I’ve been thinking that resumes in the 21st Century should probably look different than resumes of the past. But, I guess it all depends on the principal receiving the resume. I would think that a RELEVANT teacher resume will indicate what kind of teacher one will be. Please have a look at this Glogster version and tell me what you think. I believe it says certain things about me: creative, fun, dedicated to continuous learning, collaborative, exploratory, excited to be in the field…
Here are some other examples of creative resumes that have been my source of inspiration…
Bump It Up – Do Better to Be Better!
MeYouHealth (http://www.facebook.com/meyouhealth) has offered this suggestion today:
Pay it forward today: Make eye contact and say “hello” or “Have a nice day!” to someone in your community that you don’t usually talk to.
I love that I live in a town where people say, “Hello!” as we pass each other. I can tell when I’m in the “Big City”… I try this, people often look at me as if I have two heads! It is sad that being unfriendly has become a norm in many places. This simple act makes people feel a part of the community – connected, and, nowadays, unless we are online, it is easy to feel lost in the world.
As an occasional teacher, I always try to greet the students at the door in the morning, offering each one of them a cheery, “Good Morning!” If I know the kids, I add their names. Sometimes, this simple gesture, on my part, can set the tone for our day together. I believe it shows I care, and that I am in their classroom for more than just a pay cheque. Even grumpy and sleepy students can’t help but mumble something back to me, “mumble Morning.” Ps. This also works on teachers, parents, secretaries, custodial staff and principals!
A smile is a frown:( upside down:) You just never know who’s day you can turn around by this simple act. Random acts of kindness, whether on the giving or receiving end, can bring more happiness than anything money can buy. It’s amazing to see the transformation on someone’s face when you do it. It is often difficult to scowl when someone genuinely grins at you, and says, “Hi, there!”
In Education & Fitness...
Games are FUN, and when the mechanics are appropriate, a high level of ENGAGEMENT is born. Thus, ACHIEVEMENT is sure to follow. So, why wouldn’t we take some of these aspects and incorporate them into education? I’m not talking about our students playing video games all day at school (though in small doses and used appropriately, they can be beneficial).
So many students “tune out” at school, or they just go through the motions; doing the bare minimum to get by until they are released into the real world. The question remains, are we adequately preparing them for their roles when they get there? Probably not, though I can say with certainty that a lot of great teachers are trying – my Twitter PLN is testiment to that!
What are the elements of video games that make players sit in front of a screen, focused for hours on end, and how can we transfer them into the classroom?
Gamification in My Life!
I am totally into the ‘Gamification’ of the stuff that we should do in our lives but aren’t always motivated to do. Let me give an example… In January, I came across an amazing site called, Daily Challenge from YouMe Health (challenge.meyouhealth.com). It is a health-focused social game.
Daily Challenge sends players simple tasks for them to complete on a daily basis, and the game encourages them to share their results with their Facebook cronies, who can provide encouragement and (ideally) participate in the game themselves.
If players do something healthy—such as taking a walk, eating a vegetable-rich salad, or wearing lip balm that provides ample sun protection—they hit a “Done” button and gain points, earn health badges, and progress toward higher levels of the game.
(It’d be easy to cheat in this game since there’s no mechanism to prove that a challenge has been done, but then players would really only be wasting their time and, potentially, misleading their friends.)
I have so far completed 50 challenges, and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Now, I just need a House Cleaning game!
This got me thinking, or reflecting, if you will....
I found myself thinking about the school experience as a game one night, instead of sleeping. Here is my vision… I call it, “School as a Role-Play Game” and the role is student (a role our youth already play, but now, they are more engaged). Projects and tests could be quests, and lessons and activities could be the mini-challenges along the way to allow students multiple chances to succeed, thereby keeping them engaged and motivated. The harder goals will strengthen students’ perseverance. Collaboration and cooperation would be key for some of the quests. Along the way, the ‘player’ has the opportunity to train and strengthen different skill sets such as critical thinking, literacy strategies, specific curriculum subjects, problem solving, creativity, etc. There would be mini-games, as well, which are a chance to earn achievement badges or points. These would be the various sports teams, clubs, and intra-murals. Teachers would be like the wise sage character whom students go to for guidance; they also give out the quests; and the rewards/feedback. They could also interact with Experts out in the world from their physical school. Ideally, students would form cross-level, multiple strength groups to aid them in reaching the goals, like in Farmville and other such social games, benefiting both the beginners and the experts.
Sounds quite similar to some of the things we already do, doesn’t it? It’s just kind of tying the bits together, and thinking of it and presenting it to the students as a game. A variation could be, “Super Teacher”…
Quest to Learn is a New York City public school, a school that uses “game-like learning” as a way to empower and engage students from all walks of life. Quest to Learn (Q2L) is specific in its focus on connecting rigorous student learning to the demands of the 21st century, supporting young people in their learning across digital networks, peer communities, content, careers, and media.
From the Site’s Overview…
Mission critical at Quest is a translation of the underlying form of games into a powerful pedagogical model for its 6-12th graders. Games work as rule-based learning systems, creating worlds in which players actively participate, use strategic thinking to make choices, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, receive constant feedback, and consider the point of view of others. As is the case with many of the games played by young people today, Quest is designed to enable students to “take on” the identities and behaviors of explorers, mathematicians, historians, writers, and evolutionary biologists as they work through a dynamic, challenge-based curriculum with content-rich questing to learn at its core.
It’s important to note that Quest is not a school whose curriculum is made up of the play of commercial videogames, but rather a school that uses the underlying design principles of games to create highly immersive, game-like learning experiences. Games and other forms of digital media serve another useful purpose at Quest: they serve to model the complexity and promise of “systems.” Understanding and accounting for this complexity is a fundamental literacy of the 21st century.
The brainchild of Quest To Learn is a professional game designer named Katie Salen. Salen, like many people interested in education, has spent a lot of time thinking about whether there is a way to make learning feel simultaneously more relevant to students and more connected to the world beyond school. And the answer, as she sees it, lies in games.
She believes that going to school can and should be more like playing a game, which is to say it could be made more participatory, more immersive and also, well, fun. Nearly every aspect of life at Quest to Learn is thus designed to be gamelike, even when it doesn’t involve using a computer. Students don’t receive grades but rather achieve levels of expertise, denoted on their report cards as “pre-novice,” “novice,” “apprentice,” “senior” and “master.” They are enlisted to do things like defeat villains and lend a hand to struggling aliens, mostly by working in groups to overcome multifaceted challenges, all created by a collection of behind-the-scenes game designers. The principles are similar to those used in problem-based learning, a more established educational method in which students collaborate to tackle broad, open-ended problems, with a teacher providing guidance though not necessarily a lot of instruction. But at Quest to Learn, the problems have been expertly aerated with fantasy.
Once it has been worked over by game designers, a lesson doesn’t look like a lesson anymore. It is now a quest. And while students at the school are put through the usual rigors of studying pre-algebra, basic physics, ancient civilizations and writing, they do it inside interdisciplinary classes with names like Codeworlds — a hybrid of math and English class — where the quests blend skills from different subject areas. Students have been called upon to balance the budget and brainstorm business ideas for an imaginary community called Creepytown, for example, and to design architectural blueprints for a village of bumbling little creatures called the Troggles. There are elements of the school’s curriculum that look familiar — nightly independent reading assignments, weekly reading-comprehension packets and plenty of work with pencils and paper — and others that don’t. Quest to Learn students record podcasts, film and edit videos, play video games, blog avidly and occasionally receive video messages from aliens.
They also spend significant time building their own games.
Here is a magazine article from the NY Times:
How very fascinating! I want to work at that school! Ideally, we could just open up more of these schools, but, realistically, it is not going to happen. So, what parts of this can we use in our schools?
Look at the offices of present times and into the future! No body is over 30! What will the rest of us do?!
Look at our students’ future jobs… Do schools prepare our students for that? It certainly doesn’t look like any office I’ve ever worked in!
… that I would ever be taking photos and videos on a digital camera, importing the files onto my computer, then uploading them to Animoto.com, mixing them with a sound file, creating a video, transferring it to YouTube.com, adding a link to it on my WordPress Blog, sharing it on Facebook.com, watching it later on my iTouch… and, guess what? It was almost easier to do than typing out all these steps!!! Our students are doing this every day, without all of this thought… AMAZING!
A quick walk to the bridge turns into a near epic adventure! – created at http://animoto.com.
I just witnessed something marvelous: a father in Shopper’s with two primary-aged children, pointing out the various techniques that stores use to get people to buy things they really don’t need. His daughter went straight to the Easter display, saying, “Oh, Daddy, look!” And, his son said, “Like that?”… It’s hard to say if he was just trying to get out of buying his children stuff, or he was opening up a dialogue on critical media literacy, but he had success on both fronts – he managed to get just what they came in for and he capitalized on everyday learning stimuli!
My colleague, @HeidiSiwak has written yet another wonderful blog, in which she has posed some of the many questions that we all have as Educators in the 21st Century,
Since, I have also been grappling with some of these issues myself and have been trying figuring out the best way to Blog about them, so I thought I’d take some of Heidi’s Questions, as she asks them, and pair them with my musings. (Notice, I did not say answers, because those will only come with collaboration of Educators. As far as I can tell, the pace of all this change is causing many of the challenges we face today… it’s happening faster than policies can be created.)
“How are teachers who aren’t exploring these new ideas going to cope when thistsunami of change hits? It’s bubbling just below the surface, but is about to explode. What will they do?” I guess, as teachers, you are either on board or you walk the plank – either by choice or not. The fact is that Education IS changing and it is changing at a very fast face; a whirlwind of change, if you will! If we do not embrace technology, then we are not ensuring the success of our students, thus we are not adequately teaching them.
“If a student is following my class online at home, or at the mall or in the car on the way to Florida, do I still mark him or her as absent?”
Yes, as it is a ‘policy-issue’. But, I suspect you are actually questioning if this is indeed justified, as students can accomplish the exact same thing no matter where they are, and, they can also receive guidance and support from the teacher, wherever they are. As we remove geographic boundaries, the possibilities for enriching learning are endless. Since our students need to be well-versed in these technologies, and, at present time, they are required by law to physically be in the school building, then it is imperative that teachers teach them these skills. It is our job. It doesn’t matter if we are learning right along with the students.
“If I am learning every day from my students, can you still call me the teacher?”
Erm, you mean warden… just kidding. I think upon reflection of our new roles we would be better known as Learning Guides or Collaborators, but these types of titles really do not get across the necessity for knowledgeable professionals, i.e., teachers to have these jobs. I am certainly NOT suggesting teachers are no longer necessary. Perhaps, we just need to change the definition and role description of teacher to more accurately define our new roles. Research has already shown that when you teach, you consolidate learning, so instead of teacher-at-the-head, both teachers and students learn together. Sometimes students may teach the teacher; and sometimes the teachers learns first, then will teach the students, who in all likelihood, will pick up the new skill or concept quickly and then discover something beyond the teacher’s knowledge and then teach the teacher. You see that we have a more collaborative learning process occurring.
Another thing that confounds the issues is that we are in a unique spot in history. Many of today’s teacher’s are not well-versed in technology, but the newer teachers are, and it will be common-place for future teachers. I think that because this is a transition stage – we are moving from a relatively slow-moving Evolution of Education to a fast-paced Revolution of Education.
Since our world is a technological one, we can only: Embrace It. Explore It. Collaborate In It. And, most importantly, Have Fun With It. Start small, take baby steps and ask for help. (It is actually easier to get help online than in real-life, you know!) It’s okay to be fearful, but just do it. Am infinite number of doors will open up for you and you will be transformed by the wonder of it all!
Bump It Up – Do Better to Be Better!
Future Blog topics (because they are BIG topics)…
I have had a truly informative and insightful day today. There are two different Blogs that struck a chord with me today, written by two members of my PLN, @HeidiSiwak and @Grade1. I had shared, in a comment, my belief that classroom management issues must be virtually non-existent. This was confirmed. The other Blog’s author stated the same thing.
Being an occasional teacher, I have a lot of opportunity to see what engages students and what does not. The times I have seen the students to be the most involved are when they are using technology. A class of grade 5/6 gifted students were so into the bridge-building stimulation game they were using that they bargained with their French teacher to let them keep at it at the end of the allotted time period. She agreed, on the condition that if they speak, it be in French. The result being that, not only were they learning about structures, they were speaking and learning the vocabulary in French. Just, WOW! In every case that I have seen students involved in meaningful technological projects, they have been engaged. I had to kick another grade 6 class out of the computer lab at break time. They were busy creating comic strips on BitComet. It is truly amazing to see such student involvement. Isn’t it time that students LOVE going to school; that school becomes a place where they are challenged, where they can create and impact the world that they live in?
It seems to me that we have finally found the answer to keeping kids engaged, thus successful. So why so much opposition? Our students will be knowledgeable, functioning, critical consumers when we release them to the “real world”. Is this not the goal of Education? Maybe, not everyone’s, but it is definitely mine.
Wow! Talk about bumping it up!
In December, the organizers of TED challenged the ad industry “to create ads that people would like so much that they’d like to share some with their friends.” And, I think they got the message that they have to do better to be better. Watch here.
We all have to be like the people at TED and let them know that we won’t put up with their worthless dribble anymore. To quote Twisted Sister, “No! We're not gonna take it! No! We ain't gonna take it, anymore!"
Sure, we’ve accepted that virtually EVERYTHING around us is trying to sell us SOMETHING, but now we are insisting that the ads are meaningful; that they don’t make us feel more stupid for having seen them. And, maybe, the ads might even make us feel more intelligent by teaching us something, making us think, enlightening us, or at the very least, entertaining us.
“It time,” quoting Rage Against the Machine, “yo, we gotta take the power back!” If we don’t like your ad, we’ll tune in to someone else’s ad.
When I watched these videos, I was blown away by the creativity and meaning behind some of these ads. Some would be great in the classrooms for those inferring, predicting, visualization sort of lessons, and for critiquing media, and endless other uses.
Bump It Up!!!
It doesn’t matter what IT is; just bump it up, do it better, be a BETTER you!!!
I know my board, HWDSB, is all over T-LCPs. What the heck does that mean? Is it the same as SMART goals? Luckily, in this technological world, a quick Google search found me all of the information I needed to the billionth degree! So, I used my handy-dandycritical literacy skills to wade through theINFOWHELM, in so doing, taking responsibility for my own professional development.
First, I found (and committed to memory) that T-LCP means Teaching-Learning Critical Pathways. Before I wrote it off as ‘just another of those things that they are making us do,’ I decided to take a look at the actual words to see if I could bring further meaning to the term…
Teaching-Learning recognizes the direct relationship between teaching and learning;
Critical means vital, necessary, analytical, skillful, judgement; and
Pathway indicates that there is an actual, mappable way to get there, i.e., it can be measured.
So, I found myself with an idea of what T-LCPs are all about. It seems we have a new way to think and talk about teaching and learning, and unifying what many teachers are already doing. But what does it look like?
So without any further ado, I present a summary of my research: Teaching-Learning Critical Pathways, in a nutshell…
This T-LCP process allows necessary flexibility in HOW we teach so that students achieve. It seems to tie in nicely with 21st Century Fluencies.
Students are propelled into a world of ever-increasing complexity. We have a moral imperative to prepare them to succeed. Most of them will have jobs that don’t even exist yet!! We need to embrace technology, as well as to teach them problem-solving and critical thinking. They require an education that has a solid foundation on basic numeracy and literacy skills, but also supports deep thinking and action, as well as an education that values and understands the human condition. We need to teach them to be responsible, global and digital citizens.
“We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein
“We must shift our focus from what cannot be controlled; from reasons why things do not work, to what can be controlled; to the reasons why things do work.”- Dr. Asa Hillard
Thus, T-LCPs allow us to shift our focus from figuring out why students do not succeed/achieve, which are just excuses, to looking at why students DO succeed. Every student CAN succeed, so we must adjust the ‘How’.
And, that’s when the FUN begins!
Engagement – Equity – Achievement
It ALL Matters.
March 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm
I enjoyed this post and learned new information. The term 21st century learner is used so loosely that it is hard to figure out a clear definition but I can see how this process could help with the skills I hear associated with this term.
March 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm
Yes, it is something many boards in Ontario are doing… I think it is good because it is recognizing the “journey”, as well as the End-product. There is a lot of grumbling about it from teachers perceiving it to be extra work, but the good ones are already doing these things anyway.
Nicola Schneider, Occasional Teacher, 13 years