Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AWNM 5 Empathy

Julie Lindsay: Julie is the head of Information Technology at Qatar Academy in Doha.

Judy O'Connell: Judy writes, speaks, and consults on school technology and library issues. She is an teacher and information professional, and is the Head of Library and Information Services at St. Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Renee Howell: Renee is a parent of a Littleton Public Schools student as well as the Vice President of the LPS School Board.

Tanner Ragland: Tanner Ragland is a high school Computer Science and History teacher and volleyball coach at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, CA. He is highly involved in creating learning environments for his students that leverage real life experiences.

AWNM 2 Empathy

Dan Maas: Dan is the Chief Information Officer for Littleton Public Schools as well as a parent of a LPS student.

Lee Kolbert is the mother of two boys (18 & 15) and has 25 years experience as an educator (mostly elementary) and is currently a district administrator who helps teachers successfully integrate technology in their lessons. Lee introduces reluctant teachers to Web 2.0 tools at every opportunity as it seems those are the keys to motivating teachers to try new things. Lee also has a regular Web 2.0 Site of The Week segment on a local TV show called PalmBreeze CAFE(CAFE = Convenient And Flexible Education) which is also linked on YouTube. Lee is VERY excited to be a part of this project.

This is OUR Education. Act!

Alright, here's the place to brainstorm our ideas. Please please please help me. I can do this by myself if I really really need to, but help is always appreciated. Thank you, everyone.

For those of you who weren't there for our Fischbowl on Symphony, well, we talked about changing education towards the end of our conversation in the inner circle. Some say we focused on that a bit too much, but in my opinion it was one of our best. Ms. Smith agrees. Changing education will effect our lives and the lives of many many others. On our first day of school, Ms. Smith told us to change the world. This is the first step, and I, Tristan L., am willing to take that step, whether it be a stroll through the park or a giant leap of faith. I will work until I am finished, but I will never be finished.

So, please post ideas, no matter WHAT they are. If we want to change, we need as many ideas as possible. Literally. No idea is stupid. Post away!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reflection on Symphony

I don’t know if the topic was ironic, (we discussed Symphony) but today it all came together for the kids in both period 2 and 5. Maura also said her kids had dynamic conversations in both sections so our school today was on a roll. I want to make sure I thank all of our visitors who took the time to come in and challenge our kids thinking pushing them in new directions. Period 2 welcomed the wonderful Bud Hunt and Kelly Dignan, and Period 5 had the terrific threesome of Lucie Stanish, Christian Long and Eric Grant. All of them have our big thanks!

Period 2 had such a wonderful conversation centered around changing education to make learning more meaningful and significant for themselves. They even proposed having a fishbowl for the school board and bringing them here or going there to show them how learning can look and be different. I challenge them to do so. Why not? I hope they see that education exists for them not something that should be done to them. The power to change rests in them, not in me, not in Karl Fisch, and not even in our guests that attended today. If they have a vision and a purpose for redoing education, they need to embrace the passion and vision to make a difference. If they don’t do it, who will? If they don’t do it now, will anyone ever make the changes necessary? I wouldn’t be surprised if some AHS kids are emailing the school board and Scott Murphy to come in for a discussion.

Period 5 had a great conversation as well focusing instead of homework with their learning and finding the symphonic connections to school. They also really focused on how school could look different but no one seemed to think about how to change it or what steps are necessary to make the changes that they see need to be made. I would challenge them as well to take some action. In this class I saw the inklings of great thoughts. Kudos to Nick and Justin for making some excellent points! I am so impressed by the entire class for really seeing learning differently and how they are beginning to truly grasp that learning looks different than simply regurgitating facts. Learning is applying the information in new ways so that they understand it.

Some things for both classes to think about:
· Who is education for?
· What role do you play in changing education?
· If you know education/ school should look differently, why not do something about it?

Remember kids, there was only one thing I wanted you to do this year: Change the World. What are you waiting for?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Story

Hey everyone, we have started a new story at if you want to add on that would be great.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

AWNM 5 Symphony

Eric Grant: Eric is the Program Manager for KnowledgeWorks Foundation's Map of Future Forces Affecting Education. In that role, he searches for examples ofinnovation in learning and teaching, explores technology and social trends, and loves bringing the voice of the Foundation to the global conversation.

Christian Long (current classes, other): Christian is a high school English teacher and coach working at a college-prep, preK-12, independent school in Ft. Worth, TX. In addition to working in schools as a teacher and coach for over ten years (prior to his return in the fall of 07), he spent several years working with architects/planners, educational and technology leaders, policy makers, and communities to design and build schools from pre-K through the university level. This work took place throughout the United States and around the world.

Lucie Stanish: LPS school board member

AWNM 2 Symphony

Kelly Dignan: Kelly is an entrepreneur, instructor and coach. Her mission is to help business women know themselves, live authentically and create company cultures where others can do the same.

Bud Hunt:Bud Hunt is an instructional technologist with the St. Vrain Valley School District in northern Colorado, USA. He is a blogger and learner interested in the intersections of technology, learning, and people. His two daughters help ground him and guide his inquiry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reflections on Story

It seems that story is always a more challenging sense to discuss with the students. I think one of the reasons is that we ask the kids to stick to Story rather than bring in the other senses and secondly, their definition of story is often limited. I really appreciate our outside guests coming into stir the pot and get the kids thinking. So a BIG thank you to Tim Stahmer, Sharon Peters, and Jim Gates.

Period 2 had a good discussion but I expected a lot more from them. This class tends to be the best at coming into the inner circle and yet so few participants actually came into the conversation. My hope is that they recognize this and remember that the focus of fishbowl is on the conversation not the blogging. The blogging is just an extension of the inner circle which can go in many ways. I don’t know if Story was just that challenging for them, but I feel like they missed out on some key aspects towards Story. On a positive note, I did hear from them that they are starting to see more story in their math and science classes whereas last year, this was a major area of discontent for the “right brainers.” I will be anxious to read their feedback about the fishbowl and areas for improvement. I also didn’t think my inner circle was as prepared as they should have been. Kids didn’t recall what they had signed up for, and what their role was to be. Maybe I need to post the list online versus just keeping it in class.

Period 5 was better in some aspects- there was more movement into the inner circle, but they still lacked the Big Picture behind Story. Also, the conversation on some aspects was inappropriate and disappointing. It became a teaching and learning moment for the student and my self. One thing it makes me think about is how far do you let things go before you step in? Do we need to revisit the purpose behind fishbowling and what are the expectations? Or do you simply remove him/her from the situation so that they understand the responsibility that is handed to them when they fishbowl? These are some things I definitely need to talk to the class about and get their feedback on. I also need to discuss the difference between being passionate about something and being over the top. Like I said before, this was a learning day for me and hopefully the students and I walked away from today with some new knowledge and some good questions to ask of one another.

I guess I have pretty high expectations for these fishbowls always hoping to walk away from the conversation with ideas I have never thought of before. I really did walk away so amazed and proud with our conversation with Daniel Pink, but I think the kids weren’t as prepared for this conversation as they could have been. The students who are leading the discussion need their questions out and ready to go as well as making sure they are quality questions. Two, students need to go between the inner and outer circle. Maybe we need to go back to blogger to make this happen. Three, I need to revisit what is appropriate on the blog. I just want to keep pushing these kids to do their best. I know they can all do more than what they did today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To paraphrase Daniel Pink’s last comment to the students (because these are words I want them to remember for the rest of their lives) they did such a tremendous job today questioning and pushing back on Pink’s ideas. They asked higher caliber questions than he had been asked by reporters. He also commented that many of the reporters could learn from them. Yep, professionals could learn something from kids! Here’s a bit from his email:

“…and the questions -- were really, really good.” Wahoo!

Today, my students as well as Mrs. Moritz’s 9th grade Honors classes, video conferenced with Daniel Pink. Each class had one hour (actually 59 minutes and we used every minute of that) to talk with him via Skype and carry on a conversation on our class blog (live blogging) as well. I am so proud of my kids. I can’t say enough about how wonderful a job they did. They were prepared, challenging, questioning and responsive.

Reflecting back to a couple of days ago, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure they were prepared. I talked to Karl about it because the kids had just started reading this book. They hadn’t even been exposed to the abundance of ideas that flow from AWNM. They had pretty good first fishbowls with intro-3 (period 2 and period 5) but hadn’t really gone “Big Picture” with the ideas. I was worried. Once again, I learned the valuable lesson to trust in the kids. They always rise to the challenge. And they did not disappoint.

Not only did our kids do a great job in the inner circle talking with Daniel Pink, but our outer circle carried on a lively discussion about ALL things. I really think they have a vision of how to change the world, and these discussions as well as our reading are helping them form some good opinions about how to get there. I definitely have some opinionated students as well. This is something we will need to debrief on regarding how you can make a point without being abrasive or confrontational. Too many people are turned away from discussions because they feel attacked. It will be a good thing to debrief about and a good learning experience.

We had one of our students who happened to be in LA today still attend and participate in the discussion even though she was on the West Coast. We had participants from Penn, a graduate school friend of mine Greg Noack, and the famous David Warlick as some of our guest bloggers. Parents watched from home and work fascinated by what they were seeing their kids do and the opportunity that was presented to them:

“I was able to sit in on the fischbowl for half an hour this morn- fun!”

“Thank you very much for letting me take part in the live blogging session today! This was a very interesting experience, and I'm going to suggest to some faculty at Penn that they consider using CoverItLive.”

“Thank you very much for extending the opportunity to hear Mr. Pink to the students, and to us parents. I was very impressed with the exchange and grateful to be able to stream the action. Thank you again for your inclusive and out -of-the-box approach to this class.”

So, Period 2 and 5, you did a fabulous job. I am so proud of you, thankful that I am your teacher and excited about what our next fishbowl holds.

Thanks as well to Maura for coming along again on this crazy train, to Ben, my student assistant extraordinaire, to Karl Fisch my world famous mentor and who makes all this possible, to Mike Porter and Dana Levesque who provided great documentation of today and support. And Daniel Pink- THANK YOU!

AWNM 5 Story

Jim Gates:
Jim is recently retired from a career in Education that saw the last 25 years being in the computer field. He now spends his time learning about and sharing the ways that teachers are using technology to accomplish things that they were unable to do before the introduction of the technology. He participated in this event last year and is honored to be asked again this year.

Christian Long (current classes, other) Christian is a high school English teacher and coach working at a college-prep, preK-12, independent school in Ft. Worth, TX. In addition to working in schools as a teacher and coach for over ten years (prior to his return in the fall of 07), he spent several years working with architects/planners, educational and technology leaders, policy makers, and communities to design and build schools from pre-K through the university level. This work took place throughout the United States and around the world.

AWNM 2 Story

Tim Stahmer Tim is an Instructional Technology Specialist working in the Office of Instructional Technology Integration for an overly-large school district on the Virginia side of Washington DC. He taught middle and high school math as well as computer literacy. For the past 11 years he has helped teachers, administrators and others at all levels make sense of technology in their classrooms and, of course, repaired a few computers and printers along the way. These days he works mostly with the technology trainers in elementary schools.

Sharon Peters Until June 2007, Sharon Peters was teaching English at an independent middle and high school in Montréal , Lower Canada College. In the summer of 2007, she began her new role as education consultant for LEARN, an arm of the ministry of education in Québec, Canada. There she acts as the English Language Arts resource “go to” girl for the English sector of the province of Québec.

Friday, January 9, 2009

AWNM 2/5 Design

Dan Pink:
Dan is the author of two influential business books, A Whole New Mind and Free Agent Nation. Dan held his last real job in the White House, where he served from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. He's also worked as an aide to U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, an economic policy staffer in the U.S. Senate, a legal researcher in India, and a latrine builder in Botswana. Dan lives in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Outsourcing and You

What is outsourcing? How does outsourcing effect you? What connections do you see between the article by Daniel Pink, your own interpretations, and A Whole New Mind?

Make sure to react to one another's comments as well as asking in-depth questions of one another.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reflecting on Brains

After completing the brain test, and really thinking about brains, do you agree or disagree with the assessment of your brain? Are we really right and left brainers?

Read the article on the calendar about brains, what connections do you see to Pink's work and to the brain assessment? What are your impressions so far about what we are reading?

Make sure to carry on the conversation and ask questions of one another.