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Greg McVerry

Minutes in Seats is a Bad Measure of Attendance for K12 Online Learning

3 min read

 You may not be following the ECOT, Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow, debacle but the largest charter school in Ohio, a K12 online organization, was ordered to payback $60 million dollars for students who paid that did not attend.

The State of Ohio contends that ECOT did not document student learning in a meaningful way to demonstrate students showed up. They may be right. The Online charter sector is the embarrassment of the Charter world. Performance, using standardized scores, is abysmal. 

ECOT is being ordered to pay $60 million dollars for students who enrolled but never showed up. They should reimburse the state for any fraud, but minutes in seats is a bad measure of attendance for a K12 online school.

I know people want the perfect metaphor for the brick and mortar. Forty-five minute periods for six hours a day....But the point of online learning is new metaphors.

The point of online learing is "not" be in attendance. Flexibility of learning and not fixed placement in front of a screen should be the goal.

Robust Online Learning Takes Rigorous Offline Work

In many online classes people gather to share and talk about what they learn while the bulk of the work gets done in the four corners of the text they were assigned. 

When you equate online learning to minutes logged in you banish students to live behind an adaptive testing platforms where they get spoon fed short passages followed by brief multple choice exams. Their teachers have few touch points.

Struggling Readers Using Digital Tools

Equating attendance with minutes logged in also forces kids into e-reading platforms. We know student comprehension takes a hit when students scroll rather than turn pages. Why dictate how students must read?

Having all the features of ebooks may not serve the students who enroll in K12 online charter schools.

What to Do?

  • Have Three Daily Check Ins-K12 Online students should have 2-3 check ins with their "homeroom" teacher to talk about what they worked on.
  • Use Scrumboards-Someone needs to train the remote workforce of the future. This could be the story of K12 online rather than the abysmal failure and fraud filling the papers. Use agile practices such as scrum boards that list, to-do, doing, and done. Powerful analytics and industry practice.
  • Teach Time Management- Steal another industry practice from the tech world and have students use the Pomodoro Method. Here you work in twenty minute spurts. Assuming k12 students spontaneously develop the self-regulatory practices for online learn is crazy talk.
  • Group Projects-Increase the amount of collaborative projects and supply students with platforms that encourage them to work together. Tracking when students meet provides strong metrics.
  • Group Chats and Discussions- Time doesn't equate learning. Knew AI tools emerge that allow for semantic analysis of student discussions and posted threads. We can use these tools to track knowledge gains.

I believe in K12 online learning. For many parents and home school advocates it could provide an  avenue for choice. I also believe k12 online schools can play an essential role in helping to diversify Silicon Valley.

However some motives and measures keep getting in the way. It is time we do right by the students enrolled in these schools. 

Greg McVerry

Professors Must Learn How to Teach | HuffPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/professors-must-learn-how-to-teach_us_593b66e4e4b0b65670e56a80

At ReVIEW Talent Feedback System we actually begin before the lecture hall. We must teach department chairs how to observe and coach for effective teaching.

Then we focus of the individual areas and strengths of each professor and create a personalized learning plan about teaching.

Greg McVerry

Recognizing Many Networks Loosely Joined at #MozAloha

5 min read

Yesterday I got the chance to catch up with the Participation Team as we continue our development of the Leadership Toolkit.

Everyone is off at all-hands in Hawaii. I joined remotely from Connecticut to hack away at some work. It was great to catch up with Mikko, Verena, and Emma. When it comes to developing resources for open pedagogy on a global scale I can't think of anyone more qualified than this team. We were also joined by Jane who helped us shape our pupose and goals


flickr photo shared by bloomgal under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

We began by discussing the futre of our initiative. As someone joining all-hnads remotely I probably missed some contexts but what I got out of Emma's quick overview the Particatipation Team and the Innovation Team have joined under the moniker of "mobilzers." 

Emma highlighted that the focus will shift more to partners who share Mozilla's vision. Think of Mozilla  more of an alliance rather than a single organization.

That makes sense. Its more webby. I am always brought back to Weinbergers 2002 idea of "small pieces loosely joined." I think many networks loosely joined makes sense for Mozilla moving forward. Especially in terms of our goals of mobilzing new contributors to our projects and activists to our causes.


flickr photo shared by cambodia4kidsorg under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

An Alliance 

I like the idea of thinking about the many parts of our communities as an alliance. Open Science, Firefox, WebVR, Open Journalism, the Hive Network, MDN, Campus Clubs and other Moxzilla groups all have unique missions but we share a common goal. 

Then on the next level of the network there are many other organizations who share these same goals. I persoanlly began contributing to Mozliaa when the National Writing Project (a US non-profit) organized a Hakasaurus hackjam at the National Council Teachers of English (a US professional organzation). 

Protecting the web and ensuring a basic level of web literacy is too crucial a cause for any one organization.


flickr photo shared by Ars Electronica under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Decentralized

We spent much of 2015 and 1016 looking inward as organization. The workflow shifted dramatically and major programs were relaunched. I do fear in the spirit of better and faster a large portion of power was shifted internally and away from the community.

Any networked approach to mobilizing people must remian dectralized moving forward. Yet at the same time we need the systems in place to track our success. This requires an understanding of community building, learning sciences, design based research, social network analysis, and analytics. I am glad tough problems are so much fun.

These can also be draining on the limited resources of MoCo and MoFo. We have to be careful efforts are shared and not simply duplicated. In many ways to reach this vision of greater particiaption Mozilla will need to draw on a diverse set of new contributors working between netowrks. 


flickr photo shared by Marco Arment under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Cross-Pollinators

Emma used the metaphor of a flower to represent the work of our team. In 2015 we were farmers, in 2016 we had the particiatpation buffet, and now in 2017 it looks like the bee will be our metaphor.

This makes sense. A network approach will require cross-pollinators. We need to mobilze and recruit organizations. We need to go back to our communities and bring people along for the ride. I, for an example, am an academic. I need to encourage other schoalrs to contribute while also working with Mozilla to carve out a space for contributors to be recognized for their work.

You maybe a poet or an artist, a designer, a developer, an engineer, or a journalist who share values with Mozilla. Great. Lets empower you within your network so we can create a symbiotic relationship around the web.

What does this Require?

  • Championing Other People
  • Low Barriers of Entry
  • An all of the above platform approach
  • A bunch of other stuff I can't think of. Will you help?

What does this mean for our efforts on the Leadership ToolKit?

  • Hopefully we build somethign that can be used by any networks.

 

  • Networks are the people in them. I do not want to try to build self paced online learning modules. Its bad learning. Instead we are building our modules for live coaching delivery and will help people fork them for synchronous or aynschronous online learning (even self paced online).

 

  • We need to settle on a platform. I don't want to build one more place for Mozilla contributors to have to join. We somehow need a platform that is platform agnostic. For me that is the web. All of our course design should be built on the POSSE model, Publish on Your Own Site, Syndicate Elsehwere. For now this might be Discourse, Twitter, Facebook, or Telgram. We have to let conditions in the nodes decide where learners will share what they make. What we can do is empower the people who use the toolkit to own what they make and control their privacy as they decide where to share it. Personally I believe chat streams enabled with yet to be devloped bots and AI will be the future of distributed learning spaces.

Greg McVerry

Its Not Social Media or Branding: Its Just You

2 min read

EDU106 is a great class. I work with students on recognizing how literacy shapes our lives. In this week's maker party, which is really a drop in design studio time, I had a wonderful discussion with Joe Freer  about personal brand and identiy.

What I want students to realize: It is isn't about social media marketing or branding its really about living and learning socially.

Its a construction of your digital identity. Personas sprinkled over the web as you leave footprints everywhere.

Basically the easiest way to build a following is to contribute back to a community of people. We will get to it later in the semester but I think Ian O'Byrne wrote a great guide to building digital identies..

Ian is a professor at Charleston College and also a digital coach working with people who want to learn to build up an online presence. 

Basically no matter your field the easiest way to get meaningful engagement is by being part of the audience. Learn together. Whether  you are a gardener, musician, or activist go online and find the placdes people connect to learn.

As you learn new things share your struggles and achievements. As you teach others share what you make openly.

The first step as Doug Belshaw notes, is to get your own domain. From here you take the indieweb model of POSSE publishing on your own site, syndicating elsewehre...more likely everywhere. 

A domain of your own is also fundemental to being open, and more as a philosophy than a product. You are not commodifying yourself but joining a community. Live and learn out loud.

 

Greg McVerry

Excited for #HipHopEd Tonight

2 min read

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BKBr_DiD79l/

I am looking forward to lurking on tonight. I learn a lot on this chat as I listen. I am drawn to spaces of literacy scholars where words and meaning are seen first as tools of both agency and oppression. Tonight I will be looking forward to curating inspirational quotes.

Our GearUp work with students of color often revolve around the teaching and learning of digital literacies and pedagogies. We have created digital art, written letters to the next president, examined website credibility and created memes.

It is this last element that has me most interested in today's chat. I use memes as a method to include the basics of HTML. It is a the language of HTML using the discourses of youth. Fun stuff. I encourage everyone tonight to try one.

There is so much talk about the diversity problem in tech. This is not just an industry problem or a pipeline problem. It is a societal problem. We are creating a new era of digital imperialism. The segregation of our digital spaces is often much stronger than the analog world.

There are issues of access. Technology simply does not exist in many our poorest communities. Families are often on shifting data plans and pushing up aganist their limit. Mobile first can not be the only solution. In the suburbs big chains offer free wifi. The same chains like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts post no loitering signs.

There are issues of equity. Based on recent PEW reports students of color have more screen time than their white peers. Yet the quality of the screen and the activity differs greatly. Yet no where are are computers used more for non-creative activity such as testing and remediation than our schools. I have bumped up against this myself when pushing for greater web literacy in schools. Its ths common reframe, "but have you seen there reing scores? I can't spend time on tech."

Newsflash. Tech is how we read and write. It is literacy. No where is this demonstrated more than in places like . Scholars, musicians, activists and artists gather around a cause and use our words to make the world a better place.

So make a meme tonight with an inspirational quote. Then encourage someone else to do the same. Lift the curtain to how tech and code work.

Greg McVerry

Choosing Course Delivery #OpenEd #EdChat #HigherEd #Literacies #Edtechchat

2 min read

Over the last few years I have explored a variety of tools for open course development. Asa refresher I design my online learing space with three elements: a hub with materials, an individual site for each learner, and a class stream.

I am debating how I want to present my hubs. I orginally created a Wordpress site with multiple courses.

Last year I tried building a class in HTML/CSS and Javascript using a bootsptrap framework. I could host all of this in my GitHub repo.

I am not sure which method I prefer: Wordpress or a blank HTML page as a canvas.

Over the summer I got back to Wordpress course design. I was hired by a client to develop a learning managament system. I went with Wordpress and the Sensei plug-in from Woocommerce. We added a paid theme Guru and topped it off with a Discourse with SSO integration. We also added Buddypress and BadgeOS for good measure. 

The platform came out great.

Yet I am still drawn to trying to develop class Hubs in the most basic HTML possible (while getting some design love). I imagine a future where other professors openly share their coursework. Where a new teacher  can fork a repo rather start from scratch.

Still the Wordpress page looks prettier (for now).

I think for this semester I will keep with the dual approach. EDU106 will remain a hub in Wordpress and EDU307 will go through a round of iterative development.

Greg McVerry

Some recent work on teacher preparation and cooperating teachers/supervisors

1 min read

I asked AERA Division K for help lookign for research. We really cannot dismiss the social when discussin locating on the web. Its a go to:

 

Haigh, M., & Ell, F. (2014). Consensus and dissensus in mentor teachers' judgments of readiness to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 40, 10-21.

Haigh, M., Ell, F., & Mackisack, V. (2013). Judging teacher candidates' readiness to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 34, 1-11

Borko, H., & Mayfield, V. (1995). The roles of the cooperating teacher and university supervisor in learning to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(5), 501-518.

Perry, R. K. (2016). Influences of co-teaching in student teaching on pre-service teachers' teacher efficacy (Doctoral dissertation, UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC).

Some good starting points would be Alex Cuenca's book on supervision, and recent work done by Diane Yendol-Hoppey, Jenn Jacobs and Rebecca Burns of a meta-analysis of student teaching supervision research. 

Clarke, A., Triggs, V., & Nielsen, W. (2013). Cooperating Teacher Participation in Teacher Education: A Review of the Literature. Review of Educational Research, 84 (2), 163-202. doi:10.3102/0034654313499618

Greg McVerry

Racialization in 10+ Tweets with @whimsylibrarian @patriciae1 and @Ebonyteach

3 min read

So the notification went off.  I pulled down the shade to take a look.

I looked at the previous Tweet and my interest grew. 

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and Patricia Encisco were discussing something cool. I had to know.  

When @ebonyteach drops knowledge on Twitter the only thing you can do is listen. If you follow one scholar this year on Twitter you should make a column just for @ebonyteach.

From conversations on the latest graphic novel to introspective tweetstorms on the power of race and academia Ebony has a voice that rings true.

So I went and traced the conversation back as far as I could. I had to take a screenshot because of the embedded quote that kicked it all off. 

In our class Power of Prose class I get the privilege of listening and learning from my students.

After our discussion on the Miami Police Department's boycott of Beyonce the students sparked a frank conversation on race.

Biracial students who express feelings of being a nowhere man from a nowhere land. Students laughing off a mix of anger and disappointment recalling how their parents often deal with race and prejudice. Others expressed the importance of understanding all perspectives. Real conversations.

I am thankful when I get to listen to conversations on Twitter or with my students. 

Recently as part of Letters 2 the Next President campaign. Students explained what civic engagement of youth meant to them. We invite you to listen.

The power of the Web allows me to connect the young schoalrs I work with to models in the field like @whimsylibrarian, @patriciae1, and @Ebonyteach.

Greg McVerry

@slamteacher @mcjsa @KrisGiere @Bali_Maha @edtechinsight Or do we need to cause some disruption and be empathetic to struggle?

My students demand rubricized and structured online learning modules. They want step by step walk-throughs of every task.

Is it more empathetic to build the learning space that gaurantees success or do we just provide support when students fall in the inevitable pits of non-linear learning?

Greg McVerry

Planning the YouthZone for Feminist(Inter)vention Conference on Gender and Technology

3 min read


flickr photo shared by hackNY under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

The Good Fight

Fighting for diversity at Southern Connecticut State Univisity looks a little different than it does at other universities in New Haven.

While debating the use of words like "headmaster" or discussing the balance between free speech, safe spaces, and halloween costumes matters our diversity efforts focus more on the lived experience of those who have long felt the shackles of oppression. 

Our fight for diversity means ensuring the class schedule coincides with city bus routes. Our challenges lie in ensuring a smooth pathway from community colleges to four year insitutions. It means providing greater online classes and child care for single moms with two jobs.

We fight for diversity by working tirelessly with Gear Up students who also want to become first generation college students.

 I do not want to undercut the efforts of other universities nor their student bodies. Its just the fight for diversity looks different at schools of access rather than those of affluence.

I am a firm believer that words do matter. Every student should feel safe. Yet to truly overcome the issues around diversity, wealth, and society we must first focus on educational and economic stability.

Diversity and Technology

For those who follow the tech scene you know that we have a diversity problem. Yet this cannot be solved in Silicon Valley. It must be solved at places like Southern who work closely with New Haven Public Schools. It must be solved by Open Source projects such as Mozilla's efforts to .

It can not be solved in your board room or with the right hire. Equity comes from opportunity. Opportunity comes from education and economic stability.

Thus I am proud to serve on the committee for the 22nd annual Women's Studies Conference: (ter)vention: Women, Community and Technology. I am charged with creating the YouthZone.

Using lessons I borrow from the YouthZone I want to create a space that uses production based learning to empower young women through agency. Together we want to see how young women from Connecticut can change the world.

My original design sketch

GitHub Repo

I have created a github repo for anyone that would like to follow along with our progress. I will probably also mae a gDrive folder with the latest files so those who can't navigate the intracacies of GitHub are not excluded.

I will need the most help with the hackathon. I am a non-technical volunteer for many edtech projects. I can markup pages but I have never really coded. Please feel free to jump in.

Have an idea or question? File an issue. Want to get involved file a pull request or reach out to me on Twitter. I need your help.

The Closing Pitch

We are 100% a self-supported conference. We try to offset fees by finding local donations. If you would like to support our efforts feel free to reach out via email. We need swag, money, and volunteers. Any level of involvement will be greatly appreciated.