Week six of a new weekly post, Quotes of the Week.  (For more about QoTW, click here.)

Highly recommended for principals, school-heads, and other educational leaders: provide your own version of suggested readings/links with your team.  Curate them: don’t give them too much, but choose the best three, four, or five (max).

Today, I’m calling more audibles. Screw it. We’re making a documentary. I’m giving them more freedom in their blogs. I’ll pull kids for one-on-one conferences even if I worry that the class might get off-task. We’re making children’s books for the children’s hospital, even if the department says narratives should be more autobiographical and less creative.

I’m going back to what I believe works rather than trying to look good for the Clipboard Crew that might be observing me…. Our best class periods have involved projects, so I’m switching to completely project-based.

I’m not going to let fear dictate what my classroom looks like.

I’m Tired of Being Afraid, John Spencer

Senior education officials’ own creative confidence is so important to bring about a sense of self-efficacy in their teachers and students. Self-efficacy is that feeling that whatever you do can have an impact on the world around you. Creative confidence is not feeling uncomfortable when people start to approach things in ways that rock the status quo.

Much in the same way the snake phobic can see other people are not phobic, and must have found the means within themselves to be that way, we can realise that people we see as creative found a set of processes, steps and attitudes that allow them to think in that way.

Creative Confidence and the Power to Change the World Around Us, Ewan McIntosh

The course was for me an adventure in the co-evolution of education and technology—indeed, of life and technology. The excitement of computing created the demand for the course in the first place. The new teaching style was a response to the flood of digital content—and to my stubborn, libertarian refusal to dam it up.

The course couldn’t have been done without digital infrastructure—five years ago I could not have recorded videos, unassisted and on my own time, for students to watch on theirs. The distance version of the course is an exercise in cyber-mediated intercontinental collaboration.

Yet in the Harvard College classroom, almost nothing is digital. It is all person-to-person-to-person, a cacophony of squeaky markers and chattering students, assistants, and professor, above which every now and then can be heard those most joyous words, “Oh! I get it now!”

Reinventing the Classroom [at Harvard], Harry Lewis

I guess what I’m trying to say is that teachers are FINE with being held accountable for our performance when we know that we are working in systems that give us a fighting chance to succeed.

But it’s unrealistic — not to mention unhealthy and unfair — to point the finger at classroom teachers for the struggles of the system while simultaneously refusing to surround them with the tools that they need in order to succeed.

Can Ed Policy Nation Learn from Andrew Luck and the Colts?  Bill Ferriter

New adage: never pick a fight with a networked individual with strong Internet & mobile connections

Networked: The New Social Operating System, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman

Teachers everywhere are facing larger class sizes and fewer resources. But the reality is that making STEM education more effective doesn’t require more money for schools. It requires real connections to the community around them that can capture students’ hearts and minds.

At its heart, STEM is about solving real-world problems. When thinking about how to draw more children into those vital careers, let’s not forget about real-world solutions.

Helping STEM Take Root, Harriet Sanford

We might be missing the point when we worry about whether technology has gotten ahead of what our brains evolved to do. What our brains evolved to do is adapt. New technologies change the way we think—the shift from memorization to reading certainly did that.

But that’s not the same thing as making us stupid or stifling our capacity for creative thought. Instead, we take these tools and we find new ways to be creative. We take the tools and we use them to expand our knowledge of the world. It’s what we did with books.

Maybe we’ll do the same thing with the Internet-rich, multi-tasking world we’re building now.

Why Technology Might Not Make Children Stupid After All,  Maggie Koerth-Baker

Social-Networking sites are a part of our world today and will only become increasingly so in the world of our students. Therefore, I would suggest that teaching students how to use, when to use and which social network to use to gather information, to find resources, or to catch up on current events is a must. Students may have a social network or social presence but it doesn’t mean they know how to use it properly.

Not every teacher needs to be using every tool. But every teacher should be exposing students to the social-networking tools of their discipline. 

Social Networks: Grabbing the Skunk by the Tail, Jeff Utecht

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