Problems getting started with online learning

I think the bigger problem is HOW we went to online learning. If you take a high school teacher and place her in a kindergarten classroom with the expectation to carry on as normal or vice versa the same thing would happen – confused and overwhelmed teachers.
But if the experts could offer advice about time management and types of content to deliver the confusion and overwhelmed feeling would diminish. Listen to the experts and reduce the stress you are creating. Start creating activities that are project-based not worksheet based. This is not a physical classroom setting.
In the long run, blended learning has a good chance of continuing on when this time period ends. Having all students exposed to a virtual platform and digital means of communication is very important. And yes it starts in kindergarten with something like Seesaw. I think we are going to learn a lot and change the world of education.
Thanks for being like-minded educators who can peek into the future of learning, teaching, and sharing.

Opportunity Knocking

Today marks the fifth day of Home Learning. I don’t want to call it homeschooling or distance learning because it’s really not. Parents are forced to teach or to fill the role of the teacher so that’s not really homeschooling because it’s not a choice. Parents are trying to provide a digital connection for distance learning so that their children can do their school work online. But that’s not really distance learning, otherwise, this would have been set up prior to starting.  

However, what I’m seeing is that the kids are taking control. We have an opportunity before us to let the kids guide the learning, let the kids choose what they’re passionate about and make a plan for their own learning. What does that look like? How can we contribute to that? 

As an adult, I can offer suggestions on ways to find information, ways to implement the use of the information, but what I can’t do is create their passion. I can’t create their journey to learning. 

As much as I embrace this opportunity to affect change in education it’s going to take more than me.  I want to hear from the kids in the trenches what they like, what they don’t like, what the roadblocks, are how did they move through the roadblocks. I want to see the kids create content that others can use, that others can learn from, that shows what they’re passionate about because I feel the kids are going to help solve the pandemic that’s going on right now in education.

Power…

Power is the ability to effect change… great comment I heard on one of the morning shows today. I was eating breakfast and listening to the TV, something I very rarely get to do. When I heard this statement I immediately began to think about the power we have before us. I have been teaching online now for about 15 years. I love it, but the k-12 learning environment has been slow to change. But in the next few months I think we are going to learn a lot about online learning for k12.

Today was a bit rocky. A lot of confusion and, as expected, S…L…O…W content delivery. We learned one thing already, many kids want to connect at a distance but maybe the current infrastructure is not where it should be. We also learned that even though many of the teachers were apprehensive about Monday morning many of them were trying to participate. In some cases they tried too hard. A word of advice to all of the new “online” teachers set office hours to accommodate all of the students. Morning. afternoon, and evening hours will be important. Also build time in for yourself. After the first few days, you will find your groove. Asking students to meet with you online can work, but it will not work for all. Be sure to record the conversation so those who could not make it can at least listen to it.

I am looking forward to how will will empower our future generation. I think we are going to learn so much in the next few weeks.

Today is the Day

Today is the day to reinvent education. The high stakes test is canceled. You have just been given a free pass to teach children. But you must do it in a virtual setting!?
Today is the day you get to think about how to change content delivery. One size does not fit all. Today is the day to create personal learning plans. You have an advantage, you have been with your students for 2/3’s of the school year.
Today is the day to allow the students choice, ownership, voice, and authentic learning. Today is the day to reinvent education.
Ask a big question, collaborate with other subject-matter teachers, provide choice with the final assessment of understanding. Today is the day to reinvent education.
Take away the schedule, create due dates. Be flexible, remove the low level “googling” questions, ask for a demonstration of learning – Write a digital book, create a video game, make a movie, record an audio response. We have the tools, we have unchartered territory. Some things will work, others will fail miserably. Welcome to the real world where on the job training is a process. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to let the kids take the lead. Everyone learns from everyone. Today is the day to reinvent education.
Educators know how to reinvent education, now is your chance to show the world what can be done. Today is the day we reinvent education!

Stand strong, we can do it!

iBuild Academy – making a difference

IBuild Academy, Inc. is making a difference in Orange City, Fl. We are exposing kids to STEM and developing confidence within. Thanks to our community support. We were recently named the 2019 Non-Profit Business of the Year by the West Volusia Chamber of Commerce. We are also a finalist for the FETC STEM Excellence Award to be announced next week. I am so proud of these accomplishments.

Happy Teachers, Happy Students?

Can a happy teacher, one who is interested in the process of teaching and learning make a difference? Of course!! Growth mindset plays a big role in setting the moon. Growth mindset gives you the freedom to fail, the path to learning, the chart for personalized learning, the goal to succeed. Kids feed off of your emotion, show them how to engage and try. The research is starting to support the ideas of a growth mindset, but we must model it daily. Check out this report from EdSurge.

Discouraged but encouraged!

A few months ago I moved my WordPress site from Bluehost back to WordPress. Terrible things happened and I lost the last 10 years of blog posting. Even though the folks at Bluehost and WordPress walked me through the transfer, it did not happen the way it was supposed to. I have been totally discouraged to post anything lately, hence the lack of updates. However, I must move on and reinvent my website.

Well here is my first post in many, many months. I am going to start documenting our wonderful work at iBuild Academy, Inc. A dream of mine was to open a school and reinvent education pretty has come to life. It is not an official school with all kinds of regulations and rules but a teaching environment I have dreamed of for a very long time. I have created an environment of fun, curiosity, creativity, and accidental learning.

In February of 2015, my dream came alive. With a small start-up cost, my dad and I

found a rentable space, about 800 sq feet, and iBuild Academy was born. We offered sessions in engineering, video production, computer programming, and Minecraft. It wasn’t long until we had our first customers and we have been going strong ever since.

In the last 4 years, I have learned so much about the business world, daunting and exciting. We are now a 501c3 non-profit corporation and serving our local population. We are located in a small city in Volusia County, but people have participated in our programs from 30 – 40 miles away. It is true that if you have something good going on people will find you.

We have many volunteers, high school students earning community service hours, seniors donating their time, and we are working on developing community partners.  Currently, we are looking to expand and develop a makerspace for our middle school kids.

Take a look at our Facebook page and follow our journey.

Wicked Problem – Rethinking Education

Wicked Solution

This proposed solution is directed at the wicked problem of rethinking education. Learners today are different than 50 years ago. The premise of the US educational system is to prepare students for the workforce, the assembly line workforce. This does not exist today. As Will Richardson shares in his TED Talk, “We can no longer prepare students for traditional expectations more than a century old.“ Today the US educational system needs to prepare students for a workforce that is yet to be determined. Reading, writing, and arithmetic skills of yesterday have morphed into problem solving, critical and creative thinking, and working in a collaborative environment. No longer is the teacher in the classroom the only source of knowledge. Learners have the world available to them.

The NMC Horizon Report for K-12 education confirms the fact that Personal Learning Environments are here and moving into the K-12 world quickly. It is anticipated that in the next 2-3 years a PLE will be a mainstay for learners. Teachers need to be actively engaged in their own personal learning environments in order to effectively guide their learners and to demonstrate the power of collaborative learning. Learners will have a personalized experience based on their connected space, the people they network with. “The essential idea behind personal learning environments is that students are put in charge of the learning process, with a focus on how they can support their own needs and preferences” (Johnson, Adams, and Cummins, 2012, p. 24).

My proposed solution is to instruct K – 12 educators about creating personal learning environments. I hope to create a conversation about doing things differently, learning in different ways – Personal Learning Environments. I will propose they engaged in learning from the experts, develop a community that provides content for you and you provide for them. We need to see education as something that we create and share, not as something that is simply handed to someone through a worksheet. Downes (2010) shared “we have to stop thinking of an education as something that is delivered to us and instead see it as something we create for ourselves.”

References

Downes, S. (2010, Oct 18). A world to change. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/a-world-to-change_b_762738.html

Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Cummins, M. (2012). NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium

Richardson, W. (2012). Why school?: How education must change when learning and information are everywhere. (p. 51). TED Conferences.