Wednesday, 18 December 2013

What's Coming Up Next?




Another year is coming to an end, and this is just a quick post to let you know what has caught my attention in 2013.

2013 has produced both exciting and quite unglamorous news for education. As always, the discussion tech or no tech permeated the discourse of many schools administrators and teachers.However,the accelerating pace of change has shown that innovation suggests much more than bringing gadgets and new tools into the classroom. What we are witnessing now is the reconfiguration of the classroom and learning environments.

So, in my opinion, what are the top 10 trends in education that we cannot afford to ignore?

1. Big Data;
2. Adaptive Learning
3. Learning Spaces Design as an agent for maximized learning experiences
4. BYOD and Tablet Computing
5. PBL and Tinkering
6. Coding as a second Language
7. Gaming and gamification
8. SMOOCS
9. Wearable Technology in the classroom
10. 3D Printing


These are just a few of the changes that have caught my eye. I´ll be addressing each of the trends in future posts. Please leave comments, and let me know your own view on top trends to watch for.

Cheers!

Friday, 4 October 2013

You can touch it, but you can´t master it! Or ... Why everybody thinks the dog ate the Los Angeles school officials’ homework?







Deciding on the format of 1:1 programs is no easy task, and I bet that the Los Angeles County Unified School District has gotten the drift, the hard way.

If you don´t know what Los Angeles has got to do with this post, I´ll try to clear things in 140 characters, or less: after having iPads hacked by students, the Los Angeles County Unified School District decided to take the devices back.

If you would like to read a bit more about it, you can click here.

Now, back to this post…
How do you ensure the success of your deployment? How can you build a self-sustaining ecology in your school in order to keep things running smoothly?
The idea of this post is to address a few questions that might have been overlooked by the LAUSD.

b>1.Who is your end-user and how much thought has been put into it?

It is not enough to hand out iPads when you haven't designed an experience for your students. Using mobile devices in education is much more than providing devices, it is an experience that can open many doors to research, tinkering, questioning, discovery and creativity. And just like any other learning experience, it must follow a process.

2.Work on the positive concept of Hacking!

Again, it´s all about the end-user. Teachers and students-must understand that that energy put into discovering fissures in the system could be put to good use and solve crisis within the community.

3.Happiness and Meaningful use

A simple Poll can help you understand what the devices mean to the community and how they can be put to ideal use.<



I could go on forever ...but I will end my post by listing other points that need more attention: digital literacy, relevance of the project outside school grounds, teamwork (parents, teachers, students and community), ideation, crisis solving strategies, trust, and last but not least...understanding that knowledge does not reside in gadgets or in teachers.


As for the Los Angeles County Unified School District, this is an excellent moment to put into practice everything we say about teaching resilience in schools. A real leader (be it a person or UD) must be able to take a step back, learn from their mistakes and take positive actions after going over all the possible overseen issues.
Learning and teaching should be democratic moments of exchange and it is my perception that L.A iPads, with extreme setting restrictions and all the activities that were too guided, became a painful reminder that some people still think that students are meant to be seen, not heard.

So…what would you have done differently?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Digital Parent in you


This is a blog post originally published in August to http://www.mytowntutors.com It was an honour to share my thoughts on such a wonderful site.









“It is not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself."
Joyce Maynard


Whenever I talk to my friends and colleagues about the challenges of being a parent in the 21st century, I always seem to hear complaints concerning the amount of information they have to sort out. To my mind, observing the world around us is of key importance when educating a child. Can you imagine what life would be like if we all had the same form of education?

It is undeniable that technology has generated new possibilities and found its place in households, businesses, and schools alike. In this post, I’d like to share two straightforward activities that can bring tech tools and education together resulting in fun, engaging, and memorable experiences for you and your family.

The utility of technology is paramount. It can bridge gaps, spark conversations, and allow for the sharing of your best moments as a family. All you need to get the attention of your children is devices of your choice, construction paper, some quality time together, and of course a fair deal of imagination. Impress them!

Activity 1 – Listen to My Words

Everybody has got stories to tell and we all love listening to a good story. Can you think of the best anecdote you have ever heard? Reading a good book to your child is a fantastic start, but let’s take it up a notch. You can customize the experience by telling your child their own life stories. I’d like to suggest the following steps.

1. Take some time off and think about how you would like to tell them their story. Think of the characters involved. Take notes if necessary.

2. Record yourself using a voice-recording device (mobile, mp3 players, web recording tool, or any other way you find simpler). My favorite tool is the mobile phone.

3. Surprise your child one day and tell them that they are going to illustrate a story. Hand them the recording. Ask them to listen to it and invite them to illustrate the story. Ask them if they recognize the characters and places. As soon as they have finished illustrating it, scan the drawings, and save them as images.

4. There are many storytelling tools that you could use to recreate the story using your child’s drawings but, to make things extremely easy, Movie Maker is a fabulous option. (You may also want to try http://storybird.com or http://www.storyjumper.com/)

5. Revisit the story as many times as you would like, and ask your child to come up with his/her own story about a birthday, special day, or any other time they find relevant.

6. Cherish these recordings forever =)

Activity 2- Photo Scavenger Hunt

1. Take several pictures of places around the house, objects, people (if your child is a little older you can add pictures of the neighborhood).

2. Print the photos and cut them up in halves or into 3 pieces.

3. Place one part of the picture in a visible place, along with a clue so that they can find the other half (something like: Find the other piece next to something you use to brush your teeth), repeat this step for all photos.

4. Once they have all the pieces, they have to put them together and caption the photos (they should be able to write the name of the object, person, place or even give more specific details about it).

5. Now it´s their turn, ask them to take pictures of their favorite objects, places and people and tell you why they have made that choice. Great for the rainy season.

As you can see, all you need is to have fun! Technology is just a means, not an end. Technology can be very helpful when planning activities for your family.

I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences. Cheers!