I kicked off the 3-day weekend (Thank you, Veterans!) with a cup of coffee and the September 30 edition of Time Magazine. It was the cover story on Google that prompted me to purchase a copy, but while flipping backwards through the pages, I found Amanda Ripley’s article The New Smart Set – What happens when millions of kids are asked to master fewer things more deeply?
Between background on how the Common Core Standards were created (Sorry, Tea Party goers, but “the federal government had nothing to do with their creation; sorry, “leftist critics,” but the CCSS were “developed by teachers and researchers at the behest of a bipartisan group of governors and state education leaders,” not by “corporate reforms.”) and Kentucky’s pioneering process and results, I highly recommend this article for educators, parents, and politicians.
From my 20+ years as an educator, I’m a firm believer that any new program needs 3 years of implementation before its value can truly be assessed and judged. Such is the case with Kentucky’s roll out of the Common Core. Year 1 (2010) was met with a normal amount of concern, fear, and frustration over standards that were intended to take students deeper into English Language Arts and Math than previous state standards. As they headed into the first round of testing synced to the Common Core, state officials communicated to parents, teachers, and students that “if you raise the bar, fewer will reach it – at least for a while.” Teachers had flyers to share with parents and PTAs provided briefings. Clearly, the communication piece was seen as central to the shift to Common Core.
And the results … drum roll please … In Year 2, the second year of testing, “Student scores rose 2 percentage points, with the portion of college and career-ready students up 20 percent to 54 percent since 2010. The graduation rate has increased to 86 percent from 80 percent in 2010 since the adoption of the standards” (from the Council of Chief State School Officials). The overall rise in test scores from Year 1 to Year 2 might seem small, but thanks to a little mentoring from University of California at Davis professor and researcher Carl Whithaus, I know that a 2% statewide gain is significant.
As my school district heads into CCSS field testing, with a bit of apprehension over the technology integration (both for the infrastructure and the devices students will use for the testing), I know I will continue to check back to Kentucky’s Department of Education site to keep up with their Friday Fast Five.
Thank you, Kentucky, for being the first to dive into the Common Core challenge and for sharing your lessons learned.
I am a connected educator. Through dynamic networks such as Twitter, the National Writing Project, MERIT, and Google Certified Teachers, I can start every day with amazing new resources and thought-provoking, shared conversations on educational topics – such as the Common Core State Standards. Below are a few of my favorite CCSS-related links that have come my way over the past year:
It’s hard to imagine fully embracing/questioning/teaching the Common Core without my daily dose of connected educators’ mentoring and inspiration via a variety of social networks. My goal for the new school year is to share a monthly post with more CCSS resources. Please jump into the conversation if you have favorite CCSS resources and/or strategies to share.
Last week started with my fingers crossed that Malala Yousafzai would win the Nobel Peace Prize. Even though she did not, her story and her words have had a huge impact, almost rendering Jon Stewart speechless:
Malala is a tough act to follow when gathering stories of those individuals who have chosen to cross the line from bystander to upstander and, in the process, change the history of the world, or at least a corner or two of the world. But John Riordon’s untold story – until last night’s 60 Minutes feature on Daring Rescue Days before the Fall of Saigon – definitely qualifies as an upstander’s story.
As we head towards National Digital Citizenship Week, if you and/or your students have stories to share about upstanders, from the past or present, I hope you will join the on-going conversation on the Upstanders, Not Bystanders VoiceThread. The VoiceThread includes separate slides for elementary, middle, and high school students, plus adults (1st slide), but everyone is welcome to respond to others’ comments across grade levels and generations. The current stories (“thread”) range from heroes on the playground to historic and global upstanders – with room for more!
A huge shoutout to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology for once again (2nd year) sponsoring October’s Connected Educator Month (CEM) and to Mike Ribble, Jason Ohler, Common Sense Media, and Cable in the Classroom for their combined efforts to declare the week of October 19 -26 as National Digital Citizenship Week. So many great opportunities to promote digital/global citizenship skills!
And if last week is any indication, CEM will be memorable from start to finish. On October 1, I had the privilege of co-facilitating a booth for my district at the state capitol for the anti-bullying rally Stand Up! Speak Out! What a privilege to have the opportunity to boast about the #UnfollowBullying student-created, student-led campaign, which, like CEM, is heading into its second year with students leading the charge.
On Saturday, I headed to UC Davis to join in the California Writing Project’s 40th year celebration. The collective energy, creativity, and passion for sharing past practices in promoting students as (digital, multimedia) writers and showcasing their achievements was infectious. I left with wonderful ideas for powering up the CCSS through primary source documents (e.g., tons of digitized documents from the Library of Congress collections) , great tools for engaging and supporting ELs (e.g., Tellegami with primary students, and even Voki), and great questions to take back to my district regarding the upcoming SBAC tests (California’s choice for CCSS testing). Peter’s Kittle’s Storify account will provide you with some insights into the day’s events – which started with a pitch to participants to tweet the event via Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s #Hashtag video.
Week one of Connected Educator’s Month was a blast. Hmm…I’m thinking every month should be about connecting educators and their students.
I took my first Google Lit Trip about 6 six years ago. Jerome Burg presented the site and concept in a packed session at the annual CUE Conference. After touring Jerome’s Grapes of Wrath unit, I left the session in complete awe of how Google Earth could transform the teaching of literature in ways not possible without the technology.
Once again, I stand back in awe of a new online option for making a the Grapes of Wrath Lit Trip even more compelling and interactive. The National Steinbeck Center (NSC) is inviting students, teachers, and the community at large to join in the 75th anniversary celebration of the publication of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath by following the Joad family’s journey – at the height of the Dust Bowl – along America’s Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, on their way to California in hopes of a better life.
Last week, the National Steinbeck Center went live with the Grapes of Wrath blog. From Oct. 4–14, 2013, a team of artists, writers, musicians and others will be interviewing people along the route as part of a collaborative, public exploration of the human experience of struggle and resilience.
How can you bring your students into the journey across Route 66? On the front page of the blog, look for the turtle logo on the
right hand side. You can download the turtle postcards and instructions. If you would like Elizabeth Welden-Smith, Curator of Education and Public Programs, to send you postcards for your classroom, you can contact her via email ([email protected]) with your teacher name, school name, address and the number of postcards you would like. Your students can fill these in and either send them back to the NSC, or they can scan them and upload them onto the blog.
Kind of like Google Lit Trips on steriods, no?!
The PSA focuses on four separate stories of lives, both victims and perpetrators, that were changed in an instant. It’s not easy viewing, but given the alarming statistics of people killed or severely injured each year by drivers who were texting, I strongly recommend it not only to young drivers (the largest percentage involved in texting while driving accidents) but to all those who might be tempted to text while behind the wheel.
In my current job as a technology integration specialist for a K-12 district, I’m part of a team tasked with ensuring that digital citizenship is being taught at all school sites (meeting CIPA E-Rate requirements). Beyond the school day, I co-curate the Digital ID wiki, a collaborative project that provides students with a global microphone for sharing content on four main issues of digital citizenship: cyberbullying awareness and response, building digital footprints, respecting intellectual property, and protecting online privacy.
Twenty-four hours after my first viewing of It Can Wait, I’m still thinking about where this epidemic misuse of social media might fall on the digital citizenship spectrum. But whether texting while driving is addressed within a digital citizenship program or as a stand alone topic – it can’t wait.
The PSA’s message to put your phone away while driving is so compelling, from start to finish, sharing it with students could have a life-changing and, hopefully, a life-saving impact.
ISTE 2013 Day 3
a dynamic duo. My biggest takeaway was an introduction to Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model for technology integration, which makes visible the transition from technology as tool for enhancing learning to technology as a tool for transforming learning.
A great tip from Robert: Give your PD workshops at sites, targeted to what teachers at that site need.
A great reminder from Rushton: When students take their work to an authentic audience, they want to know if their work is “good.” When they publish solely for their teachers, they want to know if their work is “good enough.”
A great read: New Media Verizon Report – Tips on how to pull experiences students have outside of class into class.
Digital Citizenship: A Crosswalk from Common Core to Core Curriculum- I’m plugging my own session because any opportunity to co-present with my Digital ID co-curator Natalie Bernasconi is always an energizer and a privilege. Having Common Sense Media’s Kelly Mendoza joining us was icing on the cake. And having Mike Ribble in the audience further validated the importance of weaving digital citizenship into the core curriculum.
Advanced Searching for Inquiry Meets the Common Core – Project-Based Learning educator Mike Gorman and a IT director Anita Harris teamed for this session.
Good news! Thanks to the vision and commitment of Mike Ribble and Jason Ohler, ISTE may soon be adding a Digital Citizenship SIG (Special Interest Group). I loved being part of this high-energy group discussion. We brainstormed the SIG’s potential goals and projects, which included providing a forum for exchanging best practices, working with teacher prep programs to ensure that teachers are well-prepared for integrating digital citizenship into the curriculum; and creating a digital citizenship massive open online course (MOOC). And we even agreed on the Twitter name: @digcitsig.
ISTE 2013 Day 2
“Inquiry is the personal path of questioning, investigating, and reasoning that takes us from not knowing to knowing” Suzie Boss
Signposts to Better Projects: How to take thinking deeper in digital age PBL – Suzie Boss and Mike Gwaltney’s session was one of the first entries on my conference planner as a “must see” session! Suzie has already posted the session slideshow (below).
And my takeaways:
1.Set stage for inquiry – Example: Prior to announcing a new project, place banners and posters outside and inside the school as “grabbers.”
2. Create a culture of collaboration – Example: Make the world safe for thinking – the marshmallow challenge (TED talk) – http://marshmallowchallenge.com/TED_Talk.html – will get you thinking about safe environments for learning.
3. Invite feedback – Example: Use class blog to create feedback loop. Consider joining a collaborative blogging community such as Quadblogging.
4. Think about thinking – provide some deliberate ways for kids to think about their thinking, to develop thinking routines. Think/Pair/Share, for example, is a quick way to collect thoughts, put them out, and get some response. Use Google Docs to promote reflection, using targeted questions (how’s this assignment compare to another project). Have students create videos as formative assessment. For more ideas on helping students develop a “thinking routine,” check out Peter Pappas’ A Taxonomy of Reflection and Project Zero: Thinking Routines.
5. Think as experts do – How do you encourage thinking as experts do? Put kids in the role off experts. Show Thinking like a Historian chart. What are the ways that people think in your discipline. Kids need academic vocabulary of the discipline. “It’s relatively unnatural for a young person to be interested in the past – they haven’t lived long enough.” Use current events. Checkout George Mayo’s Transitions project. His students had to think like illustrators for project; therefore, George brought in a husband and wife team.
6. Watch for spirals (project creates more energy) – what’s the opportunity. Is it worth taking project further.
Checkout Ghost Jacket from Lost & Found Films – a project that transitioned from cleaning up a mess at a school site to sending jackets to those who needed them. And, of course, what better example of a spiral could Suzie use than Jim Bentley’s student film academy’s award-winning documentary (a continuing/spiraling project) on hazardous waste: Recharging Our World (very proud of my inspiring district colleague and his incredible students:-).
7. Assessment: Think about assessment throughout the project, formative not just summative. Grading on process across categories vs. a single grade on final project/product …. Oh my, this is brilliant!!! Mike Gwaltney has created PBL skills “hit the bull’s eye” sort of a rubric – for formative and self assessment to “get students thinking about their own learning.”
And a few more books to add to my summer reading list, per Mike Gwaltney’s recommendations: Teaching with Your Mouth Shut (David Finkel) and Understanding by Design (by Grant Wiggins). If you have not already read Suzie’s Reinventing Project-Based Learning, this is a great starting point for your PBL journey, as well as the Buck Foundation’s PBL website.
Design Your Digital Tattoo – Helping Students Design Their Digital Image – Adina Sullivan pointed out what should be obvious to all of us who teach, model, and promote digital citizenship: the term “digital footprint” should be replaced with “digital tattoo.” Having watched my son, a few years back, go through the process of tattoo removal, I can second Adina’s perspective that it’s a difficult process, requiring numerous (painful) sessions, and that the tattoo is never fully eliminated. Tattoos are a much more accurate symbol of our online personas than footprints – especially the footprints in the sand images.
- Search yourself. Use pipl.com to find out what comes up about you. Try spezify for a visual representation of your identity or (more importantly) how the internet sees you.
- Consider your tattoo. Your Digital Dossier demonstrates how identity is formed online. Be Findable is an example of how your online identity can help you.”
Great job, Adina!
Mashup and Remix: Reading, Writing, Research, and Reaching the World – I arrived late to this session (got side tracked walking through the display tables), so I missed Bill Bass’s part of the presentation. With only a 1/2 hour remaining, I wondered how my NWP/NCTE colleague and friend Sandy Hayes could possibly make a case for fair use in that time limit. She did! Here’s a link to the PDF with many of the links from the slideshow. As soon as Sandy posts the link to the slideshow, I add it to this post. Another great presentation from Sandy!
ISTE 2013 Day 1
So glad I made it to San Antonio in time for Sunday’s first round of Ignite sessions and the opening keynote with gamification expert Jane McGonigal. What an inspiring start for an amazing conference!
If you haven’t seen an Ignite session, here’s the format: each presenter has five minutes to speak and is limited to twenty slides, which automatically advance every fifteen seconds. Ignites are always fast-paced sessions that showcase ideas designed to inspire and energize educators.
I enjoyed all 7 Ignite presentations, but my biggest take-away was from Jeff Piontek’s STEM education Ignite. Jeff pointed out the even though STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is where the money (funding) is and there’s a growing movement for STEAM (adding the arts), we need “to turn STEM into STEAM into STREAM by adding reading and research.” STEM is the present need, and education follows the money. But we need the arts and reading and research. We don’t have to teach kids to be creative, they already are: we just have to stop assessing and start allowing the creativity to shine through.
Opening Keynote Takeaways: Learning Is an Epic Win
Jane McGonigal’s keynote was mind blowing. I came to the keynote with an understanding of the 21st century skills that gaming can build. When she shared Evoke, I saw the potential for gaming to change the world. Find the Future, which challenged 500 student authors to write a book in one night while inside the New York Public Library, served as a called to action to what we could be doing in our own communities to take collaboration and creativity to new levels.
Take-away quote: “The opposite of play is not work; it’s depression.”
I’ll be back soon with Takeaways from Day 2.
A huge shout out to Microsoft Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and Project Cornerstone for sponsoring the FREE May 30 digital citizenship summit! And thank you to abc’s David Louie for including the event in the news clip below:
Anne Collier, Co-Director of ConnectSafely, opened the event with an excellent keynote that included such gems as:
Citizenship experiment – NetFamilyNews.org (also one of Anne’s organizations) – The pillars of digital citizenship (infrastructure, practice, guidance, agency) require practice – online practice. More schools need to allow social media use in school day – combining digital citizenship and literacy is a connected way. Kids need digital environments/spaces to practice: interaction, problem solving, etc.
Stop, think & connect as adults – don’t over react to an incident – think it out with youth, non-confrontationally,
Breakout Session 1 – I’m very glad I attended Project Tomorrow’s Julie Evan’s session on Speak Up 2012 National Results: The Student Vision for Digital Learning. A big take-away was the invitation to districts to participate in the 2013 surveys, with sections for K-12 students, teachers, librarians, principals, district administrators, technology leaders, parents, business partners, and community members. What a great way for districts to gain insights from students and all stakeholders about the role of technology for learning in and out of school!
Breakout Session 2 – I’ve been a fan of Kelly Calhoun since she was the technology director for the Folsom-Cordova School District (my neck of the woods). So it’s no surprise that she’s gone on to do great things as the Chief Technology Officer & Assistant Superintendent for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Kelly teamed with her SCCOE colleague (and Google Certified Teacher) Elizabeth Calhoon for their ONtheLINE: The California 21st Century District Initiative session.
With the goal of “making navigation through the complex issues surrounding technology in education SIMPLER for districts and county offices of education,” anyone who deals with technology-related policies at any level will want to learn about – and then discuss with colleagues – this important, ever-changing topic. Besides regularly visiting the website, I recommend starting with the video presentation of her session (linked below). Such a simple, brilliant approach to creating/revising Internet use policies!
I’m already looking forward to next year’s Digital Citizenship Summit. Thank you again to all who helped make this event a reality.