Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'll drop out of #dlmooc

My daughter will need help with her homework and that will take precedent. Work will drain my energy, causing me to shun my laptop in favor of my wife's company. The weekend will arrive, Colorado sunshine will outduel winter cloud cover, and the outdoors will beckon. Instead of a syllabus or a weekly newsletter, my life will determine my participation and availability.

Credit "Lautz Bros. and Co." by Miami Univ. Libraries on Flickr
So I'll drop out of this MOOC from time to time, only to return anxious to see what participants are writing, thinking and sharing. Though I know I will come and go, I'm sure I will engage in deeper learning.

Which begs the question: Deeper than what?

Deeper than if I was faking. Deeper than if I was skimming the reading to get to class on time.

Deeper than if I was apologizing. Deeper than if I was negotiating with a teacher to accept late work or modify an assignment.

Deeper than if this was compulsory. Deeper than if I had to take a course I didn't care about for a credential I needed.

Deeper than if I was worried what the teacher thought. Deeper than if I stayed away in week 4 because I had no time in week 3.

Goals and process will guide my work in this MOOC. For the first weeks, I'll aim to read participant posts a few mornings a week, responding with questions and connections. I'll try blog twice a week even if there's nothing new to say. In a few weeks I will evaluate those goals and this strategy. Hopefully, by that time, I'll have found some streams, memes and conversations to follow and add to.

By coming and going as my life allows and by doing so without apology or regret, I hope to shed the baggage I've acquired through traditional schooling in the hopes of finding deeper learning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The 13 questions I'll ask tomorrow- planning for dialog

So often in my work with teachers and coaches, my plans for the day really look like a series of questions. In addition to reminding me that my number one job is to listen and to approach my work with a spirit of inquiry, drafting the questions in advance helps me prepare for productive dialog. Here are the list of questions I'll ask tomorrow.

Leadership Team Meeting

1. "Can you say more about that?"

Planning with a middle school Social Studies teacher to use Minecraft in the classroom

2. I know that incorporating Minecraft in this project was a student suggestion. What have students proposed that they ought to do in Minecraft?

3. What interests have they expressed about the unit topic and what interests have they expressed about Minecraft?

4. What would be your biggest goal for your students with this project?

5. What are your thoughts about using gaming in your instruction?

6. Do you have any goals specific to using games in the classroom?

Conferring with a coach about his work 

7. How's it going?

8. What's a recent success that is worth devoting some reflection time to?

9. I heard you say _______. Can you say more about that?

10. Do you have something that you are thinking of trying?

11. How do you see that going?

12. How can I help or support?

13. Is there another coach who you might want to partner with to think more about this or share ideas about this?

Some possibilities for Goodreads with High School Book Groups

Working in my friend Jenn Henderson's class at Rangeview High School yesterday, I watched her students post responses to their independent reading on Goodreads, the social network for bibliophiles. Her students respond to Jenn in a private group she's created for her class of freshmen. One of Jenn's goals is to have her students to write for a variety of audiences on the web. In our discussion after class, she and I talked about the range of possibilities for Goodreads. "There's just so much that we could ask them to look at and so many things we could ask them to do," she commented.

For my part, I suggested asking students to read discussions in the public book groups, looking for groups that seem to be helping each other think more deeply about the books they're discussing. Maybe students can identify which users are mostly socializing and which ones are "geeking out," writing expansively about their books. Since I had clicked through the public book group discussion pages on Goodreads during class, I offered to send Jenn some ways I might introduce students to Goodreads, with the ultimate goal of having students identify their own purposes and interests. Here are the ideas I shared with her on the Google Doc we share to keep track of our coaching work, our conversations, and Jenn's goals for our work together.

Some Goodreads possibilities:

Have the class read this group introduction for a group called "The Page Turners." Ask them to read in order to answer the question, “How does this group work?”

This group, Nothing But Reading Challenges (NBRC) has an interesting format, including daily discussion questions for members to respond to. Right now there are three books going with daily discuss questions. “Which book and group has the best group participation? Which reader has the most thoughtful answers?” (Alternately, is anyone here not reading the book but just socializing in the discussion?)

After students look at both, ask them, "Which group appeals to you more as a reader and a writer? Why?"

Finally, I threw in this a random idea for on-demand writing.

Ask all students to write the “10 things you need to know about Goodreads” guide to Goodreads, then post them on Goodreads.  

Why has it been more than a year since I've blogged here?

1. I joined several MOOCs and chose to create separate blogs for each.

2. When I blog about Connected Learning, as infrequent as that is these days, I just blog on Digital Is and am too lazy to repost here.

3. I sometimes opted to blog on Tumblr about parenting instead of writing here about teaching and instructional coaching.

4. Because I have a lazy streak in me that surfaces in winter.

5. Unicycling, unicycling, unicycling

6. I have no excuse.