Category Archives: New Ideas in Education

Classroom 2.0 LIVE!

What an honor to be chosen as the Featured Teacher for Classroom 2.0 LIVE! If you are interested in Project-based Learning or 21st Century Learning, here is the recording.  Here’s the Livebinder link to all of the projects and resources mentioned in the presentation.

Make sure you visit the Classroom 2.0 LIVE site and check the calendar for upcoming events and archives. They are always a great resource for cutting edge education ideas and resources.

What’s the Most Valuable Trait in Learning?

If I was to choose one single quality that helps people the most, not only with success in school but also with happiness throughout life, it would be internal motivation.

Internal motivation is what drives passion. It drives the quest for knowledge, it drives interest and it drives repeat exposure to something…which in turn creates expertise. Some adults never possess that in their lifetime, and I think it has a lot to do with how we structure our teaching…therefore our learning.

I have a niece who is brilliant by all standard and practical measurements. When she was about 16, I asked her if she had any thoughts about college. She told me that maybe she’d like to major in guitar. Now don’t get me wrong, I deeply value music…both of my kids are musicians, and although my niece plays guitar, it isn’t her biggest strength by a long shot…it isn’t even something she loves to do or is particularly good at. Of all of the many interests she has ranging from science, medicine, social justice, engineering, economics, literature and the like…why guitar?

The question really is: why is it when we think passion we think extra-curricular? I think it’s because those are the times that we can be internally directed. It feels like playing, and when we become so engaged in what we’re doing, we do more of it, and become more skilled.  It’s like a powerful ongoing circle of interest, learning, practice and skill.

Many of the great inventors, scientists, writers, artists, whatever… the greats in any industry…many of them approach their craft like play. The motivation comes from within. They follow their interests and curiosities as they weave in and out…they follow the winding path as it leads to new understandings and possibilities. They are often the people we call geniuses after the fact. If our goal in education includes helping produce successful, accomplished, empowered, productive human beings…we need the cultivation of internal motivation as part of our learning culture.

If we want to create a system that supports internal motivation…and invites passion in science, math, literature, global issues, as well as music, athletics, art, theater and anything else….we have to start creating and supporting a system that includes 21st century learning such as innovation, choice, relevance and  self-direction.  Maybe you don’t think it’s possible to do that while teaching content. Many teachers, schools, and districts already do. A quick internet search with terms such as Project based learning, Problem based learning,  21st Century Learning, STEM, Genius Hour, or 20% Time will start to point you in that direction. 

Here is a related TedXTalk by Scott McLeod, author of Dangerously Irrelevant.

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Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference

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Please join us for the Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference, the world’s first massively open online conference for educators focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more. The conference is being be held over the course of three days, September 19-21, 2013, and is free to attend! STEMxCon is a highly inclusive event designed to engage students and educators around the globe and we encourage primary, secondary, and tertiary (K-16) educators around the world to share and learn about innovative approaches to STEMx learning and teaching. More information at the conference website, http://www.stemxcon.com.

How to Change Education-From the Ground Up.

Great words by Sir Ken Robinson yet again.  He describes what most teachers know: effective change happens from the inside-out…or in his words “from the ground up.” The more we try to control education from the top down, the less we understand that education is about people and individuals. If we don’t fully embrace that, the farther we get from what we all want for our kids. We all have the same goal.

The Future Will Not Be a Multiple Choice Test

An Introduction to Technology Integration

Integrating technology with classroom practice can be a great way to strengthen engagement by linking students to a global audience, turning them into creators of digital media, and helping them practice collaboration skills that will prepare them for the future. Read a short introductory article.

From Edutopia

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A Case for Blogging

A Case for Blogging

Engaging Students in Math

Want to know one teacher’s formula for engaging students in math? It’s starts with allowing more mistakes + supporting struggle . . . What comes next? Read more:

Engaging Students in Math

Making Thinking Visible

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I heard about Making Thinking Visible, a researched based approach to teaching thinking that began at Harvard’s project Zero, at a webinar through the Future of Education with @stevehargadon. This is an incredible way to use fairly simple classroom teaching routines to help us become better teachers and to promote deeper thinking, and creative, independent, problem-solving in our K-12 students.

There are many resources out there to teach us how to use questioning as a strategy, but this approach is unique and worth exploring.

From the book:

  • we have two chief goals: (1) creating opportunities for thinking and (2) making students’ thinking visible.
  • (we) grouped routines around three categories: Introducing and Exploring, Synthesizing and Organizing, Digging Deeper
  • (the routines) take on more power when used to support students’ ongoing learning across a unit, that is, to build an arc of learning rather than to craft a single episode
  • (we) grouped routines from those that tend to be used early on in a unit, to those that come in the middle, to those that often serve a more culminating function.

Visible Thinking Website

Making Thinking Visible Book

As I always want to do when I find something incredible, I want to get a group of us together to work through this as a PLN. This looks like an excellent way to meld two things that are in our world right now: Common Core Standards and higher teaching standards.

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The Four C’s: Making 21st Century Education Happen