Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Technology: Parents, Teachers and students….can we get them all to the same page?

Once a cowboy, always a cowboy!  This was a great opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Dousay about the state of technology that has become more of a focus due to COVID19.  This is only the tip of the iceberg but it’s time to start chipping away at it.   Please jump in and tweet or post your comments as the conversation is more powerful than just these answers.



Technology: Parents, Teachers and students….can we get them all to the same page?



  1. What is the first step to improve this process?


JK: This is a huge question that impacts the whole educational landscape.  I think one thing that has been highlighted in the COVID19 time, is that education, really, can be delivered in different ways than we have been.  Any educational debate often hinges on defining the best way.  This event has hopefully changed the discussion to how many ways can we create education equitably.  If we think about ice cream as an example, vanilla was the starting point but soon many flavors were developed.  Ice cream shops know that they need that variety and let the consumer choose the flavor they want.  We have opened a lot of eyes to educational possibilities during this time and if we develop the flavors, I think we can get parents, teachers and students all in the same conversation to start.


TD: Communication is such a complicated endeavor in the information age. COVID19 has really revealed just how many channels we have for receiving information and engaging. The buffet of flavors is what we need to try and meet everyone’s needs, but it also has an overwhelming effect that can be confusing at best and paralyzing at worst. Now, more than ever, we need states to recognize the value of instructional coaches who have been in the trenches as a teacher, feeling these pains, and now function to facilitate managing that overwhelming effect--developing portals for clearly communicating what tools are used (and why), guides for how parents can support their learners with specific tools, quick and easy guides for students on how to access and use common tools, and of course supporting our teachers with how to use (and design learning with these) tools effectively.


JK:  I love the idea that instructional coaches can be used to help parents.  That is great way to build unity for sure.


  1. Is there a right way to move into this new normal for education forward?


TD: I don’t know that there are blanket right and wrong ways to go about improving our understanding and use of technology in education. However, I do see three conversations that can guide this discussion.


First, there are different ways to go about moving forward, which makes it messy and unappealing to many but also allows for flexibility and adaptation for local and regional norms and needs. Some states effectively use regional service centers to support districts with a variety of policies and initiatives. That existing structure could lend itself here–sharing coaches among rural districts and curating quality expertise. This structure also means easing off of cumbersome reporting and paper-pushing to focus on meaningful data collection and sharing, rather than adding more (you know, to document what we did even though no one will read the document and it will inform nothing). However, some states do not have anything like regional service centers while others have empty systems in name only.


Second, this effort needs to concurrently address breaking down silos to develop a new culture of open sharing rather than competition and mindfulness of privatization, including the pitfalls of fiduciary responsibility, personal privacy, and equity access when that happens. Teachers and educational leaders are microcosms of ethical practice and decision-making. As education is a humanistic endeavor and educational technology companies are largely driven by capitalistic goals, these two philosophical foundations can clash without an ethical relationship. Egos and moral compasses aside, this particular aspect requires a cultural shift that recognizes and values expertise, models ethical practice, and engages the whole learning community.


Third, we can begin by carefully equipping teachers with the knowledge they need about available tools, access considerations, and policy/ethical considerations–to include COPPA and FERPA. This requires quality instructional coaches and leaders (regional or building level) who can assist with this endeavor, but must be followed with freedom for and trust in our teachers. To borrow from business management, quality management begins with a focus on the customer, meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations. Our customers are our students. So, let teachers primarily focus on their students. The words "stakeholder" and "reporting" do not appear anywhere in these principles. Why then do we put such a priority on these two components when we talk about quality and improvement in schools? Quality performance and improvement does not begin with evaluating ourselves to death in the never-ending quest of answering to stakeholders and policy makers. 


This is a time for us to reconsider norms and practices, good and bad, in light of recent events, constraints, and demands. Education as we practice it is artificial and often contrived. Now is the time to reconsider our identity as educators and build something new for the future. 


JK: I think that your answer Tonia hits on a key idea...it won’t be easy.  The idea of looking at this from an “end in mind” mentality is important.  Can we hammer out the big ideas of what education is and needs to be?  Can we get past what it has been?  As I read your answer Tonia, I couldn’t help but think about a post I wrote seven years ago about using Amazon as a model for schools.  Schools are not businesses but can we shift focus of education to our consumers, students and parents, and make the process meaningful for all.


TD: Ahh, yes! The Amazon model could be an entire long discussion in and of itself. But this is exactly the kind of thinking that underlies the notion of teachers being true masters of their craft and facilitating education; aware of individual and collective learner needs and issues, monitoring broader trends locally and in the field of education at large through professional development, and (of course) achieving learning outcomes. Holding us back are standardized requirements and views that fail to embrace flexibility and responsiveness, ironically facilitated and managed with technology.


  1. Does school funding need to look at the shared cost of technology for families?


JK:  If we want equity...for sure.  As sources of funding change and become more constricted, I feel this question becomes more important.  If technology access is going to be a key for education then we must address it.  Expecting kids to go to a coffee shop or restaurant does not promote equity in education.  How do we address it, what if we consider connectivity a community obligation?  Can we allow cities to develop networks of access funded through ways that fit their community?   The challenge comes when we are essentially taking business away from private providers.  Can schools essentially issue devices that are filtered and have cellular access? Yes but in Wyoming and across the west there are lots of dead zones.  This funding could divert funds from potentially less building maintenance and transportation costs but that will most likely not be enough.


TD: School funding, especially as it relates to technology, often feels like a run-down farm truck that’s now formed by spare parts and pieces from every make and model of vehicle other than the original. And when something else breaks or a fancy new feature comes out, a mismatched solution gets applied haphazardly. Enter COVID19 and a realization that too few already knew and have felt helpless to change.


The equity gap of internet (and technology) access crosses racial and class boundaries. I’m a middle-aged white woman from a low socioeconomic upbringing, drowning in student debt, currently situated firmly in the middle class. I grew up in rural East Texas and have lived in suburban/metro areas such as Bryan-College Station, TX and Athens-Clarke County, GA. I’ve also lived in rural communities as a working professional, including Laramie, WY. As a tenured faculty member at a state university, my primary source of home internet service during COVID19 stay-at-home orders has been a T-Mobile hotspot running from my cell phone. I do actually pay $70/month for satellite internet company, which is my only “broadband” provider option. You see, I live on an unpaved road, surrounded by the very fields that grow the garbanzo beans for your Sabra hummus and lentils in your dried soup mixes, in rural northern Idaho, approximately 20 miles from the University of Idaho. I live this far out so that I can afford my rent; it’s $400/month cheaper. Unfortunately, Spectrum’s fiber ends 2 miles from my house (just on the other side of the Washington state line). Frontier/Ziply fiber ends 3 miles from my house (just outside of Potlatch, ID city limits). The Palouse Valley is also littered with small mountains and hills that make fixed tower internet viable for many, tricky for some, and impossible for me. With my satellite internet provider, there are many times that I cannot even get federal and state websites to load (partially much less completely)--and that’s while having all other devices on the home network turned off to conserve bandwidth. Had T-Mobile not expanded coverage in the area within the past 18 months, I would have been rendered useless during this time. Even then, I have to make sure I close Outlook and any browser tabs so that Zoom doesn’t kick me out of my meetings and classes. I’ve started introducing myself to people by saying, “Hi, my name is Tonia and according to Zoom, my connection is unstable.” In the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, it’s funny because it's true.


I offer this picture to highlight that even someone with privilege, who teaches about these tools and how they can be used, struggles with consistent quality access. This isn’t something my school (a university) can simply provide. Until our telecommunications partners (and elected leaders) take the need seriously, it won’t matter if schools have funding to support their learners. We’ve spent decades building an infrastructure up and selling it as a way to make lives easier, more connected, and accessible. During this time, we’ve moved a number of essential services into this infrastructure, including our normal communication and learning activities. Yet, we’ve allowed these partners to operate under the same capitalistic framework–a commodity to be bought and sold at a premium for those who can afford it. The efforts from these partners in response to COVID19 are a start. But they’re just a start.


I was once a proponent of calling on the community to come together and help provide. My preservice teachers hear me talk every semester about the McDonald’s program that allows any K-12 learner to use their restaurant wifi at no cost and no purchase necessary. Yet, what good does that do when you can’t go inside the restaurant? Sitting on the sidewalk outside or in a car is less safe and more disconcerting than it is a solution. This also doesn’t help communities that don’t have a McDonald’s, or other community partner, to provide this service. And then there’s the whole low-cost subsidized internet service for low-income households. Sorry, but when you’re already unable to afford groceries, you also likely don’t have the $5/mo for that internet bill. In other words, relying on community support and subsidy is simply, and frankly, not sustainable. To be clear, school funding as we know it is not sustainable, but that’s another discussion for another time.


I wish I had an answer to this other than “yes.” I don’t like agreeing with this statement without being able to provide possible options and solutions. If policy makers are not willing to enact the decisions to recognize access as a rightful utility and work to make sure the infrastructure functions for all users, then it falls on the telecommunications partners themselves. While we’ve seen a slight generational shift in expecting, even demanding, companies have a conscience, I don’t see AT&T or Verizon offering to cut into their profit margins to address the problem consistently or completely any time in the near future. As it is, they, like our policy makers, are reactionary, only succumbing when social pressure reaches a tipping point.


I applaud any forward-thinking leader (political or educational) who attempts to tackle this particular issue. Since toppling or resetting the system isn’t likely to happen in the near future, it’s likely that this will have to be a regional/state-level effort. E-Rate solutions of the past will not work for the future. Parking a few school buses turned wifi routers in low-income neighborhoods only shifts the burden of cost and work. Solutions have to reach the home and extend across an entire community, taking into consideration the fact that work-life-school boundaries have largely dissolved. 


JK:  You summarize this topic well in that this is not a “them” issue.  The COVID19 situation has highlighted that the technology infrastructure needs support and investment to be able to allow the technology we already have to reach its potential.  We have lots of great tools but if they can’t connect then all options become limited.  Your analogy of an old farm truck is a great visual to make what we face concrete.  Take the truck one step further, and imagine it driving down a back road,  and interstate or trying to keep up on a freeway.




Thank you Dr. Dousay for taking the time to chat. We must start to address where we want to go….before the old farm truck breaks down!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.





Dr. Tonia Dousay: @tadousay http://www.learninginterest.com/

James Kapptie: @jpk38 https://ourchildrenarecalling.blogspot.com/



Bios




Tonia is a K20 educator, Google Certified Innovator, & Google Certified Trainer with 20 years of instructional design and education project management experience. Tonia holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University and a PhD in Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Georgia. She is currently an associate professor of learning sciences and the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences associate dean of accreditation and inclusion at the University of Idaho.

James is a 20 year classroom veteran.  His experience includes Middle and High School, Administration, Technology Director, Education speaker and consultant, and Computer Science and "Purposeful Technology" Evangelist.  Creator of #wyoedchat.


Friday, May 1, 2020

Re-imaging teacher prep in light of #COVID19



COVID19 has allowed some opportunities that may not have been available without.  With a little extra time we, (James Kapptie & Carl Hooker), came up with a plan to do a shared blog.  While isolated in Wyoming and Texas the topic and discussion was created.  We hope, that as with all great blog posts, that you join and add to our discussion.

Re-imaging teacher prep in light of #COVID19

What are the biggest new requirements for teacher prep as a result of COVID19?
CH: I’ve been lucky enough to guest lecture several college teacher prep courses over the years. One thing that stood out to me is that lack of development on educational technology. College students generally “get” technology when it comes to games, social media, and learning a platform quickly, but generally, they struggle with when it comes to thoughtful integration of technology for learning. I think this pandemic has shined a bright spotlight on those deficits that start at teacher prep and continue somewhat through professional learning once they are with a district.

JK: I would totally agree with Carl that teachers in general miss some of the technology integration logic. We all are very similar to our students.  I am always amazed when students struggle with learning something and it never crosses their mind to “google” it.  We all are guilty of using youtube to assist us in some ways but don’t think of it as a place to help school learning. Maybe the spotlight will shine not only on the lack of prep to use the technological tools we have, but will also force us to look at what it is we want students to learn.  I always like a good analogy, imagine sending mechanic students out to work on cars without showing them how different tools are needed for different parts.

CH: I like that analogy and it’s so true! It’s one thing to have the knowledge, but that doesn’t necessarily equal understanding.

How should teacher prep approach working with parents as a result of COVID19?

CH: I think this should be addressed regardless of this crisis. As a parent of three elementary aged children, I’ve always felt like having some consistency when it comes to communication home is needed. Now more than ever, that communication needs to be not only consistent, but also clarify instructions for those of us trying to teach our students at home. Teachers have relied heavily on verbal instructions and then follow-ups for checking with understanding. Now they are sending home information in packets or weekly choice boards that have some limited instructions that can be confusing for both parents and students. While we need to give teachers some grace as they are ultimately doing educational triage on their lessons, I think this could be refined more in the future.

JK:  The point of “teachers doing triage on their lessons” is well stated.  Teacher prep courses need to have parent “practicums” if you will.  Teaching teachers how to ask the right questions so that they can build an effective team with parents is no easy task.   Most teachers become well versed at communicating  in the controlled environment with kids but communication with adults is not usually a topic we work into teacher prep.  Learning to talk to adults and asking them how we can make this work better is a great starting point.

CH: I also think giving them some basic expectations about sending home a list of tools and apps being used along with login information would be a great start to opening up those channels of communication when it comes to learning. Too many times that communication is about poor behavior but how great would it be to get a message from your child’s teacher giving you some additional learning strategies or tools to use at home?

What should school Administrators look for in new hires as a result of COVID19?
JK: I think school administrators should consider a few things in their new hires.  First, applications need to include technology “application” examples from candidates.  Show me a tool and how it has been used.  The tool that they model will not be nearly as insightful, as the chance to see their process.  This gives administrators and hiring teams a chance to see what level they are taking the learning to and how technology is offering something that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.  Second, give them an opportunity to pick a tool and explain how they could use it to take learning across the DOK levels.  We need to see teachers committing to getting far deeper than just substituting technology for what we already do.  Writing in a Google doc is no more impressive than on paper...unless that online document takes the learning somewhere that would be nearly impossible without it.

CH: You hit the nail on the head there. Just trouble-shooting a google doc is one thing, but actually diving deeper into pedagogical practices and reasoning is another. One thing I implemented as an administrator when hiring Educational Technologists is something I called “The Gauntlet”. The idea was to mimic the issues and interactions the position might encounter on any given day. Applicants went through a series of challenges that involved presenting to a group, solving technical issues, supporting parents and administrators, and coaching grade level teams. It was a lot of work and a full day for each of the applicants, but my theory was that it was easy to hire people but harder to fire them. Why not start by coming up with a more in-depth process to hire high quality people that is more than just the traditional group interview (which really favors people that interview well)
 HR departments have needed to rethink their hiring practices for decades, but this pandemic has really highlighted the deficits some of our teachers have as they enter the profession.

JK:  Love the “Gauntlet” idea.  We can’t look to improve schools if we are not willing to look at new ways to assess candidates.   The analogy  that comes to mind is those solid rubber tires on the first cars would really work that well today, so why are we hiring so similar to how we did thirty or forty years ago?

How does professional development adapt for teachers as a result of COVID19?

CH: This is an area that I could spend hours discussing. As an administrator that ran professional development in a school district, I always tried to figure out different ways for our teachers to learn other than physically being in a building for several hours a day in the summer. I love the conference experience when done right, but that might not be an option now, at least physically in the same space. Much like learning with the students, there should be synchronous and asynchronous options available for our teachers. Synchronous options could be an online discussion via video conference or participating in a live webinar. Asynchronous options could be book studies, twitter chats, and other projects that can involve much more virtual collaboration.

JK: Well said Carl!  Professional development, moving forward should highlight the idea of “modeling” what learning can look like.  The PD can be meaningful and meet educators where they physically are.  There will always be an avenue for in person group learning but we can make the learning opportunities more cost effective and time appropriate so that more educators can take part.  If we have more educators involved it will hopefully help the needed ideas for improving education more quickly adopted.

CH: I’m excited to see what comes out as a result of this and have already started developing some of my own “Remote Professional Learning” packages for schools to use this summer and fall. It doesn’t just have to be sit-n-get in front of a computer screen.

What are some things we can do, once back in the classroom, to better prepare students of all ages for learning online?

JK: This is a great question.  I feel like schools need to incorporate this “new” hybrid mindset into our culture.  Schools need to make sure classrooms are connecting to places outside the school building.  Model what connected learning should look like.  Schools and communities need to be addressing the inequity that has become apparent during this crisis.  Plans to address making sure students have connecting tools but also that there is a connection.  Schools having busses with hotspots is great for the moment but we must come up with better ways to provide infrastructure when students are not in the building.  This planning can help us address summer learning loss, snow days or weather issues, family vacations, medical emergencies and if there is a recurrence of  COVID19.  The term “new normal”  means we have to address how we can create quality educational opportunities when we aren’t in school.

CH: I think the inequity of access is a major issue. Schools are applying bandages to this now, but it needs a long-term fix. I also think we could benefit by sending home more blended learning activities instead of digital homework. Too often I see busy work coming home that could be done with or without technology. We have been preaching the 4 C’s for years and see it in our physical classrooms but not so much when it comes to online learning. This will come with growth, training and understanding of what high quality online learning looks like for kids of all ages.

JK:  Creating high quality online learning will take education companies to help create simple to use tools that are more than just recording devices.



Thank you Carl, your perspective is thoughtful and important.  I appreciate you joining me on this adventure.

Thank you James for reaching out! We have a long way to go, but with connection and collaboration we can make the future even brighter.


Carl Hooker https://hookedoninnovation.com/
James Kapptie https://ourchildrenarecalling.blogspot.com/


BIOS: Carl Hooker has been a part of a strong educational shift with technology integration since becoming an educator. As Director of Innovation & Digital Learning at Eanes ISD, he has helped spearhead the LEAP program, which put one-to-one iPads in the hands of all K-12 students in his 8000-student district. Carl is the host of ISTE’s Learning Unleashed Podcast and was also recently named a Future Ready Schools national faculty member. He's also the author of the six-book series titled Mobile Learning Mindset, a guide for teachers, administrators, parents and others to support and embrace mobile learning in our schools. Read more at Hooked on Innovation.


James is a 20 year classroom veteran.  His experience includes Middle and High School, Administration, Technology Director, Education speaker and consultant, and Computer Science and "Purposeful Technology" Evangelist.  Creator of #wyoedchat.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Brain drain... Never again #WillWe



Since 1906 there has been research published and discussed on the "summer slide".  "William F. White, a mathematics instructor at the State Normal School, in New Paltz, New York, wrote an article for American Education, a periodical for teachers, titled “Reviews Before and After Vacation.”  The Cost of New York's Summer Slide,  Rebecca Mead "@Rebeccamead_NYC. As we head toward another summer, learning loss may never  be more critical than now.  In 114 years since White's original research what have we done to address the issue?  The overwhelming majority of public schools still function on a nine month calendar.

COVID19 has shown us that the American education system is capable of reaching students when they are not in school.  Will we get better at connecting to students with the intent of learning versus being in a school, without question.

Let's look at some numbers and consider what this current situation can do for students.

The infographic suggests almost three months of Math skills are lost over the summer.  Two months of Reading skills are lost according to research.  We will use months to look at impact:
2 X 10 = 20 months
20 months = 2 + years of school

Two years of learning are lost by the time students get through their sophomore year.

How have we addressed this learning loss?

There are lots of options.  Summer reading lists, reading logs, asking parents to read to their children, playing learning type games, and the list goes on.  While these all are good options, they rely on a basic key ingredient, an adult that has the time and the resource faucet to help.

Let's not forget summer school as an option.  Although teachers are considered 12 month employees, summer school is an extra financial burden on districts and will be tougher  to provide as the economy is reeling from COVID19.

We know we have an issue, we have known we had it for over 100 years.  Are we willing to address it as a result of this current crisis?

We have options to consider moving into the summer of 2020.
We, teachers,  can connect with all students on regularly scheduled times throughout the summer! Will we?
We, teachers, can still teach throughout the summer and still allow children and families a "break' from school.
Will We?
We, teachers, can still connect with students while continuing our own education and recharging with family.  Will we?

Our students need us more today than ever before.  Are we willing to look at the 100 plus old problem and peel away the excuses and address it?  It's time! If we aren't willing to address why we won't change now then when will we?   Is public education about students or about protecting what has been?

The next time we see a student struggling with a problem, just tell them not to worry about finding a solution, we have 100 years to think about it.

I encourage us all to ask the tough questions, and ask what #willwe do to lead!


Summer Matters.net.  @SummerMatters2U

https://www.oxfordlearning.com/summer-learning-loss-and-how-to-prevent-it/ . @OxfordLearning

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2005863-1,00.html . @TIME @DavidVonDrehle .      

https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/ 

@BrookingsInst 





Friday, April 17, 2020

Learning places

Looking back has me looking forward.  In the article,
Educations love affair with consuming technology written in 2014, it discusses technology consumption.  So COVID-19 has created a situation where kids aren’t allowed in schools and for many years we have believed that schools are the place where learning takes place.  Now, might be the time to really look at where does learning take place.  Technological reach, in more immersive ways, is more possible to any place and with that, learning could take place everywhere. Unfortunately or not, our kids are consuming more through technology than ever before. 

If we look at learning places and expertise instead of schools and buildings...what does that look like?   Right now kids are learning in their homes at a level that a month ago we would have thought impossible.  Are there perfect classrooms decorated with perfect bulletin boards?  No!  Are there human home's with messy rooms...a few.  What is a classroom?  Does it have to be located in a specific building? NO.  

Let's imagine learning places.  Let's imagine no boundaries within a city. Let's imagine teachers teaching their passion.  Doctors aren't doctors of everything, they specialize, they excel.  Is it time for educators to do the same?

Learning places and learning spaces.  When we think of all the places that have amazing learning potential we come up with amazing possibilities that lots of students never get to. Museums, National Parks, Zoo's, Factories, Capitals, Forests, Deserts, Stadiums, and the list can go and go and go.  Why do we  teach about animals without being there?  What about being IN what we are learning?  During this COVID19 time we have learned school buildings are not a necessity for learning.  We have learned technology can help but can't replace learning professionals as well.

Different schools have different ratings.  Parents want kids to go to best schools but often there are imaginary lines that prevent that.  Ponder that for a minute...imaginary lines determine quality of eduction that students receive.  If learning spaces were where teachers were and any kid and parent could join, would that be equitable?  Could busses still be run...of course.  Why aren't we using technology to open these spaces up? Teacher's are in need of a push to move to a learning environment and COVID19 has created the shove.  With immersive technology like Augmented Reality, learners can be engulfed in the environment but in order to do that we have to accept that the need for the old school building has changed.

So what do we know?  We know parents know their children best!  We know teachers know how to help children learn!  We know kids have exposure to more information than ever before!  We know most children get tired of school midway through the process.  Let's eliminate teacher's least favorite subjects and let them specialize in their passion.  Let's build networks of learning experts that are so regarded they have more youtube followers than gamers.  


Can we do it?  I hope so...will it take businesses and parents willing to do what is best for our future, yes.  Will it take teachers embracing the new frontier and moving past the idea we should go back to what it was, yes!  Will it be easy, no!  Will it be challenging like nothing we have seen, yes.  Let's set this generation up to be the greatest learners from our willingness to change.  Let's not re-invent the wheel, let's create a new way of transportation.

Friday, April 10, 2020

What will our children learn?

As we enter into ongoing uncertainty with COVID-19 and its impacts on the world let look at what students might take away from this historical time.

Will they look back and think about what we should have done?  As our lives are more isolated to our own homes and the news is relentless about what is happening, what do they see and think?  Unfortunately we don't have all the answers on what is the "right" thing to do so we are learning together.  Are we talking to kids that this is an ultimate example of learning, learning together and finding solutions (not answers) or are we discussing things from that traditional educational mindset?  Are we focusing on we should have an answer and we should have known it?  Thinking about how we discuss this pandemic is a key step in setting the stage for what learning looks like after it resides  Learning is ever-changing and this is a real-life example of that the solutions to all problems are everywhere but we must be able to continue to re-assess and try a different routes.

Are our children learning empathy in this time of need?  When we see the coverage of shortages at grocery store when there has not been a true increase in need what do our children learn?  In a time of need are our children learning about helping each other?  Are we focusing on needs and appreciating all we have?   How are we helping each other in a time of isolation will set a standard that our kids  will hold onto for a generation.

What are our children learning about school?  Education will most likely look different in years to come but what are students, parents and community learning about education as we go through this crisis?  Are they learning packets are how we learn?  Are they learning pre-recorded videos can replace classes?  Are they learning how to better work with teachers to help students learn?  Are parents becoming an integral team member in the learning process?  Are teachers finding ways to make content come alive in the world students are already accustomed?  We can defend what is good about schools with a backward facing perspective but to our children and their families that shows we are about what was, not what is now.  Can we change the conversation from school to education during this time?  Can our children see that we are committed to building a an educational process that looks at them as individuals and not someone in a bus or classroom. 

The children/students of today will guide what is accepted as education in the very near future.  Are we helping them develop the learning, empathy and understanding to learn now and lead into the unknown.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Learning attached to music

My kids and I decided we would embrace the Corona message by incorporating it in to songs and remaking lyrics.  We challenge anyone to share your ideas and create your own. 

We dug deep, used My Sharona, My Adidas and Stitches.  Enjoy and please share your videos.  #coronamusicchallenge






Monday, March 30, 2020

What is truly needed for "School"?

As the country deals with the ramifications of the current pandemic and schools are facing new challenges, Never Waste a Crisis, I am left pondering what is needed for school to happen.

The idea of school is quit simple.  

Let's ponder some initial questions.

1. Does it have to be physical location?
         I would argue, not anymore.  We need space but not necessarily assigned classrooms.  We need places to share an experience, an experiment or an activity.

2. Where does content come from?
        Everywhere, we just need to harness.

3. Can assessments still be the measuring stick?
       Yes, but more universal and can allow students to show mastery when ready, not when class gets there.

4. Can parents be more involved?
       This a chance for parents to be the lead in helping their students learn.  By empowering parents we can help students excel.  Think in a medical example for a minute.  Doctors prescribe treatment and parents administer those treatments, whether medicine, foods or exercise.   Teachers can be much more prescriptive with parents while customizing to the needs of children.

5. Can we invest more in learning and less in schools?
       The big question...to be answered.


There will be obstacles but how do we move education forward?

Technology: Parents, Teachers and students….can we get them all to the same page?

Once a cowboy, always a cowboy!  This was a great opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Dousay about the state of technology that has ...