Why write a blog?

In my office, Monday morning, nice day outside.  Why write a blog? Contemplating this idea snaps my brain back into school, teacher, and student focus.  I can see why Matt Miller (ditchthattextbook.com) recommends that all educators take a bit of time and write a blog. I’m going to share some of Matt’s latest blog post (http://goo.gl/Bu0O9j).  This is from April 28th, 2016.  The blog post is entitled “Cultivating an Innovator’s Mindset in schools today”.

Here’s some of what struck me this morning.  And the cool thing about this is….I’m reading a blog to get ideas about a blog post.  And my thinking is right back into classrooms, with teachers and students.  Matt Miller is correct.

We can’t continue doing the same teaching and learning that we did with new tools, ideas and practices available to us. They just don’t “plug in” to the old ways. To take full advantage of what’s available to us, we often have to modify and redefine what we’re doing instead of just substituting and augmenting what we’ve done before. (Hat tip to the SAMR model and Dr. Ruben Puentedura there.)

Students have access to better resources online than what teachers could possibly offer. (p. 3)

Teachers used to be the gatekeepers to information. (I wrote a whole chapter about that — Chapter 6 — in by book, Ditch That Textbook.) If we wanted to learn, we had to get it from their minds or from books at the library. Now, information is no longer at a premium. What we do with it is what’s really valuable. If we only offer our students what resides in our brains, we’re limiting them.

Kids walk into schools full of wonder and questions, yet we often ask them to hold their questions for later, so we can “get through” the curriculum. (p. 4)

I think about my own curiosity as an adult learner. When I’m curious about something, I’ll ask someone who knows the answer or will do a quick Google search to start. If I’m still curious, I’ll dig deeper, asking questions and gathering information as I work it over in my brain. It’s learner-driven, and that’s the kind of learning that’s possible with all we have available to us today. Schools need to do some foundational changing to take full advantage of that potential.

We’re expected to raise our hands to use the restroom, then three months later be ready to go to college or have a full-time job, support ourselves, and live on our own. It’s not logical. (p. 5)”

21st century skills.  In the TLI department, we spend a lot of time thinking and talking about them. How we can help teachers include opportunities for kids to swim around in those skills.

And that’s why I write a blog.  Thank you Matt Miller.

Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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