The Next Step in Next Generation Learning



Much has been made of the central role of the iPad in our next generation learning initiative. And, as much as our technology rollout has been significant in both a physical and pedagogical sense, NGL is about so much more than the tool itself!

Remember that the iPad is only one of many technologies that we carry in our teacher tool belt. And, in truth, the technologies that existed before the iPad, were also designed to make our work flow, communication, and creativity more efficient and visible. Think -Smart Board, Clickers, Light Scribe Pen, and even white boards/markers. So, should the iPad be the central player in your 21st-Century learning environment? We’d say “not necessarily.”  (See the lack of a committed response there? 😉 Previous technologies (including the light bulbs in your classroom) are just there – and are integrated seamlessly into the things we do with and for our students. We’d argue that the iPads should fall into that category, and that the emphasis falls upon making thinking and learning visible in a shared learning environment.

Last week, in the company of the other NGL coaches, I travelled to the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Boston, MA. It was a wonderful learning and networking opportunity, but I walked away with a renewed focus on what it means to be a next generation learner. NGL encompasses growth mindset, agile learning spaces, a shared responsibility for the teaching and learning in the classroom, and it also includes a host of apps, online resources, and devices that redefine our learning spaces and attitudes.

In the days and weeks to follow, we will expand on our learning in what I like to think of as  a “Monday/Someday” approach. There are many things that we feel we can coach you through on a Monday (including “Explain Everything 2.0”, Go Formative, Sketch Noting, etc).  But, there are other goals that we will collaboratively work through in order to achieve them “someday” (soon). Big picture ideas like agile workspaces, growth mindset and design thinking will take some time and effort to integrate as we continue to reflect upon and evolve our practice.

These next steps in Next Generation Learning will ultimately take some time to digest, but in the end, the efforts we make to overlap our technology, content and pedagogy will make for richer learning environments and opportunities.


What I Found at ECCO 2015

I thought it would be useful to share some of the interesting things I have been learning here in Niagara Falls at the ECCO 2015 conference.

The first workshop I attended was about the app “Seesaw”. This a free app that provides teachers, students and parents with a platform in which they can share student work. Students and teachers are able to capture different formats of student work (pdf, photo, audio etc.). I think that this app is sort of a “pre-blogging” experience for younger students. It is an efficient, simple and well-organized way for creating digital portfolios. If a primary teacher wanted to spend a couple of days working with Seesaw to capture evidence of learning – I would love to chat. Email me or comment here.

There are some great Google Extensions I found out about as well.

Speech Notes (for voice to text extension within the Google world)
Screen Castify (for building live video links into Google slides)

Another tech tool I want to find out more about is a device called a “Makey Makey”. This is a primary’ish electronic device that is designed to facilitate problem solving, exploration using a computer and the Makey-Makey to get the kids building working circuits. Definitely fun and great for inquiry projects.

I have also signed up for “Periscope”. An app I have put on my iPhone. This app live broadcasts the video being captured by my iPhone. As part of a community of broadcasters (through Twitter) I can watch a sunset in Australia, a concert in Los Angeles and others can watch a presentation I am watching (and recording) on i Tunes U in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I think that Periscope could be a way to share educational content in new ways.



ExplOratorium has two Apps available (for free) on the App store – Colour Uncovered and Sound Uncovered.  Both offer interactive activities that explore the science of sound and the science of colour, with detailed explanations that pop up when you tap on the “What’s Going On?” question mark icon.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 1.36.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 1.36.53 PM