all naming the one of the most famous tech companies in the world, and then (in my humble opinion) misinterpreting or misapplying a study done by Google and finally pairing this with an extreme statement
aren't the most important…

I don't think anyone would question that soft skills are important to businesses that innovate and create. Whether you could say they are more important than technical knowledge is really questionable though! It isn't an either/or situation; the synergy is found in individuals that possess both soft and technical skills.

But let's look closer at this topic and maybe even read the original study! Read More...
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Visualize Your Strengths

Developing A Healthy Self-Image

ryss
When I began working with Carol Anne McGuire on her website (Rock Your Strengths), the teacher in me could immediately see the value of Gallup's StrengthFinder® for our teaching staff and students. Honestly, I had taken the Strengthsfinder test decades ago and just past it off as feel-good soft science. But this time, I began to generate ideas of what this might look like for the classroom.

Here is the story of one STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activity for creating stronger students.

Early in my teaching career, I heard students say things such as:
  • I am not good at (subject area).
  • I cannot do (subject).
  • This makes no sense to me.
  • I am not a (subject) person.

The students had reached a self-image wall:
Their self-image had gone from Let's Try! –> to –> I can't!

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Gamifying Technology Literacy in a 1:1 School

70WPM
Badging Initiative - supporting technology literacy in the 1:1 classroom

A Buzz Worthy Strategy to Help Motivate Students
Although it is not a new idea - educators internationally are developing badging systems to recognize, identify, and motivate learners. It is one of the strategies embedded in the Gamification of Curriculum.
Proposal:
A STEAM Badging Program at Stone Magnet Middle School.
We would like to amend our Laptop Policy regarding the customization of the laptop covers for students to permit school-provided badges to be displayed on the top cover. This would be a means of gamifying our curriculum. It would be analogous to Scout Merit Badges, Fighter Pilot Kills, notches on the belt or feathers in the headband.

We would like to limit this initiative particularly to Digital Literacy accomplishments and statuses, although digital skills being used in exemplary curriculum products is certainly encouraged. Most of these challenges will be accomplished on student’s own time after they have completed their classwork, before or after school. We are inviting comment on as well as suggestions for a limited number of badges for this initiative.

We must stress that only officially approved badges are permitted to be adhered to the cover of the laptops. We want to insure not only is there space, removability, and appropriateness, but we want to also increase the value and control the scarcity of these recognitions.

Purpose:
Make learning, achievement, skill attainment visible. Unlike digital badges, these are more visible for peer students and educators in one's physical vicinity.
Celebrate achievement, erect a monument!
Encourage peer support (students can see which peer to go to for help).
Help teachers identify student leaders, mentors.

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Soft Rigor - a friendly way to learn more

more rigor
While consulting with a group of college professors, the discussion turned (once again) to the notion of curriculum rigor. In recent years, rigor has become a driving buzzword – used particular by administrators, the the K12 assessment folks and sometimes parents.

Ironically, when one considers the definition, it is really not a pleasant term.

1 :  harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment :  severity (2) :  the quality of being unyielding or inflexible :  strictness

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Not as Easy as You Might Think

assessment: It is not as easy as you might think.
This blog entry is really more about sharing what I have recently run across concerning standardized, high stakes testing.

I just hope that by sharing this one more time, one more place that we can move the pendulum back to a more centrist position. We -the public, the citizens- should be involved and aware of the Public Education System – whether we have or don't have children:
  • Public education is a large part of the state and local budget. You are paying for this. It is an an expensive endeavor.
  • Public education is one of the answers to social stability. (Notice I didn't say the answer.)
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Sustaining Innovation and Modern Literacies: 7 Reasons Every School Needs an EdTech Leader

overhead-projector
I hope that we can start with the premise that technology literacy is an essential content area in K12 education.

Reflect on how different this world is from
10 years ago - before smart phone / tablet technology. Or how different the world is from 20 years ago with the eruption of the World Wide Web; or 30 years ago with the personal (consumer) computer revolution. How we communicate, learn from and with each other, collaborate, research, shop, aggregate, curate, discern… almost everything is very different. We cannot expect to teach as we were taught.

Granted, there is considerable disparity between schools, school systems and segments of societies. Most classrooms, most days are not significantly different today than they were 40 years ago, especially with regard to what the students are doing. At educational conferences, we see great examples of modern learning activities, but there is that nagging feeling that this only represents a small group of students and often only for a week or two out of the entire year.

My essential question after attending the tech conferences is:
How do we enhance education in a systemic fashion, and sustainable fashion?

Earlier this year, a good friend and fellow ADE Lucy Gray published an About.com article: Tips for Educational Technology Coaches that provided some great suggestions about pursuing excellence as a Technology Leader in the local school.

For me this article triggered a question:

Do education policy makers recognize just how important a Technology Specialist, Technology Integrator, or Technology Innovation Coach is at the local school level?

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Assess the Assessment: Deadly Bullet Points

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Today I participated in another political survey. I encourage parents, teachers and education professionals to take this survey as well.

Here is a list of my summary comments:
  • The idea that learning occurs on a schedule, in a standardized fashion for all students is ill informed.
  • The legitimacy of using a single test given one time and one time only is not a legitimate way to grade instruction nor the instructor.
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Norwegian School Places Parents Under the Tutelage of Educators

photo credit: Jim Forest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimforest/3346684797
A former student and friend shared a Norwegian news article with me and asked me what I thought… a Facebook question and response turned into a blog post. You may want to start with the new article:

The school has a new task, namely to educate parents

Even though this article reports on education in Norway, we have seen similar policies in the good old U.S. of A. We have often said that student success has a high correlation with stable, healthy home environments and supportive, educated parents. So the big question is can (or should) teachers be held responsible or accountable for parent learning or educational involvement?

The Denmark regulation states: The school and now will: facilitate cooperation with the home and ensure that parents / guardians share responsibility in schools. Good teachers should already be doing that. The concern is when it becomes law and must be documented, assessed and enforced.

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FETC Take Aways - First Edition - The T-Shirt Discovery

Cut to the chase Shupester, don't bore me with the story of how a t-shirt led to your new discovery!
fetc
Growing up in a beach surf culture in the 1970's engendered an extraordinary interest in t-shirts. Promoting rock concerts and doing rock radio in the 80's just reinforced my obsession and collective hoarding. What a fun way to show whose tribe I belong to, what products I like, what jams I listen to.

So when I am at a conference, watching for interesting t-shirts is a part of the experience.
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