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TED Talk Tuesday: Bring on the Learning Revolution

Since I won’t be with the CHC staff hosting Webspiration Wednesday lunches, I thought I would institute TED Talk Tuesday and share an inspiring TED Talk each Tuesday with all of you.  TED has a great tag line “ideas worth spreading”.  This non-profit brings together people from Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  (The scope of the talks is actually much, much wider.)  TED.com is a free collection of the very best talks with new talks are being added all the time.  TED believes “passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.” Todays TED Talk Tuesday is dedicated to Sir Ken Robinson.  You may remember this Webspiration Wednesday sharing of Sir Ken’s Schools Kill Creativity.  This is Sir Ken Robinson’s newest TED Talk, Bring on the Learning Revolution. Sir Ken Robinson has such a way with words, the message he shares is profound.  I agree with the summation that reform is of no use, the evolution of a broken model isn’t going to get us where we need to go.   We need a revolution where education is transformed into something else entirely.  I have watched this video several times since its release, about a month ago, and each time I am struck by something new.  This time what stood out most for me was the talk about innovation.   Innovation is hard because it means doing something that is challenging, it isn’t the easy or obvious solution.  It challenges what we take for granted, things that seem obvious.  Just before beginning this post, I read an excellent article by Blogging Alliance member Chris at EdTechSwami.  He writes: What Educators Can Learn From Steve Jobs.  I think Chris makes some excellent points in his post, it all comes back to innovation.  Apple doesn’t usually do the expected, in fact sometimes they purposefully step away from what is expected and what seems logical.  The reason is that they are finding new solutions and even creating new problems.  They are looking to the future and anticipating what is coming next.  Sir Ken helps us to see that innovation is difficult because there are so many things in this life that we take for granted.  We don’t even think about them any more because they are the way that we expect them to be.  It is only when someone comes along and points out a new way of doing something that we realize we have been taking it for granted.  In schools we take for granted that there is a linearity to education.  We start in kindergarten and move through until we reach the 12th grade, at which point we are encouraged to attend college.  What else do we take for granted in education?  Classrooms, grades, tests, desks, handwriting, curriculum, blackboards (IWB’s), policy makers, NCLB… Today I was able to join in on the midday Twitter #edchat discussion.  The topic was reform in education and how teachers could be a louder voice.  The discussion was a great one with a number of good ideas.  I wonder if we are approaching the topic in an innovative enough way?  We tend to frame our answers with what we think might be possible. We frame our answers so as to play nice in the policy makers game.  What if we didn’t do things their way? What if we came up with a new way?  What if we taught kids how to be advocates for their education and learning and gave them a voice?  I threw this out there during the #edchat and @bliarteach reminded me of the big push there was for learning about recycling in school.  Kids became passionate about recycling and saving the earth, they took it home with them.  Soon families were recycling and changing their garbage habits.  This worked.  I was one of those kids who made my mom wash every piece of aluminum foil so that I could bring it to school and add it to our big ball of recycled foil.  I was the kid who was adamant about separating plastic, glass, and paper.  I became the adult who still does this.  Involving kids in advocating for their own education and learning has the added benefit of helping them to realize the importance of their education.  Suddenly they aren’t learning because we tell them to, they are learning because they believe in learning.  They have a pride and ownership in their own education.   The great thing about involving kids in the discussion is that they don’t take so much for granted.  They ask questions and challenge the way that we think. So, lets figure out all the things we take for granted in education.  When we have a clear picture of those things, lets work together to find new solutions. Lets revolutionize education together, lets make the revolution viral.  If you can think of something that we take for granted, leave it in the comments below. (Raise of hands, how many of you are wearing a wrist watch?) :)  Yeah, me too.

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Adobe Forms Center: Create & Share Interactive Forms

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Character Education, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Inquiry, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 11-07-2013

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What it is: Sometimes I come across a useful site and think, “how in the world is it possible that I haven’t discovered this before?”  That happened today with Adobe Form Central.  This free web application lets you create pdf’s that are actually web forms that can be filled out directly on the pdf.  Fancy.  Forms Central has a huge bank of templates that you can start with including a section just for education.  These are mostly application, appointment, quiz type forms.  But the best…the ability to create your own custom pdf form! Design items include text fields, date fields, email fields, single choice, multiple choice, drop down menu, single check box, rating scale, file attachments, formatted text, images, and page or section breaks.  When you have finished with the form you can set the form up to automatically email recipients, redirect them to a new url, or include a confirmation message.  You can even collect payments through PayPal (I’ll tell you why I find that feature useful!).  When you are ready to distribute your form you can email the link, embed the form or share on Twitter.  From within form central, you can view responses and save to Excel or as a PDF.  You can even sort responses from within Forms Central.

How to integrate Form Central into the classroom:  The obvious (and boring) use of Forms Central for education is for creating quizzes and tests.  Pass.  I’m not interested in using it that way so the custom feature is where I head.  Form Central is a great place for you to create a guided inquiry form where students can view the current inquiry question and fill in their own lines of inquiry and thoughts as they begin into a new unit.  Answers are collected in one place so that you can go through with your class and discuss options.  This could be a great twist on the ideation step in design thinking!

Forms Central could be used to create customized rubrics that you and your students can fill in.  Again, the great feature here is that everything is collected in one spot!  Students can create and use forms to collect scientific or mathematical data that can be analyzed and evaluated later.

Students can create their own custom surveys for collaborative projects and easily distribute their forms and collect answers.  Our students created their own not-for-profit (LSGW Foundation), because they occasionally host fundraisers, Forms Central would be really useful for collecting information and donations online.  The ability to connect the form to a PayPal account where they can collect donations is fantastic!

The PayPal function could also be used by you at the beginning of the school year.  If you’re like us, you have parents fill out loads of Q&A’s at back to school night so that you can get to know the family and child better.  You could include a short wish-list of items that you would like for your classroom.  Parents could choose to donate monetarily to your classroom fund through your forms.  Forms Central also gives them an easy one-stop place to quickly fill out all of the information online.

Do you host an after school club or tutoring?  Use Forms Central to create your application/enrollment form and collect payment at once.

Have your students evaluate your class using a course evaluation (template), collect feedback from colleagues at a conference where you hosted a session, collect interest for a new offering in your classroom, create a risk assessment sheet…the sky is the limit for what you can create.

One of my favorite things about the start of the school year at Anastasis Academy is the Learning Profile that we create for each of our students.  We survey students to learn about their multiple intelligence strengths, brain dominance, learning style preferences, and interests and passions.  Forms Central would be a really great way to collect all of this information (at least until the Learning Genome is finished!).

Tips:  You may be wondering…why not just use Google forms?  I love Google forms, I really do.  But Forms Central gives options that Google does not.  Those options are appealing to me on a number of levels!  The bank of templates they have to start from is also super helpful when time is an issue.

Are you using Forms Central in your classroom?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Comments (3)

[...] “Adobe Forms Center: Create & Share Interactive Forms” @ktenkely (Cool!) ilearntechnology.com/?p=5045 [...]

Do you know if there is a way for all of the students to see everyone else’s responses? I like the idea of having guided inquiry questions for students to respond to while at home, but I think it would be more effective if it is treated more as a discussion between the students rather than just communicating solely with the teacher.

Ely- I’m not sure outside of giving everyone the login so that they are able to view it. The other option would be to go through responses on a class with an IWB or projector.

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