Leadership – Education – Technology – Other Interesting Stuff

Archive for August, 2013

A Focus on Leadership

While written from a business perspective, Jim Belosic offers 5 intriguing ideas about flat management. True, he has a small company (14) and yet his comments about management-level people having the opportunity to keep putting their skills to use made me think. So, too, did his comments about flat management as an employee screening tool and what implications those ideas might have in a school or district.

This thought-provoking blog by George Couros shares and connects to ideas from George Siemens. These connections include: mass collaboration and social networks; individual connection (which made me think of 1) Joe Girard’s Law of 250 – scroll down to #2, and 2) synchronicity); and how to create the spaces for these to occur.

I have been on Twitter for years and yet have few tweets. Learning curve and time are probably a big part of that equation. When I led a session one time on Web 2.0 tools, one of the topics that came up was how principals might use Twitter to engage their stakeholders and community. This blog by Alyssa Morones shares great examples of school and district leadership reaching out to their communities via Twitter.

Kyle Pace, in his blog Why do we follow? 5 Important Leadership Traits, talks about 4 traits I believe translate well to online learning and professional networking. Consider trusting, valuing, encouraging risk-taking and growth. How can we translate these to our PLNs (personal learning networks)?

The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is making progress. This commentary is about both the leadership and humility necessary for turnaround work to succeed. They highlight 4 strategies they have focused on for turning around their schools: leadership, effective teaching, target student supports and family and community engagement. What are they doing that is working well?

Infographics for Education – learning theories, PBL & pie charts

I seem to be stuck on a theme right now of infographics, both for a current work project and what I am viewing online.

Jeff Dunn shared A Visual Guide to Every Single Learning Theory from Robert Millwood, which is a bit challenging to read but really intriguing.

friEdTechnology has great infographics. For those of you interested in PBL (Project Based Learning) you may want to take a look at this one about the Student Choice Continuum (Aug 17th). Or scroll down to July 25th and look at the scaffold for writing a driving question for PBL. You might also want to go back to Jeff Dunn to see the fried table comparing projects to PBL.

And let’s end with this one – a pie video about pie charts using pies – pretty creative.

Passion for Teachers

OK, so I found my Happy New Year start to the new school year. If you haven’t seen this 18-year-old talk about the power teachers may have upon students, take 8 minutes to listen.

Infographics – Brooklyn, TV Shows, Pinterest, Public Employee

This interactive map of Brooklyn, which shows the history of development of the borough from the oldest buildings (green) to the newer ones (dark red) for 320,000 buildings, is very interesting. Imagine the conversations in classes about history, sociology, architecture and economics.

GEOS (Global Episode Opinion Survey) has a polling tool that allows its members to rank TV shows by how much they enjoy individual episodes. That data are then plotted over time. When I first looked at the interactive tool to see the average ranking of different shows over time, I thought the list was heavy on science fiction. Then I checked out the GEOS site and learned it is.

Check out Mark Anderson’s post about Pinterest in education. Just last week I was posting in one of my PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) that making students thinking visible via Pinterest could have real value in the classroom. Mark has shared an infographic about Pinterest in education that is insightful. How might or do you use Pinterest in your class or school? Share some ideas here please.

So the title of this infographic caught my attention in an article – Highest-Paid Public Employees. The graphic itself was somewhat of a surprise. Take a minute and make a prediction of who you think it might be in your state AND which job title you think is most common as the highest paid. One clue – 50 % of states have the same job as the highest paid.

Gaming & Formative Assessment

It is hard to know where to start for back-to-school information. Do we wax philosophic or look at some clear goals? (I did reflect as I read the second blog.) Or just get back to work with new ideas, new tools and new perspectives? I am choosing to start with new perspectives.

As I read Matthew Farber’s post, Gamifying Student Engagement, and listened to Jane McGonigal’s TED talk about gaming making the world better, I was reminded of my use of Sim City in a middle school industrial science class. But that is a story for another time.

Matthew made me wonder if the “I do, we do, you do” strategy has given way or is moving towards – “The first “level” or “mission” is typically a constructivist tutorial.” This blog talks about the connections to PBL (Project Based Learning), student engagement and ownership, critical and creative thinking and also made me connect to classroom formative assessment.

Matthew and Jane got me wondering about…what “badges” we offer in the classroom. (There seems to be a connection to the formative assessment practice of students monitoring their own progress here.) How do we let kids “level-up” in our classrooms? (See previous parenthetical statement.) “Modding” was a new term to me, and once again, I was reminded of formative assessment. When I use pre-assessment, I sometimes discover that I need to allow students to change the learning opportunity to better meet their needs, so modify their learning.

Matt says,
In video games, players are encouraged to learn as they go. This is the very definition of constructivism. Constructivism makes learning meaningful and satisfying.

And guess what? So does the use of formative assessment.

Leave a comment a tell me how you plan to use classroom formative assessment this year.

Data Visualization

Making sense of abstract numbers…For users of Chrome, Google now has the Dictionary of Numbers. This unique extension searches what you are reading online, finds numbers, gives them context (i.e., 100m = height of the Statue of Liberty) and makes an annotation for you. These translations are called “human numbers.”

It surprised me to find this link on The Economist and now I am not sure why. Data visualization or infographics take us to new vistas when it comes to how to translate and see data. This article describes three books that might feed your interest and appreciation for data/statistics.


Online Communication

Elementary principal Peter DeWitt talks about media – pictures and video – as a way to engage parents in communication about school happenings. Knowing that everyone does not have the same access to technology should not limit our risk-taking with this venture. We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a 1000 words and we know parents love to see what happens in a classroom when they are not present.

One of my former classmates blogs to communicate with his parent community. You’ll notice Joe Terch uses links to other sites, video clips and pictures. About 4 years ago I led a session on Web. 2.0 tools and one principal decided to Tweet at the beginning and end of most school days, just to let parents know what they missed so they wouldn’t miss it.

As part of an online course I took this winter, I had to make a video to establish my “online voice.” This post by Ceren Cubukcu talks about “personal branding.” What she offers here has relationship to what we are doing when we work on our PLNs (Personal Learning Networks).

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