Music Ed Then, Now and Change

I really enjoyed my recent conversation with Jane Gingerich, head of music at Southwood Secondary School where we examined music education then and now, leveraging technology and change. I think you will find the perspectives interesting.

Interview

Examples of theory instructional videos

~Mark
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A Case for Change

As a frequent blog reader and online content curator, I am fascinated by the idea of synchronicity in reading.   One interesting example of this happened last week when I read a new blog post by Donna Miller Fry,  came across a connected reference by  Seth Godin  posted in my twitter stream (thanks PLN) and had a quote “jump out” at me in a  Flipboard  article.  I thought you might find these articles of interest and perhaps the connections will poke your thinking a bit.

In a recent post titled Emotional Uncertainty in Exponential Times, Donna Miller Fry writes:  “How do we describe and define the intense feelings we experience when we see people we care about, colleagues in our profession, working their fingers to the bone at tasks that just don’t matter anymore?  Exponential change is our reality, yet many of our institutions continue to work hard to be exceptional at what mattered yesterday.”  Read Donna’s full post at  Emotional Uncertainty in Exponential Times

In his post  Teaching Certainty,  Seth Godin writes:  
“Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling:  You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow.  The class will certainly … what to do when the certain thing doesn’t happen?”

In my 3rd connection, Andrew Tonner identifies a great Steve Jobs quote in his  Fox Business article  7 Steve Jobs Quotes on Business, Technology and Life.  I felt like this quote jumped out at me:

stevejobsquote

Speed

In reflecting on these 3 interconnected articles,  I wonder , in the context of education, our rapidly changing world and the importance of education being relevant,  if we have enough people  who  truly get it, that really understand innovation, how to change and the need for it and are empowered to take action to change?  I invite your comments and thinking, here by comment or via  @markwcarbone on twitter.

Thanks to Flickr user  GregHeo  for making the creative commons photo available.

~Mark
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2016 1:1 Kickoff

The start of this school year has an extra kick of pizzaz for me. WRDSB is launching a 1:1 Chromebook program for all grade 9 students in the system. The intent is for students to keep their chromebook for their 4 years of secondary school.

The learning space has changed: access to digital resources for all, leveraging online learning environments such as Google Classroom and Google apps noting that over 60% of WRDSB staff and students currently use this environment daily for writing, researching, collaborating, exchanging ideas, providing feedback, documenting and sharing their learning.  In many respects, moving to 1:1 is a scaling up based on the successes of the  Futures Forum  project.

6Cs-fulllan

Graphic from http://michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/13599974110.pdf

On Sept. 1st, I had the opportunity to attend the grade nine orientation session at Cameron Heights CI. Principal Ray Teed estimated that over 90% of grade nine students were present.  It was great to feel the energy and excitement in the building. Here are a few highlights from the tour, lunch and chromebook pickup.

… and a nice touch at Southwood SS.

photo

Make it a great learning year!

~Mark
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Voice – Have You Found Yours?

Last week I had a fantastic opportunity to hear flamenco guitarist David Sinclair perform in a quaint house setting thanks to friends Bob and Jan.  As  you might anticipate, the performance was fabulous and so great to hear in that setting.  David provided some interesting insights into the music history and style to set the context for each piece.

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One  of the introductions really struck a chord with me.  As he talked about progressing as performer, David shared that one of his teachers challenged him to accomplish more:  be a great performer, but find your voice, write and perform your own music as well – leave your own legacy.

There is was: the importance of  “find your voice“.  Thanks David.

Given the number of conversations  in education about finding your voice and sharing learning openly, and a new school year just around the corner, perhaps this was a happy coincidence.  Or perhaps it was an “ignite moment”  to encourage us (educators) to take steps or continue a commitment to support open learning and sharing.

Blog!

September is coming.  Are in you in? 

~Mark
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Creative Commons Photo Credit (blog graphic) to Flickr user  ginaballerina

DI – macro vs micro

Edu Gridlock Part 5:

What do you think when you hear the term DI or Differentiated instruction?  What is your first reaction?  I think the notion often stills up a lot of negative thinking – maybe this type of reaction – chaos envisioned.

my horrified look

The truth is, in conversations with teachers and administrators, what makes the most difference seems to be DI at the micro level.  I have heard so many accounts of small changes, choice, and flexibility playing in important role in moving learning, process, documentation of learning and/or assessment to a more effective result.  Don’t discount the impacts of “micro changes”. 

There is another angle though.  I enjoyed a great conversation with Julie Balen  this evening, where we discussed the idea of educators embracing DI “up front” at the planning stage.  Questions we explored included:

  • What lens do you look at a curriculum with?
  • Does thinking default to a fixed linear sequential mode?
  • What does it take to imagine curriculum unfolding in a new way?  — perhaps an unconventional way that may the deepen learning, feedback and assessment cycles
  • Considering the impact of approach, choice, voice and better questioning techniques
  • What actions can we take to inspire people to think differently?

I really enjoyed hearing Julie’s perspectives and experiences.  There is no one answer to these questions. The value is in taking the time to explore them, consider personal change and recognize the importance of the flexibility to adjust in an effort to  maximize each learning opportunity.   I look forward to our next conversation Julie!

Differentiation Resources: ASCD,  Learn Alberta

Julie’s  Blog

Photo credit:  Flickr user Bernice Bowling

~Mark
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OPC 2016 Institute Resource

Today’s post shares the resource  Donna Fry  and I prepared for our presentation at the OPC 2016 Summer Institute for Technology Enabled Learning  where we looked at compelling reason’s for change, the role of technology, using technology examples as ignite topics for discussions, setting new norms, open thinking and online course strategies.

OPC

 

Additional Resources:

Blog post:  A Compelling Case for Change by Donna Fry 

Dr. Tony Wagner

Most Likely to Succeed

~Mark
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Leveraging Time

Edu Gridlock Part 4:

This post in the  Gridlock  series will focus on leveraging time, but first, some context. I have been fortunate to have Dean Shareski in my PLN and enjoy the occasional face to face conversation.  The two most recent conversations, at Educon, and in this panel discussion: The Future of Learning , the notion of leveraging schools and students to really do something special in education.  While the full panel discussion is very worthwhile, I have set the video below to start at a relevant point for the purpose of this post. Take a moment and listen to for 2 minutes.

I have been reflecting about the idea captured in the video to the context of personalizing education.  It seems to me that one element of personalizing learning would be to tackle the challenge the barriers of timetabling. I believe one strategy to improve student learning would be to create a flexible yet seamless approach for students to interact with the teachers they need to spend time with, and when they need it – not when the class is scheduled within a  fixed timetable approach.

Imagine for a moment, a school scheduled on the premise that all students would take half of their subjects in online e-learning or blended learning (say 2 of 4 courses in a semestered arrangement). Rather than emphasizing working remotely, students could be in the school during these times, at least strongly encouraged,  per say, but not locked into fixed class time. Teachers could be available for F2F student help, tutorials etc. as needed rather than teaching formal classes — more of a flexible mentoring approach at a time or pace that the student requires.

Creating this flexible time could also be used to support student wellness with various self directed activity options, noting that a high percentage of students enjoy self directed non competitive recreational activity.  This is also the type of flex time that would allow the exploration of the points Dean made in the video – doing something special, making an impact.

Now for the challenge:

Zip line guide

It is easy the allow your thinking to drift into the what about this, what about that, how would we … Try to put that aside for a moment, stay student focused and let the idea of a more personalized student centred, flexible learning journey percolate.

Percolated

I would enjoy hearing your thoughts and ideas about creating and leveraging flex time for learning.  Please comment or connect on Twitter: @markwcarbone 

Acknowledgements:
Creative Commons photo credit: ziptheusa (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ziptheusa) and lockergnome (https://www.flickr.com/photos/lockergnome)

~Mark
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Connect, Learn, Reflect, Share: Make a Difference Today

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