About value…

Thought this was an interesting take on the concept of “value”

Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value.

Not sure how I feel about what he is saying or how it might relate to our own discussions of value, but I thought it was fun to watch, if a bit flip – very different from what I typically think about.

Cognitive Surplus on the Harold Lounge

I can’t believe this is the one-year anniversary of the Harold Lounge. Actually, what is more accurate is that I can’t believe how much I rely on the Lounge and, frankly, I can’t remember what it was like to not have the Lounge as a resource.

Dave is a humble guy. He doesn’t like the spotlight to be directly on him. I respect that, but I think it is important this week to recognize the trememdous effort, thought, and care that has gone into developing, and robustly maintaining this site throughout the year. Thank you PhiloDave!

I’m sure many folks have asked him the following question,
“where do you find the time?!”
It’s an interesting question and perhaps many of us have heard this question before.

Time is so valuable to all of us and the stress that we often feel comes from the perception that we never have enough time to do the things that are most important. And yet, as Clay Shirky argues, we collectively have time to work on things together, and as a group we can put that collective energy into a variety of shared projects like the goofy LOL cats (a site where you post pictures of cats or other animals and include funny captions) or the tremendously helpful Ushahidi (a kind of citizens journalist site that was originally set up to track reports of violence in Kenya through the web and cell phones).

In his TED talk,
TED talk,

Shirky describes what I like to think of as a simple equation:
Human generosity + technology = cognitive surplus
He speaks of using cognitive surplus to create change that has civic value.

In his book, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity & Generosity in a Connected Age, he talks about the difference between a passive reception of experience, like in the old days of long hours of TV watching (I believe he mentions Gilligan’s Island a few times) and the more active experiences that we have now through social media with things like Ushahidi and Wikipedia and yes, even the Harold Lounge.

We look everywhere a reader or a viewer or a patient or a citizen has been locked out of creating and sharing, or has been served up passive or canned experience, and we’re asking; if we carve out a little bit of the cognitive surplus and deploy it here, could we make a good thing happen? I’m betting the answer is yes, or could be yes, if we give one another the opportunity to participate and reward one another for trying.

Shirky (2010). Cognitive Surplus 2010 Page 213. New York, Penguin Press.

So, I’m formally saying thank you again to PhiloDave and now to the Harold Lounge Community for providing a space where we can use our cognitive surplus, and for creating a community in which we can reward each other for trying to make a good thing happen. Well done!

Evidence Group: we met, we talked, we planned the next meeting

Today I met with a small group of faculty in the face-to-face Faculty Lounge. I have to say, I really enjoyed the experience and I look forward to more conversations like it.

Here is what we talked about:
Faculty talking with faculty about teaching and learning – nothing else.

We considered using various models to help our thinking, such as:
1) Teacher Research
2) Evidence Process
3) Communities of Practice
4) Collaborative Inquiry
5) the Studio method of critique

I shared some resources about the “evidence process” that included various protocols that groups of instructors can use to look at student work together (taken from “The Evidence Process: A Collaborative Approach to Understanding and improving Teaching and Learning”. Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education).

Here’s the gist:
The folks at Project Zero call it it the evidence process because they “..wanted to develop a model for teachers to assess their instructional practice…grounded in specific artifacts of learning and teaching that come directly from the classroom – samples of students at work, teacher created materials and so on. These artifacts can make student learning, and how teaching supports learning, more visible or more evident” (p.2).

Parts of the Evidence Process (p.12):
1) Questions: what are you curious about in your own teaching or in your students’ learning?
2) Evidence: what student work or other artifacts could you share that would be related to your question?
3) Examination & Discussion: the group works together to examine the evidence shared, and discuss what is seen.
4) Protocols: Structured ways to look at and talk about questions and evidence.
5) Facilitation: Skills that keep the process focused and moving forward.
6) Collaboration: Groups of instructors working together.

Examples of possible questions below:
How can I help my students become better editors of their own work?
How can I tell if I’m talking too much in my classroom?
How can we help students develop critical thinking skills?

The question I personally worked with last semester was twofold:
How can I engage students in the Teacher Research process? and
How can I support my students as they become professionals in the field of Early Childhood Education?

I shared just one piece of evidence for the group to consider – two video clips of students talking about the Teacher Research Project I assigned. The students on the video were reflecting on what the Teacher Research Project meant to them and if they plan to use the method in their future work in the field of Early Childhood Education.

After listening to my inquiry question and examining my evidence (the video clips), the Evidence Group offered their feedback. This was really helpful as they talked about what they saw and heard in the students’ comments.

In the short period of less than an hour, I felt like I participated in a process that was personally and professionally important to me. It is an intimate thing to share with others details of one’s work with students. This felt like a safe environment in which to truly build an understanding about student learning on a level different from what I’m able to attain on my own.

A very special thank you to those that attended today!

The next Evidence Group meeting is scheduled for Wednesday December 8 at 4pm in room 1046.
In the meantime, we will work on various questions and what might be useful to bring next time in terms of evidence.

The meeting will be during the last week of the semester. I hope you can stop by and chat. I’ll bring cookies and I’ll even throw in some healthy snacks too!

hope to see you then, Carrie

Join me

With the support of CAST and the Assessment Committee, I’d like to cordially invite you to what I am currently calling, The Evidence Group.

When: Wednesday November 17th at 4pm
Where: Room 1046
Why?: Because we want to

Here’s the thing, I really want to spend some time with colleagues and talk about teaching and learning – the nuts and bolts stuff.

Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Future of Learning Institute at Harvard Graduate School of Education. It was the first time in a long time when I felt that I had been the recipient of really good teaching! I want to share what I learned and explore a new (to me) way of looking at student learning.

Developed at Harvard’s Project Zero, the Evidence Process is described below:

“The core of the Evidence Process is the regular coming together of Evidence Groups in which participants come together to frame important questions about their work and their students’ learning. Evidence Groups share a common goal: the exploration and improvement of teaching and learning. Group members use protocols to examine and reflect on student work and other evidence from their classrooms to address their questions and plan for changes in their teaching practice. They document and reflect on what they are learning, as individuals, and as a group” (Seidel, Blythe, & Allen, et. al., 2001).

Admittedly, this was developed for teachers in a K12 setting. However, I think we can really benefit from taking a look at the process they developed.

The idea is that educators need to get together in an inquiry environment and look at student work collaboratively. There are some nifty and seemingly easy to use protocols that Project Zero has developed that I would really like to try.

Wanna join me?

Ah Tony…

Maybe this fits in with midterm entertainment week…not sure. I took PhiloDave’s advice and watched “Teach” with Tony Danza. I watched the first episode last week and just finished watching the second episode called “Tested”.

I’m not at all into reality TV. I don’t watch much TV at all actually, but this was …um…interesting and I hate to admit it, but it was kind of entertaining. It was also really painful, & mortifying! I think I have a gaper’s problem with this show. It’s like a train wreck; awful and gruesome, but you just have to look.

Danza is making all the mistakes that, if I’m being honest with myself, I have made (and continue to make) in my own teaching. He’s trying so hard that it’s endearing, but also kind of ..painful – that’s the word that keeps coming to mind! It is a rare glimpse into the process of a becoming a teacher and even though it’s TV, which means there is some showmanship to the whole thing, I think the essence of what it is like to be a teacher and to struggle with how best to help learners in front of you – that’s pretty real.

Check it out. Maybe it will be entertaining and distracting at a busy time in the semester. Maybe it will be too painful to watch. Maybe it can be an example of how we all struggle with this stuff whether we are experienced teachers or teaching for the first time.

Happy Week Eight everyone!

A visitor in my own land

This Tuesday John Hader, George Bickford, Trish Perez and I spent the day with Mr. Sato, Mr. Yamamoto, and Mr. Iwasaki from Shohoku College: A Sony Institute of Higher Education located in Kanagawa, Japan. They have a department of Early Childhood Education and Care and, among many other programs, they were interested in the Child Development programs that we offer at City Colleges.

The cool thing was that I got to take a tour of HWC from the 11th floor to the first floor. Hader was the guide and like a proud uncle he brought us to a variety of classes in session that morning. We visited Jaime Millan’s Physics class, Uthman Erogbogbo’s Biology class, Richard Repasky’s Printmaking class, Jess Bader’s Ceramics class, Allan Wilson’s Chemistry class, and Anita Kelley’s Fundamentals of Investments class. We also stopped by for a brief tour of the Disability Access Center where Nicolette Radford showed us the equipment used to translate textbooks into Braille. Finally, we rounded off the morning by admiring the student architectural proposals for the HWC green roof and then sitting in on Trish Perez’s Language Development class.

Let me just say, I was impressed!
We hear about active learning, engaged learning, student-centered classrooms and all that other jargon. The cool thing is, this is what we saw on Tuesday. Students were very involved with whatever was happening in class whether they were paying attention to a demonstration by the instructor, in small group discussions, or engaged in a project like working on a sculpture or reading a children’s book to a group. I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not see a single student who looked bored or uninvolved. May I stress that this was not a planned visit. We simply walked down the halls and poked our heads into any room in which we heard voices.

It was such a pleasure to visit the college and try to see it from a visitor’s perspective. I will admit that I went to floors that I haven’t set foot on in years. I rarely go to other departments. I have never been to most of the classrooms I visited on Tuesday. To be honest, I rarely take the time to visit classrooms of my departmental colleagues much less colleagues outside of my department. This was a real treat!

Maybe I am still under the charm of the beginning of the semester when everything feels so hopeful; so possible. I don’t know, but it was difficult not to feel proud of this place when the evidence was right in front of me. Kudos to the faculty – three cheers, and keep up the good work! I’m proud to be among you.