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Date: Sunday, 05 Oct 2014 23:57
I recently facilitated a conversation with new teachers on Assessment. I very much wanted to model what active learning can look like in the classroom and I simply refuse to just talk at people for an hour without involving them in the conversation in some way (as you can tell from slide 2 below).

The format was a riff on an EdCamp classic activity called Things That Suck.

Clear the tables and chairs away. Everyone stands up in the middle of the room, me at the front. My right hand is the "Rocks" side; people stand there if they agree with the statement on the slide. They stand on my left if they disagree; the "Sucks" side. They can also stand anywhere in the middle and change their mind at any time by "voting with their feet."

Each slide is followed by a 5 minute timer. Once the timer starts anyone can call out (I facilitate this part a little bit, making sure people get a chance to speak and be heard) and say why they've chosen to stand where they are. It's always fascinating to watch people walk across the room while listening to someone else because they've changed their mind.

Pro Tip: Get a "collaborator" to play devil's advocate; preferably one of the participants rather than someone seen as a leader. Very Machiavellian, but it works. And it's fun. ;-)

Assessment Rocks and Sucks! from Darren Kuropatwa

Feel free to use these slides or just replicate the format to foster some interesting conversations with folks where you are. Let me know how it goes.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)"
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 15:47
A study was recently published in the Journal of Psychological Science and subsequently reported on in The Atlantic, Scientific American, The Association for Psychological Science, several educational blogs, The Washington Post, and elsewhere online. The study is titled: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. The general consensus seems to be that people learn more effectively when taking notes using pen and paper rather than laptops.

Experiment 1
• Watch 5 TED Talks on YouTube.
• Take notes with either a laptop or pen and paper.
• Afterwards participate in distracting activities in another room for 30 minutes.
• Take a quiz on the content of the TED Talks.

Pen and paper note takers did slightly better at factual recall, significantly better on conceptual questions. The laptop note takers took more notes (they transcribed more content) than those using pen and paper (they summarized & synthesized more content).

The research on note-taking suggests "more notes" is a sign of more effective note-taking, however, verbatim transcription is a sign of shallow cognitive processing compared to summarizing and synthesizing.

Experiment 2
The same set up as Experiment 1 with one change. Laptop note-takers were alerted to the shallow cognitive processing associated with transcription style note-taking and told to avoid it. They were also told to take notes as they would in a classroom.

The results were the same: more notes taken by people using laptops, pen and paper note-takers did better on the follow up quiz.

Experiment 3
Again, the same set up. And again, with one difference. Since people typically review their notes before taking a test students were given 10 minutes to review their notes before taking the follow up quiz.

Again, more notes were taken by people using laptops. Pen and paper note-takers did better on the follow up quiz.


Many people concluded from this study that students shouldn't take notes with a laptop; handwriting is better. Mueller and Oppenheimer, the authors of the study, concluded:
Although more notes are beneficial, at least to a point, 'if the notes are taken indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content, as is more likely the case on a laptop' than when notes are taken longhand, the benefit disappears. Indeed, synthesizing and summarizing content rather than verbatim transcription can serve as a desirable difficulty toward improved educational outcomes (e.g., Diemand-Yauman, Oppenheimer, & Vaughan, 2011; Richland, Bjork, Finley, & Linn, 2005). For that reason, laptop use in classrooms should be viewed with a healthy dose of caution; despite their growing popularity, 'laptops may be doing more harm in classrooms than good.' (p. 1166)

In short, no.

The study does show that using a laptop is highly correlated with verbatim note-taking; we know that's not an effective way to take notes as opposed to summarizing and synthesizing.

John Jones, Assistant Professor of Professional Writing and Editing at West Virginia University, also points out a problem with the instructions given to students in the second experiment. Namely, that students were told to take notes as they typically would in class when using a laptop. The warning against verbatim note-taking may have been ignored in the face of the students falling back on what they typically would do with their laptops. It's unlikely their note-taking habits would have been changed by a brief verbal warning in an unfamiliar learning situation.

In the same way learning to ride a bike and learning to drive a car require different learning experiences using different learning tools also requires different learning experiences. Students don't automatically know how to take notes; it's a learned skill, one we have to teach.

In the words of John Jones:

I am not criticizing Mueller and Oppenheimer's research, only the implications they draw from it. The correlation between laptop use and verbatim note taking is incredibly useful information for it allows educators to address how students use their tools. It certainly does not suggest that laptops are "harm[ful]" or should be restricted. The "pen" is not "mightier than the keyboard."

Moreover, we have to ask, is taking notes in a lecture hall what we mean by "learning"? Surely what we mean by "learning" is a far richer experience than that.

Cathy N. Davidson, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, has more to say about this study as well. In particular, she says people are asking the wrong question.

What do you think? What do you mean by "learning"?

Cross posted at the Canadian K12 Blueprint.

photo credits: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Tulane Publications, creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Newman University , creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by ransomtech
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Author: "Darren Kuropatwa (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 17:43
I just got an email from Alan Levine. He's sniffing around for the origin of the quote many folks have often used, myself included, that we process visual information 60 000 times faster than text.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by [phil h]
Here's what Alan said:

I need your help. I have found an assertion repeated on thousands of web sites, and repeated so often that it is cited as a fact, yet I have tried and tried and have been unable to locate the actual source of this claim:
Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60000 times faster than text.

In the interest of dogged pursuit, information literacy, and all that we value as scholarship (okay I am laying it on)- can you help me find the answer? Or spread to someone who can?

Here's what I found ...

I started with the search engine millionshort.com by eliminating the first million hits from Google I circumvented the lions share of SEO (Search Engine Optimized) sites and took a first stab at the deeper web.

The 6th & 7th link struck me as worth following, the 7th link included a citation “The Power of Color in Presentations:”. (http://www.sspweb.com/SSP/visual_lit/VisualLitOnline.pdf) I thought the inclusion of a colon here was odd, probably someone doing a quick "cut & paste". I followed the link to a middle school student's paper. In the bibliography she cites a presentation by Ian Jukes. (Not the one I've included in that link. Its a pdf; page 8.) I first heard the "60 000 times faster than text" claim from him several years back in St. Louis at a workshop for administrators.

One more comment about that student's paper, look at where it's hosted; www.sspweb.com. Looks like a software solutions company. Why would a Middle School kid's paper be there? I did a little digging (go look at their About page). I suspect it's likely her teacher's website.

The link to the Ian Jukes reference is dead, I tried several ways of getting at it but didn't work too hard as I really wanted another source although he might have included some bibliographical info in there somewhere I suppose.

Another search and I found the 3M web page for "The Power of Color in Presentations":


There is no mention of the "60 000 times faster than text" research.

I did another regular Google Search for:

3m “The Power of Color in Presentations”
(quotes included; I removed the colon)

I found a link to a Google Books search:

In the book "They Snooze You Lose" by Lynell Burmark she cites the source as:


I looked up the link, which was dead, but the date (May 1998) struck me.

A custom Google Search for dates between 1 Jan 1900 and 31 Dec 1998 lead me to what I thought was the original presentation at 3M where I found this quote (below) in the transcript of a presentation given by Jenn Manalo, Sr. Product Specialist, 3M Corp. This talk was given at St. Louis College Valenzuela on 31 Aug 1998 (I used my browsers "find" command to search for the number 60 and five clicks of "next").

"Humans can process an outstanding amount of visual information. Actually, we can process at 60,000 times faster than text."

source: http://www.slcv.edu.ph/research.htm

Looking up that specific quote using each of the different options at millionshort or a regular Google search returns one result; that very same web page.

Now, let's look up Jenn Manalo, Sr. Product Specialist, 3M Corp.

No fruitful results from pipl.com or linkedin.com or anywhere really. I found several Jenn Manalos in the Philippines. I suspect Jenn is Filipino because she uses two Tagalog words in her talk "matandang mayamang" (old rich) and the url from the archive of her talk has a Philippines root (.ph). Also, St. Louis College is in Valenzuela, Philippines. None of the LinkedIn profiles I found have a Jenn Manalo ever working at 3M.

Lastly I used the "site" command and Googled:

site:http://www.3m.com Jenn Manalo


So it seems Jenn said it; maybe even said it first. (Her talk is dated 31 Aug 1998 and the date embedded in the link from the citation in Lynell Burmark's book points to May 1998 ... there's more work to be done here.) She said "research shows …" a number of times in her archived talk but did not say so for the "60 000 times faster than text" fact; although it is in quotation marks as though she's quoting another source. (Then again, it might be the redactor quoting Jenn.) She may have worked for 3M in the late 1990's and she gave a talk on effective presentations at St. Louis College in Valenzuela, Philippines.

Learning Pyramid
Learning Pyramid (Photo credit: dkuropatwa)
It's worth noting that Jenn alluded to someone else saying the "60 000 times" fact and, although she may have been employed by 3M, she didn't say the research was done by 3M.

All this reminds me of the Learning Pyramid hoax and another time I was "awarded" a Top 100? blog.

Good luck with the search Alan. I can't wait to learn what more you find. ;-)

UPDATE: Getting Closer

I realized I hadn't limited my original Google Search to the 1 Jan 1900 - 31 Dec 1998 time frame. So I went back and did that.

First hit was this pdf: Read 180 Aligned to No Child Left Behind hosted at scholastic.com (a subsidiary of the McGraw Hill publishing company). The research collected here is in support of their Read 180 literacy product. Direct from the pdf:

Media Researchers have found that humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, and visual aids can improve learning by up to 400 percent (Burmark, 2004).

I looked into Burmark … actually, I had already started that above. She's the author of You Snooze You Lose I mentioned previously. She apparently mentioned this same "fact" in her 2004 Book, Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn. In this pdf advertisement for the book she writes: "According to research from 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text."

We've already been down that road.

I'm not closer to the source of the research; I'm closer to saying it's an academic legend of the same sort as the Learning Pyramid hoax.

UPDATE: 14 July 2012

Still scratching away at this. I came across the "Pictorial Superiority Effect." These are the results of my digging around:

"Combining pictures with print or audio generally maximizes learning."

Still nothing about "60 000 times faster than text".
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Author: "Darren Kuropatwa (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "digital literacy, literacy, research, di..."
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Date: Monday, 17 Mar 2014 02:45
What are some concrete and powerful pedagogical approaches you can leverage in a 1-to-1 or BYOD teaching environment? What sort of practices shift the focus of teaching and learning from Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) to Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)?

That might be a million dollar question, with many answers. Nothing works all the time, but everything works sometimes; successful learning is largely context dependent. The real question we need to ask is: "What works best in my context'?"

The slide deck below illustrates five concrete teaching practices that may be helpful in answering these questions. They grew out of several workshops I've lead with teachers discussing emerging practices in BYOD classrooms for encouraging teaching HOTS. It may be difficult to hit on all five ideas in every class you teach, and there will always be a place in our classrooms for teaching LOTS too. Nonetheless, having these rules of thumb knocking around in the back of your head can help create learning experiences for your students focused on HOTS.

5 Rules of Thumb (designing HOTS classroom activities) from Darren Kuropatwa

Personalize Tasks to Students' Life Experiences
This is sometimes described as "personalized learning". Both the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) and the British Columbia Education Plan discuss and share resources for personalizing learning.

When students know their work is being seen by an audience beyond the classroom it encourages them the "up their game" a bit and do better work.

Be aware that there are two sides to this coin; one positive (Social Facilitation) and one negative (Social Inhibition).

Collaborate on Group Worthy Tasks
Find ways to have your students collaborate on group worthy tasks. A group worthy task has two seemingly contradictory components: It both requires interdependence amongst students and individual accountability.

Carefully constructed group learning activities can foster students' academic and social growth and help close the achievement gap. (pdf)

Giving effective feedback is hard. Dylan Wiliam says: "Feedback should cause thinking."

When you orchestrate feedback for your students from sources outside your classroom you also weave in the effects of many of the other rules of thumb mentioned above.

Teach Something
Teaching something is one of the most powerful ways to learn that something. As teachers, we all know that "knowing a thing" and "teaching a thing" is not the same thing. Find ways for your students to teach what  they've learned from you to others. If they do that online they are also making a contribution to the global knowledge commons.

Have you used any of these ideas in your own classroom? What was that like? Leave me a comment and let me know.
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Author: "Darren Kuropatwa (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "pedagogy, pedagogy"
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Date: Monday, 08 Jul 2013 19:48
This graphic sums it up brilliantly:

I first saw it in a presentation on SlideShare by Silvia Tolisano, Shifting to 21st Century Learning, and tracked it back Andrew Churches outstanding wiki. I have to think some more about how this dovetails with the ideas of change and the Cynefin Framework Clarence and I talked about in our presentation Scratch Best Practice, It's All About Beta Baby! that we gave at Alan November's 2009 Building Learning Communities Conference.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Feb 2013 01:21
Last night a group of Manitoban educators got together to talk about teaching and learning and how that learning takes flight when we take advantage of new opportunities offered by technology.

The evening was framed around having the six Manitobans who participated this summer in something called Unplugd, talk about this uniquely Canadian educational summit: 36 of us wrote a book in a weekend.

Anyone who's spoken to me since I got back from Unplugd knows what a transformational event it was for me and that I've really struggled with figuring out how to share what happened to me in a remote corner of Algonquin Park in North Eastern Ontario; a place entirely off the grid: they have no internet and the electricity and plumbing is powered entirely by the sun. The Northern Edge is a beautiful location.

I couldn't attend the event last night so my friend and colleague Andy McKiel asked me if I'd make a short video to share what I learned and what Unplugd meant to me. It's called Narrative Matters, a double entendre: stories matter and it's important to understand how to use storytelling to make ideas sticky. Here's what I made:

Ed. Note: I should have mentioned that The Northern Edge, where we stayed during Unplugd, is 23 km east of the small town of South River. In the video you'll see a brief picture of the South River train station where we disembarked. "The coat" is hanging on display inside that small building.

You can download the book we wrote (pdf or ePub), please do. Then share it.

I facilitated the team that wrote the first chapter: The Change We Need. Andy, Chris, Jaclyn, Lorna and Shelley made my job easy; they're some of the finest people I know.

I shared a story that motivated my written contribution to the book. Many people did, you can find the archive of all those shared stories in the Unplugd video archive. Here's mine as well as my written piece for the book.

You Matter
You matter because you can change the face of teaching and learning in your school. All you have to do is change the world - a little bit at a time. 

No teacher before you has ever taught children quite the way you do. No one ever will again.

The world needs to know what you’re doing. How you go about sharing your passion, your excitement, your enthusiasm for learning with the students in your classroom every day.

You make a difference in the world in the way you do this.

What you want for your students is for them to excel beyond your own expertise in all they learn from you.

It’s the dream of every teacher: to have your students become more knowledgeable, more capable, more competent than you.

It’s a measure of success.

Essentially you share your spark with them.

What we most want is to pass on that spark, this other centred attitude, an attitude towards the world that says: You Matter!

Adopting the attitude: “You Matter”, making people other than ourselves important and finding ways to make them more awesome, in the end, makes each of us a little more awesome. It creates the change we need in the world.

Let's pass that on to our students so they know they matter and understand their job is to make everyone they meet a little more awesome. When they’ve internalized what they’ve learned from us and brought it to another level: that’s success.

No one will ever see the world through the eyes of our students again. No one ever has, throughout the entire history of humanity. They have a unique contribution to make. We help them understand this is also true for everyone they meet.

Imagine a Canada, a world, where every politician, every trades-person, every professional, every store clerk tackled the world in this way? They’re all sitting in your classroom. Learning from you. Teach us too. Share what you know. Share how you know. Share what you learn. We need you too. You matter.

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Date: Friday, 17 Aug 2012 04:32

Maybe this is just a personal pet peeve of mine but there's a difference between Digital Ethics (ethical and responsible use and behaviour) and Digital Citizenship. The later is really about doing the things a good citizen does: participate in the governance of the community to which you belong, make a meaningful contribution to the global knowledge commons, leave things a little better than how you found them. i.e. participate in the community in ways that improve it.

It seems to me people often confuse ethics with citizenship. Both are important, they may even overlap in some places, but they're not the same thing.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by mars_discovery_district
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "digital ethics, Digital Citizenship"
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Date: Tuesday, 21 Feb 2012 22:36
There's a difference between curriculum and pedagogy. Curriculum is all about what we teach. Pedagogy is about how we teach it.

There's also a difference between knowing how to do something and understanding what you're doing. In mathematics there are all kinds of "how-to", or computation skills, that kids learn and promptly forget right after the test; sometimes they forget before the test. The thing is though, it's difficult to forget something once you understand it.

Seven Principles of Learning by dkuropatwa, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  dkuropatwa 

A few weeks ago I was part of a panel on the Richard Cloutier Reports show on CJOB radio here in Winnipeg. There were four of us: myself, Paul Olson (President of the Manitoba Teacher's Society), Robert Craigen (Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Manitoba) and Anna Stokke (Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Winnipeg). Robert and Anna are one-half of the group behind the wisemath blog.

There are some things we agree on:
  • All kids can and should learn basic computation skills (how to add, subtract, multiply and divide).
  • It's important for kids to understand what they're doing, not just to be able to perform by rote.
  • Manitoba's recent poor performance on the Pan-Canadian Assessment Programme test is not good news and we have some work to do in mathematics in Manitoba.
  • We'd like to see Manitoba place at the top of future national and international tests of this sort.

Understanding the concept by dkuropatwa, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  dkuropatwa 

Some things we disagree on. I believe:
  • Learning with understanding should precede the learning of rote algorithms in mathematics.
  • To say Manitoba has placed 10th out of 11 provinces and territories in the 2010 PCAP test is a gross oversimplification of the the data represented on page 24 of the report (pdf). (Those confidence intervals are important. A repeat of the same test would likely have Manitoba place somewhere between 6th and 11th place. This isn't good news, but it's a little more nuanced than "10 out of 11". People knowledgeable about mathematics should be helping the public understand these nuances and promote informed discussion.)
So the crux of our differences are two-fold:

(1) I believe Robert and Anna conflate curriculum and pedagogy and are reading the Manitoba Curriculum documents as pedagogical texts when they were never intended to be read that way. Curriculum tells us "what" to teach, not "how" to teach.

(2) Robert and Anna believe the teaching of algorithms should be student's entry point to learning the basic operations (+, -, x, ÷). I believe the algorithms should be closer to the end-game of learning the basic operations.

John Scammel blogged about his take on the views expressed on Robert and Anna's blog. John points out in the comments the clear distinction the wisemath blog draws between Mathematicians and Mathematics Educators and the populations we teach. In K-12 classrooms we teach all students. The student body in University is different. Students taking math at University want to be there. That's not true of many students in the K-12 sector; the challenges are quite different.

On further reflection, there's a third difference: public (and private) debate should be open and sidestep insult.

The wisemath site seems to reject any comments that debate the blogger's views.

What I've read in the comments on John's blog and on Anna's blog (The last sentence of the last paragraph was recently edited; it used to say all future mathematics education research has no merit as a result of the issues Anna took with the article she blogged about. I regard this edit as a positive evolution in her thinking.) seems to hold K-12 teachers in a disdainful light.

Here's the audio from the CJOB panel we sat on together. It was a 2 hour broadcast, without commercials it's about 58 min. I took out the commercials. We talked about much more than was broadcast in the moments we were "off air". That was also an interesting conversation; unfortunately we didn't capture it. Next time I'll bring along my mp3 recorder. ;-)

Download (53.2 MB)

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Date: Monday, 20 Feb 2012 16:32
Reading (318/365)
cc licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by Jack Amick
A few years back my friend Bud Hunt published an unusual post on his blog; it was titled Going South. In just a few short sentences he shared that he'd be spending a week visiting his grandfather's garden. "As best as I can determine, the first reference on the Internet to my grandfather, a man that I know far too little about, is this one." he wrote. There was one link in the entire post; the words "this one". You can tell from the comments, not every reader followed the link.

I was talking with a couple of English Language Arts teachers today. They're planning to have their classes do most of their writing online this semester. We were talking about how they might use a Mother Blog model to do that. They'll use Google Reader to monitor the community; subscribing to both the posts and  comments of their students' blogs.

I wanted the two teachers I was talking with understand how to help their students learn to read and write hyperlinked text effectively. I shared with them the story of Bud's "Going South" blog post. It's a poignant lesson in reading and writing linked text. (In the privacy of my own thoughts: This will also be a nice memorial to Bud's granddad. In a way, he'll teach and touch the lives of generations beyond his immediate family.)

A Better Metaphor for Life Long Learning
In his book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger talks about the difference between writing on paper and writing hyperlinked text. Paper has physical limitations that digital text doesn't. It starts and ends. It's only so wide and so long. A paper book can only contain so much content. Even if it's one of many volumes in a larger work.

Have you ever started reading an article online, say in Wikipedia, clicked a link, then another? And another. Only to find yourself two hours later having explored a web of ideas unique to your personal interests along the way. Eventually you stop. Not because you're "finished" but because life imposes other demands on your time.

Digital text is different. It's a much better metaphor for life long learning. And you can't write linked text if you aren't reading. Lots. (It's taken me years of reading to write this blog post.)

New Media, New Process
Not too long ago Dean published a post about writing hyperlinked text. He had collected a number of comments in a storify archive and reshared a video Will had made about his writing process. (Think that through as a writing process.) Watch:

This sort of process is another thing I shared with the teachers I was talking with:

  • Using a mind mapping tool, like mindmeister, that includes hyperlinks is different.
  • Clipping ideas contained in text, images and video using a tool like Evernote, which allows you to create web pages & hyperlinks is different.
  • Writing by stitching your ideas together from hyperlinked sources is different.
  • Reading that text is different too. It matters where you publish it, online or off. Different media (paper or digital) carry different messages. 

I'm fascinated to see the student writing that emerges from this semester.

I'm also curious; is there anything different about how you teach reading and writing digital text? Any advice for us?

UPDATE 20 Feb 2012
Check out Bud's thought provoking digital writing workshop (a network of Google Docs): 
Reading 1.0 - How Digital Changes Nothing. And Everything. Is All.
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Jan 2012 21:29
Too Big To Know by David WeinbergerImage by dkuropatwaHow'd you like to know "how our concept of knowledge is changing in the age of the Net"? (John Seely Brown quoted from the dust jacket)

Since I first heard David Weinberger say: "The smartest person in the room is: The Room!" I've repeated it often. I've seen it in action. In his new book Too Big To Know he fills in a few more details about this. The room is "smartest" as a function of the networked connections between all the people in it, and out of it, via the internet. I hear echoes of George Seimens and Stephen Downes in that.

Anyway, the book was published on 3 January 2012 and I just got my copy of it today. In the last 10 days or so the idea of an #edbookclub flared up on twitter. So, we're going to do that. We begin this Friday. We've even got a timeline and a list of people reading together. The conversations have beginning times, to help us all stay on track, but they don't have ending times. So really, join in any time you like.

#edbookclub originally grew out of a conversation between Ben Hazzard and Kelly Power. They describe it:

What is it? #EdBookClub emerged from a discussion between educators (@kellypower and @benhazzard) about how using Twitter could encourage professional dialogue.  It will be a discussion about a common book or article, that is voted on via a TwitPoll, by educators and people interested in applying the book's content in an education setting. 
Why? The purpose of this Twitter discussion is to engage in an informed discussion on Twitter that also provides a purpose and audience for educator tweets.  This was informed by #educhat when the organizers in 2008/2009 began posting articles and other documents to heighten the conversation 
  • Participate: 
  • Read the book or article with us (or listen via the audio version).  Follow the #EdBookClub 'hashtag' on Twitter to find out new information.  Then send messages via Twitter with the #EdBookClub 'hashtag' to offer your ideas, questions, and comments.
  • Respond to #EdBookClub tweets to extend, clarify or question to enhance our collective learning
  • Follow along: Read all the #EdBookClub tweets by following that 'hashtag' 

If you'd like to join us message me on twitter @dkuropatwa and let me know. Get a copy of the book; it's only available in either hardcover or kindle format right now. As you read, tweet reflections and quotes from the book that strike you. Use and follow the hashtags #edbookclub and #2b2k. There's already been some talk about chatting in realtime in a Google+ Hangout or maybe in an eluminate room. 

Anyone want to take turns building a storify each week?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "edbookclub, twitter"
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Date: Sunday, 01 Jan 2012 07:29
How would you plan a reunion with a bunch of people you're terribly fond of, many of whom you've never met face-to-face, who you touch base with only occasionally and live in places scattered across the globe?

A few years back I lead a group of about 120 teachers in a year long immersive professional development experience around leveraging modern technologies to foster deep student learning. This was for Will & Sheryl's Powerful Learning Practice in their 2nd year of operation.

We did some cool stuff together. Stuff like this game of Presentation Tennis:

That grew grew out of a Digital Field Trip we did into Flickr. Here's the group where we shared our pictures:

Flickr was a great introduction to all sorts of ideas: social networking, learning through play, tagging, visual thinking, rss, collaborative learning, portable content, and more. Most importantly it was a way for us to connect personally. We saw where and how we lived and worked. We saw summer while some of were in the middle of winter. We saw little glimpses of each other's lives while we learned and played together. Bonds began to form.

Cary was looking through our photo pool when she tweeted:

So was born this little online reunion. We'll try to share a photo-a-day for as long as we can make it. If it goes all year great. If not that's good too. No rules. If you miss a day no problem; just pick it up again the next day.

We'll share our pics in our old flickr group and if you weren't part of the original group feel free to jump in nonetheless. Let's all tag our pictures: "intplpreunion12". They'll aggregate below ...

I plan to also add my pics to the 2012/366photos group.
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Oct 2011 05:57
TentsImage by rwillia532 via Flickr

In my math classes a typical test is modeled on the character of test questions students will see on their final exams: multiple choice, short answer and long answer.

In a grade 10 math class, what we used to call Applied Math 20S, a multiple choice question might be:

A factory makes tents.  The cost of running the factory is $300 per day plus $50 for each tent made. What is the total cost (C), in dollars, as a function of the number of tents (t) made?

(A) C = 350t (B) C = 50t + 300 (C)  C = 300t + 50 (D) t  = 300 + 50C

I like this question because it quickly allows a student to show whether or not they understand what a "function" is and it's easy to grade. While they have a 25% chance of getting it correct by guessing, in the context of the entire test, and their classroom experiences with me (read: conversations), I know if a student has grasped the concept.

Me and my CellImage by dkuropatwa via Flickr

A short answer question might be:

The monthly cost, C,  in dollars, of using a cell phone is calculated using the function C(t) = 0.09t + 20 where t is the time in minutes. What is the monthly fee and the cost per minute for this cell phone contract?

Another quickie that reveals whether or not the student can decode the information given in a function. Another question might ask them to reverse that; encode a function given the description of a linear relationship. As a matter of fact, there's a fundamental principle there about learning math: Anything you can do you should also be able to undo. i.e. If you can decode the information in a function you should also be able to encode information in a function.

Here's a long answer question: 

The cost of a school graduation dance has a fixed cost of $1500 for the band, security, and so on, and a cost of $22 per plate for every person attending.
(a) Write the formula which states how the total cost, C, is related to the number of people attending, n.
(b) What is the slope? What does it mean?
(c) If the maximum capacity of the hall is 225 people, what is the maximum cost of the dance?
(d) State the domain of this function.
(e) State the range of this function.

The question is not ideal; (d) should be a "gimme" if they understood (c) and (e) depends on the formula they created in (a). Mind you, if they wrote an incorrect formula in (a) but correctly applied it in (e) that's worth full marks in (e).

Image by nebbsen via Flickr

Something these three questions have in common is they require that a student understand the meaning of the marks they're making on the page. While every test has some straight forward calculations, by and large calculations are what computers do best. I want my students to understand what the math means and how it hangs together. Computers don't do that so well; although they're getting better at faking it. That's largely because of the cleverness of people who understand the math behind what computers do.

If your assessments largely test mechanical skills that's what your students will focus on learning. If your assessments test for understanding that's what your students will focus on learning. Which would you rather learn?

You don't have to teach math for any of the above to be true, do you?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "Testing, assessment"
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Date: Friday, 29 Jul 2011 15:41
These are the slides from the three presentation I did at the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston this week. While I've played with many of the ideas in these presentations before, in other contexts, I worked hard to re-imagine and rework them for the conference. In particular, the last one, Design (still) Matters! took many hours to put together and I felt like I was going out on a limb because I wanted to continue a conversation I hope started here last year. I'm already thinking about where a third incarnation of that talk might go. As alway, I had so much more to share but, alas, time is short. ;-)

The first and last were recorded as videos which will be shared soon. If you saw any of these presented or in the video archive afterward (I'll update this post with links when they're online) please leave your reflections, stories or personal tales of how they struck you. The comments of critical friends is greatly appreciated.

FYI: there are many active links to the content I discussed embedded on the slides. Click around the centre of each slide to follow the link if there is one.

21st Century Bricoleurs part one
Seymour Papert describes bricolage as a way to learn and solve problems by trying, testing and playing around. How do we learn by playing around with digital stuff? Can we create deep learning experiences that encourage students to show and share what they know with the world and contribute to the global knowledge commons? We will unleash a cornucopia of concrete student centred learning experiences that leverage the power of the world wide web and focus teachers instructional design through lenses that are student centred, knowledge centred, assessment centred and community centred. We will look at both small short term assignments and larger long term projects that will amaze you with what your students can learn and share as 21st century bricoleurs.

21st Century Bricoleurs part two

Design (still) Matters!
A practical exploration of the intersection between visual design, presentation design and instructional design. Every day, several times a day, teachers everywhere are called upon to educate, entertain, elucidate, enlighten and maintain attention and amongst their students. With the advent of interactive white boards and/or video projectors in classrooms everywhere, the intersection of these skills is fast becoming a centrepiece of an educators toolkit. This workshop will model and illustrate concrete ways in which teachers can incorporate these skills into their pedagogical practice.

Many people asked for a copy of the Pre-Show slide deck. They are all archived in my flickr account and part of how I participate in the Great Quotes About Learning and Change group. The slides are embeded below but I also have a design challenge for you based on this and Ewan McIntosh's keynote.

In his keynote at the end of the 1st day of the conference Ewan asked everyone to read Dylan Williams 12 page article Inside the Black Box (pdf). He also encouraged people to read A systematic review of the impact of summative assessment and tests on students' motivation for learning (pdf).

Here's your design challenge: Read those articles, or just the bits that most interest you. Pull out a powerful quotation from the article. Find a striking creative commons image on flickr analogically related to your quote. Mash them together and contribute them to the pool of photos in the Great Quotes About Learning and Change group. I can't wait to see your thinking made visible in this way. ;-)
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Date: Sunday, 24 Jul 2011 18:38
I've been thinking and reading about what it would be like to teach a (math) class in a school with a Bring Your Own Device policy.

Apple mobile devices / Kenneth / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

My answer: "My class will teach the world what they learn with me. Everything will be accessible online and on a mobile device."

Here's what I would set up:

1. A class blog to tell the learning narrative of the class. It will also serve as assignment distribution hub and reflection archive; the kids will blog. A distinguishing feature of a blog over a wiki is that everything is time and date stamped. It preserves a narrative over time and easily shows growth. Also, with a well thought out tagging scheme, the content can be flexibly reorganized on the fly to show the learning narrative of an individual student or the class as a whole across a unit of study or the entire course.

2. Create a "Hand-It-In" form in Google Docs for each class. The form will include entries for Name, Assignment (from a popup list to ensure consistently), link to [Gdoc, wiki, blog, flickr page, whatever], student assessment based on co-created rubric. That last entry is really important to me. I want the students to  be reflective learners but I also want them to have clear targets so they know what excellence looks like. This also creates a bit of push-back for me to always ensure the students know the assessment criteria before they complete each assignment. They will also know how those criteria will be applied because they had a part in their design.

3. We'll use a group texting mobile app/service, like a closed twitter network, for ongoing communication and peer support such as GroupMe or Swaggle or Grouped{in} (iOS app). Please let me know if you know of other alternatives. I'm not sure which of these would be the best service to use in class. I like that Swaggle limits the number of txts the group can send in each 10 min period. I foresee conversations that are more focused with less "LOL" "OMG" and "ha!" replies although I would encourage "tnx". I would really enjoy the class conversations we'd have as we work together to figure out the best way to do this.

4. I'll set up a group posterous to aggregate SGC (student generated content). (I've done this before for teacher workshops.) This space can also be used to Hand-in work, and share resources w the class. A few nice things about posterous: It just works. Everything you email to posterous as an attachment (photo, video, document, PowerPoint, whatever) is automatically displayed interactively on the site and all the content can be downloaded/remixed at will. It might be a good place for students to collect and share digital artifacts created while learning or working together on projects.

5. I'd also want to have a tagging protocol like I do on my class blogs. We'd use the same protocol on all our digital work wherever it may be: posterous, flickr, wikis, project blogs, etc.

6. I'll create a Diigo group to aggregate links and create ad hoc discussion groups (teacher or student initiated). We'll also aggregate links that respect the class tagging protocol here. Everything on Diigo has RSS feeds so I can move the content around any way I like. I'll likely have windows to the group discussions and link archive on the class blog. In the past I've done something close to this using delicious but delicious doesn't have the group discussion feature built in.

7. Each student will need a flickr account. With younger kids I'd buy a flickr Pro account (about $25/year) and we'd all share the one account. They'll need this for their flickr assignments. I want to use flickr more with students; work more on thinking visual. I've seen some awesome riffs on my idea in other subject areas.

8. We'll need a wiki for our Wiki Solutions Manual. I imagine a wiki or Google site will likely come in handy in many ways for students to collaborate.. Create it and skin it with visuals that identify each class. Ill ask the students to create the images themselves. Past classes have created a mascot like the one on this class blog (top right corner.)

9. I'll want certain apps to be on all their phones, iTouches or tablets; it's easy to find laptop equivalents of all of these. I want this list to be short. I'm not sure yet how this will play out but it'll be fun figuring it out together. One thing I do know for certain is that I'd like the class to make their own student authoured multimedia etext for the course in ePub format. It's dead simple with Pages.

Create Instructional Videos
iMovie ($5) or vimeo (free) app
[laptop equivalents: iMovie, MovieMaker, or jaycut (online alternative, but RIM just bought them out)]

Create Audio Summaries or Instructional Content podcasting apps: ipadio, audioboo, cinch, recorder & editor (99¢)
[laptop equivalents: audacity or garageband]

Create & Publish Multimedia docs ePub (register each class in iTunes, put a subscription link on each class blog, wiki, etc.)
[laptop equivalents and more info about the ePub format]

NB: Every time you see the word "create" I mean the kids do it, not the teacher

I'll also want each student to have the following apps; I want this to be a short focused list:
iBooks (or other ePub reader)
Google (Search, YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Docs, Reader, maybe G+)
SonicPicsLite (there are some digital storytelling ideas I want to play with)

I've left out some math specific apps. I'll share that in a future post.

10. The classroom routine will include a different student each week (maybe 2/wk) publishing to the blog and/or sharing in class "My favourite app for this class is ..."

Bonus: Who's going to design the "class app"? We might use Bloapp.

Did I miss anything or do you think this is all too much?
Hand drawn icons by Aleksandra Wolska
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "My Blogging Model, mobile learning"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Jul 2011 18:16
Circles / Círculos (Abstracción 011) /
Claudio Alejandro Mufarrege / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
I'm trying to get my head around using Google+. The Circles feature fascinates me; the G+ contact/group management system. Initially I read everything I could about how people were using it. I continue to wonder about this and thought I'd ask.

This is the conversation some of us had on G+ about it. I thought I'd share it outside the closed sphere of G+. I imagine (hope) all these G+ discussions will become part of the open web soon.

Darren Kuropatwa
1 day ago · Desktop · Limited
How do you manage your circles? What do you call them?

I have an "Everyone" circle and then Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Former Students, G+ (G+ googlers sharing lots about G+), a few "work groups" (I imagine I'll grow and delete these organically over time).

I've also divided people in my "network" into Tweeps (people I've actually met, worked with or engaged in long term discussions with) and "via PLN" (people I really don't know but with whom I have a number of common contacts).

Everyone goes into Everyone and at least one other circle.

What's your approach to Circles?

Jen Wagner's profile photo

Jen Wagner - I have People I have met, by states, by elementary, by rss, -- I add in circles for conferences (like BLC will be a circle of attenders). I have a Needs a profile circle and UNKNOWN. Everyone who I know goes into EDUCATOR (if they are) and I eliminated the EVERYONE circle. Finally there is my AHA circle. In that folder go people who really have made (and make) an impact to me -- so I can keep in touch.
Jul 17, 2011   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - Thanks Jen! I find the different ways people approach this to be fascinating. ;-)

IT sounds like you have a lot of circles. DOes that become onerous when you suddenly have a number of people to "encircle"?
Jul 17, 2011 (edited Jul 17, 2011)  -  Edit   
Kern Kelley's profile photo
Kern Kelley - That sounds similar to my approach, an everyone circle (in fact I wish there was some setting I could set to do it for me) then I add them to another 'closer' circle if it makes sense to.
Jul 17, 2011   
Jen Wagner's profile photo
Jen Wagner - It would be interesting the next time we all meet to open up our circles to see how each of us create/maintain them -- and the thought pattern that went into creating them. Well -- smiles -- it would be interesting to me. :)
Jul 17, 2011   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +Kern Kelley That would be a great feature! Sounds like something +Trey Harris and the G+ team should know about. ;-)
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +Jen Wagner Yup. You gonna be at BLC? Maybe we can do a hallway session.
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
Jen Wagner's profile photo
Jen Wagner - I have 14 circles --- but CA, TX, and WI/IL have their own circles. Plus DEN and CUE. Some circles overlap with people -- I am thinking of creating a Women of Ed Tech and Men of Ed Tech just to see if they are balanced. Funny -- as I was looking at circles, I noticed that I almost NEVER click on the PHOTO button..... and wonder why. (just an afterthought) catch you later, I am heading to Harry Potter.
Jul 17, 2011   
Jen Wagner's profile photo
Jen Wagner - No to BLC --- yes, hope hope hope to Educon and YES to ISTE in 2012 (San Diego!!) and you???
Jul 17, 2011   
Julie Cunningham's profile photo
Julie Cunningham - +Kern Kelley are you aware that there's a "Your Circles" option when you post? That would be everyone in your circles.... and I kinda figure my main stream is my "everyone" stream.
Jul 17, 2011   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - ISTE 2012 is a maybe. This year's ISTE seemed, from afar, to have a different (more personal?) feel to it that I find compelling.

I'm pretty confident the male/female balance will not be equal. Not sure why, but that seems to be the general makeup of the community.

Enjoy HP7 part 2. Saw it on Fri. It was great!
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
Brendan Murphy's profile photo
Brendan Murphy - I think the circles would be more interesting/helpful if I could see several streams at once al la tweetdeck
Jul 17, 2011   
Stuart Burt's profile photo
Stuart Burt - Friends, family, trust, read later, work people, following
Jul 17, 2011   
Claudia Ceraso's profile photo
Claudia Ceraso - So far, I only have one circle and I publish publicly. I'll see when the need to segment really pushes me to do so.
Jul 17, 2011   
Sylvia Martinez's profile photo
Sylvia Martinez - i have friends, family, ed tech folks, a couple of other specific groups, and "dunno" - everyone goes into some circle, unless I don't know who they are, they they go into "dunno". But then i take them out of the "dunno" circle if i don't like their posts. that way i never have to look at the incoming stream separately.
Jul 17, 2011   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +Claudia Ceraso +Sylvia Martinez Thanks. Lots of variety in how folks do this. ;-)
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
Errin Gregory's profile photo
Errin Gregory - I have family, friends, BC colleagues, Canadian colleagues, and virtual colleagues so far but I need to reorganize a bit. Thanks for asking the question, it's neat to learn what others are doing!
Jul 17, 2011   
Anne McKague's profile photo
Anne McKague - The "dunno" and "everyone" groups are good ideas. I have one called 'interestingness' for those who I can count on to be a bit quirky and "outta the box and beyond the circle".
Jul 17, 2011   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +Errin Gregory +Anne McKague Thanks for weighing in. I hope more folks do as well. ;-)
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +Brendan Murphy +Stuart Burt Forgot to thank you fellas too. ;-)
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
C Foote's profile photo
C Foote - I think it's really interesting. One thing I like about FB is that I learn more about work colleagues personalities, other colleagues personal lives, as well as using it professionally. So I wonder if limiting conversations to certain groups sometimes might diminish that ability to connect on a more human level--if some only share professional with professional, etc. Does that make sense?
Jul 17, 2011   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +C Foote You raise a good point. The difference btw FB and G+, for me, is that with G+ it's my choice how much I share and with who.

Connecting with colleagues personally creates a more textured professional relationship, yes, but ultimately each of us is entitled to decide how much we share and with whom.
Jul 17, 2011  -  Edit   
Alanna King's profile photo
Alanna King - Specializations in their work, I just made one for Unplug'd. PLN vs. people I wish would join my PLN.
Jul 17, 2011   
Lorraine Orenchuk's profile photo
Lorraine Orenchuk - I have an inspiration circle and haven't used the everyone circle yet. I hadn't thought of using circles for conferences Jen, that sounds interesting but many of the folks I will connect with in Boston are already in a circle. Will the specific circle allow for more immediate connection when at the conferences? Is that the idea? I am not sure I will be able to check all of this while working/learning/playing/presenting. I will be watching to see how others explain this.
Jul 17, 2011   
Ann Oro's profile photo
Ann Oro - In Friends, I've been throwing people I feel I've gotten to know well over the years through Twitter. In Aquaintances, I put new people who definitely seem to be in K12 education. In Following I put people I just want to see but I know only from afar (think paid speakers). I added Catholic Edu for teachers in Catholic Education, In Person for people I've met [like you :) ]. In Random People I put non educators who added me for some reason. In Random Education I put university types who added me. I just created Administrators since I'm pursuing my masters in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy which will lead to a principal's license. Thanks for sharing your breakdowns.
Yesterday 8:06 AM   
Ann Oro's profile photo
Ann Oro - By the way, the In Person one comes in handy. Your post would have gotten lost in the stream, but it was pretty close to the top when I clicked on this particular stream which allowed me to respond to your question.
Yesterday 8:07 AM   
Darren Kuropatwa's profile photo
Darren Kuropatwa - +Alanna King +Lorraine Orenchuk Thanks for chiming in!

+Ann Oro The way you describe using circles is the way I use twitter lists. One of the things I like about twitter lists is I can make them into daily newspapers of the resources shared using paper.li or twittertimes.com I wonder if +Trey Harris and the G+ team will add a feature like that in a future iteration of Circles?
Yesterday 12:12 PM (edited Yesterday 12:12 PM)  -  Edit   
Raman Job's profile photo
Raman Job - Anyone know if you can look at Google+ circles through FlipBoard on the iPad, yet? Love browsing through my Twitter and FB that sometimes.
Yesterday 1:26 PM   
Ann Oro's profile photo
Ann Oro - +Darren Kuropatwa It's funny. I don't tend to use Twitter lists in this way. I have made daily newspapers, but I ended up not using them after I made them. The idea of hashtags really interests me and does an easy way to search a stream. I sent in some feedback about those items.
Yesterday 4:25 PM   
Jen Wagner's profile photo
Jen Wagner - Hmmmm -- I tried twitter lists -- but didn't really get it. I did use hashtags -- which perhaps in a way work like lists -- not sure. To Lorraine -- the circles for conferences will serve (I guess) like a hashtag. It will enable me to follow people at a certain conference....whether or not they are posting about the conference will be seen. It just seems a quick click to see what my friends might be involved in at the same conference. (smiles -- we shall see though).
Yesterday 9:10 PM   
Ann Oro's profile photo
Ann Oro - Following people at conferences could be an interesting way to use a circle, Jen.
Yesterday 9:17 PM   
Jen Wagner's profile photo
Jen Wagner - Smiles -- it might be seen as stalking. But it just seems it might carry a common thread.....or not. :)
Yesterday 9:24 PM    

Ryan Bretag
 has been doing some real heavy lifting around co-constructed learning spaces. I learned lots from talking to him on G+ about the use of Circles. It'll be really interesting to see how the use of Circles and G+ plays out in classrooms in the coming year.

(I wonder if sharing this conversation here fractures the discussion or adds another layer?)
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: ""Social Media", Google+"
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Date: Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:29
I'm a big fan of TED. They've published over 900 talks to date, not counting all the TEDx talks and I expect they'll hit 1000 just about in time for the new school year. (I wonder if we should do something about that?) Anyway, I've used many TED talks in my math classes in various ways and I thought it might be nice to have them all gathered together in one place. So, here they are, the 24 TED talks I think are most connected to math in some way. (Actually, I cheated, the last one is from TEDx Observer.) If you know of any I left out, or any TEDx talks that should be included leave a comment here and I'll add it in. Feel free to copy and repurpose this in any way you like.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "video, TED"
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Date: Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 07:54
So the blog's been pretty quiet, I haven't blogged much since the summer. I've been sharing stuff in a number of my other online spaces and I figured it was time for an update so here's what I've been up to ...

All the workshops I did last year in my day job are housed on my Sr. Years ICT wiki.

This year I'm doing a similar job in the French sector. My new wiki is called Litteratie avec les TIC. It has some content in both languages.

My Slidespace is where I share almost all my presentations; all of them that aren't housed on wikis.

I've made a few of them into "slidecasts" (slideshow+podcast) three of which are below:

I've Got 5 Minutes
View more webinars from Darren Kuropatwa.

 Teaching Interdependance v3
View more webinars from Darren Kuropatwa.

I've been slowly growing my YouTube channel. It has some instructional screencasts and a couple of presentations including my Keynote for the 2010 K12 Online Conference cut up into three bite sized parts:

5 Minutes To Make A Difference - about 5 min

Teaching (a pedagogical framework) - about 8 min

The full uninterrupted Keynote for the 2010 K12 Online Conference, called interSections, is available on my blip.tv channel - about 25 min

I've been sharing lots of stuff via my flickr account; I'm trying to keep up with taking at least one photo a day and cross posting them to my photo blog. As I read interesting things I've been trying to get better at designing visual learning objects by mashing up interesting images with interesting quotes. I've been sharing them in the Great Quotes About Learning and Change photo pool and in two photo sets, one in English and the other en français. (I've got some catching up to do with my French flickr set.) Everything is licensed under Creative Commons so feel free to reuse them in any way you like.

Some of my workshops housed on wikis are:

SMARTen Up! (how to use an IWB effectively in the classroom)

All Things Audio (hands-on educational podcasting workshop with my buddies John Evans and Rob Fisher.) It's also available in French as Toutes choses audio (I flew solo on this one. John and I are planning to make it available in Spanish and German at the upcoming B.Y.T.E. Conference at the end of February.)

Gettin' Googley (an introduction to select Google Tools in education)

I also have a presentations wiki for other workshops I've done but it really needs some cleaning up. If you don't mind the mess you can poke around.

And finally, here are some of the varied spaces you can connect with me online.
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Date: Friday, 19 Nov 2010 22:21
... was the title of the Keynote address I gave to 500+ educators at this year's B.Y.T.E. conference. The sense I had of the audience was that many of the ideas I talked about here were new to them. A quick survey of the room while giving the talk revealed only about three people had heard of Wolfram Alpha and I think about the same number had heard of the TPACK Framework.

I hope I get a chance to do this talk again. There are a number of things I think I could have done better.

Anyway, if you're interested, here it is in various formats. You pick how you'd like to take it in.


Download (20 MB)


Ustream Video (thanks to Chris Harbeck

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Author: "Darren Kuropatwa (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "conference, pedagogy, SmartBoard, IWB, t..."
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Date: Friday, 16 Jul 2010 05:29
Cross posted from the November Learning blog.

Community First

Michael Wesch by flickr user poptech
Michael Wesch's keynote this morning was simply breathtaking. In the follow up breakout session someone asked him: "How do you stop students seeing themselves as students, and as collaborators?"

Mike sighed, put both hands on the podium and said: "That's really hard work."

He went on to explain "community first." He uses the first two weeks of class to build a sense of community and togetherness in a shared quest to solve a real world problem. A problem he himself doesn't know the answer to.

"Doing crazy things together creates community." 

Micheal plans his most passionate and enthusiastic lectures for those first two weeks. And he has his students do zany ice-breaking activities to help them get to know each other and break through the veneer of passivity they arrive in his class with. But it's not just about having fun; these activities (like human scavenger hunts) all have a serious edge to them. They have to see that they'll have fun learning here, but we are working hard at learning.

The Lesson Design Arc: schedule-research-paper-video 

The kids begin by co-creating a schedule on a wiki for the research they'll do to solve the problem they've decided to work on. They begin by digging into the problem and reading everything they can on it. Summaries of all their reading are compiled on the wiki. Typically they'll read over 90 articles, papers, or books in the first week of class as they do this. (In more typical University classes they read about three articles in the first week.) Mike guides them, having a little deeper experience in the field then they do, by suggesting other sources they might wish to explore. They continue this research and co-create a research paper for publication. When that's all done, they create very brief condensed video summaries of their research, submit them to Mike who then weaves them together into a brief (5 min?) video. All this is only possible because of the community building work they do together in the first few weeks of the course.

There's a lot more to all this, I'm just summarizing (his integrated, collaborative, calibrated peer review assessment scheme – which goes well beyond <-- that link back there – is brilliant), but that's the broad strokes takeaway I got.

When Things Go Wrong

My Pencil by flickr user jbelluch
Sometimes, when people work together closely on a real world problem things wrong. People get upset. Students goof off in class.

When that happens Mike intervenes using a ritual he learned from an African(?) tribe. It's very similar to the Talking Stick ritual used by many First Nations people of Canada. They use pencils instead. Anyone who is holding the pencil lets go of the little voice in their head that says "You can't say that." and speaks from the heart about what's upset them. The rest of the group talks with them about it. They don't put the stick down until they've resolved whatever the problem is. Mike usually goes first. Sometimes he cries while he's talking to his 400+ students. Then the next person in the group takes their turn.

A Pedagogy to Aspire To

Isn't that an amazing example of "intense imagination, motivation, emotion, and thought?" I had wanted to write about the amazing conversations going here: in the halls, in sessions, over lunch, every time someone stops me to talk really. But this morning's keynote. Just breathtaking. Good teaching is what comes from building strong relationships between teachers and students; relationships with a serious educational edge. (I hear echoes of John Seely Brown in this.)

I've got to think more about how to weave together such a set of diverse sensitivities into my teaching. How do you build a culture of caring in your class?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "pedagogy, conference, assessment, commun..."
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Date: Wednesday, 14 Jul 2010 20:50
Seeing History by dkuropatwa

I'm at the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston this week. I've been asked to guest blog over there during the conference. I'm cross posting here as well. (Maybe it'll encourage me to do this more often ... feels good to be blogging.)

Riding a Paris Metro David Wong looks up at the ads. All beautiful images captioned with little text. One, an image of the Earth and a single star. The caption: "When you look at Alpha Centauri — the closest star to Earth — you are watching something that happened four years ago."

In their essay What If Ideas Were Fashion? David Wong and Danah Henriksen (from Michigan State University) explore the learning that comes of creating these images. What if we applied a fashion designer's design sense to learning? As they ask in the title of their essay: "What if ideas were fashion?"

Early on they write: "The experience of fashion is often characterized by intense imagination, motivation, emotion, and thought."

That got me thinking. What if we substitute 'learning' for 'fashion' …

What if the experience of learning were characterized by intense imagination, motivation, emotion, and thought?

Have you seen anything at BLC that can be characterized as 'intense imagination, motivation, emotion, and thought?" Any one of those? two? three? all four? I have. I'll mention some examples in my next post. I'm far more interested what you saw. Please share it here in the comments. Better yet, summarize it in a "slide" like one of those you'll find in Dean Shareski's flickr group Great Quotes about Learning and Change. (If you've not seen it yet I highly recommend putting aside 30 minutes or so to get lost in it.) Find a (cc) licensed flickr image that resonated with your favourite quote from the conference so far about learning and add it to the pool.

Picking up on David and Danah's work I just started a new flickr group similar to Dean's. It's called Ideas with Style. It's specifically about mashing together (designing) a striking image with an educational thought, fact, or idea. Check it out, maybe add an image to that pool too.

Remember: neither 'social media' nor 'design' are nouns, they're verbs, and Design Matters!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Darren Kuropatwa)" Tags: "conference, BLC07, Design"
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