Have you ever been to a well-designed garden?  They're filled with a variety of beautiful plants, arranged tastefully and tended continually.  But there is one feature that I'm drawn to in almost every garden I've been to: the reflecting pool.  There is something about a pool of smooth water that invokes calm and reflection about one's life.  I love seeing the beautiful plants all around, but there is a draw to sit aside and contemplate the paths that have helped us get to where we are.

Some time ago, I imagined that I could work on two innovation plans at once.  Oh, if only I had listened to the advice given by the 4DX guys: you can only wear one WIG (Wildly Important Goal) at a time!

 

A shift of seasons…

 

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot… (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, NIV)

 

I'm not afraid of old paper or books.  I'm a fan of ancient maps and great literature.  But I'm also a power user of technology.  Ever wonder if there are ways to take those hiddeously distracting smart phones and turn them into learning tools?  I have.  And I've been finding answers.

 

 

It is an interesting journey to consider turning my classroom experiences into something that could be published.  But that is what I'm working on right now.  Perhaps there are things that I've learned along the way, or ways that I express things, that would be helpful to other educators.  Perhaps the garden I've been growing has some fruit that others would like to share!

 

What are we growing on the inside?  Is love and purity growing?  Or is darkness oozing out?  More importantly, what do our actions betray about what is in our core?

 

I’ve learned a whole new set of information about copyright law and its assorted implications.  It is complex, but here is a flow chart to help guide a newbie along the right tracks:

Flowchart for copyright ideas. Click for high res.

 

Another season of growth is upon me!  I’m learning all about what it means to be a digital citizen…and it’s actually making me think quite a bit about citizenship in general too.  Well, what’s this about?  I’m glad you asked!

 

I’ve been turning one of my High School classes into a blended class.  It’s been quite a journey.  I’m learning more about the tools and techniques needed to support learning in on online environment. I'm glad!

 

There are several modalities that can be identified in any good creative process.  It starts with dreaming; imagining something new (or re-imagining what is into something new).  Sometimes it may come as a flash of insight.  Sometimes it might be a vision you can see.  Sometimes it comes by thinking hard to find a new way to do an old task or make an object.

This is an experiment in collaborative teaching.  I've got my students working on a timeline together using TimelineJS, a tool that I'm pretty excited about.   Here's hoping for success!

 

Another push, another season of growth ahead! I'm growing in my understanding of online learning environments and course design.  It is hard work.  But it is worth it.  This time I'm taking a course I've designed and implementing it online!

 

I think I can feel the growing pains!  I've been working hard to sift through and categorize the literature that is related to Mobile Learning Devices (MLD's) in the classroom.  Whew!  It is a bit daunting, but worth it to see how other are using these mini-supercomputers to good use.  I'm both encouraged that I'm on the right track and challenged to continue imroving what I've found.  The dynamics between lesson design, interpersonal interactions, and the use of MLD's is complex.

It’s happening!  I’m growing in my use of Mobile Learning Devices (MLD’s) in my classroom! I’ve had many successes and failures using MLD’s in my classroom.  Trying to use interactive or collaborative tools is completely different in a Bible class than in a Science class.

As you may notice from my recent posts, I'm thinking quite a bit about Professional Development in my current context.  I've put together a couple of tools that I think would be thought-provoking for teachers interested in bringing clarity and focus to their classroom practices.  If you end up using this tool, I'd be really interested in your thoughts about it!  

 

I've been thinking about the Professional Development efforts at Madison Christian Schools quite a bit.  As part of my thoughts, I'm imagining having a meeting with my administration.  If I could have that meeting, here's an pseudo-agenda for what we could talk about.  It's not quite a real agenda, because I'd want a lot more dialogue than the dense outline suggests.

Sometimes it’s good to go back and review your ‘Why

 

Why do I teach?

I teach so my students will discover Truth that their minds understand, hearts believe, wills embrace, and lives reflect.

 

How do I teach? 

With any means available that make Truth clearer and the discussions of Truth’s relevance and consequence richer.

 

I've been thinking quite a bit about professional development in my school district.  I think we have a great start and a solid foundation to what we are doing.  But I think there are areas we could do better too!  Interested?  I made a video you might like to watch!  I'll be posting again soon about more specific ideas!

 

Building a house

 

Suppose you were told that you were going to be on a team to build someone a brand new house.  Consider it for a moment.  You might be excited.  A new house for someone to live in!  Think of everything that the residents will be able to do in and around their house.  Think of the stability and protection that house would provide.  Think of the satisfaction related to helping build that house. It would be great!

 

I've been thinking quite a bit about change recently.  Specifically, I'm considering what kinds of ways I want to grow as a teacher.  How about you?  Take a few minutes and come on a journey with me.  It should take less than ten minutes, unless you stop to really process along the way.  Click the play button to the right, and then use the arrows to navigate through my prezi.  It is mostly audio content, so make sure you turn up your speakers!

I recently finished thinking through a design of an 11th grade Bible course with two different models.  One, by Fink (2003), was facilitated by a series of worksheets and questionnaires aimed at clarifying the scope and constraints of the course.  The final design step was a 3-column table.  The

In my last post, I explored what it might look like to design an 11th grade Bible course using a 3-column table suggested by Fink (2003).  This week, it is the same course, but using the templates and concepts introduced by Wiggins & McTighe (2005) in Understanding by Design (or UbD).  So, here goes!

As you may already know from my site information, I’m a faculty member at a K-12 Christian High School.  Here’s something that might surprise you: the most challenging class I teach is 11th grade Bible.

 

You might think, “What!?  How could teaching the Bible be a hard class to teach?”  Well, let me fill you in a little bit. 

 

Learning is a process of discovery, understanding, and skill acquisition in a particular context that is facilitated by deliberate practice, focused attention and thought, evaluation of mistakes by the learner for a purpose.

Learning is a process…

 

Ah, the Holy Grail.  A symbol of the long-lost or long-sought-after prize that everyone is looking for but no one knows where it would be.  What might an educator’s ‘Holy Grail’ be?  How about: A significant learning environment (SLE) where every student is engaged and learning.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  But is it possible?  How can we search for this long-sought-after prize?

 

So, I’ve been reading and thinking about how to change myself as well as help others around me change.  Friedman’s “A Failure of Nerve” (2007) has many good things to say about being a leader, particularly a well-differentiated one.  While I’m not in a position of formal leadership, I am still in the position to influence myself and those around me!

Change is hard.  Just try getting up an hour earlier than a normal day (or stay up longer than normal) for a week!  Not only is change hard, but long-lasting, important change is even harder.  So I’m grateful for people that study how change happens so that I can learn from them. That’s what Covey, S., McChesney, C., & Huling, J. (2012) did in their book: The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

 

Goals:

Four faculty members (out of 13 middle and high school faculty) will use mobile technologies for a component of their lessons, each on average five times a month by December 2016. 

 

Two high quality flipped lessons will be created by ALCS faculty by June 1st, 2016.

 

Goal Clarification:

In the day-to-day rush of life, it is easy to get things wrong.  The whirlwind of daily activity constantly forces us to ask: What am I supposed to do next?  What time is it?  What deadlines are coming?  But without a well-defined "Why," the whirlwind can easily send you spinning out of control.  Our motivations for life and vocation are bound together in this core "Why".

I'd like to challenge you if you are an educator, especially if you're a part of Madison Christian Schools.  Are you ready for change?  Consider a quote from John Dewey: "A society which is mobile, which is full of channels for the distribution of a change occurring anywhere, must see to it that its members are educated to personal initiative and adaptability.

Main Topic: Digital Learning Technologies in the classroom; focus on High School

Key Atendees: Principal of ALCS and Superintendent of MCS

You might be aware that I’ve recently started a Graduate Degree.  I’m aiming to earn a Master’s in Education in Digital Learning and Leading from Lamar University.  Well, as part of this degree, I’ve been challenged to do some digging into the possible futures of education.  I’ve found some pretty exciting and challenging things!  Consider these stats and predictions:

Education as a whole is on the verge of dramatic change. Christensen, Clayton & Johnson predict that “about 80 percent of courses taken in 2024 will have been taught online in a student-centric way” (2011, p. 102).  This prediction is based on their theories of Disruptive Innovations and their research in the way online and distributed learning is growing over time. 

 

This is a (mostly) functional version of a learning object.  A learning object is a tool used to teach a small part of a lesson; in this case, the relationships between the speeds of gears and a point on a belt.  I really like letting students explore the different angular and linear velocities with this activity.  It was also pretty challenging to figure out how to do the programming!

This is a (mostly) functional version of a learning object.  A learning object is a tool used to teach a small part of a lesson; in this case, electronic configurations in atoms.  The development of this tool was supported by Dane Districts Online (DDO).  Unfortunately, DDO is now a non-functioning collaboration.  It was trying to create a repository of such learning objects, but lost funding.  A second bummer is that this file was created in a really old version of Adobe Flash.

This Prezi was created as our school rolled out PBIS in 2015.  We needed a way to talk about arriving and dismissal at our school, and I thought a Prezi would be great.  It is meant to be viewed in a whole-group setting and explained verbally.  The use of the school image itself makes it feel more 'homey' to me.  

This GeoGebra file is designed for a computer lab setting with 1:1 or few:1 student:computer use.  It can also be used as a front-of-class exploration on a SMARTBoard.  The exploration starts with shapes that appear to be identical.  But, behind the scenes, they have been constructed to behave differently.  The invitation is to allow students to interact with the points on the shapes and see how they behave.

Curtis White, M.S., M.C.E.
High School Faculty
Math, Science, Bible & Computers
Abundant Life Christian School
A Madison Christian School
608.221.1520
Curtis_White@limtw.net