Counting Down to ISTE! Join Me and Learn About Effective PD

Stephanie Chan photo

My bags are packed. I’m ready to go…to ISTE 2013! I am looking forward to joining everyone in San Antonio soon. This will be my first time at ISTE. I am incredibly excited about learning with passionate, skilled and knowledgeable educators and students, and having a ton of fun while I’m at it!

I am also excited to be presenting the results of research that I conducted, along with focuses that I have undertaken as a result of my findings. During my research, I followed a group of four diverse high school teachers and experienced a year in their work as they used technology with their students. I learned so much from what they did, what they said, and what they thought. Their incredible openness and honesty has directly influenced my approach to support and professional learning around educational technology.

My presentation will be targeted, fun and full of useful strategies and resources. Here are the details. I hope you will join me! I also invite you to stay connected on Twitter @TechPudding

Topic: Experiences of High School Teachers in their Use of Educational Technology 

Monday, June 24, 2013 – 4:15-5:15 pm, SACC 101; Table 2
Format: Roundtable research presentation
Presenter: Stephanie Chan, Educational Technology Specialist
Calgary Board of Education, Alberta, Canada 

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What Makes Effective Professional Learning?

Providing effective professional learning is a complex challenge. How can we make the most of tight budgets and limited supports? Join me as I discuss a yearlong case study that profiled the everyday challenges and experiences of four high school teachers as they used educational technology with their students. Then learn about strategies and resources that can support effective PD engagement and design. Walk away with:

  • Insights into what works for edtech coaches, school leaders and PD providers
  • Strategies for planning and implementing successful edtech professional development for individuals, teams, schools and districts
  • Examples of district-wide professional learning initiatives that emphasize flexibility, choice, scalability, collaboration and informal learning
  • Access to free professional learning modules and templates that you can use to design professional learning to suit your needs and the needs of your staff

Presentation Resources

I am all about sharing! If you’d like to use and share my resources with others, please do! (If you do, please link back to techpudding.com so that we can all continue to expand our learning connections.)

Now I just have to get through this week. See you there!

And by the way, if you have questions or comments about my presentation materials, please write me a comment! You can help me improve them and perhaps I can answer some questions about it! Happy to learn with you.

Glass Walls, Carpentry, and Design: Authentic Learning at High Tech High

The web is full of inspirational, mind-blowing ideas. This post is a follow-up to my last entry that examined the studio approach, used for years in post-secondary multimedia, design, and architecture schools to make learning truly authentic, deeply collaborative, and highly rigorous.

Today I watched the following video presented by The Pearson Foundation and the Mobile Learning Institute, highlighting the philosophy and structure of High Tech High (HTH) through the eyes of its CEO, Larry Rosenstock. Check out Project Based Learning at HTH:

This video is full of brilliant ideas! Here are some highlights and a few of my thoughts:

Full integration. Rosenstock speaks not only about the integration of students from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, and abilities, but the elimination of segregated classes that separate students who are said to “work with their hands” from those who “work with their heads”, schools from their communities, and academics from non-academics (in terms of subjects as well as students).

“There is no course here…[HTH has been said to be] a great liberal arts school in disguise.” Rosenstock’s background in carpentry taught him that everything (meaning every subject) can be learned through the process of design and conceptual work in all aspects of art, media, design, and technology. He argues that our understanding of the arts in the broadest sense should be combined to create fluid learning environments where students can build connections between all subject areas and will no longer think about subjects as entities separate from each other. At HTH it seems that students go to school to learn and grow, period.

Constant reflection and collaborative critique. The student voices in the video show a deep understanding of the process of learning and reflection for improvement. This important skill is echoed in Lloyd Rieber’s article, The Studio Experience: Educational Reform in Instructional Technology, which also describes an emphasis on constant reflection and peer/instructor critiques in the multimedia design program at the University of Georgia. I believe that all schools need to emphasize all types of reflection more.

A physical environment that “…doesn’t look like a school, [but like] a start-up, an incubator”. I am sure that the appearance of the school was the first thing that struck you when you watched the video. Student work oozes from every pore: floor-to-ceiling murals, objects hanging from the ceiling, an entire wall of screens displaying multimedia work, screens embedded inside life-size paintings of figures, and of course, the piece featuring interactive bicycle wheels. This fuels student reflection, motivation, and pride in their work. Furthermore, the walls are all made of glass. They physically enable fluid learning, sharing, self-regulation, curiosity, and non-stop collaborative engagement throughout the school—for students and teachers alike.

“If you treat kids with respect and enter them into the adult world, they will behave like adults…suspicion invites treachery.” The hundreds of student-created pieces in the hallways are free of vandalism because of the respect that students and staff feel for their work and their learning community. Rosenstock speaks of students rising to the high expectations of adults and peers while engaging in shared learning, focused on their passions. With meaningful projects and constant collaboration with peers, the level of student-student and student-teacher respect is elevated to the highest degree.

The most memorable and meaningful learning experiences involve: projects, mentors, community involvement, risk of failure, recognition for success, and public exhibition. “Rigor is being in the company of a passionate adult who is rigorously pursuing inquiry in their subject matter and is inviting students along as a peer in adult discourse”. Later on, Rosenstock also refers to social change as a catalyst for meaningful learning that leverages existing resources to improve peoples’ lives.

We can measure your effectiveness as a teacher through “the sophistication of your kids’ work. If your kids are producing work that is worth doing and has lasting value, and learning that’s worth learning, you’re a good teacher”. This is an incredibly powerful statement that not only tells us what good teaching is, but what good learning should lead to.

Real-world engagement. “I want kids behaving like an actress, behaving like a scientist, behaving like a documentary film maker, behaving like a journalist, not just studying it, but being like it, because what is adolescence, but trying on new roles and sampling new identities?” Rosenstock emphasizes that it’s not about training students for specific occupations, but immersing them in rich, real experiences.

(Image: i made you…,  by tinney. 2006. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

And by the way, the High Tech High website features some amazing resources, including excellent examples of digital portfolios by students and staff, student-produced videos, and much more.

What are your thoughts on HTH and its approach to project based learning (and so much more)?

(Image: The Studio, by tinney. 2010. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution License.)

Let’s Chat: Discussion-Stimulating Videos on Ed Tech & Change

My brain is getting tired since spring break is just over a week away and my city has experienced enough snow and -30-something degree (celsius) temperatures to last the entire year–in the last few weeks.

So I went in search of something both light and thought-provoking in the form of short videos of high interest, design, and accessibility, about educational change. Here is what I found:

21st Century Education in New Brunswick, Canada (5:35) by 21stCenturyNB

This video was produced by the New Brunswick Department of Education in 2010 to help stimulate discussion among educators about how technology has been a major force in shifting education, and how the education system must move forward in the personalization of learning. It includes facts and figures, as well as approaches to teaching and learning. The tone is positive and enthusiastic about the future, as well as the important role that educators play in helping students learn using technology tools and differentiated approaches. I especially enjoy the segment from about 3:00 minutes until the end, where it shows examples of ways in which we can increase personalization for students. These examples are very realistic and can already become a reality in our schools.

Did You Know 4.0 (4:46) by xplanevisualthinking

Practically everyone I know has seen the older Did You Know videos from a while back, like Did You Know 3.0 by vlbworks2010. What I admire about this newer version (uploaded in late 2009) is that it presents many facts and figures that I did not know. I am sure that most students have not seen it either. I believe that this video would be a wonderful resource to help stimulate discussion with students as well as adults of all kinds, around the ways in which technology has changed how we interact, think, and learn. I was impressed also with the calibre of the professors who helped contribute to it and the extensive reference list at the end of the video.

The Networked Student (5:10) by wdrexler

I wrote about this video in a past post, Rare Find: Positive and Practical Look at 21st C Education. This video, uploaded in 2008, is a surprisingly positive and useful look at modern education. I am tired of videos about educational change that do nothing but criticize everything about the education system, or highlight only issues without inspiration or solutions. In particular, this is a great video that highlights real ways in which students and teachers alike can build effective learning networks.

Do you have some recommendations for high quality videos that can be used to help educators and students to re-think thinking, school, schooling, and their futures? Please share!