approx read time: 2 min.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a coach with you in the classroom whenever you wanted? You know, someone who watches you play your game, and then helps you adjust your technique.
Imagine you got a great idea from a blog post, Twitter chat or conference workshop over the weekend. You’re going to try it out Monday. Wouldn’t it be great if someone else could be there to watch and give you some feedback, engage in some reflection? Someone who knows the learning targets, but is free to watch the action unfold rather than be caught up in facilitating?
Or maybe you have a tried and true activity that could use a refresh. It flows wonderfully, but you want to build on it and take it to the next level. Unfortunately, when one is engaged in facilitating the lesson, opportunities to observe and learn as a teacher are few and far between.
One way to see it all is with the use of a tool like Swivl. This little robotic video stand offers a great option to observe and reflect on your practice. You can either set it in a convenient spot and let it go, or you can wear the marker and have it follow you around as you speak. Upload your video and watch at your leisure. And if you choose, you can invite others to comment by sharing your video. You can expand this out to filming students as they work individually, in small groups or presenting. Share clips with students as exemplars. Using Swivl is an easy way to step into using the ISTE educator standards as you strive to increase modeling, collaboration, and student choice. Use Swivl to:
Leave a comment below to share how you’ve used Swivl or other video coaching methods to improve teaching and learning.
So I'm one of those who grew up mildly to mostly uncomfortable with math. As a high school student. I excelled at linguistics, and intellectual though processes. But math just didn't add up (haha) I loved the proofs of geometry. The built in meta-cognition worked for me. But algebra? in the traditional manner of do all the odd (or even) problems, show all your work, one right answer? Not so much. Sound familiar?
Now that I'm a part time field supervisor, coaching student teachers in all content areas, I've been brushing up on content specific methods and strategies. Enter Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. This book has been life-changing. And it aligns with the design thinking work I've been doing the last couple of years. Whether you're a math teacher or not, this book is for you. Boaler provides excellent examples of how to create a collaborative classroom where students learn that there really is no such thing as a mistake. Instead, they are encouraged to share and debate ideas based on the familiar, claim, evidence, reasoning technique we see in science and language arts. Armed with the basics of number sense, students discover math facts for themselves in a constructivist style of learning. We are reminded that while there may be a right answer, there is no one right way to arrive at that answer and the power of allowing students to explore and explain their thinking.
Boaler provides tons of great examples of simple 'games' aka activities to encourage this thinking including one of my new favorite apps kenken puzzles along with a variety of resources from youcubed.org that will start you on the way to understanding the benefit of a growth mindset in mathematics.
She touches on a variety of related topics as well, such as the benefits of heterogeneous vs. homogeneous grouping in math classes. Her position on the role of homework is particularly relevant to any content area. She espouses the value of reflection as opposed to repetition, advocating for a sort of flipped classroom model in which the practice and discover is done in class with students engaging in self-assessment as homework.
As I visit schools and have sat in on curriculum committee work, I routinely hear how math is 'special' that there is such a broad range of abilities teachers require special consideration in designing programs that essentially track students and impose upon them a fixed mindset related to math ability, setting them up continued struggle, failure and lowered self-esteem. Jo Boaler offers practical methods that can be implemented without a complete curriculum re-write that will ease the tension and frustration for students and teachers alike. Add this book to your summer reading list!
approx read time: 2 min.
So much happened in the second half of 2017, I thought I'd catch up in this first post of 2018 and let you all know what I've been up to. It's been a busy fall as I settle into my new role as an an independent consultant. Getting a business up and running is something new for me and I'm happy to report that things are falling into place. So... what have I been up to you may ask? Well the real question is, what haven't I been up to?
First, training and presentations! I had the pleasure of working with John Sowash of Sowash Ventures to provide Google training for a few schools to start the year. I tagged along with him to Chandler Park Academy to get the middle school staff up to speed on Chromebooks. Then it was off to Rochester, NY for a day with the elementary staff at Manchester-Shortsville.
I also presented at Bay Arenac ISD's back to school PD on Google mapping tools (check out my maps in g-drive!), VR in the classroom, non-boring lectures and formative assessment tools. Mi Google was my next stop, with a session targeted to ELA teachers. Their favorites? symbaloo.edu, newsela, and read&write; all great resources for any content area. Finally keynoting the MANS second annual tech gathering with a great session on empathy and tech integration.
Second, Internet safety and digital citizenship. I've been working with the team at Protect Young Eyes visiting schools and churches from Grand Rapids, MI to Dallas, TX sharing an their incredible Internet safety message to kids k-12 and parents. It's been amazing! I'm also pleased to have been the lead curriculum designer for PYE's newest project, Virtue in Media, a faith-based k-8 digital citizenship curriculum.
Last but not least, Aquinas College, College of Ed Field Supervisor. I'm just starting my second semester as a student teacher field supervisor. It's such a privilege to work so closely with pre-service teachers. It's so valuable to see teaching through their eyes and to visit so many classrooms and schools throughout the Grand Rapids area. Not sure who's learning more, them or me! I've also been invited to present in their seminars on design thinking, tech integration, and Understanding by Design.
To top it all off, I've got a couple of proposals out for work this spring and next fall. I'm getting ready to present at the GVSU Math in Action Conference as well as MACUL and I've moved a few books from the 'to read' to the 'read that' list. The one that's made the biggest impression on me is Mathematical Mindsets. Look for a complete review in my next post.
So... here we go 2018 seatbelts fastened! It's going to be a wild ride... :)
(reading time 3.3 minutes) Author: Carol Glanville
Regardless of which camp you live in (Apple, Google, Windows) one has to admit, Google has done a fantastic job of making technology accessible across the various ‘digital divides’; particularly the socioeconomic. Via Google and all its component parts, students, teachers, and even school districts have access to a plethora of tools that support creative, collaborative learning, increased productivity and budget constraints. And they’re responsive. Google updates happen so regularly, you hardly even notice it. And they don’t kowtow to the faint of heart. There are plenty of ways to stay up-to-date on Google happenings, but there’s no build-up of anticipation or fear-mongering around changes. Google respects all users. Google doesn’t treat you as helpless. They treat you as a relatively intelligent person capable of taking the next step without the ‘tech guy’ pushing the buttons for you after hours.
Of course, with all the tools at your disposal and constant updates in response to user feedback, knowing how you can get the most out of Google can be daunting. Never fear, the Internet knows all and tells all. So, here are a few go-tos to help you get the most out of the Google tool(s) of your choice.
Google Teacher Tribe (aka GTT) Podcast, @gteachertribe or Google Plus community. GTT has all the answers. Join the community to get real-time answers to your real-time questions.
Alice Keeler | @alicekeeler: Veteran classroom teacher, Ms. Keeler has been helping educators get the most out of Google for years. But she’s not just about listing tricks & tips. The support she provides comes from a ‘how to enhance learning’ perspective. So when she posts something, it’s about the how and the why.
Google Classroom | Classroom Disrupt: Are you a hand’s on learner who benefits learns best from a live teacher? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you. The Diocese of Grand Rapids will host a session of John Sowash’s Classroom Disrupt this summer. This two-day workshop takes place July 24-5 at Cathedral Square. Follow this link for complete details & registration.
Google Certification Academy: Another hand’s on session hosted by St Stephen’s June 26-7. This is an update of a perennial favorite the diocese hosted in 2014. Both trainings are appropriate for any educator using Google tools on any platform (iPad, Chromebook, Windows)
reading time 3.5 minutes
As we close out our Catholic Schools Week celebrations, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the relationship of technology to Catholic church over time. So, hop into the way-back machine with me and set the controls for c. 560 AD. Welcome to Seville, Spain where we encounter Isidore of Seville. Later canonized (by JPII) St Isidore, produced a 20 volume body of work known as the Etymologies, or Origins. The print version of the Internet for the Middle Ages, the Etymologies was translated and widely published for over 1000 years and was considered to be the resource for all knowledge great and small of the time. The next time you take a foray into the wide world of Google, pause a moment to pray for the intercession of St Isidore, the patron saint of the Internet, in your digital quest for knowledge.
Next stop, the mid 20th c. Enter Fr Roberto Busa, S.J. Fr Busa is credited (among other intellectual accomplishments) as being the catalyst for creating hyperlinks and searchable online text. Engaged in work to build a reference catalog of all of Thomas of Aquinas’ written works, he met with Thomas J Watson (founder of IBM) in 1949 and gave him this design challenge: Create a computerized way to search text by word. His innovative request was the genesis of the ‘hypertext’ function invented by Ted Nelson in 1965. (National Catholic Register, 2017) Fr Busa died in 2011, but you can interact with his tech legacy to this day on a multilingual public Facebook group. His innovations also led to the development of Digital Humanities in higher education; a field gaining in popularity and importance with the continuing evolution of data analysis. There’s even a Busa Prize awarded to leaders in the field of humanities computing.
A few year later, the Vatican saw fit to address the growing sphere of the influence of social media. Vatican 2 documents published in 1963 include a special Decree on the Media of Social Communications aka, the Inter Mirifica. This two-page document answers two driving questions. “The first question has to do with “information,” as it is called, or the search for and reporting of the news.” (Intermirifica 1.5) “The second question deals with the relationship between the rights, as they are called, of art and the norms of morality.”(Intermirifica 1.6) As you skim the Inter Mirifica, it will draw you in with its shockingly relevant guidelines for dealing with news and media today. In fact, it’s difficult to comprehend that it was indeed written in 1963.
Of course, all innovation carries with it some risk. In combining so many classical works, St Isidore preserved a large part of history. But because his work alone was so highly regarded and widely copied, some of those original texts were lost. The Inter Mirifica starts with this caveat, “The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God. The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss.” (Inter Mirifica I.2)
Jumping now to the 21st century, and the ubiquitous nature of technology, it is truly a gift from God to have voices like Sr Carolyn Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF to provide guidance. Sr. Carolyn maintains a blog and Twitter account under the pseudonym of ‘Cyberpilgrim.’ In late 2016 she published a three-part series on Digital Discipleship.
In Part 1 she calls us to action with this statement: “We are now called to integrate the apostolic opportunityof the digital world, so that we may use it effectively in our everyday efforts to incarnate the Gospel message.” She goes on to connect the concept of intentional discipleship with evangelization and how the Internet can be used to serve that purpose.
In Part 2 she describes why and how to use Facebook effectively. She suggests a balance of posts between ‘other’ (work, fun, family, etc.) and faith. (i.e. 70/30, 60/40, 50/50) Your faith ministry can be as simple as a photo from a parish activity or a re-post from a Catholic site such as bustedhalo which I discovered while researching this post. Their #dailyjolt is a welcome addition to my Twitter feed.
Part 3 of Digital Discipleship advises how to get started with various social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, Linked-In and more. In this section, you’ll also find links to teen-focused accounts on these platforms and suggestions for finding your own faith-based content.
The Office of Catholic Schools’ mission states that we are “an alliance of Catholic schools where Christ illuminates learning and life.” It’s clear that over the history of the church, technology has been a tool used to do just that. I invite you to take up the mantle and continue the tradition of embracing innovation as a means for expanding Catholic educational ministry. Following are a few tips to get started.
Carol Glanville, M.Ed.
Organizational Design Consultant