Archive for the “What If?” Category

This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

What If? | The Upshot

Creating a new story requires rethinking, but more importantly, the willingness to rethink, dream, and look for new possibilities.  Creating a new story requires that the author or authors of that new story cast aside the destructive Yah But mentality, and ask "What If?"

Education has always sought to change the story of the learners that have walked through the doors of schools.  That’s what schools have always done, opened doors when none were open. It’s the fundamental essence of education-to change the pathway of a person’s life.

But to continue with that mission, education itself needs to experience its own fundamental purpose, and develop a new path, a more relevant, open, responsive, and creative path, a new map for what we do and for those we serve. 

We need to create a new story.

And education itself has to compose that story, and not allow others to compose it for them.

It is not a time to be timid, it is not a time to withdraw, and it’s not a time to hide behind what we have always done.  It is a time to be bold, to make big plans, and tell our own story.  It is a time for reframing our thinking, and that begins with two simple words,

What If…

Over time, and with much hard work, we can turn What If to What Is

That can be our new story.

 

 

Posted via email from David Jakes

 

 

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This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

 What If? | The Lesson

What if the lesson wasn’t the lesson?

When I taught biology, part of the curriculum was to teach kids about cell division, a process known as mitosis. 

Do you remember the process of mitosis?  That’s an important question.  If you don’t why not?  If you do, why?

To teach kids mitosis, I would lecture for two class periods, they’d memorize the steps, and take a multiple choice test.  They’d do well, and then they would forget about mitosis

What if there was a different way for students to learn mitosis?

Looking back, I’d do this, as I had eight internet capable computers in my classroom.

I’d give them the authentic scenario of cancer.   Normally, when cells divide, they stop.  When things go wrong, they keep dividing.  Sometime this contributes to cancer.  Understanding cell division is part of understanding cancer.

Then I’d give them a simple but powerful question.  How does a cell go from one to two?  What’s the plan?

Then I would give them access to visual media.

Images from Google.

From Flickr

From Youtube.

Animations.

Simulations.

And then I ask them to turn off all the sound. Visual interpretation only.  Raw materials for understanding, choose what you want.  Play the understanding as much as you want.  Rewind.  Play again.  Develop your answer.  Collaboratively.  And develop media to explain your solution.  Share that, and have a more expansive group of learners evaluate and offer course corrections if necessary. 

I’d do a similar thing if I was a history teacher helping students understand the importance of the assassination of President John F Kennedy

I’d show them how to locate Creative Commons imagery in Flickr.

I’d show them how to use Google Streetview to take a trip to Dealey Plaza.

I’d show them how they could see Dealey Plaza in real time.

I’d ask them to investigate actual footage of the event on YouTube, first with Walter Chronkite, and then with Abraham Zapruder.

Then I would show them how to merge their ideas, and the content online to assemble their understanding in a wiki platform.

Then I’d show them how to build content in Google Earth, so when they  needed to demonstrate understanding that had a geographical context, they could do it there.

What if education could a new story of learning by asking great questions, providing access to multiple types of learning resources, and expecting students to be an active participant in their learning?

The other option is to do what we’ve always done.

How well is that working for us?

 

Posted via email from David Jakes

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This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

 What If:  The Classroom

Is the notion of a classroom an absolute in education?  What if the classroom wasn’t the classroom?

At least as we think of it today…

Are there new ways of addressing where students learn?  Is that all we can offer students? (Picture of typical classroom).

With all the new technologies at our disposal, are there new what if ways of transitioning this space to something more expansive and more contemporary?

What if we rethought classrooms, and schools, as learning spaces, where technology was not integrated but just part of the fabric of what learning is?

What if learning extended beyond the physical brick and mortar experiences?  (Enter:  picture of kids using computers on wireless bus).

For example, what if buses were wireless, and gave kids access to classes?

What if classes were developed for buses?

What if schools looked toward locations other than school to understand how learning occurred?

What if schools recognized the value of third places as valid locations of learning?

And what if we rethought our learning spaces, what if they were colorful, resource rich, filled with adult mentors, and truly enabled students to explore their passions, like YouMedia in Chicago, Illinois.

What if digital spaces took their rightful place alongside our traditional physical spaces as learning locations?

What if digital spaces where not just for posting assignments, calendar events, and documents but were for connecting learners?

What if digital spaces were more than just places for kids who were absent from class to get make up work?

What if digital spaces helped tell a new learning story, what if these spaces helped students tell their story, what if these spaces took advantages of the affordances of social media to shift a classroom to a learning space?

And what would happen if learning opportunities afforded by digital spaces were open for enrollment across the globe, such as this MOOC course, which represents a Massive Open Online Course?

What if you had choice of what resources you wanted to learn with, with people who had the same interests as you, and you could learn anytime, and finish the course with new understandings but with also a new network of people to continue to learn with?

What would happen, and what would learning look like, if 160 thousand people signed up for a course, with content available in 40 languages?

What if mainstream K-12 education fails to realize the potential of this type of learning?

They’ll be replaced.

Here is the online high school from George Washington University.

Here is the online high school from Stanford University.

What if thinking can help schools see the opportunities for developing new venues for learning, and make learning that is independent of time space and place a reality?

How would you begin developing that story?

 

Posted via email from David Jakes

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This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

 What If? Telling your Story…

This presentation is about changing the story…and that can begin with telling stories.

Today’s technology connects us with the capability to take the stories of our lives and tell them with a variety of different media to make the story come alive, in a brand new way…

We can also use technology to tell those stories to people we have never met, nor will probably ever meet, at least face to face.

What if schools focused on helping students tell stories, and in new ways?

What story does this tell?  (picture: scantron form)

And what story does this tell, when the storytelling is between two people, and one is responsible for evaluating the story?  Is that all we can offer?  (picture: graded essay)

Instead of grading someone’s story, how will you help students write themselves into existence?

There are numerous ways today, afforded by easily accessible technologies.

What if teachers led the way, with telling their own stories, using the technologies of 2011?

Time gets in the way, doesn’t it?  Interest does too.  Grading, parent phone calls, planning lessons all are potential yah buts.  The pressures of standardized curriculum and assessment contribute as well.  There’s only so much time in the day, right, and they can learn all of this on their own anyway.  After all, their digital natives…

For students, creating stories beyond Facebook means video.

Video is the language of their age.

Being literate today means being able to compose with multiple media.

In my opinion, if you can’t craft a video message, put your words into imagery, and tell your story, you’re on the outside looking in.

And I’m not talking Dylan’s Couch Episode 8 either, where we have a student talking about their history project, although the video has almost 1.4 million views.  Look at the potential audience your students have!

I’m talking about serious messages, such as True America, where a Hispanic student explores immigration from Mexico, with the potential of explaining her views to her peers around the world, to help in providing a different context for understanding the complex country known as America.

Here is what her teacher wrote about the potential for telling a new story.  It’s worth reading.

“Here is a challenge to the young people of our country and those on the other side of the world–to go through the wall that separates the ambassadors and heads of state–to reach into the hearts and minds of peers in foreign lands with the truth as we live it, as we can best convey it–partly in image, partly in sound, but always in our own voice?” (Matt Formato)

So, what if we could help them create new stories, their own personal anthems?

And what if we could help them create a competitive voice, one that could emerge from the massive amounts of content uploaded each day…and be heard.

What if we helped our students tell their stories?

Would that help to change our story?


 

Posted via email from David Jakes

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This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

What If? Swipe!

My second “ What if story”  is entitled Swipe, which is an intentional nod towards the motion of a finger across the surface of a tablet, such as an iPad.

When I was a kid, my mother used to read Digger Dan to me when I was about 4.  I couldn’t get enough Digger Dan.  Even when I look at book cover now, I can still recall that steam shovel…

This is a colleague’s   two year old using an iPad to listen to his father read him Toy Story.   He uses his finger to swipe to the next page…at 2 years old.

How has your reading changed over the last three years?  Do you still read paper?  Or has your reading shifted to a digital platform, where you turn digital pages with a swipe of your finger?

What is the new story of reading, and how much of it are we bringing to our students?  And yes, we have that responsibility.

What if we could access what we wanted to read via Project Gutenberg, and then access that content on a smartphone using a QR code?

What if I could change the dimensions of what we read by using Readability?

What if I could digitally store things I wanted to read in my own personal digital library on Diigo?

What if I could mark things I wanted  to read later with Instapaper?

And what if I read not only by myself, but with others with Book Glutton?

What if I read with a geographical content in Google Earth, with Google Lit Trips?

What if I could collect, or aggregate, different authors into one central location by using Google Reader?  What if the content flowed to me, what if that content followed me?

What if I could distill important ideas from what I read, and organize and tag that information into my Evernote account?

What if I could sync that information to my online Evernote account, and make it available in the cloud?

And what if I had mobile access to that information from a mobile Evernote account?  What if the information I read and distilled was available to me anywhere?

What if I took that information and repurposed it into a Posterous blog post?

What if I then distributed that post from Posterous to any number of individuals via social media?

What if I published what I wrote in a book using LuLu?

What if I created my own augmented reality book with Zooburst?

And what if I really used technology to accomplish something absolutely amazing…using technology to sign bedtime stories to deaf children?

Take a Playstation Portable and scan the QR code in the upper left…

And a video appears with a woman who signs the book to the child…

What if we could do all of this?  Well, we can. 

Right now. 

It’s all available.

Yet schools languish in a world entitled “What We’ve Always Done…”

What if educators taught students to leverage these tools?  How would that change how they view technology?  How would that change how they use technology, and how they learn with technology?

What would that story tell?

Most importantly, what if education was interested in this?

How would our story change?

 

 

Posted via email from David Jakes

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This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

What If?  The Hallway

You’ve probably realized by now that the most important focus of this presentation is to help change or reframe how you approach ideas, and how those ideas can be nurtured, improved, and amplified to create a new story.

To help unlock your thinking on how you approach new ideas, I’d like to present to you my first “What If” vignette:  The Hallway.

All hallways help people get from point A to Point B. 

Hallways are for storage of coats and books, and sometimes finishing up that homework before school.

But what if we created a new story for the hallway with “What If” thinking?

What if a hallway had a Twitter account?

What if a hallway had a Facebook account?

And what if you could check into your hallway on Foursquare?  What if you could become the mayor of your hallway?

Right now, are you intrigued by these ideas, or are you thinking “Yah But?”  Be honest with yourself.  What was your initial response to these three ideas centered on social media and hallways?

Maybe you’re wondering:  Why would you?   I’m wondering why you wouldn’t…

Yah But, who would post to the Twitter account?  Yah But, who would manage the Facebook profile?

I don’t have an answer, but aren’t those different and interesting questions to ask?

Are they solvable?

And what if we could create a social aspect to our hallways beyond the 5 minute analog Facebook passing period?  Could that serve a purpose?  Could that connect kids in a different way to their classmates?  Their school?

What if hallways had a blog site?

And what if students could be in hallways without a pass?  What if that was part of the school culture and students were entrusted with that responsibility, that opportunity?

What if the hallways were writeable?  What if a dry erase marker was standard issue to all students?

What if the hallways were more than cream-colored cinderblock?  What if school hallways were colorful and vibrant?  What if the culture of the school was enhanced by quotations from the school community, and contributed to a transparency of beliefs?

And what if stairwells did the same?  What if they were more than vertical egress routes?  And look at the image on the right-hallway as beacon, lit up at night, to show all who look, here is what we are and what we believe in.

Imagine QR codes on the walls, connecting kids to ideas and resources, while using their own devices…

Imagine also augmented reality hotspots in hallways that provided students with an additional information reality.  What if AR hotspots were part of a hallway learning game?

Or, you could have just have hallways.  You could be satisfied with just hallways.

The next time you walk down a school corridor or hallway, ask “What If?”

Begin developing that new story.  Challenge yourself to rethink, and to be open to possibilities and potential…

 

Posted via email from David Jakes

Comments No Comments »

This post is taken from my K12 Online Conference presentation, “What If the Story Changed?”  Access the presentation here.

What If?  The Hallway

You’ve probably realized by now that the most important focus of this presentation is to help change or reframe how you approach ideas, and how those ideas can be nurtured, improved, and amplified to create a new story.

To help unlock your thinking on how you approach new ideas, I’d like to present to you my first “What If” vignette:  The Hallway.

All hallways help people get from point A to Point B. 

Hallways are for storage of coats and books, and sometimes finishing up that homework before school.

But what if we created a new story for the hallway with “What If” thinking?

What if a hallway had a Twitter account?

What if a hallway had a Facebook account?

And what if you could check into your hallway on Foursquare?  What if you could become the mayor of your hallway?

Right now, are you intrigued by these ideas, or are you thinking “Yah But?”  Be honest with yourself.  What was your initial response to these three ideas centered on social media and hallways?

Maybe you’re wondering:  Why would you?   I’m wondering why you wouldn’t…

Yah But, who would post to the Twitter account?  Yah But, who would manage the Facebook profile?

I don’t have an answer, but aren’t those different and interesting questions to ask?

Are they solvable?

And what if we could create a social aspect to our hallways beyond the 5 minute analog Facebook passing period?  Could that serve a purpose?  Could that connect kids in a different way to their classmates?  Their school?

What if hallways had a blog site?

And what if students could be in hallways without a pass?  What if that was part of the school culture and students were entrusted with that responsibility, that opportunity?

What if the hallways were writeable?  What if a dry erase marker was standard issue to all students?

What if the hallways were more than cream-colored cinderblock?  What if school hallways were colorful and vibrant?  What if the culture of the school was enhanced by quotations from the school community, and contributed to a transparency of beliefs?

And what if stairwells did the same?  What if they were more than vertical egress routes?  And look at the image on the right-hallway as beacon, lit up at night, to show all who look, here is what we are and what we believe in.

Imagine QR codes on the walls, connecting kids to ideas and resources, while using their own devices…

Imagine also augmented reality hotspots in hallways that provided students with an additional information reality.  What if AR hotspots were part of a hallway learning game?

Or, you could have just have hallways.  You could be satisfied with just hallways.

The next time you walk down a school corridor or hallway, ask “What If?”

Begin developing that new story.  Challenge yourself to rethink, and to be open to possibilities and potential…

 

Posted via email from David Jakes

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