Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My favorite moment of the week

My favorite moment of the week is the beautiful words of Eileen Lawson. She meet with me a few days ago to talk about applying for the PBS Innovation Award. That turned into a great talk about how to tell the stories from her classroom. She is so incredible and she moved from teaching Math last year to English this year at an inner city school in Philadelphia. Eileen obviously uses both sides of her brain! I'm so proud of her for accepting the challenge to write about her best practices and share her stories with a  you. Please follow Eileen and give her your best words of encouragement!

Always Room For More

Go Eileen! #yourstorymatters

Monday, January 25, 2016

To be quantified...

The Quantified (and qualified) student. 

Digital portfolios have been Helen Barrett's passion and she has campaigned for students to create a space to showcase their talents. Helen has evangelized the importance of showing what you know and more importantly reflecting on the work and the journey. She inspired me to start a digital portfolio initiative when I was teaching in 2005. I put together a professional learning community with other teachers in our school and we began to help students convert binder portfolios into digital portfolios. As part of the process our students presented their portfolios to a panel of judges in their senior year. 

In the quantified student, the Ryan Craig @ryancraiguv discusses digital portfolios as an important part of what students will need moving forward to apply to universities and go onto work. 
"The digital representation of the Quantified Student already exists: It’s called an e-portfolio.  Today, e-portfolios ask students to tag their work with relevant skills and educators are assessing and scoring work samples. Tomorrow, in addition, algorithms will pore through student work to ascertain actual skills with an increasing (and surprising) level of accuracy. As employers see millions of Quantified Students represented on these platforms, they will flock to post jobs with the view of attracting strong matches."
I wholeheartedly agree. #yourstorymatters and e-portfolios are also about showing qualified not just quantified
Digital portfolios have been an important part of my teaching and learning career. From the first year that I started teaching, I created a portfolio to showcase the work each year. I used the portfolio as a presentation tool in my evaluations at the end of the year. What's so amazing is the opportunity to reflect on the work you have done and how much you do as a teacher. 

When we opened String Theory Schools in the fall of 2013, digital portfolios became an important part of our culture. I created the following mock sample portfolio to help guide 9th grade students through the process of curating their work and evaluating each piece. These new student portfolios will become part of their graduation exercises. Students will present our portfolios and tell the story of their learning journey. These portfolios are not just about quantifying the work but also showcasing qualifications; the skills acquired over the course of a high school career that have prepared you for the future of college or work. It's a great platform to show what you know. For me professionally, it's the new CV.

Students must have the opportunity to choose the way in which they design their story. We need to help teachers and students think about end-users and the user experience. They can't just throw some work together and hope that people will look at it. They really have to use the principles of design.

The following are some examples of portfolios that I've created over my career. The first is a sample guide; the second, my teaching portfolio; and third is a showcase of student work when I was in a the classroom teaching math. That in and of itself is a portfolio.

The hardest part....getting started.  Choose the way you want to create your portfolio. Is it Google Sites, Weebly, iBooks Author, or even creating an infographic portfolio using are RE.VU or visualize.me. The value is showcasing talent. 

Helping students design a digital portfolio. 

The language of education.

People always say the language of math is difficult. I love math and I love turning the difficult language into something kids can relate to. I used to tell stories about linear equations. How X and Y get married and are equal as they travel along a straight path together. Then m and b come along and everything changes. How y has to always change with x so they can remain equal partners.

I love that I could help kids see how graphing is a game. The B in the equation is a place on the coordinate game board where you BEGIN as you move your game piece from the origin and them M is how you move to the next point on the line.

My challenge is the language of education. My brain has a difficult time processing the language. I feel like I have educational dyslexia as the words come across the page my brain short circuits. I guess because I am looking for the practical language. How to convert the ideology into in plain english, the what do I DO part.

This week at #BETT2016 is came across this image.  HEUTAGOGY was the word that set my brain into panic mode - Self Guided Learning makes so much sense to me.
However, the word sent me on a self guided learning journey. I wanted to know more.  What I discovered is that this is not a new concept but one to think about as we look at how technology plays a role in learning how to learn. It helping our students think about how technology is a tool to guide them through a series of discoveries, sorting out their findings and coming to a deeper learning based on the learning journey.

#thingstoconsider as we #rethinkhighschool on our @XQAmerica challenge.