3-Part Process For Making Deliberate Curriculum Choices:

Cross posted from Learning Sets

What to cut out? Cut back on? Consolidate? Keep? Create?

Educators face a critical challenge:  how to engage their learners in a curriculum that is responsive to where their students are right now — addressing learning losses and gains — in service to where they aspire to be. Over the past year, all of us have had our lives turned upside down. Each and every one of us had to figure out what to do next based on information that regularly was modified. To be a self-navigator, creative problem solver, and media critic (just to name a few) was essential for our resilience during this pandemic.

This is a call to sustain the flexibility, agility, and innovation that was present in schools during the pandemic rather than jump onto the “let’s pick up where we left off” bandwagon. In this post, we focus on the value and necessity of curriculum as an aspirational and actionable blueprint that staff can use for guidance in developing responsive learning experiences with their students.

To that end, we offer a three-part process for examining existing curriculum to determine what matters most for your “right now” learners. This process may be painful, especially when letting go of carefully crafted assignments and lesson plans.  Perhaps there is guidance in looking to the Latin root word for curriculum, which means a path to run in small steps. The familiarity with this path creates ruts that become deeper and make it more difficult to see with fresh eyes. Engaging in a curriculum “reset” may open up fresh approaches for how to rethink curriculum narratives.

First, revisit aspirational goals you have established as a school.

Examine your vision or portrait of a graduate and reflect on what student roles and related skills are central for them to navigate and thrive. This work can provide a balcony view to clarify broader learning goals that ideally guide day to day learning choices that teachers and students make—goals that take the long view on determining the strength, approaches, life-skills, and aptitudes needed to support our learners.

  • For teachers in the identification, creation, and/or redesign of compelling problems, questions, and challenges that can give insight into a refreshed curriculum storyline. Otherwise we are more likely to recycle what we have immediately in front of us, to cover old material, and to miss an opportunity.
  • For students as they are becoming more skillful, sophisticated, and strategic throughout their school years. This is especially helpful now when students may feel increased pressure/anxiety in anticipation of pace of learning to “catch up” for what was missed.
  • For the school community in reaching consensus on realistic priorities will be central to our efforts. Otherwise, there may be a tendency to go for the granular, memorize some facts, scramble to construct where “we left off.” It is critical to reach consensus as a school community on learning goals that will serve as a North Star to decision making.

This renewed focus and commitment to the vision or portrait of a graduate should be driving your curriculum reset.

Second, examine and clarify your current curriculum narrative.

  • Compile existing units of study from your curriculum. Ideally, this can be done in grade level bands (e.g., K-1, 6-8) to ensure the choices you want to make do not put undue pressure on other grade levels to capture essential content. Working in departments on the high school level is obviously important, but it is also equally important to review across a grade level to see what the challenges will be for learners attempting to juggle multiple demands.  
  • Examine each one and tell a brief story (thumbnail synopsis) of that unit. Why does it exist? What is the essential learning students will be able to continue to develop and transfer when that unit is over? What are the most critical standards to be in the foreground?  
  • Review the storyline through the scope of the year. Are there connections between the units? What does your curriculum value the most?  

Third, ask yourselves the following questions:

Could you cut out unit(s) of study to make room for deeper investigation and development of key concepts and skills?

In any composition there is an editorial review where the question of “cutting” material is central to the whole. What matters most given the time that we have for our specific learners with our specific conditions, we must govern how we decide. To be clear, when cutting units it will be critical to examine standards that were emphasized in a unit. Given that standards are cultivated over time, it is likely that the faculty teams can readily identify the most critical standards that have been in the “foreground” in the design of learning experiences. It is always a concern to us when we see a unit of study with 30 standards listed (this is not an exaggeration) since these proficiencies take time to develop. Bundling standards that naturally cluster together in student learning is a natural way to align assessments. A faculty team can look at bundled and individual standards to sort out which are the most essential to their specific learners and those that are not.

Could you cut back each unit of study significantly? 

It is highly likely that individual educators have made key decisions to cut back during this past year. Moving forward we suggest your planning teams review the “thumbnail” story of the curriculum through the year to determine places where they may elect to cut back and distinguish the most essential from the less critical material in their units.   The task is to distinguish the most essential elements in the curriculum and place them in the foreground.

  • Skills: Given the importance of cognitive and technical skills in the long term growth of learners, teachers will want to elevate critical skills integral in supporting students within a given discipline as well as sub skills tied to Future Forward Learning Goals.
  • Content cuts: The tendency to “cover” content needs to be confronted in order to move forward.  Distinguishing content that directly supports and is central to the Future Forward Learning Goals and storyline might prove to be a great challenge but also a rewarding one. Of particular value will be to proactively have our learners show the connections between the key content and that storyline as the curriculum develops.
  • Assessment cuts: Considerations and decisions about what formative and summative assessments will be the most revealing and helpful demonstrations of learning should be determined as a faculty both across grade levels and vertically. Certainly the impact of state or provincial requirements for public educators and education organization policies (e.g.,. College Board, IB) is a major factor in decision making. Bottom line, if there are cuts in the curriculum then there will be corresponding cuts in the assessments.

Could you consolidate based on units of study and personal learning progress during the remote learning time?

Given the nature of your course or grade level subject area layout, if there are related and clear connections between units then combining them is possible. To consolidate means to combine elements to make a more effective coherent whole. On a practical review of the scope and sequence of a year’s units, we can step back and not only determine what we might cut and where we might cut back, but where we can merge units of study. Consolidation can certainly occur within an existing unit as a teacher reviews and revises elements and activities based on past experience. Certainly interdisciplinary units of study can be a fruitful design consideration when consolidating.

  • It may be that a geology course in a high school begins with a look at the formation of the earth as a planet for the first unit and in the second examines oceans and the third unit looks at land. It seems that these three could be combined to shorten the time and be reframed to look at the early story of planet earth: beginnings and elements.
  • On the elementary level, a fourth grade ELA curriculum might have a sequence that moves from a unit on historical fiction focused on a chapter book perhaps Number the Stars by Lois Lowry , to a unit on persuasive writing on an issue. It seems plausible to combine those two and consider having students take a stand on a critical issue raised in Lowry’s classic work.

Could you create a new unit or module to replace this altogether? 

Generating new curriculum units responsive to the learners and to the zeitgeist is an option that seems particularly relevant.  Certainly, new units could be interdisciplinarily derived from a reconsideration of your existing layout for the school year.  A deliberate lens from multiple subject areas on common topics, problems, issues, and themes could provide a fresh perspective for learners. We strongly recommend the development of phenomena-based learning supporting inquiry into emergent problems and issues in a students life.  These might be framed on a personal, local, or global level but what is key is there is an immediacy to the situation. (NOTE: Interdisciplinary units emerge from the natural connections we see “between disciplines”, that is between the subjects.  Phenomena-based is not anchored in our traditional school day but transcends the notion.   We are not suggesting one is “better than the other”, rather we hope to provide a menu of options as units are generated).

A key organizing focus could be phenomena-based given the emergent issues regarding the pandemic. Whether an individual unit or a series of units, learners could examine the impact personally, locally, or globally. Certainly developmental considerations need to be primary here. Here are some examples:

  • On all levels, learners can document and share their experience to document their personal experiences as part of a living history that is being told from diverse perspectives using upgraded authentic assessment formats. The unit could be COVID19: My Story, Your Story, Our Stories
  • Secondary students can dive into an examination of the pandemic and/or consider specific angles. For example, as contemporary historians they might develop an annotated timeline since the first reports in November 2019 from China to the present. As journalists they could “cover” certain angles on the pandemic in a series of articles: the point of view of essential workers, impact on a range of families in the community or, the challenge to local government and decision making. Clearly, an area of fascination for all of us is the scientific research and scramble to develop treatments and a vaccine and certainly for our learners that could be covered in an empirical style.
  • Elementary students might engage and develop service-based learning projects to thank local health care and essential service providers. Whether in the form of written communication or in a short video message, gratitude is appreciated and it is important to display. What is more, it may be possible to actually provide concrete support to members of the local community as the adaptation and easing into functional society occurs.

Looking Ahead

Decisions on curriculum matters have never been easy.   Educators know that there are certain units of study and learning experiences that are particularly satisfying to teach and are hard to let go of. There can be sharp differences of opinion on what matters most for learners between members of a grade-level team or department. Conversely, there are great opportunities for collaboration and responsiveness to the needs, especially now, as we work through these decisions. As school faculties lay out a reimagined path in partnership with their learners and families, the opportunity is to leverage specific expertise in service to common and aspirational learning goals.

3 Things I Wish Educators Knew About their Own Learning

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

I meet many educators around the world, virtually and in person… Many times, I am still amazed at the resistance to new ideas, change and willingness to apply the learning they expect of students to their own learning.

Here are the 3 things, above all, that I wish educators knew about their own learning.

  1. The understanding that we don’t know, what we don’t know!
    • How can we be resistant to pedagogy, tools and strategies that we have never experienced for learning ourselves?
    • How can we try out new forms of teaching and learning, if we are not even aware they exist and play a vital role in the lives around us?
    • How can we be dismissive of the potential outcomes in learning, if we don’t walk the walk?
  2. The understanding that it is about life long learning.
    • Being an educator means being in the business of learning!
    • Having completed a formal degree or having received a certification, does not mean the world around us is at a stand still and our knowledge will continue to serve us in the present and future. For example, it is possible to arrange painting parties for kids instead of usual painting clases.
    • It is possible and even likely that an educator could be classified as “illiterate” for the 21st century, if they were to stop learning and feel satisfied with their 20the century education.
  3. The understanding that there exists a moral imperative of sharing as an educator.
    • Learning is amplified when shared
    • Sharing of your reflections, thoughts, ideas, best practices, feedback and resources is part of the mechanism of social learning
    • If no one were to step up to share, social media, crowdsourcing or personal learning networks (PLNs) would not exist.

3things-i-wish-educators-kew-about-their-learning-byTolisano

 

Sketchnoting For Reflection

By Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

As a reader of my blog, you have followed my journey into exploring Sketchnoting since April 2014. I have come a long way by studying and learning from other sketchnoters: their techniques, their tools, their thinking process, their signature people, objects and metaphors.

If have gone from asking myself WHAT can you Sketchnote? to Sketchnoting as a Form of…

 

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I am experimenting with a variety of goals, as I am sketchnoting, wanting to be aware of how I react to each form in terms of my thinking process and learning involved.

  • Reflection : “We don’t learn from experiences, we learn from reflecting on the experience” John Dewey
  • Note Taking: How can we summarize main ideas visually?
  • Visual Thinking: How can we make thinking visual and visible to others?
  • Content Creation: How can we take concepts and content, in order to be able to share visually to appeal to a larger audience
  • Memory Aid: Doodling triggers memory after the event has passed. Visuals beat text when it comes to remembering
  • Process Ideation: Documenting the formation of concepts and ideas
  • Storytelling: Conveying of events through images and text
  • Mind Mapping: Brainstorming and organizing of ideas, thoughts and connections

I am specifically intrigued by sketchnoting as a FORM OF REFLECTION. As Visible Thinking Routines (by Project Zero) have proven to be very helpful in making thinking visible, I prepared an easy to follow routine to reflect when sketchnoting. Disclaimer: this is not meant to be a one- size- fits- all reflection routine, just one of many ways one can take advantage of sketchnoting to support a reflection process.

 

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  1. Topic
    • What do I know?
    • What have I learned?
    • How can I apply what I learned?
    • How do I summarize in a Headline what I learned?
  2. Keywords
    • Brainstorm keywords about the topic
  3. Objects & People
    • How can I make my thinking visible?
    • How can I represent an idea?
  4. Connections
    • How does what I learned connect to what I (or others) already knew or will do
  5. Actions
    • What conclusions will I draw?
    • What are my goals?

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Another routine is Peter PappasTaxonomy of Reflection

  1. Remember
    • What did I do, hear, watch, learn?
  2. Understand
    • What was important about it?
  3. Apply
    • Where could I use this again?
  4. Analyze
    • Do I see any patterns?
  5. Evaluate
    • How well did I do?
  6. Create
    • What should I do next?

This past week, I had the opportunity to facilitate a session about Sketchnoting for Reflection at the end of the 3 day ASCD Camp Connect21 conference in Washington, DC. It was the perfect moment to help participants become aware of their thinking and learning process as they reflected via sketchnotes of their learning experience at the conference. Next stop? How do we bring Sketchnoting for Reflection to our students as yet another tool in their toolbox.

Below find a few samples of the reflection results:

 

sketchnoting-reflection sketchnoting-reflection2 sketchnoting-reflection3 sketchnoting-reflection4sketchnoting-reflection5

An Update to the Upgraded KWL for the 21st Century

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

In 2011, I wrote a blog post, titled Upgrade your KWL Chart to the 21st Century. It described how I learned about a new version of the traditional KWL (What do I Know, What do I Want to know and what have I Learned) via Chic Foote as it snuck in an “H“(How will I find out). That “H” seemed to make the increased importance of the information literacy visible. I ended up on Maggie Hos-McGrane’s blog, which, according to John Barell’s book Why are School Buses always Yellow?, added yet two other abbreviations (“A“- What action will I take and “Q“-What further Questions do I have?) to make up a KWHLAQ acronym.

The blog post included the visual chart below, which seemed to have made it the most popular blog post searched for and shared on Langwitches of all times. That seemed to demand an update to the visual after 4 years. 🙂 KWHLAQ chart templateI have used the chart consistently over the last few years as a framework to upgrade FOR the 21st century in lesson planning, professional development workshops, coaching and working directly with students and teachers. An essential component of sharing, as a teacher, is the knowledge that one’s work has an impact on other teachers and students, who most likely one will never meet. It is even more gratifying reading of the excellent work others have done:

I have also used the KWHLAQ chart as one framework to promote Reflection as Part of the Learning Process, Not as an Add-on. In the following visual below I share ideas of how to embed the KWHLAQ framework in analog and digital activities.

KWHLAQ-reflection-framework

I am continuing to be intrigued by John Barell’s original inquiry strategy, how to use to bring awareness and experience opportunities for modern learning skills and literacies. Since Project Zero’s Visible Thinking Routines have been playing an integral part of my continuous work of Documenting4Learning, is was an easy connection to bring in the routines as a strategy in the KWHLAQ flow.

The new visual below is intended to give teachers and students more choices of make their thinking and learning visible using the following platforms, activities, tools, Visible Thinking Routines as an option or starting off point. The suggestions include tools and platforms that are specifically suited to connect, collaborate, communicate and create, 21st century style, one’s process and make it easier to amplify and to document4learning. The framework is based on

  • REFLECTION being an integral part of the learning process
  • the understanding that through technology tools our access to INFORMATION has exponentially expanded as well
  • our ability to take ACTION beyond affecting people we are able to reach face to face
  • that technology tools allow us to express and communicate in OTHER FORMS of media beyond words and text

KWHLAQ-v2-tolisano

What do you think? What other platforms, tools and activities would you include and organize according to the KWHLAQ chart? Let’s crowdsource more resources for the use of KWHLAQ for the 21st Century!

The What? Why? How? of Documenting4Learning

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

My work in formalizing Documenting4Learning is moving forward. In good old fashion, regarding practicing what one preaches, I am documenting my journey:

My exploration got started with my own change and heightened layer of learning as a direct result of documenting. The continued action research, is fueled by my firm believe that sharing is a crucial component of our work as educators and the “learning revolution

Sharing means amplification. Amplification means spreading good practices, reaching more people and connecting beyond our own limitations of zip codes and language barriers.
Interested in learning more about how to use documenting4learning as:
  • the glue that will connect your school’s professional development initiatives together
  • build capacity among your teachers to make their learning visible
  • communicate, collaborate and connect among professional educators
  • action steps to use data to inform teaching
  • supportive skills to implement and grow e-portfolios
  • re-think teacher observations in your school
  • creation of institutional memory

 

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Tools that Facilitate Documentation

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog
Document4LearningI am on a quest to make documenting FOR learning a topic to think about in all educational conversations. How do we document our own learning? How do we make learning visible to others, so we can share, collaborate and improving how we teach and learn? What role does documenting play in the process of learning?

Documenting is more than staying organized or writing down what will be or was taught. Documenting is part of the learning process!

Finding and sharing tools to help create these documentations and make it easier and more time efficient to do so is important too. This is the first post in a series to showcase such tools.

As part of the 5 day bootcamp with a cohort of teachers from the Goethe Schule, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, participants experienced the learning routine, LEARN-REFLECT-SHARE.

One of the first activities of the week together was to draw an illustration to make their view of themselves as teachers visible to others. Directly afterwards, I asked them to use Post it notes to reflect on their thinking as they were drawing their illustration. Throughout the 5 days the teachers had many different opportunities of experiencing the power of metacognition (thinking about their thinking) and to use different kinds of media to make that thinking visible in order to document it and share it.

postitnotesI chose for the first time to use the app Post-it Plus to document the activity.

postitI collected the sticky notes and scanned them in via the app.

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Post-it Plus:

  • allowed me to annotate each note
  • organize all notes on a board
  • re-arrange the notes as I pleased
  • gave me various options to export the notes.

postit2 postit3 postit4 board-overviewIt was super easy and convenient to export the sticky notes as images and upload to the cohort blog to give participants the opportunity to download their written reflection as a file in order to use it on their blog and reflection of learning.

note01 note02 note03 note04 note05 note06 note07 note08 [Goethe] note09 note10 [Goethe] note11 [Goethe] note12 note13 [Goethe] note14 [Goethe] note15 note16 [Goethe]

What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, Globally Connected Learning Consultant
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

What a catching blog post title. It might have caught your attention because of the keywords “the most significant” and “innovations” and a promise of a prediction to guide you into the future. Taking into consideration that devices, such as the iPhone, which changed an entire culture of anytime and anywhere connectedness, information flow, participation, creators, producers and learners, did not exist 10 years ago, I am venturing out to say that there is no accurate answer for what will be “significant” 10 years from today. I will disappoint you if you were looking for short, easy to follow instructions. Especially in education, planning for a “moving target” leaves us anxious, eager and willing to give our ear to anyone who promises us guidelines for that future we so desperately are looking for.

Taking a look at the definition of innovation in Wikipedia, I can only give you my best educated guess when we are looking for “a new idea, device or process” that “can be viewed as the application of better solutions” that meets “new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs.”

innovationMy vote for the most significant classroom innovation is the process of being able to learn how to learn. That process falls under the category of “existing market needs”, with a steadily increasing rate of importance in the years to come. This would be my best guess when working with so many unknown variables which are undoubtedly awaiting us. Possessing the ability of learning how to learn, will give us as teachers and our students the ability to grow in a world of continuously and exponentially increasing rate of change.

Learning how to learn embeds the notion of self-directeness and self-motivation as a learner. The view of seeing oneself as a life-long learner with a growth mindset, defined by Carol Dweck as “ intelligence that can be developed, which leads to a desire to learn” is inherent to the process of learning how to learn.

We are looking at becoming fluent in a work- and learnflow as a process to be able to flourish in a world with ever changing tools, platforms, networks and external innovations that will have a significant impact in the world of education.

  • Learning how to learn will include knowing how to find filter, find, evaluate, categorize, store, remix and create information… no matter how much information is available or in what format, media or language it is available.
  • Learning how to learn will mean how to work and learn with (not just about) people at a global scale… no matter how far the geographic distance, time zones, cultural and language differences.
  • Learning how to learn will mean to be able to understand the differences and purpose of a variety of platforms and being able to harness the power of these networks… no matter the type of existing platforms, the need to migrate to new platforms or the necessity of fluently being able to switch between platforms for specific purposes.
  • Learning how to learn will mean to adapt to new forms of media… no matter if this means letting go of nostalgic attachments or customary workflows of routine ways of reading, writing and communicating.

Although we don’t know exactly how the world will look like in 10 years, what “new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs” it will have, we do know that it will be different than our world today. The only way to prepare for that world is to possess the ability to adapt to change, have a growth mindset and be prepared to continue learning.

From Visible Thinking Routines to 5 Modern Learning Routines

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

I have been a fan of Visible Thinking Routines which were developed by Project Zero from Havard, for a while now. I have used these routines with students, as blogging routines and in professional development workshops.

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The Visible Thinking Routines website explains that:

Routines exist in all classrooms; they are the patterns by which we operate and go about the job of learning and working together in a classroom environment. A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process, or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks.[…] Classrooms also have routines that structure the way students go about the process of learning

As I am trying to make 21st century, modern, contemporary or “now” learning visible, it seemed a natural step to point out “Modern” or “Now” Learning Routines.

Here are my 5 routines that promote modern learning:modern-learning-routines

1. Read > Write> Commentread-write-comment
Read as much as you can on your subject. Read books, blog posts, tweets, news articles, RSS feeds, etc.

Write about what you read, write about connections you are making between the content you have read, write about things you wonder about and write your reflection of your thoughts. What did you think about? What does that make you want to explore further? Why do you agree? Why don’t you agree? What steps will you take, now that you learned about something new?

Comment or annotate on the things you read. Leave a public comment on things you read online, annotate on the margins of physical reading material with sticky notes, highlighters or pencil. Make your mark by leaving your initial reaction or thoughts and connections visibly in the space.

2. Learn > Reflect > Share

learn-reflect-share
Learn the way you learn best, listen to a lecture, watch a demonstration, write and organize your knowledge in a mindmap, discuss an area of interest with a friend, watch a movie, go to a workshop, attend a university class, etc.

Reflect about an experience, be cognizant of what and how you are thinking, be aware of where you are coming from, of different perspectives, influences that are and have guided your thinking and choices. Jon Dewey said: ” We don’t learn from experience, we learn when we reflect on our experience.”

Share your learning and your reflection with others. Make a conscious effort to not only reflect quietly in your own mind , but make your reflecting visible and shareable, preferable in digital form. The digital form can be archived, duplicated and amplified beyond a limited amount of face to face colleagues.

3. Contribute > Feedback > Grow

contribute-feedback-growContribute to the learning of others, add value by answering questions, share your expertise, bring in another perspective or a different point of view, Contribute by sharing examples of what works and doesn’t work in education. Be a building block for others to remix and build upon your work, so we can transform learning together, across time zones and geographic borders.

Be open to receiving (and giving) Feedback by being transparent with your work. Take feedback into consideration to see your work through different eyes. Let feedback push your train of thought in a different direction or receive affirmation that you have been looking in the same direction. Feedback will allow you to gauge interest of others in your area of interest. Connections that you make via feedback (left by you or for you) will help you build your learning network.

Grow from critical feedback you receive. Grow your learning network by giving more than you take. Learning is a process, where you will be in a different place from where you started out from. Grow by achieving goals that you had set for yourself and grow from the experience in overcoming obstacles.

4. Watch > Do > Teach

watch-do-teachWatch someone use a tool, you have never used to learn before. Observe someone take a traditionally taught lesson and transform it by using technology to amplify learning. Watch how students take ownership of their own learning as you watch a video of another teacher documenting a lesson from their classroom. Watch how a mentor skypes into your classroom and co-teaches virtually. Watch a coach model a lesson about digital citizenship for your students. Watch a consultant share workshop material.

Do, try it out, test it, experiment with what you saw to make it your own. It does not have to be perfect the first time you DO (Remember: FAIL means “First Attempt In Learning”). See what works and what does not in your individual situation.

Teach it to others. Aristotle already proclaimed: Teaching is the highest form of understanding. One of Alan November’s Digital Learning Farm jobs is that of a Tutorial Designer. In order to be able to teach a concept or content to someone else, higher level of understanding of content knowledge is required.

5. Document > Present > Disseminate

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Documenting FOR Learning is a supporting piece for the study of self-determined learning (Heutagogy) and a strategic approach and technique to facilitate learning (Pedagogy). Document learning as it is happening. Use different media (text, images, audio, video) to archive what you are teaching, what your students are creating. Document the timeline of events. Document student voices and understanding. Make the process visible for others. Documentation allows teachers to share best practices with colleagues and to make teaching available for students outside of classroom hours. Documenting is a tool to inform further instructions and a way for teachers to reflect on their own lesson plans, delivery and teaching pedagogy. Documentation allows teachers and students to build their footprint in a digital world.

Present your documentation in a form that makes it easy to share and is visually appealing to others. Become the lead storyteller of your learning. Create slide decks that “readers” can view in their own time. Show process by creating a visual timeline. Allow others to be a fly on the wall in your classroom by making a video of learning taking place. Create a video that summarizes your learning, easy for others to take a look at. Create infographics to visual represent numbers that tell a story. Create a space online (website, blog, Instagram account, Facebook, etc.) to be able to give others access to what you are presenting. Apply and present at conferences (face to face and virtual ones) to share with other educators and students.

Disseminate your documentation. The movie quote from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come…” is NOT true. Simply documenting and presenting your work on a public platform will not necessarily bring in the masses to give you a global audience. It takes strategic action to disseminate your work. Send out a tweet, leave a comment with a link on a relevant post. Create a visual with a relevant quote to disseminate with a link. Create video trailers or teasers to make others interested in your work. Write a guest post on someone else’s blog. Write an article for a journal or magazine. Write a book. Offer to be interviewed. Create work capable to be disseminate on different media platforms (Images, audio, video, slide decks, infographics, etc.)

3 Reasons Why You Should Share and 3 Things You can Do to Start Sharing

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

soapbox

I am back on my soapbox…

  • …because I continue to see great things happening in classrooms, but get blank stares, when I ask, if these things are being shared beyond the school building.
  • …because I watch as administrators feel the need to “protect” their faculty from “one more thing to do”.
  • …because I continue to hear fear of transparency, competition, privacy and technology skills and tech phobia.

share4 Setting up my soapbox to raise awareness of the “moral imperative of sharing” for teachers (Dean Shareski) goes back to his keynote in 2010 at the K-12 Online Conference. Since then I have stepped on that soapbox via my blog and at conferences advocating for the IMPORTANCE and NECESSITY of sharing.

George Couros, recently published 4 Reasons People Don’t Blog, which are in essence the same reasons why people don’t share (just substitute “blogging” for “sharing”)

  1. Blogging is useless
  2. I have no time
  3. I’m a private person
  4. No one cares what I have to say

He closes his blog post by pointing out the importance of sharing as an integral component of learning as well as underline “the willingness of others”

I have learned a ton not only from my own blog, but from benefitting from others that have been willing to share their teaching and learning with me, and because of that, as Dean Shareski stated, I am better off for the willingness of others to share.

shareI DO want to understand WHY it seems so hard for some many educators to share…but only in order to build an airtight argument that SHARING best practices, reflections and documentation of learning is the essential fabric of education and the building block of networking, growing and moving forward.

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We need to stop looking at all the reasons why educators DON’T SHARE and start looking at and DOING all the things WHY we NEED TO SHARE.

So here is my list: 3 Things Why You (as an Educator) Should Share

1. The shift of a culture of consumers to producers is built on sharing and disseminating.
Our world, and in particular the world of our students, is build on the culture of sharing. Ex. Sharing your status on facebook, adding a book review on Amazon, leaving a comment on a product you purchased online, photos on Instagram and videos on Snapchat and YouTube. Educators need to acknowledge the shift outside of the classroom and take advantage of the shift for learning with our students.

2. Painting the picture of teaching and learning in your school
Too many other people (non-educators, policy makers, politicians, media, etc.) are painting a grim picture of the teaching profession, teaching in general, schools and student learning. It is time to become our own storytellers. Sharing student successes and teachers’ professional and continuous learning MUST overshadow and outnumber the negative press and reputation that has been building up.

3. The future of learning is social and build on and around Professional Learning Networks.
Networking is built on a concept of sharing. Networking is defined by the Merriam_Webster dictionary as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions”. In order for an exchange to take place, someone has to step up to SHARE. Without sharing there is no network. Someone has to give and someone has to take, without giving the machinery of how a network works will not function. In our Information Age, where information is being generated at exponential speed, we need to rely on a network to filter quality and relevant information for us. It is our responsibility to be the filter and curator for others as well.

sharingSo from 3 reasons WHY you should share… on to 3 Things you can do to start sharing…

share63 Things What You (as an Educator) Can Do to Start Sharing

1. Stop resisting change
We need educators, in particular administrators, to stop resisting change, take a deeper look at the world around them and LEAD by modeling! Sharing is and needs to be a method, a strategy and a technique to improve teaching and learning practices, benefiting an entire school learning community.

2. Create a workflow to document teaching and learning
Great things are happening in your classroom and in your schools. Learn to embed documenting best practices, student learning and action research in a digital form to be able to easily disseminate via a blog, twitter, photo or video sharing site.

3. Start small.
Add a comment on a blog you read, share a resource, a link, a book or an article you have learned from on Twitter. Let students take over in documenting learning in their classroom. Use your cell phone to take photos of learning in action, write a descriptive comment under the photo and share on a blog, Instagram, a classroom site, blog, Twitter or Facebook account.

share3You can start sharing right here by adding your reasons WHY educators should share and WHAT you can DO to start sharing?

Blogging for Learning

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to Langwitches Blog

I am mulling Blogging FOR Learning over and over. It seems to be the glue that holds the puzzle pieces together in terms of contemporary learning and teaching.

blogging-for-learning

From 1. Documenting (video, audio, text, images, embedded content,manage online work, curated content) to

2. Reflecting (meta-cognitive, connected, goal oriented, as an assessment) to

3. Sharing (published, transparent, making learning/ thinking visible, to teach others and contribute to a network) on to

4. Connecting (for authentic feedback, collaboration purposes, finding mentors and to gain perspective)