Monthly Archives: March 2016

Buzzword or Lifeblood?

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Image Credit: Jason Jenkins

I’ve heard some say that “student voice” is becoming a buzzword in education.  I’m hopeful this is not true.  We can’t let it be true.

Student voice should be the lifeblood of our schools.  Our kids’ needs, aspirations, and voices should be predominant in education; from the boardroom to the classroom.  (The same should be true of professional development!)

EdCampEC will be cranking up the volume and amplifying student voice on April 9th.  Greenwood Elementary (MN) students will be teaching teachers through a hands-on and student-led MakerSpace challenge.

Recently, some of our 3rd graders participated in a BattleDome experience using 3D printed exo-skeletons. The exo-skeletons fit around Sphero robotic droids that teams navigated during the competition.  Engineering and collaboration were interwoven throughout the experience, as students added different offensive and defensive capabilities to their exo-skeletons.  Kids were “making” with a purpose and the entire experience was nothing short of spectacular.

You can read more about the experience HERE…OR you can make the trek to Eau Claire, Wisconsin on April 9th to hear directly from the students involved!  They can tell you about their design process, and how different tools from our school’s Mobile MakerSpace fleet were used to unleash creativity and learning.

Student voice is alive and well!  We couldn’t be prouder of our kids, and we look forward to seeing their leadership and communication skills shine at EdCampEC.

If you have questions before April 9th (or can’t make the trip) don’t hesitate to reach out to the teachers who organized the Sphero-Exo event.

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How Do Educators Learn?

Lifelong Learning

What are the ingredients of a successful educational conference or workshop?  What makes professional learning relevant and impactful?

Recently, I had the chance to sit down and discuss how educators learn with Michael Medvinsky and Ben Gilpin on the #UnearthED Radio Show.  The catalyst for our conversation was the renowned Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference.

Although we only spoke for 10 minutes or so, we dove into the very nature of professional learning.  I’ve spent the better part of the past five years researching digital age professional learning.  As part of my doctoral dissertation I interviewed innovative leaders across the country.  More recently, I contributed a few words to a book on PersonalizedPD.  Through it all, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s not about “how” we learn…it’s more about “why” we learn.

Memos and mandates do not drive learning.  We learn because we are open to the idea of becoming.  We learn because we are curious.  We learn because we understand that new processes and pedagogy might benefit our students even if the content does not change.  We learn because we are networked and connected.

“Lifelong learning is a mindset not a mantra; it is the lens and disposition we bring to every situation we encounter.”

When we open our minds to the possibilities that await we’ve created the very conditions needed for learning.  Click HERE to listen to the UnearthED Show, and hear Michael and Ben share their beliefs about how educators learn. (You can also subscribe to #UnearthED Show on iTunes).

I’d love to hear how you learn best, and why you think some educators might be less inclined to learn the same way.

unearthED itunes logo

 

And the Winner Is…

The results of the World Book Talk Championship are in! We started with 16 educators who each created a 30 second book talk.  After thousands and thousands of votes only one book talk remains. 

Who will be victorious? Will it be the Lead Learners or Literacy Legends?  Watch the short (3 minute) episode of the #30SecondTake podcast below to see who won the Super Bowl of book talks.  In the podcast, guest-host Jennifer LaGarde (a.k.a. Library Girl) helps announce the winner of the highly coveted “Vince Lombooki” trophy and reveals the best book talk in the world.

 

#30SecondTake Brackets 2016

 

Click on the bracket above to view the final results video!  (To see how the Super Bowl of book talks began you can click HERE or HERE.)  If you’re looking for resources to support students in creating their own 30 second book talks you can connect directly with Jen LaGarde.  She’s compiled rubrics, bracket templates, and more.  When kids read, create, and communicate their learning is amplified!!  

Jen and I would like to thank Oliver Schinkten for sharing his time and talents throughout the entire project.  After all, it would not have been the book talk Super Bowl without some fun literacy-themed commercials.  Thank you, Oliver! 

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