Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Five Disruptions that will Change Everything

     I had the pleasure of sitting in on a small group meeting last Friday where we discussed forward thinking about how we educate.  How will we need to prepare & equip teachers for the future of education?  Are we promoting digital literacy & higher level thinking, or are we still doing the same old "Dog in the Box" (excuse the inside joke) projects because they are comfortable & easy to facilitate?

     One of the interactive discussions we had was about the KnowledgeWorks Forecast 3.0. (to download or request a hard copy go to the knowledgeworks.org site) This forecast looks at five predicted disruptions that will change everything in education (& life) and how we deal with them will very likely determine the success of our students in the future.  The disruptions are coming, so it is up to us to either fear or embrace what will be critical to achieving success academically, socially, & professionally.  Brian Bailey @bcbailey64 said it well...
"There definitely IS a tsunami coming (in fact, it's already here) - some educators will adapt successfully (because they have the right attitude to life-long learning and are flexible in their thinking) and some will resist to the bitter end (which means the point at which they become irrelevant to a changing education context). It's a smarter strategy to learn all you can about new technologies and then manage and control them to the benefit of your teaching and your students' learning, rather than to remain uninformed. It's more FUN too!"
So without further ado, here are the five disruptions that the KnowledgeWorks Forecast 3.0 predicts and the discussion our group had about them.  If our discussion & thoughts spark your interest, I encourage you to go to the link to read/think about these disruptions and the implications to your classroom/district.

Shareable Cities:
Growing up we all had our rivals...many of us still do, but sharing is what it is about.  On one hand we compete with nearby cities & districts, on the other hand we do our students & community members a disservice if we don't mutually share & get better together.  This is a point that Dr. John Marschhausen @drjcm stresses in his "Fostering a Culture of Innovation" presentation.  The days of keeping great ideas in your classroom...in your building...in your district...those days need to be over.  Maybe we draw the line at sharing with the Chinese...but even that is over. (Still acceptable not to share with N. Korea though)  City population's will continue to increase & sharing the learning of others will continue to become more real time. The learning landscape will weave learning throughout the community & expand learning resources for all involved.  This will take the form of shared services, eschools, school/community partnerships, post-secondary options, & increased dual enrollment opportunities.  The bottom line is "PROGRESS CANNOT HAPPEN IN ISOLATION", if you are not helping others, you are not helping yourself.

High-Fidelity Living:
The definition of High-Fidelity is the reproduction of sound with little distortion, giving a result very similar to the original.  We defined High-Fidelity living as the complete understanding of one's own personal knowledge.  This can be accomplished in part because of the tremendous amount of data that is being gathered & disseminated about you, how you live, what you know, & how you spend your time.  Don't think it so?  Just look at your key chain or wallet & count how many tags or cards you have from various businesses.  You may get a 3 cent perk, reward, paint color reminder, or info about when to change furnace filters (every three months by the way), but they get an in depth look at how to market to you.  They would rather give you a small incentive in order to get loyalty & the Intel on how to get the biggest bang for their buck when marketing to you.  How can we as teachers get the biggest bang for our time spent with students? Teachers can & have begun to guide knowledge based on flowing data (reminder data doesn't always have to be tests, don't fall into that trap of thinking).  A perfect example is Khan Academy which allows teachers to get instant feedback on how students are doing, where they are struggling  where they are excelling, & where they are trying, all wrapped up in data broken down which can guide instruction in the classroom.  The importance of all of this data out there is helping students to understand their Digital Footprint & how it shapes who you are...academically, socially, & eventually professionally.  To do that we as educators need to understand the importance of our digital footprint, how we make it & how it can be shaped.  Not sure where to start check out Alvin Trusty's @alvintrusty "Developing a Professional Digital FootPrint". One of the best sessions I have ever attended & stresses the importance of why some need to change their thinking, while others need to start thinking!!!

Democratized Startup:

In yesteryear we all started with the lemonade stand, good times & great business model based on the cuteness factor of a little kid asking "Sir would you wike to buy some womenade", but not sustainable as we all lose our cuteness.  Then of course the girls would babysit while the boys began delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, & shoveling snow.  Today anyone with a great idea can start a business with some hard work & good fortune.  Don't believe me, check out these top ten millionaire teens who have made their first million before the age of 20.  It makes me wonder if they passed their state achievement tests (which of course determine if they & their teachers are successful) or maybe if they were being to creative to give a rat's behind about a dysfunctional test.  None the less, shows like Shark Tank, where individuals can take concept to reality, only stress the importance of creativity & the entrepreneurial spirit that can lead to opportunities for success today more than ever before.  The Internet & social marketing afford more entrepreneurial opportunities for those who understand financial literacy & can really build something.  As schools are we actively preparing students to be productive adults by encouraging entrepreneurial opportunities like, building apps to solve problems, developing project solutions, organizing civic/social/community cooperatives, & bartering shared services?  These types of skills help students, solve problems, find themselves, & realize their potential. As educators, if you haven't already, we need to make the shift and begin teaching students how to think, not what to think.  A great segway into...

De-Institutionalized Production:
Life long learning is something we talk about, but is often thought of as more of a nice idea instead of a required practice.  We have to prepare students with a do it yourself mentality when it comes to learning.  As mentioned above, teaching students how to think is of the utmost importance.  More than ever before high school & college cannot be the end of learning or the end achievement by which one markets themselves.  As we share more, see Shareable Cities above, businesses & schools will do the same creating pools of specialists that are available via shared services.  Traditional work forces for companies & school districts will cease as the FTE goes bye bye & multiple end beneficiaries of your talent pay your combined salary.  How is this important to the thinking & abilities of our students and us as educators?  The ability to market yourself & create a strong personal branding will be of increased importance.  Sites like Linked-In (see mine as an example) where one can promote their abilities, hobbies, degrees, & talents will be one-stop shops for businesses or individuals looking to a la carte services. This could even translate into the idea of arranged time banks shared between companies for the purpose of shared services.  My strength becomes your strength, your strength becomes mine.  In a non-traditional workplace such as this, it is easy to see why personal branding/marketing will be an important concept to remain viable & relevant as an individual.  It also emphasizes the importance on life long learning, continued certification, attaining multiple credentials so on & so forth.  Short term, as educators, it highlights the question of what is more important, traditional grading or mastery.  A discussion I am sure many of you have already had or are in the midst of having.

Customizeable Value Webs:
Ok ladies, how many of you played with a mix & match barbie set or something similar growing up?  Guys, hope you didn't (not judging if you did), but you probably didn't build the original Lego plans more than once (if that) before you tore it down & dumped all the Legos into your overflowing bin ready to create whatever crazy design you thought of.  The point, we like the ability to customize & usually take advantage of it when offered or seek it out when not.  Technologies are allowing for new opportunities for customization and academia is not immune.  Parents & students are beginning to realize they can (and should) demand accessibility to resources, information, & learning.  Twenty-Four hour access to be able to learn anytime, anywhere, anything is available already.  We, as educators, have to be able to share & turn our classrooms into informational hubs or we will eventually be bypassed by those who cease seeing the need to use a middle man.  Seemingly harsh words, but looking ahead a reality that again we need not fear, but rather embrace!

After reading through these five disruptions I'll leave you again to ponder the quote from Brian Bailey @bcbailey64 . Perhaps reading it this time with a bit more of an idea of what is coming down the pike...embrace, don't fear!
"There definitely IS a tsunami coming (in fact, it's already here) - some educators will adapt successfully (because they have the right attitude to life-long learning and are flexible in their thinking) and some will resist to the bitter end (which means the point at which they become irrelevant to a changing education context). It's a smarter strategy to learn all you can about new technologies and then manage and control them to the benefit of your teaching and your students' learning, rather than to remain uninformed. It's more FUN too!"

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fun with PhotoShop: Be Creative

     Photoshop is one of those types of programs you use all the time or hardly at all.  While I do not use it very often, I had a little fun the other day creating some new logos for our Cross Country program.  As you can see from the pic, Raider Ed has been working out!

     Why stop there though?  Some teachers had been asking for some different Raider logos & I thought you know it's good to change outfits every now & then, let's do it!  So below are a few of the new Raider Logos I created for some Friday fun.

     There is application to the classroom though, being creative, having fun, that is what makes learning addictive.  Don't get caught up in always doing the same thing or teaching the same way.  Give your students opportunities to be creative & most will get addicted to learning. Here is another tweet from EdCamp Columbus last Saturday that I feel rings very true & the more I've reflected on it, the more I fully back it.

Keith W. O'Neal ‏@RaiderEducation
If u inspire ur stdts 2create, become questioners, they will become great learners. Don't fear, inspire! Don't worry,Just Teach! #EdCampCbus

Hope you enjoy the rest of your Friday & have a great weekend!
Green Eggs & Ham anyone?
Raider Education
Night on the town or impersonating Lincoln!
Time to grab the bull by the horns & talk slower.
Time to get to work!
I cheer for the Bucks, what you thought I was an East Carolina fan? 
Nope, OH - 
Sometimes I try to keep a low profile...on those days I put this on at hang out on MySpace

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why I do what I do...

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

     While we all know this is not exactly true, the point is still well taken that enjoying what you do will make a big difference.  I think the greater truth is...

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

     It is not so much about loving your job as it is about making the most of the opportunities & challenges it bring you.  I attended EdCamp Columbus this past Saturday & several sessions/discussion made me realize that is what it is about. We have the choice each and everyday to experience, to reach out, to gain richer experiences, and so often we instead throw it away by complaining about the reason's "why not"  In @tobyfischer 's session we discussed the importance of discussing in "and" and not "but" the difference presents you with a fresh problem solving outlook.  Here is a tweet from Saturday:

Thought: do we complain about problems we can't fix b/c were too afraid or lazy 2 solve the ones we can?   

In reality, every day we get out of bed is a good day (yes, even on Spring Forward Sunday).  It is a new day with new challenges but also new possibilities.  Like everyone else, I got to work with things on my mind today, stressors, problems, bad weather, and I decided to look for the positive.  

Here is why I do what I do...

After helping a teacher with the launch of her new online course I got the email response: "Yay! I feel super cool.....my kids clapped for me:) Old dog...new trick! Thanks!"

That's why I do what I do!

Today on twitter I have been retweeted 10 times already & the past week I have gained 82 new followers.

That's why I do what I do!

Last year at Ed Camp I got 4 RCSD staff to attend professional development on a Saturday, this year we had 8...goal for next year 16!

That's why I do what I do!

My blog from Friday on "Tweeting DC: the 8th grade DC Trip" was reposted/published today by Scholastica Travel.

That's why I do what I do!

Email response from a teacher today who needed last second help "THANKS SO MUCH!!"

That's why I do what I do!
...and of course today I stumbled on a newer version of an older video I've watched by Taylor Mali...this is truly why I do what I do, enjoy, live each day for the opportunity! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tweeting DC: the 8th grade DC Trip

Scholastica Travel Makes it Possible: 

     This Spring I will be heading to Washington DC with over 300 students for the 9th consecutive year.  I have co-coordinated the group for the past four years with Connie Gillenwater who retired last spring after 30+ trips to Washington DC.  Connie was a wealth of knowledge and it was great to be able to share the experience with her for the past nine years.  Trudging ahead, I am grateful to Amie Case for filling Connie's shoes as we embark on our first year without all the experience that we have lost.

     For the past 35 years we have used the same tour company, Scholastica Travel, based out of Greensburg, PA.  They have been a great company to work with & always provide great service.  Diane Rowe has been our tour director since I began, & she is the upmost pleasure to work with.  The most important part by far of any tour company is the tour guides who take part on the front lines and provide the direct service during the trip.  Diane has never failed to always have a great group of guides working together with her in order to provide our students a unique & memorable trip.  Taking over 300 students more than 400 miles from home is no small task, but Scholastica Travel makes it possible & allows us too share what is often the most memorable educational experience are students have.  When I walk through the halls of the high school I rarely go without hearing someone say, "Hey Mr. O remember in DC when...".  That in a nutshell is why I continue to go, & continue to make the effort to take as many of our students as possible.

Tweeting = Sharing = Learning:

   For the past five years I have been giving live commentary on our trip as we go via Twitter.  It has been a great way to share the experience with our elementary schools in the district.  Several of our elementary teachers keep a live twitter feed going throughout the day so students can read what we are doing or even see the occasional picture of a monument.  For a few years when I was still in the classroom I would have my students tweet as well & then have a live chat with elementary students when we got back.  It was great way for my students to take extra value in the learning aspect of the trip.  After all I believe very strongly that sharing is learning.

     The dates of our trip this year will be May 15th-18th.  If you are interested in following my tweets for your classroom follow me @RaiderEducation .  For following live I suggest a live feed like Tweet Chat or Twitter Fall . You can then follow my #RPLC for all the updates as we go.  Not sure how you would use this in the classroom?  Check out a few of the ideas below or post your own.  Thanks, & I hope you can share in our experience!!!  If you would like your class to get a special shout out from a particular place email me @ koneal@reyn.org with your class info.

Ideas for the classroom:

  • Hang a map of DC on your board, use push pins or magnets to attach pictures of monuments we see or connect with string to track where we go.
  • Assign a different monument, museum or building to each student in the class.  Have them research a little report.  When we tweet we have been to their topic have them get up & read their report to the class.
  • Queue up some videos from YouTube or somewhere like History.Com , Trip Films , or Field Trip to DC by Kids.gov to show as we tweet about the different places/monuments.
  • Have class discussion on places we go, find some great resources at Surfing the net with kids , National Geographic's Ultimate DC Guide , Washington DC ESL resources
  • Have students come up with good class questions & tweet them to me @RaiderEducation.  I'll answer as many as I can.  I'll even try to fulfill requests for pics, but most are uploaded at night when I have wifi access.
  • Learn about a different President everytime I tweet, I guarantee you'll get through all 44, if you need a good site check out usa4kids.com or The White House Presidents
  • This is a few, if you think of some more on your own post them below, would love to hear from you.
  • For your planning purposes below is a listing of the site we usually see throughout the trip.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

EdCamp Columbus 2013

     The 2nd Annual EdCamp Columbus is here!  Saturday @ Gahanna Lincoln Clark Hall the fun begins starting at 9am.

     Last year most came not really knowing what to expect, but just about everyone left with a positive experience excited to go back to their districts with new ideas, tools, & support from their new connections!

     There were four of us from Reynoldsburg last year & in fact I'll admit going in we were not sure what to expect at all.  We discussed on the car ride over that when we went for lunch we would decide if we wanted to call it a day or if it would be worth going back.  When lunch time came around it was unanimous we weren't about to leave, we had to see how the rest of the day went.  We did not want to miss out.  This year all four of us are coming back & we are bringing more with us to share the experience.

     In a word the reason I love EdCamp is "Fresh".  Without prepared presentations, keynotes, or the dreaded vendor session everything is very laid back, informative, discussion based, & seemingly "Fresh".  The sessions are filled with discussion, not lecture based like the typical conference. Through discussion you get to know others, collaborate & make contacts that you might not ever make at a typical session.  Gone are the days of only discussing potential ideas with the teacher down the hall, but for those who are still hesitant to collaborate with someone they've never met, EdCamp presents a great opportunity to meet other educators.  (Although, I've never heard of a Catfish scandal involving the discussion of differentiated learning or flipping your classroom).

     It's not to late to sign up and go to the EdCamp Columbus site for more information or sign up now only 139 tickets remain!!!  Would love to see you there, I'll be the one with the eye patch & wooden leg...no not really!
A shout out & big thanks to this years sponsors, it can't be done without them!!!