Learning Walks

We are fortunate to live in an area that is surrounded with nature right outside our doorstep. The popularity of using “learning walks” add new elements to our day. I can think of the power of this opportunity in every one of the curricular areas.

“What if” we placed devices in the hands of students and asked them to capture images that they felt were significant. Now that takes focused observational skills to weed out the many and only select visuals that are “significant”. What would significant mean? It might mean something quite different to every individual. Imagine the conversation that would open. 

VOICE RECORD PRO (professional grade audio recording app with immediate feedback) allow audio recording of thoughts including the option to embed an image. Save the named clip as an mp4 and it is ready to upload to student blogfolios or websites.  (*Uploading requires wifi.)

Imagine the possibilities of this simple addition of technology in the immediacy. These might include: 

  1. decision making in the present moment 
  2. hone observational skills (slow down to appreciate the details)
  3. include every student in their efforts to communicate their choices of significance (written requirement is removed)
  4. oral language development practice (app provides immediate feedback through a visual needle gauge)
  5. collaborative conversation in partners with assessment feedback
  6. responsibility in care of a device

I was so excited about this idea that I tweeted it out last weekend. 

 

 

 

 

 

We would love to hear your stories of how this might work in your curricular environments. 

Catalyst of Curiosity

Ever wonder how ideas move from a tiny germ to something purposefully actionable? It starts with curiosity, or maybe perhaps a niggle or a conversation walking down a hallway. The trick is to balance what we’ve come to understand through experience and the notion of “what if…”. One needs curiosity to activate our “what if…” For some, this may be uncomfortable as it implies a lack of knowledge. However, I would suggest that this might be a catalyst for exciting new discoveries in learning. And perhaps discoveries about oneself along the way. When faced with a process that involve technology, what if I didn’t start my thinking by saying “I’m not very techie”. When faced with a group of students who haven’t had a lot of practice in self reflection, what if I embraced the opportunity to create small steps and recorded my efforts. When I hear someone doing something extraordinarily different, what if I asked to be invited into a collaborative conversation. And in the midst of the current process of reviewing assessment and reporting practices, perhaps one might also invite curiosity as a step towards openly dabbling in alternatives. The beauty of this process is in reflecting to move forward. Each opportunity can be a catalyst of the next steps. 

Please feel free to email us if you would like some support along the learning. 

We’ve UPDATED Our WordPress Blogging Platforms

You all know that we’re a tiny bit WordPress crazy for a large number of reasons (too long to list here). And just in case you didn’t know, this includes our classroom blogs,  secondary department blogs, library blogs,  secondary and some elementary student BlogFolios (ePortfolios), as well as our district blogs. (The school websites, although wordpress-based fall into a slightly different category.) 

We’ve made some updates (backend and frontend) that have taken us to the next level. These can be grouped by communication (always the most important) and aesthetics (who doesn’t like ‘cool’). You’ll see new themes to choose and old themes retired from the list of theme options. Each theme has its own look and feel. It’s all about personal choice. New plugins such as  WP Smush (optimizes images for web), Easy Google Fonts, new MailPoet 3, and Post Grid offer a wider variety of options. As well, there are the tried and true: 

  • Gravity Forms (survey collection, signup form) – a powerful drag/drop tweakable form to collect all types of information. As an example, we helped one of our schools to use it for students to sign up for their own day of pro-d – Wow! Better yet, the information is stored within the blog so no need to be worried about where it lives. 
  • News Announcement – a scrolling information list to share reminders that pop out
  • Google Language Translator – no need for explanation here

If you or someone you know would be interested in a bit of face-to-face support or want to see what others are doing to get your innovative juices flowing, hop over to the Staff Development calendar for a new session called: Make Your Blog Site Work for YOU!  (Wed May 2nd; 3:30pm at Schou-TLC). 

We’re interested in hearing how you’re using your blog or if you would like your blog to do certain things. Drop us a line here or email our team. We’d love to hear from you.