robertogreco + bestpractices   22

Saying ‘No’ to Best Practices – OFFICE OF DIGITAL LEARNING
"The worst best practice is to adhere to, or go searching for, best practices. I have been in countless rooms with teachers, technologists, instructional designers, and administrators calling for recommendations or a list of tools they should use, strategies that work, practices that cannot fail to produce results in the classroom. But digital tools, strategies, and best practices are a red herring in digital learning. Learning always starts with people. Instead of asking “What tool will we need?” ask “What behaviors will need to be in place?”

I emphasize and encourage a critical digital pedagogy—an approach to learning that grows from the work of writers and teachers like bell hooks and Paulo Freire, and that recognizes that in today’s world all learning is hybrid. But that approach never starts with the digital. It starts with the human. And I find that the most effective application of Critical Digital Pedagogy arises from a place of kindness, trust, and belief in students. With student (and teacher) agency as its aim, Critical Digital Pedagogy asks its practitioners to always, first and foremost, acknowledge that we are all in this room together—whether that room is a classroom or the whole wide web—and to act accordingly.

At a teaching workshop I was facilitating recently, I was pressed to offer a list of best practices. This is what I came up with. I offer these 10 best practices with what should seem like an obvious caveat. No best practices should ever go untested. I personally have tested each of these, but because learning and teaching are not homogenous experiences for everyone, I don’t encourage anyone to follow a best practice that doesn’t suit them.

Sean’s 10 Best Practices

Be yourself

While working with a group at the University of Delaware, I spoke to a graduate teacher whose upbringing in a Southern Baptist tradition sometimes leads her to present in her “preaching voice.” This is an authentic voice, and one that she’s very comfortable using; however, other teachers joke about it, or malign this aspect of her embodiment as un-academic. In digital spaces, she edits herself, creating a teacherly presence much more normative, almost unidentifiable as her.

In digital spaces, we tend to adopt mannerisms and a personality that are not entirely true to who we are. Be suspect of that, and watchful for it. In a classroom, we may perform ourselves in certain ways, but we are fallible, unedited, and vulnerable. These qualities make us better teachers. Don’t be afraid to be who you are in a digital environment as much as you are in your classroom.

Create trust / Be trusting

Jesse Stommel, Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of Mary Washington says,
Learning is always a risk. It means, quite literally, opening ourselves to new ideas, new ways of thinking. It means challenging ourselves to engage the world differently. It means taking a leap, which is always done better from a sturdy foundation. This foundation depends on trust — trust that the ground will not give way beneath us, trust for teachers, and trust for our fellow learners in a learning community.

Critical pedagogy assumes that students want and are motivated to learn. Only about 75% of teachers I’ve talked to feel this way. We need to change that for ourselves. Teaching is not only more effective when we trust students to learn (which I distinguish from following instructions or passing a test), but it’s also more fun, more satisfying, and less exhausting.

Grade less / Grade differently

Peter Elbow writes, “Grading tends to undermine the climate for teaching and learning. Once we start grading their work, students are tempted to study or work for the grade rather than for learning.” We all know this is true. Working for a grade undermines not only a lifelong attitude toward learning, but also student agency. A critical pedagogy asks us to reconsider grading entirely; and if we can’t abandon it whole-hog, then we must revise how and why we grade. Consider allowing students to grade themselves. Offer personal feedback on work instead of a letter, number, or percentage. There are lots of options to evaluating work without artificial markers.

Question deadlines

When pressed, most teachers have told me that they enforce deadlines because students will need to meet deadlines in the “real world.” There are no students in higher education who got there without meeting deadlines. Education need not be militaristic about deadlines. Ideas and creation are more important than timeliness. I wrote, in my post called “Late Work,”

We are put in the most unique spot of coaching learners into a world of knowledge. What we need to remember is that their world of knowledge may not align perfectly with our own, their process may not fit our schedules, their ideas may not synch with our own.

Think about what you are actually teaching and question whether you need deadlines, whether students need deadlines, and whether either of you benefit from them.

Collaborate with students

Learners are pedagogues in their own right. Chris Friend, Director of the Hybrid Pedagogy journal, writes:
If we give students the freedom to choose their own path, they might choose poorly or make mistakes on our watch. But we must be willing to allow them the challenge of this authority, the dignity of this risk, and the opportunity to err and learn from their mistakes. They learn and gain expertise through experimentation.

If pedagogy is the sole purview of the instructor in the room, students are asked to follow along a path predetermined by that instructor’s best (we hope) intentions. However, because students bring different levels of expertise to any material or discussion—and because their lives, identities, and intersectionality inform their learning—students should be as involved in their own learning as possible. From syllabus creation to grading, building rubric and assignments to self-assessment. As Daniel Ginsberg writes, “my students are the most central members of the community in which I learn critical pedagogy.”

Inspire dialogue

Very little can be accomplished through direct instruction. Bloom’s Taxonomy makes a show of positioning knowledge-level learning as the foundation of any learning experience. But learning is more chaotic, messier, and more confounding than taxonomies provide for. In “Beyond Rigor,” Jesse Stommel, Pete Rorabaugh, and I argue that:
Intellectually rigorous work lives, thrives, and teems proudly outside conventional notions of academic rigor. Although institutions of higher education only recognize rigor when it mimics mastery of content, when it creates a hierarchy of expertise, when it maps clearly to pre-determined outcomes, there are works of exception — multimodal, collaborative, and playful — that push the boundaries of disciplinary allegiances, and don’t always wear their brains on their sleeves, so to speak.

Simply put, learning happens outside the lines. It’s perfectly acceptable for instructors to provide lines, but whenever we do so, we must just as diligently encourage learners to leave those lines—to question, to redraw, to imagine, to refuse, to explore. When we do this, we inspire dialogue, not just between students, but between ourselves and students, between ideas, between the act of learning and the act of instruction themselves.

Be quiet

Generally speaking, teachers fear dead air. Silence in the classroom, or few to no responses on a discussion forum, can stir all kinds of thoughts and emotions—from “they’re not getting it” to “I’ve done something wrong” to “they’re bored,” and worse. But in truth, thoughtfulness and thoroughness takes time.

Janine DeBaise writes that: “Every student has something valuable to teach the rest of us. I’ve made that assumption for over thirty years now, and so far, I’ve never been proven wrong.” If at the core of critical pedagogy we believe that learners are their own best teachers—and if we have spent any time at all as teachers ourselves preparing lesson plans and discussions—then we can acknowledge that teaching takes time.

Filling silence may come out of a desperation to keep the class moving and to ensure that all ideas are understood, but it also reinforces the teacher’s voice as primary. When we are silent, we can hear what students have to say (even when they’re not saying it), and listen for the swell of understanding as it builds.

Be honest and transparent about pedagogy

Teaching isn’t magic. In fact, there are very good reasons for teachers to reveal their “tricks” to learners. I have, numerous times, sat on the desk at the front of the classroom and called attention to how that’s different to standing behind a podium, sitting in a circle with the class, or lecturing from notes. Not to qualify one over the other, but to reveal something about the performativity of learning and teaching.

Similarly, we should invite students into a discussion about the syllabus, the 15- or 10-week structure of a course, the usefulness or uselessness of grades, etc. Kris Shaffer, in “An Open Letter to My Students,” brings students in close to his teaching process:
I am not perfect. Nor are any of your other professors. We are experts in the fields we teach, and some of us are experts in the art of teaching. However, we make mistakes … and each pass through the material brings new students with different experiences, backgrounds, skills, sensitivities, prejudices, loves, career goals, life goals, financial situations, etc. There is no one way — often not even a best way — to teach a topic to a student.

There is power in secrecy, as any magician knows. But for a collaborative, critical pedagogy to work, that power must be shared.

Keep expectations clear

In digital learning, instructions are vital. If … [more]
bestpractices  education  pedagogy  teaching  howweteach  2017  seanmorris  learning  edtech  digitalliteracy  jessestommel  criticalpedagogy  sfsh  grade  grading  howwelearn  deadlines  collaboration  chrisfriend  hybridpedagogy  dialogue  peterorabaugh  rigor  janinedebaise  silence  quiet  listening  performativity  expectations  adamheidebring-bruno  change  thomaskasulis  maggiemaclure  krisshaffer  amycollier  jenross 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Education Gurus | the édu flâneuse
"Knowledge and advice for schools and about education often seem to exist in a world of commodification and memeification. There is plenty of disagreement and debate in education, and plenty of competition on bookshelves and in conference programs. Educators and academics position themselves as brands via bios, photographs, and certification badges. As an educator and a researcher I have those whose work I follow closely; academics, for instance, whose presence affects me when I meet them because their reputation and body of work precede them.

In education, we have perceived gurus. These are people who have become ubiquitous in education circles, at education conferences, and in education literature. Teachers and school leaders scramble to get tickets to their sessions and to get photographic evidence of having met them. Their words are tweeted out in soundbites ad infinitum (or is that ad nauseum?), and made into internet memes. Sometimes these individuals partner with publishers or education corporates, and so the visibility and reach of their work grows. They become the scholars or experts most cited in staff rooms, at professional learning water coolers, and in job interviews when asked how research informs practice.

Sometimes, these gurus are teachers or principals who have gained a large following on social media and subsequently a monolithic profile. Often, they are academics who have built up bodies of work over many years, becoming more and more well-known along the way, and eventually being perceived as celebrities or gurus. Yesterday I had the pleasure of learning from Dylan Wiliam, firstly at a day long seminar, and then at my school. At one point the seminar organisers apologised for running out of Wiliam’s books, acknowledging the desire of delegates to have the book signed.

Marten Koomen has traced networks of influencers in Australian education organisations. In his new paper ‘School leadership and the cult of the guru: the neo-Taylorism of Hattie’, Scott Eacott challenges the rise of the edu guru, those academics whose work is ubiquitous and influential to the point of being uncritically accepted and canonised. Eacott pushes back against the ‘what works’ mentality in education, in which educators are sold ‘what works’ and encouraged to slavishly apply it to their own contexts. Jon Andrews, too, questions the unquestioning way in which the loudest and most prominent voices become the accepted voices. Meta-analysis and meta-meta-analysis, often translated into league tables of ‘what works’ in education, have been the subject of criticism. George Lilley and Gary Jones have both questioned meta-analysis on their blogs. I’ve written about cautions surrounding the use of meta-analysis in education, especially when it drives clickbait headlines and a silver-bullet mentality of having the answers without having to ask any questions. Yesterday Wiliam made his oft-repeated points: that everything works somewhere, nothing works everywhere, and context matters. A guru cannot provide easy answers in education, as education is too complex and contextual for that.

Much of this conversation around the rise of the edu guru has surrounded John Hattie, although he is by no means the only globally renowned education expert likely to make conference delegates weak at the knees. I was personally uncomfortable when he was beamed in via video link to last year’s ACEL conference and began to give an ‘I have a dream’ speech about education. As an English and Literature teacher I understand the power of rhetoric and analogy to persuade and inspire, but appropriating the legacy and words of Dr Martin Luther King Junior seemed a way to gospelise a personal brand of education reform.

I don’t think that education experts, no matter how influential they become, should encourage the uncritical acceptance of their ideas as dogma, or present themselves as the bringers of the One True Thing To Rule All Things of and for education. As Dylan Wiliam, channelling Ben Goldacre, repeatedly said yesterday, “I think you’ll find it’s a little more complicated than that.”

I wonder how perceived gurus feel about being guru-ised by the education masses. In part the famous and the infamous in education are so because of their actions: accepting more and more speaking gigs, performing the game of publishing and promoting their work. Most, I would guess, do this for the same reason someone like me speaks and publishes. To contribute to education narratives and change those narratives, hopefully for the better. To be of service to the profession and the field. To explore and wrestle with ideas, trying to find ways to make sense of the complexity of education in order to improve the learning of students and the lives of teachers and school leaders.

I wondered about the rise to gurudom and the moral obligation of the academic celebrity figure last year when at AERA I saw a panel in which four educational heavy hitters—Andy Hargreaves, Michael Fullan, Linda Darling-Hammond and Diane Ravitch—all advocating for the moral imperative of educational research and practice. They spoke of lifetime journeys of work intended to make the world a better and more just place. I wondered at the time about how much an early career academic can be brave and resistant in their work, as they try to build a career via the performative pressures of the academe. Can only the guru, free from institutional performativities and the financial pressures often associated with early career academia, say what they really want to say and do the work and writing they really want to do?

I don’t think experts in education are dangerous. We need expertise and people willing to commit their lives and work to making sense of and making better the world of education and learning. But in a world where teachers and school leaders are busy racing on the mouse wheels of their own performative pressures, we need to figure out ways to support and facilitate sceptical and critical engagement with research. Even those who are highly influential and highly admired need to have their work engaged with closely and critically. The danger comes when experts become so guru-fied that the words they use become part of an unthinking professional vernacular, used by educators who haven’t looked behind the curtain or beneath the book cover."
cultofpersonality  edugurus  education  australia  newzealand  2017  deborahnetolicky  learning  research  andyhargreaves  michaelfullan  lindadarling-hammond  dianeravitch  academia  dylanwiliam  bengoldacre  scotteacott  matenkoomen  influence  leadership  thoughtleaders  neo-taylorism  schools  georgelilley  garyjones  jonandrews  bestpractices  echochambers  expertise  experts 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Amelia Greenhall: Start your own b(r)and: Everything I know about starting collaborative, feminist publications
[via: "Is there something like a website framework for starting an organization? Like boilerplate/best practices on decision-making, structure,"
https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/598262858661699584

"This guide by @ameliagreenhall feels like the closest thing to what I'm imagining…but not as generic as a "framework" http://ameliagreenhall.com/posts/start-your-own-b-r-and-everything-i-know-about-starting-collaborative-feminist-publications "
https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/598263698147377152

"I have a hard time believing there isn't already a whole universe out there of "forkable" sets of principles, how-tos, bylaws, workflows?"
https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/598264178994974720 ]
via:caseygollan  advice  branding  publishing  startups  publications  howto  organization  bestpractices  frameworks  principles  workflows  organizations  2015  tutorials 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Radical Computer Science — )
"It was such an honor and pleasure exploring the limits of computation with you all this semester. You are all brilliant, talented, and brave people. Together, we all asked and answered questions that most computer science and art programs avoid for a variety of reasons. That was only possible because of your consistent hard work and presence, and I thank you for that.

Endings are just beginnings. As Zan said on our last day together, we’re still in the cave painting era of programming languages. What little actual magic is inside these tools has been revealed to you, and you’ve wielded it well. All that’s left is to think about people, thought, society, politics, and how all those manifest themselves as code, and how code steers them in return. The important questions are human questions, not technical ones.

This blog will live until tumblr shuts down or the current internet stops resolving URLs, whichever comes first. Until then, you have access to the videos, homework, and articles whenever you want. I will continue to post links to this blog as I come across relevant things in my practice, and may use it in the future for a rerun of the same class. This blog is yours forever. Use it.

My final bits of advice will be in the form of a list (lisp hackers amirite):

• You can learn to do anything in this field. I mean this literally. Between online resources, academic papers, and free tools, the only things impeding your ability to code is the amount of time you have available and your drive to keep learning. This is not true of e.g. brain surgery.

• Don’t ever stop asking questions. I also mean this literally. I cannot count the number of times that “accepted wisdom” or “best practices” or “just the way it’s done” has turned out to be horseshit. Question everything. Adopt what makes sense to you, reinvent everything else.

• Don’t ever let anyone tell you your questions are anything but crucially important. Those people are toxic. There are no bad questions, only toxic people.

• Value the process of learning programming as much as (or as more than) the knowledge itself. If you can take joy in the feeling of being bad at something then slowly getting better at it, you will be unstoppable.

• Being really superhumanly good at one particular tool is overrated. It’s great to have something you are fluent in, and it’s a decent goal to have, but certainly not the be-all-and-end-all of programming. See previous point.

• Have fun and be silly. I brought this up in class but it bears repeating. If you are working on something and its not fun, take that as a sign that you should try something else.

• Be kind to one another. The world is a shitty place, and the tech world in particular tends to be racist and sexist, but you can change that just by being yourselves, being kind, and being visible. Often, code speaks louder than words, and code that generates code (compilers!) can be super loud.

• Teach someone what you know. Pass on the torch of knowledge. Its one of the most important ways you can give back, and one of the most gratifying experiences you can have.

That’s all I got.
Change the world, you crazy kids.
R"
ramneynasser  advice  art  life  programming  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  compsci  computerscience  sfpc  kindness  sharing  coding  time  bestpractices  questioning  schoolforpoeticcomputation 
december 2014 by robertogreco
If Freire Made a MOOC: Open Education as Resistance - Hybrid Pedagogy
"What Critical Digital Pedagogy can Teach the MOOC: 6 theses

MOOCs and Critical Pedagogy are not obvious bedfellows. The hype around MOOCs has centered mostly on a brand of sage on the stage courseware at direct odds with Critical Pedagogy’s emphasis on learner agency. Despite this — or, more to the point, because of this — we remain, like Paulo Freire, hopeful Critical Pedagogues. In Pedagogy of Hope, he writes, “I am hopeful, not out of mere stubbornness, but out of an existential, concrete imperative.” The simple truth is that we must be hopeful, for in hope lies possibility. But, also like Freire, we recognize that hope must be balanced with action and struggle. There is no use in mere hopefulness. Ceding authority is an active endeavor. Critical Pedagogy requires an engagement with reality that is persistent and demanding, and that engagement must result in real action, even if that action is exemplary and minute. To effect any change is to effect change.

We offer here 6 theses that work to reimagine MOOCs — and open education more broadly — as potential sites of resistance and liberation. These theses are tentative, meant to invite conversation, in the nature of Freire’s notion of dialogue.

Thesis #1: A course is a conversation, not a static reservoir or receptacle for content. …

Thesis #2: Education cannot be compulsory. The work of learning starts with agency. …

Thesis #3: Best practices are snake oil. …

Thesis #4: Outcomes should give way to epiphanies. …

Thesis #5: Learning should not be structured to conform to assessment mechanisms. …

Thesis #6: In education, we rise and fall together. …

A rallying cry for open education

We will be required to cede our authority many times over. Critical Pedagogy is, according to Freire, “made and remade.” And, “Critical reflection is also action.” This means that educators and students will need to return again and again to their fundamental assumptions about education, about open education, about MOOCs, about assessment, about outcomes, and about what it means to be part of a community of educators and students.

The field of Critical Digital Pedagogy is yet nascent. As Jesse says, it “will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather together a cacophony of voices.” So we find ourselves, appropriately, with more questions than answers about how this work might continue to take shape: How can we cede authority? What technological tools are missing that will permit greater openness, more rampant empowerment? How shall the scholarship of pedagogy — words like these ones right here — words that aim at action, gape at world-changing — give way to the voices of learners, gathered together, a networked community of radical generosity?"

[See also: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/misapplication-moocs-critical-pedagogy-writ-massive/ ]
mooc  moocs  seanmichaelmorris  jessestommel  paulofreire  criticalpedagogy  criticaldigitalpedagogy  education  highered  highereducation  conversation  compulsory  assessment  outcomes  bestpractices  agency  lcproject  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  open  openeducation  henrygiroux 
november 2014 by robertogreco
We Don’t Need New Models, We Need a New Mindset | Art Museum Teaching
"The old models we’re using aren’t matching up with the deeply complex challenges we’re faced with right now.

Income/Revenue
Old model: Ticket sales + government + foundation + corporate + wealthy patrons + small donors + endowment income = Balanced budget
New challenge: To generate new sources of sustained revenue and capital

Audience development
Old model: Sell subscriptions and market shows
New challenge: To engage new and more diverse groups of people in meaningful arts experiences

Governance
Old model: Give/get boards focused on fiduciary oversight and maintaining stability
New challenge: To cultivate boards that are partners in change

Evaluation
Old model: More ticket sales, more revenue, bigger budget, nice building = Success!
New challenge: To evaluate the success of our organizations based on the value they create in people’s lives

Leadership development
Old model: Attend leadership conferences and seminars, build your network, wait for your boss to finally leave/retire/die. (Alternatively, change jobs every year.)
New challenge: To develop a generation of new leaders equipped with the tools they’ll need to tackle the wickedly complex challenges the future has in store

Artistic development
Old model: MFA programs, residencies, commissions, occasionally a grant, get a day job
New challenge: To support artists in making a living and a life

Strategic planning
Old model: Decide where you want to be in 5 years. Outline the steps to get there in a long document no one will read.
New challenge: To plan for the future in a way that allows us to stay close to our core values and make incremental improvement while also making room for experimentation, failure, and rapidly changing conditions.

Funding allocation
Old model: The money goes to whoever the funder says it to goes to. Usually bigger organizations run by white people in major cities.
Our challenge today: To distribute funds in a way that is equitable, geographically diverse, and creates the most value

Note: I decided I was too ignorant in the areas of creative placemaking, advocacy and arts education to weigh in. I’ll leave that to my colleagues.

Here’s my main argument

Over 60 years in the field, we’ve developed standard practices, or models, in all these different areas. They worked for a while. Now they don’t. This has given us a false notion that we need new models in each area. This is wrong.

Models, best practices, recipes, and blueprints work only when your challenge has a knowable, replicable solution. Sure, there are some challenges that fit this mold. I’d argue that having a great website, designing an effective ad, doing a successful crowd funding campaign, and producing a complicated show are all challenges where best practices, models, and experts are really valuable. You might not know the solution, but someone does, and you can find it out.

But what happens when there actually isn’t a knowable solution to your challenge? When there is no expert, no model to call upon? When the only way forward is through experimentation and failure?

I’d argue that every one of the big challenges I name above falls into the realm of complexity, where the search for replicable models is fruitless. There isn’t going to be a new model for generating revenue that the field can galvanize around that will work for every or even most arts organizations. Nor is there going to be a long lasting model for community engagement that can be replicated by organizations across the country. For the deeply complex challenges we face today, there simply isn’t a knowable solution or model that can reliably help us tackle them. These kinds of challenges require a new way of working.

We don’t need new models, we need a new theory of practice

Instead of new models, I’d argue that we need a new theory of practice, one that champions a different set of priorities in how we do our work.

Our old models imply a vision of success that’s rooted in growth, stability, and excellence. They drive us towards efficiency and competition by perpetuating an atmosphere of scarcity. They are not as creative as we are.

What if a new vision of success in our field could prioritize resilience, flexibility, and intimacy? What if we could be enablers, not producers? What if we could harness the abundance of creative potential around us?

This new vision of success doesn’t demand consensus around a new set of standards, best practices, or “examples for imitation,” it demands a new way of thinking and acting that empowers us to shift and change our routines all the time, as needed.

A proposed theory of practice for the future

Here is my call to the field: a proposed set of practices that align with the world as it is today, not as it was before:

• Let’s get clear about the challenges we’re facing and if they’re complex, treat them as such
• Let’s ask hard questions, listen, do research, and stay vulnerable to what we learn.
• Let’s question our assumptions and let go of what’s no longer working.
• Let’s embrace ambiguity and conflict as a crucial part of change
• Let’s bring together people with different experiences and lean into difference
• Let’s experiment our way forward and fail often
• Let’s recognize the system in which we’re operating.
• Let’s rigorously reflect and continuously learn

In conclusion

When I set out to write this post, I wanted to question the premise that a conversation about “broken models” could even be useful in a time when expertise, excellence and replicability are the values of the past. I wanted to propose that we move past the very notion of models – let’s jettison the word itself from our vocabulary.

In the end, I guess you could call what I’ve proposed a kind of “new model.” But I’d rather think of it as a new mindset."
change  museums  museumeducation  2014  complexity  organizations  models  paradigmshifts  theory  karinamangu-ward  practice  bestpractices  experience  difference  funding  strategicplanning  corevalues  values  experimentation  failure  art  arteducation  leadership  evaluation  purpose  governance  audience  income  revenue 
september 2014 by robertogreco
‘Building a Better Teacher’ and ‘Getting Schooled’ - NYTimes.com
"Similarly, each of Lampert’s lessons centered on problems that were “rich,” “open” and “productive.” She would then ask her students to “confer,” “conjecture” and “prove.” She took “calculated” gambles when calling on her students, and like Ball, she didn’t immediately correct them. “The students had to look to themselves for the correct answer,” one of her colleagues marveled. “They couldn’t just say, ‘Oh, it’s the right answer because the teacher said so.’ ”

This kind of teaching can look like . . . nothing at all. So can working on just one problem per class, as though the teacher is just watching the clock while students chase a false supposition down a rabbit hole. In fact, those rabbit holes are where we learn; we begin to understand through trial and error, dead ends and towers of reasoning that collapse because of their faulty assumptions. Allowing students to make these errors, then identify and correct them, is one of the best things a teacher can do."



"It wouldn’t hurt if we had another million Garret Keizers. In “Getting Schooled: The Reeducation of an American Teacher,” Keizer has returned to the classroom after a 14-year hiatus “mainly because my wife and I needed the health insurance.” A contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and the author of more than a half-dozen books (including “No Place but Here: A Teacher’s Vocation in a Rural Community,” which he wrote while on ­sabbatical during his first, 15-year stint at Lake Region Union High), Keizer — who once imagined for himself the oh-so-Vermont bumper sticker “I’m a homeschoolin’ gun-totin’ Bible-bangin’ . . . SOCIALIST” — is an irascible idealist. He’s just the kind of teacher Green celebrates: one who challenges his students and teaches them that learning can be an exciting endeavor rather than a demoralizing slog. His beautiful book holds much insight into the joys and frustrations of teaching.

Keizer’s industry is astounding. He’s up at 4 a.m. for a few hours of work before school, and he often works late. His industry nearly kills him, when he loses a month of teaching to pneumonia (but emails his lesson plans to the school every day). Standardized testing doesn’t surprise him, but he’s dismayed that in the name of accountability, he is asked to devote “more time to the generation and recording of data and less time to the educational substance of what the data is supposed to measure.” Keizer sees the ­requirement to fill out daily electronic attendance and grade sheets “as part and parcel of the way in which ‘the school of the 21st century’ is continually trying to mask the ambiguities of evaluating student performance by a pretense of ­rigorous objectivity.”

The reward of Keizer’s experience and perspective is a prognosticatory modesty: “I’d as soon predict the weather on a day 30 years from now as predict the achievements of any student walking into his 10-year class reunion.” Furthermore, “anything you do is bound to be, on some level and for some kid, wrong.”

That is, while there are such things as “best practices” for teaching, there is no practice that is 100 percent effective, no practice that generates deep learning as well as perfect test scores. Students aren’t widgets; neither are their teachers. We should stop pretending they are."
teaching  howweteach  learning  2014  math  mathematics  magdalenelampert  deborahball  garretkeizer  schools  bestpractices  pedagogy  inquiry  problemsolving  objectivity  standardizedtesting  accountability  data  elizabethgreen  charterschools 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom | DML Hub
"This volume highlights compelling firsthand counter-narratives from educators engaged in solving an array of challenges in today’s classrooms. It draws together narratives from an inspiring group of educators within the National Writing Project—a collaborative network of instructors dedicated to enhancing student learning and effecting positive change—that contributes to our understanding of what “Digital Is” (DI). DI is a web community for practitioners with high levels of expertise and a deep commitment to engaging today's youth by fostering connections between their in- and out-of-school digital literacy practices. Furthermore, DI is about sharing experiences that offer visibility into the complexity of the everyday classroom, as well as the intelligence that the teaching profession demands.

The chapters in this volume represent a bold re-envisioning of what education can look like, as well as illustrate what it means to open the doors to youth culture and the promise that this work holds. While there are certainly similarities across these diverse narratives, the key is that they have taken a common set of design principles and applied them to their particular educational context. The examples aren't your typical approaches to the classroom; these educators are talking about integrating design principles into their living practice derived from cutting-edge research. We know from this research that forging learning opportunities between academic pursuits, youth’s digital interests, and peer culture is not only possible, but positions youth to adapt and thrive under the ever-shifting demands of the twenty-first century. We refer to this approach as the theory and practice of “connected learning,” which offers a set of design principles—further articulated by this group of educators—for how to meet the needs of students seeking coherence across the boundaries of school, out-of-school, and today’s workplace. Taken together, these narratives can be considered “working examples” that serve as models for how educators can leverage connected learning principles in making context-dependent decisions to better support their learners."

[From within: ]

“…Typically, publications about or for teachers highlight “best practices.” The buzzword-driven form of highlighting a superior approach, to me, ignores the cultural contexts in which teacher practices are developed. The best practice for my classroom is going to be different both from a classroom anywhere else and from my classroom a year down the road. Context drives practice. As such, this is not a how-to guide for connected learning or a collection of lesson plans. The pages that follow are, instead, meant to spur dialogue about how classroom practice can change and inspire educators to seek new pedagogical pathways forward…”

and

“…I remember distinctly thinking “those students are doing it wrong.” … I didn’t understand that I was naturally ascribing my own rules of use on a cultural practice that was not my own…As such “doing it wrong” is culturally constructed and important to remember when we think about how we will roll out sustained connected learning support for teachers nationally and globally.”

[See also: http://dmlcentral.net/blog/antero-garcia/teaching-connected-learning-classroom-new-report ]

[A Summary (source of those quotes): http://bwatwood.edublogs.org/2014/03/05/connected-learning/ ]

[PDF: http://dmlhub.net/sites/default/files/teaching-in-the-CL-classroom.pdf ]
anterogarcia  mimiito  connectedlearning  2014  bestpractices  teaching  pedagogy  emergentcurriculum  christinacantrill  daniellefilipiak  budhunt  cliffordlee  nicolemirra  cindyodonnell-allen  kyliepeppler  classideas  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  lcproject  interest-drivenlearning  learning  peer-supportedlearning  sharedpurpose  networking  production-centeredclassrooms  interest-basedlearning 
march 2014 by robertogreco
@HistoryInPics, @HistoricalPics, @History_Pics: Why the wildly popular Twitter accounts are bad for history.
["“I know what this is!” vs “I wonder what this is about?” - @rebeccaonion on shallow history vs historical discovery." https://twitter.com/samplereality/status/431435603029540865

"We need more things in this world that make us end our sentences in question marks instead of exclamation points." https://twitter.com/samplereality/status/431436258888679424 ]

"These caveats aside, Werner’s cry—“These accounts piss me off because they undermine an enterprise I value”—resonates deeply with me. Lack of attribution for the artists who took the photos these accounts use is only the beginning of the problem. By failing to provide context, offering a repetitive and restricted view of what “history” is, and never linking to the many real historical resources available on the Web, these accounts strip history of the truly fun parts: curiosity, detective work, and discovery.



"Attribution, meanwhile, isn’t just about giving credit to a creator. A historical document was produced by somebody, at some time, under certain conditions. To historians these details, and the questions they provoke, are what give historical documents dimension. As John Overholt, the curator of early modern books and manuscripts at Harvard’s Houghton Library (and an avid Twitterer and Tumblrer), said to me via email:
Every image is also an artifact—it has a creator, a context, and, in the era of film photography at least, a physical original that sits in a repository somewhere. Divorced from all that metadata, a stream of historical images is always going to be a shallow experience.

By not linking to sources or context, history pic accounts create an impression of history as a glossy, impervious façade."



"When she posted her rant on the history-pics phenomenon, the Folger’s Sarah Werner received pushback on Twitter, and was accused of being “against fun.” But a critique of this mode of history-on-Twitter is actually the opposite of elitist schoolmarmery. By posting the same types of photographs over and over and omitting context and links, these accounts are robbing readers of the joy of the historical rabbit hole—and they’re taking a dim, condescending view of the public’s appetite for complexity and breadth of interest.

In my capacity as blogger for the Vault, I spend a lot of time in (free!) digital archives, on the blogs of libraries and museums, and on sites produced by historians working inside and outside of the academy. A delirious pleasure of historical inquiry, on- and offline, lies in the twists and turns: You think you’re writing about children’s encyclopedias from the 1920s, and at the end of the day you’re researching the primatologist Robert Yerkes. This joy is easier than ever for anyone to experience, given the ever-growing body of linked information and original documents available on the Web.

I’m under no illusion that every blog reader follows the links I include to the archives where I find documents, or that every Twitter follower clicks on the links I put in @SlateVault tweets. But if they do, and they land in a digital archive or on a blog, they might see a slider pointing to related documents, a right rail with links to intriguing past posts, or an appealing subject heading. Or, they might decide to plug some of the information they find into Google Books, and see whether anything fun surfaces.

My hope is that I’m providing a starting point, not an end point, with each post. I never know for sure if what sparks my own curiosity will kindle a similar fire with readers, but if it does, I want readers to be able to pursue the subject beyond the confines of my short posts and tweets. The history-pics accounts give no impression of even knowing this web of legitimate, varied historical content exists. Given their huge follower counts, this is a missed opportunity—for their readers, and for the historians and archivists who would thrill to larger audiences for their work."
2014  history  curiosity  rebeccaonion  sarahwerner  @HistoryInPics  @HistoricalPics  @History_Pics  johnoverholt  questioning  askingquestions  attribution  context  mattnovak  truth  twitter  alexismadrigal  discovery  learning  complexity  artifacts  bestpractices  tumblr  research  howweshare  internet  web  online  questionasking 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Hive NYC Learning Network
[From the about page, which also includes a great directory of organizations.]

"Hive NYC Learning Network is a Mozilla project that was founded through The MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between cultural organizations to create new learning pathways and innovative education practices together. Hive NYC is composed of fifty-six non-profit organizations—museums, libraries, after-school clubs and informal learning spaces—that create Connected Learning opportunities for youth. Network members have access to funding to support this work through The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust.

Core Beliefs:
• School is not the sole provider in a community’s educational system
• Youth need to be both sophisticated consumers and active producers of digital media
• Learning should be driven by youth’s interests
• Digital media and technology are the glue and amplifier for connected learning experiences
• Out-of-school time spaces are fertile grounds for learning innovation
• Organizations must collaborate to thrive

Hive NYC operates as a city-based learning lab, where members network with each other, share best practices and pedagogies, learn about and play with new technologies, participate in events, and most importantly, collaborate to create learning opportunities for NYC youth. As part of the network, members have access to the following support and services:

• Strategic guidance in seeking funding through the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust
• Brokered connections between member organizations based on shared ideas and potential programs
• Participation in events in and beyond New York City that illustrate the work of network members and promote Connected Learning principles, digital literacy AND webmaking skills
• Access to involvement with the NYC Department of Education and others seeking to build experimental and/or sustainable partnerships with Hive NYC
• Opportunity to promote new, programs and events through Hive NYC communications channels (blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), as well as youth and volunteer recruitment
• A knowledge exchange for members to share models, ideas, content, tools and best-practices with each other
• Professional Development sessions that develop staff through network peer mentoring, modeling and sharing
• Monthly, in-person meet-ups and conference calls that allow for members to share program updates, best practices, and learn about new opportunities
• Additional seed funding for technology development, research, etc.

Each year, more than 6,000 tweens and teens across NYC directly engage with Hive NYC. These youth take part in projects funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust, private and community events, and programs resulting from network partnerships. Another 330,000 youth are indirectly impacted by these efforts, and through the broad dissemination of innovations and programs developed within the network."

[See also: http://hiveresearchlab.org/ ]
nyc  hivenyclearning  mozilla  informallearning  self-directed  self-directedlearning  unschooling  deschooling  learning  youth  openstudioproject  lcproject  macarthurfoundation  homago  museums  ncmideas  afterschool  clubs  learningspaces  funding  professionaldevelopment  bestpractices  digitalliteracy  networkedlearning  networks  collaboration  digitalmedia  newmedia  technology  interestdriven  amnh  bankstreetcollege  beamcenter  brooklynmuseum  brooklynpubliclibrary  carnegiehall  centerforurbanpedagogy  citylore  children'smuseumofthearts  coderjojo  dreamyard  exposurecamp  eyebeam  facinghistoryandourselves  glovbalkids  grilswritenow  maketheroad  thelamp  nycsalt  parsons  reelworks  wagnercollege  worldup  wnyc  wnycradiorookies  urbanword  toked  thepoint  rubinmuseum  momi  nypl  moma  iridescentlearning  habitatmap  cooper-hewitt  commonsensemedia  brooklyn  bronx  manhattan  groundswell  mouse  downtowncommunitytelevision  globalactionproject  globalkids  instituteofplay  joanganzcooneycenter  people'sproductionhouse  radiorookies  stoked  queens  statenisland 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Legible Practises (book) - Helsinki Design Lab
"This is not the book to convince you that the world is changing and our systems are currently under stress. The purpose here is to begin codifying the practises of stewardship, as exhibited by innovators who are consciously rethinking institutions to better meet the challenges of today.

Stewardship is the art of aligning decisions with impact when many minds are involved in making a plan, and many hands in enacting it. This notion comes to life through the stories of six projects on three continents.

By zooming in on the details, a handful of practises emerge that will help you convert ideas into action. Each story is shared as a brief narrative which is then broken down into a network of interlinking practises. In writing Legible Practises We hope to spark a conversation about the deep craft of social innovation as a reminder that, even when dreaming big, the details still matter."
helsinkidesignlab  legiblepractices  2013  books  stewardship  bestpractices  culture  institutions  tcsnmy  socialinnovation  bryanboyer  justincook  marcosteinberg 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Sesame best practices guide for children's app development | The Sesame Workshop Blog
"Surprisingly, there are very few resources that are publically available to help guide developers who make educational apps for young children. Much like when Sesame Street was created in the 1960s and little was known at the time about how to best develop educational television, now too there seems to be little standardization for ensuring the best conditions under which children can learn from assets on these new touch screen devices. While understanding learning theories and how children process information through older media can lend some support in these endeavors, we quickly realized that these new technologies were raising additional questions about usability and navigation that could best be answered by experimentation."

[Report is here: http://www.sesameworkshop.org/assets/1191/src/Best%20Practices%20Document%2011-26-12.pdf ]
2012  bestpractices  sesamestreet  appdev  appdesign  education  mobile  gamedev  children  applications  ipad  development  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Borderland » A Good Day
"So my focus in the classroom has lately shifted from teaching practice to thinking about more interesting things, like human consciousness (my own, mainly) as I ask myself all day long, day after day, What the fuck am I doing now? And why? This is not really such a bad thing. The upside of it is that I spend way less energy worrying about curriculum and method, and more time watching my own interactions with the kids, trying to be as helpful and even-handed as I can be. It occurs to me that if a person was looking for a working model of resistance to reform, they really ought to spend a few weeks managing a sixth-grade classroom. It’s a test. Every day."
teaching  dougnoon  2011  noticing  humanconsciousness  consciousness  perspective  howweteach  observation  introspection  whatmatters  cv  bestpractices  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
leading and learning: Let's celebrate those few creative teachers -and even fewer creative schools. They are the future.
"If teachers have in their minds the need to develop their class as a learning community of scientists and artists then during the year, as skills develop, greater responsibility can be passed over to students…

The success of any class will depend on the expectations, attitudes and skills the students bring with them ; what they are able to do with minimal assistance.

If the school has a clear vision of the attributes they would like their students to achieve then there will be a continual growth  of  independent learning  competencies from year to year.   Schools that achieve such growth in quality learning usually have spent considerable time developing a set of shared teaching and learning beliefs  that all teachers agree with and see purpose in. Underpinning such beliefs are assumptions about how students learn and the need to create the conditions for every learner to grow towards their innate potential."
tcsnmy  teaching  leadership  administration  toshare  schools  schoolculture  newzealand  progressive  art  science  learning  emergentcurriculum  relationships  growth  unschooling  deschooling  sharedvalues  sharedbeliefs  howchildrenlearn  discussion  management  whatmatters  customization  control  bestpractices  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Answer Sheet - Why schools should try things not "research-based"
"if we want to see real change in our schools and move the needle on closing the achievement gap, we need to try some things that aren’t “proven.” We need to experiment with practices we intuitively think are good ideas and can deliver results but haven’t been subject to exhaustive research yet.

Education leaders insist that they want their schools to be innovative, yet if a teacher offers a new idea, a common response is: "That’s sounds like a good idea, but where is the data that proves it will work?"

Introducing truly novel ideas means considering something so new that it has not been proven to work…

But if the current system isn’t working, then we should do what innovators and entrepreneurs have done since the dawn of humanity — try something different. Any educator knows that some of the latest research-based best practices come out of a 20th century classroom…"
education  change  teaching  tcsnmy  classroomlaboratory  lcproject  bestpractices  reform  gamechanging  google20%  policy  stasis  cv  learning  experimentation  innovation  research  proof  stuckinarut  setupforfailure  2011  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? - WSJ.com
"High-school students here rarely get more than a half-hour of homework a night. They have no school uniforms, no honor societies, no valedictorians, no tardy bells and no classes for the gifted. There is little standardized testing, few parents agonize over college and kids don't start school until age 7. Yet by one international measure, Finnish teenagers are among the smartest in the world. They earned some of the top scores by 15-year-old students who were tested in 57 countries. American teens finished among the world's C students even as U.S. educators piled on more homework, standards and rules. Finnish youth, like their U.S. counterparts, also waste hours online. They dye their hair, love sarcasm and listen to rap and heavy metal. But by ninth grade they're way ahead in math, science and reading -- on track to keeping Finns among the world's most productive workers."
finland  education  children  learning  pisa  testing  teaching  bestpractices  productivity  society  culture  assessment  schools  tcsnmy  homework  competition  standardizedtesting 
april 2010 by robertogreco
fred design » Simple rules for good typography
"Here are some basic rules to improve your typography across either web or print. Of course, these rules are only to start with, and rules are meant to be broken. But if you want something to look neat, clean and generally well designed they are a good set to follow. 1. Don't use too many typefaces. 2. Hierarchy 3. Font size 4. 8-10pt for body copy 5. A typeface not legible is not a typeface 6. Leadng 7. Kerning 8. Accent or emphasise 9. Do not overemphasise 10. no caps in body text 11. Always align to baseline 12. Flush left ragged right 13. Lines not too long or short 14. Punctuation and Bullet points 15. The Fibonacci sequence"
design  fonts  kerning  bestpractices  graphicdesign  typography  tips  advice  webdesign  tutorials  css  rules  reference  howto  web  webdev 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Let's make the web faster - Google Code
"There are many ways to make websites run faster. In this section, you can discover performance best practices that real web professionals employ in their everyday work. These practices have improved the user experience for millions of users and we hope they are useful for other web developers."
google  webdev  webdesign  tips  speed  optimization  bestpractices  javascript  tutorial  css  html  code  programming  web  development  tutorials  performance  coding  php  design 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Writing My Twitter Etiquette Article: 14 Ways to Use Twitter Politely by Margaret Mason - The Morning News
"Every form of communication deserves an etiquette manual, if only so we can treat our fellows better, even in 140-character bites. MARGARET MASON’S 14-point guide to improved tweets."
twitter  etiquette  microblogging  online  newmedia  humor  socialmedia  bestpractices  netiquette  socialnetworking  advice  howto 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Design Observer: Chris Pullman: What I've Learned
"1 Work on things that matter. 2 Work with people you like and respect. 3 Be nice.4 Have high standards. 5 Have a sense of humor. 6 Design is not the narrow application of formal skills, it is a way of thinking. 7 Variety is the spice of life. 8 Institutions have a character, just like people do. 9 We’re all in the “understanding business.” 10 You are what you eat."
bestpractices  design  advice  wisdom  life  community  work  business  careers  management  administration  leadership  happiness 
december 2008 by robertogreco
HOWTO Make online videos without getting sued - Boing Boing
"American University's Center for Social Media has just concluded a long, in-depth project to establish a set of "Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video." They worked with video makers, legal scholars, eminent sociologists, fans and others to create
video  fairuse  bestpractices  legal  copyright  socialmedia  law  howto  tutorials 
july 2008 by robertogreco

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