Category Archives: Connected Learner

Knowledge Mobilization Context – a response

A couple of weeks ago  Donna Miller Fry  blogged about open education leadership, exploring the question: Is knowledge more rapidly mobilized through the system when leaders work openly?

Her post begins “For the purposes of my work, I am considering personal professional openness – the concept of sharing thinking and learning in open spaces, curating resources for others, engaging in open conversations in text or through broadcast technologies like podcasts, videos and YouTube Live, blogging and commenting on blogs, and participating across the educational boundaries in wider conversations across the web. Working open” means different things in different contexts …”   You can read Donna’s full blog post [here] .

In my view, this is a well written post, and as is typical of Donna, she invites further comment and discussion.  I have been mulling over my thinking on this topic since reading the post and decided to share my response as another blog post.

I fully believe in open learning, sharing and question asking,  and do my best to model this in my own practice.  My experience, and I believe that of many, is that the personal value of being a connected professional, connected learner, and engaged in global conversations is truly boundless learning.  Yet, Donna’s post has prompted me to do some deeper thinking about context of open learning and knowledge mobilization.

My thinking on this has moved to a triangulation model of open learning, conditions & culture  and purpose/focus with knowledge mobilization at the centre.

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The question for me is what brings knowledge mobilization to life beyond personal growth and interest?

openness: sharing thinking, learning and questions openly – publicly in digital forums

conditions & culture: innovation and creativity – an interest and receptiveness in moving positions and growth

focus: alignment to a purpose or goal  (beyond self)

Applying knowledge mobilization strategies to system
system change is often a task faced by large organizations, including school boards.  The open learning model that Donna describes in her post I believe is a key element in change:  learning openly from others, leveraging the “global room” of the digital world,  bringing new ideas and  experiences to the table,  challenging  and adjusting thinking and landing solidly on the right place to promote, activate and execute system change.

Mobilizing knowledge through to a system requires a certain receptiveness, a level of readiness, a plan.  In my view, a culture that embraces innovation and creativity is needed or must be created to truly embrace change.  This process takes time, but is important. If this is missing, the pace of change – time needed for the process will undoubtedly be extended, perhaps less impactful or worse, not achieved at all.

Finally, meshing open learning to a culture of change, innovation and creativity then applying it to a strategic focus or goal amplifies the entire process.  The strategic focus may be drastic such as a company reinventing itself to “stay alive” in the business world, or perhaps the focus is change one or more elements in an education system. No the less, understanding the need and target for the change process must be well understood.

I believe the triangulation approach creates purpose and amplification for planned change.

Your thoughts?

~Mark
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Reflections on Innovator’s Mindset Panel 4

I enjoyed supporting the social media component of this week’s Innovator’s Mindset panel discussion.  As I listened to the panelists and monitored the Twitter stream, I jotted down phrases that resonated with me in terms of student centred thinking and important professional practice.

I framed a few questions from the discussion here:

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I thought the panelists shared some insightful professional practice elements:

Tell your story:  everyone  (students and educators)  has a story.
Reflect
Challenge Thinking as part of your regular practice
Make it Public
Model – model what you seek
We are collectively better and stronger as co-learners .

Will you take the challenge?
Will you support change and choose to model normalizing the practice of making your learning and thinking visible?

Related Resources:

Storify of panel discussion 4
Follow the Twitter stream at  #innovatorsmindet 

View the panel discussion

~Mark
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Innovators Mindset: Starting School From Scratch

The world in which we exist today is complex and changing rapidly. There is more knowledge, more research and arguably more opportunity than ever before. One could put an argument forward that we are on the right path, that education is gradually shifting to a better place. Yet I wonder, are we?

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As highlighted here, the possibilities are endless and yes, the really answer is indeed likely closer to a book.

This question certainly fits my personal passion for change. My mind is flooding with thoughts and ideas:  learning is messy, differentiated, innovate, accountability, technology enabled, maker spaces, coding, literacy, numeracy, learning commons, collaborate,  real world context, problem solvers, analysis, literacies that fit the world in which our students live NOW,  pre-service teacher training, shifting culture, speed of change, differentiation, linearity (or not), global context, contributing to society  … well you get the picture.

For the purposes of this Innovator’s Mindset blog hop, I thought I would highlight a few “must changes” on my personal list.  Now waving the change wand ….

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  1. Boundless & Joyful Learning – we need a simple yet differentiated free flow to learning centred around student passion(s) rather than the current model which is tied to grades and calendar years.  Stomp out content driven learning. You can read more about my ideas on engagement and personalization of learning [here]
  2. Learning spaces – flexible, windows, filled with natural  lighting,  flexible furniture arrangements, no rows, learning commons/maker space style, student run white boards and  interesting colour schemes.  The design should focus on what you can do by bringing people together.
  3. Teachers as learning facilitators –  innovators, risk takers, technology enabled, differentiators, and digital resources and tools, no ‘walls’,  real world context (community and global)
  4. Assessment – Within the classroom perspective, we know a lot more about the importance of conversations, observations and products, frequent feedback and documenting learning – all good, but everyone must be ‘in’.  “High stakes” testing through provincial/(state), national and international assessment strategies need to change as the current model is far too linear and based on ages and grades rather than brain development and a variety of other factors.  I believe we need to reach beyond literacy and numeracy.
  5. Professional Learning – connected, self directed, self motivated learners (not sit and get), what is your next (not best) – thanks @pmillerscdsb

IM-9        Plan Act Assess Reflect (PAAR) may indeed be more powerful as Assess Reflect Plan Act  (ARPA).   I believe we need to build a lot of capacity yet in the area of open sharing.  Hallway and staff room conversations may be fantastic, but if you can’t search, access and share them then they are ideas and learnings in isolation.  More of my thoughts on this are in my blog post  Just Make It Public.

I hope some of these ideas have poked your thinking.  I invite you to comment here or connect with me on Twitter (@markwcarbone) or via  #innovatorsmindset.

~Mark

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Note: Image from: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wandlore

Rethinking Learning Spaces

I closed out the week by collaborating with  Jamie Reaburn Weir and  Alanna King  for  an insightful conversation on redesigning learning spaces.

I think you will appreciate the viewpoints and early observations they share from their work in this area.

I wonder what you will explore?

~Mark

Let Them Choose

During my ongoing curation of articles about learning, digital tools and social media, I recently came across this article exploring perspectives on  social media in the lecture theatres.  Although the article was primarily examining post secondary perspectives, I would argue the same discussions are relevant in K12. The discussion was centred around various viewpoints on whether or not students:

  • be allowed (by profs) to bring technology to class
  • are distracted by having access to social media  and
  • experience benefits?

Two interviewees interviewed commented that “… because the students are most likely taking notes. Many don’t use pen and paper, and rely on their devices. She says students are old enough to decide if they are to learn or not.” andMy view is they are old enough to choose and multitask (and choose to fail too),“. Meanwhile, others choose to dictate “no access”.

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Now, if I put a personal perspective on this and let you observe my learning mode,  this is what you would see. Typically I use 2 devices … taking notes on my iPad using notability – not just for notes – adding audio recording, and insert photos for context for a more complete package.  On the second device I organize lists, todos, ideas and share via social media, typically Twitter but this could easily be a Facebook group, G+ community, LinkedIn or open Google doc. I reiterate – this is MY style. This is how I learn best. Paper and pen doesn’t work for me.

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Why not let students choose what works best for them – student voice. To me,  letting students choose what tools they use and how they organize shows a strength based approach to student learning. What benefit is there in forcing students to function in a way that may not be self directed and self optimized?

Weigh in:  Where do you stand?

~Mark

Digging Deeper into Edu and Edtech

When opportunity knocks,  answer!

I was recently approached by Kristin Frizzell (@71frizzell) who is taking a course with  Brenda Sherry  (@brendasherry)  to do an interview as a component of the course. This sounded like a great opportunity so we worked out a suitable time this week.

I was impressed with the set of questions the class collaboratively developed around the intersection of learning, instructional practice and edtech.  Our Google Hangout on Air meeting was our first “official”  face to face (F2F)  — hmmm, make that virtual F2F  —  meeting and conversation.  Awesome!

I hope our discussion around the question set stimulates your thinking and supports your learning.

I look forward to a continued connection with ongoing learning and sharing with Kristin.

~Mark

Learning With Passion

Learn with passion. Follow your dreams. What could be better?

Earlier this week I had the privilege of seeing this in action at my school board.  One of our students has always dreamed of working at a technology company – and specifically the Apple Store in this case. The student self initiated the process of how to prepare a resume, researched it, obtained feedback from his teacher and arranged delivery of his resume.

Now, you might think this sounds fairly typical at this point BUT,  it is important to know that this particular student is 5!!! Here is a little excerpt from his resume.

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Hats off to teacher Aaron Fewkes  (@mrfewkes) and our local Apple Store team for pulling together a fabulous afternoon of passion based learning for our student Jack where he received a heartfelt greeting, met staff, toured behind the scenes and had a chance to experience and demonstrate the latest technology.

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Aaron had arranged for Jack to skype with his class to share his experience live from the store.

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With some collaborative teamwork with the onsite staff, Jack shares his experience.

You can also check out the storify version of the twitter action of #jacksbigday.

Make every day count: Learn with passion. Follow your dreams.

~Mark