Monthly Archives: May 2014

Moodle News

For the past couple of years, we’ve been working on the development of a format for Moodle that would truly lower the barrier to implementing and using Moodle. The idea was to create something very familiar for teachers and students to start with.

Well, we are getting one step closer. The Michigan REMC group has approved funding to start the programming. This has the potential of being a huge win for teachers. The new “social format” would allow teachers to quickly interact with Moodle. All the while, the full power and scope of Moodle will still be available.

If you’d like to know more, see this posting on Moodle.net. (I believe that you may have to register to view- registration is free).

There is still a ton of work to be done. However, big KUDOS to Chris Kenniburg and Bryan Smith for their work in getting this to happen. Also we greatly appreciate the vision to fund the project from the REMC group.

Flipped

I’ve been reading about “flipped” this and that lately. Now, I love buzz words as much as anyone. But why is everything flipped these days? I’ve just finished reading another article about flipped staff meetings. The idea behind these flipped staff meetings is that the mundane informational items are communicated via email or newsletter instead of being shared at the staff meeting. In other words, let people read what they can read and spend staff meeting time with teachers sharing best practices ideas and concepts. How is this a flipped anything? Granted it is a good idea, but flipped?

I was last a building principal over three years ago now. All of our meetings were run with teachers leading the way. We focused on school improvement ideas. We shared best practice strategies. We modeled lessons that were actually used in classrooms. We met in groups to discuss teaching strategies, students, curriculum, etc. We didn’t call it flipped. It was just good practice. I put out a weekly newsletter to share information (with a cute name, of course).

Flipped seems to be the most current fashionable jargon word available. I’ve heard just about everything referred to as flipped. So much so, that flipped has lost almost all meaning to me. There could be a good debate over whether or not the flipped classroom is actually effective or not. To do so, we’d first have to agree on the definition of flipped.

Now, I agree that not everyone is at the same juncture of their journey in educational practice. I’m sure that there are many concepts and ideas that I’m behind in understanding and applying. But can we at least stop glomming unto a name and applying it to everything?

School Visits

The last couple of weeks have extremely busy. Like most educators. However, I was also lucky enough to spend a great deal of that time in schools. Specifically, I spent time in classrooms and media centers (libraries). I miss watching kids learn. I miss the ”light bulb” moments. It was great fun to see that again.

I also spent a little bit of time teaching classes. Not the full on, teacher lessons, teaching all day, but at least I was able to do some real instruction. The topics were things that I was pretty comfortable with and have taught before. Mostly, I was teaching about technology, how to navigate through a web page, etc. (On a side note, it is amazing how many educators don’t really know how to use a browser. Things like bookmarking, Back navigation, etc are a strange concept to some.)

One of my favorite moments was in an elementary school. A teacher was running late. I was in a classroom to help with a Promethean Board issue. The teacher I was helping started collecting the students from across the hall. The room quickly filled and there were more students yet to arrive. I told the teacher that I would take the other class back to their room and get them going. The incredulous look was priceless. “Are you sure?”

I assured the teacher that I would be fine. I had a great time with the first graders. The teacher arrived a bit after we started things out.

I was once again reminded how different things are when you work year round. You lose a bit of the ebb and flow of the year. Since there is no “break” to look forward to, no real new beginnings or endings, the ebb and flow become much closer to a monotonous drone.