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Showing posts from November, 2013

You spin me 'round, 'round, baby ... Audio & Video Reflection

One of the things I stress when working with teachers is to have them record themselves in the classroom, either using audio or video.  It's eye-opening (and illusion-shattering) when you see yourself on the screen saying things and doing things.  It's made my practice more self-reflective in the moment -- what would I say or do if I replayed this later?

We've got a new little tool that alleviates two of the problems with just putting a videocamera at the back of the room:

Audio... if the camera is at the back of the room, the audio often picks up way too much noise from the students.  I realize that students are our raison d'etre, but when you're focusing on improving you and your teaching, you want to hear what you are saying (reflecting on what your students are doing is a whole other issue!)Movement... if you're doing teaching right, you're not standing in one place.  A stationary camera, even with a wide angle lens, often doesn't capture you as you…

Formative Assessment in OneNote

My own teaching practice, and my prioritization for teacher professional development, has been greatly influenced by Black & Wiliam's Inside the Black Box and, more recently, Hattie's work on changes in teaching and learning that have some demonstrable effectiveness across broad communities.
Increasing my use of formative assessment, or assessment as learning, was pretty much the first substantial change I deliberately made and would still be one of the first things I work on with teachers.

Technologically, we've facilitated that with the OneNote binder, as shown below.  We've got three spaces -- a dropbox for the students, a private & hidden marking space for teachers and then a read-only section where marked material is shared with students & parents.  Using it on a pen-based tablet means I can scribble ideas to the students quickly & easily and the synchronization means that student gets it as soon as I've completed it.

So it's been really be…

Milestones (for a Mentor)

We received great news this week: we've been designated a Microsoft Mentor School for 2014; one of only three across Canada.
From the website: schools must demonstrate a commitment to innovation and the ability to overcome obstacles in preparing students to be 21st century learners. In addition, they must have developed programs that can serve as models for other schools.

It was interesting that Microsoft's announcement focused on the Global Forum to be held in Barcelona in March.  While it is a nice bonus that two of our faculty will be attending the Forum over March Break and connecting with educators from the 80 other Mentor Schools for a week (as well as all the newly appointed "Microsoft Expert Educators") I am glad that the this milestone allows us to continue the conversation about being a resource for others.

Friends from PCMI will recognize that phrase -- it's been one of the three guiding principles of the PCMI teacher program and is one of my own pers…