Thesis Builder / ElectraGuide’s New Home

Interestingly, the most hit site I’ve created is something I made in 1995.  The Thesis Builder & Online Outliner is a simple javascript tool that helps novice writers create a reasonable persuasive thesis statement and matching outline.

Unfortunately, I loaded it onto very expensive hosting years back and the overage charges generated by the Thesis Builder cost between $25-60 / month.  For a free service, this has gotten too expensive. Rather than pull the site down, I’ve relocated it to cheaper hosting and posted this message on the site.

If you are a user of The Thesis Builder, please update your links as the forwarding message will only be up till the end of February (enough to get the new school semester started).

Here’s the message:

thesis_builder_message

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Opening Presentation – Differentiation Conference

learning-differentiation-768x325

A prestigious group of educators are convening at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney’s CBD on the 16th and 17th of this month to share strategies for improving learning achievement through differentiation.

I have the pleasure of presenting the opening presentation on day 1.  I will begin with a personal narrative illustrated with differentiated designs I’ve been involved with and then present a case of what’s needed in education circa 2016.  This post includes links and resources that I’ll refer to during the talk captured in this blurb:

Design for the Big Win: Differentiation and Beyond

Traditional models of schooling come up short when viewed through the lenses of current technologies and pedagogies. Rather than rely on habit or following trends, leading educators can choose to design a better way based on their values and personal skillsets. This presentation highlights how we can use more effective and rewarding models to design the schools we really want.

Links, Examples and Resources

Tom’s Models

 

Readings & Pedagogies

Scaffolded Learning Software

Cool Tools

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New Article: “Before We Pull the Big Lever”

big_leverIn an earlier article, “Starting an Education Revolution,” I suggested the that tests were a good tool for breaking educational paradigms.  Education Technology Solutions magazine has just published a follow-up article, “Before We Pull the Big Lever,” in which I describe a 3-step process for making sure we get the kind of revolution we want!

Here’s how it starts:
READY, AIM, HANG ON THERE ONE MINUTE…

Instead of racing to what these tests could look like and how to get started today, this article will be used as an often-missing moment of pause, to engage readers in educational analysis to get at an understanding that must change if innovation (not the churn of new bandwagons and buzzwords) is to replace the status quo with an improved and irrevocable reality. In short, educators must confront the last great innovation – the mass production model of schooling and its codified curriculum – and dismantle the old technologies that underpin it: rigid management of time, entrenched and unquestioned routines and the disjointed and artificial dissection and delivery of learning. Read more…

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Integrating 5 Great Pedagogies

I recently did a Webinar on this topic.  Which is a bit absurd, really, because each deserves not only its own Webinar, but a full course to do justice to the ideas, models and research. But the point of the Webinar was to stimulate thinking in a couple areas:

  1. to see that a shift toward Intrinsic Motivation IS possible and robustly supported by rich pedagogies, and
  2. these pedagogies, when used in harmony, actually create synergies that maximise their benefits.

So the purpose of this post is to provide links to resources that people can pursue to learn more about each of the pedagogies.  As the graphic below suggests, there are LOTS more than 5 great pedagogies and many more than are shown here.  My goal was to choose a reasonable number and play with how they can be integrated.  You can access a recording of the Webinar if you are interested.

pedagogies

Self Determination Theory – Intrinsic Motivation

Positive Psychology – Personal Meaning, Flow & Grit

Web sites & Resources

Books

Understanding by Design™ – Deep Learning

Using backward design, does your school have a continuum of rich performance tasks that validate the vision and prompt interdisciplinary demonstrations of students’ understandings that require their transfer to new contexts?

Web sites & Resources

Books

Cultures of Thinking – Thinking Routines

Web sites & Resources

Books

SOLE – Self-Organised Learning Environments

Websites & Resources

Videos

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Horizon International Bilingual School – Vietnam

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I’m really looking forward to a long-term relationship with the Horizon International Bilingual School in Vietnam.  On Monday, 1 August we will work together withe staff from both the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh campuses.

This Web page will provide links to some of the activities and resources we will be using.

Morning Session

Activity #1 – What does great learning feel like?

Lunch Break

Activity #2 – Demonstration – Curriculum Design and Mapping in Edumate

  • I will move through how the Curriculum Design Module works to support what matters most to HIBS
  • Then relate this to the Learning Alignment System and review Scope & Sequence and Curriculum Portet

Refreshment Break

Activity #3 – Presentation and Review Teams

Activity #4 – an Overview of Edumate

  • Quick Tour:
    • Dashboard & Portal
    • Attendance and Learning Observations
    • Learning Tasks and Markbook
    • Academic Reports
    • Student and Parent Portals
  • “Closing the Loop” for continuous Improvement
  • Staying focused on the journey
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DigiCon16

It’s that time of year again so off to Swinburne Uni in Hawthorn for DLTV’s DigiCon.  I’ll be doing just one short session on Next Era Ed and particularly, stepping attendees through an inventory of what they are already doing well and what they might look more closely at. I’ll use a new worksheet:

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School Library Conference WA

SLCWA-In_your_Dreams

Links for the sessions:

 

I’m excited to be participating in the The School Library Conference (SLC) on 3-4 June at Wesley College in South Perth.  The conference is presented by the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA) Libraries and the Western Australian School Library Association (WASLA).

Because of my long association and friendships with teacher librarians in Western Australia – and their great conference theme — I’m using this as an opportunity to reflect on my dreams as a young educator and the decades-long journey into the current reality.  As I described the keynote for the programme:

What Happens to a Dream Achieved?

In a time of change and turmoil, poet Langston Hughes asked his provocative question, “What happens to a dream deferred?” As we continue to tick along into the 21st Century surrounded by more gadgets, richer media and smarter algorithms, we might want to ask, “What happens to a dream achieved?” Unravelling both questions allows Tom March to explore the recent past and current situation with the goal of daring to dream a desirable future. Inspired by the conference theme and his many years in education meeting with teacher librarians in Perth, Tom uses this keynote as an opportunity to venture into the world of “In Your Dreams.” Weaving together an illustrated story of personal anecdotes and professional aspirations, Tom hopes to both inspire and challenge his fellow curriculum leaders currently working in WA school libraries. The presentation uses the personal to appeal to the universal. It blends a young educator’s goals and the professional journey that has followed through reflective story telling. Tom ventures into the worlds of great literature and literature review; former students and future world leaders; old models and new paradigms – all with the intent of engaging the audience in a significant shared experience that leaves us all with a dream in all our hearts and a direction in our steps.

I will also lead concurrent session offered twice in the day:

Unpacking your next era of education
All schools have made progress with student access to rich media, one-to-one devices and smart software. Many have jumped in with both feet and a handful of initiatives. Does the right hand know where the left foot is going? In other words, when left to their own devices, are students flourishing like never before or is technology more disruptor than accelerator of learning? Perhaps something was missed when the digital initiatives were designed? This session unpacks Tom’s Next Era Ed model and empowers teacher librarians to contribute to their school’s wisely-guided systemic change.

During the sessions I will share some of the latest features in Hobsons’ constantly-developing curriculum Design and Delivery platform.

This will be a great couple of days so if you are in the Perth area, I encourage you to come along.

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Free Workshops – Looking for Your Interests

I’m using this poll to gather input on a series of free workshops to be held in the eastern states of Australia. I will also create videos / webinars to share online for the 3 most popular, so vote away!
Also, use the comments link to share other topics you’re interested in.

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Viva La Revolution – Using Tests to Break Education Paradigms

Tom's ETS article, April/May 2016I’ve enjoyed writing for Education Technology Solutions and they have decided to make my latest article their cover story for the April / May 2016 issue.  How great – thanks!

As the “Director of Innovation” at Hobsons Edumate, combined with the Australian Prime Minister’s recent focus on Innovation, I thought it worth reflecting on why we haven’t seen any real innovation in the our K-12 classrooms.  If this piques your curiosity (or throws its intended gauntlet), please have a read and add your comments below.

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My Memory Lane for Techies

memory_lane2

Why this post?

ICTENSWlogo200x100In my new role as Director of Innovation K12 at Hobsons APAC, I don’t get to keynote as much as I used to.  This is kind of a nice thing because it means that every time I do it’s a chance to reflect.  On Sunday, I’m pleased to present at the ICTE NSW conference held at ACU in North Sydney.  This prompted me to recall that the first time I presented in Australia was as the NSW Computers in Education Group in Bathurst.  This was only months after emigrating and it was lots of fun to share what we’d been doing at San Diego State with WebQuests, Blue Web’n and Filamentality as well as meet some people who have become longtime friends and colleagues in the profession.

There is a method to this madness of hyperlinking a slew of the droppings I’ve left along the Web these past couple decades.  You’ll have to attend the talk or chat with me later to find out what it is!

So here’s a trip down memory lane from Tom’s start in Australia to where we are now.

A Chronology

The 1990s – early excitement and sharing

2000s – Making Models to leverage learning

2010s – the Dark Side or our Bright Future?

 

 

Image attributes: Memory Lane from Flickr user Paul Yoakum and HTML from Wikimedia Commons User Eric Dimas
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