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Has the IBO always gone overboard with criteria?

At the Nanjing International School, we use both the IBO curriculum and we are trying to adopt NoTosh’s ideas about Design Thinking.

I might argue that since we are trying to follow both the IB Design Curriculum AND Design Thinking we ask students to choose from at least one strand in each criterion.  In my teaching career with MYP, I have noticed most times every item from the IBO’s level 7-8 criteria does not make sense for students to complete.  They are not realistic and rather than student being informed by the process, they are bored out of their mind.

A case example:
If students would like to make a website, they might only choose:

Criterion A: Inquiring and analysing
The student:
i. explains and justifies the need for a solution to a problem for a client/ target audience
ii. constructs a detailed research plan, which identifies and prioritizes the primary and secondary research needed to develop a solution to the problem independently
iii. analyses a range of existing products that inspire a solution to the problem in detail 
iv. develops a detailed design brief, which summarizes the analysis of relevant research.

Criterion B: Developing ideas
The student:
i. develops detailed design specifications, which explain the success criteria for the design of a solution based on the analysis of the research (in this case, a website layout)
ii. develops a range of feasible design ideas, using an appropriate medium(s) and detailed annotation, which can be correctly interpreted by others
iii. presents the chosen design and justifies fully and critically its selection with detailed reference to the design specification
iv. develops accurate and detailed planning drawings/diagrams and outlines requirements for the creation of the chosen solution.

Criterion C: Creating the solution
The student:
i. constructs a detailed and logical plan, which describes the efficient use of time and resources, sufficient for peers to be able to follow to create the solution
ii. demonstrates excellent technical skills when making the solution. 
iii. follows the plan to create the solution, which functions as intended and is presented appropriately
iv. fully justifies changes made to the chosen design and plan when making the solution.

Criterion D: Evaluating
The student:
i. designs detailed and relevant testing methods, which generate data, to measure the success of the solution
ii. critically evaluates the success of the solution against the design specification based on authentic product testing
iii. explains how the solution could be improved 
iv. explains the impact of the product on the client/target audience. (IBO, 2014)

Following this idea, teachers would still have something to mark for every criterion, but it would be more succinct and we could enable the FUN back into the learning.  I would emphasize that we would want the students to choose and (verbally) justify why they have chosen those criteria.  Along the lines of Design Thinking, we want the kids to: “be immersed, synthesize, ideate, prototype, and then display” (NoTosh, 2015).

I think it is important that we follow the rules, but as educators we need to realize when the rules should be broken if we are ensuring that our students are not enjoying the subject matter.

Thoughts?

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Excellent Song and Music Resources for Parents and Teachers

It has been a while since I posted anything directly to my site.  I thought I would consolidate four of my favourite resources into one post here that are a seemingly endless and FREE collections of excellent online resources for music, singing, dancing, and nursery rhymes.  Without further adieu:

Bus Songs – This one is great for young kids.  It is sortable and searchable.  For example, if I want to find all the songs that are about Transport; of course they have that…and I can see which ones have audio and which have video.

Bus Songs

Cosmic Kids Yoga – Youtube – This channel is neat because the yoga instructor takes you through a story and teaches different moves.  The stories are done with ‘blue screen’ techniques so it seems like she is in far off or imaginary places.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Just Dance – Youtube – I have seen kids in grade 5 (age 10) who all love the videos from this channel.  This means younger ones will like them too.  The teachers are able to sit back and have the video teach the kids the dance moves.  Forget the square dance.  It is time to doh-see-doh your partner over to these fun, hip videos.

Just Dance

Intellidancing – Youtube – When you have had enough of yoga, hip-hop and pop dancing, and nursery rhymes, it is time for a little modern, conceptual dancing and movement.  This is when these videos are for you.  Enjoy.

Intellidancing

 
 

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From Tech class to Tech integration

A learning common

As a new tech integration specialist, moving to a school where they were changing from the tech class to the tech integration model there were certain things that needed to be understood beforehand.

Some of these key ideas I posted in a post called Technology Integration: a six-pronged approach.  Other ideas, however, had more to do with dealing with the emotions of colleagues and I will touch on this now.  I would liken these Kübler-Ross’ “Five Stages of Grief” to the emotions that many of the teachers went through when learning they were dealing with a new strategy for technology:

Denial: Most home room teachers who have been at the school for sometime, upon hearing that their school will be moving to this model will be in shock, and do not really understand what this means.  Some may decide that they do not have time to meet with or interact with the new ‘tech integrator’ assuming this stance as one where they can keep their heads in the sand as long as possible until they will have to deal with what has been given to them.

As a tech integrator it means you need to explain the process to teachers, knowing full-well that many of the words you say or write are falling on deaf ears.  It is of utmost importance that you have patience knowing that they are dealing with change, and are there to offer reassurance, help and support when they are ready to receive it.

Love

Anger: One of the biggest gripes from teachers is that they “have lost their prep. period”.  They do not see the big picture yet and feel like they have gained nothing, but definitely lost what most teachers treasure most – time.

As a tech integrator, this means that you have to be ready to act as the messenger, fully realizing that some teachers will be ready to shoot you.  Again, patience and understanding are key here.  Note that I am not saying, “push for your right to integrate tech”.  A tech integrators role, especially in the early stages, has more to do with empathizing and supporting than it does with integrating technology.  Be kind, be patient, listen, and support.

Bargaining: At this stage many teachers are still not ready to accept the role of the tech integrator and may decide that they will ‘leave for a coffee for the entire period’ while you teach the class in their classroom.  Although this may need to happen at first to ease into the transition there needs to be bargaining and compromise from both sides.  For instance, the tech integrator eventually needs to explain that his role is to be working with the teachers to integrate technology into the classroom.

The tech integrator eventually wants to work his way out of the job.  Essentially, he should be developing computer skills in all the teachers to such a degree that he can begin focussing his role more as a learning coach than a tech integrator.

Another worry from teachers is about how they will do the tech teaching themselves, how they are going to mark, who is going to mark, etc. These questions should all be explicitly focused upon over time with the tech integrator helping out along the way.  Remember, this is not a journey that will take a year.  In my experience and that of others, it takes between three and five years to fully move to tech integration.

Depression: There may be some hidden or some outright depression along the way.  Teachers may say things like, “I don’t know how to teach technology; I just don’t have the skill set; or Please, can you come and teach my class.”

As a tech integrator, the initial stage will mean getting to know all the teachers needs through regular meetings and setting up classroom visits.  However, upon you understanding the support necessary for different teachers, accommodation takes place at different levels.  For example, some teachers may want a lesson to be taught completely by the tech integrator.  Others, may want to team teach.  Other still, may want you there only as moral support or support when something gets tricky.  And finally, many may want you to teach them individually either for personal or professional purposes.  This is where the acceptance stage has started kicking in.

Acceptance: Not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is a bright shiny light when everyone reaches the end of that tunnel.  Here are some reasons:

  1. The students have a higher chance they are learning technology through authentic means, and not in a separate class where the end goal is to learn technology.  The computer and it’s peripheries begin to be thought of as a tool to help a student come up with better or altogether new ways to create solutions to genuine problems.  Ideally, the teachers and tech integrators are integrating with the highest levels of the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model.
  2. Tech integration improves student learning processes and outcomes because teachers who recognize a computer’s capacity move from a Behavioral approach to a constructivist approach as noted in this article.
  3. Technology integration enables total engagement of the class with tools like Google Docs, Microsoft One-Note, Socrative, Edmodo, and one of my new favorites Todaysmeet.  Integration also allows for students to enlist the help of other classes, schools, or even experts in a field to find the answers to the questions that may be posed.  Students or teachers can post in blogs, on social networks, through ePortfolios and through so many other forms.
  4. As a tech integrator, your colleagues can learn from you in so many capacities.  As mentioned above, they can learn while you are teaching, while they are teaching, or by themselves at their own pace.
  5. Finally, another advantage for you, the tech integrator, stepping into so many classes is that you are gleaning best teaching practice.  I like to think of a tech integrator as a bumblebee pollinating flowers, or carrying best practice from one class to the next. This again is teaching teachers, but it has reciprocal advantages.

While the stages are not the same for all teachers, a technology integrator stepping into these shoes in a school where they are changing from tech classes to integration is unwittingly going to stumble across some, if not all, of the teachers in one stage or another.  He needs to mentally prepare himself for the situation and recognize that he won’t be liked by most upon arrival.  He needs to remember to support, support, support.  In two or three years he will be loved even more than the tech teacher who would take the kids off the teachers hands so they could have a break.  Eventually, he will become the most loved teacher through all the school, even more than the gym teacher!!

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Technology

 

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Books to read…

The following list are recommended by Daniel Pink and his readers in his book, “Drive”.  First, if you haven’t read Pink’s book, put it at the top of your list.  Because I love the insights and strategies Pink submits, I am definitely going to try to read some, if not all, of these books.  If you have any insight about which ones I should read first, I welcome your feedback.

Daniel Pink - PopTech 2007 - Camden, ME

Daniel Pink – PopTech 2007 – Camden, ME (Photo credit: Kris Krug)

Pink’s Reader’s Recommendations:

  1. The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle (This was just recommended to me by a friend)
  2. Encore – Marc Freedman
  3. Rework – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  4. Linchpin – Seth Godin (I love this author and blogger – This may top my list)
  5. Just Listen – Mark Goulston
  6. Switch – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  7. Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
  8. Teach like a Champion – Doug Lemov
  9. Mastery – George Leonard
  10. Employees First, Customers Second – Vineer Nayar
  11. How full is your Bucket? – Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton
  12. Wellbeing – Tom Rath and Jim Harter
  13. Learned Optimisim – Martin E. P. Siligman
  14. Do More Great Work – Michael Bungay Stanier
  15. Start with Why – Simon Sinek
  16. The Motivated Student – Bob Sullo
  17. Good Boss, Bad Boss – Bob Sutton
  18. Intrinsic Motivation at Work – Kenneth W. Tomas
  19. Wooden Leadership – John Wooden and Steve Jamison

Pink’s Recommendations:

The reason I am putting two of the books at the top of my list is because I have heard a few people talking about them.  I suppose this is why I read most of the books that I do-either recommendation, talk around the water cooler, they are on a list for school, and now because they are on a list from an author who I respect and enjoy reading.

Personally, I would add Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, Blur, and any books that Malcolm Gladwell or Seth Godin wrote to this list.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Education

 

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Learn more about these people

More recently I have been told to either investigate, read about, or read books or articles from the following people:

  • John Hattie – Professor John Allan Clinton Hattie, ONZM has been Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, since March 2011.
  • Carol S. Dweck – is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She graduated from Barnard College in 1967 and earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1972.
  • Guy Claxton – has been Co-Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CrL), and Professor of the Learning Sciences, at the University of Winchester. He previously held the same title at the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education. He has a ‘double first’ from Cambridge and a DPhil from Oxford, and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Royal Society of Arts, and an Academician of the Academy of the Social Sciences. His books have been translated into many languages including Japanese, Greek, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Education

 

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Do teachers have right to their intellectual property?

I had a discussion the other day with a teacher about the idea of a teacher’s intellectual property.  In most teacher’s contracts, in almost every school, they state that anything that is made or created by a teacher during the time of employment becomes the property of said school, school board, or business.

Atlas Rubicon is a system many schools are adopting to consolidate these properties.  It seems like a fantastic idea:  Teachers put their curriculum, lessons, notes, Powerpoints, and any other digital materials into the system for others to use.  Not only do the teachers at the school have access to the lessons of others, but other schools who have signed up through Rubicon also have access to everyone else’s property.  Über-cool!

The drawbacks, however, were also part of this discussion.  One, is the fact that schools could use this system to weed out expensive (older) teachers.  They might ask these teachers to allocate their resources onto these servers and then ‘let them go’ in the future, in order to hire younger, cheaper teachers to replace them.  How is this affecting students?  Are they getting the best education they can?

I guess my argument against that is that schools and administrators would hopefully not base their hiring and firing practices on salary amounts, but on effectiveness of teachers regardless of their age.  But sometimes there is a bottom line.  My colleague countered this mentioning that international schools most often do not hire people over 60 years of age. Yikes.

Another con to Rubicon is the fact that they are the holder of all the digital knowledge, AND they are charging education systems a fee to subscribe.  This means that they have a monopoly on the information that we, as educators, hold dear and true to ourselves.  This means Rubicon could start to charge outlandish prices for something that we need and also created.  Hmmm…What are the safeguards that Rubicon won’t be unethical in pricing?

I really like the idea of being able to tap into every other teachers ideas, but I don’t like the chance of losing my own right to this property.  It is almost as if I am being assimilated into the Borg.  At what point does something that I create become completely my own?  Teachers usually work from contract to contract.  Does that mean that nothing they make until they retire actually belongs to them?  As a teacher I need to consider my future carefully.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Education

 

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What’s at Techex 2011

Intended for the average teacher, rather than just the nerds (like me).  Ian Jukes will be the key-note speaker talking about learning as a digital native at TechEx, an exciting conference that I will unhappily not be able to attend.  Ideas for the conference are listed below:

  • The Facebook debate will be a drama contesting and supporting the notions behind this social network
  • 21st Century Learning ideas – 2 minute ideas about lots and lots of different things – with free prizes from sponsors
  • Big building with neat TedTalk – and discussions
  • Flip Thinking- Let’s rethink the idea of homework – Are kids doing the hard stuff at home and the easy stuff in school?
  • iPads and Slates – Sharing of ideas about them – Should 1:1s be switching to these?
  • Hy Tek Software – for use with physical activities
  • Blogs – Student blogs and links to the outside world – How are schools using these properly?
  • One-Note – A Fantastic collaborative tool to be discussed
  • The Perfect School and how it should look
  • 3D World
  • Moodle
  • Intelligently Searching the Search Engines – Searching Twitter, Subscription Databases

John Tratner asked groups at the ISTEC meeting to ask for some of the things that we would like to see.  We came up with these ideas:

  • Inspirational Moodle stuff – courses or styles of courses (innovative ways to use it)
  • Ways that Classroom teachers are using tech beyond the tech teacher
  • How Chrome OS fits into education
  • Google apps and Google Docs – How are they using it
  • Bookmark synching methods
  • Giver (for sharing files) – Linux-based
  • Introducing Lino-It
  • Online Storage – DropBox – Boxnet
  • Using Freecorder – For downloading video, sound from computer and converting files
 

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