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!
Everyone’s talking about personalised learning. It’s one of the real reasons I love being a digital consultant for teachers and schools: it’s the technology we have now that enables this to happen on a manageable scale. And students are the winners!
One aspect of personalised learning that I think get’s overlooked (we’re often catering for style, timing, pace, age etc) is tailoring our programmes towards passions, interests and strengths. Here’s a question…
Did you know it’s a myth that Einstein was a failure at school? He was actually a great student, from many accounts, with obvious strengths in Mathematics and the Sciences.
At the age of 12 he was studying Calculus, which at that time wasn’t normal until students were 15. He showed obvious strengths in this area. It would seem that, in 1881, his school system was flexible enough to cater for his strengths.
If you’ve got an iPhone, chances are you’ve taken a panorama. I know Android phone have that feature on their cameras but in my experience, and I’ve owned both kinds of phones, nothing beats the iPhone for simplicity when it comes to camera features.
The Apple Youtube Channel now has some brilliant short videos that teach you how to get more out of the iPhone’s camera – from close up shots, to using the flash and of course, how to take great panoramas. In this clip below, the clip demonstrates how to use the pano in a vertical fashion to take images. Why didn’t I think of that!
Here are some recent panoramas from some of my trips this year. The trick is to move slow, keep the arrow on the line and hold your phone steady.
Rugby match, Rugby Park – Invercargill, 2017
San Francisco street, CA, 2017
Sphero workshop, TTP, Melbourne, 2017
I came across this quote yesterday on Twitter, by @wes_kieschnick. You’d have to agree, it’s not the kind of quote I would splash on the screen of a presentation with some teachers since it’s pretty confronting.
But it’s real, right? I saw a classroom recently that had a pile of student work sitting on the teacher’s desk. It was a pile of A4 photocopied templates where the students had ‘published’ their writing in pencil and cut out and glued a photo from the internet in the bottom corner. I write ‘published’ since you could tell that they had rubbed out their errors (that’s why it’s in pencil) to get it perfect.
Is that preparation for the future? Is it even the world we live in now? I’m not aware of many, outside of some classrooms, who are sharing their ideas with other on paper with pencils. There are just so many better ways out there to get a message out to people.
What kind of school are you in? How can you be a ‘bear poker?’ A change maker. I think our kids deserve it.
Did you know you can now be certified in whatever platform of digital tools you use in your classroom or school? Whether it’s Microsoft, Apple or Google, there are online modules, videos, lessons and exams you can do to get qualified and earn some recognition of a certain level of competence.
Yesterday I completed another Google Certified Level 1 Bootcamp where we take teachers and Principals through a 2 day course that helps them prepare for and sit the 3 hour exam. It’s a really rewarding exercise for those who come along.
Here are 4 reasons why you’d want to go for some of these qualifications, whether independently online or at a face to face course with a company like ours.
- You get a badge!
- You learn SO much in the process.
- You become an asset to your school.
- You add another ‘string to your bow’ when applying for further positions.
If you’re interested in finding out more, click these links to find out more about these certifications.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – why would we need an app to do this? And we don’t. The family that plays cards and collects pine cones together stays together… I know that doesn’t rhyme but we hope we’re doing ok there.
But, with 2 teenagers already, and with 3 on the way, any help we can get keeping a track of where everyone is is helpful; especially when you have a dad who is traveling around for work as well.
Last night I saw this app on a Youtube video – Zenly. It promises to help share your real-time location with friends and family without killing your battery life. Techcrunch has a great review here and it’s apparently becoming a real hit with the youngsters. It’s a cross between a messenging app, location sharing and even links with Maps and Uber.
So – we’re going to give it a go and I’ll post a ‘comprehensive review’ (Casey Neistat) in a little while.
Since seeing Simon Sinek’s Ted talk about the importance of ‘the why’ in everything we do (see the talk here, one of the most popular talks ever from the site) I’ve had this concept in my head with just about everything I do. From ‘why’ am I writing on this blog, to ‘why are we learning this in maths?’ I usually start with thinking or talking about the ‘why.’
I’ve really enjoyed working with schools lately who are discovering this for themselves. We’ve been looking at this through a digital learning lens; why do we want to use digital tools and the kinds of teaching and learning practices they allow. And it’s super exciting to be able to ‘see what we’re trying to achieve.’ If we walked around the school, once this is happening, what would we see?
So ‘the why’ leads to our vision. It’s SO important to be able to articulate where we are going since this helps us drive our decision making. Too many people, and schools, and businesses and families are busy ‘doing things’ and making action plans without actually having specific goals and a vision laid out.
Here are some interesting questions for you and your school, your colleagues, family, business partner, husband or wife.
“What is our vision? What would that look like when we get there?”
One of the huge perks with my job is that I’m able to travel a lot and one of the best ways to see a new place is to go for a run. Running is my way of staying mentally sane. It helps to clear my head and gives me some good thinking time.
I’ve started to map the different locations I run in and post little video clips on my Instagram account with the tag, #whereismarkrunning. To help keep track of these locations I’ve started to locate them on a Google Map in My Maps, a great way to create your own Maps, just like a Google Doc.
Here’s the map so far. Click on the image to see the interactive version on Google My maps. Each location has a screen shot of my video clip and the link underneath will take you to the Instagram version.
*there seems to be a ‘500 error’ if trying to view the map on IOS at the moment. Desktop might be best – online forum threads suggest Google is working on it…