Thoughts About Classroom? Share Them Directly With Google!

There seems to be a lot of angst towards the giant Google at times but reading Jennifer’s blog post provides a very personal touch to Google. They actually care that their educational products can and will make a difference in the life of teachers and students – our future depends on equal and fair access doesn’t it? How can we teach and provide the opportunities to learn about the demands the future will present to our young people if we don’t have the vehicles to drive them?

I have recently downloaded Jenkins (2009) work “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture” where he points out the skills that our young (I dare to add older) people will need to acquire in order to engage in the way our global culture interacts with each other and technology/media. Do we remain ignorant and pretend that the internet, social media and social networks will remain confined to a horse and carriage mentality? How will this help future generations?

Thank you Google for attempting to create a space for learning that has no boundaries and that at least tries to go from conceptualizing to realizing the skills that Jenkins views as instrumental for our human progress.

Read them here for yourself (free to download):

Jennifer L. Scheffer

I am beyond excited for the first face to face event for members of the Massachusetts Google Educator Group! Our event is taking place tomorrow, August 28th at 3:30 at the Google Office in Cambridge. Approximately 30 MA GEG members are attending. We’ll have the opportunity to the tour the Google office and speak directly with members of the Google for Education team. The spotlight products we will be discussing include Google Play for Education and Google Classroom.

I’ve been fortunate to have early access to Classroom, and over the past two days, I’ve been able to share how the product works through a presentation and live demos with my colleagues in Burlington at our annual three day professional development conference. Overall, the response to the product district wide has been positive. There are already teachers and department heads at the elementary, middle, and high school who are going…

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What works in education – Hattie’s list of the greatest effects and why it matters

Ensure you have time to read this post from 2012 because the debate is current and relevant in 2014 – sadly… I need to think on the number of points made and not just by Grant but by the many discussion contributors.

I’ve never felt like I belonged to the teaching ‘norm’ and paid an enormous emotional (mostly) price over the years, sticking up for my students rights to be ‘allowed to learn’ in such a manner that suited them, their passions and way of working – regardless of where they came from!

Also, I do not believe we train teachers for teaching and learning but for a job – this is a problem. Hattie’s research, as examined by Grant in his blog, deserves to be thought through, the implications and affect that Hattie’s research has on our pedagogical thinking and practice does ultimately filter into and effect the lives and learning of our students.

Just as an aside – how does working with and through technology play a part in all of this ? Don’t have the answer right now but willing to continue to learn, to think and to examine it.
Thank you Grant and others – food for pedagogical thought.

Granted, and...

I have been a fan of John Hattie’s work ever since I encountered Visible Learning. Hattie has done the most exhaustive meta-analysis in education. Thanks to him, we can gauge not only the relative effectiveness of almost every educational intervention under the sun but we can compare these interventions on an absolute scale of effect size.

Perhaps most importantly, Hattie was able to identify a ‘hinge point’ (as he calls it) from exhaustively comparing everything: the effect size of .40. Anything above such an effect size has more of an impact than just a typical year of academic experience and student growth. And an effect size of 1.0 or better is equivalent to advancing the student’s achievement level by approximately a full grade.

The caveat in any meta-anlysis, of course, is that we have little idea as to the validity of the underlying research. In a summary of…

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Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners

Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners.

Having focus in life is often under valued or unrecognized as we move from work to home to vacation ( if we’re fortunate) and then back to work…the cycle continues.  In my digital world I’m beginning to sense a new kind of focus but it isn’t quite as pronounced as in my ‘real’ physical world.  Unfortunately, I’m not very focussed in my virtual world and the distractions, at times, overwhelm me. My ability to have my own creative thoughts and then being able to reflect or act on them become blurred. I find myself losing interest and hence my focus.

This focus is something that I appreciate when I virtually bump into the lives and learning of such great bloggers such as Susan Oxnevad.  She quietly inspired me to come back to my learning and to reflect on it. There is an order/style in her work and not just in this blog but in all her endeavors, using multiple tech tools, suitable to a number of different audiences and in a number of different contexts. I believe this is more than just ‘style’ but a real reflection of her digital self, her digital tattoo, her respectfulness as a digital citizen that speaks of her passion, expertise and care for the learning of others.

What does my digital focus say about me? As I keep learning and sieving through the abundance of digital dross that can distract me, I need to continue to critically and cautiously evaluate my contributions and consider where I want to take my readers too!

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“Ignite” Professional Development At Your School

“Ignite” Professional Development At Your School.

When we have been working, thinking and living with a particular framework/mindset it is not always easy to view and accept the ideas of others, especially when yours are so deeply ingrained.  Others’ ideas might cause our own views to shift, be questioned and this makes us uncomfortable.

The ‘temporary’ discomfort that I sense, when people share their own learning like that of  ‘John Falino‘  in his blog, can provide new learning for me, insight, a fresh way to view a concept that could become entrenched and eventually irrelevant or useless.  I have especially been touched by his summary of what he learnt at this year’s ‘Ignite‘ session at ISTE’s 2014 conference. I’ve been to an ‘Ignite‘ here in New Zealand and it is a powerful and empowering way to learn.  I have been touched by one of John’s points – in particular point #2.

The question to ask myself, and any sojourner passing by my lonely blog, is “what does this actually mean – does my ‘digital profile‘ represent me in a way that I can be proud of, that teaches others how to act respectfully online, that provides opportunities for others to question their own views, to learn from and with each other”?  Long question – no short answer! All I know for now is that I am viewing my digital citizenship more and more as a ‘tattoo’ in progress!

Thank you John.

2) “Rebranding Digital Citizenship”: The days of sitting all students in an auditorium for a “one shot” presentation on digital citizenship are over. Instead, digital citizenship needs to be embedded into all aspects of the curriculum and needs to become part of the fabric of the school. Each student is now creating a digital legacy through their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channels, etc. In effect, these outlets are now becoming the new resume. What will colleges and employers find when they search our students’ names? Or worse…what if they find nothing? These (and more) are important questions for schools to tackle head on.

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Analyzing iPad Myths in Education

Most excellent post! Thanks for this very educational, informative and real eye opening article! Richard and Steve – as teachers, your perspectives and knowledge are valuable. I’ll be sharing this far and wide. I will even do this from from iPad Air – I’m in my 50’s 🙂


iPad MythsAre you still trying to fight for iPads in your school?

Many obstacles that iPad cynics attempt to put in place when discussing a roll-out are based on untruths, poorly research and/or out-of-date information. I was delighted when my Canadian Twitter friend and fellow iPad blogger, Steve Lai decided to join forces, as we’ve done before, to combat this dis-information that floats around the education profession worldwide.

This Post explains how to argue a Case for iPads in the Classroom.

A collaboration between iPad Educators:

Steve Lai (@sly111, Canada) and
Richard Wells (@ipadwells, New Zealand)

Preamble: This article is to support iPads in teaching. However, it is not to devalue the benefits of a great teacher. The execution of iPads in class is only going to go as far as the passions and mindset of the teacher allows it to. In other words, the iPad will never replace quality teaching.

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How It Began

How It Began.

If you read Dennis’ blog and your heart is not touched you best ask yourself – Am I really part of the human race?  I’m inspired by stories like these where a simple action in someone’s world – across the globe from where I live could very well impact mine! This is when the internet plays an important role in waking us up to the plight of others and moving us to action…I hope!

Thank you Dennis.

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How can a blog help you learn?

There are blogs that inform – for sure!  Then there are blogs that are musings – a bit like mine when I make time for it 🙂 And then there are blogs that are on steroids – bombard you with so much you aren’t sure where to look first and THEN…there is a blog like this one!  I love the interactive elements that have been embedded in this.  I love that it makes me think. I love that it inspires me to add to my blog but what I love most – it helps me to want to learn more!  Visit for yourself.  Thank you Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano for caring about teaching, learning and for being connected – it is inspiring!

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The Web’s founder calls for action, so where is education?

The Web’s founder calls for action, so where is education?.

My response:

What idealistic thinking Berners-Lee has when he says: “Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture.”

This sits up there with world peace, free education for all and a world with no poverty!

Personally, I think and work with a large majority of educationalists that view the open web as open enough – the politics driving it is not a concern for many.  It’s like opening a tap and expecting clean water to flow – not thinking about how it gets to you in the first place.  I think the view of access to the internet in education has been similar to this up until now.  We need to shut the water off to suddenly discover that we need, want and can’t live without it and then ask Qs about how to get it back 🙂

Thanks Bryan for your thoughtful and thought provoking posts!

Thoughts anyone! Bryan’s Blog is a great read always…

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Modern Learning Environments

Thoughtful, insightful and sobering post. It is about quality teaching and learning and its about pooling resources (things and people) and giving the best we have. You’ve expressed very well a few key points: a continuous flow of communication at multiple levels, building trusting relationships, encouraging healthy risk taking for all involved. I love your words – “if you want to grow as a practitioner, you will love the MLE” – grow you will! Kia Kaha. Thank you for letting us into your NOT 4 walls!

michaela . pinkerton

I used to love my four walls. Four walls of a traditional classroom with burgeoning displays of superb student work. And a door. Appointments would be made to watch my ‘best’ lesson for appraisal. People said, “see me any time, the door is always open” and it was most definitely a metaphor.

For those of you who have yet to step inside the large open learning spaces of schools such as my current place of work, you may be wondering what I am talking about. But we don’t have walled classrooms in my current kura. The doors are see through. We never say “my door is always open” because our spaces always are, literally.

What is the benefit?

Both my recent teaching experiences and the research, suggest to me that there is one overwhelmingly positive benefit of an open learning space, where several teachers and classes work concurrently and…

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Ngā kura māuiui o Aotearoa: The sick New Zealand schools

How much more can our schools take? What will the future of our country look like if we don’t invest in our educational system and in those that invest their time, energy and knowledge with our children? It’s not just time to save our schools but it’s time to do more – investing in our future, our students, is the only option!

Save Our Schools NZ

Installation by Martin Thrupp, Donn Ratana and Viv Aitken
Faculty of Education, University of Waikato, March 2014

Weather permitting, the installation will be available for viewing outside the Festivals of Education venues in Auckland (Viaduct Events Centre) on Sunday 23 March and in Wellington on 29 March (exact Wellington venue to be advised).

Why this installation and why at this time?

This year the Key Government has become unusually upbeat about schools. Festivals of Education are celebrating innovations, collaborations and achievements within the sector. An ‘InspiredbyU’ campaign has been encouraging New Zealanders to write in praise of teachers who have influenced their lives. In January, $359 million of new funding for principals and teacher ‘super roles’ was announced, the so-called ‘Investing in Education Success’ policy.

This enthusiasm comes after five years of being critical of schools and teachers and often applying damaging policies. It also comes in election year, and just in…

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