Tag Archives: Donna Miller Fry

Sharing “Student Privacy” at Lakehead University Faculty of Education

Recently, I was honoured to be invited to share with first year B.Ed. students (aspiring teachers) at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay Campus).

We began by thinking about why digital was important, and by examining Padlet as a tool to be used in classrooms.  Our thinking on digital has been captured below.  Please feel free to add to our ideas.

 

Made with Padlet

As we used Padlet, we considered what security settings we would use, and how a tool like this might be used to extend learning in a classroom setting.

How can a tool like Padlet be used effectively in instruction without risking student privacy violations?

The reading slides for the presentation have been posted below. My contact information is on the last slide, or leave a comment on this blog if you need further information.

Featured Image by Wesley Fryer shared under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 License.

We Need You to Lead Us 1/10

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina! 


we-need-you-to-lead-us-seth-godin-tribes-quote

We Need You to Lead Us

This subtitle from Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, is a call to action to all of us. In a rapidly changing world, we can no longer be complacent. Everyone has a voice, and a platform for spreading ideas that work.

How will the voices for good be the ones that rise to the top?

As an information junkie, who can easily spend a lot of time reading each day, I do need a push to share what I am learning.  It is so simple to fall into the traps that prevent sharing:

No time – it’s easier to keep reading than to stop, reflect and share.

Reflecting, sharing, and documenting learning are all essential parts of learning. Doing this openly invites conversation, helps others reflect further, and spreads ideas.

It isn’t perfect – in a few more days I will really be able to craft something better.

We hold on to the belief that we can’t “put it out there” until it’s perfect. George Couros often refers to having a place to do your thinking, and another place for your best work. Getting ideas out there helps  invites others to help shape your ideas. You can write even more perfectly about them once they have had the chance to bounce around in your PLN for awhile.

It’s too short – I’ll wait until I have a bit more.

Readers will thank you for “short” posts. It’s all they have time to read anyway! Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter – they thrive on our need for small pieces of information.

I really did need someone to lead me, to nudge me to get through the excuses for not sharing, and to push me to do what I believe, to consistently and reliably document and share what I am learning, to read the work of others and to be a participant in the evolving ideas of those in my PLN.

Thank you, Tina Zita, for modelling the importance of being a leader in 2017.

Won’t you join this 10 posts in 10 days challenge?

Enabling Educators to be Learners: 1/10

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina!

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How can we enable our colleagues to access the rich professional learning opportunities available online?

 

We want to own our own learning.

We want to self-direct our learning.

In 2016, it has never been easier to do this.  The abundance of open, accessible resources is overwhelming.  Learning to manage and organize the information is a new competency.  Learning to reflect, to share, to find, to converse, to connect, to adapt – we are doing this.

Or are we?

We all know colleagues who don’t participate in learning in digital spaces.

For those who provide learning opportunities online, the sphere of influence has a definite, distinct boundary.  They cannot reach the individual who does not engage in digital spaces.

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In the same way, it doesn’t matter how rich, how engaging, how simple to use or how valuable online learning is for educators  if they don’t know where to look for it or how to use the tools that will allow them to access it.

I think that we have done very well in providing digital resources and learning opportunities for teachers.

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Thanks to Julie Balen for collating this year’s #ontwordont

How, now, can we work to enable the educators who still do not access the rich professional learning environment online?

As someone who self-directs their own professional learning online, how can you help one colleague this month to see some value in engaging in online learning or using online resources?

Leverage your PLN to ask for help.  What is the best starting point for one colleague? What can you show them that will help them see the value in engaging in online, self-directed professional learning?

Resources:

OSSEMOOC

Twitter for Absolute Beginners

Leveraging Twitter for Rich Professional Learning

Ontario Edublogs

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In One Tweet – What I Learned in 2015

Sharing learning is a core value of my professional practice.

This space – this blog – is my rough work.  It’s a place to put out the raw thinking and learning and invite comments and challenges so that I might continue to learn and to rethink how we do education.

In a nutshell, here is what I learned in 2015.

January:  Create Value

Before people will believe your message, they have to see value in what you have to offer.

February: Enough with the conceptual – move into the concrete.

What does learning look like in this time of exponential change?  We need a clear idea of what our goals for our education system actually look like, sound like, feel like – not just buzzwords like “21st Century Skills”.

March: Teach Less, Learn More

Let students own their learning. Teachers think their role is to spend hours planning learning for their students, yet the one doing the work is doing the learning. Pak Tee Ng’s explanation is here.

April: #makeschooldifferent

Worldwide, educators know we need change. In April, we named it and shared it. What do you think we need to stop pretending?

May: Learning is Sought, Not Provided

When you see a catalyst, a desire, a realization of the need for change, take action to support it. We need to design the environments that encourage curiosity at all levels of the system.

June: Beware of “Enthusiastic Amateurs”

In the same way that a physician with enthusiasm but no skill is dangerous, not everything that is self-promoted in social media is good practice. Leaders need to be skilled in the use of technology so they promote good practice, not just any practice that uses a device.

July: Support all learners in reaching full potential

Our students arrive in school as creative, curious learners, and that’s what we want our graduates to be many years later.

Do no harm.

August: Digital Fluency Matters

How are we ensuring all of our students are digitally fluent?

September: Education is a HUMAN System

Change only happens at the speed at which each individual changes personal professional practice.

October: We are in an age of Exponential Change

Can leaders really say, “I’m not ready”, or is this now malpractice?

November: Status Quo is a Loser (Michael Fullan, YRDSB Quest)

How do we challenge the status quo safely? Are educators integrative thinkers?

December: Challenge Everything

Dip into the data pool constantly. Shift thinking based on evidence. Unlearn.

Summary

Learning will only be sought if there is perceived value. We learn what is relevant and interesting when we are curious.

No conclusion is final – you have to keep “dipping in” for new evidence.  It’s growth mindset, it’s integrative thinking, it’s removing labels on people and practices.

We are in times of exponential change, and we need to challenge our thinking about everything.

Remove the roadblocks that keep others from reaching their full potential.

In one Tweet, here is my learning from 2015.

Tweet for 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Notes Instead of Thoughts – From 3 Rules to Spark Learning

When talking about Digital Portfolios, both Dr. Alec Couros and George Couros talk about the place where you do your messy work and then the place where you put your best work.  Below is some of my messy work.

Sometimes you know you just need to keep things around to refer to and to think about.  I hope others will read and think about this too.

While flying this morning, I watched a 6 minute TED Talk from 2013 called 3 Rules to Spark Learning by Ramsey Musallam.

Right now, one of my personal inquiry questions is, how can we convince parents and our communities that the status quo in public education is a loser (to quote Michael Fullan)?”

How do we engage in questioning the current system of assigning two-digit numbers to our children, sorting them top to bottom?

How do we focus on creating cultures of learning, not cultures of schooling and filtering?

Dean Shareski responded here that we need talking points.  We need a clear message.  I am looking for those messages that will resonate with the public.  We need messages that will resonate more strongly than a Fraser Report or a PISA ranking.

Ramsey Musallam shows me that we can have powerful messages in 6 minutes.  His talk is engaging and entertaining and worth watching.

There were a few points that resonated with me.  I am simply note taking here, and sharing the notes, so that I am not alone in thinking further about these rich statements.

“Questions and curiosity are magnets that draw us toward our teachers, and they transcend all technology and buzzwords in education.”

Our greatest tool as teachers is our students’ questions.

Lectures can be dehumanizing chatter, flipped or not.

If we have the guts to confuse and perplex our students, then we can tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction. (Just “blended learning” on its own isn’t engaging – it still needs inquiry, questions, trial and error, investigation)

“Snap me out of pseudo-teaching.”

“Students’ questions are the seeds of real learning, not some scripted curriculum that offers tidbits of random information.”

At this point I am reminded of the frustrations over the past two years in Canada, when it seemed impossible to get anyone to ask questions about the destruction of scientific data and libraries, the closing of top-notch research facilities like the Experimental Lakes Area, and the removal of environmental protection for our waterways.  If we want engaged citizens, we need to embrace the importance of asking questions.

Three rules for lesson planning:

  1.  Curiosity comes first.  Questions can be windows into great instruction, but not the other way around.
  2. Embrace the mess.  Learning is ugly
  3. Practice reflection.  What we do is important.  It deserves our care.  It also deserves our improvement.

Can we practice as though we are surgeons saving lives? Our students are worth it, and every student is different.

Four-year-olds ask why about everything.  How will their future teachers embrace and grow this?

Dropping out of school comes in many different forms.  

Students do not have to be out of the room to be checked out.

Graduation rates are a low bar, a false measurement, because there is no evidence of any engagement in learning.  Students who hate school and students who have learned to hate learning can walk across a stage.  

We need a different measurement of our success as a system.

As educators, we need to rethink our roles.  We are not just disseminators of content, but cultivators of curiosity.

Resources:

Three Rules to Spark Learning

What’s the Professional Reading List for Educators? The Shift…

“The reading isn’t merely a book, of course. The reading is what we call it when you do the difficult work of learning to think with the best, to stay caught up, to understand.

The reading exposes you to the state of the art. The reading helps you follow a thought-through line of reasoning and agree, or even better, challenge it. The reading takes effort.”

Seth Godin

 

What do we need to read to stay caught up in our profession?

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The Ontario College of Teachers sets out the Standards of Practice for the profession in Ontario.

One of the Standards is Professional Learning:

Ontario College of Teachers: https://www.oct.ca/public/professional-standards/standards-of-practice
Ontario College of Teachers: https://www.oct.ca/public/professional-standards/standards-of-practice

 

Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html
Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

Do you know where to go and what to read to keep up in your profession?  Recently, Seth Godin commented on this.

Many leaders in education will tell you that they most certainly do know what to read to stay current, and to share with other educators.  Books, research – all important to the foundations of our learning for our profession.

But we also must be willing to be disturbed in this thinking, because in 2015, we need to be much more agile and flexible in our learning, as thinking changes and innovation happens much faster than books can be published and research papers can be finished.

This is Seth's Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html
This is Seth’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

 

In choosing what to read, we have to consider,

“What is the core role of a teacher?”.

Catherine Montreuil, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education in Ontario, explains this better than anyone else I know.

Our role is to ensure learning – that progressing toward learning goals –  is happening.  It is not okay for any child to be stuck and not learning.

We do not have to do this alone, but we have to ensure that we are doing everything we can for every single child in our care.  We know our best practice.  When that isn’t working, we have to find our next practice.

 

Finding our “next” practice: Our ability to share our practice with others has changed exponentially over the past decade.  Our ability to find out what others are doing – the practices that are working elsewhere – now requires digital literacies, the ability and understanding of how to leverage online tools to access the curated stream of information that can lead to our next practice.

In the same way that we once had to learn to use the card catalog in the library, we now must know how to access digital spaces to find the content we need.

This is Seth's Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html
This is Seth’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/did-you-do-the-reading.html

 

The reading list for educators has shifted.

The reading list now includes the blogs where other educators are sharing, and the tweets where other educators curate and share the information that is valuable to them in their professional practice.

And the culture is participatory.  

If you are an educator, there is a moral obligation to use your digital literacies and share your practice with others, so that all of our students benefit from the collective work of our profession.

 

Challenging the Status Quo (Safely)

At the end of #YRDSBQuest, Michael Fullan told the educators in attendance that they need to go back and challenge the status quo.

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I am documenting the ongoing conversation about how to do this safely.

We rarely talk about it, but in our work, many educators have told us they won’t blog because they are afraid it will show others “what they don’t know”.  They see leaders in education as people who will label them as being inappropriate for leadership roles.

We talk a lot about how we want a growth mindset for our students, yet conversations with aspiring leaders demonstrate that challenging leaders can result in a label – “not moving up in this organization”.

How do we build a system that values challenge to the status quo? How do we challenge the status quo without jeopardizing our careers in the current environment?

Below is the conversation currently developing.  Please add to the conversation and help push our thinking about how we can best effect change – how those wanting to challenge can do so effectively.

You can continue to follow the tweet replies here.  We encourage you to also join the conversation by commenting on the blog.

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In addition, Seth Godin shared this post on his blog this morning:

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Shared by Seth Godin on his blog here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/11/a-reason-persuasion-is-surprisingly-difficult.html

How Do We Tackle “Crippling Incrementalism”?

Thank you to #YRDSBQuest for streaming keynote presentations and encouraging the sharing of learning on Twitter.  It makes it much easier to learn from a distance.

While working near Thunder Bay on Wednesday, I was able to keep in touch with much of the learning.

I also spent time last Sunday and Monday following the Tweets from the OPC event with Dr. Michael Fullan.  I found some relevant work like this:

But I also worried that leaders were once again embracing a lot of conceptual information, like this:

This year, I am wondering about how we can move learning forward.  I think a lot about Simon Breakspear’s plea for us to get out of the conceptual and into a very clear, specific vision of future practice.

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Original video and comments here: https://fryed.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/fallsim15-learning-from-simon-breakspear/

So after reading all the Tweets from Day 1 of #YRDSBQuest and watching the keynotes streamed, I came to this inquiry question:

I feel as though we have spent a lot of time in Ontario working on “building relationships”, building our emotional intelligence, talking about innovation, talking about 21C, reading books about the secrets of change, drivers, instructional core, sticky ideas and mindsets.

Isn’t it time now to take some action?

“We are now better than fifteen years into the 21st Century and educators are still discussing what role technology plays in education.”

Tom Whitby, My Island View, How Do We Stop Illiterate Educators?

Let’s look at the last bullet on the slide above:

“Ultimately you need people to take charge of their own learning…”

What if we invested in putting a simple, reliable mobile device into the hands of every educator (especially leaders), and provided reliable connectivity, then offered some basic instruction into how to self-direct their learning

…. imagine what would happen if every leader committed to learning and sharing openly, if every educator openly reflected on learning and practice on their own blog/website in a searchable, open way.

Think of the spread of best practice – next practice that could happen if all educators were simply empowered with those simple three things:

  1. A simple, reliable mobile device
  2. Reliable connectivity
  3. Basic instruction on self-directing their learning in open collaborative online environments.

How well would we then understand the critical needs to ensure that our students are able to self-direct their own learning in this world where knowledge is ubiquitous?

 

 

Resources:

See how some Ontario Educators are taking the next steps in self-directing learning:

 

 

 

 

 

Why Leave All That Learning Only in Your Head?

So many educators reading so many books that impact their practice!

 

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That was my takeaway from #satchat this morning, and #ontedleaders last week as we were challenged to share the reading that was impacting our work at this time.

 

I can’t possibly read all of those books, but my colleagues in my PLN have made me so curious about what is in those books and how it might impact my thinking!

 

 

 

What if we all just blogged about oScreen Shot 2015-10-31 at 9.49.36 AMur reading?

 

 

We ask students to write book reports.

Why don’t we model the importance of sharing our learning in an open, searchable, collaborative way?

If we read a chapter, then reflected, summarized and shared, with appropriate tagging, how could we impact student learning as a community?

 

 

Thank you to those already doing this, such as Stacey Wallwin (@WallwinS) and Brenda Sherry (@brendasherry).

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If you haven’t considered it, OSSEMOOC can help you get started with creating a blog. and with viewing the blogs of other educators as examples.

As you think about your own PLN, consider what you are learning, AND what you are contributing to the learning of others.

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Resources:

Making Thinking Visible Through Blogging

Yes, It’s Time to Start Your Own Blog

A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog

 

Learning from Singapore: Pak Tee Ng and the Focus on “Teach Less, Learn More”

#uLead15 was an opportunity for educators to hear from some of the leaders in education where PISA scores are consistently the highest.

It was obvious that the leading PISA countries do not use strategies like practicing test writing, teaching to the test, focusing on “moving the high level two students to level three”, data walls, SMART goals, common core standards or tying teacher pay to student “achievement”. In fact, the words “student achievement” are rarely used in relation to test performance.

Overall, there is an agreement that valuing education as a society, having very high-performing and highly-respected teachers who learn to teach in a highly selective, focused program of education, and viewing education as an investment rather than an expenditure, are critical characteristics of the people living in the countries where PISA results are consistently excellent.

Personally, it was my first opportunity to learn about education in Singapore.  Here is what I learned from the fascinating, highly entertaining and widely respected Dr. Pak Tee Ng.

(I have included a number of Tweets from his presentations.  Click on the tweets to follow the conversation on Twitter.)

What are the characteristics of education in “high-performing” Singapore?

1. Manageable size – Adaption/adoption and spread are facilitated by the small size of the country.

2. Stable education funding – Education is an investment and funding is never cut.

3. Highly skilled and educated teachers who are well-respected in the nation.

4. Education is valued by all as the way to a better future.

5. Equity is at the centre of the education system. Everyone has access to the same public education system.

6. Teaching is seen as complex, and inquiry, including adapting methods from other contexts, is ongoing, always.  Change from a position of strength is preferable to, and more mindful than, change made out of desperation.

7. Courage and tenacity to stand up for what is best for children is valued and encouraged.

8. “Teach less, learn more” is a central concept.

9. Creativity is in children already. Schools should strive to leave it there!

10. Children are individuals.  They were not meant to sit in desks all day.  Play,  joy and love of learning are essential to their well-being.

 

Singapore itself is a very tiny country.  There are only 400 schools and one university for teacher education.  This reminds me of the work by Ken Leithwood on the characteristics of strong districts, and the learning from Andy Hargreaves on the importance of the size of the political unit when considering the impact on student learning.

 

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Pak Tee Ng is a master at the use of metaphors.

He asked us to consider the loving mother, cooking food for her child, slaving over the stove and selecting the items she knows are best for her child.  When she tries to feed the child, he says no, I am not eating any more.  Then what?  She tries to stuff the child.  She makes more food.  The child wants no more.

This, Pak Tee says, is the ‘teach more learn less’ model, where conscientious and well meaning teachers work hard, trying to organize information for students, then they try to stuff it into their heads.  The students hate it and want no more.

Instead, what if the mother cooked a few wonderfully interesting food items.  Students tried them and wanted more?

This is like the ‘teach less learn more’ model, where the teacher is the master chef, creating interest, and leaving the learners wanting to learn more, and to learn how to feed themselves to get more.

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It’s precise teaching – inquiry into what works – that is important.

When you go to the doctor, does he say “take two aspirins and call me in the morning” no matter what your symptoms are?

Similarly, why would we ever prescribe exactly the same learning for every child?

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Continuing to do the same thing that we know doesn’t work, makes no sense.

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We work very hard to educate our teachers and education leaders to be the best they can be for every child.

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It is NOT about test scores.  It is about children, and our future.

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Why do we think we need 21C Skills?

What has changed?  Isn’t it still about the best learning for children?

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We don’t need to teach creativity.

We say we want our children to graduate from school as creative and innovative individuals.

Our children enter school this way.  We just need a school system that doesn’t take this out of them!

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We need to recognize that both form and substance are important.

Practice is important, but it is no good to only practice.

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There must be joy in learning.

We have to remember that we are teaching children.  It is against the nature of childhood to sit still and quiet.

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Do we really want to create a student body that is just becoming more tolerant of boredom?

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Every single child must be educated to the best of their ability.  We don’t need a slogan like “No Child Left Behind” because it would never be any other way.

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There is no magic bullet – education is complex!

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Teachers are the most important people in society.

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Educators need courage and tenacity to stand up for what is best for our kids.

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Courage to make the right decisions must be balanced with wisdom so that we are always doing the best for our future through our children.

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Education is an investment, not an expenditure.  We have long term stability in education funding so we can plan and continue to make our education system excellent.

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We must get Pak Tee Ng on Twitter!  There is so much to learn from him!

Here we are trying to convince this man, trending 2nd in Canada on Twitter, that he needs to be there!

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