A Big Change for Tom

What a glorious new beginning!

Back in 2014 I wrote a similar post at a time of transition. Today opens a new chapter in the unfolding story of how a high school English teacher from California morphs into a Web-based educator and contributor to the next era of education.  To re-cap, earlier parts of the journey included a fellowship at San Diego State University where we developed the WebQuest model, then a move to Australia and time as a Web developer and Ed Tech consultant with plenty of writing, software design and keynoting…  until I “got my first real job” since teaching when I joined Hobsons in 2014.  Although I explored positions in school leadership and returning to consulting, it was clear that the exact job didn’t matter so long as I was:

  • using all my skills
  • working on a great team
  • making a difference in education

Things clicked when I met the leadership team at Hobsons Edumate:

From Edumate …

For the past 2 + years I’ve really loved working with the great team at Hobsons’ Edumate.  As much as I’ve enjoyed this shift from the sometimes lonely life of an independent consultant, that fact that the Edumate suite also includes modules for attendance, enrolment, finance, and calendaring means that my passion for improving teaching and learning must be balanced with the overall needs of Edumate’s clients. I got and fully supported this. Those times I was able to harness the development team to work on the curriculum aspects of the software, I felt as though I was contributing – yet while other development needs rightly took precedence, I sometimes felt I wasn’t having the impact I hoped for. Recently the name “Literatu” began popping up with both current and prospective schools, so we decided to meet up…

To Literatu!

What I saw so impressed me that my curiosity was piqued and before long we’d kicked around ideas and found that my obsession with richer teaching and learning matched nicely with the powerful analytical insights provided within a very slick and user-friendly platform.  However, more than the software, I was very impressed with the Literatu leadership – Mark Stanley and Lidija Loridon. They definitely understand assessment, analytics, user interface and what schools need to turn data into insights.  Because this is only the first day on the job, of course there is a lot I don’t know (yet look forward to learning — which is a big part of the excitement!).  In the coming months (and years) I will share more about the power of this technology to humanise teaching and learning as I dig into it and we evolve it.  In particular I am (delightfully) tasked with helping schools and their teachers get early wins analysing their data and then build a plan where they nurture a culture of continuous improvement informed by their own unique goals and processes coupled with powerful data analytics. Look for more posts, Webinars and professional learning and consulting to support this journey into the future.  

Posted in Big Mother, Featured, NextEraEd, Tom's Work, Updates | Tagged | Leave a comment

Latest “Look to Learns”

One of the more popular things I do is post “Look to Learn” activities. These are a combination of Thinking Routines with rich media.  The main idea of Thinking Routines is:

… it’s not enough for students to learn “critical thinking strategies,” but research from the Visible Thinking group at Harvard’s Project Zero has found that students also need to develop the disposition to engage in such a process. One approach is to promote a culture of questioning and thinking in the daily life of the classroom.

What I like to do is apply these great Thinking Routines to rich media stimulus.  I do this using a Tumblr Web site.  Below is a screengrab of the latest posts.  Enjoy! And let me know how students like them!

L2L_April-May2017

Posted in Look to Learn, See-Think-Wonder, Tom's Work | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General, Tom's Work | Tagged , | Comments Off on Thesis Builder / ElectraGuide’s New Home

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

Posted in Keynote, Tom's Work, Tom's Writings | Tagged | Comments Off on Opening Presentation – Differentiation Conference

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…

Posted in Education, NextEraEd, Tom's Writings | Tagged | Comments Off on New Article: “Before We Pull the Big Lever”

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

Posted in Look to Learn, NextEraEd, Psychology, See-Think-Wonder, Tom's Work, UbD, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Horizon International Bilingual School – Vietnam

logo

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
Posted in Tom's Work, workshop | Comments Off on Horizon International Bilingual School – Vietnam

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:

Posted in Conferences, NextEraEd, Tom's Work | Tagged | Comments Off on DigiCon16

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.

Posted in Conferences, Keynote, NextEraEd, Tom's Work, workshop | Comments Off on School Library Conference WA

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.

Posted in Polls, Professional Learning, Tom's Work, workshop | Tagged | 2 Comments