What did You learn today?

Make it short….  that’s what I learned today!

When I posted my 4th instalment in my “Gedding It” Series yesterday, I knew it was still way too long.  In this age of the global information trough, I knew no one would get to the end. So why did I sweat over it so much?!?

A few months ago I saw Seth Godin’s blog and thought: that’s what I need. Short quick posts that don’t need a lot of time to read or write.

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.00.14 PM

Then the same idea popped out at me this morning in Designing What’s Next in Teachers’ Professional Development by @mpelochino (ironically in a long post worth reading to the end).  Short, quick, 2-minute PD!

And then it came up this afternoon again, in a SimpleK12 webinar on the value of making short chunked screencasts – for students and teacher PD!

OK universe. I finally get the message!! (-:

Make it quick; and get to the point. Provide links for the people who want depth. Don’t sweat the small stuff (except the links).  Imperfect’s better than never done at all.

And that just makes everything a whole lot easier on everyone.


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Gedding a Cosmic Shift TODAY

[4th post in the "Gedding It" Series]

Alas — I can’t have the future today…

So my brain started spinning with ideas about how I could use Geddit right away with the Gr 7+8 split grade math class in which I’m volunteering in my “spare time” these days. I decided to try to create a routine where I can help the Grade 7′s learn their math, even when I’m not physically present in the classroom every single day!

Nope, I’m not crazy.  There are 2 big pay-offs for me volunteering my time and energy in this way:
1. increase my own learning about teaching and learning online, and
2. learn how blended learning can help a teacher manage a split-grade class.

For me, Geddit’s the key to keeping in touch with my students and their learning! The other learning tools are very nice. But Geddit is the one that has finally helped me make that cosmic shift in understanding how I can possibly communicate effectively with my students about their learning when teaching online. Some day I hope Geddit and all of these tools will have become an invisible component in one single seamless communication system where we’ve closed the gap as much as we can between being together with our students in the classroom and being connected with them online —  whether from hundreds or millions of miles away.

Meanwhile, here’s my 4-part plan for the present!  (-;

First: We’ll use EDMODO as our online learning management system. We’ll post things here, and the students can use it to communicate with their classroom teacher, their classmates, and me as their online teacher — whether I’m at school that day or not.

Secondly: The students will use GEDDIT to continually update their level of understanding for their teacher and I, to let us know if they need extra help or extensions added before starting a new topic.   * The students’ Geddit updates will become an integral part of their formative assessments of and for learning.

Thirdly: We’ll be using VOICETHREAD and SCREENCASTS for the students to show their understanding orally, and to discuss their problems and answers with their classmates.  * These will become another part of both their formative assessments, and will be shared with parents as evidence of their ongoing learning.

Finally: At the end of the unit, students will create a Math SCREENCAST in partners, and post it to their Math VoiceThreads.
  * This will become a part of their summative assessment at the end of the unit, and will be shared with parents as well.

At least that’s the plan….

Now to see how it works.

(Please! Do you have any helpful suggestions for me?)



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Gedding a Cosmic Shift into the Future

This is the 3rd Post in the “Gedding It” Series.

CC image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net, modified by C.Beach

Imagine this:

March 26th, 2024.  I arrive at school in the early morning, ready to start my day teaching my multi-level 12-14 year old learning class. I turn on my communication panel, and check out my overnight ABC and XYZ feeds, my student channel, and my personal messaging system. Do I need to be ready to conference with any of my learners using the communication panel today, instead of working with them here in class? Who will be here today, and is anyone connecting from somewhere else today? (What time are we meeting Misha online today, while she’s travelling around South Africa with her family for 2 months? And what video transmissions did Junjie submit overnight while visiting his grandparents for 3 weeks in China?)

I view the class communication stream and see that the students had a lively discussion amongst themselves last night about how their global learning groups are working out these days; very interesting!!

The alert I set on my PCD (personal communication device) reminds me to check if the class financial report shows that all the students have submitted their payments and are ready to go to our outdoor learning area on Friday. I thank the universe that we can do all this with a click of a button now, and no longer have to wade through all that administrivia!!!

After I chat with the local LifeCareHome about how Riley’s night went last night, I finally tackle my most important task before school begins: I view my Geddit stream to check out my students’ progress: at what stage is each student in their learning plan, and how are each of my students doing with their learning? What do they need for today? What adjustments do I need to make in the lessons and activities I’ve planned for today, and for whom?

 In the middle of my planning, Misha appears on the communication panel wanting to talk about her scientific experiments before she presents to the class later in the day….

Is this a little too far-fetched into the future for you?

Then how about just envisioning this time next year?


Totally Immersed CC image by CBeach.

March 26th, 2015 .…    I arrive at school in the early morning, ready to start my day teaching my split Grades 7/8 class. In reality, I have students learning at Gr 3 - Gr 12 levels in my classroom: 10 grade levels of learning in all, including 7 students with extensive IEP’s. That’s become the norm these days.

I turn on the SmartBoard and my laptop, and I check out my overnight Twitter feed and my work email. Any messages from parents? Colleagues? School admin? What do my emailed VoiceThread and Edmodo reports show for student activities and assignments yesterday? I answer my messages, and before I forget, I send a message on Edmodo to ask Misha if she’ll be back from Florida on Friday for our trip to the Outdoor Ed Centre.

And then I finally take on my most important task before the day begins: I sign in and check out my class reports in my Geddit account - how are my students doing with yesterday’s learning? What do they need extra help with today? Do I need to adjust any of today’s lessons and materials for anyone, both backwards or forewards? Do I need to spend extra time with any of the Gr 8′s in Math? Are the Gr 7′s ready for today’s activities in their science inquiries? 

How are my 7 IEP students doing with their Literacy work, and has Aidan’s laptop been fixed and returned yet? Is Sharron ready to work with someone on her story today? Does Riley say he had a better night at his group home last night, or will we need to put his behaviour plan back in place today? I send Riley his own personal Check-in question, and let him know that we’ll talk together in person this morning and work out some cool rewards for having a great day today, particularly with Monsieur R. in French class. 

I finish my planning adjustments for the day and take a deep breath, thinking it’ll be interesting to see what everyone has to say in their first Geddit Check-in while I take attendance this morning….

But today is March 26, 2014.

And regardless of whether I’m envisioning next year or 10 years from now, discovering Geddit has given me a glimpse of a new educational reality I can begin to create with my students today. The simple brilliance of Geddit is to provide a tool for my students to communicate with me about their learning - from any place, at any time, on any device.

For years, I’ve asked my Student Teachers to try to shift their perception from teaching being about themselves as teachers, to teaching being all about their students as learners. In my dinosaur years, I’ve come to realize that teaching isn’t as much about “How did I do in my teaching today?” as it is about “How did my students do in their learning today?” It’s not about “What do I plan to teach tomorrow?” as much as it’s about “What do I plan for my students to learn tomorrow?”  And “How are they going to learn?” And “How will I know if they’re ready for new learning?” And “How will I know when they’ve finally learned it?!?”

That can be such a cosmic shift from the traditional paradigm for some! And in order to be really GOOD at it, we also need to know how to build strong positive relationships and strong communication systems with our students.

But as teaching and learning moves more and more into online spaces — how is this going to happen?!?  We’re going to need very effective communication tools!

So I love Geddit because it is all about our students. It not only gives our students a new voice, but it gives them a voice about their learningresponsibility for thinking about their learning, and a tool to communicate about their learning. It makes communication about learning between student and teacher a seamless part of the teaching and learning process.

In today’s world of split classes and online learning, the potential spin-offs are dizzying.

And instantaneous updates? That’s just cosmic dusting on the cake. (-: ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Tomorrow: Creating a Geddit Cosmic Shift Today


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