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Learn Zillion: Learning without limits

What it is:  Today I learned about a resource called Learn Zillion in a Skype conversation with Sam Schillace, creator of Google Docs.  Learn Zillion has a tagline that resonates with me: Learning Without Limits.  This is why I love technology, it enables learning without limits.  One of the things I have dreamed about, is a world where the very best teachers around the world could be connected with the students that need them.  Learn Zillion does just that through asynchronous video lessons organized by the Common Core Standards.  Learn Zillion was started by E.L. Haynes public charter school who had a passion for sharing best practices across classrooms and to connect students with just the right lesson, at just the right time.  The site started small and grew along with the passion that every child should have access to incredible teachers and resources.  Learn Zillion is now a place where teachers can learn by “sitting in” on other teacher’s lessons, and students can get a playlist of lessons that meet their needs.  Pretty awesome! How to integrate Learn Zillion into the classroom: It has always bothered me that I only had access to the teachers I had access to.  Let me explain that a little: I had some really incredible teachers growing up; my first, third, and fifth grade teachers were beyond exceptional.  I think about them often and model my own teaching based on what they did.  I had an incredible creative writing teacher in high school.  I had an Algebra teacher who made me believe that I was a gifted math student (I’m average at best).  I also had years with so-so teachers, teachers who didn’t really inspire the best in me.  That is not to say that another student didn’t connect with them and remember them years later.  It always irked me that I didn’t get to pick ANY teacher in the world to be my teacher.  I knew that there were amazing teachers out there, why didn’t I get to learn from them?  Would my education have been different if I was matched up with the very best teachers in the world? Learn Zillion is the first step in this direction.  It may not be the rich experience you get from clicking with someone on a personal level AND learning from them, but does give students the ability to learn a concept in a new way from a teacher who may “click” with them educationally differently than you can.  Sometimes it is just a matter of being able to pause, rewind and repeat a concept at will that makes all the difference.  With class sizes that are growing out of control, the ability to work one on one with students is diminishing quickly.  Learn Zillion allows every child to enter their learning at the right level, it is available on demand (day or night), it utilized fantastic educators from around the world, and it helps teachers create custom playlists of learning for students.  Using this technology, students can get the extra support they need with foundational concepts. Learn Zillion would make a fantastic support center in the classroom.  Students can visit the center to find out where they are in their personal learning journey, watch videos and practice new skills and concepts.  Because the videos are based on Common Core Standards, your students will get extra support for the foundational skills that support additional learning. Learn Zillion is a nice resource in a “flipped” classroom where homework looks a lot more like preparation for practice that happens in the classroom.  Students can watch the preparation video at home and come to class prepared to practice and explore using the new knowledge.  The great thing about a flipped classroom is the ability to offer students support where and when they need it-in the practice and honing of skills. Tips: I’m impressed with the quality and organization of Learn Zillion.  Be sure to take some time to explore some lessons and dream up how you might use it with your students or even as a learning tool for yourself. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Learn Zillion in  your classroom!

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Education is like traffic- guest post

Posted by admin | Posted in education reform | Posted on 16-07-2012

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Thank you to @missmac100 for this awesome post!  My goal is to get you into my Google Reader regularly- until you start your own, you are welcome to post for me :)

Education is like traffic.

It all started with a tweet:

Mr. Anderson ‏@matthewquigley

Is traffic a metaphor for education? Everyone in line, but no one really going anywhere. Cc @ktenkely

After reading this tweet, I kept thinking about this metaphor.  Here are four I thought of- I would love for you to share your thoughts.

 

4 ways education is like traffic.

 

  • Everyone in line, but no one really going anywhere.

This is SO like education.  The hurry up and wait scenario.  Everyone is supposedly headed toward the same destination but moving at a turtle’s pace. Maybe that is because we are traveling the same road as everyone else to get there.  And, truth be told, most are traveling the crowded road because they have ALWAYS traveled on that road to get there.  I doubt some even notice the scenery (the students they are teaching) anymore.  It becomes monotonous. Driving with no thought is dangerous. So is teaching.

 

  • What do you do when you are stuck or lost?

People have different reactions to being lost or on a road that is at a stand still.  Some stay on the route planned no matter how delayed because going a different way is frightening.  I have met so many teachers with this view.  I don’t understand the fear because if does not go well, they can always fall back on what they know. So why not try something new?  Others reference maps or use a GPS (which is one of my very favorite inventions EVER) to solve being stuck or lost.  Both work well as long as the map or the GPS is updated.  It is limited to the last update.  If you are not reading, collaborating with a PLN or discussing new ideas in education, then you still may not end up where you want to ultimately want to be.

 

  • Are you following or leading?

Just a simple thought. You can do both but just know who you are following and where you are leading others.

 

  • Why not take the scenic route a.k.a the road less traveled?

Others have shared the best alternative routes.  Trying to avoid heavy traffic, I called friends that lived near the area. The trip may have taken longer but the benefit was seeing new things. Detours and alternate routes are like new educational tools and ideas. Twitter was one detour for me.  Our tech coach shared it and for the next 3 days I immersed myself in it. YES, it took a while to get where I wanted to be but now it is my favorite route to go for new ideas, comments, suggestions and encouragement.

So what is your destination as an educator? How about for your students? There are many ways to get there.  The choice is yours!

 

By: Carol McLaughlin @missmac100  

Comments (6)

Thanks for the great post. Here’s another thought. Sometimes the scenic route takes a bit longer, but it helps you understand the region, its peoples, and the culture. Isn’t education the same way? How often do we deprive our students of incidental learning because we need to take the “highway” approach to content?

Yay! Your first blog post!! :-)

I really like how you took Matthew’s tweet and continued with the analogy. So much of what’s happening around us is reactive and fear-based. We have to be able to move past those fears and allow ourselves to TRY. The kids need us to do that with them!

I retweeted a quote today that said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” As soon as I read your post, I thought about that again. Trailblazers don’t look for the wagon trail with deep ruts. You can easily become stuck in the ruts. I’m glad I work with trailblazers.

Great post, Carol!

My 1st blog post (guest blogger). Thanks @michellek107 @ktenkely 4the encouragement & to @jrichardson30 (the mentioned tech coach) for leading me to twitter. If you are not following all of these, do it now. :)

Love it.

Here’s another…
If you are clever you can find a way around the tough spots so you can reach your destination faster.

Kristen: incidental learning is the best. Some of my best lessons where ones that came out of a student’s so called “rabbit trail”. I also find that you find connections with 2 roads you already knew but the learning is deeper because you have a new connection.

Michelle: I love the quote you shared- “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I am so glad I have trailblazers in my PLN. It takes many to go in the wilderness to make the way for others. :)

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