Friday, September 4, 2015

Five Things I Learned In The Colablab

During the first eight days of school, I intentionally went to the collablab each day to connect with one of the DTC’s.  Below is a summary of all of the things I have learned from my meetings:

1.    Does it increase student learning?
I asked Mark Heintz to help me “jazz” up a worksheet that I was making.  We talked about formatting, layout and font color.  Then after a few minutes, Mark asked if the new images would increase student learning.  I answered by saying “probably not.”  Mark then asked, why I was worried about spending so much more time designing something that won’t increase student learning. What I took away from that is a lesson I had learned years ago.  The lesson was this: Don’t spend too much time working outside your strength zone.  My strengths are far from anything artistic, and because I can make a halfway decent looking worksheet that will get the job done, spending time trying to do something to make it look too much better is not time well spent.

2.    Students will internalize information more when they share it with each other.
Kirsten Fletcher and I got on the subject of my son’s dual language school.  She pointed out that if he were really going to understand Spanish, it would require him to use it with his friends.  Friends create a special motivation that teachers and parents can’t necessarily replicate.   I took that same idea into my leadership class.  If students are going to practice being leaders, there needs to be a social incentive.  Rather than just hearing the lessons from me, students need to practice their leadership skills with one another. 

3.    Linking Schoology accounts
Quinn Loch showed me how to link Schoology accounts so when I add an assignment to one class, it automatically adds it to another class. This saved me so much time. 

4.    Storify
If you are looking to take all of your twitter hash tags and move them into one succinct location, use Storify.  This will help tell the story of a class, or a topic or any other idea.  It is quick, easy and effective.  

5.    We work with great people
As the year quickly settles in, don’t forget that we work with some amazing people.  I have found that I can learn so much from my colleagues by just asking questions.  Open up a dialog and see what happens. I did not intend to learn any of the previous four points, but they naturally evolved by stopping by the CollabLab.  Check it out, and see what you can learn.

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