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"Learning is about living, and as such is lifelong." Elkjaer.


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This Post Was Written By AI

Strap in, as developments in AI, Machine Learning and automation have come thick and fast over the last two years, and really exploded over the last six months. This post is a demonstration of a couple of (free or trial version) tools that showcase capabilities in AI that will doubtless have an impact on the high school graduates of the very near future. The “jobs that don’t exist yet” of ten years ago – but that exist now – will be impacted quickly. Developments in science, technology, medicine and sustainability are already changing the way we can solve problems.

This post took under 30mins to go from idea to published output. The drafting of the text took under 5mins in each platform, and most of the work was pulling in some tweets and adding links and images. It would take extra work to add links, sources, depth and citations but it lifts the creator from the blank page in moments. These are early days for the tech, yet it can generate useful multiple drafts and iterations in just a couple of minutes. Imagine what it would be like in a few years…

Screenshots at the end of the post. I found PlaygroundAI through Suhail’s tweets, and the other tools from this thread by Daniel Eckler.

Updates – the services in this post are all accessible with a Google account and don’t need mobile number or other installs. I’ve made a LibGuide with all the resources here, including a page on ethical considerations and some accessible AI & ML courses. I used PlayGroundAI for all the images (which includes Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2); you can also try DreamStudio for StableDiffusion (thanks Dalton).

Can you guess the prompts used to generate these images?

Example Post with WriteSonic AI Article Writer 3.0

Text Prompt: Impacts of AI on the jobs of the future

Using: Writesonic AI Article Writer 3.0. This example started with my topic and keywords, from which it generated example headlines, section headings and then written content. I made minor adjustments along the way, and with Grammarly built in, took no time to tweak to this content.

Output

The Future of Jobs: Implications for Employment and Economic Security

The rapid pace of technological change over the last decade has led many to wonder what the future may hold for jobs and the economy. Some have predicted that widespread automation will lead to massive job loss and a prolonged period of economic weakness. Others have been more optimistic, suggesting that new technologies will actually create new types of jobs and spur a boom in related industries.

What are the current trends in employment?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment levels have been growing steadily since 2011 and are currently near record highs. However, there have been some notable changes in the types of jobs being created. For example, the BLS estimates that employment in the manufacturing sector fell by 3.8 million (about one-third) between 2000 and 2018. This decline reflects a shift in the structure of the US economy toward services, which now accounts for 80% of all jobs. Overall, employment changes have been modest, and there is no sign that automation is replacing workers at a significant pace.

How many jobs will be lost to automation?

Estimates vary widely, but most researchers believe that a significant number of jobs will be lost. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that about 40% of tasks will be automated by 2055, with about 60% of those occurring in the manufacturing sector and the rest in other industries. This level of automation is comparable to the rate of change observed in the past, but it is happening faster because the cost of automating is declining. Still, these changes will not lead to an overall reduction in employment because new industries and jobs will also emerge. It is unclear, however, whether the economy will be able to create enough new jobs to make up for those lost to automation.

Which occupations are most at risk?

Automation has the potential to disrupt many occupations, but some industries and occupations are more at risk than others. One study on automation risk in the US economy focused on the probability of automation in a large sample of occupations. Occupations with a high probability of automation include agricultural workers, mining machine operators, sewing machine operators, and many types of food service workers.

Which occupations will see the most growth?

Many of the occupations that will benefit most from automation are in health care, education, and software development. The healthcare sector will grow significantly due to an ageing population, technological developments, and rising demand for preventive care. Advances in technology will allow the education sector to expand, especially online education. This will allow more people to learn at their own pace and from a distance.

How can we prepare for these changes?

The best way to prepare for these changes is to invest in people. This includes expanding educational opportunities, developing new training programs, and providing adults with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. It is important to note that not everyone will be affected by automation in the same way. Workers who are creative and have social skills are less likely to be replaced by robots. Those who have the right mix of skills and are flexible enough to use them in new ways can also thrive in a rapidly changing economy.

What skills should high school graduates of 2025 master to be competitive in an AI future?

While it is impossible to predict exactly what skills will be needed, our research shows that graduates who are creative and have strong communication skills will be well prepared to tackle whatever comes next. In addition, it is critical for workers to keep learning throughout their careers, as new technologies and industries emerge. This will allow them to stay relevant in the changing economy and continue to earn a living.

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Example Paragraph from PepperTypeAI

Prompt: Preparing today’s high school graduates for the AI future. (PeppertypeAI)

“It can be tough to predict the future, especially when it comes to the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, there are some things that today’s high school graduates can do to prepare themselves for a world where AI is developing quickly. They should focus on developing skills like creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and researching opportunities in fields like data science and machine learning. With these skills and knowledge, they’ll be well-equipped to take advantage of the opportunities that AI presents.”

Peppertype, like WriteSonic, has loads of content-type generators. This one also has options for tone, call to action and more.


Example Post with CopyAI

Tool: CopyAI Prompt: Preparing Today’s High School Graduates for an AI Future. This has similar tools as WriteSonic and Peppertype, with tone and talking point options.

Preparing Today’s High School Graduates for an AI Future

Introduction

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, more and more jobs are being impacted by automation. New research suggests AI will affect some industries much more than others, but all industries will see some impact. High school and university students need to be given the skills needed for new job requirements and training for current jobs will also be necessary as certain jobs become more automated. This means teaching young people how to collaborate with robots and other technologies, rather than competing with them. Coding languages are essential to learn as they can help students develop app functionalities, helping them be adept in the technology era.”

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, more and more jobs are being impacted by automation. New research suggests AI will affect some industries much more than others, but all industries will see some impact.

You may be wondering: What will the future hold? Will my job be affected by AI?

The short answer is yes. More and more jobs are being impacted by automation, as AI continues to evolve and change the way we live our lives. In fact, a recent study suggests nearly half of all jobs could be at risk of being automated within the next 10 years (including yours).

You should prepare yourself for this inevitable shift in how society operates by understanding what types of occupations are most likely to face disruption from artificial intelligence technologies like machine learning (ML) or deep learning (DL), which allow computers to learn on their own rather than being programmed with specific tasks beforehand. You should also understand how these changes might affect your own career plans moving forward—and whether your education will help you stay relevant as new opportunities arise over time

High school and university students need to be given the skills needed for new job requirements and training for current jobs will also be necessary as certain jobs become more automated. This means teaching young people how to collaborate with robots and other technologies, rather than competing with them.

When universities and high schools are preparing students for an AI future, they need to be taught about the new job requirements and training for current jobs will also be necessary as certain jobs become more automated. This means teaching young people how to collaborate with robots and other technologies, rather than competing with them.

In our current society, we have come up with a number of solutions that can help us deal with this problem:

  • We could use artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives by using it for personal tasks like scheduling appointments or writing emails
  • We could create an AI company that does some of this work for us
  • We could develop technology that allows humans and robots to work together

Coding languages are essential to learn as they can help students develop app functionalities, helping them be adept in the technology era. There are a variety of websites available with free coding tutorials rounded up by age group, so there’s no excuse not to learn this skill that could give you an edge in your future career.

Coding is a valuable skill that can be learned at any age. There are many free resources available for learning coding, and it’s important to take advantage of them as soon as possible. Learning to code will help you develop app functionalities, helping you be adept in the technology era.

In today’s society, coding has become a necessity for many jobs such as software development or data analysis fields. If you haven’t yet discovered how useful this skill could be when it comes time for college applications or job interviews (and beyond), now might be a good time!

In addition to coding abilities, high school graduates need to have stronger presentation skills as well as the ability to think critically and creatively when it comes to solving problems.

In addition to coding abilities, high school graduates need to have stronger presentation skills as well as the ability to think critically and creatively when it comes to solving problems.

In today’s world, where technology is constantly changing and evolving, it is critical that students are able to communicate their ideas effectively in a way that will be understood by adults. Presentation skills can be developed through practice; however creative thinking is another skill that can be developed through practice as well. Both creativity and critical thinking require specific methods of learning which include: reading books; listening carefully while others speak; taking notes while listening or reading; asking questions when you don’t understand something someone has said/written down on paper (this may include questions like “why?” or “what if?”); drawing pictures with words written next too them so you get more information out of what someone says by visualizing how everything works together instead just hearing them talk about one thing at once without seeing anything else going on around them besides themselves talking about their own personal experiences but these experiences only apply within this particular situation therefore making sense only within context such as being able

to understand why something happened before doing anything else because then later after seeing results from doing certain actions we might say ‘gosh these things worked!’ But then again maybe not because maybe there isn’t enough evidence available yet.”

High school graduates are not getting adequate training for the future workforce which is going to be affected by AI.

High school graduates are not getting adequate training for the future workforce which is going to be affected by AI. The technology will require workers who can creatively think critically and collaborate with robots, software agents, etc., in order to solve problems.

In order to prepare students for this future, it’s important that they learn how to work together with other people toward a common goal: solving problems using new technologies like AI.

Conclusion

It is clear that the future of work will be impacted by artificial intelligence and new technologies. High school graduates need to prepare themselves for this change, so they can be ready when these jobs become automated. Coding languages are essential to learn as they can help students develop app functionalities, helping them be adept in the technology era. There are a variety of websites available with free coding tutorials rounded up by age group, so there’s no excuse not to learn this skill that could give you an edge in your future career

END POST


Is AI Coming for Creative Work?

The tweet thread below shows some very quick examples of concept images created in Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2 using the (currently free) PlaygroundAI.com platform. Click to see the whole thread; I’ll keep adding examples. You can see my Playground gallery (and copy the prompts) here.


A Deeper Dive Into Implications

You should definitely read this post – especially if you are a TOK, ethics, or digital media teacher.


Screenshots


Listen: The DeepMind Podcast:

This fantastic podcast series by Professor Hannah Fry dives deep into the world of AI research at DeepMind in London, unpacking the history, development and applications of ML, DL and AI research.

https://www.deepmind.com/the-podcast

Embedded below – one of my favourite episodes about AlphaFold, the project to solve the riddles of human proteome. Incredible developments and potential future applications in health and medicine:


Read: AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee

For a (mostly optimistic) and fantastically-researched view on the world in 2041, check out Kai-Fu Lee‘s collaboration with Chinese sci-fi heavyweight Chen Qiufan. Ten short stories, ten regions, ten areas of development, all set in 2041. Extrapolating current tech to future implications in the style of Black Mirror, with explainers after each chapter.


In this interview from the Computer History Museum, Kai-Fu Lee talks about the world outlined in AI2041, and includes a question posted by me (at about 1h4min).

Kai-Fu Lee’s predictions for the next 20 years, (Chinese with English subtitles):


Can you guess the prompts I used to create these images?


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Personal Project Quick Comment Spreadsheet

UPDATE 2022: Thanks to Terea Marcum for updating this for the new Guide. Please click here to see her version. Thank-you! 

Spreadsheet to help with comment generation and moderation of MYP Personal Project. It is a long job, particularly with large class sizes and teachers working across time zones. The comment bank aims to help keep comments aligned and neutral, and comments for individual students can easily be modified. See the video below for how it works.

  • It uses data validation and a comment bank for marking,
  • “Concatenate” to compile comments and feeds the data into a decision-making sheet.
  • If a student’s work is sampled, the submission comment can be derived from the comments of the two marker

EDIT – links to the old version removed. 

Video: for the older version, but you get the idea.


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Reductive Rubrics, Authenticity & Opportunities for Learning

A quick post to share an animated gif, made in the new Keynote 9 update. It is a rebuild of a lower-quality animation I made years ago and use often, inspired by a cartoon I saw but cannot track down again (and I’d love to find it). I have used it in the context of critiquing my own MA dissertation and more frequently in conversations about not over-describing the 7-8 level of MYP assessment criteria.

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“Zooming In” to MYP Assessment

A growing concern for me in MYP is the power this line from MYP subject guides can have on the opportunities and expectations for and the language of learning in the classroom:

Subject groups must assess all strands of all four assessment criteria at least twice in each year of the MYP.

MYP Subject Guides

There is a danger that we ignore the heart of the discipline in anxiety for “getting it right” in terms of assessment; that reporting drives practice. Don’t boil teaching and learning down into a checklist. We can do better, we can enjoy it more and we can collect acceptable evidences of understanding in a range of forms.

Connecting to this, here are a couple of really powerful posts from Grant Wiggins: On Intelligent vs thoughtless use of rubrics (and part 2 here). It’s not the first thing generated and should not be over-described in the first round of a project, or we risk shutting down the avenues for true inquiry. For another MYP parallel, here is an older post connected to my “all in one” project, focusing on “zooming in” to the third band. Jennifer Gonzalez’s single point rubric is well worth reading

Authenticity & Opportunity

A post that really influenced my thinking on authenticity in assessment and learning opportunities was this, from Grant Wiggins. It defines authenticity as:

Authentic tests are representative challenges within a given discipline. They are designed to emphasize realistic (but fair) complexity; they stress depth more than breadth. In doing so, they must necessarily involve somewhat ambiguous, ill structured tasks or problems.

Grant Wiggins

He outlined 27 characteristics that can be used to develop assessment tasks and learning opportunities, which I summarised in this table:

https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment-re-defined-and-explained/

An important takeaway from this, is not that “real world” is better than (or less than) anything else. It is more that when everyday usage of the content diverges from authenticity true to the discipline, we should aim for sophisticated authenticity rather than shoehorning-in some “pseudocontext” and pretending it is “real world”. It is better to think as a mathematician in a sophisticated inquiry than to not think at all…

Creating Cultures of Thinking

Similarly, the following on the force of Opportunities, from Ron Ritchhart’s Creating Cultures of Thinking (graphic by me) can be considered. Note the call to “authentic intellectual engagement”.


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My Top #EdTech in 2018

This year I jumped the Great Firewall and landed in China, in a new life and new role as High School Learning & Technology Coach. It has been a great learning experience so far, and as a techy learning nerd, I’ve been able to try out new tools for learning and supporting teachers. I’m not easily impressed by EdTech products, but over the last couple of years some great stuff that focuses on learning (not just ‘more tech’) has been coming out.

Here are some of my favourites – they’re not all new, but some were new to me and of course they need to be China-friendly. 

Curation Tools

Over the last decade I’ve been creating, curating and sharing through my i-Biology.net site and on here, powered by WordPress. I love this platform, but over the last few years have been tinkering with other tools to make collecting and sharing easier for me and for others. 

Screenshot of my TigerTech landing page. I love LibGuides!

LibGuides

Inspired by Nadine & Jeri, the teacher-librarians here at WAB, I’ve really got into LibGuides. It’s huge, amazing and (I think) pretty pricey, though as I’ve been getting settled here I’ve been building my own TigerTech group and resources on there to support teaching and learning. It can embed almost anything and with a little tinkering can look pretty cool.

I have a lot to learn from my colleagues, but I am loving this tool! 

Wakelet and Padlet Backpack

Two simple but great tools. Wakelet has replaced the functions I used to use Diigo and Twitter bookmarks, and has potential to take the place of Storify in archiving Twitter chats and events. See Tanya LeClair’s Wakelet about Wakelet here for loads of ideas. I use the mobile app a lot for quickly saving things to read for later, or categorising them for use in different parts of my job.

Padlet Backpack ($$) is the schools version of Padlet, with teacher and student accounts. Great for collecting up group responses, student ideas, resources and comes with a range of different layouts and privacy settings in the school domain.

Both Padlet and Wakelet can be embedded easily, and they both seem to work fine in Libguides, Moodle & Google Sites. 

Archiving Twitter chats in Wakelet

Learning Tools

Equity Maps (iPad)

I love this iPad app and have tweeted about it a lot since I came across it after reading Alexis Wiggins’s Best Class You Never Taught. Taking the Spiderweb discussion/ Harkness table method and turning it into a simple, data-informed tool for empowering group discussion, Equity Maps makes the learning community responsible to their own data. It exemplifies the cultural forces of interactions, expectations and language, and can work really well in a range of discussions. I have used it in meetings as well. It’s one of those rare EdTech apps that goes beyond gimmicks & flash and focuses on making the learning visible.

Edji.it

This is a brilliant social reading app, designed by a teacher for teachers and great for gathering student reflection, questions and comments on a shared reading. Very simple, very powerful – try an example here.

If you are interested, use this link to sign up for a free account (referring five people will give a free year of Edji).

Microsoft Translator

This is super cool. Microsoft translator allows for translation through your device with typing, talking, tap-and-talk conversations and scanning. It also facilitates group translations, where participants can join in a conversation or presentation online, using their own language. Very neat. Give it a go here.

Easy Rubric

This iPad app is useful for grading and note-taking on the go.

A Few More Technoids

Here are some more recent #EdTech highlights for me, shared through Twitter.


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Connecting ISTE NETS & IB ATL Skills

Back in 2016-17, I worked with a group on a project to connect the IB ATL Skills to the ISTE Standards for Students and AASL Standards, to generate our own school’s Instructional Technology & Information Literacy (ITIL) Standards. CA is a three-programme IB school (PYP-MYP-DP). The goal was to create an alignment of the ISTE and ATL skills that would allow us to put the language of ATL first in conversation and collaborative planning with teachers, but to build on the excellent work and resources of ISTE in our co-planning and tech integration.

At the same time, it brought together a range of people responsible for working with teachers on their units of inquiry, and built a stronger connection through the library. This group included tech integrators, librarians and Liz Durkin (@lizdk), who along with being Associate Secondary Principal is now Ed Tech Director. I was in the role of MYP Coordinator and PK-12 Director of Learning. Planning took place in the library, and by the end of the 2016-17 year we had a framework to get started on, with some spaces for further development.

This post outlines some of the processes, decisions and next-steps for the project. This was a big project, starting almost two years ago, and I’m sure there will be parts I’ve forgotten, but now it’s the summer, there is some time to reflect and capture thoughts.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 07.42.52

A section of the resulting spreadsheet, showing the outcomes.

Decision 1: Keep the ISTE Standards but put ATL first with teachers

This fits in with a longer-term school-wide goal of better embedding the IB ATL skills framework in the school, and we were wary that adding another new set of language for teachers to use could create a block to implementation. We have kept the ISTE Standards and Strands as published, but unpacked each strand into a cluster of ATL skills that we saw as contributing to the realisation of the skill/strand.

Later on, ITIL co-planners as ‘gatekeepers’ of the ISTE standards would be able to articulate the connections. Also, as the IB MYP ATL skills framework was being developed in 2013-14(ish), it was clear that some skills were directly derived from 2007 ISTE NETS. With the 2016 ISTE for Students update, and seeing future directions of ATL in PYP and DP, we saw a timely opportunity to get to work.

Decision 2: Add a “Lifelong Reader” Standard

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 08.15.13This allowed for the stronger connection of the libraries as a research/ATL centre, but also made explicit the reading role of the library, referring to the AASL framework. The structure is the same, with standard, strands and ATL skills. We included, but are yet to develop (it’s in next year’s goals) a “mother tongue” strand to work out how the library can support ATL development through mother tongue and language acquisition support.

Decision 3: Adapt for context

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 08.12.20As we went through the collaborative process of unpacking the ATL skills against the strands (first on paper, then on the spreadsheet), we spotted some opportunities to adapt to better suit our own context, or to generate custom ATL skill descriptors to better represent the meaning of the ISTE strand. We coloured these differently (blue in the example to the right), as a reminder that as specialist skills these are very unlikely to be covered in other classes and so will need to be found a ‘home’ in the curriculum.

Decision 4: Determine Descriptors

This was an attempt to align the four levels fo mastery of the ATL skills with the ISTE standards, to show our expectations of learners over time. We started with the third column (practitioner/demonstrating) as “meets expectations” and determined a statement of a competent student. Very quickly we realised the ISTE standards statements, with minor modification, fit the bill. We then developed band 2 (learner/developing) and band 1 descriptors (novice/beginning) as steps towards competence. Finally we decided to leave the fourth column blank and ‘aspirational’ as an opportunity for inventive and diverse high-level implementations to be opened up. After all, tech moves fast and we don’t want to cap creativity with artificial descriptors. See Cult of Pedagogy’s Single Point Rubric post for more discussion of this.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 08.16.58

Four levels of description. Aim for green, work towards it, aspire beyond.

Decision 5: What skills do we need to know?

Although this project developed a strong connection between ISTE and ATL for the purposes of EdTech integration, we still needed to know what skills teachers and students need to know to be successful in our high-tech school. A supplementary process identified a “CA Tech Skills” inventory for orientation/support to help people get up and running successfully.

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Next steps & future development

This was a really enjoyable curriculum project and it worked well as a tool to bring co-planners and integrators from different sections of the school together. Next steps, of course, are to further implement the ISTE standards through embedding ATL into units and instruction via the library-tech and co-planners. Over the 2017-18 school year work began on this, and Liz Durkin expertly led the TALT & Tech Reps group in adopting the RAT model (replace, amplify, transform) of tech integration, identifying lots of amazing uses of tech in the school and spreading them through celebrating and sharing success. Over the next year, things will really click into place, including the work being done on digital wellbeing.

As I move on to a new role as learning/tech coach at another school, I look forward to continuing these discussions and collaborations.

Click for pdf export


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Using Tweetdeck to Curate a Twitter PLN

Twitter is an amazing tool for building a PLN (personal learning network), but as you follow more accounts the main stream can be too fast/distracting to follow, and dipping in at random times is inefficient. Tweetdeck is ideal for curating your feeds: create a column for each topic of interest. Here’s an ugly image for an overview. It’s also great for keeping up with rapidly-moving feeds (such as twitter chats or breaking news).

Using TweetDeck

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 21.28.20Some tips: 

  1. I find TweetDeck for Chrome works well
  2. I get rid of the “Activity”column, it’s distracting
  3. Click on >> (lower-left) to see more options
  4. I add columns for many topics of interest. Each is its own potential PLN.
  5. Some Twitter users curate “lists” of accounts. You’ll get notified if you are added. If you look in the list, there may be other interesting people to follow.
  6. When an interesting conference or event is on, I follow the #Hashtag and am able to review the feed to learn vicariously. Too many columns can slow down Chrome, so delete them if they’re no use.
  7. “Likes” are often used as bookmarks, though the poster will know. On the main Twitter app you can “save bookmarks” but not here yet. Sometimes at the end of an exchange, a user will “like” the final post as a polite way of ending the conversation.

Some MYP-related Hashtags/Accounts you might want to put into columns. Copy everything, including OR. As you follow more accounts, you can see the kinds of #tags they are using. 

  • #MYPChat OR @MYPChat OR #IBMYP OR #IBChat
  • #PYPChat OR #IBRebelAlliance
  • #IBATL OR #SkillsFirst OR #DOKChat
  • #EdTech

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Update: here’s a short tutorial video by Dan Klumper (@danklumper)


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Bold Moves for Schools

This is a quick-and-dirty review of a book that ticks all the boxes for a curriculum nerd like me: Bold Moves for Schools, by Heidi Hayes Jacobs & Marie Alcock, from the ASCD (2017, 207 pages).

It’s a practical and comprehensive, yet concise and quotable handbook of where to take curriculum, learning and leadership for modern learners. Educators in international schools will see many familiar themes emerge, from student agency and creativity in the curriculum to effective assessment, learning spaces and teacher development. There is much here that can accelerate a well-implemented IB curriculum (or standards-based learning model), and this book will sing to coaches or coordinators as it does to me.

“Innovation requires courage coupled with a realistic sensibility to create new possibilities versus “edu-fantasies”. Moving boldly is not moving impulsively or for the sake of change. Moving boldly involves breaking barriers that need breaking.”

As a “pragmatic idealist” I like how the book connects a future-focused, genuinely student-centred education to the best of what we’re already doing. It avoids falling into the trap of trashing the traditional, instead framing bold moves through the antiquated (what do we cut?), the classical (what do we keep?) and the contemporary (what do we create?). Jacobs & Alcock insist throughout the book that these bold moves are mindful, that we are not “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” and that “meaningful curriculum composition versus meaningless imposition” is the goal.

How can we build a genuinely exciting contemporary educational experience that keeps the joy in the learning, the future in mind and the students in the driving seat? Through a systemic approach that focuses on what works and what could be: one which empowers teachers as self-directed professional learners and curriculum architects. For anyone trying to effect change in an existing (long-established) system, well-reasoned handbook is worth a look and resonates with my belief that we need always to respect the journey in our work.

“What is most critical is that the outcome reflect quality.”

I hope that much of what is in this book is not new to most curriculum leaders – particularly in the IB context – but it is great to have a volume that pulls it together in one place, with practical resources. This would make a great book study (guide here) for curriculum leaders and teachers. You will find interesting surprises, resources and provocations littered through the text, worthy of further discussion.

You may even make some bold commitments as a result…

Bold Moves 3 Elements

Three big ideas in Bold Moves for Schools.

Quick follow-up: I was at a Bold Moves Bootcamp with Marie Alcock recently, and it was great. There is a post about one of my outcomes (a DOK4 filter for transfer) here.

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Check it out

Without being too spoilerific, here are some useful links and resources from the book:

 


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Webb’s DOK4 & Transfer

115013bI recently took part in a fabulous Bold Moves Curriculum Mapping Bootcamp, by Dr. Marie Alcock at ISKL. I was there to think about next steps for curriculum planning at CA, and it was a great opportunity to pick the brains of a true expert (and get lots done). I like the bootcamp model for PD: short, focused and with the opportunity to take immediate action with great feedback from colleagues in similar positions.

DOK is not a wheel of command terms

dokwheel

Not a Wheel. [John R. Walkup]

Through one of the discussions about high-quality assessment, Marie dug into Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) framework. She asserted that it’s not a “wheel” of command terms as is often presented, but a way of framing how deeply students need to know and use information, skills and concepts.

Similarly, DOK is not the same as Bloom’s Taxonomy, and is not a pyramid or a hierarchy of knowledge that “peaks” at DOK4. DOK4 can be accessed from any of the other three levels, and effectively sits in parallel. For a decent explainer of how DOK levels work, see this by Erik Francis for ASCD Edge – I used his DOK descriptors in my rough teacher plansheet tool below.

In practical terms, as explained by Marie, students should be able to access DOK4 from any one of the other DOK levels. This means that DOK4 can act as a filter for transfer.

How else can the student use the knowledge, skills and content at this level? 

So… in curriculum and task design and differentiation, teachers can set up situations for all students to pull their learning (even if only at a recall/DOK1 level) through to DOK4 by applying it in a new context – as long as it is the same skill/target. For example, this might mean taking a scientific skill and applying to a new experiment, or a writing technique applied to a new genre. This is knowledge augmentation.

MYP Teachers will see the immediate connections here to level 7-8 objective descriptors in the criteria (“correctly applying x in unfamiliar contexts”). This calls for some careful task design.

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Teacher Plansheet: A Practical Use

Transfer is a notoriously difficult skill to teach, even though it is included in the ATL framework, and so I sketched up this planning tool (pdf) in the hope that it can visualise how DOK4 can be used as a filter to make transfer explicit. Follow the arrows as you think about putting a target standard or learning outcome to work. What level (DOK1-2-3) is expected of the student? How else (DOK4) could it be used? For some excellent, practical resources on applying DOK in the various disciplines, check out Dr. Karin Hess’s Cognitive Rigor and DOK rubrics and resources.

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Transferring the Transfer: Thinking Collaboratively

How else might this tool be put to use? Here are some quick thoughts on how this might work with the collaboration of the relevant experts or coaches in the school.

  • Technology Integration: using the DOK4 filter as an opportunity to amplify and transform (RAT model) the learning task (but still meet objectives).
  • Service Learning: In moving from “doing service” to service learning, could this be used to help frame students’ focus on planning, or post-service reflection? As students learn about issues of significance, how can they put it work through transfer to meaningful action? As they reflect on their learning, can they connect new and existing disciplinary knowledge?
  • Interdisciplinary Learning: How can students take their learning and use it meaningfully in a context that requires transfer between disciplines?

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Google Certified Educator

Today I took the Google Certified Educator (Level 1) test for a few reasons:

  1. GCE_Badges_01To check my own competence in Google Apps for Education basics.
  2. To see how long it would take, with an eye on how we might support colleagues in taking the test themselves (e.g. PD time, cover or an event).
  3. To see how it might support our colleagues in getting up to speed at school in connection with our use of EdTech and integration in classes.

I can’t write too much as participants need to sign an NDA before beginning, but here are some basics. 

To register, sign up here and pay USD $10. It might take a day or two to get your web-assessor account, then you have seven days to complete the test (in a single sitting).

Participants are allowed three hours for the test, during the entirety of which your webcam is on. It starts with some multi-choice questions and then leads into a series of scenarios were you have to work in Google Apps to complete a range of tasks (they create a model environment for you for the test, it does not use your own account). From mail, calendars and docs, to classroom, forms, sites and more, it is a pretty thorough assessment for getting going.

It took me almost 1 1/2 hours to complete, but I already know my way around Google Apps. There is a lot of reading and flicking between tabs – and EAL participants or new users might need the full amount of time. Fortunately there is a progress bar and each of the eleven tasks are similar in their time demand. I have not taken Level 2 yet, as I predict it will take longer, but plan to do so soon.

Applications as a tech leader/ co-planner

A small team of us have been working on connecting ISTE standards to IB ATL skills and from that starting to outline a ‘tech drivers’ license’ for teachers and students. I think this test would be a useful validation for teachers getting started in GAFE at our school, and maybe something they work towards over the year. We would need to structure PD time or support with this.

I can see the value in even advanced users taking this test, as it will give some empathy or insight into starting over again and will help support colleagues. A reminder of the basics for efficient and effective use of Google Apps should help us help our colleagues do the best things, with less stress. I did learn some efficiencies.

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Footnote 

There are quite a few companies out there offering (pretty pricey) training towards this test. If you have enough techy types in your own school, it’s be hard to justify that investment. The test is only $10 per person. I imagine that once you get beyond the basic competence, some more ‘transformative’ PD would be a better return on investment for teachers.

Resources

Eric Curts (@ericcurts) has a couple of useful skills audits online:

 

Update: Sept 2017

We have these tools available in our school, and I want to make the best use of them, but am wary of advertising/branding teachers or schools as X-product. There is a very thought-provoking piece in the New York Times here.

 


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PaperPile: Managing Research & References in GoogleDocs

As anyone involved in studying (or a job that requires looking up a lot of research) knows, managing citations and remembering sources is a challenge. This is doubly difficult when you’re balancing it with full-time work and use the same tech hardware for both. Alongside using tools for my own purposes, I look for alternatives (replacements or improvements) that I could with classes or show colleagues to make their lives easier.

With PaperPile (Chrome extension & add-on), I think I have found one of those solutions. This, to me, was the solution to the final problem that kept me using Micro$oft W0rd: reference libraries, one-click citation and auto-bibliographies. I’ll keep testing it as I go through the dissertation, but for now, check it out.

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Updated: January 2017

Long-Term Review

The dissertation is long-since completed, but I have kept my subscription to PaperPile going for now, as I found it worth the money for work. Now that my library access from Bath has been disconnected, I am debating whether to keep it or if I should downgrade back to the free version.

Here’s a quick user review, based on my experiences.

Things I loved

  • Connecting to the uni library was easy and super-helpful.
  • Researching from within a GoogleDoc make things more efficient that before.
    • Often I could bypass the uni library search tools altogether.
    • When searching through Google or Scholar, a button appears next to possible citations, which pulls the paper back into the system.
  • Automatic download of available pdf files is amazing – it backed them up into my Google Drive for reference, and was easy to download.
  • Live updates to citations helps a lot, as with the Word Citation Manager.

Limitations

  • Sometimes the citation format is squiffy and needs to be manually updated. Be careful with this if you refresh the paper references, as if you forget to check you might end up with some irregularities.
  • When I was finishing my dissertation I was working on a simple netbook on a sluggish internet connection in Indonesia. Drive with Paperpile is pretty heavy in terms of internet, and sometimes typing and citing were frustratingly delayed. Predicting this, I installed Office 365 and finished the dissertation using Word.
  • There doesn’t yet (as far as I can see) appear to be a reciprocal citation manager with Word. It would be awesome if switching between the systems would update in both.

Recommendations

If you’re a Google Suite user and active researcher, I’d recommend giving PaperPile a go. It looks like it is going to get better with further development and would be great in a Chromebook environment.