I am obsessed with TED talks these days. This one talks about choices and why we should NOT be giving our students unlimited choices.
After we watched this TED talk, a few of us got to talking about personalized learning and student choice. We realized that with the advent of the 1:1 initiative, we were in serious danger of giving our students TOO MANY choices. The internet and the digital environment provide limitless options – but that doesn’t mean that our young learners should be encountering that vast expanse of uncharted territory.
Our children easily become overwhelmed by choices. Our instructional decision-making about digital learning is no different than our instructional decision-making about other things. We provide scaffolded choices. “You can do A or B.” With older students we might even offer A, B, C, or D. But we don’t offer the whole wide world.
My colleagues and I had the pleasure of working with Peter DeWitt the past few days during a coaching workshop. I loved one particular statement that Peter made (which is not to say that there was not one metric ton of great stuff — I promise, I’ll share my notes later).
You really want to head over here and register for Harvard’s DataWise MOOC. For those of you who have not experienced a MOOC before, this is free online coursework that is the same as what you would get if you went to Harvard for the week.
I attended the DataWise Institute at Harvard a few summers ago. It was a phenomenal experience. The presenters were dynamic and engaging. We heard from top of the line experts in education. We had opportunities to engage with one another around specific data in our building. It changed so many things, big and small, about the way that we operate in our school.
Now, Harvard and DataWise have launched this as a MOOC. This means that you and your team can attend this same amazing institute without traveling to Boston, without applying to Harvard, without any of the hassle. You can do this in your jammies with a glass of wine.
This would make a great group goal for a grade level or a team within a school. Attend the MOOC and transform your practice.
The beginning of the year — a clean, fresh slate, a chance to do it over again and get it better this time. Notice, we’re never going to get it “right” — but we can always get it better. We are the only profession in the world that gets TWO chances at New Year’s Resolutions.
I’m talking with many teachers about setting expectations and establishing routines for monitoring student behavior and learning.
Here are some posts I’ve collected that are some of the strategies I’m reminding my teacher to use:
Google Forms for Reading Logs
Work Mats for Support Student Choice
A Sample Launch Unit
Using the Teaching Board to Sharpen Minilessons
Using a Teaching Folder to Organize Your Work
Read Alouds To Start the Year