Regarding #iNACOL14 Again

November 24, 2014
Chat with a vendor, get stuff.  There's no shame in free!

Chat with a vendor, get stuff. There’s no shame in free!

I’m like the world’s least timely blogger meaning if I have good idea to blog about, it will take me weeks to actually sit and write and of course, who cares anymore?  Two weeks ago I returned from the iNACOL Symposium for Online and Blended Learning; this post is part of a reflection I’m sending to a couple of people as part of the KPBSD Blended Learning cohort as well as a university for a CEU.

The thing is, these thoughts are timeless.  I could post this any time of the year, I bet.  Thankfully, people are asking these questions all the time;  at some point, we’ll get to ask new questions.


The most significant session I attended, though, was not on the schedule.  By Wednesday, the Twitter backchannel asked, why are we attending a blended learning conference that doesn’t use blended learning?  Why are we always subjected to sit-and-get at conferences where we are being told specifically, do not teach children this way?  Through this lament, the iNACOL Edcamp formed, an “unconference” session of fifteen connected educators (because the session was coordinated solely through Twitter or word of mouth) gathered to discuss the unspoken, underlying themes of the conference:  are we truly at a point of individualizing learning for students?  Why do we hear the same rally call from keynote speakers about individualizing education yet no one addresses the lack of a solid virtual pedagogy that engages the learner beyond rote learning?  Are the innovations of private and charter schools truly sustainable in the public school setting?  How do we change teacher professional development to professional learning, both for pre-service and currently employed teachers?

These are questions that should resonate with every educator (though only a few of us in the group were actually classroom teachers, and indeed, it seemed that brick-and-mortar teachers were a minority at the conference) and with every instructional decision in the classroom.  So I bring away from the conference a reconnection to the ideal of individualized learning;  I teach special education, I know what this means.  But now, it is my charge to figure how to do this in my classroom and with my students through thoughtful use of technology and teaching, to be more than just a technology-rich classroom but one that draws from all over the globe to transform students into learners.

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Breaking Out the Blender

August 25, 2014

Blended Learning Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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Twitter is a Wild Ride

December 19, 2011

Today's GoFigure infographic looks at Twitter's global success.

I can see some of my students really latching onto these infographics as ways to report learning. I need to look into how to make them with the time and resources we have available.

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Starting Place

December 15, 2011

I promised the 3rd and 4th graders an online video to display recent work regarding spelling rules.  What I would love is for them to tell me, “Mrs, Stading!  We want to do an online video for _____________!” but I know they aren’t there yet. However, if you are ever going to move forward, you have to start somewhere.

Animoto might be that place for them.  I know it is my starting place.

What I like about Animoto is that it does all the fancy stuff for you…you just add words, photos and videos.  It is also super easy to revise.  For example, the first version of the video doesn’t showcase the student work very well…but the animation is lovely.   So I tried a different version and now it is about the students, and not about Animoto.

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December 3, 2011

I had entirely too much fun on Twitter today.  Friday night I noticed a couple of posts with #pencilchat tacked on (though it looked to start earlier than that).  I’m used to #edchat or #pick-an-elementary-grade-chat, but #pencilchat was new.  I however was on my way to work on my ‘novel’ so I didn’t pursue it.

When I popped back on Twitter this morning, I found quite a few #pencilchats in my feed.  This time I followed it, and kept checking back through the day.  Sarcasm (frustration) was the main type of tweet as people substituted ‘pencil’ for ‘computer’ or ‘technology’ or similar.

I am fortunate to work in a district that embraces the pencil as best we can.  We aren’t a rich district, but we’ve put money into pencils and we have great pencil support.  Every classroom at my school has pencils in it if the teacher wants pencils in it, and if they don’t, there are four dozen portable pencils for the students to use.  It is a good set up and my colleagues and I challenge each other to use pencils for more than just fill-in-the-blanks.

Read more about #pencilchat in this article: “Why #Pencilchat May Be the Most Clever Education Allegory Ever.”

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