Curriculum: Week of March 18, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • Teachers are looking at curriculum documents! Curriculum is not intended to be a collection of binders on a shelf. If a curriculum document is to be lived, it needs to be looked at, discussed, questioned, unpacked, aligned, updated, and taught! The Curriculum Coordinator is here to support teams in the process.
  • Teaching units are being updated on the Atlas system. 🙂

Do you have something you’d like to share that is happening in your classroom? How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

21st Century Thought of the Week:

Vlacek, Rudolf. Landscape. Photograph., 6 July 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2012.

It is difficult to dispute that technology is changing the learning landscape. Learning has quickly moved from an activity that happens within four walls requiring an instructor to a mobile process that can easily happen any time, anywhere. The ability to learn anything at any time in any space supports the freedom of individual choice. Everyone now has the ability to tailor an individual program to meet personal learning goals. A person can choose to learn independently, self-paced, synchronously, asynchronously, face-to-face with a friend or an expert located on the other side of the globe.

The blogosphere is one example of technology’s impact on independent learning. Just a decade ago my reflections on my teaching practice might have only been able to happen over coffee with a colleague, in my head, or in a personal journal. These options each provided a very limited audience, most frequently an audience of one: me. Now I can offer up my reflections, wonderings, frustrations, successes, and questions with a simple click of the “Publish” button on the right-hand side of my screen. At that moment my potential audience immediately multiplies exponentially. This particular act of publishing in the life of a learner exposes writing to a world of reviewers and commentators who can offer peer review, advice, or even a mentor relationship. The option of the world as an audience vs. the audience of one offers a variety of perspectives that enriches the learning experience in ways that were previously limited. Blogging allows anyone to write for a live audience in real-time, rather than an audience of one, e.g., the teacher with a red pen.

Individual learning can easily be paired with collaborative learning experiences. An individual can partner up and share in the creative process. This can be done independently or through online workshops such as the 1001 Flat World Tales Project. The 1001 Tales Project provides “a global writing workshop between international and public schools around the world.” In this format, students and teachers can find others with whom they can connect and create. The Flat Classroom Project site is a hub that serves as a classified listing of online classroom collaborations that deal in “real-world scenarios based on The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.” The endgame is the flattening of classroom walls allowing students to learn with others in one large classroom developing cultural understanding. This is all made possible through the advent of Web 2.0 tools. These are exciting interactive opportunities that would have been challenging, if not impossible, to accomplish in that time period known as B.I. (before internet).

Learning is currently anything but a lonely journey. An individual can seek as little or as much companionship as required throughout the process. Technology offers access to a partner, a teacher, an audience, or a critic to those who seek. This public is always ready to view, comment, collaborate, subscribe, follow, edit, and create. Anyone. Any time. Anywhere.

Article(s) of the Week:

In Learning from four viral events, Seth Godin outlines lessons to be learned from recent ideas that have gone viral during March 2012.

How can the curiosity of teachers inspire students? Answers to this question are offered in Why Great Teachers are also Great Learners.

App of the Week:

Remember everything with Evernote. Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

Video of the Week:

Has the web sparked an educational revolution?

Blog of the Week:

Always Learning is the blog of Kim Cofino who is a technology facilitator currently working at Yokohama International School in Japan. On her blog she reflects on her own teaching and learning as she works with teachers integrating technology into curriculum.

Book of the Week:

It’s no secret that people learn in different ways, so why, the authors of this book ask, “can’t schools customize their teaching?” The answer to this problem, the authors argue, is “disruptive innovation.” In Disrupting Class, the authors present the idea of “disruptive innovation.” The premise is that an audience in need will benefit from even a faulty opportunity to fulfill that need; in education, the demand for individual instruction could be met through infinitely customizable online computer-based instruction. The authors offer a visionary solution.