9 THINGS EVERY TEACHER SHOULD DO OVER SUMMER BREAK
June 9, 2015
These 9 tips will make every teacher better this summer break and will help your students be better next school year.
1- Read these three books. While there are many amazing books that will inspire you, these three are certain to help you reinvent yourself as an educator.
- Drive, by Daniel Pink. Everything you ever needed to know about what motivates people, and students, to do anything. This was my life-changing book.
- Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess. Arguably the best teacher book ever written. No matter how experienced and good you are, TLAP will make you strive to be better.
- Assessment 3.0, by Mark Barnes. Okay, this one may seem self-serving, but the throw-out-grades movement is real, and this book shows you how to be part of it and how to forever change how we assess learning.
2 – Reflect. Think about what you did to impact children last school year. Summer break is the perfect time to ask yourself some hard questions. Use the previously mentioned books to help you find the answers.
3 – Join a social network for teachers. Find a Twitter chat, Facebook group, or online book club, and collaborate with other educators. We are better together than we are apart. Here are a few options:
- #Edchat on Twitter. This feed has powerful information 24/7 and two live chats weekly on Tuesdays.
- Teachers Throwing Out Grades on Facebook. One of education’s most influential groups, there are thousands of teachers, parents, and students here, talking about how to build an ongoing conversation about learning.
- Talks with Teachers. This is a growing community of educators, who discuss many education-related topics daily.
4 – Write. Whether you write a guest blog post, a series of Facebook articles, or start your own teacher blog, you should write about education. Share something awesome with the world–a unique teaching strategy or a new tech tool you’ve discovered. You’ll love contributing to the profession.
5 – Tweet. We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again, If you’re not on Twitter, you’re cheating yourself and possibly your students. Twitter connects teachers and students to amazing learning opportunities all over the world. There are thousands of educators on Twitter, eager to join you on a journey to improvement. You can start your tweeting in minutes, and it will enrich you like nothing else.
6 – Attend an education conference. If you can’t make a major conference like ISTE, consider attending an EdCamp, which is free and offers amazing opportunities for professional growth.
7 – Build a new yearlong project. The yearlong project can help you meet many objectives, while giving students the opportunity to take charge of their own learning. Summer break is the perfect time to put all pieces of your project in place, so you can launch it the second school begins.
8 – Listen to some podcasts. Listening to people talk about their experiences or what inspires them to excel is invigorating. Podcasts at Cult of Pedagogy and Join Up Dots are great places to start.
9 – Commit to change. After reading amazing education books, collaborating with others on social media, writing, reflecting, and listening, commit to at least one major change for the coming school year. Develop a growth mindset, and choose to make kids better, no matter what it takes.
Whether it’s summer break, winter break, or just a relaxing Saturday afternoon, it’s always time to become a better teacher. Any and all of these tips can help.
Be sure to share what you believe every teacher should do on summer break in our comment section.
Why everyone loves summer camp
From peer-based support to the development of team work skills, there is a wide range of advantages associated with social learning. In fact, integrating social learning tools into your Learning and Development strategy can enable you to turn your eLearning courses, and in particular asynchronous courses, into more interactive and collaborative eLearning experiences for your learners. Many eLearning professionals are now turning to Google Plus to provide their learners with all of the benefits that social learning can offer.
- Create circles to share information with specific groups.
Google Plus gives you the option to create circles that you can easily manage, making it simple and straightforward to control who views your posts. You can choose to share videos and messages with only certain circles, or share them publicly. Google Plus also enables you to filter what others share with you. For example, learners can customize their settings, so that they are notified when you create a post; this way they will never miss an important update. This is an ideal feature forsocial learning strategies, given that you can share informative articles and videos with certain circles of learners, and encourage them to create peer-centric circles of their own.
- Start a community where your learners can get feedback and ask questions.
Google Plus gives you the power to create private or public communities. You can quickly and conveniently start an online community where your learners can share feedback, get answers to important questions, and benefit from one another's experience. Even if you aren't there to moderate the discussion, learners have the ability share articles and information with their peers, which is the epitome of social learning. If you create a private community, only your learners will have access to the content that is posted. This makes it easy for you to share updates and announcements about the eLearning course that are reserved solely for learners who are currently enrolled.
- Hold live eLearning events with Google Plus Hangouts.
Another invaluable feature of Google Plus is the Google Hangouts application. With Google Hangouts you can create live eLearning or training events that allow learners to interact with one another, send photos, or move the group discussion to Google group chats. This can be a great way to not only bring synchronous learning tools into your eLearning strategy, but to enhance thesocial learning aspect of your eLearning course. You can schedule live hangouts in advance to boost attendance, and even record live events. When learners play back these recordings, which are published on YouTube, they can comment and communicate with one another in order to improve their understanding of the ideas or concepts being discussed.
- Access multiple social media sites through Google Plus.
There are a number of plugins that make Google Plus for social learning even more powerful. There are even plugins offered through Google Plus that give you access to numerous social media platforms, such as Google+Facebook and Google+Tweet, so that all social learning can happen in one centralized location. Learners will no longer have to switch back and forth between multiple sites, as they can view and interact with their entire network with Google Plus. This makes learning fun, convenient, and more beneficial for all users.
- Encourage learners to join public communities to expand their knowledge base.You can also encourage your learners to seek out communities related to the subject matter. For example, if the eLearning course is delving into the basics of sales and marketing, you can encourage them to join a marketing community on Google Plus in order to benefit from the experience of marketing experts and professionals. They can ask questions, access links that may provide them with a better understanding of certain topics, and even make important network contacts through the community. To introduce your learners to this unique benefit of Google Plus, why not develop an assignment that requires them to interview a subject matter expert or professional. This will allow them to see how Google Plus communities work and what they can bring to the social learning experience. Better yet, why not encourage learners to create communities and Google Plus pages of their own, based upon their interests or topics that are relevant to the eLearning course plan. This will enable them to learn more about the subject while fine tuning their communication and collaboration skills.
- Manage your Google Plus page and updates on-the-go.
Your learners have the ability to access their Google Plus page, or yours, as well as other private and public communities via their mobile devices. They can find out about important updates through their tablets, iPhones, or Android devices, so that they never miss out on an opportunity to learn and communicate with their peers. For eLearning professionals, this Google Plus for social learning feature will enable you to notify your learners of any changes or updates within seconds, rather than waiting until you reach your computer.
- Share videos and links with your online community quickly and conveniently.You can quickly share images, links, and videos with your private or public community, as well as with your Google Plus circles. Learners can also share information with their peers, such as a YouTube video that they feel might help others to explore a complicated topic, or links to articles that pertain to the subject matter. You can even create a page that gives learners the opportunity to quickly view references and resources that are custom tailored to specific eLearning courses or modules, and invite learners to add their own links to the page.
Google Plus is quickly becoming one of the most widely used and effective social learning tools, and with these tips you can use this powerful tool to make your eLearning strategy more collaborative and interactive for your learners. Also, do not forget that you are more than welcome to join the largest Google Plus community of eLearning professionals.
Another invaluable social learning tool for eLearning professionals is Linkedin. Read the article 5 Steps To Use LinkedIn For Social Learning to learn about the many applications of LinkedIn for social learning that will help you to develop a winning social learning strategy for your eLearning courses, deliverables, or training events.
Are you looking for Social Learning tips, advice, and techniques for creating a successful Social Learning Strategy? Read the article 8 Top Tips to Create an Effective Social Learning Strategy to learn how to develop a Social Learning Strategy that engages learners and encourages collaborative eLearning.
by David Krevitt
Many of you have probably read about Camp Grounded, a gadget-free adult summer camp put on by Digital Detox a few weeks ago in Northern California (if you haven't, see coverage here and here). Some of you may have even attended.
It was a detox from all things bad for you: over-connectedness, alcohol, drugs and meat. As the camp's website describes it: "Trade in your computer, cell phone, Instagrams, clocks, schedules and work-jargon for an off-the-grid weekend of pure unadulterated fun."
From many campers' comments, it was a success. They left camp relaxed and more aware of their time-consuming relationship with technology. Activities like yoga, stargazing and pillow fights sound like a good time -- though I imagine some liquor wouldn't have hurt.
Given that the event sold out at fairly high ticket prices, I'm curious as to what's driving the popularity. What makes "checking out" more compelling now than just a few years ago? Widespread smartphone adoption can't be the only answer. Unproductive habits (smoking, drinking, TV) are a tale as old as time, but we've developed ways of living with them (indoor smoking bans and DVR come to mind). Why are we now paying $300 to ditch our iPhones for the weekend?
Venturing a guess, I'd say we need a break more so from the people who contact us on the device than the device itself. A phone has an off button that transforms it into a pile of metal and plastic. I imagine the problem is really people who expect us, whether for work or life,to be available at all times. Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic asked tough questions along those lines: "Which effects are *caused by* the technologies and which are *enabled by* the technologies and which just happen to *occur through* the technologies?"
Consider, for example, how workplace communication has exploded over time. Technology for keeping workers tethered to their jobs has always existed. Shackles are technology. So are on-call schedules and beepers. These didn't create the pervasive "always on" expectation, the people using them did.
Before adoption of the Blackberry, being on call was largely contained to specialized professions like medicine and the Army Reserve -- too few people to cause widespread malaise.
Smartphones have obviously changed that, as the majority of people now own them. Many of us use them to work after hours, even when the same work (often reading email) could be done the next day. We're just not very good yet at controlling our urge to use them.
Does that work email really need to be read, let alone responded to, at 2 a.m.? A culture of over-communication increases the volume of email without actually accomplishing anything. Sure, inbox zero feels good, like a clean plate. But, often, sending emails only shuffles work around, it doesn't necessarily get work done.
Which is too bad, because it's satisfying to check that tiny screen and see if anyone out there wants us. It's a dose of novelty and an opportunity to feel productive. Working without working.
Mobile devices are such a convenience that we can't control ourselves.
This is why people go to camp in the first place, because it's a guaranteed and enforced way to avoid being busy. "Free-Time" is literally on the activities list. We need to discover the limit of our busyness, to lay down boundaries like we have with unhealthy food, alcohol and drugs. We all know that it's not the vodka's fault when someone gets sick.
It's not the phone's fault that we're buried in it. We can't help that smartphones are convenient and often fun. We just need to develop proper boundaries to when and where, and for what purposes, we'd like to use them. Once we do so, we'll be able to "check out" and relax without having to go off the grid.
For more by David Krevitt, click here.
Missed #ISTE13? Ok, but don't miss the @AdamBellow keynote!
If you weren't able to make ISTE, don't worry. You can still catch Adam Bellow's rousing and inspiring closing keynote, "You're Invited to Change the World" right here. Go to the end of this post and start at TODAY.
One of the things I loved about this keynote is that he hits on what has inspired so many educators to join the teaching profession. Many of us grew up believing that we did indeed have the power to change the world. Yes, there were naysayers or people who shook their heads calling us dreamers, but we believed that we were joining a profession that could change the lives that changed the world. Adam reminds us that despite other distractions, we can and do have that power within us and invites us to go forward and embrace that goal.
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PBL Key Piece of Deeper Learning Puzzle
JULY 1st, 2013