Category Archives: social media

Real World Classwork

              I am so fortunate to be working with educators willing to explore and create new models of instruction. These innovative methods are designed to motivate and engage learners as well as mirror the “new normal” of the networked, global work environment. The focus is on using new tools to create ideal learning spaces, and not about integrating digital tools into existing practices. (See Is College -Finally- Ready for Its Innovation Revolution to see why are we aiming for new models) Resources, learning materials, and tools are collected in a digital “backpack” that allow students to read, write, watch, calculate, capture, create, share, and publish with one tool. These models allow students greater autonomy and voice in their learning while still meeting the high academic expectations of independent school curriculum.
               The chart below illustrates the connection between how a news reporter confined to hotel in Libya broke his story and how our students in 4th grade and an US Environmental Science classroom are using digital tools. Read the news story here.

NAIS Annual Conference Reflection


Lots in my head from NAIS Annual Conference and using this post to capture some take aways, but first, thanks to everyone who presented.

Take Away #1 – Active Learning
Thomas Haglund, Jim Bologna, David Boxer, and Daniel  Gutierrez

I have been spending significant time exploring how shaping the environment (Dan Heath’s preparing the path idea) to change behavior so I flipped when I saw this diagram of a classroom at Windward School (LA). It is such a great design for a student centered, active classroom. Students have line of sight to everything and options for collaborative groups. Thomas Haglund shared that this particular space was designed for the science classroom. The longer propeller gives them room for experiments and keeps water, flame, etc from the computers.

The presentation was on Active Learning which is learning that is in response to a problem. I gleaned four significant attributes of Active Learning:

  1. It clarifies and consolidates learning.
  2. Promotes higher order thinking.
  3. Teaches reflection as part of learning.
  4. It is social view of learning.

Please remember that this post is my artifact to help me remember what I learned. It does not adequately express the presentation. Visit the Windward School’s presentation to learn more about active learning and the resources from Carol Dweck, Michael Wesch, and Daniel Pink.

Take Away #2 – Art of Choosing
Sheena Iyengar

Sheena S. Iyengar's Presentation

Sheena Iyengar conversation about the “Art of Choosing” was focused on leadership, I kept finding myself drawn to think about students and their ability to choose during the school. Are we teaching them the art of choosing?

Take Away #3 – Blogging Heads
Josie Holford, Michael Ebeling, Jonathan E. Martin

My notes from this session are chaotic so let me clarify some points.

  • Blogging is NOT a perfect, published piece of writing. It is more of a rough and ready exploration of ideas and sharing.   –Jonathan E. Martin Head of St. Gregory’s AZ
  • Blogging drives professional research. –Michael Ebeling Head of Summit School NC
  • Showing up online is becoming the expectation for many constituencies. -Josie Holford Head of Poughkepsie Day School NY
  • Blogging generates relationships.
  • Blogging is journal of reflective thinking. Leaves artifacts of thinking to review over time.
  • Narcissism of blogging = balance between self-promotion and connecting with other voices.

Josie Holford’s Blog – PDS Compass Point
Michael Ebeling’s Blog – Peak Experiences
Jonathan E. Martin’s Blog – 21k12

Take Away #4 – Dan Heath

Really enjoyed Dan’s talk but wonder about the long term effect of motivating elephants. Does repeatedly motivating the emotional side of folks lead to insensitivity to emotional prompts?

Take Away #5 – Design Thinking (Speed Innovating)
Karen Fierst, Patrick Murray – Riverdale Country School
**missing third team member – please send name if you know.

Speed innovation leads to speed note taking. Pretty sure that the notes below will only be useful for me, but Design Thinking is something I would recommend exploring if you haven’t already. The big “WOW” moment from this presentation was that Design Thinking was shared with the teachers to promote improved problem solving instead of with the students in the classroom. They recommended book – Change by Design by Tim Brown.

Take Away #6 – School Change (Speed Innovating)
Alex Ragone, Arvind Grover

Alex Ragone and Arvind Grover did a great job sharing how they are innovating within their school communities. Ideas to steal include:

Take Away #7 – Khan Academy
Salman Khan

Is there anything better than data driven decision making? Khan Academy tools seem to allow teachers to get inside their kids’ heads during practice and content acquisition providing the opportunity to make class time more active, engaged, and targeted instruction.

So much to take in and absorb from this conference. Hope we can all stay connected and continue these conversations year round.

Food for Thought


ASCD, an educational leadership organization, recently published an article by Mark Bauerlein entitled Too Dumb for Complex Texts? which explored the effect of digital tools on students ability to read complex texts. Mark is a college professor at Emory University and author of The Dumbest Generation: How Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future. In the same ASCD publication Cary Academy’s Meredith Stewart share a piece entitled Wired for Reflection. Meredith paints a contrasting image of the effect of digital tools on our students and continues the conversation in a direct response to Professor Bauerlein’s piece entitled “Too Dumb…” Confuses a Tool & Its Use. Anyone using digital tools with students needs to read these pieces and begin forming their opinion about the effects of teaching with digital tools. It is interesting that both Mark and Meredith share the ultimate goal of creating capable, reflective thinkers.