Create a Stage to Feature Focus, Persistence, and Achievement
Changing Classroom CultureAs mentioned in many educational circles (and previous Shupester post) providing achievement badges is very meaningful and helpful in a personalized learning classroom. Some say the first badges were scrawled into cave walls by brave hunters millennia ago. Ace fighter pilots, Boy Scout and Girl Scout sashes, wrestler belts and olympic medallions; we have long celebrated achievement and excellence in human history with badges.
Digital badges have become a thing in online games and in many learning systems as a result. Unfortunately, digital badges are only visible when logged into that particular learning system and often require you to navigate to each individual's profile rather than having a learning community. For this reason, this initiative is taking a digital badging back into the physical world.
Developing A Healthy Self-Image
Here is the story of one STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activity for creating stronger students.
Early in my teaching career, I heard students say things such as:
- I am not good at (subject area).
- I cannot do (subject).
- This makes no sense to me.
- I am not a (subject) person.
The students had reached a self-image wall: Read More...
Their self-image had gone from Let's Try! –> to –> I can't!
They couldn’t come up with anything significant.
“What is the one thing that makes our school system different from every other school in the world?”
Maybe it was just the fact that I was born in Melbourne Hospital, the son of a space engineer who had begun working on the SpaceCoast in the early 1950’s. The first thing that leaps to my mind was that WE WERE THE SPACECOAST! And I got to stay up late to see Neil Armstrong on the moon.
Maybe as a nation we have had so many things that our media tells us we should be ashamed of, that we have forgotten what we should be proud of.
Maybe our entertainment / virtual reality movies, games, tv shows have become so good that we have lost a sense of being amazed when solid rocket boosters hurl living beings several hundred miles above the earth.
Our sense of adventure in space was seared by the last two shuttle accidents.
The many benefits of Space Exploration and the inventions of space related-technologies (velcro, metal alloys used in sporting events, insulating blankets, etc.) have virtual no popular association with the Space Program.
Our culture’s heros have changed. We no longer honor our astronauts as explorers and hero’s, we only see them in the news when they are part of a scandalous love triangle.
I don’t really know what it is... or maybe it is all of those reasons and more. All I know is that the students never identified the brand of their school with the location of being on the SpaceCoast. And now we are down to a very uncertain future as the SpaceCoast. Two more launches of the Space Shuttle are scheduled and there is no manned launch program in the plans. In fact, the once proud US of A is going to rent seats on a Russian space craft whenever have a need to get to the Space Station or the Hubble.
What seemed like a futuristic, high tech name for a blog has become a historical reference of antiquity. Maybe I need to reexamine my brand...
Ed Tech Thoughts from the Spacecoast
“For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.”Shaul, Letter to the Romans
So I set down to come up with three words that describe what I do, who I am. I decided to go with Amplifier, Truth Seeker, Visionist. I am not even sure that Visionist is a word, but I don’t really think of my self as a visionary, and visionist was the closest I could come to describe myself as one who watches trends and changes and looks for solutions beyond the current reality. Truth Seeker, betrays the cynical, scientific mind while honoring the deeply spiritual interests I carry. And Amplifier, well amplifier describes that part of my career and personal path that I get great satisfaction from.
I hope to help others enrich, improve, and experience greater results as they learn. And this is what an amplifier does, it takes a small thing and makes it bigger and hopefully better. A amplifier is faithful to produce that which it is amplifying, with the nuances of individual components of the original truth receiving equal attention to detail. A good amplifier is very efficient and productive with little wasted energy, virtually no distortion and faithfully reproducing all that was already present in what is being amplified. Amplification, properly used, can be tailored to the audience’s needs- it doesn’t have to be obnoxiously loud, and it can be adjusted to the context of the room or environment, so that all the characteristics of the subject can be appreciated.
I hope to help others enrich, improve, and experience greater results as they learn. And this is what an amplifier does, it takes a small thing and makes it bigger and hopefully better.
I am a pretty ‘local’ guy in many respects. Although I love traveling, I live within several miles of where I was born. In spite of job offers, I am teaching (and doing the Tech Director thing) in the same room that I started my teaching career in 27 years ago. Although I never expected to be living where I do, I still live in the first house my wife and I bought almost 25 years ago.
As close as my birthday is to Thanksgiving, it is even more natural to be in the thankful heart mode on December 5th. I was both surprised and humbled by the many happy birthdays from friends and colleagues, more than I ever remember receiving.
There were the regular close friends and family, members of my spiritual family... but then there were many, many that I had not expected. That steely-cold, impersonal, binary world of technology had done it again. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Plaxo, iPhones, etc. have not only made my life’s events more accessible, but made it easy to acknowledge from afar – instantly!
So rather than isolating, technology bridged large gaps between years (junior high friends, college roommates), generations (students, former students), intellects and skills (a wide range of education, social position and talents) – broadening my world and the richness of my social experience. I was simply shocked by the variety of people that took time to send me birthday wishes. Once again, technology has amplified my life experience.