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Visions of Education Futures Floating Around in My Head

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User Generated Education

Walk into a classroom in any part of the United States, even the world, and you most likely will scratch your head in disbelief asking yourself questions such as:

  • Why do the classrooms look pretty much like the ones in which I, my parents, and my grandparents learned?
  • Many students (of all ages) own computers in the form of their cell phones that are more powerful than all of the computer power of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon. Why aren’t they using them for learning?
  • Why are the kids still categorized and sorted by date of manufacture (birthdates)?
  • Why are the students using paper-based textbooks that are older than the students, themselves, and provide no options to check for information accuracy or to extend their learning based on areas of interest?
  • Why is there one person standing in front of the room doing…

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Today’s Education Should Be About Giving Learners Voice and Choice

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User Generated Education

Some of the recurring themes of my conference presentations and blog posts include:

The underlying theme of all of my ideas, of all of my blog posts is about setting up the conditions where learners’ choice and voice flourish.  I have come to believe that the only real education is one that fully embraces learner choice and voice. All instructional practices in this era of learning should revolve around learner choice and voice:

Education works when people have opportunities to find and develop unaccessed or unknown voices and skills. Audre Lorde poignantly describes this “transformation of silence into language and action [as] an act of self-revelation.” Opportunities for flexibility and choice assist learners in finding passion, voice, and

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6 Steps to Exterminating Innovation in Schools

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Hooked On Innovation

antiinnovation spray_edited-1We’ve all heard about some great new change in education. Some innovation sweeping the area schools whether it be a new way to teach or a new type of ed tech tool. Innovation is an annoying pest. It infects organizations and makes people uneasy because it’s usually accompanied by a disease called “change.”

Many of the things we try to do in our district are innovative. We’ve had 1:1 iPads for nearly 4 years. We’ve tried to shift pedagogy to more of a student-centered and immersive authentic approach. We have even started to pilot flexible furniture and customized learning spaces. However, with each new approach, we have experienced some opposition from those seeking to maintain the status quo.

“I went to school without technology or fancy furniture and I made it out just fine.”

That’s a common one I’ve heard. Or this one:
“All this stuff costs money and support, so why are…

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Are Digital Portfolios a Disadvantage?

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Learning About Learning

It won’t surprise anyone that I am a strong proponent of digital professional portfolios.  I demonstrate how to create them here, and over the past year, George Couros has worked with Principal Associations in Ontario (CPCO/OPC/ADFO) to help our school leaders become connected learners, including the idea of using a blog as a portfolio.

I’ve bought into this hook, line and sinker.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 7.38.19 AM

I exude visible thinking, open learning, reflective practice, and I promote it in professional practice with every breath.

I know, you’ve heard enough.

So I have to ask, then, if I am wrong?  Is it actually a disadvantage to have a digital portfolio?

Because right now, it really feels like it is.

Let me explain.

Over the past three years, I have sat through a number of professional interviews, on both sides of the table.  I don’t hear any questions…

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This much I know about…why we are developing Growth Mindset Learning tools

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johntomsett

I have been a teacher for 26 years, a Headteacher for 11 years and, at the age of 50, this much I know about why we are developing Growth Mindset Learning tools.

If you always do what youve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If you haven’t heard Henry Ford’s ubiquitous aphorism by now, I really cannot imagine where you’ve been these past few years. It’s such a cliché, but it is behind the conclusions drawn by Yeager, Walton and Cohen in their overview of research into the impact of Growth Mindset strategies in schools.

Their conclusions are important for any of us developing a Growth Mindset in our schools:

YWC 1

YWC 2

YWC 3

Hard work alone is not enough. When I learnt how to play golf, I practised until my hands bled. But I always thought about the outcomes of my shots and would change things if a fault…

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Twitter is a Public Library!

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Learning About Learning

Earlier today, I read a post on the importance of the language we use when we talk about education.  It  made me think about some of the listening I have done this year when I ask educators why they are not using social media for their professional learning.

At the OPC/CPCO/ADFO Symposium in November, many school leaders at my table told me that they had not really found any value in using Twitter until they heard George Couros talk about it.

In December, I was honoured to be asked to spend a few hours with the Lakehead Public SchoolsInspire Program, leading a session for educators on the use of social media in the classroom.  While I loved working with teachers, I still felt I was not really hitting the mark in demonstrating the value of Twitter for professional learning.

Just before Christmas, I was asked to work with another…

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The Other 21st Century Skills: Educator Self-Assessment

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User Generated Education

I’ve posted about The Other 21st Skills and Attributes.  This post provides links and resources about these skills as well as an educator self-assessment.  This assessment contains questions to assist the educator in evaluating if and how s/he is facilitating these skills and attributes in the learning environment. skills

21st century skills

Related Resources:

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