Archives For June 2013

Day 1 ISTE

June 23, 2013 — Leave a comment

I dropped out of my session because I couldn’t resist doing some education hacking with ISTE Unplugged.  Really, look at the schedule and all the mind tickling topics for conversation.

Key Learnings from #Hacked13

Deeper Thinking with Ed Tech (Moderated by Scott McLeod)

1) Sharing does not always lead to deeper thinking. We must carefully scaffold and build and nurture the social discourse that surrounds artifacts shared.

2) If you can Google it, it’s not going to lead to deeper thinking.

3) People liked my reference to Gardner Campbell’s “Ecologies of Yearning” which I took from his talk here.

4) The usual suspects appeared: inquiry, problem solving, problem posing, collaboration.

5) I suggested that deep thinking arises from projects that are iterative.


Personalized Learning

This one left me with questions:

1) To what extend does personal learning break-down the interdependency and potential for collaboration in a classroom? I am all for each student having personal goals, but we must also strive for students who want not only succeed and grow, but want to help a peer to that also.

2) What is the difference between differentiation and personalization?

3) How does a classroom teacher manage 20-30 Individual Education Plans? If we are to personalize for each child, how do teachers like me manage that workflow? How do students organize themselves?


Microsoft is giving away 10,000 Surface tablets. So, I was one of the first to get in line and pick mine up. I somehow thought this was impossible so I wanted to be one of the first to see for myself. Yes, they were giving them away. It’s typical Microsoft design: safe and functional and totally void of connecting to my imagination and sense of awe and wonder about the world. Sorry Surface, that is my first impression. But I’ll give you some more time, particularly since my board will only go in your direction.

Surface Give Away ISTE13

Day 1 #ISTE13 June 22, 2013

Today is my first day at ISTE here in San Antonio.  It’s bigger and better than I could have imagined.  I have spotted lots of ed tech rock stars and a tone of people keen to get to their Saturday sessions and learn.

ePortfolios using Google Apps

Spent part of the day with Dr. Helen Barrett learning about ePortfolios (or mPortfolios as in m for mobile) using Google Apps.  She runs a course on ePortfolios too. She has been studying and working on ePortfolios since 1991.  She suggests that the No Child Left Behind mandated a lot of testing in school district so many teachers stopped using portfolios for assessment. Portfolios went from being a state wide initiative to an optional classroom based approach. Helen suggested that portfolios took root in the 80s and 90s with the Writing Project.

What do people collect and why?

People collect all sorts of artifacts including prizes, medals, and especially pictures.  We collect things because they tell the story and bring back your memories. You can go back and recreate the experience. We collect things that remind us of pleasurable experiences.  At school and ePortfolio is a purposeful collection of student work. We can use our personal collections and professional collections to help students can see a model.

ePortfolios: What

Three parts of a portfolio according to Helen: a collection or digital archive; the reflective journal and the showcase portfolio.

Balanced ePortfolios are student-centered and school centred.

Student Centered: Focus on intersts, passions, goals; choice and voice with reflection; lifelong learning.

School centred: focus on standards and outcomes; accountability achievement; time sequence restricted to term and graduation.

Balance must also be found between learning portfolios compared to showcase portfolios. Below is the chart to explain:

Barrett Balancing Portfolios


Examples of Portfolios

All examples she publicly shares here.

Helen’s blog as learning portfolio of process (can be called chronological portfolio).

Helen’s ePortfolio is a showcase portfolio (can be thematically organized).

Student blog which is both chronological and thematic.

Teacher an curriculum leader Kim Cofino‘s portfolio (looks like a website to me (and a great one), but this was presented as an example.

High School Senior’s Portfolio and his mission to teach teachers how to use Google Apps.

Thought Shrapnel

  • A portfolio is like an ongoing student-led conference.
  • Take screen shots of progress on online math games and iPad apps as artifacts.
  • Super goal: that students decide when they need to capture a learning artifact into their portfolio (this should be the case with a 1:1).

Things to follow up on and things I am not sure about:

  • Should I have kids store images in Picasa? What are benefits over Dropbox? Is there an App?


The Power of Portfolios: What children can teach us about learning and assessment by Dr. Elizabeth Hebert.

National Educational Technology Plan (2010) talk about student-managed electronic learning portfolio that are part of a persistent learning record.



Assessment Management Systems

Hapara Managing google apps

Mahara Open Source Portfolios

Digication ePortfolios




Spoiler Alert to #tieco13: This is a sample from the the presentation I will be giving tomorrow with Master LaPlante!

Logan LaPlante is an incredible person who is doing amazing things and will do amazing things in the future.




He is a super communicator, highly adaptable, embraces change, is highly connected and positive.  On YouTube, his TED talk has over 200,000 views with 4,000 likes. A top comment on the video says “You guys, seriously we should all do hack schooling if it turns out kids like this” and I am compelled to agree.  His current and future success, as he points out, are also due in large part to his mom and dad, David and Jessica. I commend them for doing what feels right for their child and for having the courage to seek a path less followed for Logan.  I do believe that being happy and healthy is a worthy goal. Plus, if you are a hacker in the traditional computer sense, you live in a world that has a surprising abundance of humour and laughter. In Logan’s case, I also appreciate the emphasis on creating a life and not just working to create a living.  I think all of us want an opportunity to live a full life.  The eight strategies for happy and healthy living from Dr. Roger Walsh makes for an interesting list to consider.  I noticed that the Colorado Department of Education has adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative back in August 2010 and full implementation is expected by next school year 2013-2014.
Since I am speaking in Colorado, I went looking online at the “Comprehensive Health” curriculum  I found the word “happy” once and the word “stress” or “stressor” 35 times. The word happy was as an example for how to deal with stress.
Happy vs. Stress
I think the educators and policy makers in the state of Colorado might want to take a page from Logan LaPlante and work on being happy as opposed to finding ways to deal with stress. To me this seems like working on healthy eating as opposed to effective weight loss and dieting.  Relaxation and stress management is one category of the 8 Therapeutic Lifestyle changes or TLC. I would expect to see many curriculum standards for exercise as well as diet and nutrition if I were to go through the curriculum.  But what about the other 6: time in nature (perhaps in sciences), contribution and service, relationships, recreation, and religious and spiritual. Should these be the responsibility of public schools?  Is it reasonable to make happiness a core part of the curriculum?