Taking the Padagogy Wheel for a Spin

Originally posted on Designer Librarian:

The Padagogy Wheel has become a very popular technology integration tool for teachers, combining Bloom’s Taxonomy with the SAMR Model and aligning iPad and other tablet apps to those criteria(hence the name PADagogy). I can see why it has been embraced by so many educators — it’sa visual planning guide fortechnology-based lessons.

So, what happens when you take the app section of the wheelfor a spin? What happens when you shift the apps ring in either direction, so that the apps in the Remember/Understand section fall into the Apply section, or the Create section, etc…? Is the wheel any less valid? Absolutely not!We’re not talkingabout Bloom’s Technology, we’re talking aboutBloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains. Technology merely serves as atool that can be used to facilitate learning within those domains. What level of learning depends on how the appis used. How the app is used depends on the learning…

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Returning students’ test/exam scripts with Classroom

Originally posted on Jak's Thoughts:



If you have attended some of my talk/workshop,
you’d have known my stance on returning of students work. Generally, both teachers and students stand to benefit when they have access to their marked test/exam script. If you are using Google Classroom as your central point where work is collected or given out, it makes sense to also return these scripts via that channel as well. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t made doing this very easy and it can be time consuming.

Here is the method I employ to returned students’ scripts – which is usually in the form of annotated scanned-document in PDF.

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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Plan B From Outer Space

When you teach using technology, you always need a Plan B in case the technology doesn’t work! Sometimes that can feel like being on the set of a very bad B movie! More and more teachers are designing lessons which not only use technology, they actually depend on the technology. In Ed Wood’s classic movie, Plan 9 From Outer Space, celebrated as perhaps the worst movie ever made, the star Bela Lugosi died. Far from being phased by this, the director used a double, his face permanently covered by a cape. The show must go on!

In the classroom too, the show must go on, so what do you do when your lesson depends on technology, and the technology isn’t working? Murphy’s Law ensures that this happens often! In fact a rider to Murphy’s Law states that the likelihood of the technology going wrong is in direct proportion to its importance! In other words if the technology is going to fail, it will fail when you’ve invited all the parents, the principal and the school board to come and watch your lesson!

The glib answer is that you always need a plan B, and that’s easy to say, but less easy to hold to. Sometimes you can forge ahead with a less than ideal, but still workable alternative in place. I’ve emailed files to students when my Moodle is down, or Google Classroom isn’t responding. Sometimes you can simply present material in another way, whip out your flash drive which has a copy of the file on it, or quickly print hard copies for the class!

But sometimes you have to abandon the lesson altogether. It’s a good idea to have some low tech, fun lessons planned for when technology isn’t your friend, so you can say, “This isn’t working – put it away, and let’s do this instead!” If you have a box in the corner of your classroom with some of these lessons in it, you can even get your class to pick one at random. This helps mitigate the sense of let down that failing technology always leaves in its wake, and gives the class a sense of shared misfortune overcome.


Flipping, Blending, Going Hybrid?

Originally posted on WriteLearnTeach:

I feel like I’m dashing to the train as it’s pulling out of the station, crowded with coolandcollected people glued to their digital devices. But outtamyway, I say, I am getting on that train. I’m joining this Blended Learning thing.

Blending, flipping, and hybridizing learning was a big theme of the ISTE 2015 Conference. (One day I will write a post that does NOT refer to my amazing fourdays at ISTE, but this won’t be one of them.) While each of these modelsmade forcompellingpresentations bymanystellar educators, I had to do some research about the difference between each.

I have learned that flipped learning is a teaching approach that often relies on students to do the background reading, viewing, or learning outside of the classroom, while they engage in more creative orhands-on application of that content with the teacher in class. TeachThought provides a helpful visual for flipped learning and…

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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Secret Students’ Guide to Disrupting the System

Originally posted on Ideas Out There:

You’ll hear adults talking about it and trying to sound clever: ‘disruption’ – except they speak about it like it’s a good thing. They jabber on about Netflix changing how movies are rented and how Uber changed the taxi business. Yada-yada Air B’nB, something-something Steve Jobs, yakkity-yak Google. Whatevs right?

But hang on. Maybe we can use this thing to our advantage. I’m not talking the ‘old school’ kind of disruption… that just gets them angry and then they punish you. Really? Who’s actually got time for that these days? No, I’m talking about using ‘disruption’ like adults think they mean it: as something that causes a big change to the way things are done. ‘Cos let’s face it, there’s a lot that needs changing.

So how can you disrupt for fun and profit (and maybe for other more important things)?

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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Lie of Neo Liberalism

As I watch the Greek crisis unfold, and see how austerity and the Neo-Liberal Taylorist heresy is rammed down everybody’s throats, I am reminded how pernicious these philosophies have proven in the educational sphere as well. Much of the last century has seen a relentless march towards trying to place education on a scientific footing. We have seen the cry for behavioural objectives, for standardized testing, for big data, and all of it is aimed at removing the uncertainty and woolliness of the teacher from the equation. The Neo-Liberal project is anti-humanist and it will suck the life out of the classroom if we let it.

Teachers are human, and as such have good days and bad days. We forget things, get confused, sometimes say the wrong thing, ask questions the wrong way, lose track of time or waste an entire period discussing why the Kardashians are not real role models with a class when we ought to be doing fractions or verbs! Our objectives are often woolly, and we sometimes can’t explain exactly why we are doing something in a certain way. We rely on our instincts way too much, we often talk too much and get the answers wrong. All this is true. Anyone who has ever been in a classroom will know that teachers aren’t perfect.

And yet that very capacity for being wrong is what makes teachers right. Teaching is not a science, it never will be. It is an art. I’m not saying that teachers should not be well educated, not only in their subject specializations, but also in pedagogy. They should live and breathe educational theory, and keep up to date with the latest research and theories. They should constantly be reading and conducting their own research.

What I mean is that education is not about standardized outcomes, in which every student emerges from the sausage machine with the requisite characteristics and knowledge to prepare them for a life of being cannon fodder for the greater machine we are meant to be cogs in! Our education system is a twin stream system in which a few schools, often private and vastly expensive, prepare the few to be managers and decision makers, and the majority of schools, under-resourced and forced to conform, prepare the majority for a life as office and factory workers, grist to the mill. Over the last hundred years or so the Taylorist argument for efficiency has won out, and the system is designed to be as cost-effective as possible. As Sir Ken Robinson so eloquently points out the system is dehumanizing and ultimately counter-productive. We have gone for the equivalent of voodoo economics, we have been sold the lie that by dehumanizing our population we will ultimately survive as a species.

The teacher, on the other hand, is all too human. That is the strength of the education system, that no matter what watered down, standardized bs gets served up for kids, ultimately there’s a teacher there mediating it for kids, and hopefully making it more palatable, more nutritious, more empowering. We have to insist that technology gets used in education, not to secure greater efficiency and write out the teacher, but for empowering both teacher and student to reclaim the classroom as a humanizing space. We have to insist that the true purpose of education is a process in which students find their voice, in which they build their own understandings of the world, and learn to be creative, critical thinkers able to understand the academic cannon, and to build on it and challenge it where necessary.

In short, we need to insist that the purpose of education is not the efficiency of the machine, but the creativity and emancipation of the human being. With creative and free-thinking citizens we can surely overcome any challenge we face. There’s no space for Taylorism or austerity in education. Let us Occupy our classrooms today!

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Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Pedagogy


11 Hilarious Hoax Sites to Test Website Evaluation

11 Hilarious Hoax Sites to Test Website Evaluation

Originally posted on TeachBytes:

website_evaluation.8-10.custom_structured_siteIn this day and age, where anyone with access to the internet can create a website, it is critical that we as educators teach our students how to evaluate web content. There are some great resources available for educating students on this matter, such as Kathy Schrock’s Five W’s of Website Evaluation or the University of Southern Maine’s Checklist for Evaluating Websites.

Along with checklists and articles, you will also find wonderfully funny hoax websites, aimed at testing readers on their ability to evaluate websites. These hoax sites are a great way to bring humor and hands-on evaluation into your classroom, and test your students’ web resource evaluation IQ!

Check out these 11 example hoax sites for use in your own classrooms:

  1. All About Explorers
  2. Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division
  3. California’s Velcro Crop Under Challenge
  4. Feline Reactions to Bearded Men
  5. Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
  6. Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie
  7. British Stick…

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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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