Monday, October 21, 2013

Notes from the OESIS Conference 10/11/13

The follow are my notes from the Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools conference on 10/11/13. 


Sustaining a Tradition of Excellence: The Eight Schools Association Online Consortium
Guiding principles:
  • tradition and innovation
  • competition and collaboration
  • mandated and organic evolution
  • replicate and improve the independent school experience
  • notion of learning toolkit

Speakers attended workshop at Global Online Academy → school needed something to engage in online education in boarding school setting

Used Choate's model of instructor PD, sent faculty to Choate for training.

Design thinking (IDEO) ("Design thinking for educators"):
Used "divergence" and "convergence" exercises to come up with initiatives to present to heads of schools:
  • Develop online summer courses (small reach- was already in practice)
  • Year long online course in a "less commonly taught" language (Arabic) - involved accruing credits, so this was logistically complex
  • Develop a hybrid course

Hybrid course:
  • Faculty-developed
  • Topic: water management
  • real-world issue
  • collection of data, propose solution to problem, refine proposal after feedback

Issues: funding, teacher resistance, logistical issues

What we know now: Blended learning pilot
Shattuck-St.Mary's (Minn.)

Problem: students often had to leave campus for various commitments, events, academic opportunities
Wanted to integrate more technology projects into daily instruction
Built model to mirror college experience more closely (than 6th grade experience, for instance)
Students work on independent projects (scale of pilot was small)
Platform: Moodle

Crafting a Vision: The First First Step
"With new leadership, a (relatively) new century, and an emerging body of literature and experience that makes it clear that there is a new educational paradigm unfolding not just in the U.S. but around the globe, we at Worcester Academy decided to make the cultural shift necessary to support teaching and learning in this new paradigm. Step one, establishing a vision and a lexicon, proved to be complex, invigorating, and essential. In this presentation we share our process, our emerging vision, our efforts at collaborative leadership, and our next steps."

School mission is "at forefront" of all decision making → 

Strategic vision: support innovative teaching and learning (what does this mean? what does this look like?)
Teachers looking for structure to program ("I'm all in, but tell me what to do.")
Involved teachers/community in finding language to describe innovative teaching (vision statement) → 

Portrait of a learner: school outcomes (mastery, self-directed learning)

Professional development:
  • Time for collaborating, time for "deeper learning" (online/blended formats)
  • Encourage faculty to collaborate on, and change curriculum based on new vision
  • School visits, summer programs with knowledgeable professionals, group of teachers take MOOC together
  • Workshop series
  • "Dinner and a movie"
  • Speakers

Burlington High Student Help Desk
Students run blog

Help desk details:
  • 11 students in help desk
  • Help desk is open 6 out of 7 periods
  • At least 2 students at genius bar at a time
  • Help with student issues, basic classroom technology problems
  • Student-generated mission statement
  • Geniuses help students take devices from "consumption" to "creation"

At school level:
  • Support a digital workflow!
  • Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Notability
  • Wordpress
  • Blogger
  • Gmail

  • course (for credit!)
  • Students have to contribute to blog (technical writing, documentation)
  • Syllabus (available on website)

Flipping the Classroom: Theory and Practice
Paradigm shift: from "what material will I be covering" to "what will the students be doing?"
Used screencasting software (Camtasia, Explain Everything) to turn PPTs into "videos"

Nicholas Wilson

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