#blc13 in 3’s: Twitter, Paper 53 and “How Might We?”

So many deeply intriguing ideas appeared during Alan November’s fabulous Building Learning Communities Conference (that I recommend as one of the highest quality learning experiences out there) held in Boston.

I have struggled (in the most enjoyable way) to create sense and meaning for myself since the conference back in July. Alas. Although I have had glimmers and several “ah-ha” moments, I am still trying to put all the pieces together. And there were a lot of shiny pieces!
Before my summer brain closes for the season, I wanted to lay some of these out.

I. Twitter: The longer I use Twitter the more I appreciate its plasticity and ability to serve a wide variety of functions.

1. Twitter as a “Note-Taking” Tool for a Class. Of course. It seems so obvious when someone says it. @Braddo’s session on how he has taken Twitter in the classroom to a whole new level made me want to scream loudly: Hey world you have to see this!!
Storify of @Braddo’s session is here.

2. Twitter at the Primary level. 

Kathy Cassidy’s incredible story of how Twitter is amplifying learning for her primary students was breath-taking. When primary kids tell you they are learning using Twitter, what can you really say? Just watch the 1 minute video below. The kids say it all. Her slide deck from her presentation Literacy Never the Same Again is here.

3. Twitter with Storify to take notes. I am a poor listener and struggle to sit still for long periods (ok even short periods). Twitter allows me to focus and listen in a way I never could. I love Tweeting as my brains sparks ups!  Each Tweets captures a spark and solidifies it. Even better is using  Storify to knit my Tweets together.  A match made in Heaven!

II. Paper 53. I am not a fan of “this is the best app!!” hype. Why did this make me sit up and take notice? Well check out @braddo’s sketches for one. But the use of this app really solidified several ideas for me:

1. Learners need to create value (for themselves) in their work and need opportunities to create meaning of their learning.

2. There are many valuable ways to represent meaning.

3. Sketching is a great way to prototype and ideate. It allows for divergent thinking, opens new avenues for conversation and allows us to access ideas we don’t yet have the words for.

(I had some sketches for this post…but ran out of time to finish…I will update when done!!)

III. How Might We? Words matter. This was never more clear than listening to the intense and brilliant Tom Barrett of No Tosh say “we need to create a lexicon of learning for our students”. If we are going to put the story of learning into the hands of each student, students need the language to do so. We need strategies to help students develop this language. A phrase that has become a favorite tool since returning from #blc13 is the “How might we” stem. A few #blc13 How might we’s:

1. How might we design a system that protects curiosity in our children? (just as ferociously as we teachers protect our test keys. Sorry had to say it).

2. How might we design opportunities fo children to own the learning (this means own the assessment too).

3. How might we address the difference between how our students are learning and how they are being educated?


Thanks and gratitude to #blc13 peeps, Robin Montgromery (@RGMontgomery), Amy Burvall (@amyburvall), Janet Schwartz (@schwartz_janet) Stacey Roshan (@buddyxo), Chris Long (@clonghb), Nick Davis (@SlapShot99) for sharing the learning journey with me!! It was a pleasure to learn with you all.