We have a saying in our company.
“It’s about evolution, not revolution.”
It’s often the line I end workshops with. I encourage teachers not to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ and completely revamp their whole classroom practice, but to choose one thing that will make a difference tomorrow for their students (that they’ve learned from the day) and go from there.
BUT, there’s a caveat to that. If your classroom is operating in a way that needs revamping… then you TOTALLY need to start again. Our children’s future relies on them being taught, encouraged, nutured and developed in a way that is completely different from before. Our generation have adapted because we’ve had to but this generation’s need to be agile, collaborative and multi-skilled is crucial.
So, how do you know if your practice needs evolving or a complete revolution. Here’s an idea – a small test. Where is your class on this spectrum? If you’re far to the left, then you need some serious ‘pedagogical redesign.’
My wife got some great news this week. She’s been digitising her illustration skills for around 6 months now, after a long hiatus after being a full-time mum. It’s been a big learning curve for her but she’s managed to get a certain level of mastery (my words, not hers) on her new iPad Pro with the Procreate app and the Pencil.
A while ago we started looking for an agent, which is what you do these days, apparently – quite different from her freelance days ‘pre-family.’
This week we heard from one! Success. We’re so proud of her progress and it’s just more proof that when you work towards a goal, no matter how out of reach it seems when you start, you can get there.
It just takes hard work.
Well, this would have to be the best update for a long time at least. A while back Apple released the Classroom app in iTunes for teachers to manage their class of student iPads. It’s in the iTunes store here and has some great features.
- screen viewing
- app locking
- pushing out weblinks and apps… and heaps more.
BUT – there was a catch. You had to create your ‘classrooms’ using your school’s MDM. Now, if you’re the average teacher then I lost you at the acronym, I know!
NOW THOUGH… Apple have released Classroom V2 which allows any teacher to create their own Classroom manually through their own iPad – it’s so simple and creates a powerful tool for iPad management. One I think teachers will love.
There are some catches, though. You do need the following…
- All iPads need to be running IOS 10.3 at least – this will require a fairly recent iPad. Sorry, an iPad 2 won’t cut it so it could be time to replace those ‘miracle iPads’ you’ve been hanging onto for so long!
Here’s a support PDF from Apple to help you through the process. I added my road-kit of iPads to my Classroom last night and it went without a hitch, although a little trick I found – to trigger the Classroom feature in Settings it helped to have the ‘Add Students’ feature open on my own iPad. This seemed to work through bluetooth and kick start the settings into gear.
Have fun with it – I’m going to post a more detailed blog on our company website here but thought I’d share about it here first!
Over the holidays a while back I was inspired by people posting #infopics on Twitter. They’re simply images that share information – a great way to get simple messages across.
One of the most well known creators of these is @tonvincent who creates some stunning infopics. They’re well worth checking out on his site.
These are some infopics I made using a couple of apps and photos I’d taken. I started with PicsArt to create the filter and border I wanted and then added the stickers with Kiwi Camera.
We help schools develop their STEM learning development with their students and teachers and one of my favourite activities is the ‘Artbot’ design challenge. It’s super low tech with simple circuitry and coloured felts and uses mostly vibration as a mechanism to drive the cup across paper to create some ‘art.’
Most of the time students will create something that resembles this image, especially if you frame this as a research exercise where they can research what an Artbot is.
But, given the time and space to ideate, design and redesign, students will often come up with stunning designs, completely out of the box. These students yesterday created a hand held rotating mechanism. Brilliant. I’d never seen that before.
See what happens when we allow them that time and freedom to imagine, to create, to explore. That’s what people were made to do. We were created to create.
Image above –cdn.sciencebuddies.com
Yesterday I was working with a class in Wanaka around the theme of ‘Thinking Global, Acting Local.’ We had a great day learning about Sphero SPRK+s, Makey Makey and Scratch and also seeing how to integrate the G Suite tools into a learning progression.
Our first activity was to ‘think global’ and explore the common features of some famous cities around the world, including their own town. We did what lots of people would call, ‘an app smash!’ This is really just combining apps together in some way. Our app smash was to integrate Google Slides with Google Maps and the Street View feature.
Here’s a link to your own copy – it’s very simple but had the students engaged for a long time – they didn’t want to finish. Just open your own copy, follow the instructions and complete the thinking section at the end.
Did you know you can explore other people’s 360 photos on the standard Google Maps site and apps? Last night we went for a run (in the dark… not intentionally) along the Wanaka Lake walk way and ran past this stunning set of trees. This image was taken with my iPhone 7 Plus which has brilliant low light capability for a phone camera.
If you want to take a closer look at what the lake front is like by using the street view mode in Maps – just drag the little yellow man, in the bottom right corner, and the roads will appear blue since the Google Street Car has taken images down those streets. But what about other locations?
After activating the little man you will see little blue dots appear where people have uploaded their own 360 photos. I’ve found the Street View app to be the easiest way to create these. Have a go on any Google Maps location!
No one likes to jump on a band wagon but the funny thing about cliches is that they become what they are because there’s some truth in there. ‘Innovation’ is like that. It’s overly used because we need it. Desperately.
We need innovative teachers and schools so that we prepare students for today, let alone for tomorrow. What we did yesterday just won’t cut it anymore, for these reasons;
- the amount of fake news that needs filtering
- the disruption to our familiar because of technology
- the disconnect between family and community
If we keep following the techniques and practices that have worked in the past, just because it ‘used to work’ then we’ll miss what will work for now and tomorrow. It takes bravery and it’s not about short cuts.
I hear people described as ‘tech savy’ all the time. That might be you – the person everyone comes to to fix something, get something installed and setup or run some kind of workshop on how to use it.
Usually, the ‘tech savy’ person doesn’t have any inbuilt talent for using technology. You want to know their secret? Here it is. It’s not rocket science.
This is a new series I’m going to try out – ‘What I’ve just learned.’ We’re always learning crazy stuff! Sometimes it’s things that;
- change our lives
- are just amusing
- when shared with others make us sound super intelligent
- are actually myths but we don’t realise
- can help shape the way we see other things
- change our perspective from one way of thinking to another
Here’s my first WIJL.
Did you know that a sense of gratitude encourages the brain to release dopamine, that chemical of ‘feel good’ that makes us want to do something again? Something to feel grateful for – like what I did there?
Have a look at this article, and maybe look for the things in our lives that are going great!