Learning, Schools and a Great Big World

by Beth Knittle on July 13, 2016

For those of you who have been regular readers you know I struggle with traditional schooling and how it confines and limits learning. I have raised two children who were interested in computers, gaming, digital art, ancient languages, ancient arts and mythologies, topics not part of most school curriculum.  A good deal of their learning took place outside of traditional schooling, some times instead of it.  I know schools can’t be all things to all people, nor should they.  But sometimes the ridged adherence to an ever increasing set of standards that everyone must master leaves little room for the creative arts, deeper development of knowledge in a particular field or exploration of areas out side the 4 cores. There is only so much time in the school day, money in a budget, rooms and teachers to meet the standards and core graduation requirements. Though with the advent of the digital literacy and computer science standards in Massachusetts and new ISTE standards for students there is hope that in the future more computer science will be entering the curriculum in every school.

One of the ways I had been able to supplement my children’s education was through Lynda where they could learn the skills they needed, buy lots of books, visit museums, take classes, attend conferences and workshops that fuel their interests.  My dining room table was often the site of many game nights, what I would not have given for a local game cafe.  Learning is a constant process that is not set to a particular time or place, learning is irregular.  There is a great big world out there with lots to learn. There must be a better way to connect the learning that takes place in school, with the learning that takes place outside of school and a way to recognize the learning outside of school as valuable and important. My children were often discouraged by teachers for pursing outside interest as it took away from homework and study time. If they did this they would not have acquired the skills need to apply for the college programs they were interested in and and pursue their dreams.  Schools that do not offer computer sciences, programing, digital arts and media are doing a disservice to their students as they do not prepare them for college and careers in these fields, these are some of the fastest growing job markets in the US. How can schools that are limited in space, time and money support students who wish to pursue these fields? How can student bring their interests into schools to bridge what must be taught with what students want to learn?

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School is Out, Time to Play

by Beth Knittle on June 21, 2016

School is out for the summer and now it is time to play. For me it is time to finally give this blog an overhaul.  I will be switching themes to Divi and creating from the ground up.  Change is never smooth for me so the site might go back and forth in styles and up and down in service as I play around.  I appreciated your patience.  I hope this playing around with the blog will inspire me to be more a more consistent writer.

I also enjoy this time to explore new tech and tools that I just don’t have time for during the school year. I learn a lot which is fun for me and I think makes me better prepared for school. Don’t get me wrong it is not a summer of just sitting in front of my screen, there will be lots of beach, boating and walks.  I live by the ocean after all.

 

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Summer Break?

by Beth Knittle on May 31, 2016

When I was a classroom teacher I looked forward to summer break.  I was able to close out one school year, leave myself a ton of reminders for the start of the next and was ready to turn my mind and body to other pursuits. I could come back fresh, excited and eager to dive right in. I am now a instructional technology specialist and though my school year officially ends and I will soon be on summer break my work does not. Summer is when all the changes occur.

This year the are some really large changes with Apple (managed IDs and Apple School Manager). Technology based tools and services are never static and it takes time to plan and implement the changes that are never ending.  This is the time of year I feel nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ back in the classroom packing up my year and having some closure.

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Data and Innovation

April 14, 2016

Repeatedly we hear the call to base everything on data driven research, not a bad idea in itself but when you live in the world of technology and innovation then it possess quite a stumbling block. How can you collect data on the future? It takes years to develop a good research plan, carry it out […]

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Google Training

March 5, 2016

I have been quite busy preparing for a major PD initiative in supporting an ever expanding number of Chromebooks and more innovated use of Google Tools.  I have to say Google has created a large number of pathways to learn it’s apps and to test ones knowledge.  I like the idea of tests and certification […]

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Change is Ahead

December 31, 2015

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) had just release new draft standards for Digital Literacy and Computer Science.   These, if adopted, will replace the current standards adopted in 2008.   ISTE is also undergoing a refresh in the standards draft standards should be released in Jan 2016. It will be interesting to see what changes will […]

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Expectations

November 30, 2015

My daughter’s birthday was yesterday and I spent a good portion of that day thinking about how far she has come.  It occurred to me that she has not lived up to the expectations set for her and I could not be more proud!!! She started life with a double knot in the umbilical cord, […]

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