Doing New Things the New Way

This week I got the chance to read a very worthwhile and useful article called “Shaping Tech for the Classroom” from Marc Prensky who wrote his thoughts already in 2005. The article definitely describes my own steps regarding technology in education the last 6-7 years. Dabbling was the start, I tried technology and did something here and there. If I look back I surely did old things in old ways by f.e. using Word for story telling. I already felt great and very much confirmed that this is the right way when I started to do old things in new ways. I was proud of my students using the search engines for children, using a dictionary they needed, practicing with any kind of teaching software and I also was proud of myself using the projector showing movies about a certain topic instead showing a projector slide on the Overhead Projector. And Prensky mentions possibilities I have never thought of like online simulations.
But Marc Prensky also speaks in his article about an additional step we need to do: Doing new things in new ways. He asked us to listen to the students more often und more carefully which reminds me of the following young lady called Adora Svitak:

That brings me to my first next steps – trying new things the new ways. Following are the possibilites:

  • Explore Google tools and applications and how I can integrate them in teaching?
  • Contribute more often to the network I’m creating right now and let the students experience the benifits for learning through networking.
  • Observe and ask students what and how they use technology. (questionary/research at school?)
  • Starting a Tech Tuesday to share my ideas with people who are interested.




Connectivism Course 1 New Media literacies

The Reality of the Youth

It really seems to be the reality – the youth is connected, networked, online, creating (and more and more parents I spoke to confirm this) and we as teacher/parents let the gap getting bigger and bigger and bigger or even create an intergenerational wedge. (Living and Learning with New Media, page 37).

The summery of the The John D. and Catharina T. MacArthur Foundation in (Living and Learning with New Media, p. 35-39) articulate the reality of students in America (any other comparable research of other countries? Germany? Maybe the KIM-Studie? Europe?) very clearly and points out the following:

  • The youth is using networked publics for searching information as well for social and recreational activities online. Students hang out or messing around there, it can be both interest- or friendship-driven, but and it’s the first step to become more creative in a direction in which the youth is passionated for. (page 35)
  • The youth faces economic, institutional, social, and cultural barriers (page 36) which hinders a development from just hanging out to geeking out.
  • The youth is hanging out (friendship-driven) OR they are meeting link-minded people to share and contribute knowledge. Both groups use the networked platforms for developing social norms (without parents and teachers) to develop their identity.
  • The youth get chances of peer-based learning through networked activities whereat peers are important drivers of learning.
  • The youth creates own new media literacies like f.e. norms for being online.

And here it comes my perspective of a teacher:

If we don’t want to create this intergenerational gap, what do the new media literacies mean for us a learners and teachers?
Obviously Henry Jenkins and his team already thought about this few years ago: New Media Literacies.

We need to get trained, even more important train ourselves (Personal Learning Network) and share our knowledge and skills. My personal goal is to share more often and encourage people to be curious and excited about their learning. The make the goal more precise: I want to share here on the blog and our iPad blog at school and I want to share during our staff meeting as much as possible. I’m going to try to connect Primary and Secondary School vertically somehow because there are so many fantastic tools which are rather for teenager than for primary. That’s the beginning, I don’t know yet how to realize this in detail.

A big question for me still is – how do I (who is using technology in learning and teaching already a lot) get to the next step to actually CREATE something for a community? I guess, the unit planner is a start … Let’s see.



Waiting for Superman

The movie is great and very touching. It’s about the american school system, it shows what is going wrong BUT also that we actually have the power. It motivates me to go for it – for the revolution, like a comment on Youtube says:

Why improve an education system that’s already broken? Education Revolution!

Anybody has other good recommendations for documentaries like this?

Course 1 Random Thoughts Uncategorized

Are you ready? Educators everywhere in the world?

One thing I really appreciate almost the most is that I find through COETAIL people who are likeminded. At school (LS) there is one person who is as interested in the revolution like many COETAILers seem to be. By the by she just thinks we should do a geek weekend. 😉 I feel free to speak about my visions and passions and this is something I rarely ever experienced before.

Today I started getting into the ISTE Nets for Teachers. WOW – I’m so fascinated by the fact that something like this already exist for a while. It took me 2 1/2 years working in an international school environment to find them. I really recommend to have a look.

My big question is:           Are you ready? Educators everywhere in the world?

Are you ready

  • to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity?
  • to design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessment?
  • to model digital age work and learning?
  • to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility?
  • to engage in professional growth and leadership?
From my perspective it all starts with the willingness to get engaged in professional growth. It will open our eyes by itself. Second step probably is to share your own professional growth, your learning and your visions as well as to model digital citizenship.
And the moment I feel like a bubbling bottle of coke (thanks Astrid for this expression). I would love to speak the whole day about nothing else. But how can I reach others? I wish to be somebody who is opening eyes. What kind of support can I give?

The ISTE organisation also provides Essential Conditions. The document showed me that probably everybody of us does already a lot. But still everybody could ask the following (and even more) questions:

  • Do I really live the shared vision? How?
  • How skilled am I? (Here a test of Edutopia.)
  • How can I make sure that I develop myself professionally?
Let’s get ready!


Course 1 Random Thoughts

Aaron Swartz – A geeky Role Model?

I can’t remember fully when I heard the words nerd and geek the first time in my life. Probably it was during my time working for a Software Company as a trainer for their products. I thought some of my colleagues were nerds/geeks and for some reasons I was very impressed by them.

In theory everybody can be a geek and geeking out (Living and Learning with New Media, page 28ff.) on the internet. Compared to hanging out and messing around it is very intense, only interest-driven, therefore very knowledgeable, and highly social and engaged learning. Another big difference is the fact that

geeking out engagement involves accessing as well as producing knowledge to contribute to the knowledge network. (page 29.)

At the beginning of the year I read about the sad news of Aaron Swartz (Wikipedia) who killed himself. Unfortunately it was the first time I heard from him – probably I was / I am not geeky enough to hear from him early (or because I’m not surrounded by geeks anymore). It difficult for me to list what he was involved in and what he was fighting for – Wikipedia does it’s job. Anyways – I’m still very impressed by his knowledge, engagement, activism, understanding of complex topics, networked thinking, etc.

Today at school I had a group of five students (Grade 5) and I took some time to ask them what they are actually doing when they are on the internet. They definitely all playing games like f.e. Minecraft – hanging out with friends (chatting, etc.) and also kind of messing around (producing Minecraft-videos and posting them on youtube).

It’s a start but as a educator it would be great to support them to become more skilled on the internet, to use technology in a geeky way, to use their networks and eventually do action on whatever they are passioned about. Like Aaron Swartz who died way to early.


Course 1

Finding the Balance

Those three very important questions of Tim Gascoigne and all the reflections including the reflection of Jett Utecht gave me a lot of reading and thinking during the weekend. So for the readers of this blog, here they are again. They are so important that I decided to repost them. Thanks for Tim asking them.

  • How do we encourage our students to flourish in this world of networks when our organizations are built on outdated theories?
  • As a networked teacher, how do I start encouraging my students to network appropriately?
  • What is my role as their teacher in a world where knowledge and learning is at their fingertips without me standing in front of them?

I would like to add a question:

How do we build/support a healthy balance between the use of technology, the use of their network and the connection/interaction with real people?

An article “Focusing the Digital Brain” in the “Educational Leadership” from September 2009 gives some ideas. Even though we wish the students to be networked learners, let’s not forget the following:

  • Provide Reflection Time
Let’s give the students time to reflect and think about what they did online, no matter whether it was a blog entry, using the iPads, creating something, hanging out/messing around/geeking out, etc. Reflection makes them think and be aware about their choices and action in life.


  • Disarm Them
I don’t like this term disarm so much, but for me it’s about being balanced in classroom. There must be time for both technology use, being connected online and real face to face time. Yes, I still want them to experience to listen to somebody actively, to be focused on a conversation, to make eye contact while speaking and not to get interrupted by a text message or similar.


  • Let Them Teach
If they are using technology why not let them explain each other whatever it is. Often they know better anyways then us as digital immigrants.


  • Build Emotional Literacy
That reminds me of a friend who mentioned the other day that it is so much easier to cancel a meeting with a friend by sending a text message or email. Yes, indeed because we don’t have to deal with possible emotional reactions. Let’s be balanced between online and offline time not to lose the skill to read others emotional reactions and body language. And the same should happen in classroom.


Students digitally conditioned brains are 21st century brains, and teachers must encourage these brains to operate fully in our classroom. We must recognize that relationships and focused attention are key to learning in this century. If we can help students balance the gifts technology brings with these human gifts, they will have everything they need. (page 39, Focusing the Digital Brain)

This quote leads me to my understanding goal of Week 3 of Coetail. Let’s see.

All core content teachers are responsible for authentically embedding technology within their curriculum.




Random Thoughts

Mind shift about learning is needed!

After watching the following speech of Will Richardson I couldn’t agree more:

It has to be about:

  • learning and becoming a life-long learner!
  • preparation for life, not for tests!
  • allowing students to find and live for those passions for whatever they are.
  • allowing students to choose their teachers.
  • having a PLN (Personal Learning Network) and choosing own teachers.
  • accepting and embracing that learning is just different to how we experienced it.
  • embracing that information and knowledge is everywhere.
  • letting the students inquire, collaborate, solving problems, taking actions and sharing their thinking with the world.

Here is Will Richardson Blog or follow him on Twitter @willrich45! He obviously also wrote a book called Why School? although I haven’t read it (yet).

Course 1

Becoming a Role Model

While reading the chapter “Messing Around” in Living and Learning with New Media I always tend to think about myself and my habits in regards to the internet. For unexplainable reasons it annoys me. I feel it shouldn’t be about me. Instead I want to reflect on my teaching practices, my students I’m teaching and how I can improve.

Something changed my thinking: I need to think and reflect about my habits and goals first. Only then I’m more aware of how to be a role model for my students and how to integrate educational technology into my teaching practices.

I never really was hanging out with friends online, except maybe for chatting with friends overseas. Messing around, which means for me tinkering, exploring, searching information, experimenting with pictures and videos and also creating, getting an understanding of technology, Facebook and similar, for sure. Although I never went so far to be within an interest-driven network which is changing now with Coetail and it makes me smile. I wonder whether the name of my blog will change sooner or later.

What are the ways for me/us as (language, primary) teacher to be a role model in the classroom?

  • Openness and curiosity for change.
  • The use of technology devices (Laptop, iPad, smartphones, etc.) during lessons goes without saying, almost naturally. Good to have natural curiosity.
  • The use of software/apps means constant learning by trying, experimenting by myself and together with the students.
  • Using tools like RSS Reader, Twitter etc. to develop myself professionally.
  • Integrating technology into my unit planning to facilitate higher thinking skills and deeper understanding.
  • Inspiring young people to try something new which let them explorer something new to create.

I’m sure there is way more. Please feel free to add. Yes, I want to be a role model for the students I’m teaching. In addition, I also want to inspire other teachers who are on their way like I am and who are inspiring me countless times.


Course 1 iPads

Is there anything which doesn’t exist yet?

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy is indeed a good tool to structure, to organize and to reflect on lessons as well as to facilitate deeper understanding. After reading Bloom’s and ICT Tools I found a very nice guideline on Storybird: Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Classroom which is an overview of actions, questions and activities for teaching practices.

Plan 1: I share this with my colleagues and use this guideline for planning and reflecting my lessons more often.

I would have never thought that there are so many more adjustments and adaptions of Bloom’s taxonomy. Several search keys in Google later I found Bloom’s Taxonomy for the iPads which interest me the most at the moment. Here are two examples:


It really got me questioning how I chose the iPad Apps for our trial at school. I feel the need to go over that list for the German Department again. So far I tried to classify the apps by Consume – Collaborate – Produce which also goes in the direction of being a contributor.  But Bloom’s taxonomy is such a great tool for the classification as well.

Even more impressive for me the following iPadagogy Wheel. It combines both the steps of Bloom’s revised Taxonomy and the integration of technology and makes it visible.

Plan 2: I’m definitely going to share this with my colleagues as well.

Connectivism Course 1

Connectivism and Learning Style

For quite a while I try already to be connected but I have been only a consumer on the Internet. Material for teaching, especially since I work without books, information for personal interest like traveling or cooking, and food for thought for my passion for education – everything was/is there. Always. I’m very thankful for everybody who contributed. THANK YOU. But it was only in one direction …

Since I try to get even more connected – meaning in both or many directions – (Facebook Groups, RSS, Forums, Twitter, Diigo, etc.) I feel so lost in Connectivism (in English / in German) sometimes. Following posts, reading what interests me is too overwhelming. I want to read and learn, but there is just too much out there. The content, the concepts and ideas don’t stick in my mind like I want them to get them connected to prior knowledge and understandings. I check my RSS and after hanging out for a while I ask myself what do I remember.

There might be a solution for this phenomena.

First, we as connected learner need to set priorities. It is okay not too read everything. It is impossible. Let’s choose what we want to know more about.

Second, the awareness of our learning style. Reflecting on my own learning style I realized for me it is not enough to just read an article or watch a video. I need to explain it to somebody (f.e. writing a post). I love to exchange opinions, love to hear other perspectives, love to question and to connect together with other people. Being connected within a network let us find like-minded people. In a conversation we can compare, connect and form our knowledge and our learning.
It also very helpful to write down the main learning. I thought about having a visual diary but unfortunately I’m not a good drawer and illustrator at all. So I’m writing somewhere.

So far my own reflections on being a Connected Learner.

In regards to being a Networked Educator, I am at the very beginning. There is still a big questions mark. I want to become/be a role model for the students. I don’t see this (yet) so much in Primary School. Although there is definitely a way to promote learning from others, learning through others. How can we prepare the students in Primary School to become a Connected/Networked Learner?