Facilitating Innovation

In last week’s post, I described the Wicked Problem group project that we were working on for CEP 812.  This week, we got feedback from our classmates and instructors, and created the final draft of our proposal that we shared with the folks at the New Media Consortium – the creators of the Wicked Problems we worked on solving in class.

We made significant changes in our project based on the feedback we received.  Perhaps the most important was streamlining our focus to Genius Hour and removing Makerspaces from our discussion.  It was a difficult choice, but the right one as our proposal solidified and became stronger as a result.  You can see the curated version of our project here and check the video mashup of our problem solving process below.

Passion and Curiosity

Passion and Curiosity

As CEP 812 and my coursework in the MSU Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology comes to an end, I have been asked to reflect on how my Passion Quotient and my Curiosity Quotient (Friedman, 2013) help me instill passion and curiosity in my students.

As a teacher-librarian, my role is a little different than classroom teachers because my role is about passion and curiosity.  Students come to me when they are passionate or curious about a topic.  I feel it is my job to make sure that their experience with research, technology and learning does not turn that passion into frustration.

As a final project, I have created an infographic representing how my own passions and curiosity inform my professional actions and interactions.

As always, feedback is welcome in the comments section.

Friedman, T. L. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q.. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html

Innovation as Learning Ethic

In this educational landscape of under appreciated teachers, over tested students and school accountability based on student results from the latest and greatest assessment, creativity and innovation have become dirty words in today’s schools.  How can students be expected to score well on their test if they are given time to play in school?

ScreenshotIn CEP 812, our long term group project has been to explore innovation in schools and develop a vision for how to create an environment where innovation can be a learning ethic in the same way as reading and mathematics.  We have created a white paper, a visualization and a short video representing our collaborative process which can be found curated here or by clicking on the photo.

Feedback is welcome in the comments.

Transforming Data into Insight

Ready for 1 to 1-Data is the foundation of education today.  It is how we justify our jobs, how we rate our schools, and most importantly how we drive our instruction in the classroom.  Unfortunately when it comes to professional development opportunities for teachers, data is the last thing that is used in their creation.

In CEP812 this week, our job was to create a survey to collect data from our community of practice about how they are using technologies in their practice, how they would like to improve their tech integration practices and what type of professional development would be most useful to accomplish their goals.  The data analysis from my survey can be found here.

In addition, we needed to summarize our data in a graphic format.  Mine can be accessed by clicking here or on the image on the right.

Comments on my data and conclusions are welcome below.

Anxiety Disorders in School – Can Technology Help?

Anxiety Disorder.  It is personal to me.  My nine year old daughter has been diagnosed with it.  And she is not alone.  Research indicates that 10% – 20% of all school aged children also suffer from worry severe enough to make them sick, impact their schoolwork and produce an array of other symptoms including self injury and eating disorders (Thompson, Robertson, Curtis, & Frick, 2013).

In CEP 812 this week, we researched a specialized learning need and made a recommendation on a technology tool that we believe will make a difference in the life of a student with that need.  The tool I chose was Evernote because it is a tool that can be flexible to a student’s needs in dealing with their anxiety even when their anxiety does not allow the child to be flexible at all.  You can read my white paper on anxiety and Evernote here.  The video below is a preview of how I think Evernote can help.

Work Cited
Thompson, E. e., Robertson, P., Curtis, R., & Frick, M. H. (2013). STUDENTS WITH ANXIETY: IMPLICATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL COUNSELORS. Professional School Counseling, 16(4), 222-234.

Do I Have Too Many Cupcakes in My InfoDiet?

This week in CEP 812, we are continuing our exploration of James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning.  Last week, we looked at the reasons why Gee feels humans are behaving less intelligently than in past generations.  This week, we are reflecting on what we can do to help ourselves and our students become successful learners and humans.

In his book, Gee (2013) advocates for the use of affinity spaces for learning.  He describes an affinity space as an informal learning space where a diverse group of people make use of tools and each other to learn about a common passion (pp. 175-177).  While he supports the use of affinity spaces, Gee also recognizes that humans prefer meaning to truth (p. 133) which makes critical study of viewpoints other than our own essential. Eli Pariser’s 2011 book The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think also explores the importance of understanding  viewpoints other than our own. Our tasCupcakesk for this week is to create a more balanced InfoDiet for ourselves.

Over the past couple of years, I have created my own affinity space through Twitter.  I follow educators who share my professional views.  The themes of less testing, more creativity, social media in the classroom, technology integration and diverse perspectives dominate my feed.  I believe my interactions with the people I follow has made me a better educator.  These interactions keep me excited to go to work and has truly changed my practice.  My library is filled with books recommended in my feed.  My fourth and fifth graders are learning to blog based on what I have learned.  My second graders are doing book review podcasts that we will be attaching to books with QR codes. I am advocating at all levels within my district for the new ideas and new tools that have been part of these online discussions.  These people and their blogs are the cupcakes in my InfoDiet.  Their commentary on education meshes with and enhances my own.

As I looked more deeply at my entire feed, I noticed this trend throughout.  I have a lot of cupcakes, but no vegetables.  I also know when I started narrowing my world.  Respect for teachers is at an all time low everywhVeggiesere, but I am a Wisconsin teacher living in a Madison suburb.  I have been through the protests and the recalls and the divided families and broken friendships that resulted from Scott Walker’s Act 10. The stress of it got so bad that I cut out any sources of information that differed from what I needed to know to survive my daily environment.  I created my own conflict-free internet to keep my anxiety levels down and my morale up.  My assessment of my affinity group has led me to decide to add some veggies back into my InfoDiet.

This change is not going to be easy after hiding for five years.  The first thing I did was resume following a couple of friends I had blocked because I did not want to confuse the politics with the person. The second thing I did was begin following @ConservTeachers and @EdPolThoughts on Twitter and add three new conservative teacher blogs to my RSS feed.  These new additions to my InfoDiet will challenge my thinking on topics ranging from school funding to curriculum to teacher/student relationships.  I hope they will help me balance my InfoDiet to the benefit of both me and my students.

Any feedback is welcome below.  Thanks!

Gee, J.P. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: How the new personalized web is changing what we read and how we think. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

Institutions, Frozen Thought and Human Stupidity

Have you ever wonfrostdered why people are so stupid?  In his book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning, educational reformer James Paul Gee explores some of the reasons he believes this is true and how we can avoid falling into stupidity pitfalls.  For CEP 812 this week, we needed to pick one of his themes and explore it a little more deeply.  I have explored the idea of Institutions and Frozen Thought which deals with the glacial rate of change that occurs in most institutional settings.  You can read my reaction to his ideas here.  I welcome feedback in the comments.

Gee, J.P. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Photo Credit
Roberge, C. (2007). Frost [Online image]. Retrieved January 18, 2015 from https://flic.kr/p/zk5WV Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial -ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.