Why Does Sugata Mitra Anger So Many Educators?

This Ed Tech Talk entitled, Why Does Sugata Mitra Anger So Many Educators, is interesting!  I think you will find it interesting.  If you aren't familiar with the work of Sugata Mitra, view some of his TED Talks here.

Participants in the Ed Tech Talk include Dave Cormier, Jeff LebowJennifer MadrellGraham Stanley, John Schinker.  They discuss Sugata Mitra's concept of Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE), but conversation goes beyond Mitra's views.  Their discussion leaves room for reflection for the future of education in K-12 and higher ed.  Dave Cormier wrote two related posts The Rise of SOLEs (Part 1): The Decline of the Webquest and The Rise of the SOLES (Part 2): At the Heart of a SOLE.  These put some of their conversation into context.

What are some of your take-aways?  What points do you agree and disagree with? Watch it and share your thoughts here or in person with another educator.


A Pep Talk from Kid President

A favorite needs watched more than once.  It also needs shared. Watch Kid President from Soul Cake to brighten your day.  Then share, go and "create something that will make the world awesome!"


Lessons from Auschwitz: The Power of Words

Lessons from Auschwitz: The Power of Words by Benjamin Zandar is a beautiful short video with an important message.  "I will never say anything that can't stand as the last thing I say."  This provides a reflective moment during the Holocaust Memorial Week.


#Easter Fun

My kiddo made these this weekend.  The big question is Will they hatch HTML?  So far, so good.


Migrant Youth Voices on iPads and Blogs

I presented at NCCE 2014.  The basic concept of the presentation is giving underrepresented students a voice, bringing out the super hero in them, and allowing them to speak on topics of interest to them through the use of emerging technologies. The inspiration of this presentation is from the Oregon Migrant Leadership Institutions (OMLI) I've participated in at Oregon State University for the past five summers.  The presentation gives high school participant examples from the OMLI and reflects on tech integration from the perspective of a learning educator.

Here are related posts about the OMLI experiences.
Giving Students a Voice with iPads and iMovies
Student Voice with Tablets vs Pens
Summer Camp Experiences Recorded with Weebly, Animoto, and Educreations


The Teachers Should See This: Super Bowl Predictions

Watch the video below initiated and created by my young guest blogger.  It's a fun example of creativity and pop culture outside the classroom with tablets and apps such as iMovie.

Personally, I base my favorite team and predictions entirely upon color schemes.  It's a close call this year!

There must be math applications for predictions and probability for creative math teachers out there a bit deeper than our "scientific" predictions.  Share if you have any. :-)

Happy commercial watching!


Multiple Perspectives from Winnie the Pooh to Groceries

My preservice teachers had a great discussion a few weeks ago about the importance of brining in multiple perspectives into the classroom.  Doing so affirms that the world is complex and takes more than one view to gain a picture of a concept.  It can widen our worldview.  Multiple perspectives activities should also be accompanied with conversations around information literacy, bias, culture, and language.

This Russian Winnie the Pooh video (Vinni Puh) by animator Fyodor Khitruk caught my attention.  One of my favorite blogs, The Kids Should See This, has a nice post about it.

In continuing the conversation of multiple perspectives, take a look at this interesting post, What a Week of Groceries Looks Like Around the World, on Nutrition News. I think it would be interesting to pair it with a unit that maps where food comes from with this site. Type in a recipe and explore the originations of the food.  

On a similar thread of thought, don't miss James Mollison's photographs, Where Children Sleep.  If you haven't seen it, The Danger of a Single Story TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie is a must see!

How can you bring multiple perspectives into your learning environment?  If you are interested in more sites, check out my Multicultural and Bilingual Resources that I will add to in time.  Happy exploring!


Global Education Conference 2013

With Dave Eggers book, The Circle, on my nightstand, I'm still on the search for professional development and student learning opportunities that focus on global learning.  (The Circle doesn't approach George Orwell's 1984, but it's a good read.)

Here's a find.  Interested in conversations surrounding global education?  Join the 2013 Global Education Conference this year from November 18th-22nd.  Access keynote speakers and sessions for free from your home computer or office.  Check out the sessions in this brochure.

It's interesting how many social media tools are in use in this year's conference.  You can follow the hashtag on Twitter #globaled13.  I was drawn to the Google + Community to continue exploration of the growing opportunities for global classroom collaborations.  The number of ways and opportunities are growing.  I'll be keeping my eye on quality and authentic learning opportunities.

If you miss it, sessions will be archived here.

Happy conferencing!


A Different Kind of Normal

I love the view out of my window today.  Each gust of wind whisks a cascading twirl of leaves that settle in my yard, beckoning for my kiddo and dog to rake and splash them about before packaging them for compost.   Beyond the beauty of the fall, I love my view outside and inside my window because it is my view. Mine. I have chosen it and make it my own on a daily basis.  I invite people I care about to fill the space about me and to create and share my view.

As much as I love returning to my view, I find value in traveling. It’s a process to see beyond the first glimpse that a new view offers—to peer deeper into the everyday lives of the people who inhabit the space, the space they invite me into.  The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes; they all contribute to the reality of my growing worldview.

I recall the first time I saw a favela in Brazil. It was almost too much (no it was too much) for my aspiring middle-class, twenty-something, American mind to process.  Also imprinted upon my memory is a moment in Bolivia while crossing a bridge-- my experience up until that point in time told me I traversed over a garbage dump; but a glimpse of an orphaned street child huddled into a drain pipe cemented the realization it was a home to someone. It left me numb and silent.  I searched the procedures-- the laws that didn't allow me to adopt that child, or another little one half-wrapped in bright colored, dingy llama wool peering up from under a bridge.

Years later, after seeing countless similar views, my mind still doesn’t process these sights.  It doesn’t because it’s simply not fair, and I should find it unsettling!  Yet, I now realize the people inhabiting these spaces have unique voices that reach beyond my silence.  Beyond. Silence. Mine.  Kids in poverty. Their voices reach beyond anything we pretend makes sense. 

Simultaneously, I never cease to be amazed by the juxtaposition of joy and rich culture that is experienced within these spaces.  Through reading; discussion of space, design and architecture; traveling; and technology, I continue to expand the view beyond my window. 

Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places is a TED Talk by Iwan Baan that recently expanded my view. It is something you must watch! Through photography, he shows how people build homes in unlikely places.  I continue to reflect on Baan’s phrase, “a different kind of normal.”

Bann’s talk reminds me of The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra in Paraguay, where three of my favorite people in the world live.

It also brings up connections to James Mollison’s photography in his books, Hungry and Where Children Sleep.   (Hint: Use the “next” button to view Mollison’s photos. They are worth it!)

The related issue of poverty is NOT a problem that only exists outside of my home country.  All I have to do is look beyond my window’s view within my state, within my neighborhood. Some of the struggle of families in my own back yard are highlighted in the documentary,  American Winterthat follows eight families in Portland, Oregon. 

This has direct implications for us as educators.  Here’s some information from the program I work in about cultural and linguistic diversity in Oregon’s schools.  These kids and families ARE our community. We ALL have a responsibility.

It’s not enough, but through technology, I am slowly finding a way to both hear and give voice to those in poverty, to those who don’t have access to the basics such as clean water and food, yet whose voices capture the complexity of the human spirit in music, art, compassion-- found in spaces they make their own.  Their voices shape my view and push me to look at a different kind of normal.


Giving Students a Voice with iPads and iMovies

This summer, I worked with high school migrant students in a summer camp using iPads to give them a voice through videos and writing.  This posts builds on the one prior to it, Giving Students iPads vs Pens, but focuses on the instructional aspects.  Here's a fun video that two students created on the first day in about 20 min.  Watch others from this Shout Out page.

Prep and a platform are important!  A lot of prep work goes into setting something like this up.  I had 15 iPads, 4 staff, and around 25 students at one time.  I chose Blogger as the platform in part because it has a super easy to use app.  We used iMovies as the movie making app and You Tube Capture to quickly upload the movies to You Tube.  In weeks 2-3, when staff became more comfortable, we added Animoto (using an Educator’s account) and Explain Everything. The resources and handouts and general plans were posted prior to beginning each week.  It is handy to have videos, links, general purpose explanation, etc. set up ahead of time on a site to aid in the flow of instruction during a project.

Student choice: In week one, I began with a structured format that was “school like” the staff politely told me later. Staff were learning the apps, there were a lot of unknowns, and it seemed the safe bet. Students created Where I am From poems and turned them into videos.  I had my handouts, model examples videos and how-to videos ready to go on the site.  It was exciting the first day when one of the participants quickly created an incredible rap during a pre-write session.  But for what could be a variety of reasons—not wanting to share publically, or perhaps feeling the need to follow my “school like” directions, his rap didn’t make it to video.  Students in week 1 did a great job!   They followed my directions, but I was a bit disappointed in my directions and how it pigeon holed everyone into creating a similar looking video. 

In weeks 2-3, staff were more comfortable, and they opened topics up to students.  Wow, do kids have ideas and voices worth listening to!  They chose topics of importance to them such as bullying, language choice, goal setting, etc.  

Process and experience: If this is presented with a focus on the process and learning, not only the final product, it helps meet the needs of a wider range of learners, differentiating and even individualizing.

Learn together as you go:  Tablets truly give teachers the opportunity to take the seat of a facilitator and learner with the students.  Students asked each other, problem solved, worked together, naturally became the experts and taught me! I did do a lot of the leg work in managing the site and creating You Tube playlists, looking at privacy issues, etc, but some of this can be delegated to students as well.

Celebrate!  This type of learning differentiates and allows learners of varying levels to contribute.  We popped popcorn and watched their videos and related videos along the way.

Overview: This experience shows how mobile devices can be used quickly to create videos and give students a voice.  This is the tip of the iceberg when we have access to such devices and begin to rethink assignments and how technologies can support content and language learning. This experience also cements the importance of a platform (such as a blog) for workflow and instructional purposes, to share student work, and to communicate.

Happy movie watching!