“I’ve got some skin in the game,” we might hear from a politician. Or a businessperson might say, “We give our workers stock options. That way they’ve got some ‘skin in the game’”. (Nic says: It translates as having a strategic person (skin) in a field of play (game) for those of us outside of the USA.)
What about educators? When do we have ‘skin in the game’? Look around your school. How many teachers do you see who are assessing students because it’s something they’ve just gotta do. The results will likely end up on a spreadsheet, in a folder, deep inside a file cabinet, in a locked room. Take another look. How many teachers are letting their students use Chromebooks to write stories only because their students twisted their arms to let them try out a new online tool? How many principals do you see using digital tools to track student progress in reading and math—only because the Superintendent of Schools insists that they do?
No skin in the game!
In each case, the impetus for trying out a new digital tool comes from outside forces, rather than from within. There is no personal stake in the endeavor. No ownership. Which means little motivation. Followed by little to gain or lose.
When we work with teachers on implementing innovations, we need to make sure they are stakeholders. We need to give them a reason to care about their investment. Paint a picture of why they should spend the time and effort—whether it’s in taking on one of Nic’s Dare Devil Missions (see our next post or read it in the book!) teaching kids how to illustrate their stories with digital art tools, or record student interviews with each other.
What can you do to up the ante for everyone you teach with?
· Help each educator feel that he/she has a stake in the student-learning outcome of a particular innovation.
· Motivate students by showing them that they can have a strong impact on their own success through practice, hard work, and taking risks in their learning.
· Remind parents that their involvement in their children’s learning will have profound implications for years to come.
If we all feel invested in creating innovative, 21st Century schools, if people at all levels have skin in the game, then the odds are strong that we can make powerful changes that will greatly improve teaching and learning.
What have you found to be true? How do you get your colleagues interested in innovation and change? We want to hear from you!
I have been thinking about you TechnoTeachers out there who are keen to know what’s next. So, here is a short round up of new tech/ edSites either on the market, new to the market or about to be launched. What can you add to the list? Please pop us a note below!
In no particular order:
1. Polariod Socialmatic The old school camera that still prints instantly but now can be linked with your apps. Nice.
2. Educade. Want to integrate lesson plans and 21st edtech? Visit this. Aimed at narrowing the gap and STEM, I am sure you will find something to help you here.
3. Want to take professional shots on your Smart phone? Try this = the iPro lens system. Very impressive.
4. Heard of the Pebble? Basically if you don’t want to pull your phone out of your pocket or bag, this watch will tell you who is trying to contact you.
5. Want a tablet and a laptop? Try the new, hinged HP 360. No sure why no-one had thought of this sooner!
6. Want a camera with a difference? The Panomo Camera Ball (yes, you read it here) gives incredible shots and this is a camera that you will want students to throw as high as they can!
7. Want to teach 3D printing? Ask Leo the Maker Prince to help you. The site is gorgeous!
8. EdTrips. Never plan a school trip again without it. It lets you manage permission forms, budgets and itineraries for trips all around the globe. You can even search from their list. Love it!
9. Lastly, if you want to see what else is out there, visit this site. EdTech Review has teachers reviewing edtech and can save you time too. Brilliant idea. Thinking I might join it myself!
The first copy of TechnoTeachers is here! Modelled by my lovely three year old son. I am blown away that after all of our work - the final piece is here... and forgive my smugness if you will - but I am a proper author. Yikes! I cannot wait until Jules gets hers!
If you would like to get your copy now, please use one of the links below. Will post earlier images for discount codes soon.
Outside of the USA
Harvard's international distributor (including Europe, Asia and outside of the USA), Eurospan
Harvard (although there seems a real issue on the site today - must be all of the orders!)
Calling all school leaders on the go! And really, who isn’t on the go these days? Our modern world demands that we keep to an Olympian speed.
With that frenetic pace in mind, the editors of “School Leadership Briefing” have created a forum to discuss current ideas and trends in education—via audio interviews. (See iTunes for the app.)
Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Publisher, Michael Mantell – about guess what reader? Nic and my new book ”TechnoTeaching”! Michael’s vision is to make it possible for school leaders listen to people speak passionately about their work as they’re driving to work, exercising out on the treadmill, or, as in the case of one principal, while running through NYC’s Central Park. (Current articles include: the flipped classroom, hiring better teachers, and time management tips for the end of the school year.)
So—last week, Michael interviewed me, via Skype, and recorded my responses. Happily, he had sent me the questions beforehand, which I immediately shot to Nic with the subject line: HELP! (The questions touch on themes such as what it means to be a TechnoTeacher, integrating vs. using edtech, and closing the digital divide.) And Nic did, right away, being a fast-paced educator herself. So, when you listen to the interview, you will hear our combined thoughts. (I was channeling her, you see!)
Come join us on May 1st (2014). That is when the new issue of School Leadership Briefing comes out—with our interview about “TechnoTeaching.” Take a listen and let us know your thoughts!
Jules weighs in on gray matter after attending a conference in Boston last fall titled “Engaging 21st Century Minds.” Here are a few thoughts.
We are hearing about the brain more than ever today. Turns out that it’s an even more fascinating organ than we first imagined, before the age of PET scans, which essentially make the brain transparent.
So while it’s fun knowing about “the language pathway” and the link between Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, we always need to ask ourselves two key questions as good consumers of research: So what? And what does it mean?
Educators at Edutopia have been giving the matter of gray matter serious thought. In their report “Six Tips for Brain-Based Learning” they zero in on these practices:
1. Create a safe climate for learning.
2. Encourage a growth mind-set.
3. Emphasize feedback.
4. Get bodies and brains in gear.
5. Start early.
6. Embrace the power of novelty.
In it, the authors explain, for example, how powerful the amygdala is (the part of the brain that processes emotions) and how it can block learning if it feels threatened. You’ll learn more about Carol Dweck’s research showing that children who have a growth mind-set are willing to plunge in, make mistakes, and see feedback as something positive. These students understand that intelligence isn’t a fixed commodity, but can be cultivated through hard work. You’ll see how student evaluations can become a rich learning opportunities, how exercise enhances brainpower, why preschool is so important for developing a child’s 100 billion neurons during the first 2,000 days of life (!), and how to provide the brain with the novelty it craves.
Which of these six practices are you already using in your classroom? Or in your own life to keep your brain sharp? Let us know!
Here you go - to download a free PDF of the report please click on the button below.
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.