Teaching

Cursive Writing and the Importance of Teaching Skills

Monday, September 21, 2015 Comment kareem trump letter signature written over typed out letter

For most of the past decade, I have spent a week each summer reading essays by high schoolers in the Advanced Placement program. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend: They are getting easier to read. Not in the sense that the students are better at organizing their ideas or crafting sentences than they have been in previous years, but rather they are literally easier to read. This past year, while reading through my 100th or so essay one day, I realized why: Most of the students aren’t writing in cursive anymore. Of course,


Defining Digital Media Across Disciplines

Thursday, August 20, 2015 Comment close up hands working on curcuit board

After my last post on designing a course into digital media, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and work trying to figure out best practices and approaches for defining digital media across disciplines. This project is the primary function of my new position as the associate director for Digital Learning Projects at LaGuardia Community College’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Recently, a digital competency was added as a requirement for all students. I am very excited that this is happening, and that I get to be a part of it, but it leaves a big


Enhancing Connected, Distributed Learning

Thursday, August 13, 2015 Comment leuphana holding a large meeting in conference room

This is the last of the four-part series that draws from our experiences of completing a Mentored MOOC called “Managing the Arts” with the Goethe Institute at the Leuphana Digital School this spring. In the first part, I argued that distributed learning might conceptually help us better than connected learning, as it shows the seams, and promises not connectivity but consolidation as the role of technologies of online learning. My colleague Mariam Haydeyan detailed the idea of a distributed learner and her fragmented learning processes that become consolidated when we imagine the learner not just as an individual


Speculative Design for Emergent Learning: Taking Risks

Thursday, June 11, 2015 Comment graphic of word Idea with stick figure characters drawing letters

As I look in the rear view mirror at this past semester, I marvel at the grand experiment of my #WritingRace class at Kean University that I blogged about as we embarked on our journey. I decided to take co-learning one step further. When I first met my fantastic group of graduate and undergraduate students for this course, I announced that they were in charge of their own learning outcomes. I also mentioned that there was no prescribed syllabus for the course.  Rather, they would design their own syllabus as they considered their collective goals. Along with


Collaborative Thinking Through Writing, Libraries, Markerboards

Thursday, May 07, 2015 Comment students gathered around table in library working on writing project

How might mediums for writing in school libraries be opportunities to grow academic literacies for students across different grades and academic tracks? How might these opportunities to engage in both individual and collaborative writing experiences as pathways to academic literacies close participation gaps and make literacy as a social practice more visible to students and teachers (Kiili, Mäkinen, and Coiro 224)? I recently partnered with teachers Sean O’Connor, Dan Bynre, and James Glenn to incorporate writing literacies as part of larger inquiry activities for two very different classes: 9th-grade Language Arts and IB Theory of Knowledge. Formulating


Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom: New Report

Thursday, March 06, 2014 Comment room full of adults and students raising hands at a meeting rally for supporting children's education

Last week saw the release of Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, a free Connected Learning report I edited. I’m hoping you’ll spend some time reading it — it features a plethora of powerful contributions by members of the National Writing Project. When you riffle through Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, what you’ll see is a series of narratives from educators from across the country sharing how they are already exemplifying connected learning principles in practice in schools. As educators and researchers, we often talk about the possibilities of advances in learning sciences and pedagogy.


Hacking The Classroom with Michelle Cordy, aka, “Teacher on an Urgent Quest”

Monday, December 30, 2013 Comment florescent light installation of hack the classroom

As soon as she joined one of my online courses and immediately embraced co-learning, I recognized Michelle Cordy as the kind of fearless learner who makes a great teacher. A teacher can do a great deal to facilitate the conditions from which learning communities emerge – but only the learners can make the real magic happen. In my ten years of teaching face to face and online, I’ve discovered that the sine qua non of the truly magical co-learning experience is a lead learner or two – people who will try the activities and read the


“Making is a stance toward learning”: Sylvia Libow Martinez

Monday, December 23, 2013 Comment 2 young kids focusing closely on iphone

Messing with Makey-Makey, tinkering with Arduino, building robots or creating wearable art are not primarily about teaching electronic skills, problem-solving, or technological literacy – although those can be benefits of the maker revolution in education. Messing, tinkering, building projects that actually interest learners is about developing skills of autonomous learning, cultivating an appreciation for and fluency in using learning communities and experienced guides, and practice at thinking big. “Making is a stance toward learning that puts the learner at the center of the educational process,” is how Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager put it in


Freedom, Autonomy, and Digital Media at an Indiana High School

Monday, October 28, 2013 Comment webpage screenshot social media education videos and posts

“Freedom and autonomy are the key words for this class,” says Don Wettrick, describing the “Innovations” course he teaches at Franklin Community High School in Franklin, Indiana. I believe these words also convey the most important reason for using digital media in schools. While the availability of open education resources is indeed a bonanza for those who know how to use them, and iPads can lighten backpacks by holding hundreds of books, these new ways of delivering traditional texts and lectures multiply the power of old media, but don’t otherwise change the role of learners as


Teaching and Learning with Minecraft, Part Two: Sara Kaviar

Monday, August 05, 2013 Comment 3 young girls at school computers playing minecraft

When Sara Kaviar’s students study comparative religions, they don’t just read and view videos. They visit houses of worship, then recreate them in the Minecraft online sandbox and design games in their virtual world that test each others’ knowledge. For these students, the process of building and then navigating through models of physical churches, temples, and mosques gives them both a medium through which they can co-construct knowledge and a social environment that encourages collaborative learning. The pizazz of the technology many students choose to use even when their teachers aren’t encouraging it certainly plays a