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Educated By Design Blog

Filtering by Category: Uncategorized

Time Machines, Management, & Misuse

TheTechRabbi

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Technology is something powerful. The innovative and imaginative experiences that we are able to create today are unlike anything seen in history. Technology by definition gives us the ability to make and modify any object in order to solve a problem, improve an existing solution, or achieve a goal. No one questions the qualitative enhancements of the use of technology, as these results are clear and well documented. Our challenges now are in our ability to achieve these previously inconceivable outcomes in a reasonable period of time.

The iPad gives its user the ability to create powerful visual and audial experiences that push the limits of creativity through their mobile, customizable, and flexible design. Our ability to create, capture, and curate our experiences is no longer bound by a multiple device processes requiring advanced training. In the past, a film, for example, was produced through a process involving video cameras, cables, computers, and software, to achieve a final product capable of visually engaging an audience. This process is now possible through a single device with diverse components giving even the most inexperienced novice the ability to produce engaging and dynamic visual experiences.

The Invisible iPad approach enables the users to use the iPad as a tool to achieve clear learning goals and objectives, vs. focus on using the technology for its own sake. Yet, even “authentic invisibility” can encounter a serious dilemma plaguing many 1st year 1:1 programs or even worse, something that even veteran school cannot avoid, and that is time management.

Time Machines

We have yet to successfully travel back in time, but in the event that it does become possible, it will not be a justified solution for poor planning. Imagine a society that never learns from any of their mistakes because the bending of time will allow for a quick fix. A current trend in education today promotes an "embracing of failure". While failure is part of the learning process, it is not something we are supposed to plan for. As educators and facilitators we need to properly plan our projects. This is not a technology issue, this is a human one.

When we effectively teach our students planning and time management we give them something more than just guidance on a project, we give them a foundational skill set that if lacking will cause them to struggle in "real world" environments where late work isn't accepted and extra credit doesn't exist.

Time Management

Teachers need to keep in mind the following time-related obstacles to meet planned deadlines.

  • Plan for tech glitches (This cannot be stressed enough- YES! Google Drive is going to fail to upload videos the day its due)
  • Students are going to loose their work, just like they lost it before the iPad. (They need to back up projects at specific benchmarks during the project)
  • Students are going to come up with an awesome and creative solution to their project goal three days before the deadline, and it's going to take twice as long as the original project idea. Students need to be taught how to prioritize, plan, and also to save "good ideas" for another project.
  • School events, and special programing. If you have 8 out of 14 students on the basketball team, or 2 special events that run during your period, do not plan a project due date that doesn't account for the lose of class time.

Outside of planning and management, there is one philosophical approach that we cannot waver on and this is that

In the real world, innovation is does not justify or even make up for missed deadlines. 

Misuse of Time

The misuse of time is another "non-technology" challenge, and it is important to help students differentiate between the misuse of time and exploratory learning. This exploratory process is important for any type learning, to see how to excel in using a tool or process as well as to discover new ways to use them. However, this can lead to a misuse of time that will be challenging to make up and still meet project deadlines.

This is a work in progress for all parties involved. Administrators need to embrace and support the innovative and experimental approaches of their teachers. Teachers need to help facilitate 21st century skills built on planning and time management, and students need to continue blowing our minds with their amazing imaginations and significant learning experiences.

The Myth of The Magical Device SXSWEdu Panel

TheTechRabbi

Dear Friends - Social Media is all about giving - Your opinion, thoughts, and even more a helping hand. As Educators helping is part of our genetic makeup. It is in that spirit that I have teamed up with two stellar educators, Sabba Quidwai and Carl Hooker to share our unique approaches to breaking down the barriers of technology use so that it can truly empower our students, and us as educators.

Please take the time to vote for our panel. I am asking a lot, since you need to create an account to vote, but your vote will give us a voice and in the end students around the world a greater chance for their voices to be heard.

SXSWedu PanelPicker Vote 2

The Myth of The Magical Device

TheTechRabbi

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It's part of the human condition to want to share. - Paulo Coelho

I have followed the SXSWEdu hashtag for a number of years and I am always amazed at the powerful ideas shared at this conference. This year has been big for me professionally, and I have had some amazing opportunities to present at some great conferences. Somehow these experiences put some crazy into my head that I might just be ready for something like SXSWEdu. Fortunately for me I have teamed up with two amazing colleagues, Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) and Carl Hooker (@MrHooker), to propose a #SXSWEdu Panel. Together we cover the entire spectrum of Kindergarten through Higher Ed and are doing some amazing and unique things all under a very similar vision which is:

The Myth of The Magical Device

Here is our Mythical Trailer...

https://youtu.be/acAd_E-0A5Q

The Panel Picking will shortly ensue so as we say in Jewish circles, "L'Chaim!" (To Life!) and Success!

So A Rabbi Walks Into iPadpalooza... And It Was Awesome.

TheTechRabbi

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A few months ago I got a message from Carl Hooker inviting me to come to iPadpalooza. Thinking he wanted me to come experience first hand all the awesome things I had heard about the Austin based Educational Technology conference, I regretfully decline due to lack of funds. When he clarified that he wanted me to be a featured speaker it still wasn't registering.

What kind of educational vision can a Chassidic Orthodox Rabbi, albeit an educator share?

Now I am no stranger to conferences or presenting, but this was the first time that it wasn't me submitting a presentation proposal but instead being asked to come share my ideas. I have to admit, that while it was exhilarating and humbling, it was all together nerve racking as well.

Now, I have a vision, I have an approach, and I think that both are concrete and practical outlooks on how we use technology to support our learning.

This Invisible iPad approach is something worth sharing I thought to myself, and thank G-d I am getting a chance to share it with the world besides my colleagues and my wife.

So off to Austin! Plane ride, Lyft ride, Sheraton Downtown, Uber ride, Check in, and I am sitting in Adam Bellows keynote.

Now I am not one to "celebritize" educators. I think it does a disservice to education and to educators to put these type of visionaries and their approaches on an unreachable pedestal. With that said, there are some seriously awesome innovative educators in our global learning community. I have been actively following the work of Adam for almost four years now (ever since that ISTE closing keynote) and he is without question a huge inspiration. So as I am sitting through his awesome opening keynote, I am inspired, excited, and at the same time I am thinking...

How can we all speak this language and focus on learning with technology and not learning technology

In the end I think I made an impact. I hope my ideas were food for thought for more than just an inspiring hour conversation but something that will help those educators present think differently about why and how we use technology. It didn't hurt that the tap on my shoulder on the shuttle to day two of the conference was Adam Bellow himself introducing himself and starting up a conversation with me.

Outside of presenting, I was anticipating connecting with some awesome educators. Connecting on Twitter is great, but its really fulfilling to have those types of conversations face to face not limited by 140 characters. It was great to meet the educators below and have real conversations about how we as educators can truly change the world. Really.

Cathy Hunt

Richard Wells

Reshan Richards

Kyle Pearce

Felix Jacomino

George Couros

Dean Shareski

Adam Bellow

the list goes on. I should simply list every presenter but the above group was something special for me. There are those who simply inspired me, got me thinking, questioning how we define innovation, or even harder, to question if our outlook is really all that innovative. Then there was the Green Room where the connection was on a more informal level. 

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On Day Two, I was honored with being part of an amazing group of educators for one of the conference keynotes. Michelle Cordy has created an amazing SketchNote + ThingLink mashup that captures the awesomeness of everyones presentation.

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/671485868531253250

I have been to many conferences, and they all have something amazing about them. Still, there was something unique, personal, and energizing about iPadpalooza. It is without question the most meaningful conference I have been part of to date. Cant wait for iPadpalooza 2016 and the opportunity to be apart of it again.

Collaboration Vs. Cooperation

TheTechRabbi

Courtesy of: Ecoblender.org

Collaboration is closely connected to the access of knowledge. My educational experience required me to rely solely on my teacher and an outdated textbook. Collaboration was limited to "working together" to complete a predefined task with a singular outcome. In today's world the entire scope of human knowledge fits in your pocket and the hierarchical control of knowledge erodes daily. No longer is expertise defined by anything more than a desire to share, and a medium to share it in. The challenge now is how to filter, analyze, validate, and make use of mass-information. This is one of the reasons developing collaborative skills is so critical for our students. We sometimes confuse cooperation, working together side by side with collaboration. I asked a group of 4th graders this week what the difference was. One student responded that,

"Cooperation is when we get along, collaboration is when we use our uniqueness to make something great."

Wikipedia, Mobile Technology, and Social Media have shifted how we share, work together, and help one another. These examples are something that simply did not exist while I was growing up. While it is important for young children to develop their individuality and independence, their careers will most likely be highly collaborative experiences with very few essays, and minimal multiple choice exams.