I was asked to share an inspiring message to public school teachers as part of their final reflection and culminating after school activity at my district, aside from welcoming and introducing the VIPs and special guests that late afternoon. I thought about this for a while and I was not quite sure as to what to share for this special event where teachers, administrators, and district leaders will be part of the audience. So, I dug deep into my "inspiration toolkit" and selected one of my favorite poems where I draw inspiration from, especially when I want to encourage positive and meaningful change among teachers and campus leaders. This poem is called "Innovate Together" by Najwa Zebian who is a Canadian-Lebanese author, educator, and spokesperson. Please click on the title below to view this poem that is located at George Couros' blog site. I also provided a video of Najwa's poem reading and delivery from George Couros' YouTube channel.
How do you develop better student feedback? Better yet, what is student feedback? Where do you start?
During my first year of teaching, developing student feedback was one of my challenges as I dived into the complexities and high demands of the education profession. I chanced upon seeing in my PLN Twitter Community this wonderful image made by Lisa Westman (@lisa_westman) that captures very important and interesting information about feedback.
As you can see, feedback stems from these characteristics: consistent, specific, user-friendly, goal-referenced, time and on-going, tangible and transparent, and actionable. With these characteristics in mind, it is evident that feedback is not merely providing a simple, "yes, I agree", "this is awesome!", "i think you can do this better", and other similar statements. In order for feedback to be effective, it has to be clear, targeted, specific, detailed, with supporting evidences, including the characteristics that have been mentioned.
There are also other ways to deliver feedback for effective learning. Below is an example.
This visual representation of the article, 20 Ways To Provide Effective Feedback for Learning , provides the importance of having purposeful and meaningful feedback. For example, students are more encouraged when:
Below are more great resources on Effective Feedback:
Speaking of programming, below are some resources that are available to those who are interested to teach and learn programming languages to students and teachers. It is time to re-ignite coding again among learners!
This was one of my favorite sessions during #TCEA , which was presented by amazing women who are passionate with education, technology integration, teacher professional learning, and curriculum instruction! One of the many take-aways that I learned from this session is the importance of organized planning invested by Klein ISD to ensure the successful deployment of their 1:1 student laptop. This deployment also included the transformation of educator professional learning to a personalized approach where teachers and administrators get to select their learning paths.
So, if you ask me what is my take on personalized learning? Well, it is definitely the way to differentiate and scaffold adult learning especially when it comes to educational technology integration. The reason I say this is because there are adult learners who are either in the beginners level, intermediate level, or advanced level when it comes to understanding in-depth and implementing relevant and purposeful active and engaged learning using technology. It is not wise nor recommended to provide a "one-size fits all" professional learning approach. It is better to provide different opportunities where adult learners can choose the path they want to take that will lead to more meaningful experiences and sensible ownership. More often that it should, many district leaders and professional development specialists think that adult learners need to be micro-managed and held closely when it comes to their learning, to the point where the adult learners become too spoon-fed with their own growth and development.
In connection with this presentation, I dug upon this great resource that offers one of many definitions and explanations of Personalized Learning that is provided by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To download the PDF file of the images below, click on this link.
When I became an assistant principal, one of the challenging tasks that I have to fulfill with fidelity and consistency is to be an instructional coach/leader to my teachers. It was not an easy job, as some may think. Coaching teachers is more than just "talking" with adults. Coaching requires a great deal of dedication, hard work, patience, uninterrupted time (yes, that's right! ?) and building trusting, non-judgmental, professional relationships.
Some of the tools that I have used to develop my coaching skills included Cognitive Coaching, eGrowe Model with Active Learning Framework and Active Learning best practices, content-based pedagogy and innovative best practices, Differentiation and Scaffolding best practices for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 Instruction, and the like.
With the variety of tools, strategies, and resources available online and in face-to-face training sessions or workshops, it is important to identify the goals and expectations that you have in mind and have discussed and shared with your colleagues, especially with the teachers you are to coach. It is also valuable to get their feedback and constructive criticism and use the gathered data to make wiser and more meaningful decisions in choosing the coaching model that will be suit the needs and learning styles of your teachers.
One of the many resources that is quite universal and an be applied at different aspects of coaching is to identify "look fors". This list is only a suggestion, and not set in stone. This list can also serve as a starting point to provide you with an idea in solidifying what you would like to see and what your teachers would like to grow on with regard to providing rigorous and meaningful student learning environments.
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics
Shelley Vohra, Ph.D. shared her research on "Closing the Equity Gap Through the Use of Social Media" that focuses on the use of #twitter as the tool of choice where teachers are able to enhance their professional practice, reflect on their profession, obtain support from fellow educators across the globe, and provide students with opportunities to explore real world experiences and be more engaged in their own learning.
The study included an 8th grade Math class where social presence theory is identified as the methodology of practice. The purpose of the study is to explore social presence on #twitter, student engagement and learning, and to fill a gap/need in this particular area. Below are some of the ideas I have captured through my #sketchnotes.
This may sound very familiar, but don't we, as educators, always look forward to being part of an engaging and active Professional Learning Network (PLN), where we can communicate ideas, collaborate best practices, and exchange strategies that we can apply in each other's classrooms. This particular session gave a lot of inspiration in identifying different styles of PLNs and how it can benefit one's professional learning, growth and development. Sometimes, it is good to go out of the usual path and try digital PLNs and social media tools to navigate into the global world of sharing.
As I entered the big session room where Hall Davidson was to present his piece on "Virtual Reality for Classrooms & Schools", I was expecting a great amount of information to be shared that I may not be fully familiar with. True enough, when he started delivering his presentation, I was introduced to a multitude of possibilities where virtual reality can be used to provide more engagement and active participation among students in the classroom.
Though I was expecting a little bit more his presentation, such as the reflective aspect of virtual reality with regard to developing authentic student learning and empowered student voices, I took mostly what I called an influx of "what you need to have", "what best tech devices to use", "examples of VR application in the classroom", "what VR means and what it can offer", and the like. I guess my expectation is not something that is part of his presentation and thus, his focus was entirely on the "what" and "how", and not completely as to the "why".
I find this a bit problematic since this kind of "stigma" of technology of just being the "what" and "how" on student learning has been quite limiting. At times, it has become the downfall for technology, not unless, the use of technology is elevated for a higher and more meaningful, relevant purpose. With the trend of #empoweringlearners and providing students with opportunities to build their #authenticvoice, #virtualreality needs to elevate its presence and purpose in today's role in education.
Below is the #sketchnote that I have created based on the information I have gathered in Hall Davidson's presentation. Good information, but again, I was expecting a little bit more depth.
....so, let us be prepared to give the ultimate best to our students for their authentic learning experiences!
With the ISTE Standards for Students, we can prepare our students to become Empowered Learners, Digital Citizens, Knowledge Constructors, Innovative Designers, Computational Thinkers, Creative Communicators, and Global Collaborators! #ISTE2018 With my #sketchnote below, I aim to capture the different key indicators of what makes a Future Ready Student, based on the ISTE Standards for Students.
David Eagleman, Ph. D. is one of the keynote speakers during the #ISTE2018 Convention. It was a privilege to hear him speak and share his expertise about "The Brain". I also had the privilege to have a photo with him and obtain his signature on my #digitalsketchpad as a memento of this wonderful meeting opportunity. Thus, you can see in this particular #sketchnote his signature and his drawing of the brain. I am grateful!
Advocate for Equal and Equitable Opportunities for all Students. Director of Active Learning proudly serving El Paso ISD #iamEPISD