One Word for 2015

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A new year offers a flurry of activities. Like a book, the pages begin anew ready for anything you place upon it. For those of you who have a New Year’s resolution, plans go into full swing to make it happen. You might broadcast it to your family or quietly commit to take those first steps. Or you may be one of those who throw it all out and consider it just another day. No matter what, the new year does offer an opportunity to reflect and consider a new path.

There has been a movement on Twitter away from full out declarations towards a single word or two (#oneword). A single word to capture the essence for the year; something I think is less daunting than a declared resolution. (I don’t know about you but I’ve broken more resolutions than I can count.) Here are some of the most recent from my PLN: #empower, #intentional, #joy, #appreciate, #less, #change, #facilitate, #focus, #relationship, #trust, #courage, #wonder…   I love all of these. Landing on one has been challenging indeed. In 2012 I used #celebrate (see post). oneword_2015

This year I decided on #inspire – to inspire and be inspired. I’m excited about what the pages of 2015 will reveal in ways that one can only imagine. I’m also looking forward to the collaborative conversations (both face-to-face and online), which will no doubt spark those dreams to lift off the pages.  

 

Come join me in this journey – what is your “one word”?  I’d love to hear from you and even collect those words for others to see.

Where the Intersection between Talk and Courage Meet

We’ve been working and editing our Digital Citizenship (curriculum dare I say) for a bit now (squeezed in between all the other projects). And I’ve returned to the same conclusion I had at the beginning of this journey. The only thing that is really different is that we access an online environment (switching back and forth like a dynamo). If we dig a bit deeper, we’d see the beliefs are nothing more than the values we already have in our face-to-face world. Values like we respect each other, we respect ourselves and because of that, our actions show it in how we treat both ourselves and others.

The online world has something that our face-to-face world doesn’t have – the ability to communicate and collaborate worldwide in a matter of seconds. This is what social media is all about. Immediacy of connections. And that is where some of the issues may pop up. Once that little publish button, tweet, text or Instagram is posted, it cannot be pulled back. The danger lies in the immediacy – no thinking required. Thinking happened when you were writing (or perhaps not). This leads some to say, just block the tools. However, by using technology to block is to give away teachable moments. A powerful opportunity exists to teach students the ‘what, why, how, where’ of digital citizenship, before, during and after such events. socialmediaguidelinesThese interactions help build the ‘realness’ of online behaviours and attitudes. In essence, they showcase the true values of each of us. What do we really believe? How do we reflect that in our voice, in our actions, in our learning and growing over time? Are there places where our students can learn and practice these skills?
We synthesized these down to four areas – Be safe, Be nice, Be empowered, Be Careful.

You can find the full document here

Social media is here to stay. Digital interactions will increase as people find more uses for it in our daily lives. What we do to answer the questions posed and how we support the digital social learning process is paramount. It is not about the tool. Perhaps the better filter is not an automated one, but one where the student thoughtfully asks: who do I want to be to this global world?

I’d be interested in any thoughts you may have on how you’re negotiating this world with your students or staffs.

Engage in the Experience – Professional Learning

As we organize our teaching/learning environments, it is important to hold time to learn ourselves – to challenge ourselves to engage with new ideas, to seek out new opportunities in professional learning, and to reflect how they relate with personal beliefs.  This is about connecting to what is important.  Only then can we bring powerful experiences for our students.
Here are some possibilities that might lead you to engage on different levels (contact any of our Learning Technologies team for more information or check out the sections in our blog):

blogBlog or other online platform – Why? It’s all about communication and sharing your story, engaging the world (whether it is with parents or to a wider audience) in a dialogue of learning.  Consider how Literature Circles, writing, interactive posters, audio radio shows, portfolios can all tell a story beyond paper and pencil. Start a positive digital footprint for students here.

razkids Raz-Kids – Why? Reading fluency is foundational to solid reading practice. Students need to listen to good text  and practice reading to gain proficiency. The ability to record personal readings multiple times, listen to hear  themselves gives opportunities to self assess their own achievement.

googledocs_logoGAFE (Google Apps for Education) – Why? What’s the one thing that creates great writing – articulated revision comments in writing pieces (and lots of them over time). Google docs provides a seamless environment that connect comments to support the student writer as they grow in their ability to communicate in written forms. The collaborative nature of the application lends itself to focused writing and research projects.

digifootprint_ed Digital Citizenship – Why? Our students are growing up in a world where ‘digital’ is the norm. To some it is as ubiquitous as air. How do we harness this environment for learning? What added things do we need to consider in this world? While the ideals of citizenship and social responsibility are similar in both face-to-face and online environments, the online nature creates new challenges in understanding communication.

Fast Forword-brain-puzzleFast ForWord – Why? Too often we try so hard to support our students who find reading incredibly challenging due to a host of reasons and we see minimal gains. Based on neuroscience and brain plasticity, Fast ForWord and Reading Asistant has offered significant learning success for these students. More information on this process can be found on our Fast ForWord blog.


October is “Connected Educator Month”
.  How is this information connecting to your understandings? Please join us in the ongoing conversation and share with your staffs (send this link to them).