Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It's Coming! July's #cyberPD Event Schedule

Last week we shared our selection for July's #cyberPD book talk.  We're excited to have selected Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton for this year's conversation.  (You can hear her talk about the book here.)  This will be the seventh year for our virtual book group which reads and collaboratively discusses a professional book each summer.

2016:  DIY Literacy:  Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts
2015:  Digital Reading:  What's Essential by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass
2014:  Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
2013:  Who Owns the Learning by Alan November
2012:  Opening Minds by Peter Johnston
2011:  Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop by Patrick Allen

July's Professional Book Chat:  #cyberPD
  • Week of July 2nd:  Into & Section 1:  Chapters 1 - 4, digital response by 7/6
  • Week of July 9th:  Read Chapters 5 - 6, digital response by 7/13
  • Week of July 16th:  Read Chapters 7 - 8, digital response by 7/20
  • Week of July 23rd:  Read Chapters 9 -10, digital response by 7/27

How to Participate
  • Join the #cyberPD Google Community to connect and receive updates 
  • Read the selected chapters each week 
  • Respond digitally to each section by the Thursday of the assigned week 
  • Thursday - Saturday take time to reply to at least 3 participant responses

Ways to Respond
  • Respond on your blog and link your post to the Google Community or
  • Post your thinking directly in the #cyberPD Community or
  • Create a digital response and post it in the Google Community 
  • You can also share thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD 


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Maintaining Ownership in Personalized Learning

If you follow my blog, you know I've been giving Pinterest a hard time lately.  I miss being able to socially bookmark with people in my network I trust.  Often when I log into Pinterest I find a bunch of pins this "personalized" website thinks I want to see.

The truth is....they're almost always wrong.

The same is true with Facebook.  Most of the promotions they send my way are often items I've already purchased, merchandise I'd never consider, or links of little interest (don't get me started on virtual school posts that make their way into my feed).  Let me step off my soapbox to get to my point:  the only person that can truly personalize for YOU is YOU.

So....is "personalized" learning what we want for our children?

I continually read posts from people who are adamantly against personalized learning.  Their argument is that big business wants to personalize for students.  Like these advocates, I share their concern.  When I see Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg want to help personalize learning, I get a bit apprehensive.  As an educator, I've seen programs where students sit down and the app "personalizes" for them.  I've watched them robotically work through menus with new levels pushed their way.  I've sat through sales pitches in which companies hope to sell content that is collected and given to the learner.  When I think about the way we live, the jobs that will be available, and the possibilities that abound, I don't consider this enough for our children.

Personalized learning, to me, isn't about programs that try to use algorithms to determine next steps for children.  Personalized learning, to me, is personal.  It's learning that allows learners to assess their own understanding, determine their own goals, and design their own learning.  Personalized learning changes my role as a teacher.  It doesn't make me one stop in a rotation of "personalized programming products," but instead shifts my role to a co-learner in our classroom, albeit one with experience who can sit beside students as they design their next steps.  As I like to say, I'm now "coach on approach" for the learners in our community.

Here are a few of the characteristics I see as essential in personal learning:
  • It's Learner Driven:  Learners truly know what is next, set their own goals, and design their own path.  
  • It's Collaborative:  True learning never happens in isolation, but is part of a larger conversation.    Learners know the experts in the room (and outside of the room), reach out to peers for feedback, and have opportunities to learn alongside others.  Learning is part of a bigger conversation that is taking place in the community.  
  • It's Authentic:  Learners have the opportunity to solve real problems, ask genuine questions, and seek new understandings.  They are able to select their own books, choose their own topics, and follow their own interests.  
  • It's Connected:  Thanks to the internet, learning no longer happens in isolation.  Students now have a platform to share their work, reach outside of their classroom, and connect with other learners, authors, and experts.  
  • It Allows for Creativity:  While paper, pencil, markers and paints are certainly still important tools in creating, digital opportunities now allow for new ways to share our thinking with others.  
Is personalized learning what we want for our children?  I guess it depends on how you define it.  If it is spending our day handing students devices with programs that feed information to them, then I wonder as well, but if instead, it is creating learning environments in which children truly own their learning then it is absolutely what I hope we will continue to work toward.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

In Case You Haven't Heard: #cyberPD Selection

The calendar has turned to June and, as educators, our attention has turned to our bookstacks.  This is the time of year that we can catch up on professional reading, children's literature....and of course a few pleasure reads.  ;o)  It's also the time of year our #cyberPD community starts thinking about its selection for our summer booktalk.  This will be our 7th year collaborating and learning together.

We began, as usual, by sharing our summer bookstacks.  That was dangerous!  It always results in adding more books to my stack.  You can check them out in our #cyberPD Google Community.

By now I know you've probably heard, but just in case --- and because I'm just thrilled about it --- I wanted to share the good news.  This year's #cyberPD selection is....

Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton.

If you'd like to participate in our July conversation, stop by our #cyberPD Google Community and join us.  You can also follow the events on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.

Find Out More:

Stay tuned.  We'll be sharing our July schedule and more information in the weeks to come.