#TCEA15 Reflections: Pedagogy & Heart

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This was my second year to attend #TCEA15 (Texas Computer Education Association) Convention and Expo. Often I found myself wanting to attend multiple sessions at the same time or being torn between spending time having incredible face to face conversations and making the next session.

I can’t say I solved my dilemma, but I was so appreciative of the fellow Twitter peeps who shared links and ideas. This helped facilitate my collecting of session resources that, within my first day at #TCEA15 in the Google Academy, necessitated the creation of a new Scoop.it board I titled in haste, “My Own Learning Curations.” These curated sessions were selected based on interest and my intent to go back and further investigate and learn. Some sessions that are curated I attended in person, others I pulled from Tweets shared via the #TCEA15 thread.

It was an incredible time for me of learning, collaboration and reflection.  Early in my present position I might have written about my new favorite tools I learned about during my time at #TCEA15, but this week I took a “big picture” approach to my learning and stepped back from the harried need to learn and come back with new tools to share.

I wanted to be able to come back and empower others. I wanted to foster change. I wanted inspire. Tools can’t do that. Learners can.

So there are two things I will keep at the forefront of my mind as I move forward and move other learners with me.

#1- Nothing replaces good pedagogy.

pedagogy

Illustration by Eric Patnaoudes

I had a wonderful “coffee-chat” with Twitter colleague, Eric Patnoudes (@NoApp4Pedagogy). Once a classroom teacher, he now is an educational consultant for CDW-G. Why? The technology industry is realizing the need for those who know about what good teaching is. The technology industry is seeing that learners need support to successfully integrate devices… it doesn’t just happen. Cool tools and devices alone will not get good academic results.

#2- Creating change or redefining learning is a matter of the heart.

George Couros connect to the heart

I was reminded of this as I sat in George Couros’s sessions. I have heard him before this past summer and although the message was much the same, it was a message I willingly listen to over and over. He connects with his audience through the heart, and that is how we motivate and change in our own learning communities. To make meaningful change we must focus on the relationships that we build and provide opportunity to build, not just in our schools but globally. Knowing where we fit in this big world and how each one of us matters is what drives us to change, to be better, to know and do more.

While I hesitated to link my Scoop.it of the resources I curated, because I do want those that read this to focus on the pedagogy and the relationships of the learners around them. I also know that the resources we share are essential to our continued learning and sharing of content. Please utilize these sources in a way that facilitates change and empowers all learners to connect, grow and live with purpose.

I would love to hear what other attendees learned about from their #TCEA15 experience.

I had a wonderful time, and in the spirit of the #selfie I post this picture of myself with George Couros (@gcouros).

George Couros

He has inspired change in me, and I hope to do the same for other learners.

 

Redefining Homework Through an At”TACKK” Strategy

Recently my son was assigned a Science homework assignment. He was sent home a ‘fold-over’ booklet where he was instructed to record the high/low temperature, wind speed and precipitation every day for 5 consecutive days.  Students were encouraged to go “beyond the assignment.”

When I received the parent email communicating the task, I immediately knew that if this was to be done in the ‘fold-over’ booklet it would be a long 5 days at our house.  To avoid this misery I emailed the teacher and asked if the “weather log” could be done digitally. Permission was granted.

After talking to my son about different digital platforms to record his learning we decided to utilize TACKK. The ability for him to add video and photos that matched each day’s weather data was powerful. Additionally, he learned about citing sources, inserting pictures and video retrieved from both websites and email, and adding various features to TACKK. To add to this, from the research he learned that during this time of weather data collection in the year 2000 an extreme winter weather event occurred in the home town of his grandmother.  Using this personal connection he conducted an interview to add a historical feature of interest to his TACKK. Changing from a non-technology platform to the TACKK allowed us to have great conversations about why using his first name only on his product was important, asking good questions to have a better understanding of weather events and the significance of those events, what was a source that needed to be cited and writing captions to inform his audience. The greatest reward was after completing the TACKK when the Elementary Science Coordinator for my district commented on his TACKK. He couldn’t wait to respond and the pride in his work reached an all time high.

Just the simple task that initially began as just a substitution for a paper pencil task to help my son engage in the experience, truly evolved to a product that redefined learning. Additionally, he added additional digital literacy skills that this authentic experience made meaningful.

Here is his product:

Kristophers Weather TACKKClick on Image to got to Full TACKK

What started as a way to keep my son engaged in a task turned into a learning experience that required collaboration, research, connectivity and critical thinking a paper pencil task would have not have happened due to the fact he would simply not have been motivated or engaged in the process. This is a simple example of how, when nothing is limited, possibility with technology redefines the learning.

How have you witnessed when simple steps toward integrating technology have catapulted learning from substitution to redefinition? Please share your comments and thoughts.