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10 Timeless Inspiring Education Lessons From An Almost Analog Native

welcomeIt is back to school time 2017 for many of us in the United States and beyond… welcome to the future! I dedicate this post to all of you wonderful educators . Please enjoy this reflective journey and share with others what I hope to be a teaching inspiration.  I wish all of you the very best as you enter a new school year! I hope you enjoy this timeless lesson… one that really does have a place in 21st century education. It is a reminder that teaching truly is an amazing art. Let’s all keep up the wonderful painting.  Please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017… very few dates left.   It’s also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

Are you going to FETC 2018 in January in sunny Orlando? I have four workshops and one featured session to share. Watch for more news coming soon!

10 Inspiring Lessons From An Almost Analog Native – Mike Gorman ((https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

It was a normal first day back to school. The building was still quiet and still. I could sense there was an air of extreme excitement and anticipation in the air. I sat at my desk and pondered the reality of a new year wondering about the new faces I would greet.  I already knew that all too soon I would be waving good bye to another group I had come to know so well. It is amazing what the short period of a school year brings to both educators and students.  Suddenly awakened from what was either my deep reflection or possibly a type of relaxing nap that only the whisperings of being another year older can bring, a panicked voice was heard at my classroom door.

He was a brand new teacher dressed as one who just might enlighten the downtown business club, yet he stood with the glazed eyes of a student still waiting for that moment of enlightenment. I had seen it all before, perhaps even in the reflection of a distant mirror over thirty-seven years ago. He was summoning me to his room, not that I regarded it as his room… at least not yet. You see, I had great respect for the educator who had been a part of the four walls that this soon to be teacher was leading me to. As he led me through the doorway of his new headquarters for dissemination of information I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar feeling of past warmth that was missing. There was a indescribable void, covering a large aura which had been in place for nearly fifty years.

As he motioned for me to look at the archaic blackboard behind the new, still packaged, and not yet plugged in interactive whiteboard I couldn’t help but smile. There, still written with chalk that  had the smell of fresh dust, were the words “A Message from an Almost Analog Native”.  Then I heard the young teacher’s voice asking how he might  get rid of the words. He pleaded that, after all, he saw no button to push to dissolve the print. I smiled and walked to the board and picked up the eraser. I cleverly planned to display to this obviously digital native, one of this school’s first such inductees, the magic of an eraser. I even had my strategy for providing a professional development moment on the use of chalk. After all, improper use of chalk can lead to an annoying screech that will send most students diving under their desks. As I held up the eraser I walked to the board and began to perform the ancient teacher ritual of erasing a black… not green,board. Amazingly, it did not work out the way I had planned. As I observed the pupils of this brand new teacher’e eyes grow large, I turned to the board and took a step back in awe. Not only were the words not disappearing… but new words were beginning to appear underneath. It was now quite obvious that we were both extremely engaged in the lesson that was about to begin. I have recorded for you the amazing script that came before my eyes that very day.

The Ten Lessons

Welcome to your new classroom. I am sure you are going to explain and teach in a way that I might never understand. You see, I come from a day of filmstrip projectors that beeped, ditto paper that left my fingers blue and the students enjoying the scent, bells that really did ring out a mechanical melody, 16 millimeter films that, if in color, amazed the kids. In fact, if these films were shown backwards it provided bonus entertainment. In recent years I have heard words that are so strange to me. These words include foreign terms such as twitter, blog, wiki, Skype, web 2.0, clickers, and interactive whiteboards. I have heard all this talk about 21st century skills and I am not even sure if I can tell you what they are. So there you have it. I am not one of those digital natives, nor am I a digital immigrant! I may not even be an analog native or immigrant. So, even though I do not know all the new terms, I thought that I might give you a list of ten items I feel just might ensure success no matter what century it is.

  1.  You come to school to serve your students. Put them at the center of their learning. Find great books, integrate fascinating projects, and include engaging resources.  As you do this, always remember that students must be at the center of their learning.
  2.  As you teach you will come upon some amazing tools. My very first full sized erasable blackboard was wonderful and I was amazed by the pull down map. I remember the very first time I used colored chalk and our very first classroom set of encyclopedias. Imagine having almost all the knowledge of the world in your classroom. Please remember that tools are only as effective as those who use them. You will be introduced to amazing new tools. Make sure these tools become the servants and not the masters of your teaching.
  3. Realize that every student is truly gifted. It may be that your job is to find that special gift and make the student aware of it. Each gift is different and will ultimately lead that student to an interest and vocation that they find great pleasure in while contributing to society. They may even come back some day and thank you for revealing that gift to them.
  4. Learning does not just happen in the classroom. Open your students to the world by introducing them to experts, authors, cultures, and multiple disciplines. Teach them to become lifetime learners who will embrace learning beyond the classroom and beyond their school experience. It seems this world is ever changing and, in order to keep up with things, they may need to someday be their own teacher.
  5. Allow your students the experience of searching for success. This involves allowing multiple attempts, occasional failure, and eventual triumph. Learning does not always need to be graded, but must always be guided. Remember, it is not always the destination, but in most instances… the journey. Allow your students those journeys with multiple opportunities and outcomes.
  6. Encourage cooperation, teamwork, and healthy competition. Teach your students that the thoughts and contributions of many can be so much more powerful than just the contribution of one. Emphasize true discussion and listening, and allow for discourse. The ability to work, plan, and play together has been, and always will be, an important skill.
  7. Promote thinking that is outside what many might consider the box. Allow your students to have their own ideas, play with possibilities, and invent what doesn’t exist. Not everything in life can come from your textbook. Remember, what we believe as facts today could change in twenty-five to fifty years. It seems that information probably doubles every hundred years. I suppose that might even speed up a bit as time goes on.
  8. It seems that all of us learn best by doing. Allow your students to not just hear it or read about it. Provide them with real life experiences and allow then to do it. Guide them as they are doing so they are learning relevant content and gaining new skills. Give them some say in what they are doing.
  9. Remember your humanness. Always have a sense of humor and be yourself. Remember that teaching is a people business. Enjoy the laughter, the stories, the victories, the accomplishment, and the small (but really big) moments that can only happen in a real live classroom. Some say that someday robots or some kind of two way wireless radio will take over education. I truly think this will never happen because teachers will always show that the human element is essential. A smile from a real person sure beats that of a  robot or a distant person on a wireless radio covered in distant sounds of static.
  10. Always remember that you teach children… not subjects such as science, history, arithmetic, ciphering, citizenship, reading, English, and shop. You see, it is the teaching of children that convinced me to get into this amazing business… and it is the reason that most great teachers have a hard time giving up a classroom like this.

Please take good care of this classroom. It never was mine, only one that I was allowed not just to educate children in, but so much more. It was a classroom in which I was allowed to perpetuate a culture of learning for almost fifty years. You see, not all of these ideas were mine. I found them on an old slate lying in a back closet when I first entered this room. I was so happy I had a pencil in hand, because no faster had I made my copy than the words on the slate disappeared. I think I may have made a few changes. I know I will have a chance in my retirement to read about some of these new tools and even learn about these 21st century skills. It will probably give me a chance to think about what I might have done to make learning in my classroom even better. When I find out… I might even send you a message. Until then, please take care of this old classroom and, more importantly, take even more care with those children who will enter tomorrow and thereafter. I know you will perpetuate the culture of learning that has permeated these four walls for more years than even those I taught.

You know… there wasn’t much to say. I looked at the new kid who seemed even more ready to teach. His eyes appeared already a few years older. As we both stood there we saw the old blackboard magically erase and turn a clean dark shade of black. I picked up the eraser that I had dropped during this unusual encounter and handed it over to the new guy. He opened the closet door and threw it in. I heard a gentle thump as it landed on something that may have been a slate. Together, we both unpacked and plugged in his new interactive whiteboard. He carefully positioned it so he could still see a portion of that old blackboard from his desk. We both knew why. As I walked out of the room that day I couldn’t help but think about the history that just might occur in that old classroom in the next fifty years. But, I had plans to make and students to get ready for as I was incorporating many of those new 21st century skills I had been reading about all summer. I was so excited about providing so many new opportunities for my students. After all, this is a new era for new techniques and strategies and yes… some that have always been a [art of learning.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, PBL, STEM, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week, and a enjoy this wonderful new school year. Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017 … just a few dates left.  It’s also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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Part Four: Beyond SAMR… Technology, Deeper Learning, and Rigor

samrimage

Welcome to the fourth  in this series of posts promoting the idea of going to SAMR and beyond.  In this post I would like to introduce  you to way that you can ensure the deeper thinking and rigor are part of school wide technology integration. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Part Four: Beyond SAMR… Technology, Deeper Learning, and Rigor

 

With being what I think is the last post in the “Beyond SAMR Series”, I want to emphasizes several other ideas that will allow you to employ SAMR and then take a few more steps. As stated in an early post, SAMR is a wonderful model to begin with, as teachers learn to integrate technology into their curriculum. For those unfamiliar with SAMR, this is a model that allows teachers to see different stages of technology integration. At the same time, as teachers travel on a best practices journey it will be important to look at lessons with some other filters, SAMR, after all, is only one.

Your question might be… can you explain further?  Please understand that the highest level of SAMR is not always filled with deep learning and rigor. Sometimes it is just transformative technological in action, not representing real transformative learning. Understand that there may have actually been higher levels achieved on the way to the final step. Is it possible to get to the top step with out higher level l;earning? Imagine an entertaining and polished green screen presentation summarizing route content, with no higher order thinking. The technology has gone through a Redefinition… but has the learning?

For this reason I ask teachers to use both Blooms and Webs DOK as a filter along with SAMR as they employ technology. The high-end of SAMR provides a wonderful opportunity for students to own content creation with the redefinition of technology use. At the same time,we must think about where the content thinking applies on our other filters. Most of us are familiar with Blooms. These amazing verbs allow our students to perform the verbs of remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluation and creating. It is important to note what steps the students took to get to creating. Did they have to go beyond remembering… or did they even have to remember. It is possible that they could be at the top of Bloom and SAMR without some of the other high level or even basic verbs. When designing a technology task be aware of the Bloom’s verbs that are being used.

In fact, why not bring in Webb’s DOK. While not as well-known, it is important. Let’s take a closer look. Webb’s actually contains four levels.  I have listed these below with possible verbs and applications that might be associated at each level.You may wish to learn more about  Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels. 

  1. Recall and Reproduction – This task does not require high cognitive tasks and is not real demanding except to those who have problems with memorization. The idea is really based on learning facts, and learning could actually be questioned based on your definition. Verbs include: copying,  matching, memorizing, computing, defining, recognizing, labeling.
  2. Skills and Concept – This is usually a task with more than one mental step. It may require some extra thinking  but will have one closed answer. It will usually require application of a skill or understanding of a concept. Verbs include: comparing, predicting, organizing,  showing, modifying, summarizing, estimating.
  3. Strategic Thinking – This may require multiple answers or approaches. It requires an understanding and may require a reasoning and abstract thinking to provide a multiple step response. Verbs include: solving non-routine problems, designing an experiment, or analyzing characteristics, formulating hypothesis an answer, develop argument, differentiating between idea, designing to solve a problem.
  4. Extended Thinking – This task requires the most complex and extensive cognitive effort. It demands the synthesis of information from multiple sources, often over an extended period of time. It can also include the transfer of knowledge from one domain or area to solve problems in another.  It can represent the idea of real applications in new situations. Verbs include: applying concepts, connecting ideas, reasoning, designing, critiquing.

Webb’s DOK is a very important filter, along with Blooms, when integrating technology in the educational setting. Many times a project will display signs of SAMR’s substitution but lack important levels in Webb’s DOK and Blooms. Take a look below and try to assess the deeper learning and rigor in the following projects.

  1. Students provide a green screen production of overview of Mar’s facts found on page 25 of the Science Book
  2. Students type an opinion paper contrasting the ideas of Britain and the Colonies in regards to the American Revolution using articles supplied by teacher.
  3. Students create a paper slide video to explain a difficult concept in math
  4. Students invent a new water purifier for under $50 that can be used in drought stricken areas of Africa citing recourses and demonstrating success and possibility of use for product.
  5. Students in robotics studying gear ratio program a car to go through maze.

Note that some provide high SAMR levels but low marks on Blooms and Webb’s DOK. Others may actually be higher on Blooms and Webb’s DOK but lower on SAMR. It might also be important to look at all of the activities that led up to a final project. Sometimes some of the deepest thinking can be found during this cycle of learning. In conclusion, it is not about the technology, it really is about the learning and understanding that is a final result of the activity. Please take a moment and try to use this document I put together in order to assess the level of learning in a given lesson. _Tech_Deeper Learning Score mjgormans

Places to Learn More

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  It’s also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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Part Three: Beyond SAMR… Making Sure Technology Supports Content Standards

samrimage

Welcome to the third  in this series of posts  promting the idea of going to SAMR and beyond.  In this post I would like to introduce  you to way that you can ensure the standards are amplified, and not ignored, by the integration of educational technology. I have also included links to over 45 valuable resources (Towards the bottom of the article). Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Part Three: Beyond SAMR… Making Sure Technology Supports Content Standards

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.”

John Dewey’s above quote is so important as we begin to address both the facts and thinking that abounds in our standards. For the past ten years it seems we have concentrated our efforts on the facts and have not spent enough time in the thinking.. or as I like to think “doing”.

A portion or foundation of a curriculum is the standards. Standards make up the general knowledge of what educators want students to know. Standards are a great starting point and through careful examination, exact content and skills can be aligned with technology integration. Simply stated, examining or unpacking a standard allows a teacher to see what a child will know and be able to do. It can also help educators determine what digital resources may work best to help support learning. Now, the phrase “unpacking the standards’ may not bring out the smile you want from teachers. For this reason I will refer to it as finding the technology in the standard.

Let’s take a moment and investigate the below standard by picking out the nouns and verbs. I like to think of it in Dewey’s terms of facts and thinking (doing)

  • Students will be able to research and record key facts involving the planets of the solar system.
  • Students will explain orbit, gravity, and gravitational pull.
  • Students will be able to collaborate on a presentation that provides what they have learned in their own words
  1. Relevant Nouns –   planets, solar system. orbit, gravity, and gravitational pull
  2. Relevant Verbs –   Research, Record, Explain, Collaborate

If you wish to have a copy of my free “Unpacking Standards for Technology Integration Form”… Download… unpack_standards_mjgormans…  and remember to give credit!

Nouns

By examiing the content appropriate nouns in the standard it is possible to identify key concepts that students should learn about and show an understanding of. While all areas of Blooms can be applied for deep understanding, a good starting point might be the areas of Blooms regarding understanding and remembering. Please note that the higher levels of Blooms can help foster learning in  these two areas. By idenifying content appropriate nouns it is possible to search for both resources available at a school district along with some amazing free resources found on the web.

That’s right, the identified nouns can give you keywords that will allow you to search a wonderful world of OER (Open Education Resources) on the internet. You will find a wide assortment ready for you as you begin to design lessons, activities, or even a textbook! Best of all, they are free and contain quality resources. I have a list of over 20 possibilites at the conclusion of this artcile. Look for the title, “Finding the Nouns or Facts”

Verbs

Before going to that list let’s take a moment in regards to the thinking (doing).  Remember our relevant verbs; Research, Record, Explain, Collaborate? By examining the appropriate verbs in the standard it is possible to identify important skills and processes that students should learn about and demonstrate competency of. This allows learning to go beyond Bloom’s basic level of remembering.  The verbs found in the curriculum standards promote the 4 C’s (communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking) along with Bloom’s higher levels, (understanding, analyzing, evaluating, and creating). By identifying the verbs found in the standards it is possible for an educator to discover and implement free interactive resources that can be found on the web.  Finding the right tool to match the verb can take a bit of research. It is also important to gauge students’ age and ability while aligning it with the district AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) and the each tool’s Terms of Use.  You can find a list of these  in the area called “Finding the Verbs or Thinking (Doing)”

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.”

I hope Dewey’s quote provides a whole new way to look at and examine the standards by using a lens of technology. While the nouns can help locate the important content that can be supported with OER (Open Education Resources) , it is the verbs that will take your students into Bloom’s higher order while conquering the 4C’s. Take a moment to check out the wide assortment of possibilities found in the below links. You will discover a whole new world of technology ready to put those content standard verbs into some exciting and engaging action while going beyond the technology shine.

Resources: “Finding the Nouns or Facts”

How might your identification of the curriculum standard nouns along with OER  fit into a classroom ? You will never know until you begin your exploration. The links below provide you an opportunity to learn more about Open Education Resources. Please enjoy and share with others. Send me some others that I should include in a future post.

  • The Index of Open Educational Resources – Open Educational Resources come in many shapes and sizes. This partial list of sources introduces the scope of OER and the organizations cultivating its increasingly vital role in opening higher education up to the greatest number of people worldwide.
  • Open Education Resources – Talk about big, this network brings together 44,129 OER tools for sharing curriculum. It also provides a host of world and news and training on the amazing  arena of open education!  Great place to investigate whether you have an hour or a month!
  • CK12.org – Imagine creating your own textbook. Better yet, think about a wonderful base of a textbook that is already created, vetted, and matched to standards. Now, what if you could add to it, localize it, widen or deepen scope, and individualize it for your students’needs? Best of all, what if you could now make it your own and share it with your students? It is all possible with  CK-12. This wonderful OER makes it easy for teachers to assemble their own textbooks. Content is mapped to a variety of levels and standards including common core. Teachers can start from scratch or build from anything in the FlexBooks library.
  • Curriki – What happens when classroom teachers from every country in the world take part in a global community of sharing curriculum and best practices?  You can imagine that teachers are empowered to create extraordinary learning experiences for their students. As Curriki states, “Barriers to equal access to education begin to lift—geography and politics become immaterial. And the economy benefits from a highly educated population.” That’s the basis of Curriki, a nonprofit K-12 global community for teachers, students, and parents to create, share, and find free learning resources that enable true personalized learning. It is their mission that free and equal access to the best curriculum materials is possible. Take some time and explore how Curriki is leading the way.
  • SAS Curriculum Pathways – Actually a resources from one of my first blogs and has it come a long way! Year after year, SAS Curriculum Pathways earns numerous awards for educational technologies. It has also earned the support of teachers, students, and parents across the nation. The approach is innovative, but the goals are traditional. Teachers, developers, designers, and other specialists clarify content in the core disciplines. SACS than targets content difficult to convey with conventional methods. This includes topics where doing and seeing provide information and encourage insights in ways that textbooks cannot. As stated on the website, “The products make learning more profound and efficient, not simply more entertaining.” Discover this special place where  audio, visual, and interactive components all reinforce the educational objectives identified by teachers
  • Concord Consortium – What an amazing place for those individuals working in STEM Education.  At Concord Consortium you can help your students learn with hundreds of interactive, research-based resources covering a huge variety of science, engineering, and math topics. You will note that many activities let the teacher see assessment results after student completion of an activity. This allows for outstanding formative learning and assessment which makes alignment with lessons quick, easy, and rewarding!
  • International Children’s Library – At the ICL educators can  search for books by genre, age level, length, keyword, by collection, and more. Many books are in multiple languages which fits into world language instruction. All students have to do is open and read the book… no download needed. It is even possible to create an account to set up a bookshelf if desired
  • Wikipedia –  Not only does Wikipedia have awesome vetted content, it also has a way educators can make their own books with Wikipedia Content. These books can be distributed in numerous digital content, or printed as hard copy. It is a great way to put significant content on any LMS. For articles with easier reading possiblities check out Simple English Wikipedia… and yes it is still possible to make a free book.
  • FreeReading (pk-3) is a free, high-quality, open-source reading program addressing literacy development for grades K-3. Leveraging the collective wisdom of researchers, teachers, reading coaches, and other education and industry professionals, FreeReading provides a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to static materials. By establishing a foundation of hundreds of research-based lessons and materials that users can download and use for free, FreeReading has created the framework for intervention programs supporting K-6 literacy. The collective wisdom within FreeReading is invaluable and can be more beneficial than any one reading program..
  • MERLOT – This is an organization that states its mission, “Putting Educational Innovations Into Practice.” At this site you will find peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Share advice and expertise about education with expert colleagues. Best of all you can be recognized for your contributions to quality education. Take some time to take a look!
  • OpenStack – As stated in the title… an awesome place to connect with free and open source lessons! This site allows you to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules. These chunks can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc.
  • Open Course Library – A collection of high quality, free-to-use courses that teachers can download and use for teaching and learning. All content is stored in Google docs. This  makes  it easy to access, browse and download for use anytime, anywhere, regardless of connection.
  • Wisconsin Online Learning Objects – It is so true, learning objects add flexibility to the teaching and learning experience. In this site teachers have the opportunity to use learning objects when teaching a basic concept, applying concepts in “real world” applications, checking and testing true learning, providing understanding through simulation, and giving essential remedial instruction.
  • Vision Learning – This organization has  developed a set of peer-reviewed materials for learning science including modular readings, interactive multimedia, and a glossary. Best of all, it is available for free on the web in both English and Spanish. Note that as emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, Vision Learning emphasizes science as a process, not just a collection of facts. You will find that these resources can be used individually by anyone and can also be combined and customized within online classrooms by teachers.
  • Community College Consortium for OER – The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) is a combined effort involving individual community colleges, regional and statewide consortia, the Open Courseware Consortium,  the American Association for Community Colleges, the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges, and many other educational partners. The mission is  to develop and use open educational resources,  open textbooks, and open courseware. It is the desire of CCCOER to expand access to higher education and improve teaching and learning.
  • NROC – Take a moment to visit a place that truly rocks! You will find it at The National Repository of Online Courses (NROC). Here you will discover  a growing library of high-quality online course content for students and faculty in higher education, high school and Advanced Placement.  For all of you Hoosiers… NROC is provided to you free in the state of Indiana by the DOE.
  • Flat World Knowledge – This is a website that is authored by  the industry’s top authors. These textbooks are helping improve teaching and learning at more than 2,500 leading colleges and universities worldwide.
  • Hippocampus – This is a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). The goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge. If this fits in your budget than be sure to visit a discover a wide selection of excellent lessons, inter actives, and activities.
  • Georgia Virtual – You will find a wonderful collection of resources from the Peach State. The content available on this Shared Resources Website is available for anyone to view.  Courses are divided into modules and are aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards.
  • Moodle Exchange – Shares Moodle courses and other content useful for Moodle teachers.
  • Open Source Physics Project –  Physics teachers will measure a great equation of material. This wide range of curriculum resources both involve and engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling.
  • Khan Academy – One cannot forget the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy states a desire to provide “free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” Perhaps the academy is best known for its collection of over  3,000 videos covering K-12 math and some topics in science, history, business, art history and test preparation. Please note that Khan is going beyond Math. There are also more than 300 practice modules contained in the Khan Knowledge Map. This map orders the learning  modules by concepts.. Educators and students can view a wide variety of data in regards to student progress.
  • SmartHistory -(K-12)  Smarthistory at Khan Academy is the leading open educational resource for art history. They make high-quality introductory art history content freely available to anyone, anywhere. Smarthistory is a platform for the discipline where art historians contribute in their areas of expertise and learners come from across the globe. We offer nearly 500 videos and these are being translated into dozens of languages

Resources: “Finding the Verbs or Thinking (Doing)”

An examination of the verbs found in standards provides the following possibilities for the integration of technology in today’s technology rich classroom.

Sites to Explore:

An important side note – While integrating the web with today’s 21st century learning experience is essential, each child’s safety and security must be a number one priority.  Any websites and tools used in the classroom should be thoroughly examined and vetted by educators. While many sites, along with COPA rules, designate the age of 13 as the end of necessitating parental permission, it is encouraged that districts go a step further and ask both parent awareness and permission for all of our students.  Parents should be aware and have the opportunity to read a site’s Terms of Use, and to be a partner with their child(ren) in exploring the web and its many opportunities. Schools should promote proper digital citizenship and internet safety in  classrooms and encourage this to be reinforced at home. Check out my five important points educators should consider when using interactive web tools.

The Big Five Before Using A Tool

  • Examine Your LMS (Learning Management System)
  • Read Terms and Privacy of interactive web tool being used
  • Check school district AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) and school administration
  • Involve Parents
  • Incorporate Digital Citizenship

As you can see, the standards are an important part of technology integration. As educators examine the many relevant nouns and verbs  found in the standards they are able to focus on real learning. It is this focus that allows today’s 21st century classroom to go beyond the SAMR and the technology shine

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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Part Two: Beyond SAMR… Honoring Teacher Experience and Knowledge with TPACK

samrimage

Welcome to the second  in this series of posts promting the idea of going to SAMR and beyond. Every school I visit that is attempting to integrate technology into instruction are also having conversations on SAMR.  As I have talks with these schools, I tell them that SAMR is a wonderful place to start. At the same time, if we are to look at technology integration that promotes rigor and deeper thinking, we must integrate multiple concepts together. In this post I would like to introduce, or remind you of TPACK. I have found that TPACK is a model that honors teachers where they are at, what they have done, and their important next steps in technology integration. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Part Two: Beyond SAMR… Honoring Teacher Experience and Knowledge with TPACK

The idea of TPACK has been around for some time. While it seems complex at first, it is actually quite simple. Best of all, I feel it honors teachers for the strengths they possess, while identifying areas they may wish to work on. There are actually three main areas that eventually cross over to each other as one investigates the model. This includes; TK (Technology Knowledge), PK(Pedagogical Knowledge), (A)and,  CK(Content Knowledge). These are areas that teachers understand the label and can identify their varying degree of skill in each of the three. Please take a look at the image and further explanation below.

TPACK-new

Reproduced by permission of the publisher and owner of image, © 2012 by tpack.org

As stated every teacher understands the ideas of the three knowledge areas including technology, pedagogy, and content. Let’s take this a step further and explore meaning for programs of one to one implementation and teacher professional development. A simple explanation is included below along with some great resources to get you started.

TK –  At the top of the pyramid is Technology Knowledge. This represents a teacher’s knowledge of technology. This can be powerful for teachers in the facilitation of learning, but must go beyond technology as an isolated topic. Great knowledge of technology without good pedagogical skills and content knowledge will not go far.

PK – This represents a teacher’s knowledge and skill in pedagogy. A teacher’s ability to understand how students learn is imperative.  At the same time, the use of technology must represent good pedagogical practice along with the understanding of content.

CK – The ability to understand the content is imperative to helping others understand and learn. We must also realize that knowing content still demands good pedagogical skills to relay it to learners. Technology can act as an amplifier to the process for a teacher that knows how to use it.

These above ideas are the core of the TPACK model. Every teacher can identify both their  strengths and areas they may need to build on from these three areas. In this way TPACK honors past practice while suggesting areas to become more proficient in. What happens when we start combining these attributes?

TPK – This represents technology aligned with good pedagogy. This takes the knowledge of technology farther and demands that teachers use technology that is pedagogically sound. This is one aspect of going beyond just the technology shine. If a teacher has good pedagogical skills they will be able to see possibilities when provided PD on certain technology.

TCK – This represents technology aligned with good content knowledge. This actually is the other end of going beyond the technology shine. It demands the idea of how technology can amplify the content standards. A teacher with strong content knowledge and technology skills will see amazing content possibilities and resources available for learning.

PCK – This provides the idea of strong content aligned with good pedagogical skills. This is often the most common pairing that I see when working with teachers. We have many teachers that have a history of knowing their content and various ways to allow learning to happen.

What happens when we bring this altogether? As this happens we see the full benefit of bringing technology to the classroom. This truly is a technology transformational experience. Let’s take a look.

TPACK – The outcome is Technology Knowledge aligned with Pedagogical Knowledge AND Content Knowledge. Often this is called the center… or sweet spot. This is the goal of any one to one program. In fact, many programs struggle  because technology PD is isolated from good pedagogy and proper emphasis on content. Teachers are learning tool after tool as PD is centered on the device. PD must be centered on the student learning and TPACK offers this as an understandable possibility.

Not only does TPACK provide a model to set up teacher learning and one to one facilitation, it also provides several avenues to support teachers. First, it honors teachers and the skills they possess, while giving them areas to grow in. It provides teaming and co-teaching possibilities. Imagine teachers with the various skill attributes planning a lesson or a PBL together. We find strengths from all three areas of TPACK coming together in a powerful way for students. Imagine a PD where teachers learn in diverse groups aligned to areas of TPACK. The teachers with vast pedagogical and content skills might learn from the tech savvy teachers, who in turn learns important pedagogical practices and content from the others. Take a moment to learn more about TPACK at the sites I have provided below.

TPACK.org – This is the mothership site of everything about TPACK

CITE Journal – Examine two article that investigate TPACK

CommonSenseMedia – A wonderful video that explains in a very understandable way how TPACK works with good technology integration.

Edutopia – You may wish to investigate this article entitled, How to Integrate Tech when it Keeps Changing

Too Cool For School – Wonderful Learning and Leading with Technology Article that provides TPACK insight.

 

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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Part One: Going Beyond SAMR… 5 Ideas

samrimage

Every school I visit that is attempting to integrate technology into instruction are also having conversations on SAMR.  As I have talks with these schools, I tell them that SAMR is a wonderful place to start. At the same time, if we are to look at technology integration that promotes rigor and deeper thinking we must integrate multiple concepts together. Please enjoy and share my five ideas I think all schools should think about as they go beyond SAMR. I know this entire series including the next post on TPACK as you go beyond SAMR. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Five Ideas to Go Beyond SAMR… How Deep is the Learning in Your Technology Integration?

As I travel the country l come across numerous schools providing PD and supporting teachers with the SAMR Model. SAMR is a wonderful model to begin with, as teachers learn to integrate technology into their curriculum. For those unfamiliar with SAMR, this is a model that allows teachers to see different stages of technology integration.

SAMR – Quick Definition

S = Substitution: As the word states, this is a substitution of digital technology for past analog methods. (Example – A word processor instead of the typewriter or pen and pencil.)

A = Augmentation: Technology goes beyond mere replacement and focuses on new things that are possible because of the substitution realm. (Example – Technology now allows for the word processor to have a spell check or even a thesaurus.)

M = Modification: Technology allows learning to begin to transform the learning experience. Students can now take a step outside the word processing box and discover possibilities that could not be done before augmenting the learning experience. (Example – Students can now write in a collaborative manner on the same document using Google Docs or Microsoft 360.)

R = Redefinition: Technology allows the learning experience to be redefined so that the word processing document is not the only form of expression…. or perhaps a beginning foundation for a different form of student production. (Example – The word processing document becomes something totally new, as students create videos or web pages relating information that may have been typed.)

 

SAMR Is One Tool and a Great Place to Start… However,

It is wonderful to see that SAMR is a great place to start. It provides the teacher with some definitions and an understanding of how technology can both facilitate learning while also expanding it. In fact, teaching teachers about the line in between SA and MR allows teachers to see if they are on the road to transformation. This is often referred to as teaching above… or below… the line.

I am certain you are waiting for that “however”… so here it comes. SAMR is one model, and perhaps a first step, in helping teachers understand technology integration and transformational learning. Do not stop with SAMR! Try to understand that a lesson at the top of SAMR may not be the ultimate learning opportunity in technology integration. As you facilitate teachers on a best practices journey it will be important to look at lessons with some other filters, SAMR, after all, is only one. Let’s take a look at some other concepts we must keep in mind as we help educators understand SAMR. Please enjoy the ideas below, and by now you must know that in future posts I will be building upon these important ideas.

Ideas to Consider Beyond SAMR

  1. Don’t spent too much time focusing on which category a lesson is aligned to in SAMR. Just take a quick guess and move on. You will find that too much focus will blur the already moving lines.
  2. Keep in mind that the letter placement in SAMR is a reflection on a lesson… not the teacher. A teacher who is an expert at Redefinition may spend some time in Substitution because they understand good technology integration. Some learning activities only require Substitution and may advance to Redefinition later. In fact, a lesson at Substitution level could provide more transformational and higher order learning than one at Redefinition. It all depends on the content and skills of the lesson as supported by the standards.
  3. Learn to recognize good and bad Substitution. Some teachers when they are beginning a one to one initiative feel an expectation to have students use the device all the time. Sometimes the pre-device ways are better. Why finger paint with an app and miss the experience of having one’s fingers in the paint? Be careful of those Appy Hours! Have a wonderful old fashion Socrative Discussion in class and extend it with technology in a discussion forum for later in order to create a blended learning environment.
  4. Understand that the highest level of SAMR is not always filled with deep learning and rigor. Sometimes it is just transformative technological in action, not representing real transformative learning. Imagine an entertaining and polished green screen presentation summarizing route content, with no higher order thinking. The technology has gone through a Redefinition… but has the learning?
  5. Examine technology integration using multiple learning models. Where is the technology integration for a lesson in relationship to SAMR? Also, where does that same technology integration line up with Bloom’s, Webb’s DOK, and TPACK in the lesson?

Ten great SAMR Resources to Assist in Understanding the Model

  • Dr. Puentedura Blog – Why not read SAMR thoughts from the person who came up with the model. Dr. Puentedura provides important insight, reflections, and ideas.
  • Relating to Blooms – Once again learn from the SAMR creator, Dr. Puentedura, as he  provides this blog posted at Graphite showing relationships to SAMR and Blooms.
  • SAMR Model and 21st Century Skills – Explore an article that allows educators to look at the SAMR Model through the 21st century skill lens.
  • SAMR Model Example – Take a look at some great example relating SAMR to specific examples that educators can relate to.
  • K. Ward SAMR Discussions Example – Read about SAMR as related to online discussion examples.
  • SAMR… Teaching Above the Line – Discover a wonderful article that allows teachers to begin thinking of taking the SAMR steps.
  • Introduction to SAMR Model – Once again Common Sense Media provides an amazing video and information on the SAMR Model.
  • SAMR for Administrators – This is not just for administrators, but for all educators. This post at Edutopia provides some practical ideas for looking at SAMR.
  • Padagogy Wheel – What an amazing creation that takes apps and aligns them to apps… a must visit website to investigate and learn more from..
  • SAMR and Coffee – This post points out several blogs and videos that try to draw some analogies between coffee and SAMR… it might be your cup of coffee..

Conclusion

By now you can see where I am going with future posts. Please continue to use SAMR as one way to integrate technology. At the same time realize it is just one model and if we are going to engage the idea of real learning transformation then a few other filters must be part of the plan. Also, take a moment to subscribe and learn even more about going beyond SAMR in the posts that follow.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

 

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Driving Questions Part 2: A Gold Mine of Ideas to Bring Out Student Inquiry

dq11

Welcome to this second post in a series that promotes student inquiry in PBL and STEM. This series is dedicated to helping educators create a student-centered Driving or Investigative Question… which is so important in STEM and PBL. You will discover multiple resources and ideas in this series, along with some great ideas for facilitating student success in student owned inquiry. In this second post, I would like to provide ideas for both designing and reflecting on Driving Questions. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Driving Questions Part 2: Gold Mine of Ideas to Bring Out Student Inquiry

 

I really hope you liked my last article on Driving Questions in PBL and STEM. In that article I related “What” Driving Questions are, “Why” they should be included in student lessons and “How” they can promote student inquiry. You can read more about this in my last post. In this post, I would like to provide even more information that will help you understand and use Driving Questions as a source of inquiry in your classroom. I do hope you enjoy and can use these three themes I have provided when working with Driving Questions.

A Selection of 10 Other Types of Questions Used to Promote Inquiry

First, please understand that a Driving Question could be called other things. The bottom line is that it allows for open-ended inquiry. The term Driving Question is often used in PBL because it drives the project. I often call it the Investigative Question because it is the starting point for student investigation.  I like to say it is the IQ of a project. Depending on the project, lesson, or activity you may see these other terms that I have listed below. I am sure you can see how these all have the capability to drive a project.

  • Essential Question
  • Focus Question
  • Guiding Question
  • Probing Question
  • Inquiry Question
  • Challenge Question
  • Design Question
  • Smart Question
  • Investigative Question
  • Inquiry Based Question

The 15 Points to Consider when Creating and Vetting a Driving Question

Next, it is important to examine the construction of a Driving Question. As stated in my last post the Driving Question promotes inquiry that will uncover important content standards. It does not name the standards, but instead provides for a vocabulary that students can understand. As students progress, they may even write their own Driving Questions with guidance of the teacher to keep them within the constraints of the standards. I often tell people there are various things we must consider before writing a Driving Question. After writing a question this same list can be used to vet. Please enjoy the list I have provided below.

  • Topic is relatable by students
  • The outcome is authentic and meaningful
  • It must allow the student to engage in real research
  • The answer is multi-faceted
  • Students have voice and choice in outcome
  • Wording goes beyond education lingo
  • It has a direct relationship to final project
  • Question is as concise as possible… and to the point
  • Content standards can be uncovered
  • Students can come up with NTK’s (Need To Know(s))
  • Students can understand the question
  • It allows for student passion, engagement, and interest
  • Students see relevance, authenticity, and purpose in a real world question
  • Students can work on deepening & expanding Q/A (convergent/divergent thinking)
  • Students are provided a “So What?” in the question (Why are we doing this?)

20 Driving Question Opportunities that can Help Frame a Project

Last, a Driving Question can provide numerous opportunities. There are so many times that it seems PBL and STEM activities are built around solving a problem. Yes, a Driving Question can solve a problem…  and it can also do so much more. The next time you design a project, activity, or question I suggest that you consider these other themes. It can open up a whole new world of possibilities for you and your students. Can you think of even more… or perhaps can your students?

  • Provide a Challenge
  • Seek a New Design
  • Look for a Solutions
  • Campaign to Convince Others
  • Call for Change or Movement
  • Create and Test a Hypothesis
  • Make a Difference
  • Examine a “What If” Scenario
  • Facilitate Innovation/Creativity
  • Make a Call for Action
  • Suggest Change
  • Solicit Others
  • Provide Help and Assistance
  • Expand an Idea
  • Create an Opportunity to Celebrate
  • Start a Movement
  • Educate and Teach Others
  • Encompass an Overarching Theme
  • Invoke a Debate on an Opinion
  • And yes… Identify and Solve a Problem

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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Driving Questions Part 1: Building Student Inquiry in Project Based Learning and STEM

dq11

Welcome to this first post in a series that promotes student inquiry in PBL and STEM. This series is dedicated to helping educators create a student-centered Driving or Investigative Question… which is so important in STEM and PBL. You will discover multiple resources and ideas in this series, along with some great ideas for finding student success in student owned inquiry. In this first post, I would like to build the idea of what makes a Driving or Investigative Question important in student centered learning, and how it can uncover important standards. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at PBL World in California in June. If you happen to be at the conference please stop by and say hello. I enjoy meeting my readers. As a National Faculty at BIE (BUCK Institute) I recommend the amazing resources and experiences provided by BIE.

I am also presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Driving Questions Part 1: Building Student Inquiry in Project Based Learning and STEM

I really like Diving and Investigative Questions. In fact, I like them so much more than Essential Questions. You might ask… why? I think it just might be my affection for the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. You may remember that in the revision the different levels of Blooms were changed into action. In fact, I strongly believe that learning is a verb and is based on action. Take away the word “Question” and both Driving and Investigating are wonderful verbs loaded with action.

The word “Essential” standing alone is only a word devoted to describing… a colorful but inactive adjective. Another reason I am fond of “Driving and Investigative Questions” is they allow students to work together in the amazing process of divergent thinking. As students bring this process around to identify answers and ideas that finally converge, they are suddenly back on the path to even higher order divergent thinking. It is amazing to watch students become aware that answers can bring on even more questions. Seems to me that it is a lot as if the students are moving up Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I believe that both DQ and IQ allow students to take part in real inquiry and research. If the question is Google-able then it probably is not deep inquiry. Now, using advanced Google skills to find answers that create more questions fits the bill for rigorous standards. Literacy that is built to comprehend, analyze, compare, contrast, and make meaning of nonfiction across the disciplines is essential. Be certain to take a look at the verbs in the standards educators must facilitate with students. These verbs really do provide some great inquiry action that can be found on the super highway of Driving Questions. As students approach the standards in this way inquiry leads to understanding and assimilation of new knowledge. Those educators striving to meet the demands of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge will appreciate using these questions and verbs to promote authentic learning.

Last, I like “Driving and Investigative Questions because there are so simple, that they can also be difficult to construct. Let me explain. The Driving Question or Investigative Question in Project Based learning and STEM can be often the hardest concept to get across to teachers. Even after a workshop devoted to PBL… questions will come across my email asking for help in constructing and refining the Driving or Investigative Question.

Writing The DQ and IQ’s For Student-centered Learning In PBL, STEM, and Inquiry

Why are driving and investigative questions so difficult to create? Perhaps it is the powerful and simple concept they ride upon in a world where teachers have been taught to use so much of their “educationese language” Educators must work at being aware of the important standards in their content area without blurting them out. It is at this point that educators come across that often talked about idea of “uncovering, not covering”, the standards. Educators are so often told to practice this methodology, but are seldom told how to do it. This is the power of the Driving and Investigative Question and its importance in PBL and STEM. It must be simply stated so that students can uncover the content standards themselves. It should not give away the contents standards which students may not really care about. It should engage the students and create wonderment through relevance to their world. It should drive them to an investigation to “uncover the standards” through carefully planned PBL and STEM.

Best of all, the teacher facilitates this learning experience by addressing both content and student success skills. The additional bonus of building important (success) 21st-century skills is a natural outcome. In order for students to “uncover the standards”, they will need to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and provide creative thought.

Examples Comparing an Essential Question to a Driving or Investigative Question:

Example 1

  • EQ: Can you describe a typical food chain for the herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores in the deciduous forest biome.
  • DQ/IQ: How can we as authors write a restaurant storybook menu for animals that live in the forest?

Example 2

  • EQ: How are measurement skills and our knowledge of math and geometry related to building a dream park with a given set of dimensions and budget?
  • DQ/IQ: In what way can we design, plan, and pitch a needed park for our community?

Example 3

  • EQ: What are the characteristics of the planets in our solar system in regard to atmosphere, surface, and composition?
  • DQ/IQ: How can we, as NASA scientists, write a proposal that recommends which planet should be explored by the next space probe?

Example 4

  • EQ: How can robots provide automation and use computer programs and code to deliver a given task?
  • DQ/IQ: Can we program a robot to ….?

Example 5

  • EQ: Can we name the various reasons that the American Colonies declared independence from England?
  • DQ/IQ: How might we write and produce a play that could be used today, or in our countries early history, to show why the colonies should declare independence?

Keep in mind that the Driving or Investigative Question may take on many names. The key point, is that it drives an investigation based on student owned inquiry. It really is the very first step in providing students that opportunity to not just answer the question, but come up with their own.

Next Post … Driving and Investigative Questions Part 2: Defining and Refining The Question in PBL and STEM

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

 

 

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