Teaching

Some Thoughts on iPads and One-to-One Initiatives

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Comment close up of ipad and spiral notebook

In my experience, there’s broadly three ways to relate to any kind of educational technology: 1) Technological — decide on the technology (for whatever reason) and that determines what you do pedagogically; 2) Pedagogical — settle upon the pedagogy and then look for a technology that fits; 3) Ecological — combine pedagogies and technologies to promote certain kinds of behaviours. I’d like to think that most of what I’ve done so far in my career, from training teachers to implementing multi-site learning systems to evangelising Open Badges, has been focused upon evangelising this ‘third way’ of


Writing Like the Web

Thursday, August 16, 2012 Comment street signs like the web internet padaria locadora

In my last few posts, I have argued that network writing—that is, writing that mimics the conventions of emerging, online genres—should occupy a larger place in writing instruction. However, it can be challenging to imagine how literacies that students have developed in writing, say, text messages, can be applied to writing traditional genres like the argumentative essay or the academic writing that are the centerpiece of most writing instruction. While many innovative instructors have developed assignments that integrate network-native writing like Twitter into classroom settings, how does this writing inform or lead to writing that is


Professor Alec Couros: “The Connected Teacher”

Thursday, July 26, 2012 Comment 4 students in computer class working at the same computer

One powerful benefit of networked learning is that when you find something interesting, it often leads to someone interesting – and that someone often leads to entire networks of interesting people. Or, as Dr. Alec Couros puts it, “the tools come and go, but the relationships endure.” I found Professor Couros the way many people did, by coming across the intriguing diagram of “The Networked Teacher” that many educators now use in their slide presentations. By the time I discovered Dr. Couros, now professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina, I had


Declaration of Interdependence

Friday, July 20, 2012 Comment red education barcode tagged graffiti on building

We have massive research and many evidences available…[ie: Diane Ravitch is declaring a bunch of them here, we’ve gathered particular ones here]…that what we’re doing in the name of public education is not serving us well. Perhaps we declare some new laws in regard to public education, in regard to interdependency. The term interdependency came as we were researching laws for homeless teens. While some states allow 14-year-olds to declare independence, often resulting in homelessness, some are trying to restate that to a declaration of interdependence where each teen is matched up with an adult. If


Writing Without Networks

Thursday, July 12, 2012 Comment sticky notes posted on white wall connected by colorful lines showing social netwrok

In his essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” Nicholas Carr relates an exchange between Nietzsche and one of his friends, in which the friend remarked that the philosopher’s writing style had changed after he began to use a typewriter. As Carr tells us, Nietzsche’s reply was to agree, stating, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Those who study technology (Carr credits Kittler, who has written extensively about the effects of technology on culture, as the source of the Nietzsche story) tend to readily agree with these conclusions: technologies impact our behavior


George Couros: Why School Administrators Should Embrace the Social Web

Thursday, June 28, 2012 Comment shot overview of 2 students sitting in class working on laptops

By encouraging administrators to become learner-leaders, to use social media to connect with each other, share best practices and experiment, Canadian school principal George Couros is leading by example, exhortation, and instigation the people who are supposed to be leading our schools into the future. He created and regularly contributes to the website that serves as an online gathering place especially for school principals, Connected Principals, and has blogged in detail about why and how school administrators should be using social media in practical ways in their schools — linking in this one compendium post to


The Challenge of Teaching Networked Writing

Monday, June 25, 2012 Comment young boy holding flip phone over his eye

In my last post I wrote about what Derek Mueller calls the “digital underlife,” the writing practices of students that fall below the radar of classroom practice, but which are crucial ways in which these students practice literacy. In that post I argued that it is important for teachers to acknowledge the ways in which our students actually write and encourage them to think of themselves as writers. Yet doing so doesn’t answer another crucial question: how does this writing fit into our instruction? For a sense of perspective, it is worth noting that this is a


Digital Underlife and the Writing Classroom

Monday, May 14, 2012 Comment female student using hiding cell phone behind textbook in classroom

In a 1987 paper, Robert Brooke argued that instructors needed to pay attention to the ways that students didn’t pay attention, like passing notes in class or whispering conversations. Building on the work of Erving Goffman, Brooke argued that these behaviors represented a writing “underlife” that was a means for students “to show that their identities are different from or more complex than the identities assigned them” in the classroom or school as a whole (p. 230). Fast forward to now. In a recent paper, Derek Mueller argues that the underlife needs to be reexamined, as


Teaching Teachers, Honoring Learners: Interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Friday, April 20, 2012 Comment 2 women doing paperwork on a train

As digital media and networks make possible more networked and collaborative pedagogies, who teaches the teachers how to take advantage of the opportunities (and avoid the pitfalls) that new technologies afford? I have recounted previously on this blog how I discovered Will Richardson’s book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, when I started combining my own classroom teaching with social media. Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, a former classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, technology coach, and university instructor, teamed up to found the Powerful Learning Practice Network to not only enable,


From Conversation to Collection

Monday, April 16, 2012 Comment guy taking a picture of him self in the reflection of his computer screen

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a symposium on the digital humanities hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Media research group. The occasion was the publication of “Debates in the Digital Humanities,” a collection addressing the changing nature of this emerging field. A number of contributors to the collection attended the symposium and shared some really exciting research, but what jumped out at me was a conversation between Matt Gold, the editor of the collection, and Doug Armato, the book’s publisher. The two shared with the session the process that went into publishing the