Recently, I reached out to some local public school PTA parents to see how I could best support the families at their school. One school, PS 165 invited me to come speak about EdGeeks at their April PTA meeting. Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting the PS 165 Parents’ Association. Being back in school and speaking with parents brought back memories. This experience reiterated the value of the parent-teacher relationship and reignited the passion I have for sharing information with families.
At the meeting, I introduced EdGeeks and explained how many of the posts come from questions submitted by parents and teachers. I also created a list of resources for NYC families. What I found most interesting was how engaged the parents seemed in the list of resources I gave them. The Internet can be quite daunting. If you google “Struggling Reader,” or “Math Games,” it can take hours of research to sift through the trash and get to the resources that will actually help. It reminded me of the fact that even a simple list of websites can go a long way for eager parents.
The families at PS 165 seemed excited about submitting questions to EdGeeks, and I hope you are too! I invite students, families and teachers to submit any and all questions to email@example.com. If I have the answer, I’ll create a post about it because chances are, if you have a question about learning or teaching – you are not alone. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll do the best I can to pull together resources that CAN help you.
Someone recently said to me, “You are more than just a Twitter handle,” and of course I laughed. Sometimes I forget how much of my life has moved online. Visiting PS 165 grounded me by reminding me of what a difference a human conversation can make. Thank you to the wonderful families at PS 165. I look forward to speaking with more local parents in the near future.
Often, we have this idea that learning is something that happens in a classroom with a certified teacher in the field. Skillshare is redefining where, how and with whom we expect learning to happen. It is a marketplace where anyone can teach what they know to anyone who wants to learn about it. I went to my first Skillshare session last Friday and loved it! I’ll be going again soon.
It has been quite a testy week here in NYC. Grades 3-8 were tested in ELA and Math…or at least most of them were. A brave group of parents in NY decided to take a stand for their children and opted out of standardized testing even though the policy and consequences are unclear in our state. Read to learn more about the families who opted out and how you can support the movement toward more creative and innovative learning in the classroom.
For students, families and teachers who are not ready to opt out of high stakes tests, but want to bring creative learning back into the classroom…EdGeeks is calling you to action! Submit a piece of writing or art that captures a moment when you felt that high stakes testing impeded your learning or teaching and we will publish it on EdGeeks! Submit all work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a stand and show that you are Pro-Learning.
Last Friday was the first ever Skillshare Penny Conference. Skillshare posed the question: If we could redesign learning for the 21st Century, what would it look like? A wide range of inspiring and innovative individuals spoke about what they are doing to reinvent learning. I cannot wait for next year’s Penny Conference!
“There is more that I don’t know, than what I do know” -Baratunde Thurston on learning more about the book he was writing from others
Once we can get past this idea, we will be both stronger teachers and more active learners.
Last Friday was the first Penny Conference by Skillshare. It is now a week later and I am still floating on cloud nine from the event. Skillshare and all of the speakers at the Penny Conference asked themselves this question: If we could redesign education for the 21st century, what would it look like? Each speaker captivated the audience in a different way, but the thread that tied them altogether was the idea that sharing knowledge is the key to learning.
The Penny Conference was so unique is because it was not a conference about education reform, it was a conference about learning and sharing knowledge. Tony Wagner spoke about the difference between the words “reform” and “reinvent” and in my estimation, Skillshare’s Penny Conference was more about a reinvention of the way we learn through redefining how, when and where learning happens.
My Top Takeaways from the Penny Conference (in no particular order):
I’ll leave you with this. I was so moved by the attention Kio Stark paid to failure. She put forth the idea that embracing and allowing failure will bring us closer towards success. That is a difficult concept for us (teachers) to grasp today, especially when everyone in the education industry is penalized for failure. With all of the testing in NYC this week, I have continuously been thinking about Kio’s description of how in order to move forward, more people need to risk failure and make mistakes…
Calling All Teachers and Parents: I recently came across a group of parents in NYC (Change the Stakes) who have chosen to Opt Out of standardized testing. I have been moved by the actions they have taken to ensure that their children get the best possible education. Although I am pretty sure we can all agree that creativity, high engagement, imagination and innovation are key factors in learning, not all of us are ready to Opt Out. There has to be something in between…a way for people to show their support without putting their children or their jobs at risk. That is why EdGeeks is creating the Pro-Learning project.
Not sure where to start? I really like this one pager from Change the Stakes. It gives a ton of information and provides a network for NYC families.
When did you know? Complete this sentence by leaving a comment: I knew I needed to do something when…
Over the past few weeks I’ve been following the latest news on standardized testing here in New York. It is a controversial issue to say the least, and it’s about much more than a sleeveless, talking pineapple. Sadly, I do not have a perfect solution to suggest as an alternative to standardized testing, but I think we can all agree that we want children to spend their time in an environment that promotes creativity, imagination and innovation. Plus, if Pineapples can talk, I think its high time we begin speaking up too! (Sorry, I had to…)
This is not a new issue. Teachers have been complaining for years that standardized testing has taken a toll on authentic and creative learning. This year there seems to be a growing group of parents and administrators who are making noise and raising awareness around the country. Suddenly this crucial matter is gaining more attention. I believe that it will be the voices of students, teachers and parents that will ultimately make a difference in education and bring learning back into our classrooms.
I am only a former teacher (whatever that means)…but in an effort to be more of a doer and less of a talker I have come up with two ways that I can pitch in and advocate for better learning environments for children. I hope you will help me. Here is the first part of my action plan…
I would like to create a section of EdGeeks where I can feature the thoughts of parents, students, teachers and administrators who are Pro-Learning. Pro-Learning means that you believe in imagination, encourage innovation and embrace mistakes. The goal is to provide a platform where the people who matter can speak out about how and why they feel that standardized testing has led our classrooms away from learning. Here is a list of suggested ideas for work to submit. Please email all entries to email@example.com and feel free to scan in any hand-written work. (If you wish to remain anonymous, please state that in your email.)
Last Friday I attended Skillshare‘s first Penny Conference on learning and innovation. I will be writing more about the conference (which I LOVED) later this week but I wanted to spend today introducing Skillshare to those of you who may not know about it.
What is Skillshare?
Skillshare’s allows all individuals to be teachers and learners. It is essentially a marketplace where people can share what they know with those who want to learn more about it. Last Friday morning I took my first Skillshare session and it really was empowering. What I loved most about it was that it was not intimidating. Everyone who attended was interested in learning, including the teacher. It was short and to the point and I left the class with new knowledge. I will definitely be taking more Skillshare sessions this year and I hope that eventually I will gain the courage to teach a Skillshare session.
Benefits of Teaching and Learning through Skillshare:
Skillshare can be a great way to diversify your skills without spending the time and money it takes to go back to school. For example, as a teacher who is interested in educational technology, I often feel like I am at a disadvantage when talking to professionals on the business or technological side of edtech. Skillshare classes can give me the support I need to be able to engage in meaningful conversations with these professionals.
Skillshare offers classes in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: culinary arts, crafts, technology, entrepreneurship and lifestyle. Here are five sample class titles to help you get an idea of the types of learning that happen through Skillshare.
Stay tuned later this week to learn more about Skillshare and the Penny Conference. I’ll leave you with this. What I love most about Skillshare is that it reminds us that learning and teaching do not and SHOULD NOT happen only inside a classroom. We can be lifelong learners and anyone can be a teacher. Sharing our knowledge is the key.