Archive for October, 2011

No Child Left behind… to reflect on life

October 29th, 2011 No comments

My new favorite video on YouTube: Rick Wormeli: Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs, Part Two

October 28th, 2011 3 comments

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My new favorite video on YouTube: Rick Wormeli: Redos, Retakes, and Do-Overs, Part One

October 28th, 2011 No comments

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BYOC: Bring Your Own Context

October 28th, 2011 No comments

BYOC: Bring Your Own Context

by Shelly Blake-Plock

A lot of discussion recently over the pros and cons of BYOD — Bring Your Own Device. Some folks have been quite adamantly in favor or against.

For all the hub-bub, I think it’s worth thinking about devices not just in relation to what kids do with them in the classroom, but rather how they relate to the connection those devices represent for them in the real world.

Fact is that we are living in a time — not unlike those previous — when one device will not do it all. 

Context is the key.

If I am processing audio, I want to be on a Mac. If I am tweeting on the bus, I want to be on a smartphone. If I am reading the news, I want to kick back with a tablet. If I am learning a new language, my iPod will do just fine.

Does this make life more difficult when you are trying to find a “solution” for you school? Yes. Technology is not making life easier.

Again, context is the key.

Personally, I don’t think that forcing a “school standard” will change the fact that for a lot of people, the smartphone represents their connection to the Internet.

Nor is giving me a laptop going to change the fact that I personally read better on an iPad. Nor is giving me an iPad going to change the fact that I type better on a laptop.

There is no “one device”.

So why do schools pretend they can provide it?

My wife loves Android. I’m waiting for Windows 8. Fortunately, we can make decisions to experience technology in the way that is most conducive to the way each of us work. So, I can’t afford a new fancy Mac to do high-end video, but luckily there is a community center in town that offers time on theirs. I take my iPad to the library, but when I want to do some heavy writing, I use the desktop PCs they have there running OpenOffice. In other words, between what we can provide and what the community can provide, we have a range of options for using devices to do what we need to.

Maybe instead of trying to find the “device” or the “solution”, we should step back and think about our role in schools to provide a range of computing experiences — and to allow kids to bring a range of computing experiences with them. This after all is fundamentally what a school is meant to do: provide a range of learning experiences and accept that kids bring a range of experiences with them.

One of the biggest failures of 1:1 computing in education is school’s inability to understand that there is a difference between having a machine and having a lifestyle device.

One of the biggest potential failures of BYOD is thinking that kids can provide equity on their own.

My own approach as a decision maker would probably be to strike a balance whereby the school would provide machines capable of handling the task at hand and the students are allowed to bring their own devices to complement the tech infrastructure.

We need to integrate both into a learning experience.

We need a range of devices to handle a range of problems and provide a range of opportunities.

Going hard one way or the other — for or against BYOD — is missing the reality of the way most of us actually compute, and missing a chance to leverage the context in the way we and our students actually understand and relate to technology.

In reality, this isn’t about BYOD, it’s about BYOC — Bring Your Own Context.

from TeachPaperless

Abstruse Goose

October 28th, 2011 1 comment

Spherical Cow


from Abstruse Goose

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are posting outcomes best practice?

October 27th, 2011 No comments


for the love of learning: Stop writing the objectives on the board


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Cross posting

October 26th, 2011 No comments

I connected my WordPress blog with my Posterous site. That sounds like a redundancy. I suppose it is but I liked Posterous because I could easily share items I liked while browsing. It was dedicated to my responses and reflections on the thoughts of others. My WordPress blog was more original material reflecting my practice as a teacher in Saskatchewan. Since adopting Posterous I have found there are other ways to connect my WordPress to social networks. The Posterous site may have reached its functional end. Something to think about I guess.

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What you see is all there is

October 26th, 2011 1 comment

Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence

 … people who face a difficult question often answer an easier one instead, without realizing it. We were required to predict a soldier’s performance in officer training and in combat, but we did so by evaluating his behavior over one hour in an artificial situation. This was a perfect instance of a general rule that I call WYSIATI, “What you see is all there is.” We had made up a story from the little we knew but had no way to allow for what we did not know about the individual’s future, which was almost everything that would actually matter. When you know as little as we did, you should not make extreme predictions …  The illusion of skill is not only an individual aberration; it is deeply ingrained in the culture of the industry. Facts that challenge such basic assumptions – and thereby threaten people’s livelihood and self-esteem – are simply not absorbed. The mind does not digest them. This is particularly true of statistical studies of performance, which provide general facts that people will ignore if they conflict with their personal experience.We often interact with professionals who exercise their judgment with evident confidence, sometimes priding themselves on the power of their intuition. In a world rife with illusions of validity and skill, can we trust them? How do we distinguish the justified confidence of experts from the sincere overconfidence of professionals who do not know they are out of their depth? We can believe an expert who admits uncertainty but cannot take expressions of high confidence at face value. As I first learned on the obstacle field, people come up with coherent stories and confident predictions even when they know little or nothing. Overconfidence arises because people are often blind to their own blindness.True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.The New York TimesBy DANIEL KAHNEMAN
Published: October 23, 2011Daniel Kahneman is emeritus professor of psychology and of public affairs at Princeton University and a winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics. This article is adapted from his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” out this month from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.Editor: Dean Robinson

I read this long article with great interest. It began with a description of officer training in Israel and shifted to Kahneman’s work with the stock market. Given the current state of the North American economy and my own growing concerns about pension income, I found his conclusion that stock market broker’s success or failure on the market was largely the result of luck unsettling.Perhaps I should have anticipated this information. It was easy to apply the theme to education. I’m preparing for report cards at the moment. The immediacy of that and the decade long fixation on improved assessment in teacher professional development makes this easy.We were required to predict a soldier’s performance in officer training and in combat, but we did so by evaluating his behavior over one hour in an artificial situation.” How often have I read cautions against investing too much in our tests? How often have I surpressed the feeling that the mark I wrote down on a report card was at best an inadequate representation of learning at at worst an elaborate charade – and we use them to predict student’s future just as much as Kahneman and his colleagues used their results to predict leadership.Just as the brokerage firms described in Kahneman’s article rewarded lucky brokers, educators reward students (and governments reward schools)  for high achievement on artificial tests. The test results might not be blind luck, but they are the result of complex factors. Just like the brokerage houses, we cannot confidently use the test results of one year to reliably predict how our students will perform in the future. The factors are too complex. Kahneman asserts near the conclusion that, True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” I think a reliable assessment is made from prolonged experience with the learner and the previous mistakes we have made in our assessments of her. How do we change our direction? Unfortunately, as Kahneman observes, The illusion of skill is not only an individual aberration; it is deeply ingrained in the culture.”



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Posting from my Android tablet just made life a little simpler

October 24th, 2011 No comments


I am probably playing catch up with most of you but I now have an android tablet. I am adding small apps to the tablet to make life simple for me. Tonight I found the WordPress app. It is a better intererface  than logging onto my WordPress blog directly. The project is finding out how much workflow responsibility this small tool can assume. So far I have been happy with it.

DOGHOUSE | Quick Reflexes

October 17th, 2011 No comments

Okay, I have not been using alt-tab, I just tried it for what might be the first time. I’ll have to teach this trick to my fourth graders so they can fool me better. They are still at the point where I amaze them with my ability to identify the open applications on their task bars.

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